Let’s talk about infodumps. Sometimes you’re reading a book and the author just decides to tell you about… well, whatever she decides she’s interested in that day. It doesn’t really advance the plot. Or else it does advance the plot, but it could have been said in a lot fewer words, and it’s clear the author just wanted to share.
(Cashore) is an example of this. The action completely stops in the
middle of the book, while we’re treated to a lecture on cryptography.
Cryptography! I happen to really like cryptography (I used to study
something related), so I had a blast with this, but I can totally see
another person being a little taken aback by it. For another
perspective, a similar cipher is used in Curse of Chalion (Bujold), and the cipher is described in less than a paragraph. (To be fair, in Curse, the cipher is a little less important to the plot.)
I just read a book called Admission
(Korelitz) (which isn’t a YA book, can I still talk about it?) which
has multiple infodumps about college admissions, as far as I can tell
simply because the author wants us to know about it. It’s not really
relevant to the plot. It’s sort of vaguely relevant to the
characterization of the main character (who is a college admissions
officer), but everything that’s relevant could have been communicated in
far fewer words. Again, I had a great time reading the infodump
And of course there’s the King of Infodump Digressions: Victor Hugo. Les Miserables
is famous for whole chapters and sections where Hugo tells you all his
FEELINGS on convents, or (famously) Napoleon, or poop. (No kidding.
There is a whole chapter on poop. I had no idea you could say that much
Do you enjoy infodump digressions, or do they just take you out of the story?