Friends and family will often get more worked up over a bad review than an author will. My husband is STILL fuming about my first one-star Amazon review, and it was more than three years ago. He knows better than to start flame wars on the internet defending the honor of my books, but it can be tough sometimes for a writer spouse to take the high road.
A while back, I posted my annual “I Hated Your Book” blog post – my top-ten list of the bad, the ugly, and the just plain weird reviews I received in 2012. I rephrase everything for anonymity, and I have fun posting the replies I wish I could shoot back in person. And today, since it’s all in anonymous fun anyway, I’ve given my husband permission to make his own responses. Just this once . . .
1. Cringeworthy bodiceripping lovestory.
Please locate said bodices for me. As Kate’s husband and critique partner, I have seen every iteration of these books from their raw ideas to their finished forms, and I simply cannot live with myself if I, as the first and initial editor, missed a SINGLE BODICE. Help me, O Un-hyphenated Reader….you’re my only hope.
2. I bought your book at the same time as Stephanie Dray’s Song of the Nile. Hers is slightly less boring than yours.
Yeah, so Stephanie’s a good friend to my wife and me, and normally I’d back her up to the hilt. But when it comes to my wife being compared to other women, Kate is always the most talented, most beautiful, classiest, *every awesome thing ever*. Sorry to ditch you on this one, Stephanie.
3. I hated the way all the women in this book were accused of being sluts whenever they stepped outside the rules. I mean, I guess it was historically accurate, but it bothered me way too much to finish the book.
So let me get this straight……..you’re irritated by historical accuracy in a historical novel that you very probably located in the “Historical Fiction” section of your bookstore or library? Hold on, I think I can help……….one sec……..looking around………..OK! Here we go! THIS should be more your speed for right now.
4. I heart the hero Vix! He’s just so badass the way he stopped at nothing to get what he wanted. I didn’t like the heroine at all, though; she was so self-centered the way she plowed through life just trying to get her own way.
Um…..thanks? Kate based the hero on me, so I guess you tangentially complimented me there. On the other hand, your comment just convinced me that you’re schizophrenic, so I’m not really sure how to take it. *slowly puts hands in the air and backs away very carefully*
5. There was such foul language in this book, I just couldn’t stand it.
Yeah, because the hero of this book is a soldier–and as a military man myself, let me ______ reassure you that ________ military men do NOT _______ swear. Not in ____ ancient Rome, not ____ now, not in any ____ era. We ________ speak __________ forcefully and loudly, _____ yeah, but we do NOT use _______ language. Never ____ ever.
6. Your Rome is like three blocks wide from the way all the central characters keep bumping into each other!
Huh. Actually, that’s pretty legit.
7. This book is an insult to my Jewish heritage. So anti-Semitic; any Jew would be offended!
What book did you read? My wife’s works and Mein Kampf look NOTHING alike.
8. Wasn’t interested enough to finish the book. Four stars out of five!
I just saw the opening credits for “The Hobbit!” Wonderful movie!
9. I didn’t like this book as much as her other book Empress of the Daughter’s Mistress.
Personally, my favorite part of the book was when Vix, Hermione, and The Doctor went back in time to reboot the universe, but King Arthur was confused by all the new people, so he called up George III on his communicator, who sent Aragon to take on The Borg with his lightsaber.
10. This trash is an insult to intellectuals everywhere. I’m trying to decide whether to toss this book in the library’s 2 cent bin, or burn it.
Ok, funny hat off here….. I was preparing a scathing response about the idea of an intellectual wanting to burn books, complete with a staggering comparison to Nazi Germany. But then it occurred to me…….
You’re an idiot, and here’s why:
a) Kate’s books aren’t intellectual works. Granted, they’re very well done, but they aren’t designed to promote a philosophy or explain post-modern surrealism, or anything of the sort. They’re great stories that are expertly told, not intellectual treatises. What you’re doing is looking at a very fast car that’s a lot of fun to drive, and bitching that it’s not a nuclear submarine.
b) By definition, anyone who would consider burning a book is not an intellectual. Intellectuals recognize the value and worth in every work, regardless of personal taste, even if the only lesson learned is what not to do. The fact that you would even consider burning something out of spite, and try to remove that knowledge and information from the world, tells me that you’re nothing but a small and petty mind.
And for the bonus crazy email my wife received in 2012 . . .
11. Hi Kate, I saw your picture on the book jacket, and I like girls like you! You know, pretty, blond, puffy cheeks, loves history. We should talk!
I have a broadsword.