I’ve been having a run of bad luck when it comes to books lately – nothing to do with the story itself, but with the production of the actual book. Sigh.
First up was Richelle Mead’s “Frostbite” – I was completely absorbed in the story, reached the end of the page… and then went “Huh?”. Yes, about 30-plus pages were missing! I had a brief internal debate about whether to stop reading and do an exchange the next time I was in the bookstore, but I wanted to know what happened so badly that I took a deep breath and continued reading. So I missed the events of Rose’s Christmas, though I sort of gathered that it wasn’t a very good one. And yes, the next time I went to the bookstore, I spent five minutes speed-reading through the missing bits…
And then came Katie MacAlister’s “Up in Smoke”. This one was an ebook version, which I don’t quite understand, because how in the world can you mess up the sequence of chapters in an ebook?! Well, Penguin managed it, and so I had chapter 14 following on from chapter 9, with chapter 10 making an appearance after chapter 17. Which totally confused the hell out of me, especially seeing chapter 9 ended in a bit of a cliffhanger, with May (the heroine) setting off some rather disastrous pyrotechnics. And then the next chapter had May merrily chatting away with her twin. Not being one to track chapter numbers, I figured that it was a stylistic decision on the part of the author, and that flashbacks would be inserted later. Err… yes, in a way. At least there weren’t any missing pages in this one.
But the winner of the worst formatted ebook is Tanya Huff’s “Valor’s Trial”. Why? No, there weren’t any missing pages, but there were also no separators or white space between different scenes, which made it confusing beyond belief. Especially in the first chapter, when there were lots of brief vignettes as the main character reacquainted herself with her fellow Marines. So you had one paragraph having Torin (the protagonist) all by herself in her room, and the next paragraph having her interacting with others at a Marine briefing. A few paragraphs later, Torin is suddenly sorting out missing inventory with the supply officer before appearing at the firing range, and then dealing with drunk sergeants at the bar. You get the picture.
I would have loved reading about Torin settling back into Marine life, but I was constantly confused about where she was and what she was doing! It was so bad that I re-downloaded the book from the Fictionwise bookshelf because I thought I did something wrong the first time (though how you can mess up a download is beyond me). It got better in the latter chapters, as there were fewer scene shifts, but every time I encountered one, it would completely throw me.
Okay, rant over. I hope my luck improves with my next books.