I’ve been meaning to review Winter and Six of Crows, and then I watched the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, and I noticed I had a theme with all three of these stories: hype.
Let me go ahead and clarify: I ENJOYED ALL THREE OF THESE THINGS. This will not be about big disappointments. But there were some minor problems I had with all three.
First, Winter. Though there was a lot of hype surrounding this one, it was just from everyone who loves The Lunar Chronicles, which includes myself, so a lot of the hype I had put on myself. Cress was hands-down, my favorite read last year. Every page was just like YES, this book is PERFECT. So I thought with 800+ page Winter, it could only get BETTER, right?! OK, maybe not.
Again, I REALLY liked this book. I gave it 4.5 stars and put it in my top 10 faves of the year. But I can’t lie, that book dragged for me a bit. I think Meyer could have cut at least 100 pages, possibly more. Before Winter, I thought I could have read a 400-book all about the Lunar Chronicles gang playing Scrabble and been thoroughly entertained, but maybe I was wrong. When the characters were just waiting for things to happen, I got restless. I wanted things to move forward, not stand still. And in case you think I’m ALL about the action, that’s not true either. I actually got confused quite a few times during the action sequences. Though I will admit, that’s the case with almost every action sequence in almost every book. And while everyone went through something in this book before they could get to their happy ending, I just didn’t feel quite as much emotional resonance as I wanted. Maybe that was my own fault. Brittany talked about how she possibly created distance between herself and this finale, and I think I might have done that too.
Then Six of Crows. Again, there was hype, but a lot of it self-made because I LOVED the Grisha trilogy and I love Leigh Bardugo. I figured that Six of Crows had to be even better than the previous books, because that’s how it works, right? Writers only get better? I enjoyed the book. I gave it 4 stars. But it did not feel tight to me. Like Winter (though shorter), I felt there were pacing issues. I didn’t feel it was a very good set-up for the actual “heist,” and then the whole “heist” (honestly, it doesn’t feel like a real heist) itself felt kind of weak to me. Not gonna lie. This didn’t feel anything like Ocean’s Eleven to me. I mean, I have no problem with things not going perfectly, but everything felt way more half-hazard than I think it was supposed to.
And then there were 6 main characters, and I actually liked about 3 of them. The other 3 were fine, but I could have lived without them. Really, the book could have been all about Inej and Kaz and that would have been good for me. They were the only ship that even made sense to me. And speaking of things not making sense, I could not keep any of the nationalities or any other cultural details straight, which seemed strange since I have read the other books and I don’t recall being confused with them.
And lastly, Star Wars. Most of the movie was pretty solid. I loved how it felt like the original series, except updated, and it was going really well. I liked the characters, the pacing was good, etc. Then at some point kind of close to the end, it’s like… I don’t know. I can’t pinpoint the moment it stopped working for me. But by the end of the movie, I realize that I had a pretty good time but nothing impacted me the way I thought it should have. I’ll talk spoilers in white in the next couple paragraphs; highlight to see…
One thing that took me out of the movie relatively early on was when Han & Leia’s kid who’s the bad guy (I honestly don’t remember his name) took off his mask the first time. I was immediately like you are not their kid, I don’t believe it. He just didn’t look like their kid to me or feel like him to me. And he seemed to behave completely differently without his mask. The character in general felt a little inconsistent. And we never really get to know him, so when we get to that moment between him and Han, I don’t care if he wants to go home with Han and be redeemed (of course, it was pretty obvious to me that he didn’t). I don’t feel betrayed when he kills his dad. It just doesn’t click for me.
And then the “climax” happened, and I put it in quotes because it wasn’t all that exciting. Han and Chewie getting on the Millennium Falcon? That was exciting! Blowing up this massively destructive weapon planet? Eh, who cares? I mean, you know the good guys are going to win and they didn’t even bother to make you feel tense about it ever at any point. I guess Han’s death was supposed to make things feel hopeless but it didn’t. And after the “climax,” Rey goes off to find Luke (no explanation why it’s her), and they just stand there and stare at each other as she holds out his lightsaber and… the end. That’s the end of the freaking movie. I was waiting for the big reveal that Rey is Luke’s daughter (she has to be, right? Is anyone with me on this?) or at least something and I mean, Luke doesn’t utter one single syllable in this movie. It just ends, period. (Actually, if this was going to be the way it ended, it didn’t cut soon enough. My husband and I had the conversation that it would have been better if we see Luke, and then cut, as opposed to the ten seconds of him and Rey staring at each other that we get.)
Look, I know no story can actually be perfect. But I also look for emotional resonance, for great character growth, and I look at story pacing. All three of these stories are part of larger stories that I adore, and when I don’t get all three of those things lined up the way I expect them to, I can’t help but be a little disappointed.
Moral of the story? Have lower expectations, I guess. Though I think that’s nearly impossible when you’re dealing with franchises you already love. But it’s not always going to bigger and better the next time. Professional storytellers are not flawless storytellers, and I know this. At the end of Winter, the characters were where I wanted them to be. At the end of Six of Crows, I can tell that Kaz’s upcoming arc is one I’m going to want to stay tuned for. At the end of Episode VI, I saw my old “friends” and am hopeful of what is to come with the new ones. I may want a little more, but what I got was still good.
How do you deal with hype? Were you mildly (or maybe even majorly) disappointed in anything you were highly anticipated lately?
13 thoughts on “Don’t Let the Hype Get to You”
I haven’t read the books you mentioned, but I’ll play the dissenting opinion and very much disagree on The Force Awakens. I honestly thought it was BETTER than I expected, at least in some part due to the relative simplicity of the overall plot. I’ll send you a private message on Facebook or something going a little bit more in depth since I don’t think I can (or I at least dont know how to) white out spoilers in a comment.
Good times! 🙂
I thought the overall plot was pretty good, and I spent most of the movie thinking this was going to be one of the best Star Wars movies yet, but at the end I just didn’t much emotional resonance at all.
I disagree with your thoughts on Six of Crows, but your thoughts on Winter are similar to my own. I haven’t posted my review yet, but I also felt the action scenes were confusing and there was something off about the pacing.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who found the action in Winter confusing… sometimes I worry I just don’t “get” action sequences and everyone else does. I hope since you disagree with me on Six of Crows that meant you loved it! I think I would like to reread it sometime before the second book and see if it’s better for me the second time.
Yes, I really enjoyed Six of Crows. 🙂 I said I disagree because I like it better than the author’s other series.
I’ve had similar worries about the action sequence.
So so so yes! I agree with EVERYTHING you said on Winter. I just wish it was a bit shorter and tighter. Six of Crows did have some points for me that I was either bored or thought more should happen.
Star Wars, I agree was good. But Kylo Ren was WAY missing in the storyline. How did he come about, what happened to make him dark and why did he look NOTHING like his parents. Totally bugged me and my husband too.
Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings
So glad I’m not alone in all this, especially when it comes to Kylo Ren!
I haven’t read those books but I’ve seen Star Wars and I really liked it a lot. I loved Rey and those landscapes with the downed X-Wing and Star Destroyer (not to mention the AT-AT!) gave me goosebumps in a good way. It’s not perfect, no, but it’s better than the prequels and I’m looking forward to the next one, confident that it’s unlikely to be a hot mess. I’m going to be hugely surprised if the next movie doesn’t reveal Ren’s backstory.
I definitely liked Rey, and I’m curious to know her backstory too!
Unfortunately I haven’t seen/read any of these yet (Winter will probably be the first thing for me to get into though!) so it was interesting to read your perspective on these. I definitely agree that disappointment often results when there is so much hype – even if the thing is good. I wonder how I will feel about Winter especially since I thought Cress was just amazing, so I feel like Winter has a lot to top. And wrap up.
I guess with hype, I try not to listen or read too much things about it, until I can make up my own mind – but that’s often so hard to do! Especially if I’m curious to know more. 🙂
Well maybe I downgraded some of the hype for you, ha. 🙂 I really did enjoy it, but like I said in the post, I didn’t think it topped Cress.
I’m reading Cress right now and it is fantastic! And I loved Six of Crows, although I agree that I thought the original Grisha series was better. If you decide to re-read it I definitely recommend the audio version – they have different voice actors for the characters and it was a really fun listen.
Yay for Cress! 😀 That would be fun to listen to it with the different narrators! It’s hard for me to really find time for audiobooks because most times I would be able to listen are in pretty small chunks, but maybe one day I’ll be able to check it out.