Monday, April 11, 2011

The Only Gold by Tamara Allen

When Tamara Allen, the incredibly talented author of Whistling in the Dark, had this new release at Dreamspinner a couple weeks ago, I jumped on it with only a bare glance at the blurb and nothing at the excerpt. I had every intention of writing a review for it today. But I knew when I finished it that I couldn't do so in good conscience. If I hadn't already told Ms. Allen that the review would be coming, I would have just shuttled the experience off to the side and moved onto the next book. But that's not the case.

See, I did something with this book I don't often do. I overidentified with the narrator to the point where my personal experiences irrationally evoked responses to characters within the story. Before the end of the first chapter, I hated the other protagonist so vehemently, I would have stopped reading entirely if it hadn't been for my comments to Ms. Allen. I can't remember the last time I had such a violent loathing for a character, and when that character is half of the romantic couple...well, you can probably guess what that did for me in trying to enjoy the romance.

That's not to say it's a bad story. It's not. The editing is impeccable, the detail rich and vivid. But I can't offer an objective opinion - or even a fair one - on the pacing, the romance, or many of the secondary characters. My negative feelings for Reid overshadowed everything that much. I have to stress, though, this is my issue. I don't think my reaction would be a normal one. I fully recognize that my personal history and triggers created the strong emotions. I sincerely wish they hadn't.


Mara said...

Thank you for your candor. I appreciate that you gave the book a fair chance, reading it through, though I'm sorry you pushed yourself to read something you weren't enjoying. :(

Please don't ever feel bad about leaving the book a DNF, even if you've mentioned to me that you're going to review. I have so much respect for your reviews and your opinion. I don't want you to struggle through any work of mine that isn't entertaining you.

Thank you for reading it. I'm so sorry it was such a negative experience. More sorry than I can begin to express. I hope you'll still consider my future work for possible review. Thanks, B.

Book Utopia Mom said...

Oh, goodness, of course I'll read your future work! And probably love it. Because you have a true gift, regardless of my irrational response to this. My inability to separate my reaction from the rest of it is my failing, not yours. I think it's proof of how strong your characters were, too, that my response was so easily provoked.

This one is my failing. Not yours. I can't stress that enough.

K. Z. Snow said...

This has impressed me a great deal.

I truly feel neither one of you needs to shoulder any burden of "failure." Every reader brings certain life experiences to bear on every book. How can intensely-felt experience not color our reactions? (I can't tolerate anything but the mildest BDSM for this very reason.)

There's no question here about the writer's talent or the reviewer's fairness. None. It's simply a case of neither of you being psychic.

Mara said...

Thank you, KZ. I think you made us both feel a little better about the whole thing.:)