Stephen King, The Dark Tower: So this is it, eh? You’ve conned me out of $35 twice and this time I don’t feel as bad. But what’s with the artless offing of random pivotal characters? Why don’t these deaths mean anything? And if I have to read one more extended palaver or endure some deus ex machina scene momentum involving mental telepathy, I’m going to scream. Even so, I remain hooked, if only because I’ve read thousands of your pages and I’m too far in to quit. And even I have to confess that you’ve been a steady steed, soldier.
Richard Powers, The Time of Our Singing: I bow to your erudition and beauty! I’ve read the seven books before this and you seem to me the best of Powers’ oeuvre. How were you neglected so long? I’ll tell you why, padre. You’re a bit overwhelming sometimes. Sure, you’re not as much of a cerebral blitzkrieg as your bro, Operation Wandering Soul. But I find myself in a strange predicament. I’m drawn to your bright bulb like a steadfast moth, savoring your language and feeling my heart palpitate when you put the Emmett Till incident into context. Still, with all the musical terminology and digressions into relativity, I get the distinct sensation that I should stop and possibly apply a hacksaw to my skull to let some of the air out. You’re getting better at this thing called plot, Time, but a little more narrative momentum would obviate me contemplating the hacksaw, no?
Rachel Seiffert, The Dark Room: You talk the talk. You walk the walk. The principle behind your staging is to be admired: stark and clinical. Your perspective is grand. Don’t get me wrong, kid: I dig ya. But at this point, you may be a bit too detached for my tastes. We’ll see how it goes.
Sarah Waters, Fingersmith: Your victimization of a young woman in the Victorian age angle reminds me in many ways of Crimson Petal and the White, except you’re shorter and there are some exciting plot twists. While I have a suspicion you’re short-changing us on some giddy language possibilities (and what’s with the heavy-handed, obvs “Gentleman” approach), there’s absolutely no reason why you should be in the remainders pile (which I saw you in a few weeks ago). Is there no justice?
Ian Rankin, Strip Jack: You’re good, but you’re more of the same. I’ve been following your adventures, deliberately padding them out over several months, hoping to see how Rebus’s adventures evolve over time, but does Brian Holmes’ promotion really count as character development? I’m starting to grow weary of your corny jokes, which were fun in the earlier novels, but now stick out like sore thumbs intended to space out the novel. Perhaps I’m being too hard on you. Please tell me it gets better.