I've read a couple of books recently that very much disappointed me.
I just finished "The Sign of the Book". This was the fourth in a series about an ex-cop turned rare book dealer. The first was fascinating in its details about the book collecting world, and Cliff Janeway, the lead, was an interestingly tough/upright (if only a bit cliched) character.
By now, though, the series has run out of steam. This was a pretty good read -- he does know how to make you turn the pages -- but the ending was preposterous. First of all, the "who" in "whodunnit" was ridiculous. Worse was a looooong scene in which -- for no apparent or good reason -- the killer spent pages explaining everything that happened and why they did it. Yeesh.
Earlier this year, I finished Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series. After 7 books (and thousands
of pages), Roland (the last gunslinger of Gilead) finally reached the tower. This has been -- make that had been
-- a hell of a series. Inventive, engaging, and wholly unlike anything else he's written.
In the end, Roland's ka-tet (his unbreakable group of friends, joined by ka (destiny) and their unique love for one another) breaks up. This made me sad, although the book never promised that the ending would be purely saccharinely "happy". Part of the quest always included the risk of death, and the risk of severing the ka-tet. Roland still makes it to the tower and protects it.
Roland finally enters the tower, alone (which had been his destiny and lifelong pursuit)....and then Stephen King drops the bomb. Roland has been in hell all along, and when he gets to the tower, he is doomed to REPEAT his quest again....as he has already done innumerable times before.
What the hell is that? I ask you -- what the hell is that? How dare he? How DARE he? How could King let me invest this much time in his "magnum opus" only to find that I've been wasting my time? That I was not really travelling with the "last gunslinger" on a quest of glory, but rather was watching a small portion of a good man's journey through hell (without ending (and Roland is in this hell for no good reason, I might add)). King does
sort of imply that Roland was trapped in this torture because he failed to pick up a glove during a battle, for whatever idiotic sense that
makes (and he sort of implies that on Roland's next
trip to the tower, he may find relief (because the next time, he did
pick up the glove)). Still. How stupid, how unsatisfying, what an utter betrayal of my loyalty as a reader.
Yes, indeed, I sorely wasted my time and energy reading it.
It makes me so
angry and put-upon that I swear I am done with Stephen King. Other than this series, I had not been a fan for a long time anyway, and now I am done.