First up is Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Okay, I know the villagers sharpening their pitch forks. I don’t mean this as an insult to Mr. Gamain. The book displays great craftsmanship, but his style just didn’t suit me. He is quite funny and I would bet every penny I’ve got that he’d have done a better job than Eoin Colfer at writing the follow up in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; I feel sure that his style would have been perfect to continue the Hitchhiker’s Trilogy. He stays surprisingly grounded for fantasy and while that’s not a bad thing, it isn’t my preference. In story that is a great adventure full of magic and action, his resolution was logical and it felt anti-climatic. Perhaps the biggest part of my preference for the movie is that I saw the movie before I knew it was based on a book and it set the plot and the expectations in my mind. I think that reading the book first would have given me a (possibly dramatically) different opinion.
Second is Lord of the Rings (thankfully none of my friends are wealthy enough to hire a "cleaner"). Tolkien was a genius - Hello, he created an entire language complete with ruin like symbols and an entire world for his epic series; no one is arguing that the man was brilliant. I read The Hobbit first as a school assignment and I liked it. Granted I liked it less at the end when my favorite dwarf was dying and I finally realized he WASN'T a girl after all and that there were in fact no female characters of any significance. That aside, I did enjoy reading The Hobbit and thought I should read the rest of them. I just didn’t like it. I can’t begin to describe to you how badly I wanted to like it. How disappointed I was that I didn’t love it. It bored me, half put me to sleep. Every once in a while I’d get to a point I was enjoying and he’d break off to spend four pages describing scenery. I ended up skimming and skipping large portions of the second and third book just to get through them. Sorry Tolkien fans, he just isn’t for me.