I ask this question because I’m currently reading an Urban Fantasy novel that is causing me to scratch my head rather too often.
I think the answer to the glitches in this specific novel is probably that it lacked beta readers to pull the author up over the many illogical facets of this world. If it did have beta readers, they weren’t very picky about specifics, and that brings me around again to my question: how important is solid Worldbuilding to any fantasy (or SF) novel to the average reader?
I know many of my blog visitors are authors, and we tend on the whole to become extremely choosy about our reading material, particularly after a reader of our books (beta readers, or reviewers) has picked us up on glitches in our own work, so you may well be right there alongside me in being frustrated when you read what could have been a really good book but for the too-frequent events that bounce you out of the narrative with a ‘huh’? (And before anyone points it out, yes, that was a really long run-on sentence!)
I just checked out the reviews on this book (not many, so quick to read through) and two mention worldbuilding – one calls it ‘unique’ (can’t deny that) and the other talks of a ‘carefully crafted world’, which I will dispute – it might be carefully crafted, but it’s full of holes.
There are also procedural issues (e.g. someone walks into a room, holds a conversation, then stands up – but he was never shown sitting down), and some dodgy formatting. So why, you may ask, am I still reading it?
Because, if you skip over these details there is a riveting storyline and vivid characters to make you care. The writing (minus the hiccups) is great. Normally by this stage with so many bounces, I would have given up and consigned this novel to the DNF (did not finish) pile, but I’m not going to. I guess if I review it, it will be a 3 star. I just heartily wish the author had run it past, at the very least, some good beta readers, and probably a structural editor, then it might have been a 5 star. Such a disappointment.
SO back to the question – readers, how important is solid, logical world building to you?
And SFF authors, how picky do you find your readers to be about your worldbuilding?