Recently, I filled out a little questionnaire for authors. The one question I remember was “What do you consider to be the most important part of a story?” It was a multiple choice questionnaire, and the choices were “plot”, “characters”, “setting”, and “theme” (if I remember correctly), with an option for “other _____”. I had to choose “other”. Without doubt I consider the most important thing about a story to be the feelings it gives to the reader.
The last two books I read left me wanting something more. The two books were about as different as two novels can be, but both of them seemed lacking in the area of making me feel like I’m in the story. One was called Chronicles of Krystonia. It’s a light children’s book about a fantasy world, but it hardly had any plot. It’s seemed like the author just wanted to do an exercise in world building using a series of anecdotes about his fantasy setting, but without much of a story at all. I didn’t actually finish it and I’m not sure if I’m going to bother finishing it. It had an utter lack of making me care, which is pretty much the worst thing you can say about a book.
The other book I read recently was Dickens’ Great Expectations, and as classic literature, my expectations were a bit higher for this one. I thought it was good, but not great. I cared about the characters, but it didn’t give me what I like in a book. The feeling of it, as with most of Dickens’ work, was rather dreary. It had interesting characters and a decent plot, and the ending was good and satisfying enough, but it never really drew me in to the story.
So I started a new book today. Maybe it has something to do with the last two books leaving me hungry for something better, but I’m loving this one so far. I love the kind of the writing that makes me feel like I’m there with the characters and gives me a feeling of haunting and wonder, making it hard to put down or sleep until at least an hour after it’s finished. And that’s what this book does. (Well, I can’t be sure about the latter part because I’m only on chapter six, but judging from what I’ve read so far I wouldn’t expect anything less.) It’s called The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler. I had never heard of it until I picked it up while browsing at my local library the other day, thinking it looked interesting. (I love libraries.) I’m glad I found it.