We've all seen it happen: a favorite author suddenly takes a nosedive in quality. Is it just a factor of aging? Are they burnt out? Under extreme pressure to keep producing? No matter the reason, the stench of a bad book can change the flavor of everything they've written before.
One British mystery author had a fascinating series then went off on an extreme tangent and spent an entire novel shrieking about the evil of a medication for hot flashes. Definitely a 'huh?' moment for her fans. I've never gone back.
Another long-time cozy mystery writer completely changed her style of writing. I'm still convinced they brought in a ghostwriter for that one.
What brought up the subject? Lois McMaster Bujold. Brilliant author. Books that made me laugh, cry and cheer. My all time favorite book is her Shards of Honor. In all honesty, she never hid the fact that she was tired of that series. What she really wanted to do was write Fantasy, not Sci-Fi. And she did, occasionally producing one of the first series to placate her fans, she wrote the books she wanted. And I bought them. I didn't enjoy them as much as the others, but I prefer Sci-Fi.
In 2012, she released another from the original series and there was something off about it. The character didn't seem to match and the whole thing felt weak and disappointing. To put it into perspective, I've read all the others many, many times; but this one I've never picked up again.
So, when she published another this year, I held off. Judging from the reviews, it was the right decision. She took the original characters from 30 years ago, people who have played more of a supporting role ever since, and twisted them around; completely changing them and losing the humor and any semblance of a plot along the way.
Now, if the author had been developing these characters through the last three decades, putting out an occasional novel focusing on them and having their personalities change along the way, that would have been one thing. Or if she just wanted to pound in some social commentary, she had an entire universe to work with; she could have created any number of new characters.
Honestly, it feels vindictive. As if she's lashing out at the public for not embracing her Fantasy books and asking for more of something she no longer enjoys. Well, I'm asking her to STOP writing. As far as I'm concerned, the series ended in 2010 with the last decent book. I'm even tempted to say it really ended in 2000 with the last incredible book.