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"This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It is to be thrown with great force."
— Dorothy Parker
"Turns out the Stranges were hired by the park to see if the kids would reveal the secrets of Horror Land. Since they were willing, they'll have to die. Um... what? So established TV personalities would be willing to get involved in the needlessly complicated murder of three children? I know most of these books contain their own internal logic and you can't really question plot motives, but this book is so brazen in its ineptitude that it makes the first ever case for illiteracy."
Side-Along Apparation. This is introduced in the sixth book so that Dumbledore could take Harry places via apparation. Even when you take into account that this is likely harder than normal Apparation — this could've made a difference in earlier books. Dumbledore could've spared Harry the need to use the Knight Bus in book five. The teachers could've apparated their students to Kings Cross or to the outskirts of Hogwarts - yes, this would take some time, but they know where everyone lives, and it's inconsiderate to send students south to London just so they can take the magic train north to Scotland. And for sufficiently important events, side-along Apparation would make a good, reusable substitute for portkeys.
Why didn't Dumbledore come up with alternate transportation? Harry Potter is perhaps the most important person in the Wizarding World in the sixth book — the good guys can't afford to lose him, or at least don't think they can. "Is this trip really necessary?"
What about the highly dangerous maneuver at the start of Book 5 where the Order escorts Harry to Headquarters via broomstick? Moody shows up - side along apperates Harry - Harry is safe and sound. Its really hard to see why no one thought of this. You wouldn't even have needed to remove the Dursley's from the house using this approach given how the Weasley twins ripped a steel grating off a window using Arthur's car in Book 2 and they didn't even wake up.
Slytherin House is supposed to be the house of the cunning and ambitious. At most 50% of the known Slytherins we see in action show any cunning at all. And if it's the house of ambition, where are all the Muggleborns anxious to prove themselves? There should be more people like Snape in the House. How did Crabbe and Goyle get sorted into Slytherin?
In Book Five, Dumbledore reveals that he kept the prophecy hidden from Harry to preserve the boy's childhood. Seemingly fine and good — until you remember that, when Harry was thirteen, Dumbledore sent him and his two friends to rescue a fugitive from a hundred dementors, on a night where an uncontrolled werewolf was loose. Also, it is implied in Book One that Dumbledore meant for eleven-year-old Harry and his friends to save the Stone from Quirrel, resulting in the man's death. These events are sure to guarantee anyone a sheltered, happy childhood.
Dumbledore is the only person who can apparate or use portkeys within Hogwarts. Getting in and getting Sirius out would be trivial for him even if it's difficult for anyone else. And if he really needs an alibi, then he could just ask Hermione to give him the Time-Turner!
Everything Dumbledore listed as 'why I didn't tell Harry' in that first year was only why he didn't tell Harry at the end of the year. Why couldn't he have told Harry earlier? Also, even if he didn't know Quirrel would die, had he considered what someone willing to slay unicorns might do to Harry?
Dumbledore knew from personal experience what abusive magic-fearing Muggles could do to a child. He had Mrs Figg reporting to him about Harry's situation on a regular basis, so there's no way Dumbledore didn't know what was going on. So why the hell didn't he intervene? Simply receiving the Hogwarts acceptance letter scares the Dursleys into giving Harry his own bedroom, so it's not like it would have taken much effort on Dumbledore's part. The only time Dumbledore (who claims to love Harry enough to jeopardise his war strategy) directly does anything is when he knows he's dying, which implies that he just thought "Whoops, I should probably get round to that while I'm still breathing!" And in The Summation in Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore just handwaves it all as "a little thinner and hungrier than I had hoped". What the hell? An ironic effect of the books' noted journey into Darker and Edgier territory is that Harry's upbringing feels like less of aHilariously Abusive Childhood, because This Is Reality. While granted, the Dursleys granted Harry protection due to some magical clause, the fact that Dumbledore didn't carrot-and-stick the Dursleys into treating Harry better is a little off-putting ("I'll send you some extra cash in under the pretense that I'm a friend of Harry's mom so the boy can taken care of better. This comes with the caveat that I've got godlike powers and do not appreciate my trust being abused").
The incredibly inconsistent power of the Elder Wand. By definition, it's supposed to be like an Infinity+1 Sword that makes you almost unbeatable in a duel; it is outright stated that most of its masters' deaths were because of their own incompetence or negligence (they were asleep, for example). The battle between Dumbledore and Grindelwald is a notable exception because, although Dumbledore did the near impossible and beat the wand in a 1-1 duel, it is said to be one of the most fierce battles in history and Dumbledore only triumphed over the wand through sheer skill. Cut to the final battle between Harry and Voldemort. Voldie was beaten pathetically by Harry, who simply used a couple of spells students learn before the end of first year. Grindelwald possessed vast powers but is canonically stated to be weaker than Voldemort (and thus weaker than Dumbledore) nearly fight Dumbledore to a stand still. Harry, who is 'hundreds of times weaker than Voldemort by any measures not including The Power Of Love, defeated Voldie without any effort
The British Wizarding government, it seems set up to fail. First, it seems completely controlled by a handful of people, to the degree officials can be more or less bribed in public. Secondly, it only has one branch and no forms of checks to it's power. It can throw people in jail without a trial. It can control almost all forms media and no one cares or objects. The government openly breaks its own laws and most people don't care. If Voldemort was more subtle, then he could have taken over by being elected. No one would have noticed.
Everything regarding Harry's name being pulled from the Goblet of Fire is such a Wallbanger it's almost hysterical.
1) Harry is too young to enter, too dumb in the ways of magic to possibly survive it, doesn't WANT to take part and most importantly, it is called the Tri-Wizard Tournament, as in only three Wizards are allowed to enter it. This is the real world equivalent of a five aside soccer team being forced to accept an under aged and completely unwilling sixth man just because someone left a typo on their roster.
2) What would have happened if Harry had chosen not to compete? If he did nothing, nothing, there is no way anyone could have really forced him to to do anything. Even if the judges had insisted upon obeying a magic cup and entering Harry into every event there was absolutely nothing stopping him from either sitting in the dressing room twiddling his thumbs or arming himself with the Invisibility Cloak and the Marauders Map and just going into hiding for a couple of hours. What would they have done? Attacked him?
3) The lack of any contingency plan here is stupidity of the highest order. Are we seriously supposed to believe that every judge for a thousand years was so completely certain of the Cup's security that no one, not even the most paranoid of men, added a small line of dialogue to the rulebook stating that anyone suspected of tampering with the results would have their entry voided?
4) Expanding off of 3), the fact that there was not only no provision for voiding the entry of someone suspected of tampering with the Cup, but apparently there was no provision in the rules for disqualifying an entrant at all. What sort of contest is it where the judges can't disqualify an entrant for suspected violation of a rule, any rule? What's even stupider is that there is a rule stated to be forbidden for contest participants; "The champions are not permitted to ask for or accept help of any kind from their teachers to complete the tasks in the tournament." Harry could have gotten out of the contest at any time simply by walking up to Dumbledore and asking him for some tips. Likewise, Dumbledore could have gotten Harry out simply by handing him a crib sheet.
Two full-grown wizards and three students including one prodigy don't think of any spell to disable Pettigrew. Such spells were used before and after this point in the series, by all characters involved.
All of them would have to forget that the werewolf is going to be out on a full moon, even though Lupin should never forget that, since it is the reason he is discriminated against. And a note it also required Lupin to forget his potion which is another one.
Peter to not suggest this action even when they are going to kill him, being OOC for him to not be trying to save his life by any means necessary.
It seems like the author realized she wrote an end to her seven part series in the third installment and had to use an Only the Author Can Beat Them Now to get out of it.
The fact that the Wizarding community never sought out the help of the Muggles to aid them against Voldemort. Look, we can argue all day about whether a wand would beat a gun but at the end of the day Muggles have things such as fighter jets, tanks, cruise missiles, machine guns, superior surveillance and tracking abilities e.g. UAV's and satellites, superior communication, superior numbers and more importantly superior training. If we had deployed the air force during the Battle of Hogwarts it would have lasted five minutes. Oh and before anyone brings the whole secrecy argument into this; if the British Prime minister knows about the Wizarding World you can bet your life that the Pentagon is also fully aware of the existence of the Wizarding community. Or are we really supposed to believe that when the US President was briefed by the American Minister for Magic about the second war against Voldemort that he kept that threat a secret and didn't immediately start drawing up contingency plans to protect his country should the worst come to the worst? Hell, it stretches credulity that the British PM wasn't doing the exact same thing given the fact that people like Fudge proved just how much of a threat to national security Wizards are. In a post-9/11 world, we're generally suspicious of people that can accost our leadership in their own office.
If the wizarding community (up to and including the designated "good guys") is so paranoid about the non-wizards and is so terrified of the renewal of witch hunts that, even when the genocidal fascist cabal of dark sorcerers takes over, they don't deign to at least warn the non-wiz civilians of danger, let alone enlist their help, then it pretty much means that said cabal is right in its agenda to quell the non-wiz society, before it reaches the stage where they discover the wizard world by themselves and, of course, immediately slaughter them all. Death Eaters are basically doing what has to be done for the better of all the wizard community, and the heroes' efforts to oppose them look irrational, shortsighted and kinda hypocritical. You can't have a "Good vs. Evil" showdown, lady, when the only difference between them is that Evil is willing to engage the problem head-on, while Good prefers to dance around it and brush it under the carpet!
Ron opening the Chamber of Secrets at the end of Book 7 by mimicking Parseltongue after hearing Harry use it twice in his life. How good are you at foreign languages? If your best friend stood next to you and spoke one solitary sentence of Japanese to you, do you honestly think you could (without deliberately meaning to memorize it in anyway whatsoever) perfectly recant it a few weeks later under the threat of danger? Of course not. The idea is ludicrous. Yet that situation is actually more believable than this one because we are dealing with actual words from a language that a normal person could actually learn. Parseltongue on the other hand is a collection of hissing sounds. The secondary problem is that Ron just isn't that intelligent academically. That is not an insult but a plot point - what he lacks in homework and wandwork he makes up for in loyalty and bravery. He simply doesn't have the memory and skill required to memorize a line from a completely alien language. The ironic thing is that the entire situation could have been avoided by having the child prodigy with a near photographic memory Hermione open the Chamber by claiming she read it in some book that Dumbledore lent her. It would be contrived and convenient but nevertheless believable. As it stands the whole thing has that uncomfortable vibe of JK backing herself into a corner and requiring an explanation to get herself out of it. Another obvious solution was to have Harry himself open the Room. That would've been perfectly logical and not contrived at all. It's not escaping from a corner with an Asspull as much as finding something to do for Ron, whose previous useful contribution to the group efforts happened back in the first book (and even then it was tailored to him), so Rowling started shoehorning him into more important roles, and naturally it went just as smooth as you might guess: "-Ron, you must be the one to destroy the locket! -Why me?! -Because after six years you might just as well start earning your keep, you lazy asshole!"
At no point did either Fred or George Weasley glance in the direction of Percy or Ron and ask, "why is Peter Pettigrew sitting next to him"? (Obviously the concept of the Map didn't exist before the third book was being written...)
Mixed-up dates and phases of the moon, no continuity of pricing in wizard vs muggle currencies... Pretty much everything can be put down to lack of backward continuity and no forethought on the part of the author — the entire series is a wallbanger because of this.
They. Have. A. Time. Machine. And they NEVER use it.
Why did the portkey have to be the cup? No excuses, it's the stupidest reason for a plot ever.
The ability to make a word taboo. In book seven this spell is revealed to be the true source of the fear to speak Voldemorts name as it immediately summons Death Eaters to your location (or the big man himself if you're seriously unlucky) and is so powerful it is capable of destroying just about any and all magical enchantments that you may be using to protect yourself. The problem that becomes readily apparent if you think about it is why it is never used more often. If it is possible to jinx the word Voldemort why not other words such as Horcrux because only his seriously high level enemies would even know about them or how about any word spoken in Parseltongue given how the only other known guy in the world that can speak it is his arch-enemy? And is this a spell something that is unique only to Voldemort or is it just an advanced spell that anyone could do? Why not taboo the incantations for the Forbidden curses so that a team of Aurors can immediately arrest anyone trying to indulge in a little bit of murder/torture? Or perhaps even the incantation for the Dark Mark given how only Death Eaters and Voldemort have ever used it? There are just so many different practical uses for it that we are veering on just outright stupidity here.
Veritaserum. Think about all the situations in the books that could have been easily resolved using veritaserum. Hagrid's situation in the second book. Sirius' whole story. No one believing Harry in book five. And they never use it. Are they really too stupid to think of that, or do they just prefer putting innocent people in Azkaban for some reason? And then there's the explanation for why it is not actually used and why it cannot be trusted. You see, a questionee could seal his own throat or transfigure the potion as it touches his lips. That's right, all the wizards are pretty much established to be powerless without their wands in this wretched verse, but here they would suddenly gain an ability to perform insanely precise transfiguration without the use of their wands or hands, and under survelliance.
Throughout the books, we are told that dragons absolutely cannot be trained or domesticated. But, during the seventh book we learn that an Ukranian Ironbelly dragon was conditioned to fear the sound of metal clanging (it would associate the sound with being attacked by hot swords) and would back down. Guess what? That's a form of training. Yes, it's cruel. But, it's still having the animal perform a particular response to a certain action. So, dragons cannot be trained except for the times when they can?
So except for Arthur Weasely, no one considers maybe Harry should be told that a (not-really) dangerous psychotic dark wizard broke out of Azkaban specifically to kill him? It really shouldn't matter if you think he'll be safe anyway (Hogwarts is remarkable unsafe despite its reputation) or that he'd be "happier not knowing", it's horribly irresponsible not to tell someone that as far as anyone can tell, there's someone actively out to kill them.
How exactly does Hogwarts have a reputation as the "safest place in Britain"? Trolls, murderous teachers, basilisks, dementors, dragons, Death Eaters, Voldemort, and werewolves have all been on the grounds and/or in the school itself during Harry's tenure. Even if one accepts that Harry had an unusually dangerous time at Hogwarts, it's still a school that has an extremely violent tree (which hasn't served any purpose in almost twenty years), a forest filled with horrors like acromantula (and who knows what else), and is filled with hundreds of hormonal teenagers all equipped with reality warping powers. That sounds less like a school and more like the setting of a horror series.
How is it throughout the series all of these things happen but there's never any outside action except arresting Hagrid to "be seen doing something"? Why not buy the mandrakes needed to cure the petrified students? Why didn't hordes of concerned parents show up demanding answers after a troll got into the castle?
In the seventh book, Hermione deals with Death Eaters by erasing their memory of finding them. You're at war. If you can't bring yourself to kill someone, at least wipe more than finding you. Wipe their entire memory and leave them like Lockhart.
In a similar vein, not using lethal force period. Though one has to wonder how knocking someone unconscious while on a broom hundreds of feet in the air is less lethal than actually trying to kill them. Or using a disarming spell which has been shown to throw someone violently backwards.
The security procedures during Chamber Of Secrets had students being escorted to every class by a teacher. Except that, allegedly, there's 200 students in Slytherin alone (thus likely about 800 students total) and only one professor for each subject making for a grand total of less than 20 faculty members.
The wizards commonly refer to their magickless neighbours as Muggles (a word derived from "mug", an English term for someone who is easily fooled) and then have the balls to be apalled when some of them use a term "Mudblood" for the non-wiz-born, even though it sounds less like a racial slur and more like a kindergarden taunt. Extra kudos to Mrs. Rowling for thinking that if you add an affectionate suffix to a derogative slur, it will somehow make it less insulting (no, seriously, "-gle" at the end was supposed to make the word "more cuddly").
In Eldest, Eragon realizes the preciousness of life and turns vegan, and then goes into battle and kills a bunch of soldiers. Apparently, life's only precious if it's on your side.
This Fridge Logic problem is lampshaded by Eragon himself in the next book, Brisingr. He notes that being zealously vegetarian isn't practical when you aren't living in a magical forest, and he gets constant nightmares from having to kill people in war (guilt finally catching up to you, Eragon?). Later in the same book, he gives up vegetarianism. He'd only gone veggie in the first place because killing meat was too easy for him to be spiritually satisfying...
His nightmares usually consist of getting "a bad feeling," and then having Saphira enter his mind and make everything okay. It's not like his "nightmares" are used for Character Development or anything crazy like that.
It is also pretty much terminated in Inheritance, where he has forgotten all about it and kills people in unnecessarily brutal ways (at one point, rather than say, knocking someone unconscious with his super strength, he takes the enemy's sword, breaks it over his knee, and then eviscerates the man with it, leaving him screaming and choking and dying).
Eragon is exhausted from battle and has lost the will to live. Then he sees a big bumblebee fly by, and it inspires him to fight on. Why do the beauty of life and the slaughter of enemies have to be so tightly linked?
The misuse of ballistas in Eldest. They were firing the ballistas into combat, guaranteeing massive friendly casualties. (Dear Christopher Paolini: they're called "siege weapons" for a reason.) And then they lit the bolts on fire. Newsflash: lighting arrows on fire has limited applications. Lighting ballista bolts on fire is not getting the concept of ballistas.
The people of Carvahall overpowered a greater number of soldiers and Ra'zac in Eldest despite being commoners. (They did outnumber the soldiers ten to one and still lost a man for every one they killed, but still.) This section also established Roran as a Wall Banger character.
Exactly-they outnumbered them ten to one and still had massive casualties. Plus they had the advantage of having a village to fill with traps and barricades and the like.
The Ra'zac are supposed to be Elite Mooks and are implied to be unbeatable by a normal person in a fight. They didn't take part in These "battle" at Carvahall at all because they were swept away by the retreating soldiers.
We're talking hundreds of armoured, panicked men fleeing for their lives. Normal people are crushed in crowds. Now imagine the crowd is covered in metal and armed with long pointy things. The Ra'zac survived as they were superhuman.
Eragon decides not to free two slaves because he wants to use them to find the Ra'zac. (In practice: if the two slaves are taken while Eragon's taking a snooze in a safe place, then they'll know that the Ra'zac are in the cave they're near.) Naturally, the Ra'zac kill and eat the slaves. Eragon's response after he callously leaves these men for dead for his minor convenience?
This one is so bad that even the snarky but relatively composed Kippurbird of Eragon-Sporkings snaps and falls into a capslocked, frothing, incoherent rage punctuated by screams and smashing her head against the keyboard for six paragraphs.
If Eragon was a normal protagonist, then this would be less serious. But the book goes on and on about how wise, noble and just he is; it is clear that we are supposed to agree with everything he does. That is a major reason this is a wallbanger.
Okay, say Eragon freed the slaves. Where would they go? They have no money, no horses, and are miles from any city that wasn't Dras-Leona, where they would be recaptured. Also, the Empire would twig something was fishy, Murtagh and Thorn would come, capture Eragon and poof-there goes the last hope of the free people! Really worth it to temporarily prolong the lives of two people. As for Eragon being pushed as "wise, noble and just"? There is never anything to suggest that. Eragon is an idiot. As he should be considering he's a seventeen year old farmboy with the fate of the world on his shoulders...
So, because they couldn't possibly survive without getting captured (No slave has EVER escaped slavery permanently, as we all know.) Eragon is supposed to ASSUME this, and then make a conscious DECISION to let them die? SO MUCH BETTER!!
He freed Sloan and used his magic to insure that Sloan escaped safely, why couldn't he do the same for the other two slaves?
Mighty Eragon could not be bothered to use his seemingly endless magical abilities to save the boy or give him a mercy-kill? There's nothing in the text to suggest that he even tried to think of any other way. He just went for it. Considering that some of the people from his hometown (as well as other peaceful folk) were also forcibly conscripted, it shouldn't be too much to ask the hero to put a little effort into his heroism.
Thanks to their superhuman eyesight, they first see the soldiers when they're at least forty minutes away. They're moving toward the soldiers; they have plenty of time to get out of the way. And Eragon can and has become invisible to avoid detection. Confronting the soldiers at all, let alone an unarmed one begging for his life, was unnecessary.
That's one of the better written passages? No comment.
The Cold-Blooded Torture of Roran after he saved the lives of his entire battalion. He was whipped to within an inch of his life for not following the suicidal orders of his commander. Okay, fair enough, but he accomplished the objective anyway and even saved his commander. He was then immediately taken prisoner and whipped in a prime examples of both Good Is Dumb and Honor Before Reason.
That one is a case of Truth in Television (and perhaps Reality Is Unrealistic). Roran disobeyed a direct command, and so he gets the standard punishment for insubordination. It happens all the time in real militaries. It's mind boggling that the secondary Marty Stu character, brother of the last Dragon Rider, and god of the battlefield isn't a general in the rebel army; but since he isn't, he has to obey all orders.
There should have been a tribunal to examine it. Oh, and after the whipping, he becomes a commander. Don't worry about that.
In a Real Life example, Richard Garnett's brigade, during the American Civil War, was outnumbered and surrounded on three sides. He retreated, saving men, and for his trouble got court marshaled. Had Stonewall Jackson not died, Garrnett would have been drummed out. So there is historical precedence. Garrnett died in a Honor Before Reason charge during Gettysburg a month later.
On that same note, Nasuada immediately sent Roran out on another mission right after the whipping even though Roran was only partially healed and was still in pain whenever he moved his back the same way. Did she want him to get killed?
Roran killed nearly 200 people without any real help. There were exactly three times anyone else on Roran's squad did anything. When it ended, all 193 dead soldiers somehow got under him, leaving him standing on a huge pile of corpses. He should have collapsed from sheer exhaustion long before that.
Roran's 200-man massacre in Brisingr is also a problem because, until then, Paolini had done a decent job of establishing him as a Badass Normal and portraying him as a relatively realistic soldier and leader. Giving him a killing spree wrecks that characterization.
I am amazed that no one has mentioned the bit in Brisingr where his nasty back scar is cured magically by the naked elf twins. Seriously, where did that come from? Why was it necessary to make Eragon a "princeling"? Why, o why didn't Paolini see the potential for character development that Eragon's infirmiry meant, and instead make him an Invincible Hero using the assiest Ass Pull in the series?
Eragon keeps getting KO'd. One chapter opens with his regaining consciousness and ends with his getting knocked out again!
One of the smaller bits of banged wall is Eragon's sexuality. Saphira reveals that he can only choose ONE person to be his mate for life. He isn't even allowed to date or to find out if he's gay. Nope! It's all based on Love at First Sight.
The Varden's tactics during the final battle at Uru'baen. The city has a 300 foot tall wall around it (guess they got used to the lack of sunlight). For comparison, ◊ that's about three hundred feet tall. Not only would they need ladders made of Mythril and Titanium, but their solders would be in no shape to fight by the time they got to the top.
The end where Eragon leaves to separate the riders from the empire, leaving only a few eggs for the next generation of riders behind. Um, WHAT?! The evil dictator came from inside the riders ranks, not from outside it! The ordinary people aren't the problem, it's the overpowered riders who nobody else can defeat! How is just separating the riders going to do any good? If anything it makes it worst, since the riders can fly between the two lands far more easily than ordinary armies ever could, all it does is give any potential Galbatorix 2 candidates an advantage!
The Sword of Truth
The Sword of Truth series has its ups and downs, but the eighth book, Naked Empire, is reviled almost universally for its endless preaching and contrived plot.
The tenth book, Phantom, consists almost entirely of lengthy (two to five—yes, five—page) monologues in which the various characters reiterate every event in the series so far; it contains very few new events. The final book, Confessor, also suffers from this to a degree, but nowhere near as much as in the tenth book.
Confessor has a doozy. One character delivers a monologue on how evil the Imperial Order is directly to the emperor, who's been shown to kill people for much less, including interrupting his meals and because he was bored. The idea that she could deliver a three page-long lecture to him without his interrupting her stretches the suspension of disbelief to a ridiculous level.
It also contains a recap of what happened to a city that The Empire conquered. This lasts at least one chapter, possibly two, from the witness's point of view.
In the second book we are given insight into how the D'haran army (serving the Imperial Order) goes about its business. It is totally undisciplined until they're actually fighting. That doesn't mean that when they're on leave they get rowdy or something. Their active military camps are total chaos, with drunken soldiers killing each other, huge fires lit all over the place, and the camp being spread in an entirely disorganized fashion, to such a degree that Kahlan manages to invade the camp with an army of whitewashed naked people and succeed in killing a number of officers as the first part of a hit-and-run campaign. Until the second they actually start attacking an enemy, at which point apparently they spontaneously become a well disciplined killing machine. This is not how discipline, armies, or human beings function. You can have a extremely disciplined army or you can have an extremely undisciplined army, you can't somehow have both extremes in the same entity.
The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time series is a rather enjoyable Doorstopper series with a few frustrating views on the dynamics between men and women. This became much more than an irritation at the end of The Dragon Reborn when, upon hearing some female friends of his had been captured (by Black Ajah and a Forsaken), Mat Cauthon rides all the way to Tear, breaks into The Stone of Tear (a nigh impenetrable fortress), beats his way past many well armed guards and a High Lord to the prison cells, and breaks open the cell where they are kept, only to have the three powerful, self-assertive women tell him that they have everything in hand and give him the impression that he should be grateful to them for some reason. Books later, two of their friends finally call them on this and force them to apologize, which they do — with more veiled insults, looking the whole time at their friends for approval. Granted, they'd have behaved the same way if a woman had rescued them... but in these books, women only treat women that way if there isn't a male around.
Elayne's treatment of Mat after she finds out about his (unwilling) relationship with Queen Tylin qualifies. Even after she finally realizes that he was the one forced into the relationship, she still mutters something about "exactly what he deserves." Yeah, Mat gets shafted like that a lot.
She outright mocks him for it. The entire Tylin storyline was stupid: it involves the "ruler" (she only controls Ebou Dar) of a weak nation basically raping Mat (one of Rand's lead Generals!) while everyone else does nothing but frown — mostly at Mat.
Mr. Jordan did remember that Egwene is not the whole White Tower, right? Sure, Egwene got a Crowning Moment Of Awesome; but it ceases being awesome if you realize that it happens as the expense of the entire White Tower Aes Sedai. He didn't have to write Elaida as an insane moron just so Egwene could look good. He didn't have to write the Aes Sedai as incompetent channelers so Egwene could take all the glory. The Ajah heads came off like bickering children who have to have their hands forced before making even the most obvious right choice. In the entire Aes Sedai civil war, the only Aes Sedai presented as competent are Siuan, Egwene, and Verin.
Egwene is captured when she sneaks into the White Tower using a technique that not only was thought long lost and somewhat mythical, but also is converting the harbor chain into the most valuable substance on earth. Yet, at first, everybody meekly accepts Eliada's insistence that Egwene be treated as less than a novice.
Siuan is healed of being permanently cut off from magic by Nynaeve; aside from Nynaeve restoring to Siuan a power so magnificent that some are said to have burned themselves out or died from intoxication with it, and also rescuing her from a life of never being able to touch what she once had, that all is supposed to be impossible. Siuan is grateful for about five minutes. Granted, she was weaker magically than she was before; but it's still better than nothing. And stilling is supposed to be practically a death knell.
The Dragon is Reborn, three ta'veren have shown up, the seals on the Dark One are breaking, the Forsaken are loose, the winds of change are blowing violently, chaos is thriving, war is erupting everywhere, a mighty empire that uses Aes Sedai slaves is invading, the time for the Last Battle draws near. The Aes Sedai, who have long been awaiting this time, who could have used their influence to unify everybody with Rand, who could have provided all sorts of magic support (even when not fighting dark friends), who could have provided him with their wisdom and counsel, who could have provided information through their spy networks instead (1) depose Siuan Sanche, who is a very effective Amyrlin Seat, and replace her with someone badly suited for the Seat (2) cause a civil war in the White Tower, (3) continue to play all sorts of politics among their own side, and (4) pull shenanigans with Rand Al'Thor, to try and make him their puppet, even though he is ta'veren and the wheel weaves around him.
Quite a few of those are due to the manipulations of the Dark One's followers (the Amyrlin's overthrow was engineered by the Black Ajah).
The seventh book of The Dark Tower series, mostly because of the sudden switch to Anyone Can Die. Eddie is killed by a random diseased guy, Randall Flagg is torn apart by the lamest villain in history, Jake is hit and killed by a minivan, and even Oy gets killed by the lameass villain who shall go unnamed here. The Eldritch AbominationBig Bad, the Crimson King, turns out to be a demented old fart incapable of doing more than throwing grenades and yelling "EEEEEEEEE!". Oh, and the Shaggy Dog Story ending.
Oh, and you know about all those awesome flashbacks to the good old gunslinger days with shootouts and intense warfare left and right? It's not covered in detail.
Giving Randall Flagg Rape as Backstory. Way to cheapen and destroy one of your best villains, Steve-o.
Stephen King's The Stand: After 800 (in the uncut version) or so pages, about four-fifths of the way through the book, Trashcan Man shows up and blows everybody up with a nuclear bomb! WHAT?
King has admitted that everything starting with the bomb in Nick Andross's closet came about after an epic bout of writer's block. He claims that he was trying for Deus ex Machina. (Note how often characters talk about how they're being directed by outside forces.) Chalk it up to Creator Breakdown.
Also from The Stand: there's an extensive scene where Tom is hypnotically programmed for his mission to Flagg's city. He's told that if he meets anyone on his way back, he should kill them. Someone points out that he may meet someone from their side. All right; his hypnotic command is changed to "if you meet people in a group, it's fine, but if you meet someone alone, kill them". Obvious Chekhov's Gun, right? Especially when Stu is seriously injured and left for dead. Tom finds him alone... and they enjoy a long, rather uneventful trip back to town.
Remember, though, when they gave Tom that instruction, his face clouded over. Another character remarked that it looked like the suggestion didn't take, and when the time came he'd decide for himself. There's your Chekhov's Gun. Though three sentences in a thousand-odd pages are easy to miss.
Stu wasn't completely alone, he had the dog with him. Tom's mental capacity is such that he could've been unsure if a man with a dog qualifies as "alone" or not, which adds enough uncertainty to further reduce the suggestion's potency.
George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series is a gritty fantasy series set in the midst of a vicious civil war where bad guys frequently win and bad things happen to good people all the time. One scene from the third book (The Red Wedding), a Shoot the Shaggy Dog scenario, caused numerous dedicated fans to do a Wall Banger... and often rush over to pick the book up and keep reading.
The Wallbangerish nature of the Red Wedding didn't come from implausibility; if it had, then readers would not have retrieved the book. It just came from a feeling of wasted time. A variety of interesting characters and plot intricacies appeared to have been thrown out all at once for the sake of a shock. Perhaps some of them have been picked back up. Other than the apparent pointlessness of that twist, that chapter was so good.
And don't forget the depiction of sexual scenes. It's almost unbelievable those weren't written by some aroused 12-years old, who never saw a real naked woman, let alone knowing how sexual intercourse is actually performed.
Or the avoided chances for drama and character development. The conflict between Jon Snow's allegiance to the Night Watch and the people he was supposed to infiltrate was built up for a good part of an entire book. Finally, the big battle scene comes around which will inevitably end with him having to make a decision between the two, with both sides having good arguments for why he should choose one or the other way. The scene ends with a cliffhanger... only to be picked up after a long pause of several other POV chapters, revealing that he was saved in the last second from having to decide at all and basically got a big Reset Button that made the entire storyline void.
This conflict is revisited in A Dance with Dragons. He's using the Watch to help wildlings escape from attacks on the Others, and the officers don't like it but grudgingly go along. It is seemingly concluded when they literally stab Jon in the back because he again breaks the Watch's oath of neutrality, this time of his own volition, to go south and fight Ramsay Bolton.
Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged has a 90-page monologue on the evils of any system other than free-market capitalism. The rest of the book has its wallbanger moments, but that one makes you want to chuck the damn thing out a window.
From a literary standpoint, how does it make any sense that John Galt's response to increasing collectivism in America (which he sees as bad) is to form what is clearly a union?
I swear — by my life and my love of it — that I will never live for the sake of another man, except for John Galt, nor ask another man to live for mine, but for John Galt's. This is where the book makes you want to puke.
All this, and no one notices that the "Muggles" look almost exactly like the old fifties cartoon, "Henry."
The fact that the children reading the book ought to sympathize with Rah and hate Zyn is pretty stupid, considering that Zyn starts out as the one who acts like a typical hero in a children's tale (he's the one who wants to hunt for treasure) while Rah acts like the wussy character whom children would consider a killjoy. It doesn't help matters that Zyn's downward spiral is less out of evil and more out of frustration and depression, which probably could have been avoided if his darling brother would sit down and talk to him. Instead, Rah weeps and does nothing, while Yur and Golda say that Zyn's problems are all his own doing. Gee, what a great thing to teach kids!
It should be noted that the impossible promotion and impossible headshot were from the same character.
Similarly, some of the Splinter Cell novelizations, because of massive Character Derailment. Sam Fisher turned from a gruff if likeable and extremely competent stealth operative with a love for his country into a Cluster F-Bomb-throwing, overtly sexual fool with an unrealistic dislike for the army (why did he volunteer and/or stay then? would be the question) and a penchant for screwing up.
Philip Pullman's The Northern Lights: This excellent, exciting story full of magic and mystery and suspense gets abruptly paused so the villain can Anviliciouslylecture the reader about the evils of Christianity. This stays the theme for the next two books: God = evil, sin = good, church = lie, childhood = sucks. Considering how awesome the first book started, all this griping seriously ruined the mood.
And then there's the ending, where we learn where Spectres come from and why Dust is in peril. Every part of it comes out of nowhere, and it's riddled with so many Plot Holes that it looks like Swiss cheese. The origin of Spectres is not foreshadowed breaks the rules of magic given elsewhere in the series. The author and the angels go out of their way to prevent a Happy Ending.
The beginning of The Amber Spyglass is just frustrating. So, Mrs. Coulter kidnapped Lyra, and now Will followed her all the way to the cave where they are. Will tried a direct approach, which didn't go well because he was seen by Mrs. Coulter, and they exchanged about two sentences. After getting away, Will started to notice that he didn't want to hurt Mrs. Coulter, that he didn't want to put her in danger nor to punish her. Simply looking at her for a second and hearing a single sentence made the kid feel attracted to her. It doesn't matter how symbolic the scene is; it doesn't matter if this was to show that Will is growing up and contacting his sexual side; it doesn't even matter how unbelievably sexy Mrs. Coulter might be. None of this excuses that Will put his most important companion in the entire journey in danger just because he saw a pretty lady who, unfortunately, is also a major villain. That nearly earns his unhappy ending.
The Dreamers series by David and Leigh Eddings is bad as a whole; but the last book, The Younger Gods, is particularly annoying. After four hundred-some pages of characters and situations lifted wholesale from Eddings' earlier, better novels, the story ends with one of the creator-god characters going back in time and hitting the proverbial Reset Button, ensuring that the entire plot of the series is Ret Gone.
The Anita Blake series was originally about a morally-healthy necromancer detective and her fight against mythical beasties in St. Louis. She eventually got into a funky Love Triangle with the leaders of the city's top Vampire and Werewolf clans; that was okay, since they themselves were not evil and would help her in her fight against their own kind...as long as the ones they were hunting was a legitimate threat against the humans or other creatures in the city. It helped flesh out her mission and made her realize the fine line between the normal, pedestrian critters that just want to live in peace and the true monsters in the world. The Wall Banger comes shortly after her return from New Mexico, when we learn she's turned into an unholy Horny DevilSoul Jar for the Eldritch Abomination she's sworn to keep locked up (with both vampirism and at least six different strains of therianthropy in her blood, to boot), making her a bigger threat to the world as we know it than nearly every single evil creature she's fought before or since. Unfortunately, Anita will be too busy having sex with anything with legs for the issue to ever be seriously addressed for long — unless you count the sex as addressing the issue, since her being chaste is what would release the abomination in question. She also seems to forget that she is legally a U.S Marshal who probably shouldn't be getting too involved in vampire and lycanthrope politics. Of course the implications of a public servant helping armed factions and setting up defense treaties for these factions on U.S soil also never gets addressed.
The novelization of the first Baldur's Gate was horrific, too. Khalid is randomly killed off by an ochre jelly to free Jaheira to be the main character's squeeze, most of the game's NPCs aren't even referenced, and Xan was eaten by a giant spider. Evidently, he got better, or at least well enough to die again.
Tehanu is okay for its first half because Ursula LeGuin is a good writer. Halfway through, things start to change. Certain members of the town disliked Tenar because she was an assertive woman; these were, of course, villains. In itself, not a big problem. Then, a Chekhov's Wizard's Curse activates, and Tenar unwittingly lures her (male) friend and adopted daughter into her enemy's trap. This enemy, however, had a prior history set against only her friend, not her. In a previous book in which her friend and that enemy had faced each other, the enemy was pretty much obsessed with not dying. That's about it. He never mentioned anything about women or how he regarded them at all. Ever. It wasn't an indirect attack against Tenar's friend via attacking her, nor was it a personal attack on her specifically. The enemy apparently just up and hated women in the twenty-five years since the novels last wrote about him. This was bad, but seriously, the worst part of it:
Some dude who apparently isn't named Tuaho: See how well-trained she is! Roll over, Bitch! ARGH.
LeGuin, brilliant as she can be, does have the worst time when she tries to "send a message". See: Changing Planes, specifically the chapters "The Royals of Hegn" and "Great Joy". Most. Blatant. Author Tract. Ever. (This is sad, because "The Building" is freaking great.)
And The Other Wind is even worse. In the first three books, the Dry Land is presented as a relatively dreary afterlife that's been there since as long as anyone can remember, a place that it makes sense to want to avoid except that doing so is messing with the laws of nature and has too many consequences. In The Other Wind, it's revealed that it used to be a pleasant place for dragons only, but the earliest wizards stole it, but in the process accidentally made it a dry land, and prevented humans from reincarnating, which was their former fate-after-death.Dark secrets and lost knowledge like that are often a good plot device, but then LeGuin turns the Roke Wizards into Straw Characters defending the actions of these people and calling it the crowning achievement of humanity, when according to continuity they shouldn't have even known about it.
While the book as a whole was okay, the novelization of Tom Clancy's End War had the Russian Federation literally invading Canada, taking over several cities, destroying nearby American military installations, and even committing war crimes against the general populace. How did the Canadian Prime Minister react? He did absolutely nothing. He never mobilized his military forces, and he actively refused America's offer to intervene, all because the Russians made some scary demands. Man, What an Idiot.
The Russians did just force the Joint Strike Force to drop a kinetic strike on Paris, and the JSF had most of its forces overseas fighting the Russians on other fronts. The Canadian Prime Minister may have honestly believed the Americans couldn't save Canada, and the Russians in End War are seriously scary dudes. But even the general Canadian populace were not happy with their Prime Minister's response...
Given the interdependence of the Canadian and American economies and infrastructure, especially when it comes to energy and defense, the idea that the US would take "No" for an answer is laughable. That goes double when American bases are destroyed. If they refused after that, then America would treat them as the enemy.
Every time Piers Anthony takes up one of his previously "finished" universes, Walls shall be banged. While Xanth may have become a Hurricane of Puns with panties thrown in, the Apprentice Adept series suffered much much worse. In particular: the unexplained alteration of the totems of Adepts Green, Tan, and Yellow, in the second "trilogy". When we first met Green in Juxtaposition, he used mystic gestures and hand signs to work his magic. When he re-appears in Out Of Phaze, he's a fire mage. (Apparently, Anthony remembered the scene where a wall of green flame warned Stile and Lady Blue off his territory, and didn't look further). Tan's Evil Eye had been shown to be capable of damn near anything as long as he had direct line of sight on his target. In Out Of Phase, it's shown to be mind control and nothing but. (Damn good mind control, mind you; but he had to make eye contact and could only zap one person at a time). Yellow, who was the potions mistress of the Adepts, suddenly gets a demotion to controlling animals (her secondary niche in the original trilogy... and she used potions to do it).
...and Eternity, one of the later installments in Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series, has a scene where a female character is transformed into a man and immediately loses control and tries to rape her companion because men are such BURNING ENGINES OF LUST that they have to learn their whole lives to CONTROL it. Worse, literally half the book was about the sexual escapades of a judge in his fifties and the 15-year old junkie ex-prostitute who somehow wound up in his care after he presided over her trial. Even though the entire cast of the book knows about this, not a single one of them ever does anything but gush over how nice it is that they're in love; they justify it by saying that since she spent time in Purgatory, where time runs differently, she's now absolutely legal, and there's no problems! Oh, and the Gender Flip scene was specifically meant to teach the protagonists to empathize with the judge, who was steadfastly refusing to act on his attraction at the time.
Also in ...And Eternity': a particularly unpleasant encounter in which the 15-year-old junkie hooker is seducing someone (for reasons too complicated to go into) while telepathically communicating, and with the Hand Wave that he's not evil for wanting to have sex with a 15-year-old girl. "If the laws were just changed a little..." Anthony has a lot of Dirty Old Ephebophiliac schtick already; but then she "heard" in her head that no, this man was truly sick because he wanted boys. So, it's OK to want young girls, but young boys are right out....
Try Under a Velvet Cloak, the last book in the Incarnations of Immortality series. We have the "sympathetic" pedophile, who wouldn't be quite so bad if Anthony at least used the shotacon rationale: boys can be sexually curious. Instead, Anthony implies that the man takes and outright molests them. Also, the book ends with a literal sex battle which the main character must win by doing her brother... And those are just some of the worst examples.
While we're talking about "Incarnations" - everyone's relationships for the first three books are forced, contrived, or rape-based. Zane hooks up with Luna because Luna's dying dad's last will was that they hook up. Norton and Orlene hook up because Orlene's husband's postmortem wish was that they get Orlene pregnant. Niobe and Cedric have a forced marriage while he was still a minor; she fell in love with him only after he rescued her from a gang-rape. What's-her-face the "liberated feminist" and Samurai (yes, a Japanese martial artist NAMED Samurai. Argh, that ALONE is a wallbanger!)...he practically rapes her. It turns out he's accepted a deal from Satan to bomb the UN; the payment is a martial arts technique to painfully, slowly cause a victim's organs to fail. When Fate shows up to talk Samurai out of it, he immediately assumes she's a prostitute - what other reason can a woman have to speak to a man? Naturally, she calls him a pig, and so he tries to rape her on the spot. She escapes to a public place, throws a flowerpot at his head, and gets away. He says that, because she dishonored and embarrassed him, she owes her virginity as payment. They bring in War to beat Samurai fairly in combat to pacify him, AND War agrees to teach Samurai the fatal technique instead of Satan. Samurai STILL demands her virginity. She agrees. And the next day, has "a flush to her face that might have been love". BOOK TO WALL.
Regrettably, Elizabeth George finally did it in With No One As Witness; about three-quarters into a readable (if coincidence-heavy and bordering on the Thomas Harris) installment in the Inspector Lynley series, Lynley's (pregnant) wifegets shot and winds up brain-dead on a respirator; what's more, the shooting turns out to have been completely unrelated to the case at hand, or to anything other than a borderline Author Tract on the horrors of gang violence among disenfranchised youth. Moreover, the rest of the book is derailed by the angstfest. At least it wasn't Havers.
Hurrah for Little Noddy, the second of her Noddy books. Noddy has been working at the local garage to earn money. On his last day there, he forgets his hat and goes to collect it at night. At the garage, he witnesses goblins driving off with all the cars that were stored there. Problem: the garage owner, upon discovering all his cars are gone, accuses Noddy of theft and uses Noddy's hat as 'evidence' that the little wooden man committed the crime. It never occurs to him or to Mr Plod that Noddy couldn't have stolen EVERY SINGLE car from the garage by himself. Book, wall. Wall, book.
Another example occurs in Well Done, Noddy! Big Ears gets into an accident which ruins his bicycle, and Noddy decides to save up and buy him a new one. He receives a request for some delivery work, and off he goes to collect some sacks and take them to Red Goblin Corner. Unfortunately, he wasn't supposed to take the sacks, and Mr. Plod fines him as punishment. There's one HUGE problem with this: Noddy was given the request by Mrs. Tubby Bear, whom he trusts, who in turn received the message from a goblin. Mr. Plod KNOWS that goblins love mischief, and he KNOWS that Noddy had no reason to doubt Mrs. Tubby. But he acts as though Noddy deliberately stole the sacks, when in truth the only thing the little nodding man can be accused of is being tricked! What makes this frustrating is the ending: Noddy manages to catch the goblin, and makes that goblin create a new bicycle for Big Ears. Now, if Mr. Plod had dropped the Idiot Ball, then he could have staked out the goblin alongside Noddy; the ending would be the same! NOTHING justifies Plod's actions, not even Values Dissonance.
In The Da Vinci Code, when the identity of the Big Bad is finally revealed, you find out that, until then, he was actively trying to get away from people who were unwittingly willing to help him reach his goals. When he finally realizes that he does need their help, he lets them know his true intentions; it's as if he wanted to make sure that they would never help him.
Things end on a thrilling cliffhanger as the heroine realises - putting together several reasonably well-hidden clues throughout the book - that she may be the secret hidden descendant of Jesus that the villain is searching for. The cliffhanger is pretty awesome in a schlocky kind of way; the Wallbanger is the resolution, in which Robert Langdon simply pooh-poohs this moments later. That is NOT the way to resolve a cliffhanger. Oh, and if you do bear with the book after that? The heroine turns out to be the descendant of Jesus after all!
The big mystery that is Leonardo's backwards writing. The book tries to smooth over the reveal with lots of Lampshade Hanging about how "Wow! It was so obvious! And scholars like us should have picked up on it right away!" Yes, it was, and yes, you should have. I mean, come the fuck on.
In Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, Robert Langdon mentions that a dollar bill has the motto "Novus Ordo Seclorum" printed on it, which he translates as "New Secular Order." But "Seclorum" means "of the ages." You would think Langdon, a Harvard professor who specializes in religious symbology, would have a high school level understanding of Latin - no, wait, they don't teach Latin in American high schools much anymore - but more understanding than that. He didn't even pick the popular, less egregious mistranslation "New World Order."
Actually, a lot of high schools offer Latin as an elective, and as a University professor who specializes in religion, he should have taken it, even if he waited until college. And I think there's a small chance that Harvard offers it. This only makes it more of a 'banger.
The whole plot of the Da Vinci Code is this. Many saints have had kids. Miriam of Magda having them wouldn't be a big deal. All the genetic testing in the world of her remains against the living descendants wouldn't reveal who the dad was. And since many people believe she was a prostitute, which was acknowledged in the book, all the church would have to do in regards to any accusations of Yeshua being the father would be to say, 'Yeah, sure. Find his remains, prove they're his, and then, test them against the descendants. Until then, we honour her, her descendants are blessed to come from such a woman, but the dad was likely a john.'
There's an argument that Twain was tryingto be boring to symbolize how, after slavery officially ended, the struggle for true freedom just dragged on and on. Decide for yourself whether that's brilliant or stupid.
This makes a lot of sense; there's even an eerily prophetic moment where Tom, amused at the games they're playing with Jim, says that it would be really fun to try to stretch this out eighty years or so. The book was written in the 1880s, and it wasn't until the 1960s that African-Americans really started to gain equality in the South.
The truth is that Twain struggled for a long time to find an appropriate ending to the book after the "I'll go to hell" speech. He finally just gave up, threw Tom Sawyer back in and called it a night.
He couldn't have ended with the "I'll go to hell" speech? <sigh>
Pretty much any Warhammer 40,000 book written by C.S. Goto. In addition to his infamous portrayals of multilasers, all of his books come off as some kind of badly written fanfiction. And then there's his novelization of the Dawn of War series...
Here's quick examination of the factual errors and breaches in basic human logic in the first chapter of just one of his novels. This includes a heavy weapons squad charging into combat to die fighting a huge monster rather than just shooting it.
The children's book series Replica after book 10. It started out as a decent Follow the Leader to Animorphs with an intriguing premise and backstory (a young girl learns she's one of 12 genetically engineered clones with superior abilities, and she's being hunted by an evil organization). After about book 10 though, it almost completely derails into Wall Bangery and Narm, featuring cartoonish science and fantastic plots not previously present in the series, things such as these: a kid with a magic bracelet that stole people's talent; lightning-induced superpowers; the main character getting shrunk down and inserted into another person's body, where she learns she can talk to the cells; a villain whose cyborg body runs on store-bought batteries; and a main character who degenerates into Jerkass and Too Dumb to Live territory.
Tamora Pierce's ninth Circle of Magic book, The Will of the Empress. The book summary on Amazon.com says that Daja is gay. Daja comes out in this book, but it gets precisely one slightly awkward conversation and is never mentioned as even a possible negative by anyone ever again. Regardless of your views on homosexuality, it's jarring that in this series, which has tackled gender relations, race, the role of nobility, gang violence, selling female children as slaves, drug addiction, and a few other controversial issues, where even minor characters tend to have a wide diversity of opinions, one of the leads being a lesbian seems pasted on yey.
Thom and Roger, another couple in the Tortall books, and Rosethorn and Lark in the Circle books, are all gay couples; excluding scenes with Daja, there's exactly one scene that mentions homosexuality at all. In that scene, one person insults another by implying that he engages in homosexual behavior; Kel is wtf because "some men prefer other men and some women prefer other women," and it is not an issue where Kel grew up. Pierce's treatment of the issue is a pleasant change except for the 'pastede on yey' bit you speak of. In the Word of Gay thread on Pierce's forum, she mentions that she wanted one of the Circle four to be gay, but had trouble deciding which: her choices were Butch Lesbian (Daja), Lipstick Lesbian (Sandry), Does Not Like Men (Tris, though she also hit that with Lalasa), and The Casanova with a string of beards (Briar, who was already established as a flirt, and there's a better trope name, isn't there?).
Re: Will of the Empress: the fact that the climax was Sandry getting kidnapped again. Or rather, the fact that TP spent the whole damn book talking about bride kidnapping (and Berenene controlling people and birds in cages and whatnot, geddit?), and had Sandry get kidnapped and escape once before the climax, and still expected it to be suspenseful when it happened again. It was like reading the same book twice.
No, the climax was them plowing through the magical border barrier. From a Character Development point of view, the climax could even be afterwards, when Sandry gives up her estate. (Because there was no way Berenene could have WON, and kept them in Namorn, so the whole barrier climax was a bit of a Curb-Stomp Battle.)
The Executioner #160: Storm Warning is about post-Sadam Iraq in 1992 after the first Gulf War, despite a later book mentioning his gassing of the Kurds. Also the whole Iraqis getting away with kidnapping coalition force soldiers in Kuwait City at the time is unlikely. Even the second review agrees. Other Executioner books probably have major wallbangers, but the wall bangers listed in the review were silly.
The Karen Traviss-authored Gears of War novel Aspho Fields features:
A COG that has no industrial capacity to replace any of their vehicles, despite having gigantic custom-built battle rigs equipped with specialized Grindlift launchers that could only have been built after E-Day by seriously heavy industry. Also, in the games, Jacinto is stated as being turned into a heavy industry war complex!
Fertile women in the COG are barred from military service and are reduced to breeding stock, while non-fertile ones are conscripted along with everyone else. But the COG needs all the manpower it can get, and we can quite clearly see and hear female King Raven pilots, Centaur drivers, and Gear infantry in Gears of War 2.
All games after 2 have shown female Gears with their faces exposed. Traviss wrote the story for 3; it would seem that Epic finally realized what was happening and applied the power of positive Executive Meddling.
The Locust, being extreme tactical and strategic geniuses, set up an elaborate trap for a large, critical, strategic food supply convoy carrying irreplaceable farming equipment, without which Jacinto will starve to death in months. But they aren't targeting the convoy; the target is the half-dozen Gears escorting the convoy. Because a half-dozen infantry are more strategically vital than farming equipment for feeding a few million people.
Dean Koontz's Darkest Evening of the Year. In part, it's because of his recycled terrible-pasts-but-determined-to-be-happy protagonists with Snark Bait dialogue, served with a side of his New Age preachiness; but there's also a genuine Deus ex Machina. At the climax, out of nowhere, the golden retriever Nikki (who up until this point had shown nothing more unusual than mild intelligence for a dog) can suddenly fly, and she heals the mortally wounded protagonists of gunshot wounds. The only thing to justify the dog's supernatural origin is the artistic husband's being obsessed with drawing the dog's eyes and trying to capture their mysterious depths. The dog is implied afterward to carry the soul of the protagonist's dead daughter. But, what the hell? Do we all become badass seraphim messengers in the next life!?
Nikki healing the wounds might have been okay. But she also healed the psychological trauma of being shot at. And the daughter's autism. <thud>
It's been a well-known fact that Dean Koontz is crazy about dogs... but apparently crazy was meant a bit more literally in this case.
The third Dean Koontz's Frankenstein book has Deucalion healing the heroine's brother's autism at the end. Apparently Koontz thinks that autism is so horrible that curing it is an appropriate reward for a hero. AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!
One Door Away From Heaven: The over-the-top evil of the villain and everyone with the leastsympathy for his beliefs. Additionally, this was Koontz's attempt—after writing several books where "aliens" turn out to be devils—at having an "alien" turn out to be more-or-less an angel. (He didn't pull it off well).
Book The Eleventh of A Series of Unfortunate Events has a scene in which the protagonists lecture the antagonists about how they wear the faces of "good authors" and that wearing Edgar Guest is a sign of villainy because his poetry sucks. This is even more headache-inducing when you consider how the series had been attempting to build a strong sense of Black and Gray Morality and proves that even Daniel Handler can't resist making a petty out-of-place Take That.
Just when we thought it was getting better: if it wasn't the entire Laser-Guided Amnesia sequence, the last book—what with retconning the setting's entire history and all, much less Cherijo forgiving Duncan for managing to entirely out-douchebag himself while Xonea starts randomly being a yandere again—pretty much tore it.
The ending of Peter F. Hamilton's The Night's Dawn Trilogy. The series is an excellent story about a brutal war between humanity and the returning super-powered souls of its own dead. The last half of the third book has most of the main characters leave on a mission to another galaxy to find a solution, which turns out to be this: Lovable Rogue finds omnipotent alien artefact, temporarily becomes a god, zips around the universe fiddling with space-time to put every single horrible situation set up by the previous books right, gives up his powers and, in a spectacularly out-of-character move, settles down on a provincial farming planet to live Happily Ever After. The resolution of the plot can scrape by fine, but the Out of Character personal ending for the rogue? Ridiculous.
When Joshua Calvert and his crew find the Artifact they were searching for, Calvert asks, "How do I use this thing?" He is told, by the thing in question, "You ask". Fitting in its way, but startling nonetheless.
Yes, Penny Arcade have already done this, but Legends of Dune: The Butlerian Jihad. It's not worth reading twice because at least 75% of the elements in the original novel are forced by the narrative to come into existence in less than a decade. Melange. Shields. Atreides. Harkonnen. The first flickers of high-speed Casual Interstellar Travel. The Bene Gesserit. Seriously, are the authors playing Chubby Bubbies with Duneiverse elements?
The novel I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak is a good novel until you reach the epilogue. The story until then has been built around a series of mysterious tasks that the protagonist is asked to accomplish. After he finishes the last of them, it looks like there's going to be a reveal of who has been giving these tasks. Then the protagonist Breaks The Fourth Wall (in a book that has not broken the fourth wall any time before) to inform the reader that he is aware he is a character in a novel and that the author was assigning him these tasks. It seems like the author didn't know how to end it. Good thing the protagonist was willing to accomplish that task!
The last card contained the easiest tasks. While the other ones sent our main character to distant places to diverse, usually hard-to-understand tasks, the last one was basically solved this way: "you, get a job. You, talk to your daughter. You, dance with me". End. So much for the "greatest challenges", huh?
Just because they were accomplished with easy actions does not mean they are easy tasks. When's the last time you convinced someone to change the way their life was going?
The plot (and, by rule of analogy, some of the characters) were lifted from G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday. However, it made much more sense in that book, which was a deliberate Mind Screw.
That's debatable. The two plots really have little in common besides Flock of Wolves, which is its own trope. Pedantry, away!
The Redwall books have had some bad ones, mostly concerning the treatment of vermin.
In Eulalia, there is an unusually bad-tempered watervole who is captured by the vermin army and dressed like one of them for a trap. He's captured by the Redwallers, and they discover he's not vermin; but then the protagonist who encountered him before mentions that he's a jerk. This is the cue for the Redwallers, who are usually caring and tolerant to anyone who's not actively trying to hurt them, to treat him like dirt, rough him up for information, refer to him as "that thing" and, the next day, banish him from the abbey forever for no particular reason. Now, he does murder one of them later, but maybe if they had treated him decently...
The next one is in the book, Doomwyte. The villains are a flock of crows and their reptile allies. The actions of the heroes cause their cave to collapse; at the same time, a huge, insane viper is going berserk inside the cave and has killed most of them. The survivors, mostly reptiles, run for the exit and run into a "heroic" pack of mice and shrews who were on their way to confront them. The book explicitly states that the reptiles are just trying to get to the exit. The mice slaughter them.
From High Rhulain: There is a scene in which, after the heroine kills a rat, she appears shaken and explains that she doesn't enjoy killing. Her father yells at her for this dislike of killing, and it is attributed to her being young and stupid. Her father also ruthlessly pursues a small group of rats who are probably in their early adolescence, hell-bent on killing them because there is a small chance they might attack Redwall. Three or four rat kids.
Another Wall Banger in that book is that Triss's journey back to Riftgard to free the slaves is just barely skimmed over in an epilogue, told from the point of view of another slave. Really?
From Outcast of Redwall: Bryony casually dismissing Veil's Heroic Sacrifice at the end, saying, and I quote, "Veil was bad. I know that now." Um, lady? YOU RISKED YOUR LIFE TO BRING HIM BACK, HE SACRIFICED HIS LIFE TO SAVE YOURS, THE ABBESS HERSELF SAYS THAT THIS PROVED THAT THERE WAS SOME GOOD IN VEIL, AND NOW YOU'RE JUST WRITING HIM OFF AS A BAD SEED? What's worse, after Bryony says this, Abbess Miriam immediately decides that this makes her worthy to become the next Abbess when she steps down. THUD.
Another one: The title itself. Redwall itself doesn't appear until Book 2, Veil ends up there in the middle of it, and becomes an Outcast at the end of Book 2. Essentially, the title is referring to the novel's B plot.Brian Jacques would've been better off calling it "Sunflash the Mace" or something.
From The Chronicles of Narnia, how about Caspian's evaporating cousin? We hear about the birth of Miraz's son at the start of Prince Caspian, but this child is never mentioned again: not by the conspirators who goad Miraz in hopes he'll get killed, not by the author when the Telmarines must choose to stay in Narnia or go to Earth, not even by the owls who worry about Narnia's lack of a royal heir in The Silver Chair. Given how this unnamed infant is, in fact, Miraz's rightful heir in the reckoning of Telmarine royalists, you'd think somebody would've mentioned this infant prince's fate.
Also, to anyone who was still reading The Chronicles of Narnia by then, The Last Battle. This book tries to mix the nigh-hopeless mood of Ragnarok with the ultimate triumph of Aslan, and it doesn't go down easy. And the characterization is flatter here because of the themes of the work.
For those of you considering reading Kevin J. Anderson's The Saga of Seven Suns series: Don't. The Suns universe has advanced robotics and AI. Androids are common. But, when humanity gains access to hundreds of unexplored worlds, who do they send to do the initial surveys of the unknown, potentially hostile environments? Humans. Lone, unarmed humans. And what happens when a surveyor fails to return? They "X" that planet off their list and move on to the next. Several plot points hinge on this monumental stupidity on the part of humanity.
Inkheart. Capricorn is able to take over an entire town using only three mooks who have no special powers at all. It's like the villagers didn't even try to call the authorities for help. Oh wait - they apparently did call the authorities, who sent only one policeman, who was easily blackmailed by Capricorn to hide his town forever. One ordinary policeman was able to conceal a town that was practicing slavery and human sacrifices for years.
It fits thematically, if not logically, since "one man and his minions oppressing a town" is a common theme in fairy tales and fantasy stories.
James Patterson destroys the Maximum Ride series in the fourth book. In The Final Warning,the main villain is some random guy who happens to know of the Flock's existence. His elaborate scheme to sell them backfires way too easily for someone who is supposed to be a genius. Saving the world from pollution was being constantly shoved down the reader's throats — including during a scene where the Flock is about to be flung around through the air by a hurricane — and Fang was developing a relationship with someone seven or eight years older than him. And he's 14, so her reciprocating would be illegal. And in Max, Fang is still flirting with this older woman, and the villain was a guy named "Mr. Chu" and was said to be more dangerous than the previous School. Mr. Chu was given no real backstory or characterization. Plus, the cliff-hanger ending has Fang talking with his older girlfriend; they were seen by Max, who normally would have yelled and possibly gotten violent, but instead did nothing.
Each member of the Flock could beat a black-belt with minimal effort. This is completely uncool.
The Flock's insistence that they don't need adults (except Max's super cool mom cause she is the best mom ever!!!!) for anything. And then Max has the gall to complain that every time someone offers them something, they want something in return. Well Max, there's this group where adults give you stuff with nothing in return but a thank you (though knowing you even that would be too much), it's called "Children"! Make up your mind, you can't have the best stuff from both sides!
James Patterson also ended The Lake House with one. In the final chapter, the Big Bad — who for most of the book was quite intelligent and was even on the verge of pulling off a Karma Houdini — suddenly gets the urge to send the hundreds of heavily armed Mooks he has at his beck and call out for a smoke break so he can pursue the hero alone, unarmed, and with no backup. Talk about picking up the Villain Ball and bludgeoning yourself to death with it.
The fight ends with the Big Bad attempting to push the hero (who can fly) out of a window and being dragged to his death. Villain Ball is putting it mildly.
Children of the Mind, wherein, at the precise moment Novinha's god damned children are finally going to shut up and meet the aliens who made the Descolada, and things are about to get interesting, the book ends.
Speaking of Orson Scott Card, he really shouldn't try and write characters smarter than he is, it's annoying to us who are actually smart. When Bean can't think of a reason for humans to have evolved morality, I was sitting there, mentally listing off, like, eight.
Ender's Shadow has a scene which not only hurts both Ender's and Bean's established character traits but explicitly contradicts the same scene in Ender’s Game. And that's not even counting that Bean is genetically enhanced and somehow also allowed to call the shots on what happens to Ender in Battle School.
The City of Ember: Why did the scientists give the mayor the instructions on how to leave the city, which would just arouse his curiosity sooner or later? Couldn't they have hid it in some kind of time-activated safe in the center of the city or something? And what was the point of the third book, besides the subplot of that one guy making contact with the aliens that serve no purpose in the story whatsoever?
The first book counts on the fact that no one had devised a way to carry a light to explore the darkness, which is pretty preposterous.
The Drizzt novel, The Ghost King, wisely leaves the Wall Banger till the very last sentence. Throughout the novel, the treatment of Catti-brie is ranges from irritating to insulting, especially as she is not treated as a character at all, but a mobile plot device. While it is a reduction of a powerful female character into a Disposable Woman for her final appearance, it is not that, nor even her death, that makes it a wallbanger. Indeed, it is the final sentence of the book, which all but states that Drizzt will not go to the sort-of heaven-on-Toril as Catti-brie does, that turned the bittersweet (at best) ending into a full-on downer and the bad writing decisions into an outright Wall Banger.
Is that the book's fault, or the fault of the Forgotten Realms setting's metaphysics?
It took the book to make the catch in the metaphysics clear. Remember, independent GMs can override anything they like. This shows what happens when there is no override.
Tamora Pierce's Provost's Dog uses the plot device of having Beka be unable to remember something important to drag out the story in both Terrier and Bloodhound. Given that Beka does exercises specifically to strengthen her memory, this is unbelievable to begin with; but it becomes a true Wall Banger when you take into account that the books are written in the form of a journal. In both books, she hears or sees something that seems familiar but that she just can't place (and that turns out to be essential to plot resolution); but it never once occurs to her to reread what we have been reading in case she wrote something useful in there.
Possibly justified with the lily pendant, as she had an incredibly busy and stressful day when she first noticed it what with her best friend's husband being kidnapped and all, and it didn't take her long to figure it out once she got some sleep. The other one is an undiluted Wallbanger, though.
I would say justified with Hanse Remy too, seeing as its as common as "John Smith" in the real world. When she first hears it, she even comments that there are three people with similar names on her watch, which is only an incredibly small fraction of a huge city, let alone considering Port Caynn and the rest of the world.
H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man was the Trope Maker for Invisible Streaker, as Griffin is forced to walk around naked in order to maintain his undetectability. This is not fun, as it's the middle of winter in Great Britain. And yet, the very first thing that he tests his transparency-induction process on is a piece of white woolen fabric. While he doesn't have the means to render some white clothing invisible after becoming a fugitive, this guy has been contemplating using the process on himself for months beforehand. Even if the cold never crossed his mind, at least he ought to have realized that it rains in Britain, and prepared to dress accordingly.
Maybe when he tried turning clothing invisible, he couldn't find it?
Literary critic John Sutherland (whose published work consists very largely of Wild Mass Guessing, as he'd be the first to admit) speculated that this was evidence that Griffin was not driven mad by the invisibility process - he was already batshit insane to begin with.
T2: Infiltrator by S.M. Sterling: It's bad enough that there are entire pages describing one man's attempt to show how Cyberdyne Systems is going to take over the world by showing a documentary film he produced about it at the Toronto Film Festival. It's quite another to have a T-model Infiltrator unit, sent back to the past to oversee the resurgence of Cyberdyne (after failing her mission in the future), acting like a psychotic bitch as she chases Miles Dyson's brother through the newly built offices in an attempt to kill him, ranting and screaming all the way.
In The Looking-Glass Wars, Alyss was separated from Prince Leopold during her wedding, after she had already said her vows. Her stay in Wonderland could not possibly have been more than a few days, and yet, when she sends the doppelganger Alice back to Earth, Leopold has already fallen in love with another woman! So what exactly was Leopold doing for those few days while his fiance was missing?
Not to mention the bit where the author has Alice mention that the Tweedles were in the book Alice in Wonderland which is completely and utterly wrong- in the prologue!
The third Secrets of My Hollywood Life book has Kaitlin (who is about one iota from Mary Sue) sing and be good about it. Whilst talking about her acting career her agent says she's such a good singer that she'll definitely be cast as Glinda if they ever make a movie out of Wicked. So, let me get this straight, a 16 or so old girl who has no previous singing experience other would definitely get one of the hardest and in-demand musical roles in a highly anticipated movie over any of the actual experienced actors after the part? WTF?!
Probably justified, as puffing up actors' reputations (and egos) is an agent's job.
When this troper was younger, I had this book (whose title escapes me at the moment) about stories set in the Disney Animated Canon. In this one story about Peter Pan, to make a long story short, the characters were able to foil Captain Hook's plan because "in Neverland, their breath was a million times stronger than it was at home." Wait, what? Since when? I thought Neverland was a place where children would never grow up, not "give children the power to make up powers as they need them." Even when I was an impressionable little kid, I thought that was pretty dumb.
1984: At some point, someone needed to get Orwell away from the typewriter and tell him that enough was enough when it comes to Winston's torture in Part III. Whereas Orwell's contemporary, Aldous Huxley, wrote a compelling debate between rebel and tyrant at the end of Brave New World, O'Brien just gives an Anvilicious, 40-page Mind Rape to Winston. George, there is a way to give a warning about totalitarianism without kicking us in the balls.
On the subject of Brave New World, the finale of that book featured the tyrant giving a long, detailed and perfectly reasonable justification for the totalitarianism of the World State. We're clearly not supposed to agree with him, but you potentially could. And what defence does O'Brien offer? None - all that matters is power. This is a book which is praised for providing a deep insight into the totalitarian mindset, and yet it reduces the advocates of authoritarianism to Saturday morning cartoon villains.
The novel based on the Resistance series features some pretty bad writing and characters, but the moment which made this troper want to smash his head in was the ending. Basically main character Hale has just realized the US government has captured Daedalus, the Chimeran leader, and plan to negotiate with him to buy their country some time, using his life as leverage. Hale comes in on the President and Daedalus, and just because he doesn't agree with this plan murders the President in cold blood. The Chimeran leader escapes as a result, and several people who witnessed the murder don't even think of blaming Hale, several of them the President's own bodyguards.
The Lovely Bones has one when Susie possesses Ruth's body and asks Ray to make love to her. Which he does. What happened to quietly watching everybody's lives without interfering? Not to mention that it's kind of a squick.
It's not even so much that that happened, but a couple other things, like how uncomfortably descriptive the scene was. It's understandable that Susie would be so excited and be explaining it in such detail, but that doesn't make it any less uncomfortable for anybody who understands the full context. The other problem is directly after this happens, when Susie's brother calls the phone right next to the bed, why did she just say "It's Susie." over and over. She wouldn't say where her body was, or who killed her, she just kept saying who she was, possibly not even in her own voice.
Tales Of Mu gets this kind of bad. It's established early on that most characters are either inexperienced with social dynamics, have some form of mental issues, or both. This generally allows for a pretty big stupid discount. However some characters just blow right through that. Steff generally gets it the worst, because no one expects the words "raped at a young age", "guro fetishist", and "free magical healing any time" to produce a sane or mentally healthy individual. Her friend needs a knife for weapons practice and there's a nice obsidian one no one will miss, she takes it. Out of the necromancy department. Fair enough, since she's training in necromancy and nobody did miss it. One of her first reactions? stabbing herself in the chest. Turns out it's a vampric dagger, an the damage done is repaired because she heals herself with it. No harm done, except she stabs herself again. And again. She misses her friends birthday party and all her classes to stab herself until her soul is torn in half. Most people think thats stupid of her, but perfectly in character and fine. Then another character gives her a breast enhancement turn-a-male-body-perfectly-female-with-the-sole-exception-of-retaining-a-penis potion. She has it explained to her repeatedly that that mass needs to come from somewhere and it will probably have other side effects for a long while, so be very careful and talk it out with friends and lovers. Immediately recovering from tearing her soul in half through sheer stupidity she downs the potion with no preparation despite having plans and classes for several days. Unsurprisingly she winds up near dead for the second time in a week and no one thinks of it as a particularly enormous lapse of judgement by her standards.
It is seen as an enormous lapse of judgement on the part of Dee, the student who gave her that potion and really, REALLY should have known better.
Walter Farley, author of The Black Stallion and other horse books, wrote a very good book called The Island Stallion about an island that appears to be just solid rock surrounded by cliffs hundreds of feet above the waterline. The main character, Steve, discovers a way into the center of the island, where a herd of wild horses lives in a hidden canyon, and manages to tame the mighty red stallion he names "Flame". All was very well and good, and a sequel was written in the same vein, with similar acclaim. Then, in the third book, aliens show up. Probably more of a Jumping the Shark moment than a strict Wall Banger, but it certainly makes you want to hurl the book away from you as quickly as possible! What's even more bizarre is that in no other Walter Farley book are science fiction elements even mentioned in passing!
Orson Scott Card's Empire has terrorists aiming a rocket at the White House using "a protractor — a simple junior-high protractor!"
The first book of the Honor Harrington series, On Basilisk Station is a great book, but it has one moment toward the end that is sorely misplaced. It's the first "Honor Death Ride" in the series, and Honor's underequipped ship is chasing a Havenite Q-Ship, trying to stop it from reaching the hyper limit and escaping. It is a tense chase as they're exchanging fire, casualties mounting on both sides, and you're wondering who'll blink first...when the narrative stops to fill you in on the whole history and mechanics of hyper space. For ten pages. It goes right from thrilling chase to reading like a textbook. And hyperspace travel is one of the staple forms of travel in the series, and that history could've been integrated almost anywhere else in the book and it would have been fine. Putting it where it is just sucks the momentum out of the thrilling climax.
Blondi by German-Jewish actor Michael Degen. It's about a Jewish woman who was reincarnated many times (always as a Jewish woman) through history and thus witnessed many antisemitic pogroms, always getting killed. After getting killed in Auschwitz, she is reincarnated again, this time as... Blondi, Adolf Hitler's German shepherd. The most serious topic on Earth is turned into a farce.
The Adventure of the Dorset Street Lodger, a Sherlock Holmes pastiche penned by Michael Moorcock, features Holmes and Watson being caught up in a thorny plot to steal an incredibly valuable bejewelled silver statue. The crux of the plot involves the villain dressing as a woman in order to gain the trust of the statue's owner, before stealing it at a later date. The problem with this plot is that Moorcock describes the villain as being very tall and powerfully muscled, with a few days' stubble on his chin. This troper has an extremely hard time believing that somebody so big could convincingly dress as a woman for so long and not be found out.
Sounds more like a Stealth Parody of how, in the very first Holmes story, a fugitive has a young man dress up like a woman to answer an agony-column ad ... and Holmes (who placed the ad) doesn't seem to notice anything amiss. Most fans assume Holmes just let the ruse stand, so he could track the cross-dressed contact back to the fugitive's hiding place, but Doyle doesn't actually lampshade this.
Left Behind might not have the most intelligent plot, but there are a few things in particular that stand out:
Even though we're told that all the children under the age of ten have disappeared, people act as though this were not the case. If all the "Real True Christians" (as blogger Fred puts it sarcastically) would have disappeared, along with every child under ten on Earth, which is the premise of the book, then there would be much, much, much more kids than adults gone. And despite that, the authors write the book as though the number of disappeared kids seem to be no higher than the number of adults.
Nicolae Carpathia's speech at the U.N. is incredibly boring, and involves, among other things, reciting the names of all the countries that are members of the U.N. in alphabetical order. In real life, this would be incredibly boring, but in this novel people actually stand up and applaud this unusually boring speech, even though no real opinion has been expressed. It's hard to know what people are applauding, exactly, since all Carpathia is saying is "The mission of the United Nations is to work for peace" and recites boring trivia nobody cares about. He hasn't expressed any sentiment for people to agree with. To top it all off, he reads it all in nine languages. So to the listeners, eight ninths of the speech would be nonsense in a language they don't understand. And remember: This is how the authors think good speeches sound.
It's even worse than that. It says he lists not only all the countries, but all the leaders of said countries, in alphabetical order, IN EVERY LANGUAGE SPOKEN AT THE UN (as in, he repeats each country/leader multiple times in different languages) IRL, as the opening of his speech entered its 14th hour, someone would have stood up and shot him, and everyone else would have cheered. And the worst thing about it is that what everybody in the world is concerned about right now is what caused all these disappearances. Carpathia doesn't even mention them in his speech. It's the one thing people would want to hear opinions and suggestions about, and still they applaud a speech that doesn't mention it at all.
In the first book Buck basically gets a fellow reporter killed by a Government Conspiracy, because of something he said to a member of said conspiracy. And then, shortly afterwards, he makes a deal with said conspiracy, in which he agrees to keep quiet about the death (that is partially his fault to begin with) in exchange for personal safety.
"He was no prude, but Rayford had never been unfaithful to Irene," we're told in the first part of the first chapter of the first book. But just a few lines later, we're told that "He had long felt guilty about a private necking session he enjoyed at a company Christmas party more than 12 years before. Irene had stayed home, uncomfortably past her ninth month carrying their surprise tagalong son, Ray Jr." That's right, he had a "private necking session" (and why add the word "private?" As opposed to what, exactly?) with another woman while his wife was at home pregnant with their soon-to-be-first-born, but he "had never been unfaithful to Irene". The Swedish translator, who realized how moronic this was, simply removed the words "private necking session he enjoyed at a", making the translated result this: "He had long felt guilty about a company Christmas party more than 12 years before." No actual reason is given as to why he felt guilty. And it's still better than the idiocy of the original.
He could have felt guilty about having fun while his wife was suffering. Some people actually do feel guilty about such things.
Also, the book tries to sell Buck as a worldly-wise rogue, in the same paragraph in which it mentions that he's a 30 year old virgin (but then if he wasn't a virgin, he wouldn't be "pure" and therefore a minion of Satan). Of course, that's probably the least of the book's WallBangers.
In Kingdom Come, Kenny Bruce's friends, family, and girlfriend are all convinced that he has turned traitor. This is despite the fact that he had previously informed them of his intent to go undercover to infiltrate The Other Light, and that the evidence of his supposed betrayal comes from a known liar and traitor.
Here's another one: "Buck came to a screeching halt, swerving and sliding about 50 feet before his right front tire blew." To come to a halt doesn't mean that you slide 50 feet. It means that you stop.
Someone in editing should have informed the authors that "X person automatically feared the worst because they couldn't get a hold of Y person on their cellphone - but Y person had only forgotten to turn their phone on" gets tired after a few books.
Licia Trosi's Chronicles of the Emerged World (official English title can be something else, if someone can correct me, please do) is painfully cliched Eragonesque fantasy trilogy. It hit wall in about 1/3 of first book. Doomed Hometown of Mary Sue heroine is a city - tower. It's implied to be really tall with multiple windows. It stands in the middle of plain, plain that is flat as a table. Attacking army of Orc-like creatures is not noticed by anyone until it's by the gates. 'Cause armies are something that moves stealthy.
I loveJane Austen, but... Anne Elliot's "I Regret Nothing" speech at the end of Persuasion — Anvilicious, Values Dissonance, Double Standard, Broken Aesop, and blatant hypocrisy. Either Anne or Jane Austen is trying to "have it both ways." If Anne had defended her decision eight years ago on grounds such as "I now realize that Lady Russell was right for keeping us apart, but for different reasons, and it wouldn't have been safe to get married under such circumstances," it would have at least been fair and consistent. But Anne admits that her own reasoning is that the advice was wrong, but she (Anne) was right to yield to it for no other reason than because it's a woman's "duty" to yield to the advice of friends! Anne asserts she was right to take what she has since learned to be bad advice, not on the grounds that it turned out to be right in the long run or could have turned out so just as easily, but because she was yielding to persuasion period. Either Anne or Austen just can't bear to have Anne admit she was wrong, and since Wentworth agrees with her completely, and since this is completely consistent with the anviliciousness of Louisa Musgrove's accident, it's not meant to be ironic. Instead of treating the theme of persuasion maturely (that may not have been Austen's title, but it is a prominent theme nonetheless), Anne turns it into a black-and-white issue: not yielding to persuasion (like Louisa) is always wrong, and yielding to persuasion (like Anne) is always right... if you're a woman. A man should be firm, or they'll suffer like Wentworth for yielding to Louisa and Mr. Smith for yielding to Mr. Elliot. I'll take my Austen novels with subtlety and my Austen heroines who actually apologize for their error and learn something besides never to doubt their own perfection, thank you very much.
Dracula: the Un-Dead — Adaptations that reinterpret Mina's traumatic metaphorical rape as something romantic are bad enough, but to do so while claiming you're reclaiming the franchise for the original novel?! Well, Freud would have loved yet another example of support for his misogynist theory that all women are masochists. Ladies, rape is hot! If you don't agree, you're a prude! Denying your sexuality! That is not allowed!
There's also the fact that the novel [[RetCon calls the predecessor as "nothing but lies"]]. WHAT?! And don't forget about the massive Character Derailment, the portrayal of Bram Stoker himself, the "Luke, I Am Your Father" twist, the blatant sex, and ugh, this is making my head hurt.
There's a tendency among revisionist literature to deride the canon which it is revising, which just seems a bit cheap.
Artemis Fowl: He's supposed to be an awesome genius but in the fourth book when he's in trouble and has some kind of digital handcuffs he asked to Holly how many digits the password has. She said that three and then stated that there were thousands of possibilities... Artemis replies that there are millions. Now if you have 3 digits in which each can have 10 different possibilities (0 to 9) then you have 10^3 = 1000 possibilities. MASSIVE Wall Banger !!
Especially when in a situation like that, you don't even have to use math. Just realize that each possible combination is a different number, going from 000 to 999. That requires almost no thought at all, and yet super genius Artemis Fowl was off by a magnitude of 3 or 4. Then again, 1000 combinations is still too many to test out when pressed for time, but still.
Why the hell didn't they just kill the future Opal BEFORE they put her in the tank? Who in their right minds would let a mass murderer live when her only options are godhood or death anyway?!
World War Z was a good book, but the zombies are pretty transparently engineered to overcome traditional zombie weaknesses so they can't be killed. Take a look at this Cracked list. Solanum zombies are poison to animalsnote which wouldn't necessarily keep animals from trying to eat 'em, but the strange ability of every species except humanity to somehow know not to tell Zombies are toxic would, can freeze and thaw and still function, have no noticeable effects from heat, can apparently spread via black-market organ transfersnote Note that every infectee who dies rises as a zombie a few minutes later, regardless of how they died. Which means that people died in hospitals, yet somehow didn't rise in the middle of a crowded ward, which would provoke a health scare.(which makes sense), the barriers are all ignored(including closing and locking a standard frakking door, which will stop most people in full control of their cognitive functions, much less zombies), and the military somehow can't find it's butt with both hands, making tactical decisions a third-world militia would be too smart to make (but only where it serves the plot). In addition to that, zombies somehow don't need senses to see. And they can survive at the bottom of the ocean, with the interviewees pointing out that between the pressure and salt water, they should be pastenote They can walk along the sea floor, which is weird, cause dead bodies float.. It basically stops one bit short of declaring the zombies "magic". And if this deck-stacking weren't enough, humanity is a bunch of complete idiots who have apparently never seen a zombie movie in their lives. Also, against all logic and real-world behavior, the mainstream news suppresses the news of the dead walking because they don't want to cause an economic downturn. IIRC, it was because the placebo Solanum medicine was so popular, they didn't want to reveal it didn't work. Which means that the "African Flu" was well known enough to have a large portion of the economy dependent on a medicine for it, but not enough for significant amounts of people to actually know what it is. The vast amount of legal and illegal guns circulating in the US alone? Ignored entirely. Also, one blog is mentioned before the outbreak. One blog. The entire nerdy blogosphere would crap their pants over the news that zombies were real. And then we find out that it was tearing up the message boards, but only in Japan. Said otaku were members smart enough to hack the emails of gov't officials, yet none of them apparently located a news service or published it on their fricking blog. In fact, the story we hear is from an otaku who relates how the other posters just started dropping off, with the implication that they were either dying of self-neglect, trying to get to safety, or being killed. The narrator's parents had actually left for some time before he was spurred into action by running out of food. Basically, the NEETs knew exactly what was going on, but none of them told anybody until it was far too late.
It's a good book, but Brooks had to stack the deck and put a few aces up his sleeve.
It's entirely unprecedented to have a disease that somehow turns flesh into something that is toxic to everything, with a 100% communicability and fatality rate. Even the Black Plague had carriers; fleas. Also, if people were dying before they could be infected fully, and the disease cannot infect people who are already dead, then it's impossible for flesh that wasn't infected before death to become infected. Basically, everything about Solanum is impossible (starting with, oh, sodomizing the law of conservation of energy by making zombies function for years without consuming any nutrients), and the MST3K Mantra doesn't work specifically because the canon spends so much time explaining it in scientific terms, only to handwave or ignore inconvenient questions.
Isn't the entire premise of the book that classic shambler Zombies actually exist in its fictional universe? Incidentally, said book actually contradicts several points in WWZ, which is supposedly the same continuity. For example, the US Government supposedly covered up a major zombie incident as recently as 1994, less than 20 years before WWZ, yet has no idea what zombies are or how to deal with them. Also, people have been arrested and convicted for killing zombies and being thought of as murderers, yet WWZ has zombies be biologically very clearly distinct from humans. Heck, the autopsies should show the dead zombies weren't even biologically alive when they were killed. At least a few of them should have what would be normally fatal wounds, except they clearly kept moving, indicating, at the very least, some kind of drug use that made them able to ignore pain, which could give credence to the "murderers'" stories.
Robert A. Heinlein with The Number of the Beast— (no, really, the dash is part of the title apparently) is a double Wall Banger. First with the introduction of the most misandristic, emasculating woman ever in Hilda, who proceeds to use her power when in the captain's seat to get what she wants, then force responsibility on whoever is there when she isn't to again get what she wants. The second part is where they start hopping universes to other fiction, and then they visit frickin' Oz. Oz, in what's supposed to be a serious SF novel.
Steven Wakefield in Sweet Valley Confidential. Or, more specifically, his Suddenly Sexuality. Especially when he had married one woman (Cara), was engaged to another (Billie) until shortly after she miscarried, and had a nervous breakdown over Tricia's death (to the point where he broke up with Cara twice to pursue Identical Strangers who looked like her. It wasn't until one of them called him out on it that he snapped out of it.). This makes no sense if you followed the Sweet Valley High series.
While the twist endings in the Goosebumps series of books can be pretty silly at times, a special mention must go to Welcome To Camp Nightmare for being so ridiculous it becomes a sheer Wall Banger. See, throughout most of the book the protagonist is pursued by a monster in the woods that has already claimed his friends as its victims. Then, it turns out that the monster isn't real, the fake monster was a test to see if the protagonist could think quickly under stressful and dangerous situations, and it turns out the protagonist and everyone else are aliens who are actually training to travel to Earth. Wait... what? The first two parts of the ending, fine. A little silly, but fine. But aliens? Really? It doesn't make any sense. Yes, the other twist endings of the books came out of nowhere at times too, but at least they had some semblance of logic in the stories' settings.
It should probably be mentioned that My Best Friend Is Invisible had probably an even dumber ending. It turns out that all of the characters we've met so far are also actually aliens who have already invaded and conquered Earth and the invisible guy was a surviving human. Why was he invisible? His parents were wizards or something.
In Animal Farm, Snowball comes up with the idea to build a windmill. Once Napoleon has him exiled, he explains that the plan was his all along. The other animals ask why Napoleon argued so much against it. Squealer explained that Napoleon was using tactics in order to get rid of Snowball. A possible excuse, but what they didn't ask next was if Napoleon urinating on his own plans was also part of the strategy.
Truth in Television. The entire point of this part of the story is this is exactly what Stalin did during his rise to power and conflict with Trotsky.
Being gullible and believing in propaganda is one thing, as the story is supposed to parallel the Russian Revolution. Yet this particular point is a bit jarring. Did Stalin defecate over his opponent's ideas before claiming them as his own?
In Little Women most of the Aesops are pretty good lessons, if Anvilicious but in the chapter where Amy burns Jo's book, the author really drops the ball. Why is Jo being lectured about forgiveness and not letting anger get the best of her when Amy gets off scot free?! Yes, Amy's soon sorry, as she should be, but she's destroyed something very precious to Jo in an act of Disproportionate Retribution. Doesn't Jo have a right to be upset or at least to her family's sympathy?
Animorphs "The Hidden". It's made fairly clear in earlier books that for someone to become morph-capable, they have to touch the cube at the same time as someone who's already morph-capable. But it doesn't appear that this occurs in this book. I suppose it's possible that the ant touched Cassie's leg and the cube at the same time to become morph-capable, but the buffalo definitely never touched it when she was touching it. So, the stuff about the ant and buffalo never should have happened.
"The Journey" was pushing it a bit too. Unless the phlebotinum of the Helmacron shrink ray also helped with breathing in a shrunken state, it seems they wouldn't be able to get oxygen because their own cells would be too small for anything to get into. Plus, people have immune systems. There's no way they'd go through Marco's body without antibodies destroying them.
Tobias and his mother at the end. Many fans wonder why in the heck he went off on his own and left her after being so glad to find her.
Halo: Glasslands: Karen Traviss again. Everyone hates Halsey for how she made the SPARTAN-IIs. Everyone. Traviss has compared her to Josef Mengele. One of the people who hate her is Frank Mendez, who actually helped train the S-IIs. Her chief tormenter (and longtime rival) is Admiral Parangosky. There were SPARTAN-3s, who were basically the Taiwanese knockoff versions of S-2s, designed to be cheap, easier to mass-produce, and expendable. Halsey had no involvement in their development. The 2s were created by kidnapping kids and replacing them with clones who quickly died. The 3s were all kids who had their families destroyed by the Covenant. The 2s survived most of their missions, while the 3s were sent on suicide missions to likely die by the hundreds. The 3 program was started by Colonel Ackerson, with the help of his right-hand-woman, um, Margaret Parangosky. Oh, and you remember Mendez? He helped train the 3s too.
Oni apparently decided it was a perfectly good idea to secretly support the faction of the Elites that wants to start a war with humanity. The other faction wants peace. Problem is, if the war faction wins, they go to war with Earth. If the peace-loving faction wins, they might find out who's been supplying their enemies, and decide to go to war. The logic, presumably, is that the Elites are probably going to go to war with Earth anyway, so they might as well destabilize them to buy time to get the upper hand.
Traviss didn't even let Halsey's intelligence go unscathed. The woman, who has clearly been shown to be quite intelligent, is implied to only think she's smart because everyone told her she was, which, um, is rather in defiance of the laws of cause and effect. Also, she's can't respond to the dressing-downs everyone keeps giving her, despite being really smart.
There's also the fact that ONI placed the remaining Spartan-III soldiers into the Spartan-IV program. Considering how the book's main "message" is "Child Soldiers shouldn't be used and people who conscript them are evil", the fact that ONI chooses to utilize them for their skills instead of discharging them on the grounds of PTSD and compensation makes for a very nasty Broken Aesop.
In fact, just visit the actual page. It's faster. Basically, Traviss stomped all over the previous characterization and basic logic to make a point. Either that, or she wasn't aware of the things she's contradicting in the first place.
Further more is Karen Traviss portrayal of the Mandalorians in Star Wars, in her books she depicts them as a Mary Sue race who are considered superior to Jedi. She clearly ignores canon that they are a Proud Warrior Race Guy who committed terrible atrocities such as killing unarmed civilians in millions, and get their asses handed to them by the Jedi who saved the galaxy from them.
While Richard Knaak's Sin War trilogy is just not very good in general, the absolute stupidest moment comes in the third book, The Veiled Prophet, when the protagonist gets in a quarrel with Diablo himself and manages to fend him off by conjuring a mirror-like structure out of water and having Diablo look at his own, magically-terror-inducing face. Ignoring his apparent vulnerability to his own powers, something you would not expect from one of the Prime Evils, there's still the fact that Diablo, the greatest demon in the entirety of the Burning Hells is scared off by a shiny surface. And it's canon, too.
For the majority of the book, John Varley's Mammoth handles itself well. And then it completely stumbles and dies at the end. The last chapter is about how the Big Bad, having sent himself back in time by mistake, slowly realizes his errors. He comes to lead a tribe of protohumans, develops a deep relationship with and has several children with his trophy girlfriend (who came back with him), and builds dignity and grace. At the end of his life, he fulfills what he realizes is a Stable Time Loop by becoming the man with the wristwatch found at the beginning of the novel. And after spending all this time seeing a deeper side of the villain... the epilogue is a letter from the hero's love interest that refers to him as the "mean old (character name)". Sure, the heroes couldn't see the character growth, but... wait, what?!?
There are a great many Wall Bangers in Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush but the one that made me want to put a hole in the wall was the part where, After spending the Entire book seeking opportunities to kill Nora am FLAT OUT ADMITTING to specific moments where he had planned on murdering her to gain a human body, Patch suddenly reveals to Nora that simply sacrificing her won't be enough. SHE HAS TO WILLINGLY SACRIFICE HERSELF. Hubuwaaaah? Patch knew THE ENTIRE TIME that Nora had to kill herself in order for him to gain a human body... But he had planned on killing her himself... He knew... *Brain explodes.*
In House of Night novel Marked, Zoey sees Alpha Bitch Aphrodite forcing a Blowjob onto an unwilling Erik. Zoey's reaction this? To launch into an Author Tract about how girls who give guys blowjobs are idiots who are being used by the guys they give them to. This is despite the fact that the girl was CLEARLY forcing herself on the guy who DID NOT WANT the blowjob.