Thursday, November 24, 2011

New Janet Evanovich book is a Plum fiasco

I realize when you get 18 books into anything -- things might seem a little mundane.
It's hard to come up with new material.
What Janet Evanovich has done to the Stephanie Plum books is a fiasco, though.
While the first 12 books were pure magic, right around "Lean, Mean Thirteen" something awful started happening.
It wasn't that the accident prone Stephanie was becoming boring, it was that she was becoming unlikeable.
That progression has continued and now -- with books seventeen and eighteen in the series -- Stephanie isn't even a character with any rooting value anymore.
"Explosive Eighteen," which came out Tuesday, is the latest and worst book in the series.
What made Stephanie funny for so long was the fact that she somehow managed to bring in criminals despite the fact that she had no talent what-so-ever when it came to being a bond enforcement agent. Still, despite her clumsiness and ineptitude, she and her sidekick (former ho) Lula always managed to bring the bad guy in on their own.
Now, it's like Stephanie can't do anything on her own. Instead, she just calls the two men in her life -- police officer Joe Morelli and mercenary Ranger -- to get her out of every situation.
On top of that, the fact that she's now not even struggling with the Catholic guilt that stopped her from bedding both guys at the same time for the first 16 novels, Stephanie is a mess. I don't think many peole -- myself included -- think it's cute to have sex with two different men at the same time, whether you blame it on an Italian curse or love potion. It's not cute, it's actually fairly slutty.
And while the antics of the secondary characters like Lula, Vinnie, and Grandma (among a bevy of others) were often entertaining, they've veered off into the absurd.
It's one thing for Stephanie and Lula to make an apprehension at a Star Trek party. It's quite another for hobbits to lay siege to a house or Lula to show up and save the day with a rocket launcher (yeah, I said rocket launcher). When you add the low brow humor of a fart off at a chili competition (something that actually happened in the 15th book), Stephanie Plum has seriously fallen off the rails.
I know Janet Evanovich wants to ride this cash cow as long as she can -- but she's utterly destroying her own characters (which is her right, I guess). I just know that I'm done buying them. Evanovich won't let her characters move forward and experience any growth -- so I'm moving to the side and letting the series go.
By not letting Stephanie pick Ranger or Morelli -- I think because Evanovich doesn't want to anger one group of fans -- she's actually screwing her entire fan base. While I'm a Morelli fan, I would be fine with her picking Ranger at this point if it meant that Stephanie could experience some personal growth.
I'll remember the first 12 books with a great deal of nostalgia, the 13th and 14th editions with something akin to like and the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th editions with absolute loathing.
Goodbye Stephanie Plum. It was nice knowing you.


Blogger Misa said...

I agree that it's hard to keep anything fresh that long. Having a planned ending and series arc is essential.

February 19, 2012 at 10:22 AM 

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