I recently picked up the term ‘egads vocabulary’ from Ariana Franklin (Grave Goods) to describe the wording used for books set in eras long gone. Full of thees, doths and mayhaps these books just annoy me. Not that I’ve done any research on the topic but I’ve never seen proof that people actually talked like that all the time back then. If mayhap ye seek to immerse thyself in the language of times gone by then find glory in the tale set from quill to paper betwixt the cover of this book. Uggg…that made my head hurt.
Let’s talk a little more about language. And here’s another area that I would like proof that people actually talked this way. When this author finds phrasing that she likes, she uses it. And uses it. And uses it. And. Uses. It. It seems that about every 15 minutes (I’m an audio book listener) one character or another was swearing “by all the Saint’s knobby knees” or “by all the Saint’s wedded mothers”. I just don’t believe it. I can’t believe that people really talked like that. This is the problem I have with egads vocabulary.
I have a book of similes that I thumb through every so often. Coulter’s copy must be right next to her computer and very dog-eared. She uses far more than her fair share of similes. Things are “as deep as a sword thrust into a man’s gullet”. Rocks are not merely poking up on the beach; they are “poking up like thick fingers or lying like fists on the dirty sand”. Descriptive narrative is a must, I agree. But by all the Saint’s ingrown toenails please tone it down a wee bit. My favorite — “it tasted like an aphrodisiac.” What, pray tell, does an aphrodisiac taste like?
The final point of contention I have is the sheer number of words. Is there a bonus from publishers for going over a certain word count? Or perhaps it was a challenge jokingly forth set by her agent? If that is not the case then I take issue with the author. She either believes her readers to be stupid or herself to be a super genius while the rest of us hover somewhere around the level of being lucky we even know what books are for. She seems to think that even the simplest things need to be explained to us three different ways for us to understand. How many ways are there for the main character to tell that her mother had died? After describing a wand in detail in one scene there really isn’t a need to describe it in excruciating detail again and then tell the readers that it is the wand. We get it! It’s a wand!