So, it happened. Actually it happened twice within a week. It was always going to. I thought I was ready, but I wasn't. Two bad reviews of Huahuqui. Did it hurt? Of course. Did I retaliate and rebut the reviews? No. I did, however, ask one of the reviewers (as I was able) why they gave it such a bad review. The reviewer was honest and open, which I appreciated. The crux of the bad review centred mainly on two themes; themes that have popped up from other reviewers but not caused them to rate the book so poorly.
Theme one: the main character swears too much and is wholly unlikable. Indeed! He is meant to be! While I completely understand some people's aversion to this character - I even have an online beta-reader who hates him! - for me this is the point. Such a visceral reaction is, by definition, good writing, no? The fact that this person is the 'hero' in my books may be what grates. A bad guy that you hate is OK, but not a hero. But again, that's always been my point with these books. They are about his journey, more than anything. The storyline, while written in the omnipresent, is really the world from his point of view. What is interesting, is that if the readers were to read the sequel, Huaquero, and the last book Huaca (when it's released), they would actually see the character grow. But of course, it seems that I have done such a good job of making the main character so obtrusive that some cannot stomach him.
Theme two: Religion bashing. Again this is a point that I can understand. The first book intentionally sets out to do two things: tear down Christian dogma, but also current scientific dogma regarding the evolution of the human race. What is interesting to me, is that the religious people become offended with the book's poke at Christianity, but never mention the fact that book absolutely destroys current scientific dogma! They become fixated on vehemntly defending their religion. With this in mind, I find it quite ironic that these same people cite my religious character who becomes over emotional and ultimately destructive when defending her beliefs as 'unrealistic'. What's more, I have not had single scientist complain that I challenge current archeological evidence...
The bottom line for me is this: everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, and for that reason I do not condemn these reviewers. Not at all. What I have come to learn is that I will never be a best seller, because a good proportion of people will either hate the pseudo-hero and his general asshole-ry, or they will be offended by the jibe at religion. However, I never set out to be a best seller. In fact, I quite like being a little bit controversial and underground.
So, for those of you who don't like my books for the above reasons, I thank you for picking it up at all. It is appreciated. And I whole-heartedly apologise if I have offended.
For all those of you who do like my books, you're part of an exclusive club. Welcome…