My thoughts on “Thoughtless”

Thoughtless (Thoughtless, #1)Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens

The title is apropos ~ Thoughtless. It almost serves as a warning sign. I seriously thought about doing a DNF (did not finish) status, but I gutted it out hoping for resolution. It didn’t happen. I’m aware it is not a popular sentiment for this popular book. Read on, if you want.

SPOILER from here on out…

I wrote a book that contains the theme of infidelity (Not To Us), so it’s not like I necessarily have a problem with cheater stories, but it takes fortitude and strong character development to pull it off, especially when it involves your main characters.
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I wrote a book that contained infidelity (Not To Us), so it’s not like I necessarily have a problem with cheater stories, but it takes fortitude and strong character development to pull it off, especially when it involves your main characters.

So. That wasn’t necessarily my problem with this book, I’ll keep to specifics here, while it is so fresh in my mind because I really have to express my feelings about this book.

As a writer, I had these problems with Thoughtless:

  • underwhelming female character development
  • too much telling versus showing
  • too many scenes that did not move the story line forward
  • too much melodrama (described by Robert McKee in Story as: “Melodrama is not the result of overexpression, but of under motivation; not writing too big, but writing with too little desire.”) Yep; that about sums it up.

Kiera Allen – She’s 21, not seventeen, but she acts like she’s still in high school. She has two years of college under her belt and a great boyfriend and yet in the very first chapters she is whining about the long car trip (they move from Ohio to Seattle) and missing her family. NONE of this side show stuff is followed upon. Her family, that she is so close to and would die without, doesn’t even factor into the book until late in the story, when her sister Anna comes and pulls the story line out of the muck that it’s fallen into, by this point. I mean, within the first few chapters, she’s practically having sex with her boyfriend in a strange guy’s house and it turns out to be the bad boy rocker singing on stage that she was instantly attracted to, on what, page four? Where’s the love and devotion for Denny? I just never saw it. Ever.

Kiera has too many thoughts in her head and acts out sexually too many times to actually be considered a good girl. I had a problem with the whole I’m offended by swear words and yet cheating on Denny was no problem at all. It never really seemed to come back upon her. She never experienced guilt that I could see. So the whole offense of swear words just made her unbelievable as a character. OMG. And, her inability to make a decision about ANYTHING, including these two guys as well as what classes to take at the UW, which if she is two years in she would have a major, just didn’t ring true. Again. OMFG. I mean, my God, Kiera, make up your fucking mind already and move the fuck on.

Denny Harris is a non-factor. He starts out strong, but he is the oblivious Aussie from the get go and willingly leaves his supposedly plain girlfriend with his hot guy friend Kellan Kyle, while he goes off for job in Tucson for a few months. The whole angle of intermittent phone calls was never explained. Why was Denny drifting from Kiera? Why? I thought there might be something with the other character Jenny in the story line, but no. Nothing. In the end, we find out Denny’s not quite that stupid, but he certainly took his chances with leaving Kiera knowing full well what Kellan was like around all women.

Kellan Kyle, the only redeeming character in the story, who saves this story from the dregs of repetitiveness and the long boring descriptions (I don’t need to know what everyone is wearing in every flipping scene). It’s HIS story line about his childhood and his own personal character change/arc that takes place in the story that Stevens did get right.

This book got picked up by a traditional publisher who just published the story as is and I found numerous mistakes, two of which involved Kellan being referred to as Kyle. WTF.
Anyway, this story line is an interesting one; (it’s amazing that I would say that after all I just said before; huh?) it just got mishandled. This book should have been about half as long. A good edit would take out all the unnecessary scenes and get rid of the telling versus showing sections that took place throughout the book, especially at the end.

Whatever.

Most readers will love it. They’ll ignore their inexplicable dislike for the heroine and focus solely on the bad boy rocker, Kellan Kyle. And, who could blame them?

Will I read the two sequels? OMG what could Stevens possibly write in two additional books that is new and not just a repeat of the same literary mistakes in this one, along with a whole lot more whining from Kiera about what she’s not getting? I don’t know if I can take it; and, at $7.59 a pop for a Kindle version on dreck that should have been fixed by her big-time publisher, I can buy other books, including Indie ones, that are 100 times better in writing and style and story line (The Sea of Tranquility, Falling Under, Easy, Gone Girl, mine). Personally, I’m quite capable of finishing this little story in my head all on my own. Kiera gets Kellan despite her lack of likeability.

Why bother?
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Will I read the two sequels? OMG what could Stevens possibly write in two additional books that is new and not just a repeat of the same literary mistakes in this one, along with a whole lot more whining from Kiera about what she’s not getting? I don’t know if I can take it; and, at $7.59 a pop for a Kindle version on dreck that should have been fixed by her big-time publisher, I can buy other books, including Indie ones, that are 100 times better in writing and style and story line (The Sea of Tranquility, Falling Under, Easy, Gone Girl, mine). Personally, I’m quite capable of finishing this little story in my head all on my own. Kiera gets Kellan despite her lack of likeability.

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5 Comments

  • Jen
    4 years ago

    Thank you for your review…you’ve definitely help make up my mind. I was up/down about this book because so many people love it, but a good friend told me that it was hard to get through and she got annoyed and bored with it. Your review, works for me. 🙂

    • Katherine Owen
      4 years ago

      Aw, sweetie,
      Thanks for stopping by. I’ve gotten a bit of backlash about it, so if it helps you out ~ great. I loved The Sea Of Tranquility, Gone Girl, April & Oliver, Falling Under, and mine, of course. LOL. Style and substance are so important. Thanks for the comment.

  • virginiallorca
    4 years ago

    OMG! It posted!

  • virginiallorca
    4 years ago

    Yeah. It eats at me. When Betsy Lerner posted the book trailer about how to give a cat a pill for one of her new clients I gave up on her. Love that you said, “Mine.” Seriously. When you show why something happened it goes down a little easier. Someone, maybe you, said they wanted it to work out for all my characters even though it couldn’t. . Sometimes you kinda hope they’ll fall in a well or something, eh?

    • Katherine Owen
      4 years ago

      See? We are a lot alike. I gave up on Lerner a while ago, too. Clueless is she. Your story stays with me. I’ll see your cover and think about it all over again. Keep writing. xoxo KO

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