Surviving a Bad Book – An Enemy Reborn

cover (Custom) An Enemy Reborn by Michael Stackpole and William Wu.

My initial review isn’t very critical but I gave it one star and I can still remember how I felt when reading and finishing it. If I can remember those feelings from 2003, then the book is deserving of the moniker “A Bad Book”.

This isn’t an angry feeling, but that feeling you get when a favorite author writes a completely amateurish piece of garbage that isn’t even worthy to be in the Forgotten Realms series. Kind of a melancholic sadness.

So, some history.  I grew up with authors like Stackpole and Zahn and the such being favorite authors back in the very early 90’s through the mid ’00’s. Stackpole was my fantasy guy.  He wrote books like Talion: Revenant and Once a Hero, books that I love and re-read multiple times. 4 times each since 2000 and once or twice before that. Therefore, Stackpole was one of those towering pillars of an author, the kind you get excited about, the kind that naive readers believe can do no wrong, until the author in question proves it beyond all shadow of a doubt.

An Enemy Reborn was originally published with ONLY Stackpole’s name on it and in the beginning was a little blurb about how this duology (A Hero Born was the first book) came from a gaming session. That should have been enough of clue and to my wiser and older self, it would have been. But to me in 2003, it wasn’t even a blip. So I read this piece of subpar garbage and wondered how Stackpole could write something so bad and in such a style that I didn’t even recognize. It wasn’t until years later when I was cleaning up my data that I came across the fact that this now had a co-author and was probably written by him with Stackpole’s name stamped on to sell. What a betrayal, a veritable sword in the back! Yet at the same time, knowing that it is actually written by someone else allowed me to begin the healing process and to allow the 5 steps of grief to truly begin.

denial

William Wu, I FORGIVE you!

Actually, I don’t. Stackpole’s career went on a slow downill trajectory after this book and to this day I pretend that a lot of his more recent books don’t exist.

So there you go, another story of how I survived even the Publishers lying to me and selling me bad dope, really mediocre, cut with white flour dope!

 

bookstooge

 

all-the-things-meme-collection-1mut-com-1

 

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23 thoughts on “Surviving a Bad Book – An Enemy Reborn

  1. Oh yeah, you know it’s bad when you can remember it for the wrong reasons years later! Also, I have nothing against ghost writers (they have to make a living after all) but ugerjgnergnk I hate it when a famous person isn’t upfront about using a ghost writer. Actually I can’t even get my head round a writer wanting to hire a ghost writer- I mean, they’re a WRITER- just…?!?!?
    hehehe love that meme 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bookwraiths says:

    I’ve never been a Stackpole fan. Can’t recall the book I read by him, but it totally turned me off. Never picked up another one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Manuel Antao says:

    Stackpole is a good example of a Faustian tragedy…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sort of reminds me of how I thoroughly enjoyed Frank Miller’s work because I sort of started with his greater things until I finally picked up his sequel to The Dark Knight Returns. Holy sh**… But wow… that co-author thing is pretty side. I would have felt like I was lied to and got kicked in the balls upon discovery…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Yeah, my discovery of that fact of the hidden co-author was when I felt like I started growing up in terms of thinking about the Big Publishing Houses and authors who are contracted to them.
      Before that, I just assumed that authors loved every second of their authorial lives and chained themselves to desks to write their books.
      Now I know better. They’re only human too 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know this author, but I know what it means feeling “betrayed” by a writer we otherwise enjoyed in the past. It’s enough to turn you off their works forever…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wtf! So now we have covers that cheat and show things that don’t appear in the novel, blurbs and comments that cheat (‘next Tolkien, blah’) and EVEN authors who are not the real authors 😀 or only partly^^

    Too far!! 😀

    i think I skip Stackpole. I was once interested in some of his novels but will probably never get back to them.

    Btw, I really like this feature! I do enjoy reading about bad books & what made them so horrible. And know what not to read 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. […] recent Surviving a Bad Book post brought Michael Stackpole back to mind and his fantastic book Talion: Revenant. There has […]

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  8. […] An Enemy Reborn was more an introspective look at an author making a bad choice than a really bad book. […]

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  9. Just read a 2017 short story by Stackpole, and it was pretty good. If I were into steampunk, I’d probably have said it was the best story I’d read in 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      And that’s the thing, when he is on game, he is FANTASTIC.
      I read a duology by him a year or 3 ago, an alternate magical US history. It was some of the best writing I’d experienced in years. But he just left the series hanging on a huge cliffhanger and from what I can tell, has NO plans to ever return to it.

      I can’t live with that kind of writing…

      Liked by 1 person

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