There is a conversation going on over at ACFW about how many points of view to use in a novel. It's generally a point of preference to me--no hard and fast rules. I personally like a story with several points of view. I'm currently working on a book written in first person, which means there is only one point of view throughout the story. So my tastes are eclectic, probably like yours. Multiple points of view work well in a plot-driven book. Keeps the action hopping. Doesn't work as well in a coming-of-age or literary story. I've noticed writers of Christian fiction tend to shy away from multiple points of view. Guess it is what readers like so we must deliver.
Whether you're a fan or not, I believe there can always be too much of a good thing. I'm currently reading a book with about 200 points of view.
Okay, maybe not 200, but more than I can count. I know because I tried. The book is entitled TO DARKNESS AND TO DEATH by Julia Spencer-Fleming. It's a Clare Fergusson/Russ Alstyne Mystery, according to the cover. You couldn't prove it by me though since these two characters are so seldom in the story I keep forgetting who they are.
There is a missing woman--a must in any good mystery--a conspiracy (though I haven't quite figured out what yet) intrigue, forbidden love, and small town scandal. The usual stuff that draws me to a story. The only problem is each chapter jumps into the heads of about 5 major players. I'm usually a few paragraphs in before I remember who it is and what his story is.
The biggest problem with so many characters is I can't decide who to root for. Maybe that's what the author was going for. This way I experience every character's motivation. Every action has a logical reason in the head of the perpetrator, though most of the reasons are dumb and not very well thought out. It's almost like reading 200 short stories that interconnect.
Regardless, it's driving me nuts. I don't know why I keep reading except I want to figure out what the author was thinking when she chose to spend so much time on so many not very interesting characters.
I have two questions for you. Make that three. #1 How many POV's do you prefer in a book? #2 Have you ever read a book that you didn't really enjoy all the way to the end and what possessed you to do so?