It's not that it's bad. I don't think it is. It's not that it's poorly written. It isn't. Some bits are quite lovely and lyrical and excellent. By rights, I should like these--I love Robin McKinley's work with an undying passion, and there is a huge overlap in fandom if recommendations and Amazon are any judge. People tell me they're good books, and I think they're probably correct.
But it just...doesn't...seem...to...work on my brain.
I can identify the quality of the writing and I am completely unaffected by it. It goes in one eyeball and out the other without stopping between. I have tried several books and I can finish one and realize that I have absolutely no idea what happened anywhere in the course of the book. I didn't follow it at all.
It's almost like reading books when I was kid that were a little too tricky. I would read them, and I would go "Huh...?" and then maybe a couple years later, I'd pick it up, and it would be a great book. But at the time, it wasn't that it was incomprehensible, each sentence made sense, I just couldn't absorb what was happening. I would find myself drifting through whole pages with no sense of what just happened. It just...doesn't...show up.
Unfortunately, I think my reading comprehension's pretty close to the top of my game--I don't think you pack on too much more grey matter this far after adolescence. (Possibily if I was bitten by a radioactive brain or something...) So I begin to suspect that I may never read McKillip and get anything out of it.
Maybe it just needs more humor. I don't think I've seen a single joke yet. I would kill for a joke about now.