Just recently finished Peter V. Brett's book, "The Warded Man". Christ, talk about one of the most lifeless books I've ever read. Talk about shapeless characters, pathetic worldbuilding, laughable dialogue, you name it. The aggravating thing is that the novel seemed to start off promising enough. I was ready for a story crafted with love and care comparable to The Name of the Wind series, or the depth and competence of Brian Ruckley's Winterbirth trilogy. No such luck, I'm afraid.
Last entry, I wrote about the tendency to judge books by their covers, or by their first several hundred pages. The pendulum swings both ways, I'm afraid. Several books come to mind: The Way of Kings, Across the Face of the World, The Edge of the World, The Warded Man, others. All great covers, all horrible books. Judge books by the authors, I suppose, rather than their covers. But even by that standard, it'd be wrong to judge George R.R. Martin by Nightflyers or Armageddon Rag, or Scott Bakker by Neuropath. That's not to say Nightflyers or Armageddon Rag or Neuropath are good or bad in their own right, just that an individual book might not be the best gauge of an author's ability. I hope anyone reading my writing wouldn't judge me by something I'd written three, two or even one year ago. Anyway, take a look at the covers in question.
Don't take my word for it, judge for yourself. The way I see it, there's just too much good stuff out there to waste time at the bad. But the only way to really know is to read the good and the bad. Buyer beware, at least.