I read a book the other week and it's been haunting me ever since. Not in the can't-get-it-out-it-was-so-great kind of way, either. No, it was more something the author did.
Halfway through the book after the MC makes a terrible mistake (almost killing the boy she's in love with) she starts talking about her supernatural abilities, how all the popular kids at school and her parents are like her too. She explains everything and her abilities become a natural part of her thought process for the second half.
I think the author was going for suspense and intrigue, a sort of mystery of why the school was so strange. But the entire first half I was wondering if the MC could seriously be that oblivious. Then surprise she isn't an idiot she's just kept her thoughts empty of the situation so the reader wouldn't know what was happening.
Seriously, what the hell?
If you're writing a first person novel and there's something huge like: I'm a fairy; I'm a wizard; I'm a werewolf (you get the idea) how can the MC never think about it?
I felt like I'd been cheated. Like, the author couldn't create real suspense on her own without her cheap manipulation of the MC's thoughts.
There's a difference between shocking your reader but offering them chances to figure it out through subtle hints and foreshadowing and intentionally lying to them in order to shock them. At least, I think there is.
So I'm curious, how much surprise do you think is okay? Where do you draw the line when keeping facts to create suspense? As a reader, as a writer?