February 21: Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would (recently or all time) or you could do something like books I liked more/less than everyone else.
I am going to talk about books I liked less than I thought I would. Not all of the books I mentioned were bad (I even rated some four stars), but they certainly didn’t meet my expectations. As usual, these are in no particular order.
Vicious by V.E. Schwab (review)
I did not finish Vicious. When I read it, I was in the middle of my exams and the characters constantly talked about the paper they had to write, which only made me feel more stressed, which is not the reason why I read books. Furthermore, the protagonist was quite unlikeable and I’ve learnt that those characters and I don’t get along. Which is very unfortunate, because some of my friends and my sister absolutely loved this book.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (review)
The premise of The Rest of Us Just Live Here sounds amazing: the book isn’t about the “chosen ones”. Sadly, I didn’t like the execution. It read just like any other contemporary novel, which was not what I had expected. I think I would’ve liked it more if it had actually taken place in a fantasy setting. Either way, I’ve read three novels written by Ness already and didn’t love any of those. Not that The Rest of Us Just Live Here, More than This and A Monster Calls were bad, but they didn’t do anything for me, unlike other readers.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (review)
To say I didn’t expect to dislike Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is putting it mildly. I already own multiple copies of this book, which is a terrible idea when you haven’t even read it yet! I did not like this novel. I had no clue what was going on: it was complete and utter nonsense, but not in a good way.
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (review)
I absolutely love The Raven Cycle. Lately, I’ve been learning more and more what isn’t so good about it (lack of POC, racism and LGBTQ representation through the white straight gaze), but I cannot help but continue to adore this series, even though I can certainly address its problematic aspects as well.
Anyway, I wouldn’t say I love The Raven King though. That book was one of the biggest disappointments of 2016. Sure, some very great things happened in TRK, but overall, it missed the charm the other books in the series do have. Maybe I’ll feel differently once I re-read it, but I doubt I will ever love this instalment as much as the others.
You by Caroline Kepnes (review)
This is another book I just couldn’t finish. Though I want to read more thrillers, I cannot stand characters like Joe. He was absolutely disgusting. I normally don’t judge other readers, but I seriously do not understand how some people root for that guy. Sure, your favourites can be problematic, but Joe took it to the next level.
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (review)
I actually quite enjoyed Falling Kingdoms, though there were already some things that bothered me. Which only got worse in the second instalment. Even though I read over 75 percent of Rebel Spring, I couldn’t finish it.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (review)
Just like The Raven King, this was the final instalment in one of my favourite series. So maybe my expectations were too high. Though I can honestly say that Crooked Kingdom was better than The Raven King, I still didn’t love it. There was much more action than in Six of Crows, and while that is amazing, the twist and turns became somewhat predictable after a while.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (review)
My sister wanted me to read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and after about a year, I finally picked it up. Unfortunately, I didn’t like – might even say ‘hated’ – it. The story is set during World War II and the protagonist is a German boy whose father is in charge of a concentration camp. I am not Jewish, but I find this narrative incredibly offensive. Bruno, the main character, stayed ignorant the entire time. Sure, he is still young, but even until the very end, he has no idea what happens to the people in the camps, or why they are even there. I honestly do not understand what this book was trying to teach us. No, I don’t necessarily think every World War II story has to be about a Jewish character (proof: I absolutely loved Salt to the Sea), but I don’t think it’s okay to set your book in World War II and have readers believe it was impossible for Bruno to know what was going on. It excuses what happened to so many people and claims that the German citizens didn’t know about it. Which is untrue.
Girl Hearts Girl by Lucy Sutcliffe
I didn’t know anything about Sutcliffe before reading this book, but I was still interested to read this because it is a diverse non-fiction book about a lesbian woman. I had expected it to be similar to We Should All Be Feminists, which is an essay, and Girl Hearts Girl is unfortunately a memoir. But even if I hadn’t thought that, I wouldn’t have enjoyed this. Sutcliffe says some biphobic things and in my opinion she is also arophobic and transphobic. Though, since I am neither aro or trans, I can’t judge that aspect as good. I was going to read this for Diversity Bingo, but I don’t think I should recommend a novel that 1) I didn’t even enjoy and 2) might potentially be harmful to some readers.
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (review)
Illuminae was the second novel I read in 2016 and it was one of my favourites. Gemina, on the other hand, I couldn’t even finish. I don’t read science-fiction often and I had no idea what was going on. I wasn’t even interested in continuing it, though I still managed to read 260 pages. But at that point, I had to admit I didn’t care about the series anymore. Furthermore, the heteronormativity started to annoy me: whenever a man and woman were having a conversation, they started flirting. It was so annoying and awkward. I no longer want to support Jay Kristoff either. If you are wondering why, just read this well-written post!
Which books did you like less than you had expected? Do you agree with any of my choices? (scheduled on January 28, 2017)