23 June 2016

So it’s a pretty well known fact that I read obsessively.

Typically, my favourite genre is speculative fiction (which is really a fancy, but all-encompassing term for fantasy and science fiction).

In recent years, I’ve tried to expand the range of genres I read. I’ve picked up historical novels, horror novels, thrillers, prize-winning fiction (which I think is often over-hyped).

I enjoyed venturing outside speculative fiction, but I also didn’t really find anything that lived up to the breadth of world-building and complexity of speculative fiction. So while I’ll still be exploring other genres, speculative fiction remains my absolute favourite, and by a very wide margin.

But this post isn’t about my reading habits. In reading a lot, it’s inevitable that you come across crap books. So today, because I actually also want to get my own thoughts settled about this subject, I’ll be writing about some absolute rubbish books that I’ve come across in the last couple of years.

There will be some mild spoilers ahead, and of course, everything I wrote is my own opinion, which is actually a thing people are entitled to have (who knew?).

  1. An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

This was one of the most hyped books of 2015 — everyone who read it raved about it. Long before it was released, I was already rearranging my TBR list to accommodate it. I had high expectations and I thought I would love the book as soon as I opened it.

And, you know this is coming, I was so, so, so, so disappointed. Which is already an understatement, frankly.

Filled with bland characters, seriously bad plot holes and worst of all, A LOVE SQUARE. Not even a love triangle. Oh no, the author had to go all the way.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed by a book, ever. Angered, yes. Saddened, yes. But disappointed, this book takes the medal for being the absolute worst.

2. Legend by Marie Lu

I was really excited to read this. It was well known, and being recommended all across my Tumblr feed. And while this wasn’t as bad as the one above, it was still pretty bad.

I think the worst part was how unbelievable the protagonists were. Let me clarify: the book is narrated in first person from two different character’s POV. The problem was, the two of them sounded exactly the same. In tone, in speech, mannerisms of description. It was so bad that when a new chapter started in the other character’s POV, I was totally confused by the new scene, because I thought it was still the same person narrating.

And because it’s also a YA dystopian novel, the two protagonists, of course, end up in a romance. Which I thought was overly-contrived, undeveloped and unbelievable.

I felt more sorry for this book than upset with it. I’ve seen some brilliant fan art for the book, and it holds so much potential for something greater, but unfortunately, it didn’t even reach the threshold for tolerance.

3. The Throne Of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas

Currently one of the most popular YA series in the world, four books in the series have been published, along with miscellaneous things like a prequel and a colouring book.

I loved the first and second books of this series. I want to say I still love them, but after the third and fourth books, I can only look back on them with bitterness.

For context, I loved the first book. Beautiful world building, fantastic female characters, and good writing. I loved it so much that I pre-ordered the second book, and talked about it so much that my friends later pre-ordered me the third book for my birthday (which, of course, was where it all went downhill).

But in the third book, all the things I had loved in the first two books just… Disappeared. The characters I loved are sidelined and the protagonist experiences a literal 360° character evolution into some unrecognizable creature.

I’ve never seen an author so callously betray the trust of a reader before. Suffice to say, I was deeply traumatized, and Sarah J Maas is officially boycotted.

4. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This one is yet another really hyped book (are you sensing the pattern yet?). I actually had my reservations about picking this up since Goodreads only rated it a 3.8 out of 5. And while you should always take Goodreads ratings with a handful of salt, they tend to be a decent gauge half the time.

A while back, the movie rights were sold and an actual movie was being made and had one of my favourite actors (Asa Butterfield) in it, so I figured, it was time to read the book.

And boy, was I disappointed. The cover, I think, had meant to convey a sense of disturbing creepiness, of some frightening eldritch experience lying between the pages, but all I got out of this book was “meh”.

There are some truly spectacular and creepy photos included, but honestly, the plot was bland, the characters were bland and I wasn’t once frightened while reading this book. And if you know me at all, I scare very easily. But this book did zilch to me, and I slept peacefully, not attacked by nightmares.

I’m not overly disappointed by this book because the 3.8 on Goodreads had already lowered my expectations. But I do hope the movie turns out a lot better.

So that was a list of books that were, ultimately, disappointing. Remember to take the opinions above with an open mind; for all I know, the things I hate in books are things you like.

I expect I’ll probably put up a similar post for books that I actually like in the future, so there’s that to look forward to??

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