Books I’m Glad I Gave a Second Chance (and ended up loving)

 

booklove orangutan

I will admit, talking about books I no longer like is not always the most fun- nothing hurts as much as falling out of love with a series 😉 Which is why, after yesterday’s post, it seems only fair to talk about some books I very nearly gave up on… yet won me over by the end!

game of thrones book

Game of Thrones– okay, starting with a *shock, horror* confession: when I first picked this up, I wasn’t sold. I know, I know, it’s got a great opening, but I didn’t click with the writing style. What ended up happening was I saw the show and read a spoiler for the second season… which meant I inevitably felt I had to read them all that summer to make sure I wasn’t spoiled again! #bookwormlogic Anyway, I picked it up again and realised what a BIG MISTAKE I’d made- I may never be in love with the writing style- still these books are ridiculously exciting.

the-black-magician-trilogy

The Black Magician Trilogy– I was actually warned that the first book in this series might be a struggle to get through… and it was. That said, the last act convinced me that I *needed* to keep reading- and I’m so glad it did, because by the end of the series I’d done a complete one-eighty on my feelings for the series and fallen irrevocably in love with it. The only problem is I frequently think of this book and series when I’m considering DNFing- cos it’s that one time I cling to as proof that *it can get better*!

prince-of-thorns

Prince of Thorns– I’ve always been drawn to darker fantasy, yet it took me a very long time to take the dive into the more adult grimdark section of the genre. The number of times I considered reading this before I finally picked it up was ridiculous- and it’s ridiculous how much I loved it given my hesitation. I’m so glad I got over my initial trepidation- cos if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of reading this intense and wild series!

wolf speaker

Wolf Speaker– alright, time for another admission: this was possibly the first book I ever DNF’d. The worst part is my reason SUCKED (I think it had something to do with the list of made up terms at the beginning- is it obvious I was so young I didn’t really understand how world building worked? 😉 ) Fortunately, my sister read it instead and told me I was completely wrong. To prove to her I was right, I read the whole thing… and, yeah, she was right. The book was awesome. Thus begun my lifelong love of Pierce’s books!

percyjacksonseries

Percy Jackson– when it came to this book I simply felt it was good, but I was too old for it. And while that isn’t any less true now than it was a couple of years ago, I did decide to give it another shot- and whaddya know, I had a lot of fun with it!

six of crows duology

Six of Crows– this one is sort of cheating, cos it’s more that I read the previous Grisha series and, while I liked it, wasn’t as blown away as everyone else seemed to be. So when a new Bardugo series came out, I wasn’t rushing to put it on my shelf. Somehow though the hype train caught up to me and I couldn’t help but jump aboard. Turns out I wasn’t a complete sucker- this duology ended up stealing my heart!

court of mists and fury

Court of Mists and Fury– there seems to be a trend for me with Maas’ books- I don’t generally speaking end up sold on the series openers- HOWEVER once the series gets going, I become more than a little enthralled with the characters and relationships that I forget all my misgivings. This was precisely what happened with Court of Mist and Fury– while I wasn’t a fan of Court of Thorns and Roses, I was told book 2 redeems the series and that was one hundred percent the case for me.

pride and prejudice

Pride and Prejudice– to be fair, I never thought this was a bad book, I simply thought it wasn’t for me (oh how wrong I was 😉 ). Like a lot of books on this list, one of the greatest obstacles to enjoying it came down to poor timing. Personally, I think I was too young to properly get the wit and irony. When I got a bit older, I gave Austen another try (well I had to read Emma for school) and you know what? My taste had completely evolved and now I’m complete Austen stan 😉 Turns out our kid-selves don’t know everything- who’d have thunk it? 😉

canterbury tales

Canterbury Tales– this is simply another case of reading it too soon (and not having the faintest idea how to tackle the Middle English). So when I had to study this at uni I was DREADING it. Fortunately I was told a great tip to read it aloud- sure, I sounded like I had a funny accent, but once I got going I realised how easily I was able to make sense of it that way- and more importantly discovered the brilliance of the characterisation and stories for myself.

simarillion

Silmarillion– alright, this is admittedly not the best book ever. Certainly, it’s still not my favourite Tolkien. Nonetheless, even though I came close to DNFing this twice, I’m glad I eventually got past the midway hump- especially since some of the more beautiful stories come after that point! I also really liked the quasi-Biblical style of the prose. So in the end, I thought this was a worthwhile read. Plus, it never hurts to delve further into Tolkien’s wonderfully crafted world 🙂

So are there any books or series you nearly gave up on, yet ended up loving? Let me know in the comments!

54 thoughts on “Books I’m Glad I Gave a Second Chance (and ended up loving)

  1. I totally agree with the Silmarillion. I gave up on my first attempt because I was expecting the style to be more like LOTR and didn’t get the whole “beauty in tragedy” thing yet. After a few years, more life experience, and more studying philosophy/theology I came back and read the whole thing with much greater appreciation (and a third read-through with a highlighter and colored pens to keep track of who is related to whom amongst the elven races and human houses made it even better). I know I’m in the minority on this, but I actually like it almost as much as LOTR because of its sweeping themes.

    I especially love Tolkien’s approach to theodicy: “…when the messengers declared to Manwë the answers of Fëanor to his heralds, Manwë wept and bowed his head. But at that last word of Fëanor: that at the least the Noldor should do deeds to live in song for ever, he raised his head, as one that hears a voice far off, and he said: ‘So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been.’
    But Mandos said: ‘And yet remain evil…'”

    …besides, it provided me with my blogger handle 😀

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  2. Great post. I’m probably quite similar in that there were a few books I read when I was too young to appreciate them (P&P). I don’t know why schools force kids to read classics. I can’t imagine many fully appreciating them at 14 or 15 (or maybe it was just me).

    More recently Red Rising was the one I nearly gave up on. I was pretty close to writing off the first book as a rip off of Harry Potter and the Hunger Games. It was hearing Brown chatting about the series that convinced me to give it another go and I loved books 2 and 3.

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  3. I had a group project in high school where we had to make little home movies of The Canterbury Tales and each group picked a tale before any of us had read any of them. My group ended up with The Miller’s Tale, which was… quite the adventure. lmao.

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  4. A great subject to bring up! I had to give The Handmaid’s Tale a second try before it won me over. I just wasn’t in the right state of mind to read it the first time. Maybe I was even too young.

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  5. I loved the Game of Thrones books! I’m not sure i’d actually read the next book – if it ever actually came out 😀 I’m kinda over it? And also, don’t remember most things. My memory is overwritten by the tv show i think.

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  6. Do you know what, I’ve never read Prince of Thorns but I love Red Sister so much that I really need to give it a go. From the sounds of it, I’ll love that as well! ❤

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  7. Ah, Game of Thrones I picked that up when the show was announced long ago and years later it’s a series that still driving me mad! (There’s a post series/books that drive us to distraction!) 🙂

    The ones that stand out for me are Possession by A.S. Byatt and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver both books I put down and went back to only to absolutely fall in love with them!

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  8. This is a great post. I’m horrible with burying books on my Kindle, but every once in awhile I scroll back and see them… I’m also guilty of only reading 1st books in series. Six of Crows, GOT, Lightning Thief, and Prince of Thorns being 4 of them!

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  9. Glad that you were able to give these books a second chance and ended up loving them! 😀 Jane Austen certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, but P&P is so incredible that I’m happy you didn’t give up on her! I can understand not getting into Percy Jackson at first because it feels young, but I think the series as a whole ends up being worth it! Luckily, I was right at the target age when I first read it 🙂 And I can imagine being hesitant to read Six of Crows after the Grisha trilogy! Thank goodness SoC ended up being so fantastic!

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  10. I am glad you gave Austen another chance. Sometimes I do wonder why educators force some of the books they do on highschoolers. I didn’t fall in love with Austen until I was in college and the same for “most” of the classics I now enjoy.
    I’m not saying scrap every classic, but still, a bit more discernment would help a lot. Moby Dick? Scrap it!!!!!

    I actually have the Silmarillion on my tbr, as I tried it years ago and just couldn’t deal with it. I figure maybe now I’m mature enough (hahahahahaa) to deal with it.

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  11. I Love Pride & Prejudice! ❤ I totally agree with you that it might be difficult to get into at an early age. I had a similar experience! Love the TV-series as well, although I don't think the movie do the story justice. So happy that you gave it a second chance and liked it! 😀

    I’ve got Six of Crows on my TBR shelf and really hope to get started on that soon! I’m considering reading the Game of Thrones series. So far I’ve seen the tv-series, but I really want to read the books as well. It is a bit of an obstacle though that the series is so long! A Court of Mist and Fury is also a series that I want to read, but not got round to reading yet.

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  12. I don’t generally give books a second chance… I have to say, if they got DNFd, they tend to stay that way for me… maybe I should pick some up again! I loved a bunch of books on this list though! The Black Magician trilogy was great, but I totally get that the first one wasn’t the best… and to be honest, I haven’t liked anything she’s written besides this series!

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  13. I’ve always wanted to read the Black Magician series by Trudi Canavan, so it’s good to know that the first book is hard to get through but it picks up. I read another one of her series and remember the first book was hard to get through with that one as well. I’m still yet to try the Game of Thrones books, I’ve heard that they are worth the read because the are different to the show anyway.

    I’m glad you ended up liking ACOMAF and Six of Crows, they are great books. Great post!!!

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  14. Lol at your GOT #bookwormlogic
    This means I should give Magician’s Guild another go. Tired it before but got bored and DNF’ed it.
    Lol at your reason for DNF’ing Wolf-Speaker. I recently reread it and enjoyed it.

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  15. LOTR series is one that sprang in my mind post reading this blog. Pride and Prejudice went down the same way but I am glad I gave it another chance a few years later. So was Victor Hugo’s Led Miserables. With classics, I feel there is a certain age you ought to read them else you fall out of love with them before you even start comprehending them.

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  16. I’ve still not read the original Grisha trilogy and I’m not sure if I’m going to. I loved the Six of Crows duology, but my interest in the Grisha trilogy has waned. Is it worth reading?

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  17. Even though it may be cheating adding it to this post I’m glad you were convinced to give Leigh Bardugo a second chance with Six of Crows. 🙂 That duology is amazing (an all-time favourite of mine) and it’s so much better than the Grisha books too. Also while I can’t say I gave the ACOTAR trilogy a second chance the second book was the best of the three in my opinion. It would have been the one to draw me in if I still needed to be drawn in that is.
    Great post. 🙂 ❤️

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  18. I actually did not immediately fall in love with Game of Thrones, but it’s my favorite series now, absolutely love the characters and everything in it. Well, except maybe for some of the Daenarys chapters, they were a bit painful at times. I did not love Six of Crows and am going to live dangerously, I don’t think I can revisit it, but I’m glad you wound up enjoying it so much

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      1. I tend not to like snarky characters and I wasn’t amused by the bathroom humor. I can’t even connect with Meghan Whalen Turner’s popular Thief series because the titular thief drives me crazy. So I’m not really a fan of Percy or how he narrates his Greek myth retellings. But, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll change my mind upon a reread.

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  19. I’ve tried The Magicians Guild and it didn’t work for me? Although now reading that the first book is a bit of a struggle that might prompt me to pick it up and try again…
    I’m so glad you gave Percy Jackson another try! It’s one of my favourite series!

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  20. Great post! I agree with Game of Thrones. For the whole series, I thought the writing was dense and overly full with details, but the plot is undoubtedly exciting! I’m glad you gave Six of Crows a second chance! I just love the characters and the endless twists in the books. As for The Silmarillion, I hope to read it after I finish my current read, so I’m happy that you liked it (gives me something to look forward to)!

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  21. I had the same experience with P and P. Read it for Lit class in Form 3 and couldn’t really get it. But I was bored the Summer after and decided to finish it, loved it, and read over the beginning. Lol. A story I can read anytime now…once I have the time. Hehe.
    And yeah… Chaucer… Just found my Form Six copy a couple years ago… Aye. Maybe I’ll give it a look through soon and try your reading aloud advice 😉

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  22. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller stands out for me because 49 pages in, I nearly threw it away, but all my friends were reading – and loving – it. So I stuck it out and after about 50 pages, figured out why it was such a great book and one I remember though I read it 50 years ago. (So now you know how old I am.)

    Also, The Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole frustrated the hell out of me because Ignatius J. Reilly is an unrelenting, unredeemable pig. But the writing is hilariously brilliant, the characters absolutely unforgettable, and the plot totally unrealistic – in a way. (Except some of them are so familiar…oh boy.)

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  23. So many of these are on my “maybe I should give it a second chance” list!: A Game of Thrones, The Black Magician Trilogy (because it sounds like the next books get better), A Court of Mist and Fury, The Silmarillion (to be fair I haven’t given that a first chance yet, I’m just delaying getting to it because I feel like it’s going to be a slog). I also felt the same way about The Grisha trilogy you did, so was a bit slow in reading Six of Crows too (but am so glad I did!!).

    The other one that comes to mind for me is, surprisingly, The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book (one of the characters annoyed me and I felt like it was just another standard angel romance) so I nearly didn’t pick up the second, but parts of the ending were intriguing enough to entice me to continue (I guess I got a glimpse of the larger scope of the story) and I’m so glad I did – now it’s one of my all time favourites!

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  24. I had the same problem with Pride and Prejudice, I know there was with, but I didn’t understand it and consequently deemed it as pretentious. But I’m looking to read it again, hopefully I’ll like it better this time. Though I can’t understand why Elizabeth would fall in love with someone who doesn’t like to dance, although that’s just my personal taste.

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  25. I haven’t read Crooked Kingdom but after how Six of Crows blew my mind, I’m having a tough time convincing myself that the sequel/finale can match it. Also pretty cool that Mark Lawrence’s and GRRM’s series are on here. Who would’ve known? 😛

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