Hyped books I didn’t love and thought were *just okay*

orangutan list

Ahh the dreaded hype train- whether we know it’s going to take us somewhere awesome or if it’s gonna leave us in the dust, we’ve all jumped on board at some point or another. I’ve talked about when the hype was right and I’ve talked about when it fell flat on its face for me– today I want to talk about books that just didn’t quite make it. These weren’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination… but I also didn’t think they were the best thing since libraries were invented. I tried to pick things that I didn’t have especially strong feelings about- and for the most part, I succeeded 😉 So here’s my meh list:

gentleman's guide to vice and virtue

Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue– I kinda got why this was popular… and I also didn’t. The characters felt a bit too 21st century to me and I also thought it was a little long. I was especially bummed about this one cos I thought it would be right up my street. Sadly, not for me!

children of blood and bone

Children of Blood and Bone– this one also pains me, because it had so much potential. The world building was brilliant and the writing pretty good… it was just fell a bit short of the mark in the story and character department for me.

one of us is lying

One of Us is Lying– the twist is good… if you haven’t read And Then There Were None. Plus, I hated the murder victim so much I wanted to reach into the book and throttle him myself!

Caraval-150x225

Caraval– another twisty story… that snapped my patience towards the end. It didn’t help that I wasn’t remotely enamoured with the so-purple-it’s-sprouting-flowers language- which is saying something for me!

kiss of deception

Kiss of Deception– I thought I had a bit of a mixed reaction to this series- then I realised I don’t have a single nice thing to say about it. I quite liked the main character… until the last book when I grew bored of her. I thought the plot was okay… but it lost me somewhere in the middle. And the romance just never captured my imagination.

a curse so dark and lonely

Curse So Dark and Lonely– there were some good things that made me understand why it was hyped- the main character was dynamic and I thought her disability was well handled. That said, I simply didn’t find the story unique enough. For me, a retelling has to have a bit more oomph there, and this fell a little short.

Eragon_book_cover

Eragon– this one tends to divide people into *love* or *loathe* camps annnnd I thought it was just okay. Sure it was flawed (as you’d expect from a 14 year old writer) but I could see the fun in it.

And that’s all I have for now! (thank goodness!) Do you agree or disagree with me on any of these? What hyped books just about missed the mark for you? Let me know in the comments!

67 thoughts on “Hyped books I didn’t love and thought were *just okay*

  1. I only read one of those books (Caraval) and didn’t enjoy it either haha I didn’t like the language and was disappointed in the story too, if I remember. Somehow it just didn’t amount to what I had hoped it would. So, I totally get what you mean and probably would about the others too.

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  2. Can’t say that I’ve read any of those books, but I have a tendency to avoid overly hyped books. My expectations get too high and I’m always disappointed. I’ll give it another couple of years before I find myself in the mood to read these hyped books haha.

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  3. I’m with you on Eragon. I read that years ago and felt it was just okay.
    My husband really likes Children of Blood and Bone, but the premise just doesn’t grab me at all. Even as hyped as it is, I just don’t have any desire to read it.

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  4. I probably wouldn’t have put Eragon here. Paolini was a kid who wrote what kids loved. Though he researched and wrote the book when he was about 14, it was first published in 2002 by his parents’ independent publishing house. He was by then around 19. S.E. Hinton wrote (published) The Outsiders around the same age, and though also flawed, the story has remained a landmark for her insight about real teenagers. Eragon was not written for adults, it was written for teens who adore fantasy and want to lose themselves in it to escape from the stress of their lives. Pretty much the same for The Outsiders, written to portray the difficult world that some teens inhabit every day. A book should stand on its own, but few are written by such young writers with as much skill and verve as these two authors. Had they been adults, I wouldn’t hold back on the criticism. It’s worth reading the background on each of Paolini and Hinton. Makes me think I should skip trying to get published and stick with making dinner.

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    1. Mmm that’s fair if you feel that way (though I’d say there’s a marked difference between Eragon and Outsiders). I knew that Eragon was written by a teen- but it doesn’t change my opinion of it and personally his doesn’t change whether I criticise something in the public sphere. Plus, I put it on the list because I think it’s somewhere in the middle- not trying to bash it excessively, just saying that people tend to be clouded by nostalgia when they talk about it (to be entirely fair to the author, I can place myself in his shoes, having written books at the same age and being entirely grateful that mine didn’t see the light of day because they were not nearly as good!) To use the comparison of Outsiders just makes me even more impressed by it. Likewise, there are other books that have blown me away written by teens (all I can think of right now is Frankenstein, but I know there are more!) Regardless, I don’t mean for this list to be off-putting to writers- just express my opinion on some books I (subjectively) didn’t like as much as other people did.

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  5. Oh no. I have both Gentleman and Curse waiting to read. Lol. I hope I enjoy them. CaravaL, I had wanted to try but I saw too many less than enthused reviews and I knew I would be, unfairly, comparing it to Night Circus.
    As for Children of B and B, I loved it even though some parts I wasn’t too keen on. But! I read the second book this month and what a freaking disappointment!!!! I think it took the weakest parts of the first one and amplified those problems. Ugh.

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    1. Well I hope you enjoy them more than I did (hopefully tempering your expectations isn’t a bad thing!) Ahh yes totally get what you mean about caraval- I had seen those comparisons- no surprises when I was letdown! That’s fair! I don’t think it was bad (I just didn’t think it was as incredible as I expected). Ahh that’s such a shame! I’m sorry to hear that!!

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  6. I didn’t hate the book Eragon,but by the end of the series I hated Paolini for being such a jackass for writing such drivel and for the masses for considering it good. Puerile trash that will not stand the test of time. It was especially bad because I still a hardcore star wars fan at the time and he blatantly lifted so much that you couldn’t ignore it.

    It probably isn’t THAT bad, but its definitely at the fanfiction level of skill. If he ever does write any more books, I certainly won’t be bothering with them 🙂

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    1. hahaha! Well I’m really glad I gave up when I did then! (I don’t think I could have made it to the end of the series without hating it either tbh). Oh yes I completely get what you mean! It’s very derivative.

      And yeah I get what you mean. Same.

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  7. We sold so many copies of Children of Blood and Bone when I worked at a bookstore a while back. It was insane. I never picked it up though.

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  8. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue also didn’t work for me! But it was because the plot took a while to get going and the flawed characters didn’t do it for me, even though I knew they were going to change later on. The Kiss of Deception was impossible for me to get through. I read it a long time ago, but I still remember being infuriated at how much the romance over the plot. And we have the same thoughts on A Curse So Dark & Lonely! It was a good book by itself, but as a retelling and YA fantasy, it didn’t stand out enough :/
    great post as always! ❤

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  9. I feel the same about A Curse So Dark and Lonely. I liked the disability rep and Harper as a character but I didn’t get the dark feel about it that everyone else was loving. I also DNFed Children of Blood and Bone. I liked what I had read but I wasn’t loving it enough to carry on with it.

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  10. I completely agree with Caraval, Kiss of Deception, and Eragon! I have mixed feelings on A Curse So Dark and Lonely because I enjoyed it, but it didn’t all fully come together for me–and the sequel makes even less sense, which I wouldn’t necessarily have thought was possible.

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  11. I didn’t love Eragon either. And yes, I wanted to give such a young writer some slack (and really, it’s impressive from that perspective), but if you put the writer aside, I thought it wasn’t all that special.

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  12. You listed two of my 5-star reads. Maybe it’s that I don’t read many mysteries, but I was all in on One of Us is Lying. I even solved it before the reveal, but I adored the characters McManus created and how the story unfolded.

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  13. I agree that Eragon is a flawed, if fun, read. I enjoyed it back when I first read it as a teen, but it’s probably not one that I’d reread as an adult. I confess that I feel the same about the Harry Potter books. While I feel nostalgia for the Harry Potter world, I’d sooner rewatch the films than reread the books.

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  14. Yess! I feel the same way about The Gentleman’s Guide! When I read it I thought it was okay, but not mindblowing. It was especially sad because I had gone to the release party and had such a great time when the author discussed the book, but then when I read it I was underwhelmed. And when I first read Kiss of Deception I really enjoyed it, but as a series I really disliked it. I reread book one to continue on with the series, and it was such a struggle to get through, which isn’t typical for me with rereads. Plus, I enjoyed each book less and less, so by the time I got to the finale I just didn’t care anymore what happened. I was fully apathetic.

    Great post!

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    1. Ahh I’m glad I’m not alone!! Oh gosh that’s such a shame!! I had very high expectations too (cos it seemed like *exactly* the kind of book I’d love) but it just wasn’t for me :/ Yeah I hear you- I quite liked parts of it at first, but I also ended up enjoying every book less and less. I completely relate!

      Thank you!

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  15. I’m with you on COBAB & Caraval. I enjoyed COBAB for the most part, enough to read the sequel, but it’s gotten to the point where I just feel like I’m wasting my time. Caraval–ugh, there are so many issues I had with the book, and while I didn’t hate it, I definitely unhauled it and am never reading the rest of them.

    I mostly agree on Eragon! Haha, I have such nostalgia around those books that I don’t know if I actually like them (I haven’t read them in YEARS), or if I just love the feeling of being in high school and needing books about dragons with characters my age. Someday, I’m going to reread them and probably discover that they’re not great, but also not terrible, and I’m probably going to have fun anyway.

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    1. Yeah I hear you too. I thought there some really good aspects to it, it just didn’t blow me away enough to want to continue it. And yeah I hear you- it wasn’t the worst book ever, but I had issues with it too and unhauled it as well (the thing that disappoints me the most about that is how gorgeous the cover I had was… but in the end I was disappointed enough with it that I didn’t even want to see that gorgeous cover anymore 😉 )

      Ah I understand that! I know a lot of people like that- and it’s fair enough haha! that’d be good- I’d really love to hear your thoughts if you did that!

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  16. I dnfed ‘Childrrn of Blood and Bone’. I just wasn’t invested in the story. Maybe it was my mood back then. I think I’ll try to give it another shot sometime in the future though.

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