Books I Read Thanks to Negative Reviews and Ended Up Loving

A couple of months back I talked about *all the positives with negative reviews* and one of the things I mentioned was how they can get you to EVEN MORE read books. And today I’m proving that point with a list of books that I read because of negative reviews. Sometimes you just need more of a kick to get to something you’ve been putting off; sometimes negative reviews point out things you might love! Here’s just some of the times it happened for me:

Hazel Wood– I have to admit, I was first lured into checking this book out because of the cover. Then I heard it was about fairy tales and my interest was piqued. Because it was an unknown author, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to give it a try, especially given some of the mixed reviews that were coming out. HOWEVER, when I actually read the reviews complaining about its slow pace, I stopped worrying, because while that criticism is valid, when I’m in the right mood for it, a leisurely plot is exactly what I need. And some of the other complaints were so invalid… I picked the book up in spite of them! Really glad I did because it’s one of my favourite fantasy reads!

Bear and the Nightingale– I was a little hesitant to start this because of all the hype. HOWEVER, I actually found negative reviews helpful in lowering my expectations. Not only did they make me aware of the slow pace before going into it, one review helpfully said the reason they didn’t like it much was because as an Eastern European they were so familiar with the stories it didn’t feel as cool as people were making out… For me personally this just added points for authenticity!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone– in the days before blogging, I heard good and bad things about this book. Ironically, I didn’t feel like I shared the same taste as some of its and in the end was more curious about what some of critics were saying… who knew I would end up raving about how much I love this book forever?!

An Enchantment of Ravens– the weird thing about this book was that I saw mostly negative reviews for it- and still my curiosity was there. In the end, reviewers arguing that it didn’t measure up to the author’s second book, Sorcery of Thorns, pushed me to read it sooner rather than later, because I figured I wouldn’t want to have that negative comparison in my head (funnily enough, while I love Sorcery of Thorns, I sometimes feel even more enchanted by Enchantment of Ravens– they’re both great books for different reasons!)

Cruel Prince– obviously I’d heard of this book because it was ridiculously hyped. And I’d read some good stuff by the author before, so I was vaguely curious. But what made me desperate to pick it up was actually someone critiquing it who didn’t like YA. Their candour pointing out everything they didn’t like made me realise “hey, this has all the ingredients of YA fantasy that I LOVE”. So, of course, I raced to get a copy and I’m really glad I did! If you need a fun YA series, then this will be right up your street!

Wilder Girls– everyone that’s read reviews for this book will know it’s really hit or miss. Naturally, I heard plenty of the criticisms before giving it a try. AND YET, I was so swayed by the concept, I didn’t care. It turned out the issues people had with it being gory and strange were fair… but the praise made sense too! For me, the good definitely outweighed its flaws! I’m glad I listened to my gut on this one.

Red Rising– okay, this is more of a case of my interest being SUPER HYPED that I didn’t feel I could read it. I was so scared of it not living up to my expectations that I talked myself out of reading it. But eventually I came across a review saying it took too long to get going… weirdly this made me more ready to pick it up! I figured even if I didn’t enjoy it at the start it would get better and my expectations were lowered enough to give it a go. Turns out I had nothing to fear because this was exactly my cup of tea!

Stranger on the Beach– weirdly enough, I heard about this book in a lukewarm review from someone who nearly always gives positive reviews. And even more strangely, when I read the book, I understood why she wasn’t crazy about it… BUT I also saw a lot of cleverness to the writing and I ended up incredibly impressed!

Catcher in the Rye– I heard so so many negative things. I went in assuming that I would be one of the many people that didn’t enjoy this book… but from the second I started reading I was pulled in by the voice. I saw instantly why people didn’t like it- however I also saw the realism and depth that had gone in to creating such a strong sense of character. Holden Caulfield may think I’m a phony for saying this, but

My Lady Jane– I was very worried about this not living up to all the acclaim- especially given how it can be really hard to gauge whether the humour will land. I stopped overthinking it after I saw some negative reviews saying they didn’t find it funny- I figured if I was in the same boat, I wouldn’t be alone. LUCKILY, the joke was on me once I read it, cos I thought it was hilarious. I shouldn’t have been so hesitant.

So, have you read any of these books? What books did you find thanks to negative reviews? Let me know in the comments!