Unpopular Opinion Time: Books I Hate That Most People Love

Soooo I’ve promised this for a long time and I figured now was as good a time as any (before I chicken out again 😉). I basically went through Goodreads and found a whole bunch of popular and well-loved books that I hated. I quickly realised I have a *ton* of unpopular opinions- which is why I tried to pick the ones that would be the most controversial, cos that’s just how I roll 😉 Plus, I wanted to go with some books I’ve never talked about on the blog before that could get people very angry… Ah well, what’s the worst that can happen? (she says as she ducks behind a pile of books and bananas) Let’s do this! (also, fair warning, I may or may not have been in a right mood when I wrote this, so prepare yourself for some harsh opinions cos I was clearly RARING TO GO!)

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The_Eye_of_the_World_UKEye of the World- I’m about to have my fantasy credentials taken away for this one, but I’ve never made a secret of the fact I don’t like Jordan’s writing style. Stillll it is one of those stalwart books of the genre and it makes me feel a little guilty that I’m not well-versed in it. On the positive side (which you’re not going to get much of in this post 😉) I have heard amazing things about the audiobook narration and I’m sorely tempted to give it another try!

The_Wise_Man's_Fear_UK_coverWise Man’s Fear– this one hurts, because I genuinely loved Name of the Wind, so it was as much of a surprise to me as all the other fans that I didn’t like the sequel at all. What made it even worse for me was realising how people’s critiques of the first one (which I turned a blind eye to) could easily be applied here: especially that Kvothe is an annoying Marty Stu. And the plot- oh the plot… just endlessly recounting his *unbelievable* exploits. It was unbearable. Hopefully, this is just a terrible case of middle book syndrome and when we (eventually) get the finale it’ll make up for this one (but I won’t hold my breath). Oof the gloves came off there- let’s move quickly onto something that will surely not make people angry at all…

handmaid's taleHandmaid’s Tale– yes, I’m going there. Even though I’ve managed to go *years* on here without so much as sneezing in this book’s direction, I’m finally going to come out and say it: I don’t like the (purportedly modern classic) Handmaid’s Tale. Now, I’m going to try and soften the blow a little and say that Atwood can definitely write. Plus, I didn’t completely despise it when I first read it- mostly I was just confused that my teacher had recommended it… buuut over time I’ve developed a (perhaps irrational) hatred for it. Because there are some serious flaws with this book and the more I think about it, the more it drives me crazy. Maybe it’s cos I love fantasy, but the world building is r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s. I mean, why-oh-why in a patriarchal society that values the family, would they take a mother away from her husband and child!?! The logical plot would be either forcing a single woman into this situation OR making a miserable wife stay married to her husband (incidentally, A Thousand Splendid Suns, based on actual historical events of what happens under oppressive theocratic rule, managed to explore both these possibilities). Also, HOW?! How has any of this come about?!!? You can’t just say that the government collapsed overnight and leave it at that. And I just didn’t feel like this was in touch with the religious theology it was trying to respond to. I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief here. Dragons make more sense to me.

queen of air and darkness bookQueen of Air and Darkness– well, it makes sense that the rating is so high, cos most lukewarm fans have stopped reading by now… more fool me that I kept on with it! Because I made the mistake of thinking this would actually fulfil the premise of this trilogy and not just be filler for another series- silly me! Forgive my harshness, I was so dissatisfied with these books and I’m still a little salty about it.

darkest mindsThe Darkest Minds– for me this can be summarised as: underwhelming. To me, it’s awfully similar to Shatter Me (I’d say emphasis on the awful, but it’s a bit too boring for that moniker). Still, I see on goodreads that others got a lot more out of this series. Plus, I know my sister loved it, so there you go, I probably should have asked her why before doing this post 😉

long-way-to-a-small-and-angry-planetLong Way to a Small and Angry Planet– am I missing something?! Why is this book so loved? For me, I felt like nothing happened, it was irritatingly preachy about overly simplistic ideas and the reptile sex made me feel icky. But clearly, I’m in the minority with this opinion! So, I guess go forth and multiply with this weird alien-book-baby.

 

foxhole courtFoxhole Court– I’m always amazed at how popular this is. Especially cos it’s got so much of the things that the people who love it usually hate (rapey vibes). In all honesty though, I have respect for how well this indie series has been received. I mean, it’s pretty cool of the community to make this book such a success out of nowhere. It’s not for me though and I don’t get the hype.

looking for alaskaLooking for Alaska– okay admittedly, part of the reason I’m mentioning this book is because it makes a change from dragging on TFIOS, which has similar issues in terms of pretentious writing style (oopsie, did it again). I don’t know why, but to me this felt a bit self-indulgent and like a nothing kind of a book. Personally, I found it even more disappointing that it had a very similar (spoiler warning) love interest dies at the end plot. I felt like Green had just one type of story to tell- and it’s not the story for me.

wonder womanWonder Woman– again, am I missing something? I wasn’t planning on trying this- but so many people said it was good. It wasn’t. This was a very lacklustre superhero book by an amazing author (which makes it worse, cos she’s capable of doing SO MUCH BETTER!!)

 

gormenghastGormenghast– ahhh such a huge disappointment! I’d heard such amazing things, I bought the entire trilogy (and read it all). Overly descriptive and far less impressive in the political shenanigans department than I was expecting, this wasn’t nearly as impressive as I was led to believe.

 

beautiful disasterBeautiful Disaster– I wasn’t actually sure about including this in the post, because I didn’t feel the need to revisit this romance after I reviewed it… then I saw the rating and thought why the hell not. Interestingly, I’ve seen some rants over the years slating this book (for allegedly abusive content), but that wasn’t my takeaway. Sure, I hated the characters, but really it’s the absurd quick-pace structure that did this book in for me.

Okay- dare I ask- have a just dragged one of your favourite books? Any chance you agree with me on one of these? Let me know in the comments!

Popular Books I Hated

A lot of these aren’t necessarily highly rated (most of these don’t have the best GR scores) they’ve just been read by *a lot* of people. But for the ones that are well loved- try not to crucify me for having a different opinion- thanks! The clue is in the title: these are not books that I liked, so don’t get upset that I didn’t like them. And if you think the title’s harsh, just consider the fact that I could’ve titled this “shit books that I hate” like Lily C on Youtube (really recommend by the way).

Fifty Shades of Gray– let’s start with the obvious one. I can’t be diplomatic about this: I think Fifty Shades of Grey is one of the most loathsome books of all time. In fact, it’s my quintissential example of a bad book (so thanks for being that I guess, everyone needs a go-to bad book). I mean, you’re free to like it, whatever floats your boat, but it’s objectively awful: badly written, has a bad plot (*ahem* no plot), bad romance (not the ra ra ooh la la kind), bad sex, bad characters, bad messages. Just bad. It reads like it was written on a Blackberry when the author did her groceries… and I know for a fact half of that statement is 100% true. *Sigh*.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin– I started my book blog to complain about this book- no joke! (so I guess I owe it a vote of thanks, cos I don’t think I’d ever have plucked up the courage to get going otherwise). This was my first review (not the best review, but whatever)- I was bored for huge parts of it and when I wasn’t bored I was raging.

Da Vinci Code– I don’t really need to explain this one. It’s a dumb book. The plot is dumb, the characters are dumb and the writing is dumb (also I read this when I was thirteen and it made me lose faith in adult’s taste in books for a good five years).

The Selection– I feel like this is low hanging fruit at this stage. I hated the characters and if I’d heard of the bachelor before I’d read it, I never would’ve picked it up, cos this not. a. good. idea. Plus, America (the character not the place) sucks.

As I Lay Dying– this book basically explains why I hate postmodernist claptrap: it’s illogical, it makes no sense and the people peddling it are out of their mind with pretentiousness (and that’s me being generous).

Nutshell– bravo for butchering Shakespeare! (*sarcasm detected*) Perhaps I wouldn’t have hated this up-itself book so much if it hadn’t been a retelling of Hamlet- oh the folly of writing such crap and calling it intellectual. Then again, it’s also really crass, so I don’t think it could have stood on its own merit anyway.

Lolita– I don’t despise Lolita- it is at least well written. But it is also completely disgusting and I hated every second of my experience with it. I would have happily DNF’d this if it hadn’t been for a class.

The Sun is Also a Star– this is probably the highest rated book on GR to make it onto this list- I just… hated it. The premise is stupid and basically reads like instalove on acid. And the female lead rubbed me the wrong way.

The Fault in Our Stars– yep grab your torches and pitchforks! This isn’t the worst book on here, but I still didn’t like this book. It was predictable, the characters didn’t talk like normal human beings let alone teens and some of the *oh-look-at-this-symbolism* went too far- that scene where they’re snogging in the Anne Frank museum is in poor taste.

The Eye of the World– I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry. I really didn’t like this and I don’t think anything’s going to change my mind. It’s dull and full of infodumps and feels like a ripoff of far better fantasy. I have never looked at the page count more for any other book.

Girl with a Pearl Earring– way to ruin a great painting with stupid internal monologues and presumptive bilge. The worst thing about this is that the mc’s voice and story doesn’t even fit with the feel of the painting. It doesn’t capture any of the essence of Vermeer’s artistry and feels like it’s piggybacking off of a much finer piece of work.

Okay, so agree or disagree with my list? Do you hate any popular books? Let me know in the comments!

Books With The (Somewhat) Dreaded Book Travelling Syndrome

Book Travelling Syndrome Definition: the art of getting so lost in your own story that plot, character and everything else is forgotten in favour of random adventures

Yes, I made the term up, and no, it’s not taking off. I feel like the response to this post could be very Mean Girls…

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Whatever- it’s totally a thing. And I know it’s a thing, cos it’s something I’ve struggled with as a writer. So I’ve decided to compile a list breaking it down, into the good, the bad, and, well you get the idea- enjoy:

The Good

Hobbit_cover

The Hobbit– Yup, even my beloved Hobbit has it, that’s why I got it into my head that this was a good idea in the first place (as I explained here). I won’t say I have no regrets about this cos it’s not always a great storytelling strategy. At least, most of the time, as we’ll come to see…

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Neverending Story– again, this book tricked me your honour, cos sure it has “neverending” in the title, which would imply boredom, but this is *far* from boring. In fact, it’s one of the most entertaining books I’ve ever read. I owe it so much as a story- but also *shakes fist* curse you for filling my head with so many bad structuring mechanisms.

The Bad

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Eragon– really not the worst book on this list- but it does meander about a lot pointlessly.

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Phantastes– it’s alright, but it has plenty of pointless meandering about and is quite forgettable.

And the Ugly…

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Eye of the World– I’m sorry to disappoint fans of this book, but oh-my-gawd I was so bored with this! I think this was like a sledgehammer over the head that book travelling *doesn’t always work*- so I guess some thanks is in order, in a way.

The_Wise_Man's_Fear_UK_cover

Wise Man’s Fear– one of the most disappointing sequels I have ever read. And one of the worst things about it was all the unnecessary different places (inevitably where Kvothe would pick up another skill, then be on his merry, ambling way).

Hope you enjoyed that very random post- my cold-smothered brain thought was a good idea… What books do you think suffer from book travelling syndrome? Let me know in the comments!

Eye of the World Book Review/Rant

The_Eye_of_the_World_UKI will be brief about this book: I hated it. (See Robert Jordan- that’s how to be succinct!) The only positive thing I can say about it was the prologue was decent- but it was downhill from there. It would be generous to say that reading this book felt like watching paint dry, because at least then I might have felt like I’d achieved something. Instead, I felt like I’d wasted my time reading a rehashed, dull version of every single fantasy book I’ve ever read. I swear there wasn’t anything new or different or even interesting about it.

Obviously just by virtue of it being fantasy, it’s marketed as the next Tolkien. But it has about as much in common with Tolkien as a cheap knock off “designer” bag in Camden has with a genuine Prada- because there is absolutely nothing special about the plot, the characters, or even the way-too-thought-out setting. It’s a walking cliché. If you don’t believe me, try doing “The Fantasy Novelist Exam” with Robert Jordan in mind http://www.rinkworks.com/fnovel/ (I may have made this blog just to share this quiz, because it’s awesome). There is no way Robert Jordan could have passed this test- I mean he loses a point at 33 just for being Robert Jordan. Which is fair.

And, as I’ve already mentioned, it was boring to boot. I read an excellent blog yesterday by Matthew Wright about info dumps and it instantly reminded me of Jordan, because there are info dumps galore here. I couldn’t move three pages without more exposition. It felt like Robert Jordan had written an entire saga of backstory and he was just desperate to show it off- whether it enhanced the plot or not (which it did not). It’s a never ending stream of tangents that drags on for 800 pages! 800 pages!!! One day they may use his book as an example of how not to write. Then again, I can’t imagine professors being cruel enough to set this book to their students.

Evidently, I won’t be continuing on with this series- even if Brandon Sanderson did write the end (I love Sanderson, but I won’t suffer through god-knows-how-many Jordan books- even for him).

Rating: 1/5 bananas (cos I need some ammunition to throw at Robert Jordan’s head if he ever comes back from the dead!)

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