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

 

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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!

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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.

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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*!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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? 😉

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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.

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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!

The Very Best Anti Heroes

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So I’ve been talking quite a bit about who’s the very best at being bad guys lately. And I’ve also chatted about some of my favourite villains before. But do you know what I’ve never done on here? Got into who my favourite anti-heroes are- which is why I made this list! I have quite the lineup for you, so lettttts bring out the contestants:

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Dorian Gray– possibly the quintessential anti-hero. What makes his journey so enticing is that he starts off as little more than a blank slate, yet as the story goes on, his little faults were drawn out and painted onto a horrifying canvass! (which, incidentally, is literally the plot for the book 😉 )

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Doctor Faustus– speaking of the ULTIMATE anti-hero, can we get a round of applause for the original schmuck-that-sold-his-soul-to-the-devil?! Louder- not sure he can hear you in hell…

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Macbeth– we’ve got to get a Shakespearean hero in here somewhere. And man, is Macbeth a killer anti-hero- I mean, he’s literally a killer and he’s not much of a squeaky clean hero (out out damn spot… which was technically said by his wife)

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Galharrow– a newbie, but a goodie, Galharrow may be rough around the edges, but he’s wicked funny and remarkably sympathetic (probably one of the nicer ones on this list).

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Prince Jorg– I was so tempted to fill up this list with *all* the Mark Lawrence characters- because I’m pretty confident he’s the king of anti-heroes at this point- but in the end I decided to just go with Jorg because he really takes the biscuit (and stabs you in the face afterwards).

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Narrator from Notes from Underground– this unnamed narrator is quite the misery guts- eaten up with resentment and anguish, he’d give even Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov a run for his money- and that’s saying something!

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Robert Wringhim Colwan– before there were any other confessions related books or movies, this guy was doing the dirty. Possibly crazy or enticed by a demon- who can say!?

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The Godfather– so you come to me on the day of little importance to me and you ask me for an anti hero… and I’m gonna point you in the direction of the original godfather- cos he strokes cats in a menacing manner! (not something he actually does in the book, but whatever)

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Kaz Brekker! Yes, his name comes with an explanation point. It’s deliberate.

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Victor Vale– I feel almost mean putting him on this list, cos he’s so misunderstood… but also technically quite bad 😉

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Celaena Sardothien– okay, some of you may say “she’s not an anti-hero”- and yeah, that’s probably true by now, sorta… but she did literally start out as an assassin and was still happily killing people till book 4 (though most of them technically deserved it)

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Jaime Lannister– just about any hero from GOT would do, but honestly, none have had a bigger turnaround than Jaime. I started out loathing this guy- no one could have convinced me at the start that I’d end up praying he doesn’t die!

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Adelina– Adelina has one of my *favourite* character arcs- which I can’t get into cos of spoilers, but it’s sooooo good (read it)

And we’ll stop at thirteen, cos that seems appropriate for Halloween 🙂

So do you agree with my choices? Who are your favourite anti-heroes? Let me know in the comments!

Emperor of Thorns Was a Sharp One

*No spoilers!*

emperor of thornsI’m an endings person. I’ve mentioned this before- I’ve always thought there’s no point starting well and ending badly. That cathartic chord of a well struck conclusion is where it’s at for me. And I’m not the only one that thinks this- series are often judged on their endings- so there was a lot of pressure for this book, the last in a so-far excellent series, to deliver that perfect final note.

And boy- what an ending this was! To say that the tempo was raised in this book would be an understatement. So far the journey had been mental, but even then there was no way to see where the road was heading. The direction it took was on another plain (quite literally- it is fantasy after all). With more than one twist of the knife, this story skewered my heart and dragged it up through my throat. Every wild turn gave me palpitations. Lawrence said in the afterword that he wanted to end this series on a high- and by god did he do that. (And by high I mean: mind-blowingly, soul-crushingly good)

As you all know by this stage, I love Jorgy. But what was a marvellous addition to this book was having sections dedicated to the villainous Chella. Yes, that’s right, this book has villains to offset its anti-heroes. It added another dimension to the book.

And like always, it was amazingly well written:

“The scars of the briar mark me, a calligraphy of violence a message blood-writ, requiring a lifetime to translate”

“Careless words scattered like broken glass for the Brettan to pick a path through. Chella came to Kai’s aid before he cut himself”

“I’m only an echo and I feel only an echo of the love he would have had for you. But it’s a very loud echo.”

I mean that just speaks for itself!!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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Do you like this series? Are you planning on picking it up? And which book do you reckon ended especially well? Let me know in the comments?

Prince of Thorns Dug Its Claws Into Me

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Well everyone has one of these once in a while- a chance to say “I was wrong”. And I am so happy to do that. Because this is one of those rare occasions when I gave a book another chance and ended up loving it. Despite having read the first chapter, though “nah this is not for me”, and given this up- thanks to Drew’s endless recommendations for this book and author, I decided to give it another go- and I am so glad I did!

I adored the tone of the book and the voice of the protagonist. In fact I especially liked the dark, twisted main character. Because if you like anti-heroes, then this is the perfect book for you- Jorg is definitely the mother of all anti-heroes.

Other than that, this book is fast paced and intense. The setting- a futuristic fantasy version of our world- is right up my street. I am so intrigued about where this series goes. And with such good plotting I feel very certain in the knowledge that the rest of this series is going to be one hell of a ride.

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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Have you read this? Did you like it? And what book did you end up loving after giving it a second chance? Let me know in the comments?