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!

The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet Made Me Furious

long-way-to-a-small-and-angry-planetThis review has taken me ages to write. Partly because I when I finished I couldn’t articulate what I didn’t like about it and why- I was just left with a string of letters for feelings that went something like this:

Arrggggggregjejgkldrjjjsnbsnkbgjgerjgw

On the surface level, there were loads of reasons to dislike this book. For starters, the plot is lacking and the characters were lousy. Take Rosemary for instance- supposed to be the life and soul of the story- but half the time she’s a bit of a dishcloth (too shy to have a personality) and the next she’s a badass super intelligent flirt- not that the second would have been such a bad thing, but there was no consistency, so it felt a bit like she kept having a personality transplant.

But plenty of other people have criticised the book for those reasons. What really bothered me was something else entirely.

Now I really struggle to enjoy books that ram their message down my throat– regardless of whether I agree with it. But what I hate more than anything is dumb, lazy messages. This had a bit of both- so let’s go through them:

  • War is bad– yes we can all agree- got anything more nuanced to say? No- ah well, it’s not like there’s thousands of years of human thought on the subject… *head in hands*
  • Anyone can be the villain of a story– when Rosemary’s father is found out to have dealt illegal arms (used to kill a ton of people) the nice “voice of reason” character says that it’s a-okay cos anyone could end up doing wrong without even realising it…. Well that’s wholly pessimistic and just a bit wrong. In reality, you actually have to do a lot of evil stuff before you get the reputation of being evil. Let’s be honest, people that do evil shit have to take responsibility for their actions- Rosemary’s father did something dodgy, end of.
  • It’s alright as long as you’re trying– sometimes that’s a fair point- when you’re not trying to make a moral argument, that is. Because not only is it a naff thing to say, it’s also a cop out to excuse behaviour of people that stand by in the face of evil. I prefer J K Rowling’s attitude of admiring bravery against the odds (to paraphrase some of her interviews). Much more inspiring.
  • There’s no such thing as objective morality- it’s all about perspective. (Ah nice bit of moral relativism to brighten up the day) To illustrate this, there is a scene where some alien thieves take their stuff and punches one of them in the face- but it’s all right because of their background. Violence and theft is totally excusable for some people/aliens- and that’s because they just don’t know better! If that isn’t the soft bigotry of low expectations I don’t know what is. In my book- if you treat people like they don’t have to abide by certain rules, because they’re just not capable of adhering to the same moral standards, then that’s bigoted. Oh and to top it all off, one of the characters explains that they accidentally offended one of the thieves, so actually they deserved to get hit. So *obviously* it’s your fault if the crooks aren’t nice and peaceful- you must have unknowingly offended them. Plus offence taking is always an excuse to get violent people!
  • Reptile sex is cool. I know what she’s getting at but seriously, as a metaphor for inclusivity and integration, this is a bit shit. Because this is basically bestiality and reptile sex is categorically not sexy. And if that makes me “specieist” then so be it- cos as far as I’m aware bestiality is still a crime. It doesn’t matter if you tell me it’s attractive- I have to feel it. And while we’re on the subject of the romance- why do they have to sit around and discuss their feelings- sounds like an awful lot like the negotiations in 50 shades and that’s also categorically not romantic
  • Oh and don’t help people with depression– there’s a nice metaphor about letting people die if they want to- so that’s nice… I guess? This is a new idea that’s been gaining popularity among people that know absolutely nothing about psychology. Apparently some people think that getting rid of the stigma surrounding mental illness means normalising it so that treatment no longer becomes necessary… cos that’s a good idea :/ In all seriousness, seeking help is often one of the hardest things for someone with a mental illness to do- in fact so often not being able to see that they need help is a symptom. It’s *not helping* to say “ah well, that’s just their reality, leave them to it”.

All of this ideological bullshit gets in the way of the story- which explains why there isn’t one for 90% of the book.

Rating: 1 measly banana

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So yeah- I clearly hated this- but I know a lot of people feel very differently. *I want to hear your opinions*. Have you read this? Did you love it or loathe it? Let me know in the comments!