So, I wasn’t intending on doing another post before the end of 2016 but when I was watching a few videos on booktube today, I came across quite a few videos titled “disappointing” or “worst” books of 2016. It got me thinking about some of the books I read this year that didn’t impress me. Out of 80 or so books, there weren’t that many, however, a lot of these do stand out and I’m curious to know if I’m the only one who wasn’t mad keen or thought that they are a tad overrated.
There are 8 books to get through and as I might ramble a little, this might end up being quite a long post, so let’s get started:
I’ve mentioned a couple of times on this blog that I’ve not been a fan of this book. Going into it the hype was booming and I was expecting it to truly blow me away but there was nothing in it to keep me engrossed. The only reasons that kept me reading were the different page formats and the impending curiosity as to how the story ended. Kady and Ezra as protagonists were flat, boring, and I didn’t like their relationship. They were the make or break for me and I was so glad to find out beforehand that they weren’t the frontrunners in Gemina (now that was one of my favourite books this year). Who/what I did find interesting was AIDAN – that was a cool computer – but it wasn’t enough to keep this book at a high rating, which ended up being 3 out of 5 stars.
I went into this not knowing much about it, apart from that there were/weren’t witches. I’ve probably said before that I love anything to do with witches and witchcraft so I was really looking forward to reading this but yet again I fell down from that cloud with a crash. For about three-quarters of this book, there was nothing of interest and it was as dull as dirty dishwater, not to mention full of tropes and clichés that I hate. What I did get from it was an instant Twilight vibe, and not in a good way. It was as if the Cullens had been stripped of intrigue, turned into witches, changed their surname to Grace (and no that’s not a spoiler as it is questioned on the actual spine of the book), and thrown into Cornwall to be the family that the main character instantly falls in love with. No. No. No. Forget it. The last quarter I did like to some extent because the mystery became a little more interesting, but the ending was anticlimactic and predictable. I could see that plot twist coming a mile off and it dampened any chance of redemption. My rating was a 2 out of 5 stars.
This was one of the first books I read in 2016 and I DNFed it just before 100 pages. I hated the main character, Molly, who was nothing short of being one of the most pathetically-sounding characters ever, even more so than Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights – considering my hatred for that book, that’s saying something. The writing was also painful, the French stereotypes were everywhere (having lived in France, I hate them), and then to top it off, insta-love!! Nope! Not happening! Suffice to say that my rating for this was 1 out of 5 stars.
If you want my longer rambling thoughts about this book of “poetry” then you can go here, but unlike a lot of people, I was obviously not a fan. To me, this was a spurting out of words that are split into chunks and worked into a way that some people deem to be poetry. Whether this is just a modern form of poetry that I can’t get into, I don’t know, but it didn’t leave me feeling anything. A lot of the messages are the feminist clichés that are now constantly regurgitated and worded differently, and whilst some people might find the messages empowering and strong, I personally don’t need to have that repeated more than once. Despite the rawness and natural subjectivity that the author put into this book, something I did admire, I only gave it a 2 out of 5 stars.
This is one of those cases where I did like the series as a whole, and yet the hype surrounding it suppressed a lot of my enjoyment. The Raven Cycle is huge in the book community and gets so much praise that you’re almost expected to love it as much as everyone else, and if not, get criticised for it. There was one point in Blue Lily Lily Blue that I didn’t like much – the portrayal of Adam’s sudden unilateral deafness – and I got quite a bit of stick for saying that bits of it bothered me, despite the fact I deal with deafness every single day of my life. That was a real sour note into my expectation of this series and it annoyed me, in fact, it still does to some extent. Going back to the series as a whole, it is still decent and likeable but there was nothing that screamed out to me as being particularly fantastic and worthy of the highest rating. In total, it would probably average out at between a 3.5-4 out of 5 stars.
I listened to this on audiobook and that is probably one of the main reasons why I hate this book. Had I read it, Juliette might still have been pathetic and whiny but the narrator made her sound even more annoying and unbearable. It wouldn’t have been so bad had the prose been written in the third person instead of through the first person and Juliette’s perspective. Whilst I didn’t like it, I was crawling through the prose and doing okay until it got to the struck out words and the repetition. I would have just about managed to read it but listening to it made me want to pull my hair out. Thirdly, there was a very bad and unnecessary love triangle with Adam and Warner, whom I really didn’t like. The one thing I did find interesting was Juliette’s power but at the same time, it wasn’t as developed as I thought it would be at the beginning. Not to mention that Adam’s younger brother James put it brilliantly when he said it was ‘convenient’ that Adam was immune to Juliette’s power. Oh, come on! I DNFed it after that and I’m glad of it. I don’t think I could have born the rest of the series. I gave it a 2 out of 5-star rating.
I don’t know what to say about this apart from that the beautiful cover and illustrations on the pages don’t match the story or writing. I can’t really explain what was wrong with it except that I couldn’t get into the characters or the story. I think it had a lot of potential but just fell flat.
I feel like this will be included in a lot of disappointed-reads lists this year for many different reasons. I liked it a lot just after I first read it because it was that foray back into the Wizarding World and the chance to see all our favourite characters come to life again, but now I look back on it, none of it truly sits well with me. And there are two reasons. One is how it’s written (not the script format but the prose in general), and secondly there is the story as a whole. I feel like it left open a lot of plot holes that JK Rowling would have usually covered and explained, and made things happen that don’t seem believable. In this respect, it read a lot more like fanfiction than an original Harry Potter story. However, it is a lot more character-driven and since we’re reading about newer characters and fan favourites who have aged, it obviously had a different feel than before – I wouldn’t expect Harry to be the Harry from the original series or any of the others to be exactly the same. There is a nineteen-year gap and though we aren’t privy to anything that went on during that time, characters would have changed and evolved as that what happens with age. Keeping on the topic of characters, one relationship I did really like seeing unfold was the friendship between Albus and Scorpius. I think that was done brilliantly and I could totally connect with their situations and personal issues. No other character interaction apart from that between Harry and Albus really seemed important.
Whilst I do have conflicting thoughts about it, what is apparent is that the magic is not lost. It is still there and obviously because it is a play, all of it will be present on the stage and in the visual effects. In truth, it’s like a Shakespeare play where to truly understand it, we need to watch it unfold rather than read it in a book.
In total I gave this a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
And that is it. My disappointing reads for 2016.
Thank you for sticking with me through this longish ramble.
What books disappointed you this year?
What did you not like about them?
Did you read any of these books?
What did you think?
Happy New Year everyone!