Some of my favorite videos to watch on BookTube are when people discuss some of the more negative reactions to books they have read– be it negative reviews, or a segment talking about what they didn’t like in a book they overall enjoyed, unpopular bookish opinions, an unhaul, or their least favorite reads of the year. So today I’m here to throw in my negative-two cents (lolgedit) discuss my top 5 most disappointing reads of 2015.
Honorable mention (6). Insurgent by Veronica Roth.
I will sing it to the high heavens: I hate Tris more than any other YA protagonist ever. I think she’s whiny, dishonest, and idiotic. Her saving grace in Insurgent, the reason I gave the book 4 stars instead of much much lower, was how Veronica Roth portrayed her PTSD from the events of Divergent. I actually felt something for her, and really enjoyed the first hundred pages or so of this book. Roth’s writing really kept me hooked, even through my intense loathing of the point-of-view character. Ultimately, I decided it’s not worth it for me to finish this series because I truly despised it, but this book gets honorable mention instead of Top 5 because for the first 100 pages, Roth had me wrapped around her little finger.
5. The Young Elites by Marie Lu.
I posted a rather scathing review of this book, but one I’m particularly proud of because I put a lot of thought into why I didn’t like this book instead of just 1-starring it and never speaking of it again. I found this book super cliche– all its attempts to be edgy and subvert the YA tropes really just resulted in it falling into the same trope-traps (say that 5 times fast). The main character was despicable. She made such stupid decisions, not because she was unintelligent (like Tris), but because she was downright malicious and overly emotional. I wanted to hit her. Other characters I found either uninteresting, deeply problematic, or else they died. The story, overall, just wasn’t compelling enough for me to want to continue.
4. Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick.
I bought this for $2 on BookOutlet, so it’s not like this put me out much. Marcus Sedgwick’s other novel, The Ghosts of Heaven, was one of my most anticipated releases of 2014, so I decided to pick up Midwinterblood before the other book’s pub. date to get a feel for Sedgwick’s writing. It started out beautifully, but continued at the same lackluster pace, never building up to anything. The major plot reveals were, in a word, boring. I cared less and less for the characters as the story went on. This book was one I finished, yet I don’t believe it was worth finishing. Or starting. Or really talking about any longer. No, I didn’t end up buying The Ghosts of Heaven.
3. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.
I have reviews for both Scarlet and the first book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder. Cinder set the bar rather high– it was a fairy tale retelling that was well-integrated into a fresh new sci-fi setting while retaining the tale’s original, magical appeal. With Scarlet, based on Little Red Riding Hood, there simply wasn’t very much original tale to integrate. After the first half of the book, Cinder’s point-of-view chapters, no longer tied to the original Cinderella, became increasingly more interesting (if illogical), and Scarlet’s chapters just increasingly irritating. It’s a long book, but it takes place over a 24-48 hour period, in which time I’m somehow supposed to believe Scarlet falls in love with a character who lies, manipulates, cheat, deceives, at every given opportunity? No, thank you. I have higher hopes for Cress, but Scarlet will forever live in infamy.
2. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley.
I tried so hard to love this book– it was blurbed by Neil Gaiman, had a gorgeous cover, and the most beautiful premise (SKY PIRATE BIRD PEOPLE!). I gave it my heart, my all, and it gave me… unlikeable characters, nonsensical plot lines, metaphorical-to-unreadable prose, and, at the very end, soapbox preaching. I trusted you! This is apparently one people read and loved, or DNF’d. I was almost in the second camp, but I stuck it out through every bump and bruise and now, six months later, I’m still nursing my wounds.
1. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.
I can’t talk about this book anymore. It’s the one book that consistently makes me angry every single time I see it or hear about it or think about it. Its saving grace was that it was well-written, and I might give Sabaa Tahir another chance in future series. If you’d like to hear precisely why I hate this book so much that I gave it away the day after I finished reading it, here’s the link to my booktalk/rant about it.
Let me know which books you were disappointed with in 2015! Maybe I’ll avoid them, maybe I’ll read them and love them just to spite you. Who knows!