As usual, I one of my favorite things to write at the end of the year are worst/most disappointing reads. We love being negative and judgy here. So as per usual, these are most disappointing, so not necessairly bad books, just books that did not do what I was hoping for them to do. Let’s jump into it.
Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi
This is the only one star read for me this year, and it’s one I was both disappointed by majorly and also one I think is objectively bad. I love the premise of this one and I was so excited to read it, but unfortunately this was… not good. But this book had no point. This is not really a story, this is just a random string of events that do not even tie together in any semblance of a plot. Everything felt really nonsensical, and the characters were incredibly one dimensional. There was just nothing to enjoy in this beyond its very interesting premise.
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
I was quite excited to read this, however, it’s increasingly obvious that YA isn’t doing it for me anymore, and that there are just exceptions in the YA Fantasy genre to this rule. This was off to a great start, fast paced and with an interesting premise. However, it all quickly fell apart – the characters had no arc whatsover and were quite one-dimensional to begin with. It was a frustrating read, with world building that was fickle at best. It was also quite weirldy written, with characters cropping up in places where they could not possibly be, and with events that took place one after the other even though that was impossible. Such a dud for me personally, but I did love the celebration of sisterhood and found families in here. If you want to know more of my thoughts, here’s my review.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
I always hate when I dislike a book for which there’s a huge fandom that seems very exciting, and that makes the book seem so spectacular. This was just not good, and it’s where me and Schawb just part ways. This book is just a very amazing concept. This is where Schwab excels, at coming up with a concept, but unfortunately she is bad at the execution. She does not do world building, she does really poor character work and you just end up with an outline that you can project onto. I really disliked this one, and if you want to know more, here’s my review.
Land of Big Numbers by Te-Ping Chen
This is definitely one of the most disappointing reads on the list for me. I was so excited to read this short story collection about modern day China, and despite so many people loving it, I was not impressed. The stories felt really ungrounded to me, and like they were trying too hard to make a point, but never really succeeding. The stories felt like a very deluted, somewhat Western perspective of a really complex political situation and I really did not appreciate it. The endings were really frustrating, because some of the stories felt like they were building up to a point splendidly and then they just did… nothing with it. If you want to know more, here’s my review.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown
No one is more surprised than me. I really enjoyed the previous two books in the series, but for some reason, this one did absolutely nothing for me. I just personally never felt any chemistry between the characters. I did not like them together at all, and I wish we got more of them as individuals. Plus, the conflict was annoying, and I felt like the characters from previous novels felt really out of character. This just cements my belief that this whole series just does not live up to some of Talia’s previous works for me personally. BUT THAT’S FINE, she’s still a brilliant writer. I just wish I liked this as much as I hoped I would.
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
I am gutted that I did not like this one, because it felt like a book tailor made for me, but that just wasn’t the case. It took me a whole month to finish this one, and I just felt really detached from the story. The broken-up narrative just did not work for me in the slightest, and I never felt like I understood Gifty as a character. Her motivations were never quite clear. My main issue is probably the fact that I expected this to deal with the overtly philosophical and grand themes in a much more subtle and refreshing way than the book actually does. So yeah, sadly not for me.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
So many of my friends love this one, and I was fully expecting to love it too. Sadly I did not. I get the love for it, but for me it was just an exhausting reading experience for me, and I much preferred Human Acts to this one. The sad thing is that I have nothing to say about this, becuase I just read it and felt nothing YIKES.
I would love to hear from you! What were your most disappointing reads of the year?
In the meantime, happy reading
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