Thursday 15 June 2017

[article] Five Books I Mistakenly Thought I'd Love

Five Books I Mistakenly Thought I'd Love

Or, I seriously do not know my own tastes. Sometimes I disappoint myself

There's always those books, you know the ones. The covers are enticing, the blurb sounds great, the reviews on Goodreads are glowing, and you think that, even if this book isn't the one, it'll be pretty wonderful. Then, you actually read it and wonder what on earth you were thinking and are astounded at the power of marketing.

So here are five books that, for various reasons, I thought I would love and just didn't. A related post featuring five popular books I felt entirely ambivalent about can be found here.

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight - she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.

Graceling, Kristin Cashore

Graceling promised a killer girl, Katsa, who thinks of herself as a monster, royal deviousness, adventures, and literally all of my Goodreads friends were raving about it. I tried to read it once and got about 11% in before giving up because my god I was so bored. When on holiday without any form of internet I successfully read this, on the third attempt, and I only managed to finish this because I had zero other options of entertainment. Here's a list of boredom-contributing factors:

  • Katsa-I-never-want-to-get-married-but-oh-my-that's-the-most-beautiful-man-I've-ever-seen is exceedingly bland
  • Katsa reminds me of Celaena from Throne of Glass in that they're both supposedly great assassins and are thoroughly unconvincing
  • Po & Katsa managed to have insta-love and be 2D pancakes all at once
  • Confusing world building
You get the idea. 

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

The Selection, Kiera Cass

Disclaimer: I didn't think I'd actually like The Selection, but I thought it might be fun in a sort of guilty pleasure way. It wasn't. Instead it's unironically a love-fest version of The Hunger Games with a lead character, America Singer, who is both American and a singer. I feel like that says enough, but just in case: the main love interest, Prince Maxon, is a mixture of a wet blanket and the sort of creep that hangs around street corners and thinks he's charming. 

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

The Burning Sky, Sherry Thomas

This sounded like it would be a classic fantasy story: unlikely farm girl hero, a prophecy, a prince, and a magical quest. I have no problems with a story utilising these classic tropes, in fact, a lot of my favourites are built on these very ideas *cough* Assassin's Apprentice *cough*. Unfortunately, The Burning Sky was too tropey, the characters too flat, and the love too cringe inducing. It's also very confusing to read. Alas, I was deceived by the beautiful cover.

Bree is a loser, a wannabe author who hides behind words. Most of the time she hates her life, her school, her never-there parents. So she writes. But when she’s told she needs to start living a life worth writing about, The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting is born. Six steps on how to be interesting.

The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting, Holly Bourne

I read Holly Bourne's Am I Normal Yet? and was thoroughly impressed. What a great read! So I eagerly bought the rest of the series and this standalone, about a writer girl who thinks her life needs to be more exciting. I thought to myself, why Atlas, author's works tend to get better as they write more books, so it would make sense to start with an earlier work, The Manifesto, and then carry on with The Spinster Club series so as to maximise enjoyment. Very logical of me. Unfortunately, The Manifesto was terrible. And there was barely any writing love in there.

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.

The Paper Magician, Charlie Holmberg

This one had such a deceptively great beginning, which made the betrayal so much worse. The great premise, the cool cover, and then a wonderful start. All to end in flames. If there's one thing I cannot stand it is student-teacher relationships and oh boy did The Paper Magician go there without remorse. If that wasn't bad enough, the setting was weird and the whole plot was bizarre. Shame about the paper aspect, I loved the idea of origami magic.

What books did you mistakenly think you would love?

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