I saw this tag on Sam at Thoughts on Tome’s channel; she created it in 2014 but thought it would be fun to revisit, and since I wasn’t blogging or even a part of the online book community in 2014, I’m glad she did!
Half of the lights on the Christmas tree are burnt out: Name a book/series/character that started out good but then went downhill
So I struggled at first to think of an answer to this, and then all of a sudden I thought of tons and had a hard time choosing one! I’m going to go with The Queen of the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen. It’s a fantasy trilogy following Kelsea, who grew up in hiding after the death of her mother and is now of an age to assume the thrown. With her kingdom in tatters and beholden to a dangerous neighboring queen, Kelsea must save the Tearling while navigating mysteries and betrayals.
I really liked the first book. It had interesting characters and a world that I wanted to learn a lot more about, and I was eager to see where the series headed and if/how Kelsea was able to save the Tearling. But then the second one went in a real dystopian / The Handmaid’s Tale direction that I was not a fan of. I just wanted this book to be a more traditional fantasy series, and instead it turned into a genre-bender that was just really weird for me. I actually thought I had bought the wrong book when I first started reading The Invasion of the Tearling because it opened with a completely different storyline. And I’m still not sure what to make of that ending in The Fate of the Tearling. So yeah, I would say this went downhill for me. This is a series that tends to be very polarizing, and unfortunately I wound up falling into the not-a-fan camp.
Annoying Great Aunt Sally who will not leave you alone: Name a book that you didn’t enjoy, but everyone else seems to love so it never goes away
Wow, I’m developing a trend here; I struggled to answer this as well and now I have a whole bunch I could go with. I’m going to answer The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. I really, really wanted to like this book because I’m so on board with more fantasy set in non-European cultures, especially ones inspired by the Middle East. This particular book is a YA retelling of Scheherazade from One Thousand and One Nights; it had so much promise, but ultimately this book fell really flat for me.
Perhaps it’s unfair of me to choose this book because I actually wound up DNFing it, but I have strong feelings about it. I thought the protagonist, Shahrzad, was really juvenile and full of herself and I got really sick of hearing about her genius plan to get revenge that she seemed to mess up every time she turned around. Plus, she went from hating the caliph to being attracted to him real fast, even though he killed her best friend. And correct me if I’m wrong, but they had sex on their wedding night, right? Even though she viewed him as a murderer and didn’t really have a choice? Shahrzad might not have said no, but that right there is rape, and I can’t support her romance after that.
I just really, really disliked this book, but a lot of people seem to love it, so I see it get mentioned fairly frequently in the book community. I totally respect your opinion if you loved it and hope I didn’t get too ranty here, but The Wrath and the Dawn was just not for me.
UPDATE 12/15/2017: I actually wanted to elaborate a little bit here just for my own edification, because I think I oversimplified it in what I had above. Because the sex scene happens largely off-page, it’s entirely possible that this was more Shahrzad seducing the caliph, and you can argue that she knew what she was getting herself into by volunteering to marry the caliph. But as I was reading it, I didn’t think it was discussed adequately enough to give me assurances that it was not in fact rape, especially when Shahrzad kept talking about how much she hated the caliph. Even if we can all agree that it was definitively not rape, it was an aspect of the story that really rubbed me the wrong way and only exasperated my problems with the characters.
Your pets keep knocking over the Christmas decoration: Name a character that kept messing things up for everyone else (can’t pick a villain!)
I’m going to think of a better answer to this as soon as this post goes up, but the only book that comes to mind right away since I just featured it in my list of books I read for the cover (incidentally, it was also in the list of books that BookTube made me read) is Monty from The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. This book is a delightful historical YA story about Monty’s Grand Tour of Europe, which he undertakes with his annoying younger sister and his best friend and secret crush, Percy.
Seriously, everything that can go wrong on this trip does, and it’s literally all Monty’s fault. You still can’t help but like and root for him, but seriously, Monty created way more problems for Percy and Felicity than he needed to!
You hear your parents putting out the presents and learn Santa isn’t real: Name a book you were spoiled for
So I can’t think of a book where someone else spoiled it for me, but I miiiiiight have mentioned before on my blog that I occasionally choose to spoil things for myself, typically so I slow down and enjoy the story without freaking out about the ending, but occasionally because I have no patience and need to know that everyone will be ok.
This happened most recently with the Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown, a dystopian meets science fiction meets ancient Rome meets The Hunger Games series that I became super obsessed with and binge-read recently. I became so invested in some of the characters that I had to know what happened to them and may or may not have looked up spoilers. I only had so much self control once I realized there’s a whole wiki page dedicated to this series, ok? While I probably shouldn’t have done it and can maybe admit that I slightly regret it, I still thoroughly enjoyed this series and had plenty of surprises. Seriously, I cannot wait for Iron Gold to come out next month.
It’s freezing outside: Name a main character you just couldn’t connect with
Actually, as much as I enjoy the Nevernight series by Jay Kristoff, I have a bit of a hard time connecting to the protagonist, Mia. The first book follows her as she joins a school of assassins in order to learn everything she can to execute her plan to avenge her family after her father was hung for treason and her mother and younger brother were locked away in prison.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very invested in Mia’s story and am super excited for the conclusion of this trilogy to come out in 2018, but Mia is pretty violent and consumed by revenge and is generally a much nastier person that I am. I had a hard time connecting with her while reading the Nevernight books, and I think that’s mostly what held me back from giving them an obsessive five-star rating (that and how gruesome they are—I just have no stomach for some of it, ok?). I still really enjoy these books, but yeah, Mia is a character I have a hard time connecting with.
Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ and it’s giving you anti-romantic feelings: Name a couple you couldn’t stand
Dang, we’re back to the whole “I’m struggling to answer until I magically have a zillion to choose from.” I’m going to go with a classic and say Ron and Hermione. I’m currently rereading Goblet of Fire (though I’m nowhere near the Yule Ball scene yet), but I just think Hermione can do so much better than Ron. Don’t get me wrong, I like Ron and think he’s good for Harry, but I really dislike how he dismisses and belittles Hermione’s intelligence and ambition, and I think she can do a lot better. Plus I thought it was too convenient how everyone paired up in the end. It’s been a while since I reread the later books where Ron and Hermione’s relationship really develops and maybe I’ll change my opinion on this reread, but right now I don’t think they’re a good fit for each other.
That scratchy homemade wool sweater you got for Christmas years ago but won’t get rid of: show some books that have been sitting on your shelves for a while, and you aren’t motivated to read, but you don’t have the heart to get rid of
I’ve actually been really good about clearing out my TBR shelf and trying to only keep books I’m excited to read about, but I do have two exceptions: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann. They’re both classics that I do want to read for various reasons, but I’m not at all excited to pick them up. I’m making it one of my goals, though, to read these two in early 2018. If I don’t, then they’re gone!
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer: Name a character death you still are mad about
SPOILERS FOR THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES
Since I just read The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, I’m going to answer Alex. I’m not saying I disagree with the decision to kill her, as I definitely think she needed to have consequences for her actions, and I’m not sure that sending her through the judicial system would have worked as well from a narrative perspective. But still. I didn’t want her to die! Her death seriously crushed me and I can’t even with this book right now. It’s too soon.
SPOILERS FOR HARRY POTTER—Do I really need to spoiler this? Really? I’m doing it just in case.
Speaking of Harry Potter, I’m not at all bitter about Fred Weasley’s death. Or Hedwig’s. Or Tonks and Lupin’s. Or Sirius’. Or Dumbledore’s. No, this series didn’t break my heart at all.
SPOILERS FOR CROOKED KINGDOM
While I’m at it—because this question is apparently uncovering a lot of rage—Matthias? Really? How could you? I actually understand why he was killed and it probably makes for a better story, but still. Not cool. I’m still devastated.
The malls are overly crowded with holiday shoppers: Name a series that has too many books in it/went on too long
I feel like a terrible, horrible person for saying this because I’ve enjoyed this series so much over the years buuuuuut I think the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan might have gotten too long. I loved the first series as it followed Percy on his journey to learn more about the magical powers he inherited from his father, Poseidon, and I really liked how the Roman element was brought in with the second series.
But I’ve been struggling to get involved in this third series focused on Apollo as he serves out his punishment as a mortal. Don’t get me wrong, the books are still cute and funny and I enjoy them, but I didn’t feel the need for this third series. Although to be fair, I’m probably aging out of Riordan’s books. But I keep buying and reading them for nostalgia purposes, and to be quite honest, I will probably continue to do so for a long time yet.
The Grinch: Name a main character you HATE (No villians again!)
I feel like I should find a book that I overall liked, but that had a main character I couldn’t stand, but that’s just not happening. I’m going to go with Vika from The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye. This book is a Russian-inspired fantasy involving two magicians fighting to the death in order to obtain the role of the tsar’s Imperial Enchanter.
I wanted to love this book, as I’ve heard great things and really enjoyed meeting the author. But it just wasn’t for me, and a large part of that was Vika. I thought she was really two-dimensional and didn’t have much personality or motivation or show any growth throughout the book. All of her actions were really predictable, including her falling in love with two different characters with almost zero basis for those feelings. I shouldn’t blame all of my dislike of this book on her—I think Pasha was a point-of-view character, and I had a lot of the same problems with him as I did with Vika. But yeah, this book had a really interesting premise, but it was largely the characters that sank it for me.
Whew, that is a lot of grinchiness in one post, but it was fun to put together! What books do you have grinchy feelings about? Let me know in the comments!