You won’t see a Worst Books of 2017 post on my blog because I don’t want to write something quite that negative, but I did think it’d be fun to put together a list of the books that I was most disappointed in since a lot of them are books that I generally liked but that didn’t quite live up to the high expectations I had set for them.
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Alright, this book probably already had one foot in the grave before it even came out because A Court of Mist and Fury was so good! It set the bar super high for the final book in the trilogy, so even though I did enjoy A Court of Wings and Ruin, I can’t help but be disappointed that it wasn’t as good as ACOMAF.
What really made me put it at the top of my most disappointing reads list, though, is that it wasn’t really a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. I understand that there are spinoff books and it’s unclear how they’re going to tie into the original trilogy, but I felt like ACOWAR focused way too much on setting up those later books and forgot that it was still wrapping up the original trilogy. It’s entirely possible to conclude a series while still leaving the reader wanting more or setting the stage for future spinoffs, but I don’t think that balance was properly struck in ACOWAR.
Like I said, I did really enjoy this book and I’m super excited that this isn’t the end of this world, but I was disappointed because I think this book could have been even better than it was.
Sisters in Law by Linda Hirshman
I was really excited to read this book after being so pleasantly surprised by Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, but ultimately I thought it was just ok. Sisters in Law promises to look at the relationship between Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor, long the only women appointed to the Supreme Court. But I don’t think it really looked at their relationship at all.
Instead, this book was more of two separate biographies of the two women that were woven together, and it was heavily weighted in favor of RBG ( I can tell the author is a fan). I don’t know very much about Sandra Day O’Connor, but I didn’t think this book did a very good job of introducing her. She was really shunted to the side in favor of RBG, and I could tell the author didn’t like her nearly as much.
This book could and should have been really interesting, but it ultimately fell flat for me. I’d rather read the justices’ own books and memoirs (though I highly recommend Notorious RBG!).
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
I really wasn’t kidding when I said this list is largely books that I liked but just weren’t as good as I was expecting them to be, and The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson is the perfect example of that.
I’ve heard so, so many people recommend Sanderson and this series, and while it was interesting, I just thought it was kind of boring. And long. I didn’t really connect to the characters and I didn’t think that much really even happened throughout the book, even though the edition I read was nearly 650 pages. I put it down for a while and eventually circled back to finish it, but I was never that excited to pick up this book after I started it. It just really didn’t do anything for me.
I do want to continue this series if nothing else because it is such a classic of the genre, and I did wind up enjoying it by the end. But right now I’m not overly impressed by it.
A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole
Another book that I overall liked but was still disappointed by! I spoke at length about this in my review post of A Hope Divided, but the first book in this series, An Extraordinary Union, was just so, so good, so I was expecting a lot from the sequel. While the historical aspect of A Hope Divided was as good as I was expecting, the romance really took a backburner in this book and it wound up being more of a historical fiction book than a historical romance, which made me feel super let down.
I still liked the story and I probably would have enjoyed a lot if I hadn’t gone in with such high expectations from the first book. My expectation that I was reading a romance novel when it was really more of a historical fiction also colored my opinion of the book when I finished reading it. So I was unfortunately let down by it, but I’m still looking forward to the sequel in 2018 and hope Cole can recapture the magic of An Extraordinary Union!
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
I LOVED And Then There Were None when I read it this fall, so I was really excited to pick up Murder on the Orient Express in anticipation of the new movie. I was expecting it to be just as good as And Then There Were None since these two books are frequently mentioned as two of Christie’s best, but I just didn’t like this book all that much.
It was still good, but it was pretty slow-paced and I didn’t empathize much with the murder victim, so it was kind of hard to get invested in Hercule Poirot’s pursuit of justice when I kind of thought the guy deserved to die. And where the ending should have been mind-blowing, for some reason I wasn’t all that surprised and thought it was a bit of a letdown, perhaps because other people have since copied this device, so I’ve seen it before.
I’m struggling to further clarify why exactly I wasn’t a big fan of this book, but I though it was just ok. What really made it earn a spot on this list, though, was how much I enjoyed And Then There Were None. I’d still like to read more of Christie’s works, but I probably won’t have such high expectations going forward.
The Sea King by C.L. Wilson
Oh man. I was really hyped for The Sea King because I enjoyed the first book in this series so much, plus I got really lucky and read the first book just months before the sequel came out, so I didn’t have to wait for years like Wilson’s longtime fans. It started out fine, but by the end I did not enjoy this book at all.
I had some issues in the beginning with the pacing and construction of the fantasy world that I detailed more in my monthly wrap up, but those weren’t things that were capable of sinking this book for me, especially once it finally got going.
No, what made me super disappointed in this book was the fact that the heroine was sexually assaulted and that her trauma was essentially cured by magic. I didn’t want that storyline in this book and I didn’t think it was necessary to the story, but if it had to be included, I think it could have been handled much, much better than it was. It was disappointing to see in any book, but it was especially disappointing to see in a book that I had been looking forward to so much.
I’m still excited to read the third book in this series, but I’m going to be going into it with some major reserve after what happened in this book.
Alright, now it’s your turn. What are some of you most disappointing reads from 2017? Let me know in the comments!