Bookish Tags, Other

T5W: Books You Felt Betrayed By

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Lainey of gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam of ThoughtsOnTomes. Every week, I will post my top 5 of that week’s theme. If you’d like to learn more about it or join in the fun, head over to the Goodreads group where all the discussions take place here.

This week’s theme is Books You Felt Betrayed By, so, let’s jump straight in!

1. The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen

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I’ve spoken about feeling betrayed by this book a few times on my blog (1, 2), so it seems apt to take the top spot here. To be honest, every time I think about my high expectations going into this book and how disappointed I felt at the other end, I get angry. This trilogy had so much buzz around it that I was expecting a book of epic proportions. Instead, I got a book in which nothing happened. This is a book about a young girl becoming a Queen, deciding how she wants to rule, and having to face the fallout of her decisions. My issue was that there was no fallout. Instead, the book builds up to action, promises action, and then leaves that action for the sequel. I enjoyed this book until I realised that the action wasn’t coming, and felt like I had been conned out of money and time. This is, to me, a prime example of stories being stretched out into series because series are more popular or profitable perhaps, without there actually being enough content to fill a trilogy.

You can read my full review for this book here.

2. Go Set A Watchman – Harper Lee

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I’m pretty sure this was everyone’s most disappointing read of 2015. However, to be fair, I don’t think it’s completely down to the book itself. This was not a sequel, as marketing suggested, but actually Harper Lee’s first draft for To Kill A Mockingbird, and she didn’t want it to be published. For all those readers looking for a sequel, this was bound to be a disappointment. Central characters were completely different to how we remember them, like Atticus, or missing altogether, like Jem and Boo Radley (which was my favourite aspect of the book). It was an odd choice to market this book as a sequel, knowing that so many much-loved aspects of To Kill A Mockingbird were missing, and this was one of the few times I wished I hadn’t read a book altogether.

You can read my full review for this book here.

3. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street – Natasha Pulley 

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I was so exciting coming into this book. It’s set in Victorian London, there’s a seemingly magical watch, a mysterious old man, Japanese influences, and a murder-mystery-esque storyline at the centre. It should have been like a fantasy Sherlock Holmes or Ripper Street, but instead, this book just bored me. Although Natasha Pulley’s writing is sensational – she describes things beautifully – and I enjoyed the ambiguity about whether or not there was magic involved, I felt like the plot itself faded into the background too much and I couldn’t remember what the point of the story was and what the characters’ aims were. I think that this book was maybe too convoluted with various threads of storylines, for example, there is one part of the book that takes place before the main timeline in Japan, but in my opinion, this could have simply been woven into the main storyline, and it would have been less confusing and the book as a whole would have flowed better. Everything else was there – characters, setting, fantasy – to make this a firm favourite, but it was just the lack of plot that made it difficult.

4. A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas

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Sarah J. Maas is a fantastic writer. When I read this book, I was completely wrapped up in her Throne of Glass Series, which I had just started, but where Throne of Glass is a thrilling fantasy epic full of drama and action, ACOTAR just dragged on. For the first half of the book, barely anything happened, and we simply follow Feyre around as she decides whether she wants to paint and falls in love with Tamlin. This book really let me down in two ways. I found Feyre to be annoying, boring, and frankly, too dumb to live. She made so many terrible decisions and always managed to get out of them alive, and never learning her lesson. The second way was in the setting. I know that Sarah J. Maas can create fascinating worlds from the Throne of Glass series, and the map in the book tells us that Prythian has many different kingdoms – The Summer Court, The Winter Court, The Spring Court, The Autumn Court, The Day Court, The Night Court, and The Dawn Court – which probably all have their own distinct characteristics. However, mostly we just see the Spring Court, and I think so much more could have been done here.

You can read my full review for this book here.

5. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

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When I read this, I was just riding off the coattails of The Fault In Our Stars and Looking For Alaska. I was into my angsty teen novels with fuzzy romances and tear-jerking tragedies, and John Green was the man for me. However, this book was so boring. I didn’t understand the purpose of the book, and I couldn’t relate to or sympathise for the main character Colin. Whilst in the other John Green books I had read, I had enjoyed the characters, even if they are somewhat overly quirky, but it took so much effort to not throw this book out the window because I hated Colin so much. He complains the whole way through, his obsession with anagrams was annoying, and the whole Katherine obsession felt creepy. This book was so disappointing that it has turned me off reading any more John Green novels since! Maybe one day, when the memory of An Abundance of Katherines has faded from my memory, I will be able to read Paper Towns, but for now, I’d rather read something else.

 

Now, if you enjoyed these books, that’s great! This is just a list of my own personal opinions, and whether you agreed or disagreed, I would love to hear your comments below. What are your top 5 most disappointing reads, and what are your thoughts on the books listed above?

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Book Reviews, YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Young Adult

Review – ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ – Sarah J. Maas

 

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Taken from: @inkdropsbooks (Instagram)

Rating:  ★ ★ ★

This was one of the first YA fantasy books that I read in ages – probably since Harry Potter. It was mainly the fact that the bookstagram community, which I joined a while ago, loves Sarah J Maas. While I don’t think this book is perfect, I did enjoy it and I will definitely be reading more YA in the future.

The only thing I knew before setting off with ACOTAR was that it is a rough retelling of Beauty and the Beast. ACOTAR’s main character is Feyre. One night while hunting for food to support her impoverished family, she kills a wolf. In fact, this wolf is a faerie from the neighbouring faerie kingdom, and another faerie comes to demand retribution. To repay the life that she has taken, Feyre must spend the remainder of her life in the faerie kingdom Pythian. Once she arrives, she learns that the faeries are not all they seem, and that there is a plague that is threatening not only the faeries but the human realm too.

First of all, I love a good fantasy setting, and Prythian founds truly magical. From the moment I opened the book and saw all of the different locations (The Summer Court, The Winter Court, The Spring Court, The Autumn Court, The Day Court, The Night Court, and The Dawn Court), I was so excited to learn about all of these different places. I really liked seeing the various magical creatures that were introduced, and towards the second half of the book, we saw many more faeries and learned some more about the politics of the kingdom which I liked. However, I do wish we had seen more of the kingdom because I felt like it wasn’t fleshed out too well. I didn’t even know that Tamlin’s court was The Spring Court until about halfway through the book! Hopefully, both the kingdom of Prythian and the characters are explored and developed further in the following books in the series, and we can learn even more about this world.

16096824Now, how do I feel about Feyre? When I started the book, I was so excited to read about this young girl who has supported her family almost single-handedly for so long. She was brave and strong, but Sarah J Maas really helps you get into Feyre’s head so that you understand her emotions and that she isn’t a cookie cutter ‘strong female character’ type of girl. However, Feyre was just a little too reckless for my liking. Personally, I couldn’t understand the thought process behind some of her decisions, which were in my opinion way too risky to understand, and for me to keep thinking of her as smart. I also got frustrated with her hot-and-cold mood swings. I couldn’t figure out whether she missed her family, whether she was happy to be in the Spring Court, or any of her feelings towards anything, because while she would say X at one point, her actions wouldn’t show it, or she would change her opinion within a few pages. Thankfully, in the second part of the book, Sarah J Maas takes Feyre to the next level and really puts her under some intense pressure and we get to see her being more focused and determined.

Now, personally, I am not a huge fan of romance books. I love a good romance, and I ship just as much as the next person, but I like my love stories to be a subplot. I think this is just because I get fed up of seeing complex characters be reduced to their relationship with someone else. For this reason, I got a bit bored with ACOTAR in the middle section. There is a love story to this book, and while that’s fine, I got really bored of reading about the characters getting sappy and falling in love. It just took up too large a portion of the novel, and with Feyre’s mood swings (as mentioned above) I had a hard time feeling any genuine emotion from her at times, making the romance feel forced. I would have preferred for this section to be shorter, and to have gotten to the more action-packed part of the story sooner – because that was GREAT!

So, I give ACOTAR 3/5 stars. I wish that I could have loved this book more, but I just didn’t. I wish that the plot had moved quicker, and that there had been more world building and characterisation instead of long drawn out scenes depicting the romance. However, I am hopeful that my concerns will be rectified in the second novel, so keep a look out for that!