One misconception I’ve discovered as a reader, reviewer, and blogger is that I’m supposed to love every book I read. When I peruse blogs or scroll through my Instagram feed, there is an overwhelming majority of positive reviews, especially surrounding new releases and books everyone else seems to love.
Positivity is a good and welcome thing, but I’ve often felt internal pressure to misrepresent my opinions in a more favorable, benevolent light. This makes total, pure sense: we want to be positive pillars of the blogging and reviewing community while supporting those brave enough to publish their work.
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But this is entirely unrealistic. Not all books are created equal, and we have the license to hate something that we didn’t enjoy. Whether for grammatical or thematic reasons, or purely because the protagonist was annoying, it’s okay to think a book is less than satisfactory. To perpetuate this theory, I’m sharing the reasons why I hated these popular books.
Before we begin, here is a series of rapid-fire disclaimers: if I list your favorite book, I’m neither attacking you or the author. In fact, I’d love to debate the merits of these books, so if something I say contradicts your opinions, leave me a comment. I don’t hate all of these books. Included in this list are books that I found disappointing and books that did not live up to their hype.
Here are popular books that I disliked:
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
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I’m ripping off the bandage and discussing the most controversial book on this list: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. This book was highly anticipated prior to its publication, as was its sequel Hunting Prince Dracula and as is the to-be-released conclusion, Escaping from Houdini. In spite of the hype, I was seriously disappointed in the lack of character development, the basic cultural inconsistencies, and how tropes ran rampant throughout the story. I could barely stomach the first book and am not planning on continuing the series.
Related Post: My Spoiler-Free Review of Stalking Jack the Ripper
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
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Ah yes, another controversial pick. The Belles was released in February and, in spite of the gorgeous cover and enthralling synopsis, this book fell short in every way. Protagonist Camellia was anything but interesting, and the opulent worldbuilding created more questions than answers. What the cast of characters has in diversity they lack in development: they were prototypical and bland in every sense. Even though my expectations for The Belles were high, it is probably the most disappointing book on this list.
Related Post: My Spoiler-Free Review of The Belles
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
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If you’ve been following me long enough, you know good and well that high fantasy is far from being my cup of tea. Even though I read The Hobbit in eighth grade, the same rules applied. Rather than marveling at the detailed maps and the intricately-crafted world, I found the density of the prose incredibly restricting; I had to trudge through the pages to finish. I’m not going to honor this book with a reread to assess the validity of my opinions because I don’t think I could survive this book a second time.
The Circle by Dave Eggers
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I picked up The Circle in preparation to watch the movie adaptation, which was yet to be released when I started reading and was enticed by the technology-centered alternate version of our society. Protagonist Mae is a new hire at Internet company The Circle and describes the less-than-savory details she uncovers during her employ. The writing was well-done and thought-provoking, but the pacing was disproportionate and far too drawn-out for a narrative that should have been a page-turner. Overall, The Circle was far too dense and descriptive to be truly enjoyable.
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The Program by Suzanne Young
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Unlike most of the aforementioned books, I hated this book intensely. The world was constructed, the characters were lackluster, and the plot was downright offensive. I’ll stop there before I go on a rampage about my hate for this book. I didn’t finish the book and don’t intend to give it another try.
Related Post: Why I DNF’ed The Program
What popular books do you dislike?
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