It’s the end of the year again and I’ve been hesitant in making posts like these in the past, but I think they generate such great conversation and I do love reading other people’s posts. So this year I’m talking a bit about books that disappointed me for one reason or another, mostly because of the way they were advertised and how my expectations were when starting the book versus what the book actually was. I don’t think any of these bad – they just weren’t what I hoped.
The Water Cure came to my attention because it was being talked about as a feminist sci-fi/speculative fiction where toxic masculinity was literally toxic and I was SOLD. Unfortunately, this is not really the case and I didn’t love the characters either, so it was disappointing to me in more than one front. I would’ve liked to know when reading it that it was actually more of a cult story, but I doubt my rating would’ve been different.
The Gilded Wolves got compared a lot to Six of Crows and I see why, but really it’s more comparable to Dan Brown’s books. There are heists and puzzles, but with a book that is character-driven (despite being full of adventure), there is no way to enjoy it if you don’t love the characters, which was my case. I didn’t care for them a lot and so could not connect with the story.
Swan Song was. SO. Long. I was interested in the story of some of the women in this book, but not all of them, and it just felt like there were so many. Even though this was supposed to give voice to them after Truman Capote basically exposed their secrets in a book that was never finished, it just felt gossipy and long and I didn’t care for most of these women at all. If the book had focused on 3, maybe 4, it would’ve been easier to sympathize and remember them (seriously, at some point I couldn’t tell them apart).
The Silence of the Girls was another book that I expected something quite different from what we have in the book. I thought this would be a feminist adventure take-the-women’s-voice-back kind of story, but only one of the women main characters got a POV but two of the men do, and it was not so much an adventure as much as the story of Briseis trying to survive mentally and physically the horrors she goes through. It was interesting but I was not super invested.
Recursion had everything to be bumped to the top of my favorite books this year, since I loved Dark Matter and time travel is one of my favorite things to read about, but unfortunately this book actually bored me.
Binti was a book that I was excited to get to mostly because I’ve been wanting to read her novel Who Fears Death since forever, so I was looking forward to read this novella, but I didn’t like the writing style at all, and even though I loved the world and the concept of the book, I just really couldn’t get invested in it.
In Cold Blood has been on and off my TBR for years now, and I finally picked it up on audio this year. I don’t think the audio format gives this book a fair shot at all – it reads as slow and boring and pretentious, this way. I think I’d have enjoyed it a lot more in another format, but it still was a strange book for me to read, at times almost hateful of its “main characters” and sometimes almost a bit in love with them. I could just feel the narrator and his feelings showing through the story and made it for an interesting experience. Did Truman Capote fall in love with one of the murderers while writing the book? I of course don’t know, but the narration felt too emotional for me to think he was completely untouched by the whole thing. In any case, a strange and slow read.
White Houses is the story of the affair between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok, a glamorous fictionalized version of what happened between them, and it was also one of the few books this year I gave 2 stars to. This was very lackluster and lacked any emotional impact for me. It also seemed to fictionalized things that were essential to the characters’ backstory, which helps humanize them and connect them with the reader, so I was quite disappointed about that, too.
The Turn of the Key was a super hyped thriller that came out this year and from an author that is quite famous. I remember reading The Woman in Cabin 10 but I have NO memory of the story anymore at this point and cannot compare therefore with this one. But this was so, so slow and I stopped caring about the characters at some point. Some aspects of the story were really cool (the poison garden! I could read an entire book about that), but most of it felt exhausting in their predictability.
Magic for Liars was another book with a cool concept that didn’t quite deliver. This was fun, a magical school murder mystery, but I wanted a little more out of it.