Good morning or good evening, friends!
How are you all this week? Good? Great? Tired? Burnt out from all the online meetings?
I feel you.
I’m okay – less stressed out and overwhelmed at the moment (we’ll see how long that lasts). I met with my supervisor last week and she extended my submission date for my chapter, and I am just so happy and relieved.
I hope you are all taking care and staying safe. I say that everytime because I panic. It’s chaos out there. But today I wanted to talk about those few books that disappointed me last year. Now, I say disappointed and not hated, because the reason why I didn’t like them was mostly on me. I went in with a lot of expectations that were not met.
(Though in some cases, the books were just plain bad. But those books were rare last year).
I’ll just get straight into it, shall I? This is basically in chronological order of me reading them.
𝑷𝒍𝒂𝒊𝒏 𝑩𝒂𝒅 𝑯𝒆𝒓𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝒆𝒎𝒊𝒍𝒚 𝒎. 𝒅𝒂𝒏𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒉.
Hmm. I actually enjoyed this book and gave it 4 stars, I believe. But it did not give what it was supposed to give, and that’s why it was a disappointment. From the way that this book was promoted and also going by the synopsis of the book itself, I was expecting a queer, poly gothic-esque horror on the set of a film taking place at a previous boarding school. This boarding school has some…history. Mind you, this book is huge. I think it was around 640ish pages? And the first half was good, we were getting good character work, interesting history about the boarding school, some ‘what the fuck’ moments. And then, it just goes downhill. In my opinion. Everything happens off-page! We don’t even get to see all the horror-ish stuff that happens on the set of the film, we don’t get to see what else happens between the three girls. It was so strange? I didn’t understand why that happened? It was like we were robbed of the actual story and that was the disappointing aspect of my reading experience. But in saying that, I loved the LGBTQIA+ rep in this book. Superb.
𝑩𝒂𝒅 𝑯𝒂𝒃𝒊𝒕𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑭𝒍𝒚𝒏𝒏 𝑴𝒆𝒂𝒏𝒆𝒚
I have no memory of this book anymore. It was so forgettable. I did write a full length review of it, if you want to see more of my thoughts on it, go check that out. I remember finding it so incredibly disappointing.
𝑪𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝑯𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑬𝒍𝒊𝒔𝒂𝒃𝒆𝒕𝒉 𝑻𝒉𝒐𝒎𝒂𝒔
This might be the only book on this list that I’m slightly hesitant about. Purely because, I think I may want to re-read it. When I read this originally, I was not ready for the weird and strange in my books. I found it to be slightly boring and not living up to the hype. But having since read books that are much more strange and weird with little to no plot and incredibly unlikeable characters, I feel like re-reading this book may change my original opinion. So yes, this book is on this list because of how I originally felt when I first read this book but I would like to re-read it in the future and I will let you all know if I change my opinions on it!
𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑯𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑺𝒑𝒊𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑰𝒔𝒂𝒃𝒆𝒍 𝑨𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒆
Oh god, this was terrible. I can appreciate it for what it was and what it did at the time of publication but goddamn did I hate reading this book. This was such a huge disappointment. I was expecting to absolutely love it as I read and loved𝑶𝒏𝒆 𝑯𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒀𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝑺𝒐𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒖𝒅𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑮𝒂𝒃𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒍 𝑮𝒂𝒓𝒄𝒊𝒂 𝑴𝒂𝒓𝒒𝒖𝒆𝒛, and 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑯𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑺𝒑𝒊𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒔 is always recommended in connection with 𝑶𝒏𝒆 𝑯𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒀𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝑺𝒐𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒖𝒅𝒆. For me, it was the writing. I really couldn’t get behind Allende’s writing which is interesting since I have read another book by Allende and really enjoyed it! So it was just this book.
𝑩𝒍𝒖𝒆-𝒆𝒚𝒆𝒅 𝑫𝒆𝒗𝒊𝒍 𝒃𝒚 𝑳𝒊𝒔𝒂 𝑲𝒍𝒆𝒚𝒑𝒂𝒔
Ugh. This was one that I just really did not like. I have read 𝑳𝒊𝒔𝒂 𝑲𝒍𝒆𝒚𝒑𝒂𝒔 before but only her historical romance and I really liked those! But this was just so meh. The main characters were dull, and the abuse that the main protagonist went through was slightly glossed over and then she in a few months, went straight into another romantic and sexual relationship that was also not the most…healthy. Don’t recommend it at all.
𝑯𝒐𝒘 𝒕𝒐 𝑺𝒕𝒐𝒑 𝑻𝒊𝒎𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑴𝒂𝒕𝒕 𝑯𝒂𝒊𝒈
How did that have so much hype? It was not the best thing I’ve ever read, and it wasn’t even good. I found it to be so boring and not what I was expecting from what it said on the blurb. The writing? Meh. The characters? Meh. And the world itself? Big meh. It was just very mediocre and nothing to write home about. I was expecting to be moved to tears! I was expecting to fall in love with 𝑯𝒂𝒊𝒈’s storytelling but I didn’t. Honestly, I don’t think I will ever pick up a book from him because I found this book to be so average. I think when I originally read it, I said that it left me unsatisfied which is such a great way to sum up my feelings. It had such a unique premise yet it went nowhere. The only good think about this book was the nuggets of history that were peppered throughout the story.
𝑮𝒓𝒚𝒇𝒇𝒐𝒏 𝑯𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒃𝒚 𝑨𝒍𝒆𝒙𝒊𝒔 𝑫𝒖𝒓𝒂𝒏
Oh god. Just don’t read this. I hated it. Terrible writing and terrible characters and a world that was not written in a way that was compelling.
𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑨𝒃𝒚𝒔𝒔 𝑺𝒖𝒓𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒔 𝑼𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑬𝒎𝒊𝒍𝒚 𝑺𝒌𝒓𝒖𝒕𝒔𝒌𝒊𝒆
Now, I had high hopes for this book because, again, everyone only had great things to say about this book. Similar to 𝑯𝒐𝒘 𝒕𝒐 𝑺𝒕𝒐𝒑 𝑻𝒊𝒎𝒆, I found this book boring. The world had no real depth (there was next to no world-building) and the characters had potential but…they were easily forgotten. I also don’t quite think that a seemingly white author can write a Korean-American MC. Or is that not problematic?
𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑺𝒊𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝑪𝒐𝒎𝒑𝒂𝒏𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑳𝒂𝒖𝒓𝒂 𝑷𝒖𝒓𝒄𝒆𝒍𝒍
I also didn’t quite vibe with this book. I didn’t find it that creepy nor did I enjoy the build up. I found it lowkey boring. It had a good gothic atmosphere, but it didn’t reach that point where I enjoyed it.
𝑴𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑯𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝑾𝒂𝒍𝒕𝒆𝒓
I had such high hopes for this. And I don’t quite know why I didn’t love it.
Actually, no that’s a lie. I do.
It started off strong, it really did, I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book. I thought the magic system and the history of the world were interesting, I was enjoying Alyce as a character most of the time. But then I couldn’t see last how idiotic Alyce was.
I’m sorry but she lacked critical thinking so such a degree that she refused to see things that were right in front of her. I think that this must’ve been deliberate- maybe to showcase how much she longs to actually be loved. But we were reading from her first person perspective and she was seeing what we, as readers, were ‘seeing’, and she didn’t SEE THINGS THAT WERE SO OBVIOUS. Or she does recognise or acknowledge it and then forgets about it. But gets surprised when it bites her on the ass. She takes very little accountability. I guess I understand that everything was leading to the climax, her villain origin story of you will, but even that was ridiculously lacklustre.
Don’t even get me started about Aurora. One of the most two dimensional dull characters I’ve read this year. She had no substance! Alyce and Aurora’s ‘relationship’, if you want to call it that, had no substance! This book really is placing hell of a lot of pressure on the sequel and final book in the duology to make us care for Aurora and tie up the loose ends.
Also, there were a few plot holes regarding literally everything. The magic, the history, the Graces and the Fae. Don’t get me wrong, it’s interesting, but again, there needed to be more. So much of the book was spent really doing nothing in terms of plot – it was mostly to get the reader sympathetic to Alyce and her situation (which was terrible!) but I think if more world building was woven through, it would’ve been great.
And who saw Val and that ‘twist’ coming a mile away? Alyce just didn’t understand what it meant to THINK THINGS THROUGH. Honestly.
𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑴𝒂𝒓𝒗𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒐𝒖𝒔 𝑴𝒊𝒓𝒛𝒂 𝑮𝒊𝒓𝒍𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑺𝒉𝒆𝒃𝒂 𝑲𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒎
This book started off so strong and then lost focus in the second half. Slightly disappointing. The second half is consumed with the romance element and everything else was left to the side.
𝑭𝒊𝒓𝒆 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝑭𝒊𝒓𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑫𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒚 𝑺𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒂
My issue with this book is mainly about the world building. In that, there really wasn’t much? And what there was didn’t quite make sense. I didn’t understand the big deal about Eden being the first dragon slayer AND sorcerer. Because nothing is stopping sorcerers themselves from just…training to be dragon slayers? They’re already going out and killing dragons. It’s not as though there was anything special or magical that made dragon slayers unique, just that they trained to kill dragons with entire families dedicating their entire lives to doing so.
More thoughts here.
𝑩𝒆𝒂𝒄𝒉 𝑹𝒆𝒂𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝑬𝒎𝒊𝒍𝒚 𝑯𝒆𝒏𝒓𝒚
This one was purely that I didn’t vibe with it. It was too hyped for the fact that the book itself is just an average romance novel. That’s literally it.
𝑨 𝑫𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒍𝒚 𝑬𝒅𝒖𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒃𝒚 𝑵𝒂𝒐𝒎𝒊 𝑵𝒐𝒗𝒊𝒌
Oh my god.
What the fuck was this book? How did 𝑵𝒂𝒐𝒎𝒊 𝑵𝒐𝒗𝒊𝒌 go from the beauty that was Uprooted and Spinning SIlver, to this. 𝑨 𝑫𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒍𝒚 𝑬𝒅𝒖𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 was just not good. In comparison to her previous novels and mainly, her previous writing, This book was below average. Lacklustre characters, mediocre world-building – I just didn’t enjoy it at all. It was easy to read, though, so I flew through it. But I am not going to continue the series and will not be picking up young adult novels from this author again.
𝑺𝒍𝒐𝒖𝒄𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑻𝒐𝒘𝒂𝒓𝒅𝒔 𝑩𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒍𝒆𝒉𝒆𝒎 𝒃𝒚 𝑱𝒐𝒂𝒏 𝑫𝒊𝒅𝒊𝒐𝒏
In this case, I just didn’t vibe with this collection of writing. I can appreciate what 𝑱𝒐𝒂𝒏 𝑫𝒊𝒅𝒊𝒐𝒏 did, but I just am not interested in the content of the essays.
𝑬𝒎𝒑𝒊𝒓𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑽𝒂𝒎𝒑𝒊𝒓𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑱𝒂𝒚 𝑲𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒇𝒇
I AM STILL BURNING WITH DISAPPOINTMENT ABOUT THIS ONE. I think I might write a review about this eventually because I’m still pissed off about it. Not worth the 700 page count, this book could have easily been 400-500 pages instead. It did not warrant the over-700 page number. At all. You know why? Because nothing of substance actually happens! The twists? ARE SO LACKLUSTER IT’S HILARIOUS. It is essentially a re-telling of The Davinci Code by Dan Brown, set in a dark fantasy world with the walmart version of Geralt of Rivia.
𝑫𝒂𝒓𝒌 𝑹𝒊𝒔𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑪𝑺 𝑷𝒂𝒄𝒂𝒕
This book started off so fun! And compelling! Great characters! Interesting plot! Action! Magic! And then it veered off into…dissatisfaction. First of all, the inclusion of Katherine’s character perspective was a dissappointment in itself with how her story ended, literally only there to further Will’s own character arc.
But the main issue I had was the movement towards a romance or some sort of relationship between Will and James…which, if you’ve read the book, IS INCREDIBLY PROBLEMATIC BECAUSE OF WHO WILL AND JAMES USED TO BE (in their previous ‘life’). It is a remaking of the ‘king/slave’ trope found in the Captive Prince trilogy and I thought we left that where it belonged. In the trash. Especially in 2021.
Like, how can you move past that? This is not ‘morally grey’, its literally Will (from the past timeline) ENSLAVED JAMES, MADE HIM KILL PEOPLE AND MADE HIM SLEEP WITH HIM. There was a literal collar involved which forced Will’s character from the past timeline, to enforce his will on James. Like????? Am I missing something?
Maybe it’s about them fighting the legacy of THEIR OWN past? I don’t know. But how would you move on from that? I hope Will tells James the truth.
At least the MC was queer (bi, I think?), which was a huge plus. And Violet was hands down the best character.
And that’s it! I should also say that these are all my personal opinions. If you loved any of these books, that’s great! I am so happy that you loved them, and I wish I did. I don’t go into books wanting to dislike them or feel disappointed, I go in wanting to find a new favourite! So be kind in the comments, please!
Anyway, until next time! Happy reading!
All the love,
6 thoughts on “books that were just not the vibe in 2021”
I actually liked A Deadly Education even though I hadn’t expected too. I did love Empire of the Vampires too so I guess it just shows how different we all are in our reading tastes.
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so true!!! i think for me it was my expectations were set too high and then my reading experience was effected by it? totally a me thing haha xx
i’ve heard so many good things about so many of these books, which just proves how differently we all vibe with the same books. the deadly education was a huge disappointment for me too and fire with fire was good but didn’t reach my expectations. i’m hoping to read the marvellous mirza girls soon and i hope i vibe with it because it was easily one of my most anticipated books of last year. loved reading this post! 😍
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fanna!!!!!!! yes, completely true ! one of the things i love about this community is the myriad reactions to books haha. omg i hop you love the marvellous mirza girls!!! i think also for me, the mood im in really effects how i enjoy books, if that makes sense!! xx
Your comments on Kristoff’s book crack me up! I haven’t read it yet, was told he’s a problematic author when it comes to women and minorities, but I was given the massive thing as a gift. So I’m on the fence about reading it before giving it away.
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hahahaha!!! yeah, i saw a thread on twitter that he’s a bit problematic!! haha yeah, it is so massive omg but maybe try it out if you’ve been gifted it and see how you go? it did not have to be the size of a brick hahaha xx