I’ve been wanting to do a tag like this for a long time, so thanks Rachel @ pace amore libri for tagging me!
1.) A popular book or book series that you didn’t like.
First one that comes to mind is The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. I didn’t absolutely hate this (I gave it a three-star rating, but it was definitely on the lower end of the spectrum, more like 2.5). I thought it suffered from flat characters, meandering plot, terribly written romance, and a protagonist who keeps being referred to as super special. I liked the book enough to finish it quickly, but I remember rolling my eyes a lot and not being the least bit interested in picking up the sequel.
Also, shout out to Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds and Marie Lu’s Legend.
2.) A popular book or book series that everyone else seems to hate but you love.
I don’t think people hate The Necromancer Chronicles, but I definitely think that they don’t get the love they deserve (and more criticism than I think they should). I love these books. I’m not saying they’re without some technical problems, particularly in terms of pacing and characterization. However, I think they feature some of the best fantasy worldbuilding I’ve ever seen. The world of the Necromancer Chronicles is essentially gender-neutral, with women on equal footing as men, and it was a beautiful thing to read. The magic system is unique. The cities and countries described are based on real countries (and you can guess which) but they’re well-developed and atmospheric. The writing is lush and lyrical and lovely (though some may find it too purple, but I’m known to like that). The second book is the apex of the series, featuring excellent romance, a trans character, polyamory, and political intrigue.
3.) An otp that you don’t like.
Aelin/Rowan. So, Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series always seemed like it would be right up my alley, and indeed, I loved the first and second books, despite their many problems. However, by the time the third book came along, the books dipped noticeably in quality, and started to lag. Eventually I quit the series. And I think a big part of the reason for that is Rowan and his relationship with Aelin. Maybe it’s because I liked her better with Chaol (a relationship that was so slow burn and then ended like a week after it began), maybe it’s because Rowan’s a territorial weirdo, but I just really dislike them together. I think they bring out the worst in each other and they’re boring, frankly.
4.) A popular book genre that you hardly reach for.
Romance. I’ve never been a huge fan, personally. I tend to dislike it even in my other genre fiction, but I don’t think that’s the fault of romance itself. I really like romance if it’s well-written and well-incorporated into a novel (see: The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin) but normally romances are terribly written. And romance as a genre tends to be very standardized: there’s a particular formula publishers know will sell, and so the plot keeps recycling itself. I’m not fond of that formula.
5.) A popular/beloved character that you do not like.
I started thinking about characters I don’t like, and I realized there is a very particular type of character I tend to dislike: male YA love interests. So Noah Shaw (Unbecoming of Mara Dyer), Po (Graceling), Dorian (Throne of Glass), Mal (Shadow and Bone), and I could probably keep listing them. Most of them tend to be bland and forgettable, an amalgamation of ideal male traits made to cater to our heroine’s needs and desires. A nice fantasy, to be sure, but it means we end up with an archetype rather than an actual character.
6.) A popular author that you can’t seem to get into.
Terry Goodkind. See, I really loved the TV show Legend of the Seeker, so I thought I’d read the high fantasy series it was based on, Sword of Truth. As it turns out, the TV series has little in common with the books and the books are <i>the worst</i>. Not only do they suffer from comically terrible writing and dialogue, they’re also full of misogyny so horrifically terrible it’s almost satirical – only it’s not. Unsurprisingly, his books are popular with high fantasy fans, as they’re that sort of old school white farmboy misogynistic fantasy that used to be popular. But it’s mediocre bullshit.
7.) A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing.
YA is full of tropes that I can’t stand. I think the one that takes the cake is when you have a heroine who is established as super special and better than other girls, who are obviously beneath her. I don’t know why this is so popular considering YA is a genre mostly written by women (haha just kidding I totally know why), but so many YA fantasy novels fall into this trap of isolating their heroines from other women. Not only is it misogynistic, it’s also unrealistic considering most of these fantasy novels take place in psuedo-medieval times when relationships between women were varied, complex, and important! No, instead these books would rather give the heroine a pasty cardboard dude to fall in love with while all other girls are evil/shallow/vain/insipid. From what I’ve been seeing, though, YA writers seem to be taking steps away from this!
8.) A popular series that you have no interest in reading.
Shatter Me by Tahera Mafi. People seem to love this, but I’m really not interested. Aside from my general disinterest in YA dystopia, the weird writing format is really throwing me off (random sentences are crossed out) and I know I won’t be able to get into it. Plus the summary sounds suuuuuuuper generic. (I am purposely using the paperback cover here because the hardcover version is…Y I K E S.)
And shout out to anything Cassandra Clare has written. I actually really enjoy the TV show Shadowhunters based on her work, but I would never read it.
9.) The saying goes “the book is always better than the movie,” but what movie or tv show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?
This is probably a weird answer, but I’ve always kinda liked the Twilight films? I read the first book when I was a teenager and didn’t like it, but when I watched the film I remember enjoying it. Probably because I didn’t have to suffer through the writing. This is a terrible answer but I can’t think of anything else! The book really is always better than the movie!
What do y’all think of my answers? Agree, disagree? Let me know in the comments!