end of year: worst books

Most Disappointing Books of 2018

For whatever reason, the books below just didn’t jive with me. Some I disliked intensely, some I was very meh about, and some I just expected way more from. And the countdown begins:



10. JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte: It took me months to read this book. I appreciate its literary significance and I liked Jane’s character, but I found it way too long and incredibly boring. I didn’t get any sense of Gothic atmosphere and there were literally only like (2) scenes where I felt genuine enjoyment. I also found the writing needlessly overwrought.

wicked cometh

9. THE WICKED COMETH by Laura Carlin: Ugh, I wanted so much more from this. It was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. It’s a neo-Victorian lesbian thriller and yet it manages to be one of the driest, most soulless books I’ve ever encountered. Neither of the heroines had any hint of personality and the plot was ridiculous. It was such a slog to get through.

children of blood and bone

8. CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi: I found this book to be aggressively mediocre. It’s got intriguing worldbuilding, but its plot and characters fell completely flat for me. I had a lot of issues with the way it incorporated trope after trope without doing anything new or different. It also read more middle grade than young adult, which was jarring when the themes were so adult. And the writing was…not great, to put it mildly.

stalking jack the ripper

7. STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco: I so wanted to like this purportedly Gothic YA thriller. It started out okay, but for a short book, it’s really slow-paced and could not hold my interest. And the heroine read like a college girl from 2018 inexplicably transported to the Victorian era.

the wicked deep

6. THE WICKED DEEP by Shea Earnshaw: This book was just really, really bland and utterly forgettable. What should have been a tense, creepy tale about witches turned out to be a sappy romance that I didn’t care about. It’s also very slow, with almost nothing happening for the first three-quarters of the book.

only human

5. ONLY HUMAN by Sylvain Neuvel: This is the conclusion to the Sleeping Gods trilogy, and I have to say that my reading trajectory for the series went totally downhill for me. I really enjoyed the first book, was lukewarm about the second, and really did not like the third. I feel like it went completely off the rails here, with the plot veering into really weird territory. And it was boring.

the pisces

4. THE PISCES by Melissa Broder: I enjoyed the merman storyline in this book but hated everything else. This is very much a “it’s me not you” situation, though. From the first page this book is viscerally crude and gritty. I felt like it was trying too hard to be lurid or ~edgy or whatever and in the end it just made my skin crawl with how deeply unpleasant and depressing it all was. Which is a shame, because I really enjoyed the mythological aspects, but in the end all the weird sordid details of the heroine’s life ruined it for me.

sometimes i lie

3. SOMETIMES I LIE by Alice Feeney: So many dream sequences. The heroine is in a coma for most of the book and so much of it is just nonsensical pontificating and dreams. The characters made no sense. The twist was cool, I guess, but it was overshadowed by a bunch of other really weird and ridiculous twists. In the end I was just really, really annoyed by this book.

we were liars

2. WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart: This is a book that relies entirely upon its final twist, so when that twist is ridiculous, the entire thing falls apart. Nothing happens in this book aside from the main character trying to remember what happened to her, with little plot or clear progression of events. The final twist was a complete disappointment. This book was a complete waste of time.

an unwanted guest

1. AN UNWANTED GUEST by Shari Lapena: I really hated this book, because it had the potential to be great! It’s a locked room mystery, but the writing is awful. This is some of the worst writing I’ve ever seen. It’s clumsy and awkward and stiff. The dialogue is corny and melodramatic. And it’s boring as hell.

end of year: dnf'd books

Books I DNF’ed in 2018

I used to really hate DNF-ing books, mainly because I could never decide what I should do with them on Goodreads. I didn’t want to add them as “read”, but I didn’t want to revert them back to “want to read” nor did I want to give them a rating. This year, I finally figured out how to add those sticky shelves on Goodreads, so in addition to “read” and “want to read” and “currently reading” I added a “DNF” shelf. And I also realized that I could actually leave reviews without giving a rating, which is ace!!

Of course, I still don’t enjoy DNF-ing books because I don’t like wasting my time, but I normally DNF books pretty early. I can usually tell within a few chapters if I’m not going to be able to finish a book. (The one exception is Kushiel’s Dart which I read like half of before DNF-ing and it was literally a 1000 pages long so I don’t know what happened there.)

Anyway! Enough preamble, let’s get to the books I DNF’ed in 2018!divider

red sister

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence: This was a major disappointment. How could the book with the best first line I’ve ever seen turn out to be a DNF for me? Part of me wants to give it another shot someday, but given that my main issue was the writing, I’m not sure it will work out. I struggled to like the prose here, but I found it too muddly and confusing, like it was trying to hard to be impressive. And I didn’t like the omniscient narration.

the game of kings

The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett: I was supposed to buddy read these in January, but I got like 20 pages in and knew I was done for. This is very dense historical fiction taking place in 14th-century Scotland. It’s full of allusions and other literary things that I struggled to comprehend. Alas.

faro's daughter

Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer: I barely started reading this before DNF-ing! I’d heard great things about this author’s romance but something about this book didn’t jive with me. I’m not even sure what it was – perhaps the omniscient narration? Perhaps the fact that the plot seemed like it was going to be focused at the 18th-century equivalent of a casino? I’m not sure.

jekyll and hyde

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson: This was SO BORING. I mean this whole freaking book was 78 pages and I couldn’t finish it. That’s how dull it was. The plot was intriguing but the author somehow found a way to write it in the most boring way imaginable. I just couldn’t keep going. I ended up going to Wikipedia to find out the specifics.

to all the boys i've loved before

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: I didn’t like the voice in this book. The main character is meant to be a teenager but she sounds much younger than that, and I don’t read middle grade for a reason. Add the main character’s immaturity to the incredibly awkward, staccato writing and it was a slog to get through, so I put it down pretty quick.divider

Have you guys read or DNF’ed any of these books? Are there any you think I should give a second chance? Let me know in the comments!