I love writing lists and I love unpopular opinions, but I didn’t love being disappointed by more than 15 books in 2017.
The ones I liked the least are at the end of the list.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is a magical realism family saga. I was expecting to love it, but what I got was… a manipulative sad story. It’s written to make readers cry, and it has some very descriptive violent and sad scenes that felt exploitative to me.
But, at least, the writing was beautiful.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is a really hyped adult sci-fi book. I didn’t like it because of its lazy worldbuilding, heavy-handed writing and lack of plot. Also, I really didn’t like that it portrayed the only character with sensory issues as whiny (we get enough of that already).
While I did have many problems with it, I didn’t hate it – I liked the friendships, even if I wanted more from the characters themselves.
Echo After Echo by Amy Rose Capetta
Mysteries shouldn’t be boring, but this book had both pacing problems and bland characters. The book is built around the predatory character, who is the source of all the conflict: for most of the book no one is investigating the two deaths that happened at the beginning. This was really unpleasant to read because it wasn’t what I expected or wanted. Also, casual unchallenged xenophobia.
Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
You might want to go into this without knowing anything. I don’t recommend going into this at all, but while I won’t spoil anything, you may guess something by reading the paragraph below. You’re warned.
This is the most overrated contemporary book I’ve ever read. I guessed what the supposedly mind-blowing ending was when I was reading the first chapter, and reading the whole book knowing/suspecting that was going to happen, I noticed how manipulative the writing was. Yes, doing that with a first person narration is cheating. The characters were flat, almost caricatures. Also, that ending had a lot of unfortunate implications and I didn’t like it at all.
Timekeeper by Tara Sim
I didn’t have any problems with this. I just thought it was really bland and boring. The romance was rushed. I’ve heard the sequel is better, but I’m not going to read it.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
If you haven’t already read this, it’s not worth your time – I think most of its hype comes from nostalgia. I read it for the first time this year and it was mediocre. It was probably something different a few years ago, but now it isn’t.
The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin
I loved the first book in this companion trilogy, the second one was good but nothing special, and the third… The Kingdom of Gods follows Sieh, the immortal god of childhood, and reading from the point of view of a grown-up child is uncomfortable. Also, 600+ pages are too many, and the plot was messy.
Hunted by Meagan Spooner
I don’t have any strong feelings about this. Nothing about it stood out to me – not the premise, not the writing, not the characters. I didn’t like the romance, I didn’t understand why the characters liked each other at all.
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee
This started out funny and became annoying really quickly. It’s one of the books I should have DNFed the moment I understood it wasn’t for me. I just don’t like this kind of comedic, over-the-top writing – it was supposed to be funny, but I hated almost every moment of it.
The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig
I liked the first book in the series. This one? I don’t remember anything about it. It was too long, I didn’t care about the love triangle, and I just wanted it to end. From now on, all the books on this list are ones I should have DNFed.
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
I didn’t think sci-fi could be so boring. The plot is so simple (see: find one macguffin after another) it felt repetitive halfway through, and it was quickly overshadowed by the romance – an AI romance that totally falls in the romantic-love-makes-you-human trope. The worldbuilding is lazy; there’s nothing interesting or new about the technology here, and every planet has only one climate and one distinctive feature.
But, more than anything, this didn’t need to be 500+ pages.
The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst
I liked the first book in the series, but this was just boring. I mean, the main character doesn’t even decide to start training until around page 100, and nothing happens until the ending.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
I appreciate what the author was trying to do – a really diverse contemporary with a fat protagonist who isn’t shamed for her body size – and I know this book is important for many people.
But I really don’t want to read 300+ pages of a straight girl making marriage equality about herself and complaining that while her moms are getting married and her sister has found a girlfriend, she is alone. I just… don’t do that.
That wasn’t my only problem with this. This book equates having a happy ending with being in a romantic relationship, and the writing made me cringe a lot. The main strength of this book is being “relatable” and to me it wasn’t.
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
After highlighting more than ten quotes for bad writing in the first 200 pages, I DNFed it. I consider it a win.
Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
This is the only book that managed to make me angry.
It’s set in a mansion made up of pieces of other houses around the world, including the true Venetian courtyard, taken from a true “demolished” Venetian house. You know we don’t demolish our historical buildings and give away pieces…? Do you know that rich foreigners paying people to steal pieces of our art/buildings/parks (where I live, they stole seven ancient Dwarf Cycads from the botanical garden…) is a thing that actually happens because people think anything Italian is cool but they hate Italians?
Just like this book, which uses a xenophobic stereotype as a plot device. This isn’t acknowledged at all – one of the character says “it’s not fair to Italians, but it’s effective” (actual quote). Yes, xenophobia is effective, and so are racism and homophobia, but you shouldn’t use them as a plot device in your book without dealing with them.
These weren’t the only problems I had with this (bad writing!), but I don’t want to write six paragraphs to explain what I didn’t like. I have a review.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What were your least favorite books of 2017?