Monday, September 7, 2015

Books I should have loved but didn't

Everyone has one, most of us have several. It's that book everyone you know thinks you should read, the book all the reviews rave about, that book that is right up your alley. There's just one thing wrong; that book leaves you feeling kind of... meh.

These are some of mine.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I have tried to love this book, really I have. But every time I start to read this book either my mind drifts off or I fall asleep. I really like Patrick Rothfuss as the person he seems to be on the internet and I love how enthusiastic people are about this series but despite having started the book at least three different times I pretty much only know that there's a tavern and the owner is somehow famous and at some point he loses his family to reavers and winds up in the circus or something. Then he maybe goes to some school. Rationally, I know that this is nowhere near to an accurate representation on what the book is about. I may have to try to read it at least once more. I have the sequel too after all. I may have a slight problem with book buying habits.

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Superheroes! Consequences to ordinary people! Feeling like an outcast! These are all things I loooove in my fiction, more than I can describe. Heck, some of my all time favorite books are Seanan McGuire's Velveteen books which are all about superheroes set into a world where plowing into a building actually has consequences to the people whose lives revolve around said building, regularly wearing spandex also means no bacon etc. I love it. 

Steelheart presses many of those same buttons for me. It's wonderfully written and I will absolutely recommend it to people. And yet... And yet I didn't love it. I thought David, the protagonist, was whiny and annoying in that special way only teenagers seem to manage. I hated the way his inner monologue went "OMG! GIRL! DANGER! BE COOL!" any time a member of the opposite sex turned up. Basically I just wanted to slap him silly for it. Which is probably not a healthy response to anyone, let alone a fictional character.

At this point I'm still debating myself whether or not I should read the sequel. The first book was entertaining and well written, I just don't know whether I should subject myself to a book that I know going in I'm not going to love.

Song of Ice and Fire -series by George R.R. Martin

Then there's that. I devoured A Game of Thrones back in 2006 while on holiday in Paris and got maybe a third of the way into A Clash of Kings. I came home and completely forgot about the book for years. I finally got through the second and third books in the series around 2012 or 2013. That's also pretty much when I decided that that was going to be it for me and that series. And to be perfectly frank, I only managed to finish the second and third book because of professional curiosity. The series is exciting in a way that few books are exciting, Monsieur Martin is undoubtedly a great writer and so on but the books are just too bleak and hopeless for me. Everyone is such a horrible person that I just can't find it in myself to be invested in their outcomes. And if I don't care what happens to them, I might as well stop reading.

So that's me. What are the books you should have loved but just didn't?


  1. I read A Game of Thrones when it very, very first came out. At the time I thought, "this is awesome!! I can't wait to find out what happens next!" I regularly checked my bookstore for the sequel... and I kept waiting, and waiting... And by the time the sequel came out, I was bored of epic fantasy and had forgotten everything that happened in the first book. So even though I loved it at the time, I've never had any desire to pick up the series again, at least in book form. The TV series is fun to watch though.

    Also, I've had The Name of the Wind on my shelf for like 1000 years. I'm going to try to start reading it again soon. But I like to read several books at once, so maybe this time I'll be able to slowly ease into it and get hooked.

    1. Happily on The Kingkiller Chronicle, the second book is already out as well as a novella set in the universe. ;) You can go through all of those slooooooowly and be done just in time for the third book in 2017 which, as I understand it is supposed to be the last one in the series.

  2. Steel heart has an odd tone, for certain. I found the flipped script (bad guys are the superheroes) colored my experience of the book. It's not my usual happy-go-lucky fare. But I enjoyed it because I like the *way* Sanderson writes (even with the silly teen boy hand-wringing over girls, which I have a dim awareness of too, but didn't particularly bother me perhaps because I live with a silly teen boy who is known to occasionally Something about how Sanderson puts sentences together just REALLY appeals to me.

    1. I actually really liked the flipped script of superheroes being bad guys. If you think about any superhero movie from the point of view of an ordinary person, they're very much like a natural disaster. If you look at the first Avengers movie for example, they LEVEL downtown New York. The amount of damage they cause while fighting the Chitauri is going to cause a million people to lose their job, not to mention the people who die because they get buried in the rubble. This is New York on a normal weekday we're talking about so it's not like the offices are empty. So that's a few million New York refugees right there. From one superhero battle. Which are very common if you have superheroes. And the Avengers were at least somewhat mindful of the damage they were causing. The Superman movie destroyed the final battle city completely. In the real world repairs don't happen with a magic wand and just because the people shown on the screen get saved doesn't mean that others don't die because they're in the wrong building when Hulk drives a Chitauri worm through it.


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