It’s been ages since the last time I wrote a Top Ten Tuesday post…though admittedly, it’s been ages since I have returned to blogging. I either appear once in a full moon or I go off the grid; there is no in between.
Anyway, for those who don’t know already, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly prompt created by the lovely bloggers at The Broke and The Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. And this week’s prompt, submitted by Beauty & Her Books is the kind of prompt that can have me ranting for ages. (Psst she is another great book blogger I just discovered, do check out her site!)
That’s right folks. Today, I am going to give you a list of the top ten books that I hated with such passion, that I would gladly throw them into the ocean…or shoot them into outer space…or feed them to my cats.
Huh, now there’s a thought.
Disclaimer: I want to be clear that whatever I say from this point onwards is my personal opinion about the specific books in this list and not my opinion about the authors. I am completely against criticizing an author even if I hate their books; all of my criticisms are about their story, and these are not a reflection of the author’s character.
1. Anna And The French Kiss
This has got to be one of the worst romance novels I have ever read. The entire story is built on a guy cheating on his girlfriend with our main character, while our main character spends the entire book slut shaming the other girl.
Now I understand this is a very real experience for many of us. I have been in a similar situation myself, which is to say that a couple years back I fell head over heels in love with a man who was already in a relationship. BUT, not once did I try to “steal the guy” from his girlfriend, neither did I harbor any ill feelings towards her. Even when he said he returned my feelings, I did not get involved with him until he had ended his relationship with her.
If this book had shown us a similar story, then I would have loved it as a romance novel because then the love and the dynamic of the relationship between the characters would have been wholesome, sweet and heartfelt. Instead, what we have is pages and pages of Anna being bitter, jealous and slut shaming girl for having the “audacity” to be cuddly with HER OWN BOYFRIEND.
What still surprises me, to this day, is that this book is apparently a New York Times bestseller, and even went on to have several more sequels published. I do not want to think about the implications of that; it could just be REALLY good marketing, or maybe we just have way too many unfaithful people in our society. 🤮
2. The Selection Series (Yes I hated them all)
The Selection was one of the first books I wrote a review for when I first started book blogging at The Bookish Freaks. And…it was an utter disappointment. The premise was so promising: a dystopian world divided by a caste system where you are forbidden to be marry into a different caste, or risk being imprisoned. The only exception is when you participate in “the selection” which is essentially a competition to win the crown prince’s hand in marriage.
The book could have easily been a thrilling dystopia novel that tackles difficult social subjects while still having a romantic, steamy The Bachelor feel to it. Instead, it was just a stupid story about a clueless, spineless main character whose primary concern is figuring out who she should marry…and that’s about it. There is literally nothing else in this story.
So why did I keep reading the full series you ask? Well, there were certain things that I did enjoy which made me hope the story could improve with the sequels. The friendship between the characters for instance, the chemistry, the rebellion…but unfortunately, the writer failed to properly develop those elements of the plot and the book ended up being an absolute mess.
3. House Of Night (Yes…the whole series…again)
Putting this series into this list makes me a little sad, I am not going to lie. The House of Night series was one of my favorite vampire books series growing up, but it wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s that I reread the book and realized everything wrong with it.
As a fantasy novel with horror elements thrown into it, this series has an excellent plot and the development of relationship between the characters will make you love it all the more. The concept of a divided society where vampires have their own institutions, are both revered and feared by humans, the intricate culture and rituals that are shown in the novel…all of it is extremely fascinating and makes for a thrilling story.
Where the book fails EPICLY however, is in creating a protagonist who is even remotely tolerable. It’s impossible to read a book when you have to stay in the head of the most insufferable, and hypocritical, angsty teen bitch in the world.
And what’s even more insufferable is how the authors try to forcefully push their personal morals, ideals and ethics code down your throat. Sure, they do make some light attempts to show both sides of the situation, but they fail to ask real challenging questions, and more often than not, end up contradicting themselves.
Still…vampires are a guilty pleasure of mine, and I have to admit that in terms of the plot, this is a great vampire series. I’ll definitely finish this series soon someday; and as soon as I do will yeet this book into the depths of the ocean because great plot or not, this series is still trash because of the writing, and the protagonist.
4. Captive In The Dark
This one is an 18+ book about a girl who is kidnapped as a slave. I am not one to shy away from stories with depicting graphic violence, and non-consensual mature content. What I expected, when reading this novel, was an exploration into Stockholm Syndrome, which is a very real and terrifying experience for kidnapping victims and is often (wrongly) romanticized in media.
Instead, what I got was pages and pages of….romanticized abuse.
If you want to read a book that has disturbing content but does not romanticize it, and instead tries to tackle the issue sensitively from both the perspective of the victim and the abuser, I’d recommend Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas or Pretty Stolen Doll by Kur Dukey and K Webster. Those books were a million times better than the dumpster fire that is Captive In The Dark.
5. The Girl Of Fire And Thorns
Oh man I’d forgotten what a ridiculous excuse for a high fantasy novel this book was until today’s prompt for horrible books. The Girl Of Fire And Thorns is a story about a girl who literally describes herself as “dark”, “brown”, “bloated sausage” and “pig”. This girl is blessed with some magical powers that nobody understands (not even the author I think) and things only starts to look brighter for her once she loses weight and starts walking around a lot. Yikes.
I get it. I understand the importance of having all body shapes and skin color being represented in literature. I understand acknowledging the hate/love relationship we often have with our own appearances. But instead of showing acceptance for her flaws and then consciously making the decision to change her body for her own happiness…our main character just suddenly becomes skinny after walking from point A to point B throughout the novel. That is it. That’s really the novel. And it is supposed to be high fantasy?
This book was an impulse-buy for me and an instant-regret. It’s the kind of book that makes Twilight seem like a gem, and Bella seem like a self-respecting woman. Your main character is obsessed with this absolutely rude, mean and nightmare inducing guy who treats her like the trash she is, a plot that’s been created with barely any research done into the topic and a oh-so-shocking big reveal that you can see incoming three chapters into the story. I don’t want to just throw this book in the ocean; I want to it suffer for the brain cells it made me lose.
7. Rose Petal Graves
One of the earliest ARCs I had received when I first started book blogging, Rose Petal Graves had a really great premise. The writing style was amazing too; there was this creepy theme going on through the whole novel that had me turning the pages. Sadly, the main character was so inconsistent, selfish, and frankly, such a hypocrite that I ended up hating the story instead. Not to mention, all the other characters were absolutely bland, the fantasy elements completely underdeveloped, and the ending was even more underwhelming.
You can read my full ranting on Goodreads here, it is one of the very few books reviews I have written that I am proud of. Mostly because despite my frustration with the story, I think I reviewed the story pretty well with justified points.
8. The Black Witch
A very very long book that is just full of bullshit racist apologists, this book never should have seen the light of day, But as it happens, not only did this book get published, it even went on to sell three sequels. Just goes to show how problematic the publishing industry really is, where books about “white awakening” is celebrated and defended with no regards to how hurtful the content is to victims of racism.
9. Three Dark Crowns
Another impulse-buy that really let me down, Three Dark Crowns had an excellent premise and could have been an amazing fantasy novel had it not fallen into the same traps as many of the other books in this list: grossly underdeveloped and inconsistent main characters, uninteresting supporting characters and a very slow paced plot.
10. Queen Of The Deep
I was very disappointed by this book, because I loved the concept, and in the beginning, the main character was vivacious, lively and a strong protagonist that I enjoyed reading about. But…and this is the part that really disturbed me…after the main character was actually sexually abused at around the mid-point of the story, she suddenly became obsessed with romancing her abuser and turned into a complete airhead for two whole chapters.
Now admittedly the main character does get over it, but the real let down is that her abuser is never again blamed or held accountable for that particular act of violence. She is blamed for other things…but not that. The main character seemingly just forgets about the whole thing.
As a survivor myself, I can’t get over how awful this scene was, and the poor way the entire thing was handled. As content creators we have a responsibility, to a certain degree, of how our work is affecting others. And this was a very hurtful of depicting rape, especially in a young adult novel.
And that wraps up my current list of books that I want to throw into the ocean…or maybe just end up recycling instead. I am already in the process of turning Fallen into black-out poetry by marking out the words. It’s actually quite fun, and I am sure the end result will be a much better form of art than the trash the book currently is.
P. S: If you are an author of any of these books and you are reading this post, my sincerest apologies as my intentions are not to hurt your feelings. I am entitled to my opinion about your stories, and they are not a reflection of what I think of you as a human being. So please, don’t come at me with the pitchforks now.