Fun Lists

Reading 5-Star Reviews of Books I Hated

“The town was in flames.”

First line in Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

I’m looking at reviews again! Last week I found some 1-star reviews of books I really loved, and so in this post, I’m doing the opposite. I’ve found some interesting, maybe funny, reviews for books I gave 1 or 2 stars to, and now I’m going to try and see if I can understand what people like about these books I wanted to hurl across the room. One in particular is going to be a challenge. This is also a way of spotlighting a few books that I normally don’t mention on my blog because you might like them even if I don’t. Take a look.

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Okay, this is difficult.
I’m choosing to latch onto the fact that the reviewer is an inexperienced fantasy reader, and that must be why our opinions differ so drastically on this book. I agree that the setting is accessible to non-fantasy readers, but mainly because it’s too simple. I don’t think many experienced fantasy readers will find anything unique about it. And the layered and compelling characters? Sure. I didn’t see them, but sure. Lastly, I agree with the statement that this book is feminist. I just didn’t like that it was so much in-your-face feminist. It was like the author had to make absolutely sure you knew about the feminist themes and therefore kept explaining them instead of letting the reader think for themselves.

The Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

This review really sums up what went wrong for me with this series. Blood of Elves is the third book, and I liked the first one alright, but then it went downhill from there. And you see, the first book was really just retellings of old fairy tales, and I love that! The more the books deviated from that, the more I disliked them. On top of that, there wasn’t any Geralt in this (if I remember correctly), and since he was the only character I was just slightly interested in, this story didn’t swallow me.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

“The books may be slow in some parts”. Excuse me, but that’s the understatement of the century.
Here’s where I could pretend to agree with some of the praise from the review, but I wouldn’t want to lie to you. These are the worst books I’ve ever read, and no, I’m not sorry.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Yes, the last line is why I picked this review.
I’ll admit that I went out of my comfort zone with this book, and maybe that was a mistake. It didn’t manage to rock my world as it did for this reviewer. I didn’t find it particularly well written as the characters were incredibly flat and uninteresting, and the plot was very predictable. However, I do agree that the science-parts were easy enough to follow, and that is often my big struggle with sci-fi.

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

I’m a bit confused as to why the reviewer said that characters were believable as if there was more than one character in this book. They say so themselves that Mox wasn’t clear and that Matt faded away. Sloane is the only character in this book, but she is believable, I’ll give them that.
I’m also not sure I would call it a great standalone as I did feel like the book only started at the very end, clearly setting up a sequel. But if you really like Sloane and relate to her, I can see how you don’t need much else from the book, whether it be plot or other characters.

This was way more difficult than the opposite version from last week, which really has sent my mind spinning. Why is it more difficult for me to accept that people don’t hate the same books as me than it is to accept that people hate a book I love? (Hope that sentence made sense). I’d love to know if you’ve experienced feeling similarly or if it’s just me. Of course, also let me know what you thought of my responses to these reviews and if you agree.

12 thoughts on “Reading 5-Star Reviews of Books I Hated

  1. Well, the only one of these that I’ve read is The Fellowship of the Ring, and I’m afraid I very much agree with the reviewer on that one πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I love that book! Yes, it’s slow, but I love how rich and detailed the world is, and the epicness of the plot 😍 Though I suppose I can forgive you for hating it since you introduced me to the Winternight Trilogy and Silver in the Wood – that’s more than enough compensation πŸ˜πŸ˜‰
    I had so much fun reading all your rants, though! Although I think, for me, it’s harder to see that someone hated a book I loved than the other way around… (Exception: the play that must not be named – anyone who says that is good should prepare themselves for my wrath!) But no matter what, I still always love checking out reviews with completely different opinions from mine. It’s so interesting to look at them from a totally new perspective!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I knew you loved Lord of the Rings, and don’t worry, I’ve forgiven you for that too πŸ˜‰ I had to skim those books, and I knew it was going to be a challenge for me say anything nice about them. But I think there are so much praise for these books everywhere else, so there’s room for my hatred. You know, balance. πŸ˜…
      And I really didn’t mean to rant, but it’s very hard not to when people insist on having wrong opinions πŸ˜‰ So I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      I also think that your opinion is the more common one about it being harder seeing someone hate a book you love. That’s also what I assumed before writing these posts. Maybe I’ve just accepted that I have such a weird taste in books that I don’t expect anyone else to agree with me on the books I love. At least until you came along and starting loving all my favorites πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, yes, balance is probably best 😁 (Especially since I know you love The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which just made me completely depressed… So I guess it evens out?) But I do agree that your taste in books is otherwise impeccable 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh now I’m really curious about what’s wrong with The Perks of Being a Wallflower πŸ˜‚ I’ll admit it’s not a book I have strong feelings about, although I did like it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well, I did think it was very well written, but I just didn’t like it at all πŸ™ˆ Most of the time, I was either bored or horribly depressed πŸ˜… But maybe I also read it at the wrong time in my life…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. And to your question: I think once you see the flaws in something, not only can you not unsee them, you can’t figure out why others can’t. And for those flaws to bother you enough to hate a book (since, as a group, we love books, they are probably tied into some very basic assumptions and beliefs about how books should be, which are harder to surrender.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is an interesting take. When you see the flaws, but not the merits of a book, there’s nothing to make you ignore those flaws. Maybe that’s how we accept that other people don’t like your favorite books. I mean, you can love a book and still see its flaws. They’re just outweighed by the good stuff, but you recognize the flaws when people point them out as reasons for not liking the book. Sometimes at least πŸ˜„
      Thank you for that answer. It gave me something to think about.

      Liked by 1 person

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