Fun Lists

Most Disappointing Books of 2020

“I love Thursday nights.”

First line in Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

I’m still in the process of wrapping 2020 up, and we’ve made it to my post about my most disappointing books of the year. These aren’t necessarily the worst books I read in 2020, although there are a lot of those on this list, too. It’s a list of the books that, for various reasons, let me down the most. So prepare for some ranting. These books are in no particular order.

The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms #3) by Cinda Williams Chima

My rating: 1 star

After having really liked the first two books in this series, I was incredibly disappointed with the pacing of this one. Not a lot happened because we had to witness reruns of all the relationship drama (which also wasn’t going anywhere). I was also particularly put off by this because there was some girl-on-girl hate for absolutely no reason at all. I have a full review here where I also talk spoilers.

Master of Sorrows (The Silent Gods #1) by Justin Travis Call

My rating: 2 stars

I don’t think I’ve ever come across such a dry writing style, and I can only assume it was the author’s intention to put readers to sleep. I was begging for time jumps by the halfway point because so far I had been subjected to a description of the MC’s everyday life in excruciating detail. We hadn’t even made it through a full day yet. It was disappointing because the world and its mythology showed great potential. We just never reached a point where any of it mattered.

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

My rating: 2 stars

This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year because of its very cool focus on my all-time favorite trope: the chosen one. Even better, it was about the aftermath of being a chosen one. At least that was its marketing, but the book itself turned in a completely different direction very quickly and left most of the ‘chosen ones’ as glorified extras without any kind of story arc.

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

My rating: 2.5 stars

Infinity Son was mainly disappointing because I couldn’t recognize Silvera in it. It was written very simplistically with characters that seemed more like caricatures, making it hard to really care about them. So even though this was Silvera’s first attempt at writing fantasy, it’s disappointing that the character work is the part that’s lacking because that shouldn’t be all that different from what he usually writes.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

My rating: 2 stars

A very hyped book I picked up even though sci-fi thrillers are outside of my comfort zone. I haven’t read a lot of thrillers but I have yet to find one with good writing, and Dark Matter didn’t have that either. The characters were almost comically flat, so I wasn’t going to care about them, and the main plotline was too predictable to keep my interest.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune

My rating: 3 stars

I’m sorry, okay! I know this is everyone’s favorite book of the year, and because of that, it’s probably my most disappointing one. But it’s my own fault. Had I known this book was Middle Grade, I wouldn’t have come near it. I am bored to death with these kinds of heartwarming stories with no real conflict. I need my characters to suffer before I love them, so this book was a total miss for me.

The Faithless Hawk (The Merciful Crow #2) by Margaret Owen

My rating: 2 stars

This one was a disappointing conclusion to a duology where I really loved the first one. The plot went from action-packed to meandering because the author failed to utilize the amazing and detailed world she had created. It was also disappointing to see several side-characters take a step backwards and get reduced to simple plot devices.

The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time #3) by Robert Jordan

My rating: 2 stars

This was the book that properly killed my enthusiasm for Wheel of Time because it made me realize how many ‘filler books’ there must be in this 14 books long series. There was zero point to this book. It didn’t need to exist. And it means I’ll probably never finish the series.

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

My rating: 3 stars

I had put this book on a list of 5 star predictions because I really love the story of Peter Pan. However, this taught me not to expect too much of classics. I just don’t love them. I often like the sentiment but not the execution which was also the case with Peter Pan.

Firestarter (Timekeeper #3) by Tara Sim

My rating: 4 stars

I know I shouldn’t be disappointed with a 4-star book, but when I gave to first two books in the series glowing 5 star reviews, it’s hard not feel a little let down by this final installment. There were some plot-related things I was especially disappointed with as they were quite cliché-ish and predictable. And you just really want the final book to be the best one!

That was 10 books I wasn’t all that excited about in 2020. I did read some amazing books in 2020, but it also wasn’t that hard to find books for this list. And I didn’t even include my two DNF’s. But I did feel that I learned a lot about my own reading taste by reading these books that didn’t quite work for me. I also hope it made a fun post to read, so it’s not all bad. What was your most disappointing read of the year?

10 thoughts on “Most Disappointing Books of 2020

  1. I couldn’t even get through the first Wheel of Time book. I’m just going to watch the show.
    I wished for Chosen Ones on Netgalley and was granted it not too long ago and now I regret wishing for it. It has been languishing on my shelf and will continue to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m also looking forward to the show because I think that’s going to be so much better than the books. I don’t understand their popularity.
      And yeah, I’ve seen a lot of people being disappointed with Chosen Ones so I don’t blame you for not wanting to read it anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was also really disappointed in Chosen Ones!
    I think this is the only disappointing list where I’ve seen the House in the Cerulean Sea haha


    Liked by 1 person

  3. The only two of these that I’ve read are The Gray Wolf Throne and Peter Pan – and I agree on one and not the other 😁

    The Gray Wolf Throne was also my least favorite book in the series, but I did still really enjoy it 😊 I was all here for the relationship drama! But I do see where you’re coming from 😉

    And as to Peter Pan, I also thought it was pretty disappointing. I expected so much more, especially since I’d seen a couple of movie adaptations that I liked as a kid. But the book? I thought it was very lacklustre 🙈 And I don’t think it’s just because it’s a classic – because there are so many classics out there that I love! I just thought it was boring…

    I’m also disappointed to see that you didn’t like Dark Matter. I’ve been eyeing that one for a while, but flat characters are something I absolutely can’t stand 😅 So maybe I’ll rethink picking that one up…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Pan is really a story where I think movie adaptions and general retellings have added so much to the story and thereby improved it, so the original was nothing special. I still love the movie versions! But glad to hear that someone who loves classics also found it boring 😄

      And yeah, I don’t understand the hype for Dark Matter. It’s really not one you read for the characters so I would never recommend it to character-driven readers. I also thought the plot was kind of dull. Especially when you’re used to reading science fiction and fantasy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy The House in the Cerulean Sea! I can understand why it wouldn’t be to people’s taste, though, especially if you prefer darker books. I don’t think it is Middle Grade though—not with a 40-year-old protagonist—but it definitely has a MG vibe!

    I was quite disappointed by Chosen Ones, too. I loved the concept, but it bugged me that it claimed to be Roth’s adult debut and yet still felt very YA.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I’m really sorry about not liking The House in the Cerulean Sea too because everyone just loves that book. And yes, I think I might have formulated that wrong because I do believe the book is Adult, but because of the strong Middle Grade vibes, it technically didn’t matter to me.

      I hadn’t thought about Chosen Ones feeling like YA, but you’re totally right!

      Liked by 1 person

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