While I enjoyed most of the books I’ve read in 2018, there were several I didn’t like. It happens. There were a couple that I DNF’d because I just couldn’t stand them. That’s a thing that happens, too.
So without further ado, here are the books I liked the least in 2018:
- Arresting God in Kathmandu by Samrat Upadhyay
- The Abbot’s Tale by Conn Iggulden
- Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
I’m sure few people have heard of Nepalese author Samrat Upadhyay or his collection of short stories, Arresting God in Kathmandu. I came across it while doing research for my Read the World Project, and found a used copy online. I was excited to read it but was completely disappointed. Most of the stories were about aging men agonizing over their lust for younger women. Not my thing.
The Abbot’s Tale is a historical fiction novel set in the 930s at the end of King AEthestan’s reign, and into the reigns of the three kings who followed him. It’s a fascinating period in English history, but Iggulden’s story wandered around and dealt with its main character’s squabbles with his fellow monks and how he reformed the country’s mints. The ones that make coins, not candies. Medieval candy making might have made for a better story than this one.
Foundryside was a book I only finished because it was my first approval for ARCs from NetGalley. I went into it with such high hopes because the summary made it sound so interesting and exciting, but I sensed danger from page one. It didn’t get any better after that and ended up being so in love with its own magic system that it was explained repeatedly. Ad nauseum. It felt like I was reading a magical technical manual with some characters thrown in for good measure. Ever had to watch one of those job-related instructional videos that attempt a storyline with characters who are being taught some aspect of the job? If you have and you enjoyed it, then this is the book for you!
Books I Did Not Finish:
- Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare
- Bright We Burn (The Conqueror’s Saga #3) by Kiersten White
I made a second attempt at reading Cassandra Clare’s work with Clockwork Angel, thinking that I could more easily get into something set in Victorian London rather than modern New York City, where City of Bones is set. I stopped reading that one early on because Jace and Clary were endlessly aggravating. Alas, I couldn’t force myself to get past the halfway point of Clockwork Angel. I couldn’t stand Will any more than I could Jace, and Tessa lacked any kind of agency. After 250 pages of nothing much really happening and irritating characters, I couldn’t even make myself make fun of it in Goodreads updates. I sent it back to the library and washed my hands of any other Shadowhunter books.
Bright We Burn is the third and final installment in Kiersten White’s Conquerer’s Saga. I had no particular issue with this book, save that I was already aware of the history behind the story (a historical fiction trilogy about a gender-bent Vlad II Dracul), so I basically knew what was going to happen. Plus, Lada was turning into a one-note character, and I couldn’t dredge up any more interest in Radu’s story once I found out what happened to Nazira after the events of book two.
Special Entry: Least Favorite Current Read:
- Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas
I went into this feeling certain that I wouldn’t care for it, but it’s so much worse than I thought it would be. I don’t understand why so many readers are so taken with The Thirteen and Manon, who start out as horrid people who are happy to kill whoever’s in arm’s reach or even their fellow witches. I mean, if you’re going to be a fighting unit for a century or longer, that’s going to build some degree of closeness and loyalty. But these women seem to be just fine with knifing each other during battle. Really? How does a cohesive fighting unit last if everyone’s wondering if their tentmate is going to stab them in the middle of the night? Also, you have a peasant complaining that useful magics like being able to make plants grow or summoning rain are boring because it’s not flashy. Every farmer in the world at every point in time would love to have that ability, and a medieval peasant would know that and appreciate the skills. What. Even?
Ugh. I have so much more to say about this book, but we’ll save that for another time.
Anyway. There weren’t too many books I didn’t like in 2018, given how many I read. Did you read any of these, and if so, what did you think of them? What were your disappointing reads in 2018?