Well, now we’ve come to the last of my most disappointing lists. We’ve exhausted the albums, TV shows, and movies that didn’t live up to my expectations, so now it’s time to talk about the top seven books that fell from grace in my esteem for them. Why top seven? Simply because seven books I was excited for let me down in some way. In order to be eligible for this list, I simply had to have read the book this year and I had to have been truly anticipating it. Most of the books on this list actually did come out this year, but I couldn’t make that a qualification because of the first book on this list. So, now that I’ve brought that up, let’s get on with my lengthiest list yet and discuss the seven books (plus two honorable (or rather, dishonorable) mentions) that really disappointed me this year:
- Some Kind of Perfect by Krista & Becca Ritchie (Release Date: May 20, 2016):
This book is essentially a lengthy epilogue to the Addicted/Calloway Sisters series. My problem with it is that it was sold as a collection of important moments that happen over the course of about ten years, bridging the gap between the end of Long Way Down and its epilogue. However, the majority of this book is snapshots of the mundane. While all of these characters certainly deserve the peace of everyday life, I couldn’t figure out why these were stories that needed to be told. It just felt like the Ritchie sisters didn’t have anything new to say. Given the, quite frankly, boring nature of this book, it took me a long time to get through. I kept putting it down to read more entertaining things. It was a nice introduction to the children we follow in the sequel series (Like Us), but unfortunately it had nothing else to offer. This massive epilogue was far from any kind of perfect.
2. Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau (Release Date: June 6):
Having written what I’ve long considered to be my favorite dystopian series (The Testing), Joelle’s fantasy debut was a pleasant surprise. That is, until I actually read it. Carys and Andreus are irritating and forgettable characters, and the story hinges on miscommunication and heavy-handed manipulation. The novel left such little impression on me, I can’t remember most of what happened. I had wanted to continue the series right after I read it, but now I have no desire. If anything, this book will divide Joelle’s fanbase.
3. Because You Love to Hate Me Edited by Ameriie (Release Date: July 11):
I’m a huge lover of villains, so I was ecstatic when this anthology of villainous short stories was announced. Unfortunately, this book was lacking greatly on the villains. It seemed like most of the protagonists in this collection are pre-villains. The collection is largely just backstories and tales of petty squabbles. And this would’ve been fine, but it was sold as stories about full-fledged villains. Additionally, the booktubers who wrote prompts occasionally tried to personalize them and, well, let’s just say I hope they’re not releasing their own books anytime soon. In the end, there were only a couple stories I really enjoyed. The majority was just filler. I just feel disappointed because I do not love to hate this book.
4. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (Release Date: August 29):
I was excited for this book for many reasons. It’s written by Leigh Bardugo, it’s a Wonder Woman story, it’s incredibly diverse, and it explores Diana’s bisexuality. Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect to any of the characters and the plot was simplistic and cliché. After Six of Crows, this is a dramatic decrease in quality. I also disliked the plot twist. It wasn’t well foreshadowed and didn’t make sense for the character. The worst part, however, is that Diana’s bisexuality really isn’t explored. I think she makes a couple comments about the Amazons as a whole, but there’s nothing on-page that truly marks Diana as bisexual. My feelings for this book have only soured further since my mini-review earlier this year. It left no impression on me, bringing neither war nor entertainment.
5. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson (Release Date: September 26):
Being a lover of the fae, this was one of my most anticipated books of the year. Unfortunately, it hit far below the mark. Isobel and Rook were the only round characters, but even they weren’t well-rounded. This book also has a bad case of instalove. The worst part, however, is the rushed ending. As much as I loved the fae in this book, I couldn’t give it a glowing review. Alas, I have been disenchanted by Margaret Rogerson.
6. Renegades by Marissa Meyer (Release Date: November 7):
Even though I’m not a big fan of superhero stuff, I like them as a concept. And I’ve loved everything Marissa has written, so I was certain this would become another favorite. It did not. Nova’s potential as a villain or antihero is squandered and the overall story is rather tropey. I really didn’t even care about most of the characters. I also hated the budding romance between Nova and Adrian. Right now it’s purely attraction, but it’s just so unnecessary and forced. Marissa has failed once again to either bypass the romance subplot or provide queer representation. Well, that’s not totally true: Adrian’s dads (two of the greatest superheroes alive) are in love. But they’re side characters, so it feels like she’s placating us rather than actually caring about queer representation. I said it best in my mini-review, this supervillain tale is a super fail.
7. The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin (Release Date: November 7):
I’m not going to lie to you, this one hurt. It was one of my most anticipated books of the year, and it let me down in every way. The exciting, thriller aspect of the original trilogy is gone in favor of a dull plot filled with talking. There is no action in this book whatsoever. It was also incredibly difficult reading from Noah’s perspective, experiencing his depression and self-loathing. As someone who’s struggled with depression her whole life, it wasn’t nice to read. The ending was also a jumble, some things clear and others not. My mini-review highlights why it’s not as good as its predecessor. All I have to say now is that it became one of the biggest letdowns of 2017.
-1. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (Release Date: May 2):
If you’d asked me how much I was anticipating this book at this time last year, I would’ve said it was one of my most anticipated books of 2017. However, as I started to realize the truth about Sarah J. Maas as a writer and as a person who doesn’t really care about representation, that excitement waned. So, I wasn’t anticipating this book quite as much as the books on my list proper. However, I was still expecting something more akin to A Court of Mist and Fury in the content and character development. Instead, I found it to be contrived and the plot was often dull. They spend most of the novel preparing for war, rather than actually fighting said war. Feyre and Rhys’ character development goes stagnant and even regresses a little. There were also representation issues and a terrible plot point that almost made me DNF. Even though I had good things to say in my review, this book has not stuck with me and I’ve changed my feelings on many of the things in it I originally liked. This book lies in ruins, all right. The ruins of the upward momentum the story once had. Goodbye, Sarah J. Maas.
-2. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (Release Date: June 13):
I really didn’t anticipate this book at all, but I thought the first book was all right and Victoria is my favorite writer so I knew I would read it eventually. And somehow it got my already low hopes down. The story meandered far more this time around, feeling very contrived in order to get to the desired end. It has such a mishmash of messages, it’s hard to say what exactly this story was trying to get across. The only thing that saved this book for me was the bold choice Victoria makes at the end. It definitely went in the opposite direction of where I thought it was going. But that wasn’t enough to truly raise this novel in my esteem. I’m saddened to dislike one of Victoria’s books so much, but at least you know I’m not biased. Unfortunately, this is one duet with which I will not being singing along.
Do you agree with any of my choices? What were some books that disappointed you this year? Tell me about them in the comments!