Happy Saturday everyone! It’s so crazy that 2019 is nearly done! So it’s that time again for the least favorite and favorite books of the year and I’m starting with the more negative list. I have 5 disappointing ones and 5 worst. The disappointing ones could be a 3 star book but still disappointing, while the worst are of course ones that I really didn’t like. Let’s jump in!
Worst Books of 2019
- A Thousand Fires: This is blurbed as a mix of The Odyssey and The Outsiders and that sounded really cool. We follow a girl who gets initiated into the mysterious White Stag gang so she can find out who killed her younger brother and get revenge. I will say that the first chapter was explosive and fantastic and this book had so much potential. But this ended up being a boring, flat story with a romance that felt very early 2010’s and abusive. The author has a good writing style so I could give her another try, but this book didn’t even explore the three gangs that were at war with each other. The White Stag just felt like a group of 18 year olds that got drunk and partied. Even the protagonist allows the male “love interest” to manipulate her into liking him and acting like him. This book made me feel cheated to put it simply.
- Last of Her Name: This really hurts me to put this book on this list, but sadly that’s the truth. I loved this author’s previous YA novel The Forbidden Wish, but this sci-fi retelling of Anastasia was bad. The main character had NO regard for any other life but hers and made some really stupid mistakes that could’ve cost many lives. She was insufferable and the romance felt very forced to try and sell the book. While I will read more from this author in the future, I don’t recommend to start her catalog with this book.
- The Waking Forest: This was compared to Pan’s Labyrinth when the hype was growing for this book, so naturally, I was really excited. Then I got a physical ARC and started reading. While the cover is stunning, the 3.32 rating on Goodreads is completely justified! The purple prose is completely insufferable and makes the story jumbled and confusing. The modern day POV with Rhea literally made no sense, so I tended to skim read those chapters. The chapters with the queen in the fantasy world was mildly more interesting, but once both stories collided, they didn’t fit together. This felt like two different novels that tried to be one story and it never worked. I’m not sure if I’ll give this author a second chance, but this was one fever dream I quickly woke up from.
- Reverie: This had a really cool premise, with characters being able to go inside alternate realities (like the movie Inception) and the main kid has to try and regain his lost memories. The Inception plot aspect had me really intrigued but once I started it, this quickly became a debut novel that I genuinely don’t like. There are those protagonists that are dubbed “too stupid to live” and Kane was one of them. He didn’t trust the kids at school that were trying to help him, but he would listen to the drag queen sorceress bad guy? Then he got subtitles during a reverie and was able to unravel it by sheer dumb luck? No thank you. This book was not the book I expected it was going to be based on the plot and I was severely disappointed.
- Tiger Queen: This is another author on this list that hurts me. I really enjoyed her debut novel A Touch of Gold from last year, but this desert fantasy read like a first or second draft of a novel that needed a lot more work. The world building is very weak and the main girl was way too inconsistent to even care about her. Then as the plot goes along, you can call the bad guy and the ending from miles away and this is just another forgettable standalone that tried way too hard to be like other desert fantasies. I will just wait for the Touch of Gold sequel and see how that one turns out, but this is another dud to skip.
- Fireborne #1: Who doesn’t want an awesome YA fantasy with awesome dragons? Well, this first book isn’t it. I wanted to love this book so much, but I was bored by all the political drama and most of the human characters. Anna and Lee’s bond didn’t feel genuine in many situations and the dragons hardly even play a role in the story! It’s more about human prejudice and a boy with a big secret and how he tries to choose what life he wants to keep living. While the series does have some potential to get better, this debut wasn’t impressive and way too long.
- Angel Mage: This honestly #2 out these 5 books for most disappointing. I’ve been a fan of Garth Nix for 17 years and I was salivating for this book! Angel magic and a Three Musketeers world? But unfortunately, this was a major letdown for me. The overly wordy writing style that Nix uses for this story made it feel like a dense classic and the overall plot felt really disappointing by the end, with only the final chapter giving us just a few answers and not giving anything else. Plus I didn’t care for any of the characters either. I loved the icon making and the angel mythology but that was it. I’m so sad!
- Contagion #1: I was excited for this book, since it was a sci-fi horror that’s gotten good reviews before I picked it up as a library audio book. While it has a great idea and I liked parts of it, this was kinda disappointing. I didn’t feel emotionally invested in any of the characters and it wasn’t even very scary. Parts were intense, but I was never freaked out by it. I could give it another try by reading my physical copy since I wasn’t a fan of the narrator. But I did have higher expectations that this didn’t meet.
- There Will Come a Darkness #1: While this was a solid book overall, I was still let down in some ways. I really liked that this was a fantasy book about a prophecy about the coming end and trying to guess who the final prophet is. The atmosphere did give me some Mistborn vibes and the ending was a bit more satisfying. But I feel like that the book could’ve either had one less perspective or just more work on the characters all together. The paladin group was cool and again the prophecy had some cool ideas, but the narrative did feel dry and I didn’t feel like much happened. But I do hope the sequel will offer a more fun and exciting plot.
- The Raven’s Tale: This is my number 1 most disappointing book for the whole year! Many of you know how much I love Cat Winters as an author and this was one of the top most anticipated books for me. I even got an ARC from the author herself. But while I did love learning about Poe, Lenore’s character and Winters capturing the time period, I couldn’t stand Poe himself. He was a very melodramatic person but I still didn’t care about him. The early history of his life isn’t as interesting as his later years, so I was hoping that it would have a heavier Gothic atmosphere than what I got. While I do recommend rabid Poe fans to read this book, this just isn’t my favorite book by her. But I’ll always look forward to see what she has to offer next.
What are your least favorite books that you read this year? Are any of these on your list as well? Or did you like them more than I did? Let me know in the comments!