TTT | Books That Defied My Expectations

Posted September 5, 2023 by TheNonbinaryLibrarian in top ten tuesday / 2 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provides a topic, and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

I’m going to focus on books that I read and had much higher expectations. Before reading them, I would’ve expected to give them a 4 to 5 stars (our of 5) rating, and they ended up with 2 or 3 star ratings.

The novel’s concept was quite compelling and made me want to read it, along with the cover. Second, I’m all for feminism and women helping women, but this novel fell flat. There were too many plot holes and boring motivations for what was going on. The prologue was the strongest part of the novel, while the rest was quite dull.

Nothing in this novel made any remote sense. We’re going to have a former student investigate this crime because she’s a group counselor?!? Please make this make sense! The characters were boring, the plot was a checklist for murder mystery books, and I’m surprised I didn’t DNF it.

The only reason I read this is because it was the pick for a book club I’m in. The main character, Ana, does not make any sense for the time period she lives in. There’s a part were she’s surprised and outraged that her parents arranged a marriage for her, and it’s like, umm yea, you knew this was coming. The theology presented was also problematic and the characterization of Jesus was odd.

This book was not remotely accurate to the Christie family, and yes, I understand it’s historical fiction, but it really yanked me out of the story for how wrong everything was. Now, do I think the Magdalene Laundries should be learned about and discussed? Yes, of course, 10000% percent. The novel would have been much stronger if the author didn’t try to shoehorn in the Christie family.

If you are looking for a book about the 11 day disappearance of Agatha Christie, I highly recommend The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict.

I had such high hopes for this novel! The concept of finding out about this medicine woman who helped women get away from their abusive husbands or end a pregnancy was just fascinating. But the main character from today made no sense and was so dumb, I just couldn’t with this one.

What even was this book? At first, I was like ooo, a murder in a library, that sounds cool. Then I start reading and it’s a book within in a book, even cooler. Love a good frame story! But then it started making no sense, both the book and the book within the book. What was the whole thing with her bating this serial killer, stalker, I don’t even know. And the ending, WHAT?!?!

Okay, do I understand why people love this book? Yes, I do! I just didn’t find that love myself. I’m all for complicated and morally grey characters but Evelyn just felt like a bitch. I didn’t care about Evelyn and Celia’s relationship, it felt surface level to me. I couldn’t care less if they were together or not. The whole frame story of telling Monique was interesting up until you find out why her and Monique are connected, which then became an unnecessary redemption arc.

Yea…I didn’t actually finish the book. I read up until Aelin was rescued then found a chapter by chapter summary on someone’s blog (I don’t remember which blog I read it from, but whoever did that, you’re my hero). At this point, I was just super bored with this series. It was too much (both figuratively and literally, like Maas could edit out 200-300 pages of each book). For me, all her books, not just the Throne series but the ACOTAR series too, felt too similar and repetitive.

Ugh, I really did want to love this book. And I do have to say how Haig writes depression is so accurate, along with having beautiful prose. However, this should’ve been a short story, maybe a novella at a stretch. By the time Nora goes through a 3rd possible life, it became boring and repetitive because each life shows her that there’s always going to be shit that you have to deal with. Again, as someone who has depression, yes going through each one till you figure that out is a process and takes a while, but reading it became a little unecessary.

My issue with this is that Pearse is trying to tell two distinct, important stories that only tangentially connect, so neither get their due diligence. The story of what happened to the women in the sanatorium was so fascinating and how these doctors were doing unauthorized experiments was so creepy. Then you have this woman who was raped more than a decade ago going after the man who raped her. Another important story since so many rape cases go unsolved. But shoving these two together just meant each case was only surface level with characters who were two-dimensional.

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