Which Hyped Novels Could You Not Finish?

by - July 30, 2019

Today's TOP TEN TUESDAY post is a freebie, which means I made it. TTT was started by That Artsy Girl, and you can learn more about it here.

Hyped books. You know them. Everyone knows them. These are the masterpieces of their genre that you have to read if you want to know what a good [insert type of novel here] book is. But when you read them, you don't get the hype.

Please tell me I'm not alone. What popular or "amazing" books could you just not finish? Or which ones did you just not enjoy?

No need to bash any books here, of course, but I'd love to hear your opinions on why you didn't enjoy a certain novel. I think it's important to discuss these things. I LOVE Haruki Murakami, but I know a lot of people who don't, and I understand it perfectly. His stuff isn't for everyone, and it has its issues.

So comment down below and tell me which hyped books you COULDN'T finish and why!

Here are mine:

Super hyped novels that I just couldn't finish

1. GRACELING by Kristin Cashore

Listen, if you're a YA Fantasy fan I know you're gasping. Literally everyone recommends this book. It was groundbreaking for its time. But maybe that's the problem. It was groundbreaking in 2008, but not in 2019. For me, a strong female protagonist with dangerous powers and a level head on her shoulders is expected, not a major twist.

Anyway, my main problem is that the book starts so slow, and it was so boring. I tried to skip ahead but I literally did not care about the political intrigue at all. And even when I started reading Po's part (because maybe the romance could hook me instead), I still didn't care. Sorry.

[Also, I heard the sequel FIRE is better, but I still can't bring myself to read it]

2. THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern

I am so disappointed that I couldn't enjoy this book, believe me. I mean, the blurb is right up my alley. Two competing magicians fall in love?! SOUNDS LIKE ENEMIES TO LOVERS REVIEWS! But... I admit I didn't even reach that stage.

THE NIGHT CIRCUS is a literary novel. It's meant to be whimsical and enchanting and make you fall in love. But it's told from so many distant viewpoints that I couldn't connect with any of the characters. At the beginning, I kept thinking, "I don't care about this. Or him. Or the circus. Just give me Celia and Marco! Let them meet!!" But the book kept disappointing me, and eventually I stopped caring enough to read on. It was so boring, oh my god.

And I have another major issue. It's more personal, but I could not stand the prose. Yes, I get that it's meant to be literary. But it just felt so awkward and clunky to me, and I was noticing weird sentence structures more often than not. Maybe Morgenstern needed a few more rounds with her editor. I don't know.

3. DEATHLESS by Catherynne Valente

TO BE FAIR I READ THIS MANY YEARS AGO AND MAYBE MY OPINION WILL CHANGE NOW. But I already sold my copy and have no interest in buying a new one so, meh. I still have my notes on why I abandoned it in 2017.

"Overrated. Purple prose."

Listen. I love purple prose. Give me luscious writing any day. That's how I write too. But it's so easy to mess up, especially when there isn't a straightforward plot. And that is why I could not finish DEATHLESS.

[Do you see a trend here? Prose is very important to me]

Also, apparently Valente hates Kylo Ren which is so hilarious considering... she basically wrote a character that's exactly like him. And her character is a love interest too.

4. AND I DARKEN by Kierstin White

I'M SO SAD THAT I DIDN'T ENJOY THIS BOOK. I'm so sad that I found it so ridiculously boring. Lada is so charming. I mean, I'm always a fan of strong and savage female characters. But when a book chronicles someone's childhood... I just cannot get into it. I wish there was more action or intrigue, because the first part just felt like a very long flashback that would not end.

I wish White trimmed down Lada's childhood and fast-forwarded to her teen years with the Ottoman Empire.

5. ASH PRINCESS by Laura Sebastian

Okay, this one is a much more personal reason, and I don't think it would apply to everyone. ASH PRINCESS has an interesting concept, decent prose, and a protagonist that's easy to root for. She's been tortured her entire life so it's time to regain her crown and fight back. I love that!

But the more I read... the more it made me uncomfortable. Like, maybe that's the point, but I had to stop reading. I'm not usually that queasy; I adore books with dark and vicious topics. But reading about how Theo's people were sold into slavery... while she's stuck in the Kaiser's (colonizer's) palace... The fact that Theo's people are described as dark-skinned or olive-skinned and the Prinz and his other folk are blonde... You get where I'm going. Maybe I'm sensitive, but it felt icky. 

OBVIOUS DISCLAIMER: This is just my opinion! Just because I couldn't enjoy a book doesn't mean it's bad. But there's really nothing more disappointing than realizing that the novel you were hyped af for is... like this.

I still have these books piled on my shelf. At least they look pretty, and at least I supported the industry! LOL Maybe someday I'll give them another try. Who knows?

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  1. I love this topic! It should totally become an official TTT prompt.

    My TTT.

    1. Thanks! Hehe I hope so. I want to read other people's answers :)

  2. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy And I Darken. I agree, the book is very slow paced. I personally enjoyed the pace, but I found some issues with the plot. I also had problems finishing The Night Circus. It was so boring to me.
    Great post!

    1. Interesting. What were your issues with And I Darken's plot?

      Sigh... I feel like The Night Circus was just marketed wrongly, if there are so many of us who couldn't finish it lol. I honestly expected it to be a romance.

  3. I read Graceling a few years ago and thought the same, it was very slow and boring!

    1. Oof, I'm glad we think the same. Thanks for commenting!

  4. I remember I enjoyed Graceling but it didn't strike me as a memorable book so I have no memories of it except my enjoyment. And I didn't bother with the rest of the series anymore too. I wanted to read Ash Princess but over time, I didn't bother with it as well. And that's sad to hear about The Night Circus. I also have never read the book (this is rotting in my TBR now) and multiple POVs? I'm not too fond of those. They're either a hit or miss too.

    - Chai @ Like Chai Tea // My TTT

    1. Haha, The Night Circus was also rotting in my TBR pile for the longest time until I found it in the bookstore. It's definitely multi-POV... but with WAY too many POVs. Honestly, the summary is misleading because Celia and Marco aren't even the focus!

  5. Ok, I didn't not finish The Night Circus but I was definitely underwhelmed when I read it because of all the hype and I just couldn't... SEE it. I mean, I thought the descriptions were really whimsical, magical, carnival-esque but I wasn't as infatuated and in love with the whole book as everyone else seemed to be. Glad to know I'm not the only one :) Lol

    My TTT post

  6. There are sooo many hyped novels I couldn't get through. Taste is so subjective and it's disappointing. It is what it is, you know? Ah! Here's to hoping you've had many good reads since these!

    1. Yep, taste is indeed subjective, but it's still disappointing when you feel like you didn't "get" a book :( Thankfully I've discovered many more amazing books since then <3