There’s a fair share of books recommended on #booktok, some good and some bad. Sometimes it can be hard to know what recommendations to trust and what books will absolutely suck. To help with this, I’ve assembled a quick list of popular booktok books I didn’t enjoy…
Number 1: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
I won’t lie, I had to fight to get through this book and actually finish it. First of all, the writing was very amateur. It’s very clear this was the writer’s debut novel and I think it definitely could have used a lot more editing. The sentences were clunky, there was no flow, and her voice was definitely not fully developed yet. Second, the plot felt so plain. It was scene for scene following the typical storytelling structure (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, dénouement). The politics in the book were also a bit whack. Watering down real politics, communism, colonialism and more for a YA novel felt a bit icky. And finally, my biggest bone to pick: the relationship between the two main characters. Juliette’s whole character revolved around hating colonizers taking over her country, but she drops that right away for her love interest. Love interest Roma really said I’m not like those other colonizers. It felt so weird, and it was hard to support their relationship or the characters themselves. I wouldn’t read this, even if you are obsessed with the enemies to lovers trope.
Number 2: The Atlas Six by Olivia Blake
When I first read The Atlas Six, I noticed the book had so many issues. First, the characters; riddled with tropes like the ‘femme fatale’ or the ‘nerdy girl’, most of them were unlikeable and hard to relate to. It was clear the author loved her characters. She pushed that onto us, telling us how great the characters were instead of showing us. The plot was another big issue as it was stationary for the whole book except the beginning and end. Nothing relevant happened for a good 100 pages which is infuriating as a reader. Even the plot twist at the end was a bit of a let down since it felt so disconnected from everything that had happened. Finally, the writing was a bit of a turnoff for me, personally. It felt like Olivia Blake didn’t have a handle on the kind of prose she wanted to write and the language she used was very out of place a lot of times, with the characters talking like highly educated academics out of nowhere. It’s a no from me.
Number 3: A Court of Thorns and Roses (the series) by Sarah J. Maas
Sigh…where to start. Sarah J Maas as a whole is quite controversial, and I’m sure you’ve heard some criticism of her work before. However, in my opinion, A Court of Thorns and Roses is by far the worst out of all of her series. First, the characters. The author has a very repetitive type for main characters: the petite, barely legal girl, and the tall and brooding immortal man. This is very prominent throughout this series, with all the main characters fitting into this description. As for the plot, there is a plot in the first two or three-ish books, then for the next two it kind of disappears…. The last book fully has no plot and is just the characters living their life. Finally, my very specific beef with this book, there’s a certain scene (no spoilers) where SA is passed off as something romantic and needed between the main couple…yikes. With all of this said, read this book at your own risk!
And that’s it! Remember this is my opinion and if you disagree that’s totally fine. If these were on your to be read though, maybe question if these really seem up your alley.