Reading Hyped Books

I’m starting this really late and I’m well aware. Lately, life has somehow started getting hectic again and I haven’t had quite the stress-free February I was hoping for. So much so that I was thinking of not posting at all today, yet I hit upon an idea so incredible that I had to write it as soon as possible. So here I am with a list of books that are very popular and my experience reading them. They do make an interesting tale, if I say so myself.

The hype surrounding books can be both good and bad for a reader. Popular books are popular for a reason after all, that they are loved by tons of people across the book community. There’s a good chance that it may appeal to you as well. On the other hand, a hyped book comes with expectations. You do expect to love it as much as the next person, and sometimes, it just doesn’t work that way. I want to quickly go through a few books that were just as good as others made it out to be and a few I didn’t like as much as I had thought I would. The ones I didn’t enjoy are still 4 star reads for me, but the hype did contribute to my lower rating.

Reading Hyped Books

MissA Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

A recent read that I’ve talked about a bit here as well. Many people were of the opinion that this was even better than the first book in the series, A Darker Shade of Magic. Unfortunately, I had the opposite feeling after finishing this one. And I’m fairly certain this was because of all the hype surrounding not only this book, but the series as a whole. I thought the plot dragged, especially in the first half, and didn’t see the point of the direction in which the story was going. That was because I had certain expectations that just weren’t met, which is disappointing because if I had read this before all the praise for it started pouring in, I think I would have enjoyed it more.

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HitThe Martian by Andy Weir

It was one of the best books I read in 2017. But I did commit the sin of watching the movie before reading the book. This made my expectations shoot up sky high along with all the love this book was receiving from other bookworms. I’m happy to report that this book rose above them all and became a favourite. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that I really liked the main character, and the fact that the audiobook for this is phenomenal.

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MissThe Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This is by no means a bad book. I did enjoy reading it quite a lot. The sad part is that I still wanted a more from it. It was a standard fantasy fare and didn’t find it extremely original or anything of that sort. It didn’t blow my mind away. But because of the burden of expectations that I had carried into this book, I was left a little disappointed and I hate that the hype took away from the complete enjoyment of this book for me.

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HitHarry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

Who hasn’t heard of this series? It introduced many young readers to the world of books, fiction and fantasy. Even if you haven’t read it, at least you’ve watched one of the movies. It is inescapable in its popularity. It spread its noose around me in 2007, by which time the movies were already blockbusters. It was beyond hyped by the time I picked it up. Even so, it delivered and it is one of my perennial favourites. I will always respect Rowling for her sheer plotting genius, if nothing else. I would definitely classify this as ‘deserves the hype’.

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MissThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This is certainly a heart-breaking, beautiful book that will haunt you. I still think about it sometimes and I will recommend everyone to read it. But personally, the narrative style didn’t work for me. I loved the story and the characters, but Death as a narrator didn’t pull me into the story the way it had countless others who all recommended the book to me. The curse of the hype struck again with this one and I despise that it happened to me with this book, more than all of the others.

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HitIlluminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

It’s actually something of note that two sci-fi books made it to the list. Perhaps, subconsciously, because of my lack of reading experience in this area, I have lower expectations from books of this genre. All I know is that I was prepared to be left reeling by this book and it certainly achieved that. Again, I’m sure this had something to do with the fact that the audiobook for this is absolutely amazing and I’d recommend reading it the first time this way than with the actual text (or do a read-along).

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Comments

How do you fare with hyped books? Can you name one book that let you down and one book that fully lived up to your expectations? Let me know in the comments section below.

11 thoughts on “Reading Hyped Books

    1. I’m currently reading A Conjuring of Light and I already like it more than Book #2. Things are looking hopeful, my friend! πŸ™‚ I always recommend the audiobook of Illuminae because it is seriously good and I think that the book format can be confusing to readers, especially like you and me who prefer their fantasy. It has a more natural story progression than the physical copy I feel. But you are definitely entitled to your opinion and I see where you’re coming from.
      I did really like The Book Thief but I just didn’t like Death. I feel like I would’ve enjoyed Liesel’s narration more. Or maybe I’m missing the point entirely? I still gave it 4 stars and it’s good but I hate that it’s not a favourite of mine.
      No, it’s on my TBR and I want to get to it either this month or in March for sure. I’m so afraid to start because this has been hyped way too much and I just want to give the story the chance it deserves. I want it to be a favourite of mine as well. I shall avoid all reviews like the plague till I’m done.

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  1. I loved Name of the Wind! But I read it after only hearing about it once so I didn’t have the expectation that a lot of hype would bring. My one complaint is that Patrick Rothfuss hasn’t finished the series, and I’m dying to finish it. πŸ˜€

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  2. i loved the name of the wind and the martian too.
    both were recommended by a friend… at that time i was not reading blogs or any bookish things, so I’ve not heard of them before my friend mentioned them.
    i avoided harry potter so far because when it came out, everyone in school kept talking about it but all i wanted to read and talk about was crime fiction and horror… πŸ˜‚

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    1. I’m so happy you read them without being aware of the hype. That’s probably the best way to get into books, not having a lot of expectations, so that way you read them without any pressure. You can always try Harry Potter now too, if you’re more into fantasy than before. πŸ˜‰

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  3. I agree with all of these (except Illuminae because I haven’t read that yet)! I found the V. E. Schwab books to be really mediocre and predictable (and they feature the single worst female character of all time). Hype certainly didn’t help!

    Name of the Wind is a funny one for me. I discovered it when it first came out and had never heard of it before. Read it, loved it. Reread it before the second one came out and I couldn’t stand it! It was years later and I think my taste just changed too much.

    I’m really happy to see someone else wasn’t a huge fan of The Book Thief. I felt very alone in that! I thought it was nice, but nowhere near as good as I feel other people thought.

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    1. Finally someone who doesn’t worship Pat Rothfuss’s books! 😁 I’ve only read those monsters once and I think I’ll read the last book when it comes out, just to see how the story wraps up, but I didn’t like it enough to get that 10th anniversary edition of The Name of the Wind. My main problem is with Kvothe. I find that I just don’t like him to have the story told from his perspective. Also I find the relationship between him and Denna (or whatever her name is) weird and problematic. I do like the school setting and some of the other side characters though, which is why I didn’t hate them altogether.

      I think having a linear storyline for The Book Thief with Liesel’s narration would have worked better for me personally. I did like the story and especially the relationship between some of the characters but I didn’t care for Death’s narration, unfortunately. I’m so happy to find that our reading tastes are quite similar! πŸ™‚

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  4. I was about to put a sad emoji about A Gathering of Shadows… but then I saw your comment about reading A Conjuring of Light, so now I’m happy that you haven’t given up on the series. πŸ™‚ In some ways, AGoS serves as a set-up for ACoL, so I can see why you might not have liked it as much as the first book. But now you’re in for one hell of a finale!!

    I’ve had so-so luck with hyped books as well. I personally loved The Name of the Wind and The Book Thief, as well as popular YA fantasy series like Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy (or, really, all of her books!) and Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy. One super-popular book that… I just don’t understand why it’s popular is Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass. I couldn’t stand the protagonist, and I knew beforehand that the book would feature a love triangle (*thumbs down*), so when I realized that I didn’t care for either guy, I knew it was time to DNF it.

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    1. I did like A Gathering of Shadows, but just not as much as A Darker Shade of Magic. I gave the former only 4 stars whereas the latter was a 5-star read. And it was because I was expecting so much more from it because it was better than the first book, according to everyone else. I’m enjoying A Conjuring of Light so far though, so I think overall the series should be a 4.5 stars kind of read. πŸ™‚

      I did like The Name of the Wind enough to give it 4 stars. But again, my expectations weren’t met because of the hype surrounding it. I got into the books quite late and it just wasn’t as spectacular as everyone told me it would be. My problem with this lies with the characters, so I don’t blame the hype fully for my kind of unpopular opinion.

      I don’t plan on picking up Throne of Glass either. It’s a series I’m sure I’ll find riddled with tropes I don’t like (the love triangle being one of them). It’s the sort of series that I think first-time YA fantasy readers will enjoy.

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  5. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Lived up to the Hype – Unputdownable Books

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