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.
Miss – A 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.
Hit – The 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.
Miss – The 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.
Hit – Harry 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’.
Miss – The 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.
Hit – Illuminae 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).
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.