Least Favourite Books of the Year 2018

It is that time of the year again where we all look back and talk about the books we read this year. I am starting with my least favourite books and will then during the next days talk about the best books of my reading year. Overall, I had a wonderful year but there were five books that disappointed me for one reason or another. None of these books got one star from me and they all are books I am sure would work for a different reader. I think the fact that I haven’t disliked a book I have finished this year enough to give it one star is a wonderful development. As much as I like reading other people’s one star reviews, I don’t always like reading books I dislike.

Folk by Zoe Gilbert

35892355This is one of those books that I grew more irritated by the more time passed. I initially gave it three stars on the strength of one or two stories in it but now I can only remember my feeling of deep disappointment in this books of interconnected short stories. If I hadn’t been so very excited about this release, I might have enjoyed this more but as it stands, this is by far my least favourite short story collection of the year. You can find my review here.

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

34846987I adored the prologue of this – and then the book rapidly lost my interest. It is wordy and descriptive with characters that more often than not follow tropes in a way I do not appreciate. The whimsy of the language (and the endless descriptions of millions of inventions) were at odds with the ever darker path the story took. My full review can be found here.

 

Suicide Club by Rachel Heng

35530073I adore the premise of this book – I think there really was something interesting to be explored in a book about a society where ideals of health and long living become oppressive. But again, this book’s failures came from uninteresting and ill-defined characters. The main character is around 100 years old but behaves like a particularly stupid teenager – it drove me up the walls. My full review can be found here.

 

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

31445891Brilliant premise – that could not sustain a plot that seems rushed and a tone that swung widely between glib and humorous and incredibly brutal. One of my reading resolutions was reading more novellas, an experience that did not quite work for me – and this book is emblematic for that. My full review can be found here.

 

Sick by Porochista Khakpour

32600407This was definitely my biggest reading disappointment of the year. I was looking forward to this for month and then did not enjoy my reading experience. I found the writing to be weirdly clumsy in parts and long stretches of it unclear. Khakpour wrote parts of this while in the throes of a Lyme relapse – and I think this shows. My review can be found here.

 

What were your least favourite books of the year?

Review: River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

31445891Verdict: fun premise, disappointing whole.

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Published by tor.com, 2018

Genre: Alternative History

Find it on Goodreads.

In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.

Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

This was a terrible plan.

Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.

One of my reading resolutions for this year was to read more novellas – and I tried, I really did, but I am not so sure the format works for me. Which is why you should take my rating maybe with a grain of salt because it might be a genre thing. But, I struggled here and if the book had been any longer I do not think I would have finished it – but the length itself is also possibly the biggest stumbling block I had.

This is an alternative fiction Western – a world where Louisiana imported hippos, both a source of meat and as a form of transportation. Winslow Houndstooth and his crew are running a scheme involving a crime lord and feral hippos. I like that premise but I don’t find it clever enough to sustain the weak plot. The plot never has time to breath as we rush from scene to scene and later death to death. The story is quite gruesome and there are a few running gags that did not quite work for me as a result.

The characters could have been fun but there is not enough room to get to know them and as a result their actions often come out of the left-field. I did like how diverse the crew was, but there could have been done so much more here. The characters never came alive for me in a way that would have made me root for them.

This is not the worst thing I have read and it did keep me moderately entertained on a plane but I will not be continuing with the series.

Wrap Up: September 2018 or that was a three star kind of month

I had a surprisingly good reading month, numbers-wise – normally September is not that brilliant for me, but this time around I actually read ten books. Most of them were middle of the road though.

Books read in September:

  1. The Fire This Time ed. by Jesmyn Ward: 3 out of 5 stars
  2. The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon: 3 out of 5 stars
  3. Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski: 3 out of 5 stars
  4. Red Sister by Mark Lawrence: 4 out of 5 stars
  5. Rosewater by Tade Thompson: 4 out of 5 stars
  6. Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) by Ilona Andrews: 4 out of 5 stars
  7. The Corset by Laura Purcell: 3 out of 5 stars
  8. River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey: 2 out of 5 stars
  9. Vanishing Twins: A Marriage by Leah Dieterich: 4,5 out of 5 stars
  10. March: Book 1 by John Lewis, Andrew Yadin & Nate Powell: 4 out of 5 stars

I also DNFed The Sisters of the Winter Wood because I could not get on board with the prose, the poems, or the structure of the story. The thought of having to pick that up and reading another 400 pages made me very unhappy; so I put it down.

Continue reading “Wrap Up: September 2018 or that was a three star kind of month”

Reading List: Novellas

Another one of my resolutions for this year was to read more novellas. And as quite a few of the ones I had been eyeing were fairly cheap for my Kindle, I decided to go ahead and purchased an unreasonably high number of novellas to read over the next couple of weeks. This approach has advantages: I love reading on my Kindle and the books were cheap. The disadvantage is that if I happen to love the books, I will want to have print books of them. I guess I am doing a good deed for the publishing industry here. So without much further ado, here is a list of novellas I am looking forward to reading (I did a similar list for my Science Fictions reads.)

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells

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This sounds so brilliant. A socially awkward murderbot? With an affinity for crappy TV shows? Sign me up.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

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I have previously tried to read a book by Nnedi Okorafor and did not enjoy this. However, I have heard nothing but great things about this trilogy. Also, this is only 98 pages, so I figure even if I don’t love it, I will be able to finish it quickly. It did win the Hugo Award, so I assume it’s brilliant. Also Nnedi Okorafor has the best hair.

The Lamb Will Slaughter The Lion by Margaret Killjoy

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I added this a while ago because someone over at Goodreads whose taste I trust, reviewed this very favourably. I might be super scared reading this but sometimes I like that (and I did say I wanted to branch out in my reading). I will have to read this during the daytime though.

The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

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Again, I will be scared. But this book (and its brilliant cover) has intrigued me for months. I figured, I might as well go for it.

The Black Tides Of Heaven (Tensorate #1) by J. Y. Yang

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I heard nothing but amazing things about this. It sounds challenging and different and absolutely beautiful.

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

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Two things: Alternative history. People riding hippos.

 

As you can see, I am going full on genre fiction here, two horror books, two science fiction novellas and two fantasy books. I am planning on getting to more literary novellas later this year, hopefully including a couple of classic German novellas then.

Have you read any of these? Let me know your thoughts! Also, if you have any recommendations for me, these are always welcome.