Happy Friday, everyone!
I hope you’ve all had a great start to October, and that you’re reading loads of spooky books to make up for the fact that I’ve been reading nothing! Well, nothing except for plenty of mathematical papers, that is… My thesis is coming along slooooowly, so I’m still spending pretty much all day at university, typing, coding, and thinking like crazy.
The problem is that there are still plenty of sections that look like this…
…because I was too lazy to think things through properly the first time 🙈 And then the whole second half explaining the database I programmed and all of my results still needs to be written from scratch… Why didn’t I start sooner?! 😫
So yeah, I’m still very much preoccupied with mathematical stuff and have next to no free time at all, so I thought I’d just continue lazily exploiting other people’s bookish thoughts… 😁 I mean, since I already gave you my reactions to five-star reviews of books I hated, I kind of had to do this post too, right? I’m already late to the party as it is, so without further ado, here are some of my thoughts on one-star reviews of books I absolutely adore!
Book #1: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
Hahahahaha 🤣🤣🤣🤣 Even though The Stormlight Archive is my newest obsession, Jon kind of has a point. “Three storylines about moody brooders trapped by circumstance” is probably one of the most accurate descriptions of The Way of Kings that I’ve ever heard.
But the thing is, these moody brooders are just so interesting that you can’t help but fall for them! Especially Kaladin! 🥰 Even if he is most definitely a Chosen One character, the fact that he cares so much about everyone around him that he is willing to sacrifice his own well-being to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves is what makes you love him so much in the first place. And also, who says Dalinar’s mysterious visions aren’t ooooOOOOoooo? They’re such an interesting glimpse into the past of this world! They immediately make you want to know more!
And yes, maybe getting into this book does take some time… I wouldn’t say 900 pages, necessarily, but maybe around 500 or so? 😅 But Jon – your friend is right! You’re just about to get to the good part! You can’t stop now! Seriously, all the initial confusion is so worth it once you start understanding stuff and getting invested in this world! Just give it a bit more time and you will gladly spend thousands of pages reading about Dalinar walking across the same barren wasteland as in book one. I guarantee it!
Book #2: Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Actually, Joey, I’m not sure you did understand the point of this novel… If all you got out of it was the impression that Anne of Green Gables is trying to teach grumpy adults and overly energetic young children a lesson, I feel truly sorry for you.
Because this book is so much more than that! It’s about growing up in early 20th-century Canada. It’s about family and how family can be about so much more than blood. It’s about a young girl with a vivid imagination, and all the joys and sorrows that accompany her growing up.
I absolutely love all of Anne’s chatter and creativity, and I don’t think she should ever stop talking to please all of those annoying adults who think children should be “seen and not heard” 🙄 And, honestly, do you really think Anne should be heavily punished for apparently losing a brooch or accidentally dyeing her hair green? If that’s the case, all I can say is that I’m very glad I was raised by parents whose style of upbringing was closer to the one preferred by Marilla and Matthew…
Book #3: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Since I reacted to a review of my most hated book of all time in my other post, I thought it would only be fair to include my favorite book of all time in this one 🥰 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is absolute perfection, so obviously, Ren the Unclean, you are wrong on so many counts! This is the best Harry Potter book! And if you think its awful movie adaptation comes even close to the original’s brilliance, I’m afraid we will probably never be friends…
And what, exactly, do you think is unrealistic about this book? People refusing to accept the truth because it’s scary, and denouncing it as fake news instead? People condemning and mistreating others because they have opinions that don’t match their own? A teenager who feels like he has the fate of the world resting on his shoulders, who had to watch people he cared about die while being powerless to help, who feels like no one is taking him seriously or even listening to him, being angry at the world? I relate to Harry so much in this book, and, honesty, I think the political and social tensions in Order of the Phoenix mirror our own world brilliantly.
And that death! It hits you so hard precisely because it is not overly dramatized. When you lose someone so suddenly, it comes as a huge shock. You don’t have the time to dwell on your feelings immediately, and then when they do hit you, there’s that feeling of senselessness, denial, anger, and loss that is captured perfectly in Harry’s anger at Dumbledore or his conversations with Luna and Nearly Headless Nick.
I don’t care that you don’t like this, Ren. I will forever love everything about this book. It has Dobby suggesting a place for DA meetings to Harry. It has Professor McGonagall telling Peeves that the chandelier unscrews the other way, just to get back at Umbridge. It has that portrait in St. Mungo’s mistaking Ron’s freckles for spattergroit. It has the main characters cleaning out Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place and finding things that turn out to be rather important, like a mysterious locket that no one is able to open. None of this stuff made it into the movie, and all of this stuff, as well as about a million other things in Order of the Phoenix, was absolutely wonderful! So if you think this book sucks and the movie is better, your taste in books is most definitely not my cup of tea.
Book #4: The Martian by Andy Weir
Ugh, no, why would you want Mark Watney with Johanssen?? That romantic subplot between her and Beck was possibly the only thing about this book that I wasn’t fully on board with! And besides, the whole point of this novel is that Mark is stranded on Mars – you know, alone. I’m not sure how you would work a love affair into that…
Still, I do agree with you that Mark would probably get on my nerves if I knew him in person. He has a very immature sense of humor and makes plenty of awful jokes – so obviously, I found them tremendously funny 😁 Apparently, my level of maturity hasn’t really progressed much since I was four…
And then there was all the science!! So much wonderful science that made my math major heart swell with joy, and so many dramatic problems that Mark had to use his wits to solve!!! I mean, sure, he worked them out in the end, but c’mon, what were you expecting? Letting your protagonist die halfway through the novel hardly ever makes for a particularly satisfying read…
Book #5: The Betrayals by Bridget Collins
I mean, you loved the The Binding, so I guess I’m willing to forgive you for hating this one, Alanna 😉 And you’re pretty on point about some things! It’s true that Bridget Collins never explicitly says what the grand jeu is, and that the political history of this world is never fully spelled out.
But then again, I don’t think we needed these things to be all that explicit! I loved how the gloomy political atmosphere was always a dark shadow in the background; something that everyone knew about but didn’t really want to acknowledge. There was so much historical depth to this book, and the paradoxical nature of this society, which is so focused on academia and yet perfectly willing to accept that some people are worth less due to their religion made me think a lot about the history of my own country.
Also, there were so many details surrounding the grand jeu that I built up a very clear picture of what it is in my mind. Of course, they might not match what other people pictured, but I’m perfectly content with what my imagination came up with. The setting was so vivid and real that I had no trouble extrapolating a little, and I liked how the book gives its readers plenty of opportunities to theorize!
And as for the characters, I guess things are just subjective. I loved them. They were flawed, ambitious human beings who made plenty of mistakes, but still had hopes, dreams, and aspirations that made them relatable. Carfax especially, I adored. And the romance 🤗 I was totally on board!
However, I do get that this one is a bit divisive. It’s one of those slower, thoughtful books that meanders around a lot and never really comes to a concrete conclusion. In my opinion, though, this one is dark academia at its best. It makes you think a lot and has all these broken characters you can’t help but root for!
Book #6: The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
What are you talking about, A.R. Collins? You did give this one star!
Also, is this a bad time to mention that I was off alone in the woods when I was much younger than ten? My parents even gave me a pocket-knife when I was six, so after that, I was technically off alone in the woods wielding a potentially dangerous weapon… Or sometimes, I wasn’t alone, but with had my even younger toddler siblings with me. Whom my parents then told me to keep an eye on.
Maybe I was just so neglected that I don’t realize how awful this is, but I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything! I love how much freedom we had as kids. My parents were always there when I needed them – like Quigley Woods in the Penderwick books, our woods were in easy running distance of our house – but they never hovered when I wanted to go off exploring by myself.
And, quite frankly, a bit of responsibility at a young age can’t hurt. I don’t see how Rosalind picking her little sister up from daycare, baking a cake, or keeping an eye on the neighbor’s son while he is playing with her sister amounts to child abuse. Especially when she actively seeks out those moments because she wants to spend some time with her family or have some time for herself to think.
Yes, this book focuses heavily on the characters’ personal lives. And yes, they all kind of have their noses in each other’s business – but then again, do you really want family members who are coldly indifferent to what you do? I love the Penderwicks precisely because they are so relatable. I come from a chaotic household with four kids, a scatter-brained university professor parent, a second slightly less scatter-brained physicist parent, and lots of pets. My siblings and I used to hold top secret meetings when we were younger. They were called Dunkelpantherbandetreffen instead of MOPS, but that’s beside the point. I share Rosalind’s love for languages, Skye’s obsession with math, Jane’s book-nerdiness, and relate a lot to Batty’s fear of strangers. This book is just so wholesome and cute that I don’t understand how you can not love it!
Book #7: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
😱😱😱 Characters in homosexual relationships?! We definitely wouldn’t want to endorse any of that, now, would we! And sex before marriage is definitely a big no-no, too!
Although I’m actually very surprised that this is what you seem most hung up on, Tori, because Bitterblue is actually quite tame as far as romance is concerned. The majority of the YA fantasy books I’ve read are probably more explicit in that department – Bitterblue is much more focused on politics and uncovering the traumatic legacy left to an already struggling kingdom. Bitterblue grows so much as a character as the book goes on, and I’d argue that it is about her and her finding her role as a monarch much more than it focuses on her love life!
In fact, the only thing I agree with you on is that this book has a maze of subplots. Which is one of the best things about it! It makes the world seem real and complicated, it makes the story become so much more than just words on a page, and it constantly keeps surprising you. After the seven Harry Potter books, Bitterblue is probably my most reread book ever. It is just that good! 🥰
And there you have it – that was it for this week!
I hope you had fun reading, and do let me know down below what you thought of these reviews and my reactions to them! Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with me about their awesomeness, or would you rather go and write a rant review yourselves?
And which do you prefer: reading good reviews of books you hated, or bad reviews of books you loved? Personally, I’m always here for the drama and think the one-star reviews are way more interesting, but then again, my heart does ache a little when people have so much hate for my faves 😪