Reacting To Five-Star Reviews of Horrible Books I’ve Read These Past Few Years

Happy Saturday, everyone!

After a truly horrendous week of dizzy spells, coughing blood, and jabbing COVID tests up my already super sore nose because I felt sure my symptoms must mean I had to test positive eventually – SPOILER ALERT: I didn’t – I’ve decided that I need a bit of a break from writing content that actually takes effort and that I’m absolutely in the mood to complain about things.

(Like, seriously, who ever came up with the idea that being sick needed to be a thing? Especially when said sickness’s victim lives on her own, barely even able to make it to the bathroom without collapsing from weakness? How do you expect someone like that to be able to go grocery shopping or cook, huh? Do you know how freaking disgusting living off stale bread and cereal is when you already feel like your throat has been put through a meat grinder? 😭)

But anyway, now that I am a somewhat normally functioning human being again, albeit one with an incredibly croaky voice and a pathetic tissue consumption rate, what better way is there to let off some steam than ranting about terrible literature? True, I’ve reacted to five-star reviews of books I hated before, but that was a while ago and I’ve read plenty of shitty stuff since… I need to at least make all of that terribleness worth my while!

So, without further ado, let’s get into things and do this again!

Just, please, don’t hate me too much afterwards this time, either? πŸ₯Ί

Book #1: The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake


Why is this so incredibly accurate? Well, except for the “who utterly hate each other part”, maybe… I honestly didn’t feel any in-depth emotions whatsoever from the characters in this book.

Which might have been the problem. Because, Bella, I actually agree with you that books don’t need a plot! Or not much of one, anyway. As long as an author hooks me on the characters, I will happily read thousands of pages of slow-moving plotlessness. But when you also strip the characters of any personality or development and the little plot you do have makes no sense at all? Well, then, we run into trouble…

So no, I do not agree with this rating of The Atlas Paradox in the slightest. Not having a plot was only one of many problems here!

Book #2: Let Me Tell You a Story by Jorge Bucay

I’m really happy for you, Simona, and hope you’re enjoying your brand new life! Unfortunately, though, the only way this book changed my life is by boring me to tears and making me realize that I never, ever want to read another book by this author ever again.

One collection of fictional therapy sessions in which the narrator analyzes Dr. Jorge’s obesity and matΓ© drinking habits is enough for me, thanks! The therapist in this collection being a literal self-insert of the author, right down to the name, weirded me out like nobody’s business, and the stories he used to give his patient grand life revelations were so on the nose that I was basically rolling my eyes for 331 pages straight. Would not recommend!

Book #3: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

Can I please be dead, too? Because then, at least, the horrific memory of one particular mid-flight sex scene would no longer be burned into my brain 😬

Plus, this book literally has no plot and no character development, either! It’s just a bunch of overly beautiful and possessive people growling at each other over Christmas break, although it’s called “Midwinter” instead of “Christmas” to give this series an excuse to continuously win the fantasy category in the Goodreads Choice Awards…

Book #4: Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

Umm… this review is satirical, right? πŸ˜³ Like, despite giving Mein Kampf five stars, Jay gave an oddly specific enjoyment value of 3.8 and randomly capitalized words like “HITLER” and “DON’T”. That’s gotta be a hint at me not being supposed to take this seriously…


Hitler’s non-at-all-logical and slightly deranged “ideals” pretty clearly show that he thought eradicating Jews from the world population would be a wonderful idea! After reading this, I was actually very convinced that such a speaker could commit “bad deeds”!

Book #5: The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

You’re making me really apprehensive now, Samantha Shannon! πŸ˜… The Bone Season has actually been on my TBR for quite some time, but you saying each sentence of The Jasmine Throne took your breath away with its artistry has me seriously worried whether your books’ll be my thing. The writing style. In this tome. Was so. Dramatic. Full of drama. Full of repetitive elliptical dramaticness. I HATED IT!!

Apart from the interesting world-building and magic system, I felt like The Jasmine Throne had absolutely nothing to offer, and the lackluster development of Malini and Priya’s relationship immediately put me off ever continuing on with this series. Sorry, not sorry.

Book #6: The Blizzard by Vladimir Sorokin



Honestly, I agree with every single word in this review except for the fact that The Blizzard is “wholesome” and “delightful” and should therefore be loved. Batshit bananas content and a penis galore snowman just don’t make a five-star book in my mind, alright?

I’m sorry!! This was just way too friggin weird for me, and I couldn’t deal with the despicable protagonist running around in the snow to gobble down drugs and shag other men’s wives. It was simply a bit too much… πŸ˜…

Book #7: Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

No comment.

If you think that’s the best thing this book had to offer, I hope you’re not surprised by me having given it one star! Leigh Bardugo, I expected so much more from you!!! Not even a penis galore snowman is as bad as the caricature you turned one of my favorite characters into! πŸ™„

So yeah, let’s end on that note before I get even more worked up and have another coughing fit… I really hope I haven’t offended anyone too badly, and would love to know your thoughts on these books if you’ve read them!

Also, what are some popular novels you absolutely detested? What’s the worst thing you’ve read so far this year? Feel free to rant as much as you want in the comments!  πŸ˜

30 thoughts on “Reacting To Five-Star Reviews of Horrible Books I’ve Read These Past Few Years

  1. Line @First Line Reader says:

    Being that sick and living alone is actually something that should be considered life-threatening! 😱 Groceries don’t just appear and cook themselves apparently so I’m really glad you’re starting to become yourself again πŸ’›

    As for the post, I got so excited when I saw the title!! 🀩 I would have agreed so much with the one for The Atlas Paradox if that was what the book was. BUT THEY DIDN’T HATE EACH OTHER!! Then it just becomes a book with no plot and no characters and I’ve yet to see people say they love that.

    In your reaction to Maas, you wrote about a “mid-flight sex scene” so now I’m very confused but also 100% sure I don’t want to know more…

    The one for Mein Kampf is something, though! There’s just that tiny bit of doubt about its satirical nature and I’m not sure if that’s funny or disturbing. Because even if it’s meant to be a joke, is it really that funny? πŸ€”

    Reviews by other authors like in the case of Samantha Shannon are so dangerous because yes if you don’t like one, there’s a good chance you won’t like the other. At least that’s my experience 😬 Also especially when they’re praising the very things you disliked about the book πŸ˜… That’s just unfortunate.

    Loved the Hell Bent one, obviously πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ However, what makes the review really annoying is that even though I haven’t read the book, I now know Bardugo wrote it like she did to get reviews like that because it’s so “funny” and meme-able. There’s no need for substance when that’s your goal.

    And the worst thing I’ve read this year? It’s this supposedly dark academia book in which the characters visit both the Marvel and the Outlander universes because the author couldn’t come up with ideas of her own. However, the thing that makes it the darkest and most horrifying is actually how none of the characters has a personality. Truly dark stuff and clearly too much for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Exactly! I don’t know where that reviewer saw any hate because everyone collaborating to bring back Libby, prancing around dream realms, and sitting around doing nothing for 95% of the book definitely doesn’t amount to antipathy in my eyes!

      Also, no, you definitely don’t want to know the details on anything “romantic” written by Maas πŸ™ˆ

      As for Mein Kampf, I almost didn’t believe my eyes when I saw that review! Most other people who rated it highly – and yes, there were a concerningly large number of them – said they’d done so because they thought it was an important historical document everyone should read. Not that I see how that makes the book any less terrible, but at least that somewhat made sense πŸ€” BUT THIS GUY??? I’m really choosing to give him the benefit of the doubt here because the alternative is horrifying! Although yeah, even if this is sarcasm, his sense of humor could use some serious work… πŸ˜…

      Unfortunately, I also think you’re spot on about Hell Bent πŸ™„ Leigh Bardugo probably ran out of ideas, so she decided to just shove that one detail into readers’ faces as much as possible. I mean, pretty much every single review mentions it!! Although it’s not like people have a choice because there’s literally nothing else that you COULD review 😬 So yeah, a certain heavily Marvel- and Outlander-inspired supposed dark academia book still has nothing on Hell Bent – I guess the truly dark just isn’t my thing in general!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Janette says:

    Oh No! So sorry that you’ve been so unwell. Being ill at any time sucks but especially when you’re on your own. I’m glad that you’re feeling more normal and hope that the tissue consumption goes down soon.
    Definitely agree with The Atlas Paradox, none of the characters appealed to me at all. I am very worried about The Jasmine Throne now as I spent 99p on it πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ
    I haven’t read any of the others although I read ACOTAR and have no intention of reading any more in that series and I read Ninth House which I didn’t particularly enjoy either. However I did love all of the Grishaverse books so not liking one series by an author doesn’t mean that I won’t like a different one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Haha, yes, I’m also keeping my fingers crossed for that lower tissue consumption rate – but I think I’m slowly getting there? πŸ˜‚

      Also, I’m happy to hear you agree with me on The Atlas Paradox 😁 I enjoy people ranting about that series way more than any normal person probably should!

      Sorry about making you apprehensive about The Jasmine Throne, though. If it helps, there are also plenty of people out there who absolutely adored it, so maybe don’t let my grumpy old opinion influence you too much?

      Although I would say not reading any more Maas probably isn’t the worst idea πŸ€” I don’t know why I keep doing it, honestly, but I guess part of me just wants to be in the know too badly to stay away? It’s kind of like looking on in fascinated horror while a catastrophe unfolds πŸ˜…πŸ˜‚

      Finally, I completely agree that it’s possible to like one series by an author and not another! I really love Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology, for example πŸ₯° But Hell Bent most definitely wasn’t it…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Janette says:

        I read Throne of Glass years ago and enjoyed that but I didn’t like the second one as much and by the third volume, I was just bored. I read ACOTAR as it was in the library so that I could see what all the fuss was about but feel no desire to read anything else by her. I think partly, I just don’t like stories about fairies, the fae etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Michael J. Miller says:

    I’m sorry you’re feeling sick but I’m happy you’re feeling better enough to rant a bit! For what it’s worth, your post had me literally laughing out loud several times so thank you for that :). Your piece just made my morning!

    As to popular books I hate, the top of my list is always Joseph Heller’s ‘Catch-22.’ I just…don’t get it. By the end I was actively upset with the book for being considered a classic XD. Like HOW was this a classic?? I thought it would’ve worked really well as a short story but I didn’t need a full novel on that concept.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Michael! I’m glad I was able to make you laugh a little – that way, I suppose I at least got some use out of reading these books πŸ˜‚

      And ooooh, interesting! I haven’t read ‘Catch-22’ myself, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard any vehement opinions on it, either πŸ€” But you’re definitely not making it sound all that appealing! I’ve also read my share of classics or literary award winners where I simply did not see the point or appeal, so I’m not too keen to add on to the list! 🀣

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael J. Miller says:

        Absolutely! Your exhausting slog through painful reads yielded a very entertaining post. So that’s a little win there. And I read ‘Catch-22’ because I adore Kurt Vonnegut. I’ve read all of his novels and nonfiction books and he often said how much he loved Heller’s novel. He said it was one of the best books he’s ever read! So I was excited to read it for myself…annnnnd then I just didn’t get it XD.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. jan says:

    I’m sorry did you say mid flight sex scenes?? Everything I hear about these books out of context makes them seem weirder and weirder. Why Sarah j maas keeps winning goodreads choice awards is beyond me.

    I am tempted to read the atlas six and see what my reactions to that might be…

    I might have liked the jasmine throne a little more than you did but I can’t help agreeing with all the points you make hereπŸ™ˆ I absolutely HATED the men’s POV chapters I couldn’t find myself invested in them at all

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Unfortunately, yes πŸ™ˆ And trust me, those scenes don’t get any less weird when you read them in context, either… πŸ˜…

      Lol, I would actually love to get your reactions on The Atlas Six! Like, if you end up loving it, there’s no harm done, and if you don’t, you’ll at least have one dedicated fellow sufferer who would thoroughly enjoy you picking it apart! Like, as sad as it sounds, reading rant reviews of this series has become one of my favorite pasttimes ever! 🀣

      Also, yes!! I mean, I wasn’t a fan of The Jasmine Throne in general, but the men’s POV chapters were somehow even worse thay the other ones… I just really don’t understand what so many people out there see in this book! πŸ˜…πŸ˜­


  5. Krysta says:

    So sorry to hear you weren’t feeling well, but I’m glad you’re feeling better–and able to delight and entertain us with this post! You have completely validated my decisions not to read The Atlas Six, Hell Bent, or anything by Maas. I don’t know what’s happening in those books, but, uh, it all sounds weird.
    And here’s my pro tip for getting sick. I try to keep a selection of „emergency“ foods and supplies such as canned soups, tissues, cough drops, etc. that I can use in case I get ill. Maybe also something like popsicles or Italian ice if you are prone to sore throats. Because, yeah, if I can barely crawl out of bed I’m sure not cooking or shopping! But I also don’t want to waste away staring at an empty cupboard. (And if you don’t get sick before the expiration date, now you have popsicles!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I 100% support your choice not to read any of those books 🀣 “Weird” doesn’t even cover it…

      And your pro tip is such sensible advice! I’ve actually already stocked up on pre-packaged soup, should there ever be a “next time”, and don’t know why that thought never occurred to me before. I mean, I have a frozen emergency pizza in my freezer in case I ever feel so overwhelmed by work that I don’t have time to cook, but I never considered that a super greasy, cheesy something might not be the greatest meal when you’re too ill to function πŸ€” But I’m definitely smarter now and will have to stock up on the rest of your emergency supplies! 😁


  6. Amaya says:

    I’m glad you’re feeling better ❀ ❀
    I saw the title for this post and had to read it. Also sorry I'm so late with this comment, because for some reason I thought I already left one??
    I absolutely adored all your reactions, and all of them were 100% accurate.
    (also I really do hope the hilter review was satirical…)
    This was really fun to read, love this idea!! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Amaya! πŸ’™ And don’t worry – you’re not late at all! Like, if this is what you consider late, I should probably be ashamed of my own commenting habits…

      Anyway, though: I’m thrilled you had fun reading! (Even if that Mein Kampf review is indeed concerning πŸ˜…) Ranting about terrible books is just way funner than it probably should be! πŸ˜πŸ˜‡

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lesserleaf says:

    Sorry to hear that you were feeling so terrible — and not having anyone to buy your groceries and pamper you a bit when you are ill is a downside to living alone (but luckily there’s also upsides). Glad to hear that you are feeling better! And your post is super funny, except for the Hitler thing which is weird (if satirical) or horrifying (if not).
    It’s also fun to read 1 star reviews of favourite classics, some of them can be hilarious πŸ˜‰
    I usually only read books I hate if I have to read them for my book club, but the latest pick was actually really good. The worst one we ever read was American Psycho — I pitched that one into the paper recycling bin afterwards — unfortunately, I couldn’t delete all the truly horrific details from my brain, but luckily the remembrance has faded quite a bit, since it’s years ago that we read it. If someone ever picks a similar book, I’m not reading it, book club here or there. It was just totally disgusting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      The Hitler review is seriously concerning! 😬 Thinking it’s funny requires an extremely bad sense of humor, and actually believing those things and putting your opinion on the internet for everyone to read is… something. I don’t even want to know what that reviewer was thinking!

      I haven’t read American Psycho, but after reading the synopsis, I think l’ll trust your opinion and give it a hard pass πŸ˜… I’ll definitely keep my fingers crossed that you’ll have much better book club books in the future! I mean, the book club my friends and I have has also had its fair share of strange picks, but compared to what you describe, I probably got off easy!


  8. Nefeli @BiblioNebula says:

    So sorry to hear you were so ill, but I hope you’re feeling better now ❀️ Being sick sucks, but being sick and alone sucks so much more.

    This is such a fun post. Reading good reviews of books you hated is a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s so interesting to see how the same book can cause two completely different and polarising reactions.

    I haven’t read the books so I can’t take sides here. But, “to give this series an excuse to continuously win the fantasy category in the Goodreads Choice Awards” made me laugh because this is what I think of all Sarah J Maas’s books. And that review of Hellbent, I almost choked on my water. So yeah, for these I’m definitely with you on the hating train.

    The one about Mein Kampf… oof. I sure hope they’re being satirical but I have been online too much to trust people’s beliefs like that. I know there are people out there who actually think like Jay here, but outright admitting Hitler wasn’t a bad guy and he misjudged him is an insane thing to do in online spaces (or in any other spaces for that matter). I am truly baffled.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I am a lot better, thankfully! Although fingers crossed my immune system has been strengthened to last me a while after this… πŸ˜…

      And lol, I absolutely love reading reviews like these as well! Maybe not quite as much as rant reviews – apparently, I have a thing for complaining πŸ˜ˆπŸ˜‚ – but it’s still so interesting how other people have an opinion so completely contrary to mine. Except possibly for that Mein Kampf one… I am right with you on that one and am still stunned that someone actually posted that in a public space! 😬

      You probably also made the right choice staying away from more Sarah J. Maas and Hell Bent. I have a feeling they appeal to the same sort of target audience, and somehow, I guess I’m just not in it πŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  9. FangirlFlax says:

    I’m just about to start reading Hell Bent, and I had eyes as wide as saucers reading that section of your post, haha! It’s going to be a wild ride discovering that context…

    Also, your illness sounds *horrific*. I hope you’re feeling much, much better soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Fingers crossed you’ll enjoy Hell Bent a lot more than I did, then! After all, it currently has a Goodreads rating of 4.25, so it seems like most people disagree with me πŸ˜‚

      But yes, I am thankfully feeling a whole lot better! I’m almost completely back to normal now, just slightly sniffly, guess 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      • FangirlFlax says:

        Haha I do hope so! Not to take anything away from your not enjoying it–I wish you’d liked it more. (I will for sure be on the lookout for that particular part now, though!)

        It sounds like an absolutely horrific illness. Must be a relief to only have sniffles now!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Molly's Book Nook says:

    THE MEIN KAMPF ONE?! NOOO that has to be satire?!?!? I’m done and I feel so bad for laughing at that because it HAS TO BE SATIRE omg

    Liked by 1 person

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