It happens too often for my liking that I’ll pick up a book with an amazing cover and an intriguing blurb, only to be deeply dissatisfied by the sheer drivel it contains. I’m pretty selective about the books I choose to spend my money on, so when they turn out to be terrible it’s a huge disappointment for me - as I guess it is for everyone! So for this week’s post I thought I’d talk about some of the books that tricked me with their beautiful appearance and misleading synopses, and that I ultimately ended up hating.
The Selection by Kiera Kass
It looked fun, breezy and entertaining, and ended up being tortuous. That’s pretty much all I can say about this book because if I let myself start thinking about it I get annoyed all over again that anything this terrible was ever published, let alone that I wasted brain cells reading this genuine pile of rubbish.
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
I originally saw this book (and its sequel) all over Instagram, and thought Ooh, that looks really pretty. And it’s a Sherlock Holmes retelling?! Double win! And there’s a reason it’s everywhere on Instagram: it has a truly beautiful cover. If only the same thing could be said about its contents. This novel had the triple whammy of bad writing, characters that I couldn’t stand, and a terrible plot.
Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
This book qualifies as being “beautiful” in my eyes because it has a cool cut out (that you can't really see in this photo) on the front cover – I love cut outs! – and some pretty cool mechanical bees – which look cool too! But this book was a horrible struggle to get through; it was about 300 pages longer than it needed to be, and on top of that 300% too verbose. It’s also one of the few books I properly gave up on and just skimmed to the end of because I couldn’t stand actually reading it any longer.
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Just like The Selection, I ended up truly hating this book with all of my soul (so much so, that every time I see it being specially recommended on bookshop shelves I feel personally victimised). It sounded (and looked) incredible: spies, a magical library spanning parallel worlds, steampunk elements, fantastical creatures, but all these things turned out to be way too much, with none of them done particularly well. I’m very glad I gave up on this book, but still sometimes miss it on my shelves – only because the spine was such a lovely gold colour.
The Three by Sarah Lotz
My main issue with this book was that it’s all about a mystery that never gets revealed. So you’re left there, almost five hundred pages later, realising you’ve wasted days on an unfulfilled promise, and there’s nothing left to do other than throw the book at the wall and warn your family members never to read it themselves. If an ambiguous ending is done well, that’s fine, but this one most certainly was not. But the book itself is so beautiful! The cover has the right mixture of intrigue and creepiness that drew me in in the first place, it's just a shame it was also full of wasted potential.
Splendor by Anna Godberson
I don’t hate this book nearly as much as the others on this list, but this was still probably the most disappointing for me. It’s the final book in the Luxe series, and one that I had high hopes for, until the author decided to throw out the window everything she’d been building towards for three books already, and give us a really unsatisfying ending where everyone was out of character, and no-one really got what they wanted, least of all the reader.
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
A lot of people really loved this book, and I can’t really fault them on that, it was just that I did not understand this book at all. It’s a kind of mystery historical fiction, but from where I was standing, the “mystery” teased on the blurb was never really explained. A lot of other interesting stuff happened too, but the main reason I was there reading the book ended up not being a very good reason at all, and left me really disappointed that I wasn’t able to enjoy the novel as much as everyone else seemed to.