I recently stumbled on this GoodReads group that proposes a weekly meme whose aim is to give a list of Top Five… anything, as long as they are book related. It sounds fun, and something I can manage even with my too-often-limited time.
This week the topic is: Disappointing Eye Candy, or the books that looked beautiful, but were awful.
Well, I guess this could mean that the covers looked attractive, but the contents were not, but I’m going to push the envelope a little, here: covers are important, indeed they are a book’s first calling card, but they work hand-in-hand with the back-cover blurbs, in my opinion. And sometimes the promises of both remain unfulfilled.
A word of warning, before I start with my list: these books don’t really deserve the term ‘awful’, it’s just that they simply did not work for me, and they crushed my expectations in a major way, but that does not mean they are essentially bad – just not what I expected them to be.
AURORA: DARWIN by Amanda Bridgeman
This is indeed a case in point: the story focuses on a ship’s crew headed into unknown dangers, as they try to integrate old hands with a group of newer ones. The main problem here came from poor characterization and the premise that in the future the role of women in space would be regarded as a mix between a curiosity and an intrusion into an all-male territory. In my opinion, a quite anachronistic concept, developed with some questionable characterization choices.
A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER by Alex Marshall
Again, great expectations and a premise that had all the elements to draw me into a story of adventure and revenge, with a fascinating female figure as a protagonist. Unfortunately, the story felt quite uneven both in pace and in characterization, and not tight enough to keep me reading on.
DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth
Here I know my opinion might clash with that of the many fans of this series, but not even curiosity about a much talked-about book turned into an equally famous movie was enough to make forget what I perceived as the flaws of this story, mainly my irritation with the central character and her shallow (to me) motivations. The too-used tropes of the genre did not help, either…
THE DAYLIGHT WAR by Peter Brett
In this case, after enjoying the first volume in this series, and finding the second one acceptable – even though not as compelling as the first – I discovered that what had started as a compelling story with a unique premise, was turning into the semblance of a soap opera with a fantasy setting, one that had lost all the peculiarities that had captivated me at the beginning.
THE MARTIAN by Peter Weir
Once more going against the current, I did not enjoy – nor finish – this widely acclaimed book because I could not connect with the main character who came across as the kind of guy who tells silly jokes at a party and expects everyone to laugh at his wit. In my opinion, the potential for an exploration of the human soul in such a situation were both overlooked and discarded in favor of a humorous note that did not ring true for me.