Officially Jumping Off The Hype Train

20 Books And Cats Photography - Meowlogy

Okay, not literally jumping, don’t worry. Since the “hype train” isn’t an actual form of transportation, that probably should’ve tipped you off, that I’m not anywhere near any sort of dangerous behavior…rather, that I’m about to go on a rant. About a very real bookdragon issue, that affects us all — falling prey to overhyped books that turn out to just be…well, bad for us.

Hype is a double-edged sword. Sometimes we wouldn’t have found out about a book or author we turned out to love if it wasn’t for hype. But, sadly, more often than not — at least for me — hyped titles fall absolutely flat, and it just kills me anymore. I’m afraid I’m in the mood to crush what will doubtlessly be a favorite for someone…but I believe we all know by now I am a persnickety bookdragon. (And quarantine is grating on my nerves, so this is how I’m going to release some of the pressure, not gonna lie.)

A Man Called Ove: A Man Called Ove: A Novel (9781476738024): Backman ...

I’m very aware this is a big hit with a lot of readers, and in theory, I could see why — it’s the quintessential grumpy old man in the neighborhood whom everyone secretly loves, and eventually his grumpiness fades, and there’s a heartwarming turn. In theory. Listening to the audiobook, I got about halfway through the story before I threw in the towel. The writing was just ugh. The overdramatic, unrealistic plot, and overuse of tropes did me in — it’s one thing to start every chapter with, “A Man Called Ove Goes To The Store And Gets Pissed Off At Stupidity”, but to constantly refer to the narrator as A Man Called, and make sure he NEVER learns his neighbors’ first names was just aggravating. I was also pretty disturbed by the graphically-described attempts at suicide, and really feel this title should come with a big, bold trigger warning slapped right across the cover. A complete NO from me.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek:

The Book Whisperer Recommends a MUST Read: The Book Woman of ...

I can’t even count this one as “read,” since I didn’t finish it. But I am totally counting it as a hyped title that’s now going viral in terms of “everyone has to read this!”, and I wanted to throw it against the wall by page 25. Couldn’t even make it to the part where they started discussing the mobile library serving very rural areas of the American South in the early 20th century — because that sounded truly interesting. But when you’re claiming blue-skinned people existed in Kentucky (um, o-kay), and try to sum up the science for such a mutation in approximately 2 paragraphs…AND before we reach chapter 3, the narration describes in detail finding a hanged body, a marital rape, and inducing a miscarriage following that… Well, I knew I was out.

How To Stop Time: How to Stop Time (9780525522874): Haig, Matt: Books

To begin with, the title isn’t accurate — the narrator is basically immortal, but time keeps moving on around him. And he was SO whiny and hard to like. None of the characters really stood out to me. And what was even the point of the Albatross Society? They didn’t seem to have any reason to exist as an organization, since they were apparently just there, telling people what not to do with their immortality. Lame. I did slog through to the end of this one, hoping it would get better. Can you already guess what my answer is?

Children of Virtue and Vengeance: Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orisha ...

This one hurt, I won’t lie. Despite Children of Blood and Bone being far too long, I did enjoy it, and was excited to learn there was a sequel. But it turns out I shouldn’t have bothered. The characters were the worst versions of themselves, as if all the growth from the first book hadn’t even happened, and all the thrilling tension of following the plot that kept me going through all 500+ pages of the original was gone. This story was pretty much random battles broken up by intense, unnecessary angst. So not impressed.

So, after all of this heartache so early in the year (yes, these are my 2020 reads so far!), I will be concretely returning to my resolve that began to firm up late in 2019, to stick with tried-and-true authors for me, try more indies and small press when possible, and simply ignoring the hype to the best of my ability.

Again, I’m really sorry if I bashed one of your favorites; the only constant when it comes to literature is that taste is subjective!

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6 thoughts on “Officially Jumping Off The Hype Train”

  1. Actually, there were a few people in Kentucky with blue-tinged skin, due to a condition called methemoglobinemia.

    There’s been a fair number of books that I never finished, or read and then thought, “Why did I finish this. It did not get better.” I’ve never read any of the books mentioned in this blog post, but your descriptions remind me of other miserable reads.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, after I tossed that book aside (literally), I did look for factual information on the “blues” and found an article detailing where they lived and what it was thought to cause their condition. The author made the whole thing sound like science fiction, though! It was just plain poor writing.


  2. I totally agree with you on A Man Called Ove. I used the “Look Inside” feature that Amazon has and simply reading the first three of four pages and then three of four more random pages, convinced me not to buy the book. So, I’m happy to see that I made the right decision not to purchase!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I borrowed the audiobook from the library; usually getting the audio encourages me to keep going longer, because somehow I get more immersed in the listening experience of a mediocre work, rather than trying to read a mediocre book. But I found I just could not handle more than 5 CD’s of Ove.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I tend to stop thinking of books as “the hype lied” but more just like acknowledging when it wasn’t for me. Even though it’s hyped because people liked it. Ahhh the woes of not loving everything 😭 Tbh, I didn’t even try Children of Virtue and Vengeance because I didn’t love the first book enough. But I’ve felt really meh about a few YA fantasies that have been getting wild hype this year. Makes me saaaad.


    1. Same! All the big YA fantasy releases in 2019 either didn’t strike my fancy at all, or I hadn’t even heard of them until they turned up at the library, and then I read the blurbs and just went, blehhh… Gah!


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