My Least Favourite Reads/Listens of 2019

The following isn’t a bottom five or bottom ten, it’s literally just a list of the books I read in 2019 (not necessarily published in 2019, just read) that, when I look at the title of said book I shudder and think of what I might have done with the time I wasted on reading or listening to them. They are listed in no particular order as they are all ranked as ‘dead last’ as far as I’m concerned. Fully aware that some on here are favourites of many people out there, so apologies for the harsh opinions that are to come for some of your loved reads.

I’m hoping to get my best books of 2019 posted tomorrow, time allowing.

Court of Broken Knives

The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark:

My review can be found here

This one, in my opinion, was a wonderful display of how to spend nearly 500 pages writing about very little and progressing a story at a snails pace. Interesting things did happen, but they just felt like they were happening because the dying body that was this book needed a spike of adrenaline. I also kind of felt a little let down by the title. Didn’t really mean anything to the story, was just a pretty cool name of a place that featured slightly in the book. All in all, I felt that this one really tested my ‘thou shalt not DNF’ a book rule. Some good things came out of it, but that was purely that I liked a couple of the characters a fraction more than the ones I cared nothing at all about. And, in all honesty, I can’t even remember which characters they were or, indeed, ANY names of ANY of the characters in the entire book.

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Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski:

My review can be found here

I feel this one was equal part breathtakingly boring and a victim of getting lost in translation. A couple of bloggers (Ola and Piotrek) assure me that it is really quite wonderful in the original polish. Sadly, reading that language is far beyond my skills so I am left to sift through the mind-numbing tedium that is the English version. The short story collections were far better, perhaps writing a full novel at a fun pace just isn’t something the author is great at? Or perhaps I’m just being overly-critical. Whatever the reason, the makers of the game did a fabulous job at seeing the potential in this and making something truly wonderful from it, as I doubt I’d have had such vision or patience.

Annihilation

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer:

My review can be found here

This is the sort of book that has a great concept but also has the unexpected drawback of zero character development (I honestly don’t think the characters had any character. Hell, they didn’t even have names), no pace, nothing exciting … just nothing. Well, technically it did have exciting things, but those things had always already happened. So our protagonist (that it is near-impossible to care about) only ever discovered them much later and immediately set to over-thinking in the most tedious way of what might have happened to the extent where I began to wish nothing had happened to start with. At least I’d have been spared her thoughts. Considering this was just under 200 pages, it should not have taken me almost a fortnight to read. The thought of reading the rest of the trilogy is up there with the thought of jumping barefoot on to a floor covered in lego.

Batman

Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison:

My review can be found here.

Ok, so this is a graphic novel but it was so bad that it had to make the list. It’s widely considered one of the favourites of Batman fans across the globe and I honestly don’t know how. The art style is so bad that it’s difficult to see what’s going on most of the time. A few of the pages do make you sit back and think ‘wow, that’s epic’ then you turn the page and are greeted by another chaotic jumble. Couple that with nothing really happening other than a game of hide and seek in Arkham Asylum, along with some pointless flash backs to Amadeus Arkham and how he founded the Asylum, you are left wondering why this is lauded so highly. Or at least I was. I re-read this thinking maybe my adult self might appreciate it more. It turns out my teenage self had flawless judgement.

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Taken By the T-rex by Christie Sims:

My review can be found here.

I bought this as a joke present for my friend’s birthday. I thought the audio version would be the best way as having someone read dinosaur porn to you would surely be more hilarious than reading it yourself. I can’t remember the exact length (it’s about forty mins) the first thirty-six being the boring lead up to the four minutes of T-rex and woman sex scene. Suffice to say, it’s a mental scar I doubt will ever fully heal. I also kind of wish the author could have come up with other adjectives to describe the T-Rex than ‘big lizard’. If you played the big lizard drinking game you’d need to get your stomach pumped after the first twenty mins. You’d certainly die before you got to the sex scene … which isn’t the worst cased scenario, I suppose. It’s worth a go if you want a damn good laugh with friends about one of the strangest sex scenes known to literature.

PS

I can’t believe I made a stylistic critique about adjectives in a book like this …

Metro 2033

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky:

My Review can be found here.

This is another one where I can’t tell if it is just so boring and utterly bad or it is another victim of bad translation. Either way, my levels of enjoyment couldn’t have been any lower. Every book on this list tested my DNF rule, and this one gave Court of Broken Knives such a run for it’s money as a front runner, that it pulled out into the lead. This is yet another trilogy I will not be continuing. The only redeeming quality for the audio book is that it was narrated by Rupert Degas. The man has so much talent.

Speaking of books that overtook others of being so bad I nearly quit … introducing:

necronomicon

Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft:

My review can be found here.

I know I said there was no real order to this post … it turns out I lied. As quite possibly the worst book I have ever had the displeasure of picking up (even if it was in audio book form) has somehow made it’s way to the rock bottom position on my post. Exactly where it belongs. Putting it a the top would have felt like it had won something. And that would have felt dreadfully unfair. I love the cover, it’s elegant in ways the content can never hope to match. I also love the ideas H.P. Lovecraft had. He was ahead of his time as far as thinking of awesome ideas to make awesome stories went. Sadly, he had no business holding a pen. I’m sure he’d have been a dab hand at writing the bland instructional manuals that most flat-packed furniture requires. No flavour needed or wanted there … but in fiction I expect more. I expect to be engaged, drawn in by the prose not just the promise of good ideas leading to something great. Sadly, all the good ideas lead to are broken promises of brilliance and an intensely deflated feeling. It turns out Pennywise was wrong in Stephen King’s ‘It’. We don’t all float down here … I think, even in Pennywise’s sewer domain, Lovecraft would sink.

 

17 thoughts on “My Least Favourite Reads/Listens of 2019

  1. I totally agree with you on Blood of Elves. I raced through the story collections, and couldn’t wait to start the novel…and then I couldn’t wait to finish it. I’m glad that I hadn’t bought the others in advance, because I have no desire to continue the series.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, Lovecraft will gradually worm his way into your brain – there is no escape! 😉 I must say I find his longer weird fiction drags on and on, but his shorter Gothic stories are much better, so long as you can put up with every noun having at least four adjectives…😲

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think I can put up with it 😂 saying that, I enjoyed ‘A Shadow over Innsmouth’ and ‘Dagon’. The name he chose for the cat was unexpected … and nearly got me in trouble when I had it on the loudspeaker at work 🙈

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We discussed how you did not like the Witcher books, but are you going to watch the show? I’m actually surprised how popular it’s getting, I’d say it’s ok, with great potential, but probably rather confusing for people new to franchise…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Is it good? I’ve seen the first season some time ago, was under impression it’s a bit too long for such a short book…but it was good, I might go back.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I actually put down Annihilation cause I thought it was bad. But I did get curious about Taken By T-Rex hahahaaaa… I just love the idea that someone writes about sex with a dinosaur LOL… Happy New Year!

    XXX Puma

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad I’m not the only one who didn’t get on with Annihilation 🙂

      Oh, god, you have to try Taken By The T-Rex 😂 I’d love to hear your expert opinion on the last 4 or 5 minutes 😂 I’ll keep my eyes peeled just in case you give it a go haha

      Like

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