This Could Get Ugly – Unpopular Book Opinions Tag

As with most book-related things I do, I’m doing this because I saw it first on YouTube/BookTube. I read books, too, so I thought I’d play along. Of course, these are all my personal opinions and you’re free to disagree. Preamble aside, let’s get started!

1. A popular book or series you didn’t like

Starting out strong, here… I’m going to say Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao.

I wanted to like this book. I really, truly did. And there are parts that I did like. Unhinged main character? Yes. General concept? Yes. The actual execution? Well…

I was really looking forward to the polyam romance and it was… incredibly disappointing. The two men in the relationship have their romance developed largely offscreen, so when they’re romantic on-page it really feels like it comes out of nowhere. A lot of the action scenes were hard to follow. Wu Zetian had a whole murder mission from the getgo and almost let the man who murdered her sister off the hook just because he’s hot. It’s not until she could access his memories that she’s back to her original plan. And the book is full of plenty of other aggravating choices like this. Maybe I’ll make a whole dedicated review for it. For now? Iron Widow was more like a Tin Clown.

2. A popular book or series that everyone else seems to hate but you love

The last book I can think of that would fit this would be The Lovely Bones by Alice Seabold, I think. Most of the time when that book is mentioned, it’s mentioned with disdain. Obviously, book tastes are subjective, but when I was a young teen I read this book several, several times and loved it each time I did. Maybe if I read it now, my mind would be changed? But I’m quite attached to it still. I think I just read it at the exact time that I needed to.

3. A love triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did NOT want them to end up with // an OTP you didn’t like

I’m diving into the dredges of my memory for this one. Anyone ever read Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead? It never got as popular, but I loved that series to bits and still do. And like, I get why this pairing never lasted but… I really liked Rose and Adrian together, tbh. So it’s not so much I didn’t want her to end up with Dimitri, persay? I just didn’t like them together as much as I liked Rose and Adrian. And then Adrian ended up being paired with… Sydney? In the spin-off series, I think. Which was certainly a choice that was made.

4. A popular book genre you hardly reach for.

I don’t know how “popular” it is, but I don’t grab for historical fiction all that often. I am also, despite what my answer to #3 would suggest, not the biggest fan of vampire books, or paranormal books in general. And this last one I firmly maintain is an age category, not a genre, but I don’t really go for YA books anymore. Mostly because it feels like I’ve outgrown them, you know? The writing style and content in most YA books are not something that interests me anymore. But, that said, there have been some stellar reads.

5. A popular or beloved character you did not like.

Is it time to upset the stans?… it’s time to upset the stans. I couldn’t stand Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Really, there wasn’t a lot from that book/series I was willing to tolerate, but Rhysand is the biggest example and reason why. Maas decided to completely assassinate Tamlin’s character by book two just because she thought Rhysand was hotter. Sorry, but that’s what happened. Rhysand is absolutely fucking creepy. Thinking about him makes my skin crawl. Plus he low key assaults Feyre in the first book and it’s all just? Hand waved? No thank you. Fuck Rhysand.

6. A popular author you can’t seem to get in to.

Would it be cheating to say Sarah J Maas again?

Actually I have a better one. J. K. Rowling.

Folks, it’s time to find a new fandom. I never understood why Harry Potter got as big as it did. I read them as a kid and… I mean, I liked them, but they weren’t the massive world-shaping phenomena everyone else made them out to be. I never obsessed over which Hogwarts house I was or big on the scene in general. And especially now? It doesn’t hold up. J. K. Rowling absolutely shaped a generation, and I get how she appealed to people back then, but it’s time to find other books. The author is a violent bigot whose rhetoric is being sited in this new wave of transphobic legislation and you really… can see her biases in her work. Just saying.

7. A popular book trope you’re tired of seeing

I am absolutely bored of “not like other girls”. I’ve had it. Every example I’ve seen of a character who fits this archetype is just misogynistic and edgy. It’s not cool, it’s not cute, it’s not funny. You’re not any better just because you pretend to be different.

8. A popular series you have no interest in reading

I will never touch another book by Sarah J. Maas for as long as I live, or Harry Potter or anything related. I also was never interested in reading the Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo. Finally, and especially after the Goodreads Choice Awards controversy last year, I have absolutely 0 interest in reading the Empire of the Vampire series, let alone any other Jay Kristoff book.

9. What movie or TV show adaptation do you prefer more than the book

This is purely because it was a kid’s book, but Spiderwick Chronicles. The movie was alright, from what I can remember, but I had outgrown the books by the time I’d read them, so…

Annnnnnd… that’s it! Did you have any reading hot takes to share?

Author: draconako

Alex is a queer writer, game-maker, and mountain of incomprehensible goo living in the Pacific Northwest. When they aren’t being paid to manage insurance accounts, they’re researching whatever interests them, reading from their arsenal of books, playing video games, or spending time with their partner. They can be reached at @draconako on most of the internet or at authoralexharvey@gmail.com

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