Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jana @That Artsy Reader Girl. Weekly prompts are posted on her blog each week and any blogger who want to participate can create their own list of 10, 5, 2, 1 or any combo of numbers in between in answer to that prompt. Do what works for you on your blog, and join in the listing fun!
This week’s topic is a really tough one! First off, I hate trying to figure out what’s popular and what’s not at the moment. With social media and how quickly trends change, I can never tell what’s in and what’s out! Also, I know I have some controversial opinions on super popular series, and I hate feeling like a contrarian.
Third and lastly, I’m really trying to be positive and upbeat on my blog since returning from my hiatus. I feel like choosing to see the positives in things rather than looking for the negative – or unpopular – is just better for my mental health. Plus, I’m thinking I’m going to avoid burnout by being more positive from now on.
But, the topic for the week is the topic – so I might just make this quick!
10 Unpopular Bookish Opinions
ONE | The Harry Potter Movies are mostly just okay
I’m starting off with an easy answer by avoiding an actual bookish opinion and talking about the movie adaptation instead. I’m counting it though as Harry Potter is absolutely massive and when one talks about the books, they are inevitably also talking about the movies as well.
The movies aren’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but I will say that I firmly believe the only movies in the series that that captured the spirit and magic of the films to me were the first two, directed by Christopher Columbus. They were colorful and vibrant and full of life – basically the polar opposite of the film series after Alfonso Cuaron and David Yates got their hands on the helm.
The third movie is still good – but the switch to the blue and grey color palate was done way too soon, and it spelled disaster for the rest of the films which become increasingly glum and morose – and not even in an entertaining way.
TWO | The Mistborn series is overrated
Read the first 3 books in the series as part of a buddy read (reviews here, here, and also here) and I became increasingly less invested in the series the more I read and the more familiar I got with Brandon Sanderson’s penchant for over-delivering information about the magic system and characters in his world.
I love his imagination, but lord if his writing here isn’t some of the most repetitive I’ve read in a long while. Character’s are endlessly ruminating on events that occurred over 5 years ago in book time, which means that action is constantly put on hold for tedious trips down memory lane – or an even more tedious explanation of how the magic system works again. By the time book 3 ended I was ready for it to end.
THREE | Love Triangles are way overused
I’m relying on Eric Matthews and Feeny to get me through discussing love triangles. My most hated of tropes in novels – nothing gets me rolling my eyes harder than when the dreaded love triangle is introduced. It’s always the same story: a beautiful main character who doesn’t realize that she’s beautiful because she’s also clumsy and awkward is torn between two men: the friend she’s known for years and is probably the right guy for her, and the beautiful-yet-damaged hunk that strolls into town with dark secrets who she inevitably will choose – even when it throws her heart into harm’s way.
On the surface I suppose that logline sounds like fun – except when you see it crop up in 4 out of 5 YA novels. Shit gets old real quick. Not to mention that I feel that love triangles are by their nature inherently disrespectful to the idea of committed relationships with open, honest communication. Not exactly the basis for a long-lasting committment.
FOUR | I could barely get through Throne of Glass
See the aforementioned bit above about Love Triangles. Sarah J Maas leans into love triangles like they personally owe her money – which is probably why I struggle so hard with her books.
As a gay male, I’m decidedly not in her target audience, which is probably a big reason why I just did not enjoy this book very much at all. It doesn’t help that the main character in action does not at all match her reputation as the world’s greatest teenage assassin. I’ve read friend’s reviews for the remainder of the books in the series and I think it’s pretty obvious that the things I took issue with in this book are only amplified as the series progresses, so I elected not to continue after book 1.
FIVE | I gave The Black Witch a chance
A positive (depending on how you look at it, I suppose!) unpopular opinion for a change! The Black Witch by Laurie Forest blew up the internet when it was released. An overzealous book reviewer on Twitter got a hold of an ARC and tweeted out her ire for the book in a series of live-tweets as she read her review copy – setting her thousands of followers onto the book, publisher and author for perceived homophobia, racism and sexism…
In a book about the interpersonal relationships between fantasy creatures.
The entire debacle for me raised the question of the book reviewing community’s culpability in attempting to destroy an author’s career without actually having read the book. I discussed the topic in a couple of blog posts, which can be found here and here,
Ultimately, when I read the book, I actually discovered that the book is a story about overcoming prejudice. The story is a careful examination of nature vs. nurture and actually prompts a lot of important discussions – but you have to be willing to actually read the source material. Crazy huh?
SIX | I’m no longer interested in Doors of Stone
Once upon a time I was obsessed with The Name of the Wind. I read fan theories online, looked at fan-art of the characters and places and perhaps considered penning a fanfic or two shipping Kvothe and Bast together as they rightfully belong, but those days are long past me now – for a number of reasons.
I think primarily the eight year wait since the last book in the series was published has a lot to do with it, unfortunately. I firmly believe that Patrick Rothfuss is stuck in a mire of his own making and just doesn’t know how to end the series at this point. It was always said that this series would end as a trilogy, but with the glacial pace that book 2 moved at, I cannot see how the story can possibly wrap up all the loose ends in one final installment.
Not to mention that The Wise Man’s Fear introduced a lot of elements that I think really knocked it down a peg or two in comparison to The Name of the Wind. Especially Kvothe’s jaunt into a fairy sex realm, where he has sex repeatedly with the goddess of all sex fairies and then returns to the Four Corners and promptly begins sexing up multiple female characters he runs into. It feels like teenage boy/neckbeard wish fulfillment in comparison to the subtle beauty that was book one and really dimmed my hopes for the final book.
Plus, Rothfuss seems to have a lot of disdain for his own fans, and that rubs me wrong too.
SEVEN | Hermione and Krum > Hermione and Ron
I’ve just got to say it: I do not get the love for Ron Weasley. Of all the characters in the Harry Potter series, he was always the one causing strife within his core friend group by misinterpreting the actions or words of his friends. He becomes especially grating when Hermione starts falling for the dreamy, successful and talented Viktor Krum.
Lets face it, Krum was a catch and if HP was a NA novel instead of a novel written for children and adults to enjoy, I think Ron would have had a lot harder of a time bagging Hermione in the final act of the series.
EIGHT | Some movie adaptations surpass the books
This is fantasy-fan sacrilege to say out loud, but I just cannot get into Tolkien’s writing. I’ve tried reading The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit repeatedly, and I just can’t do it. I think I’m spoiled by the fast moving plots and action sequences of fantasy novels today, because these books just move way too slowly for me.
I don’t need endless pages describing the rolling hillsides and the color of each particular leaf on the trees. I also don’t need full pages of made up song lyrics to dwarven melodies that we the reader can’t actually hear. I just find it all a bit… boring.
That being said, I’m a huge fan of the movie series. I try to watch The Lord of The Rings extended cut at least one a year – and I often will listen to ambient mixes of the soundtrack on Youtube when I’m reading. I find some of the tracks (especially those set in the Shire or Elven locations) really beautiful and soothing.
NINE | I will buy a book because of the cover
Yup. I have a bad habit when I’m in the bookstore.
Besides not being able to get out of a bookstore without buying almost anything in sight that’s on my TBR list, I also have a terrible habit of being beguiled by all the striking covers on the shelves.
I’ve been known to buy outside my budget just because a book was too beautiful to bear leaving behind in a dusty old bookshelf. I’ve also been known to forsake a book that is on my TBR list and buy a total unknown book instead just because the cover really caught my eye. It’s both a terrible habit and glorious, because I’ve discovered some really fabulous books from the habit, like Beyond Redemption last month.
TEN | A Problematic Event occurring in a book does not make it a Problematic Book
I suppose this is in a way related to number Five. I’ve seen this sort of mob mentality rising, especially within the YA book community towards books with perceived problematic content. There’s this rush to sanitize all books of anything that might possibly offend, and a lot of virtue signaling by people on social media who attempt to drum up action against new authors and publishing companies all in the name of justice against that perceived slight.
You would think the book community would seek to lift up authors and content creators – educating where possible, but instead the hate and vitriol overwhelms all sense and suddenly you’ve got Twitter mobs calling for the cancellation of a debut author’s book. It’s censorship, and it’s sickening. Worse still is that many of the voices at the forefront of these Twitter wars are grown adults, co-opting the YA genre and telling teenagers what to think about books without even having read them – all in the name of building their own platform on social media.
This constant drive to sanitize books – particularly YA books – of problematic content is frankly, dangerous to artistic expression and the art of writing in general. How far does the scouring of problematic content spread? Do we consider the context in which that content appears, or the character from which it is said? It’s a slippery slope that looks more like a cliff and quite frankly, I don’t think people even realize that they’re standing on the edge of it when they’re calling for books to be cancelled.
Yikes, how many of you did I alienate with my unpopular opinions here? Lets chat about it below!