Top Ten Tuesday | Unpopular Bookish Opinions

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

xoxo

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49 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday | Unpopular Bookish Opinions

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  1. Ron is the worst! And I agree the first two HP films are the best. Re: 10 I could not agree more – I think a very fundamental concept that a lot of YA Twitter struggles with is ‘depiction does not equal endorsement’. I mean, obviously we shouldn’t support books that promote racist, sexist, homophobic etc. content which is why it’s important to have these discussions, but it’s so disheartening how quickly they devolve into an echo chamber rather than a constructive conversation.

    Like

  2. Totally agree with you on HP. Honestly, I still love re-watching them … but nothing beats the books. I just got ALL the first editions (Canadian / UK ones) so I plan to re-read them … YAY!

    I can’t STAND love triangles or overly complicated relationships … rubs me the wrong way. I haven’t read the Throne of Glass series, but I don’t know if I want to … it seems very daunting, especially if I end up not liking the books later on in the series.

    Oh man … the Ron x Hermione debate. I don’t like them together WHATSOEVER … even Rowling later said she wished she didn’t have them as a couple later on. I don’t have a problem (fully) with Ron’s character, but those two have no chemistry … her and Harry have more chemistry (though I love them being friends). I wanted her to stay with Krum so badly!!!! ugh … he’s beautiful … moment over now.

    I love the LOTR movie franchise!! It’s so good!! I never read the books but don’t know if I want to. I loved reading The Hobbit, but the movie was meh … they changed too much (I know they added from other books, but it still bothered me) and just HAD to add an unnecessary love interested … UGH. The first of the three movies is good though 🙂

    AWE!!! THAT GIF!! And yes … I do the same thing with books … I’m getting better at seeing if I’ll enjoy it … but they’re so pretty!

    Great post!! And yes … another long comment …my bad 😉

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  3. DUDE NUMBER TEN! Seriously, I hate this cancel culture that’s been happening >< I don't like that all the negative stuff got all the attention. I also agree about Doors of Stone. The author is actually kind of an asshole on social media when it comes to book three when fans ask about it and it never seems like he really cares about his fans or putting it out. Plus I don't think that book 2 did much to help the story :/ awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cancel Culture is such a good way to put it! And it’s so toxic. It’s really disheartening to see so many people engage in it. That being said, a lot of these people are just trying to get more views/likes to their own blogs or social media platforms, so they parrot the views that are popular.

      And I’m with you on Patrick Rothfuss. He’s so rude to fans when it comes to book 3. He did a twitch live stream once where he was gaming and discussing book 3, and he accidentally opened a file on his computer that contained one page of a draft for book 3. He was so livid by the experience that he blew up at fans who started talking about it. He’s definitely got some anger issues when it comes to his writing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I don’t know how people can stand behind him. That behavior, plus not letting his fans know about his progress isn’t cool. Authors like Sanderson and Brent Weeks are so great at letting their fans know what’s going on and that’s important. So while I still like Name of the Wind, I think book 2 is so underwhelming.
        Yeah I never like how negative press for a book gets as much as attention as they do. I was mad that people seemed to flock to the whole Blood Heir and another book being cancelled like blind flies. I hope this cancel culture doesn’t get worse…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with you on the problematic events… it’s a shame. Also the beautiful book covers get me every time! Especially when they change the covers of my favorite series and I’m all like ” Maybe I should re-buy this with the new covers!”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I definitely don’t agree with some of your thoughts but the beauty about opinions is that we all have them. But on that same note, I buy based off of covers & love triangles generally exhaust me. This was a fun list! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m totally with you on number nine! Way too many of my reading choices have been based on nothing more than books having attractive cover models.

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  7. I mean… I agree with pretty much all of this. The HP movies, meh. Have never once re-watched one. Maas, kind of hated it. Door of Stone, don’t even remember the series anymore. I’ll disagree with you on Tolkien, I’ll take pages and pages of descriptions, it is my all-time favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ugh, completely agree. In fact, I’ll do you one better: the third movie is the WORST. I thought the last two were fine, I guess, I just don’t understand why you would waste your time watching something that’s “fine” when you could read something AMAZING.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Agreed about the last one, definitely! I’m happy I’m not on Twitter, but banning ‘problematic events’ from books reeks of censorship and sweeping issues under a rug. Shouldn’t ‘problematic’ elements not be up for discussion instead?

    I’m currently reading the Misborn series.I do like them so far, but I can see where you’re coming from as the books are definitely a little bloated.

    I also don’t like Hermione and Ron together!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Samantha, I’m so glad you and I see the issue of problematic events and cancel culture the same way. It’s totally censorship, demanding that authors cancel their books or that publishers stop printing it. I really shudder to think what the publishing industry will be like when these YAs engaging in cancel culture grow up and start demanding the same of books written for adult audiences too.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah love triangles aren’t inherently a terrible thing – but it’s when they’re unnecessary to the larger plot that I get frustrated. Sometimes it feels like relationship drama is inserted into books because authors aren’t sure how else to pad the page count to novel-sized books.

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  9. #10 ALL of that. Hallelujah! I recently read a Twitter post by a YA author detailing the triggers in their (now published) new release. It made me sad. Why should someone feel the need to preemptively defend something they should be proud of? It seems as though authors are so afraid of social media backlash, they are willing to disparage something they have worked hard to finish. Let the reviewers do the work. That’s the reason they are given advance copies. So, hopefully, responsible readers can assess whether they want to buy the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Josh! And wow – that makes me sad too. I think if I was an author, I would avoid twitter like the plague beyond sharing links/publicity for my novel. I also feel like it’s generally unhelpful for authors to try to defend their writing on social media. People will find fault with what you say regardless.

      I can’t imagine being an author in today’s climate though. You work for years on a project, only to have zealots on social media try to tear it down before it’s even published. It must be heartbreaking.

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  10. Hello Bentley!!
    I can’t agree more about Doors of Stone LOL. I was pretty late in reading Name of the Wind (that was several years ago) and I loved it, but The Wise Man’s Fear bored me to bits (and what was with the sex fairies!??!?) I’ve pretty much given up waiting for the third book to come since it’s been more than a decade lol. I did notice Patrick Rothfuss’s attitude to his fans as well, although I feel bad for the guy since his fans sometimes aren’t very friendly :/
    Definitely agree about love triangles as well! Several years ago I didn’t mind them that much, but now I can smell them miles away 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sophie, I am so glad you and I are on the same page about Doors of Stone and The Wise Man’s Fear. TWMF really cooled my interest in the series as a whole. The plot was meandering, and then we had to endure like 200 pages of Kvothe’s journey into the fairy sex realm, followed straight away by his journey into the ninja sex realm. It just was all a bit much.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I physically couldn’t finish Throne of Glass, also the love triangle cliche is so predictable and boring I don’t understand why people still use it. However Ron is my son, sorta mad that the movies just reduced him to be the comic relief character though

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The first two HP films were the best and it is a fact. Chris Columbus is a God of children’s films. I also agree with you on Hermione and Krum. It was way too convenient to pair off Harry and Ginny, and Hermione and Ron.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. Even the third movie when Harry, Ron and Hermione should be 13 year old kids, the film was gloomy enough and portrayed them as though they were some 16 year olds with some of the “magic” lost.

        Liked by 1 person

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