As I mention in my Best 5 Books of 2019, I read 40 books in 2019 and some stood out from the others. In this case, some stood out in a less than positive way. By no means am I claiming that these books are terrible or that people shouldn’t read them. I just personally did not enjoy and/or was disappointed by these books.
If you like any one of these books, remember that your opinion is perfectly valid! I am so glad you enjoyed it, but I just didn’t enjoy these as much as the other books I read in 2019.
If you enjoyed any of these books, please comment which one(s) and why you liked them to encourage others to give them a chance!
These are the least enjoyable books that I read in 2019 with the last being the one I enjoyed the least:
5. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare (V.3) by Paul Tobin
My Rating: 2 of 5
This book wasn’t terrible. It is a silly kids book with a chaotic and nonsensical plot. Nothing impactful really happens, and you don’t really care about any of the characters at all.
Like I said in my December Reads, “I don’t feel like I wasted my time, but I would not recommend this to people.”
My main complaint about this book is that it talks to kids like they are dumb. The humor is insultingly cheesy and dumb. There are fart and poop jokes every page or so… even for a kids book, this was dumb.
It is a particular pet peeve of mine when kids books talk to kids like they are dumb; kids are not dumb and can understand a story with substance, character, and plot.
My second complaint that pushed the experience a little over the line is the messy and overwhelming art. Every centimeter of the page is covered in crazy colorful pictures and the important panels with text are hard to single out and follow. The speech bubbles are not well organized to show who is saying what, and the overall storytelling through a comic style is convoluted enough to retract from the reading experience.
4. The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1) by J.R.R. Tolkien
My Rating: 3 of 5
I listened to this book hoping to scratch that itch I get for good fantasy in the Fall, which is when I initially read this book and wrote a review, but I was pretty disappointed with it.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some pretty good elements to this book; I rated it 3 stars after all. I liked the beginning with the Hobbits and the Tom Bombadil part, and there were some interesting moments between characters.
With that said, those moments were mediocre at best and there were far too few for such a long book. Which leads me to plot. Nothing happens in this book… at all. Like a few little things happen, but not enough to make me care.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, some really great fantasy books are slow. To that I say, I agree. I have read plenty of crazy slow fantasies where nothing happens as far as plot goes. But, those books had compelling characters, world building, politics, and magic systems.
This book did not make me care about a single character, the world building was more like a history text book for a fantasy world (but with little actual detail), there was little to no political intrigue, and the magic system is cool but never explained.
Not to mention there isn’t really a climax to this story and nothing gets resolved in this book at all. Like at all. It ends abruptly. I personally think this was a waste of 20 hours of my life.
I have more to say about this book, but not enough space to do so here. So, if you would like to see my full thoughts on this book specifically, let me know in the comments. I would be glad to analyze this further.
In general, this book is in fourth place for worst reads of 2019, because it disappointed me when I really wanted to enjoy it.
3. A Quest of Heroes (The Sorcerer’s Ring #1) by Morgan Rice
My Rating: 1 or 5
Wow, May was a bad reading month for me, although they are mostly books I had to read for a class.
This one was a free audiobook that I listened to back when I first gave audiobooks a chance. I am glad this didn’t totally deter me from audiobooks, because it is pretty bad.
I still haven’t felt like it was a waste of my time, because I didn’t hate the experience; I did find myself sort of rooting for the main character towards the end and I think I remember enjoying it a bit.
The really low rating is because a lot of it bothered me after the fact and the writing was really bad. There were tons of unrealistic plot points and weird conversations. I can see how people might like this book, but the quality seems really low for my preference.
Like I mention in my initial review, “It felt silly listening to it, and the whole time I felt like I was just correcting the story.” It made me want to rewrite the story better, which is not what I want to feel while reading/listening.
It is worth noting that I did finish the audiobook despite the quality, because I wanted to know what happened and it wasn’t so bad as to DNF it.
2. City Terrace Field Manual by Sesshu Foster
My Rating: 2 of 5
I don’t have a lot to say about this book as you can see in my review back in May. I read this for a class, and the poetry just didn’t work for me.
The subject matter of this poetry book is dark, violent, and full of all things negative.
I had a very hard time picking it up to finish for my class, and I would never have read this book on my own, let alone finished it if I had started. I really dragged my feet with this one and have now completely repressed the memory of this collection in response. Each poem left me feeling gross and like I needed a shower.
If you like poetry with dark themes and death, then this might be the poetry book for you.
1. Gabby, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
My Rating: 2 or 5
This was another May read for school, and boy did it surprise me in the worst of ways.
I was not expecting this YA/Juvenile book about coming of age to be so dark, violent, and depressing.
Before I complain too much, I do appreciate this book’s conversations about racism, sexuality, and the Chicano struggle in America. More youth books should start these conversations.
However, Quintero is very good at eliciting a strong emotional response from her readers, but in this case it is a very negative one. I couldn’t help but step away from each page of this book with a sour taste in my mouth and a terrible tension in my stomach.
I understand that books need to have negative elements and start those difficult conversations, but there needs to be a light… a positive side… anything to balance the terrible! There is not a moment of good feeling in this book, no hope. That is my issue. Just thinking about this book makes my heart race and a bad feeling solidify like volcanic rock in my core.
The quality of writing is there and important topics are covered, but this is a storm of negativity that will not uplift you at any point. To all their own, but I did not like that. I personally think negative books should have a glint of hope somewhere to keep the reader hopeful, but this book just doesn’t have that.
Also worth noting, is the lack of sensitive content warnings surrounding this book. This book should have lots of warnings, and I don’t think young people should be reading such a violent, traumatic, and negative piece.
This is probably the worst reading experience I have ever had, and that makes me sad, but it is what it is. If you are anything like me, don’t read this book unless you want to go to therapy afterward.
I hope Quintero keeps writing and finds a sweet spot between negative and hopeful.
This was my negative awards, but check out my Best 5 Books of 2019 for a more positive set of reviews!
Sorry for all the negativity in this one, but remember that not everything can be a positive experience.
Also, I am happy that I had trouble selecting the 5th book, because I read so many not terrible books this year! So yay!
-Knight of Cups ❤
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