T5W: Polarising Books

Some books are like Marmite; you either love them have terrible taste, or you hate them just the smell of them makes you want to vomit. As you can probably tell, I’m not a Marmite fan, but these five books left a much more favourable impression, despite their detractors.

Stephanie Perkins//Isla and the Happily Ever After5) Isla & the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

I’ve never heard anyone say outright that they disliked Isla & the Happily Ever After, but pretty much every review I’ve come across agrees that it was something of a disappointing ending to the trilogy – citing their favourite parts of the book as the moments that call back to the previous books. It’s certainly much less dramatic than either Anna or Lola, but everyone else’s loss is apparently my gain, as Isla was my favourite book in the whole series. I really enjoyed the relatively drama-free romance between Isla and Josh, as well as the fact that we actually got to see their relationship progress throughout the story (rather than having it end as soon as they got together). Isla herself was a great selling point, too, as I personally found her (and all her self-consciousness and self-sabotaging) much more relatable than the previous two heroines… Also: Josh. (Josh! ❤ )

William Golding//Lord of the Flies4) Lord of the Flies by William Golding

This is one of those books that’s often used as assigned reading in school (and completely ruined by means of over-analysis), which I think is a big reason why it’s so despised by a lot of people (though I’m sure there are other reasons, too). I didn’t read it in school – lucky me! 😀 – and while I found the first half of the book tough to get through, I loved how dark it got as the story went on.

Lauren Oliver//Requiem3) Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Probably my least favourite of the books on this list, but also a book that I hear being bashed all over the place; the first time I ever even heard of the Delirium  trilogy, it was my aunt telling me that Delirium and Pandemonium were pretty much perfect, but Requiem was a rubbish way to end the series (paraphrased, and probably also embellished). But I actually ended up enjoying Requiem a lot more than Pandemonium (I was never able to take Julian seriously as a love interest…)

Patrick Rothfuss//Slow Regard of Silent Things2) The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

A spin-off from the fantastic Kingkiller Chronicle books, The Slow Regard of Silent Things is divisive even among the most die-hard of Rothfuss’ fans… and I can see why. The story’s told from the perspective of a minor character called Auri, who has a rather unusual outlook on life (to put it mildly), and mainly consists of her wandering around the strange tunnels where she lives, and moving things about. In a way, it’s kind of a story about decorating…? Rothfuss even put a note in the beginning of the book, preemptively apologising to all the fans who would (inevitably) dislike it. I thought it was pretty charming, however, and it had a dream-like tone that made it really easy to get lost in. It helped, of course, that I’ve always found Auri to be a great mystery, and it was fascinating to finally be able to take a look inside her head.

Stephanie Meyer//Twilight1) The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

Most of you are probably pretty sure by now that I’m simply a poor judge of quality literature, but to put the final nail in the coffin: I kind of love Twilight. Sure, its flaws are many, and blatant, and in most cases quite serious. Most of the main characters are either bland or creepy (or both), and the plot is so much an afterthought that it’s a wonder it even made it into the book at all. But still… these books were so much fun to read! And I figure that it’s fine to love something as objectively terrible as this series, as long as I also acknowledge that terribleness… right? 😉

[Top 5 Wednesday is run by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. To find out more or join in, check out the Goodreads group.]

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October Wrap-Up

Happy Halloween! (Or not. I know it’s not Halloween anymore, but it was technically still Halloween when I started writing this…) This month has been a little slumpy, reading-wise (mostly because there were a couple of books that I was putting off, even though I knew I had to read them…), so I’ve only got eight nine (!) books to show to you, but there are definitely some good ones in there…

William Golding//Lord of the FliesLord of the Flies by William Golding. Slow at the start, but it picked up after the first couple of chapters. I was surprised by how much I liked this one (but perhaps I shouldn’t have been, since my expectations were pretty low after reading the beginning). It was somewhat similar in feel to I’m the King of the Castle by Susan Hill, a book that I read (and loved) when I was in school… Very chilling.4 stars

Diana Gabaldon//Dragonfly in AmberDragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. The second Outlander book! The first part of the story lent a slightly bittersweet undertone to the rest of it, but it was really wonderful to see Jamie and Claire’s relationship develop further. The plot was very engaging and the characters were wonderful, and there was lots of Jacobite drama, which I enjoyed immensely. There was also a slight cliffhanger at the end, so I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next book soon.4 stars

Skye Jordan//RebelRebel by Skye Jordan. The first half dragged a bit, but it picked up towards the middle. Unfortunately I didn’t really manage to connect with either of the main characters, which I think is the most important thing when reading a pure romance novel. Not exactly bad, just kind of disappointing (especially since I was so pleasantly surprised by the first book in the series)…2 stars

Rick Riordan//Blood of OlympusAmy Ewing//The JewelAt this point in the month, the Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon came ’round, and the two books I managed to finish for that were The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan and The Jewel by Amy Ewing. I’ve already written separate mini-reviews of both of these, so if you’d like to know what I thought of them, then click on the images to the left!5 stars4 stars

Holly Black & Cassandra Clare//The Iron TrialThe Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. The synopsis reminded me a little of the Harry Potter series, but the tone was very different – it actually reminded me more of the Percy Jackson books (Call and Percy had somewhat similar voices). I loved both the story and the characters (and I desperately want my own Havoc!). I’m really excited for the next book, even though it’ll be almost a whole year before it’s released… 😦5 stars

James Dashner//The Kill OrderThe Kill Order by James Dashner. This was the second book (the first being Lord of the Flies) that I’d been putting off reading. It was kind of interesting at times, but ultimately unsatisfying. Once again, too many questions were posed and too few questions were answered, and it had surprisingly little to do with the main trilogy. There was very little character development, and the only characters I felt that I got to know were Mark and Alec… Trina, although it seemed from the blurb that she was going to be a main character, really did very little in the book, and was absent for a large part of it. Also, I assumed that the epilogue would wrap up Deedee’s storyline, but instead it jumped back to Thomas… so what happened to Deedee? Are we supposed to already know from the main trilogy? ‘Cause I don’t remember her showing up in any of the other books… :/2 stars

Cassandra Clare//Clockwork AngelClockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. This was a great pick-me-up after reading The Kill Order… I was kind of expecting to enjoy it, since I liked The Iron Trial so much, but I ended up liking it even more than I thought I would. I really liked the romance developing between Tessa and Will, and Jem was such a sweet character (he’s definitely my favourite)! The plot was great – I didn’t see that twist coming at all! – and I’m really looking forward to the sequel.

5 stars

Jon Klassen//This is Not My HatThis is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen. I picked up this book randomly at Waterstones, & though I didn’t buy it (it was tempting!), I did manage to read through the whole thing there… It’s very short (mostly pictures), but it’s the funniest book I’ve read in ages, and it’s also adorable. 😀5 stars