The Worst Books of 2016

The Worst Books of 2016

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Let us take a cathartic dive into the trash heap that was 2016 and look back at the three worst books I read this year.  I found them so atrocious that I wouldn’t mind traveling to a Fahrenheit 451 reality with all the known copies. They were so horrendous to the eye, and they would be lovely additions to Satan’s library. Please no tagging the authors. I love to talk about people behind their backs not to their faces. I am a coward. Open eyes and tight lips, people.

The Girl Before by Rena Olsen. This book is literally the toilet paper Gillian Flynn wipes her ass with. Actually, it is the toilet paper that Gillian Flynn uses to clean up her dog’s shits. Okay, okay. This book is about a girl who is kidnapped into a strange Midwestern-mafia style family where she is groomed to become a prostitute. She ends up becoming the wife to the boss’s son, and she helps groom the other children with a strange level of naiveté and pride. The book doesn’t have traditional chapters, which borders the line of gimmick, and switches between the past and the main character’s current captivity with the FBI. This book felt like a crap, short story I would have read in one of my creative writing classes. Honestly, this might be the worst book I read this year, but I did read to the end. It’s only like 200 pages, so it doesn’t waste TOO much of your day.

The Merciless II by Danielle Vega. I won’t spend too much time tearing this book down because I already did that once in my review. Review here. I will say that this is one of the worst books I have ever read. It is like if you took the worst story line of Gossip Girl and added a demon. Well, I guess Chuck was kind of always a demon, but like a real demon who kills people. Oh wait, Chuck killed his dad…okay well like a demon who possess girl’s bodies. I was actually very enthusiastic about the first book, but this book had too much Catholic fetishism for my taste. Maybe the whole book was a metaphor for puberty?

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. Review here. I know that everyone has joined the Sarah J Maas is over party, but really the party started for me with this book. This book is HIGHLY dangerous and manipulative to its very young audience. It romanticized abuse, and don’t give me any of that “the second book explains everything” crap. I’m not here for your excuses. I don’t have as large of a bone to pick with Maas as other people do (mostly because I have never taken her writing to heart), but that doesn’t mean I don’t see why people hate her and her books. I will still finish this series and her ToG series because I can’t bring myself to quit right in the middle. I have to know what happens to these burning trash piles.

Fin.

The Fate of the Tearling: Book Review

The Fate of the Tearling: Book Review

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*Spoilers for the whole trilogy*

*Seriously, spoilers*

This has been the weekend of great cultural experiences. I finished The Fate of the Tearling, and I saw La La Land. I’ve been through an emotional roller coaster with both, so I don’t know if my review will make much sense. Honestly, my reviews never make sense, but I like to imagine they are endearing. Both book and film took me to another plane of human existence, and I will forever be grateful to them.  On the surface the stories are not very similar, but when you scratch off the cover and cinema-scope, you are left with two worlds of fantasy that don’t necessarily end the way you want them to. Yes, I am building this book up at a grand level, but there is a long way to fall. I might as well enjoy it.

Fate is the third and final book in the Tearling trilogy. We follow Kelsea from her humble beginnings as a hidden princess to the queen of a dying kingdom. Erica Johansen creates a unique world with traditional, old world fantasy landscapes and modern day influences. Honestly, it is a wild ride, and when I realized that the people of the Tearling were essentially pilgrims from an alternate dystopian world, I about shit my pants. The Tearling is SO creative. The characters are tough but endearing, and Johansen, especially in this third book, really honed her craft at switching between perspectives. I found every story line and character very entertaining and likable, even at their worst.

I browsed a few reviews after finishing, and I have to be honest. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but some of you are completely wrong about the ending. I am trying to find the least offensive way of saying it, but you are so  dead wrong. The ending was perfect, and though there were more neat, conventional endings that could have happened, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

(For everyone that doesn’t care about spoilers and are just reading the review, wanting to know what happens: Kelsea uses magical sapphires to go back in time to a critical moment in the Tearling’s past. She, along with the help of two women from the past, change history, this includes crawling out of one character’s mouth and killing (?) the bad guy, and Kelsea wakes up in a Utopian society. None of her friends remember her, and she is no longer queen because there is no royal family. I know, when you break it down to its simplest form it sounds bonkers. Trust me, though. Trust me.)

Kelsea makes a queen-sized sacrifice, and her isolation and depression at the end of the novel was real and heartbreaking. It’s very easy to write the ending off as cheap, but when you really think about all the struggles Kelsea has endured and the sacrifices she is willing to make for her country, isn’t losing her country and identity the hardest thing?  We all have that selfish want for recognition for our deeds, but Kelsea’s whole life is gone. The people she cared for are happy and healthy, but they do not remember her. She is forced to live in a world of peace while a storm still rages inside of her, and finding that semblance of peace will be a lifelong struggle for her now. It appears to be a happy ending, a world without violence and greed, but Kelsea’s struggle shows that there will always be strife within. It’s an eerie ending that deserves further consideration, and should not be written off just because we don’t get all the answers and Kelsea doesn’t end up happy with Pen and the Mace (kind of still bitter about that, but I get it). Yes, we still don’t know what the fuck was up with those sapphires, but I am okay with that. I am okay with the ambiguity of the magic. Magic isn’t science, and it doesn’t always need Brandon Sanderson level glossaries at the end of the book to explain everything.

In conclusion: it’s not the ending that we wanted, but it is the ending that we needed. I will follow Erica Johansen to the depths of hell.

Three Dark Crowns: Book Review

Three Dark Crowns: Book Review

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*Spoiler Free*

Three Dark Crowns is the book that got me out of this post-Trump election slump. It lifted me from the bowels of the patriarchy and sheathed me in dazzling armor to slay everyone in my wake. Now, I wait patiently for the second book. Alright, not that patiently.

The book follows three young sisters born with three unique gifts. Poisoner. Elemental. Naturalist. Each sister grows up apart on the far reaches of the island nation, Fennbirn. They are raised to sharpen their powers because they will one day fight each other to the death to be crowned the one,true queen. I know. Woah. It’s like Hunger Games but at a family reunion. AND IT IS AMAZING. Guys, I have not had this much enthusiasm about a first book in a series since…. since Truthwitch, and I fucking loooved Truthwitch. This is like Truthwitch’s dangerous cousin who has no qualms about cutting off your head and putting it on a spike with Christmas dinner. I actually had true emotions after finishing. The ending was so surprising and satisfying that I went on a run right after because I had to let off some of the adrenaline. This book MADE ME RUN. And not a lot of things make me run, besides knife-wielding maniacs (it’s happened a time or two to everyone).

I’ve heard some criticism about the pacing and overall confusion of the first half of the book. Honestly, DO NOT LISTEN TO THOSE FOOLS. I loved the slow burn of the first half. A fantasy should be a slow burn. You should be confused and second guessing yourself because you are literally in a different world…with magic. (I have very strong opinions of people who use that excuse in fantasy reviews, if you couldn’t already tell.)

My only gripe was the love interests. More specially Joseph. Joseph is literally the worst character in existence, and I wouldn’t mind seeing his head on a spike. The girls, though. Oh man, the sisters (and the companions) in this book are amazing, and I would to love drink wine with all the ladies and watch Bravo shows with them.

Three Dark Crowns is not a cheap date. Kendare Blake doesn’t spoon feed you mushy peas. She doesn’t hold your hand through the hard bits. She treats you like the goddamn #girlboss that you are and creates the bomb, matriarchal fantasy you have been waiting for since reading Lord of the Rings in middle school, even then knowing there were not enough vaginas in Middle Earth.

Read it.