Hello, fellow bookworms, not only I managed to read more books (compared to last year) in 2018, the genres were varied as well.
Some books felt downright meh, some were absolutely phenomenal and many hung in-between.
The last ones started well but gradually fizzled out, for me. In short, they could’ve-been-better, despite raving reviews on Goodreads.
1. Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
This has been my crash course on Cuba this year.
See, this is why I love reading, even it is fiction with catchy cover of a faceless lady showing voluminous skirt, string of pearls, and décolletage.
Growing up, I’ve read countless propaganda pieces on -how Castro transformed Cuba.
Though I’ve got out of that phase ,“Next Year in Havana” busted the rose-tinted revolution myth little more.
The book has one of my favorite plot-molds – searching for one’s roots and unearthing secrets.
So why it felt “so-so”?
- I sniffed a “first-world Saviour” (read: Those are really unfortunate who don’t hold the same passport as mine) syndrome throughout the “present-days” narrative .
- Some lines, especially where the author shedding tears about the plight of common Cubans and how privileged a life she leads back home in sunny Miami, sounded a tad offensive and repetitive.
- The ending is too Bollywood-ish to my liking.
2. Vicious (Villains, #1) by V.E. Schwab
There are raving fans of “Vicious”, so I’m totally embarrassed to admit that I still don’t know what was the budge all about?
I appreciate V.E. Schwab‘s writing ( this is her only book I read)- it’s simple, to-the-point, and exudes a strong yang-vibe.
The hero, anti-hero idea is enthralling if not tad dated, the superpowers are interesting too. So what made it not-as-riveting as I would like it to be?
- All the science-talk behind the acquiring of superpowers seemed laughable.
- The villain lacks convincing skill. While reading it, my heart was not divided- I was determined from the get-go whom to support.
- It’s “reading too many messed-up characters” fatigue. Why everyone was so complicated? Want to shock? Sketch up normal,happy individuals having “killing” streaks.
3. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
I absolutely adored “Big Little Lies”. “What Alice Forgot” was another Liane Moriarty book I enjoyed moderately.
Then what happened dear heart with “Nine Perfect Strangers”? Have you become cold?
Well, what can be better plot-device than-
- lumping a group of strangers (indifferent to each other) in an isolated place,
- tossing an “impossible” challenge,
- then showing how the skeletons tumble out of the closet due process?
“Nine Perfect Strangers” with its sanitized back-drop in a health retreat, giving sort of “meta” vibe while slyly dissing the “self-improvement” industry itself fell flat for me.
- The characters were either quirky or banal with the king(or queen?)pin resembling a Russian seductress-cum-spy straight from Cold-War.
- The plot-twist was cold turkey.
- The snail-pace marred the impact I was anticipating and that random throwing “Namaste” was much off-putting (Hello, butt-hurt Indian here), even if it’s intentional.
4. The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
“The Death of Mrs. Westaway” had all the elements going on- a super-smart young female lead, a dilapidated house keeping many secrets in its folds, a disintegrating family, a mystery spanning more than 20 years etc.
But nothing materialized at the end.
With trying too hard to make an implausible plot-line plausible ( giving a Bollywood potboiler run for its money) and leaving everything at the mercy of readers’ guess-work- looked lazy.
Also, if a person like me, who won’t be the brightest person in any room anywhere, can deduce the killer correctly half-way- the author could do so much better in weaving mystery.
5. Crooked Kingdom ( Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Leigh Bardugo is freaking awesome and next year, I’d gobble up King of Scars but-
- Why the 18-year olds sound/act/decide like 38 years old?
- How crooked thieves from “bottom of the barrel” could know so much about how banks work/companies operate/ shit tonnes of financial knowledge without any prior training?
- Why the death of a beloved/well fleshed out character looked so contrived?
- Why the “shrewd” thieves don’t miscalculate? Why, oh why?
Related posts: “Meh” books I read in 2018
How many books have you read in 2018 that felt to have potential but lost the plot somewhere along the line? Spill out in the comments.