I will never understand why the phrase “this book was good” is generally equivalent to “this book ruined my life”.
What I don’t quite get is: is it a euphemism of sorts? Is it implied in the meaning? Or are my fellow bookish friends so very used to the fact that their emotions get wrung-out (I know I am) that we automatically associate it with goodness. Think of it like a coffee addiction of sorts.
(Actual footage of me getting ready for the torturous phenomenon called college courses. *shudders*)
But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
(And, side note: Am I the only one addicted to watching and re-watching that GIF above? It’s diSTRATCTING ME. Focus, Nina, why won’t you focus.)
As the title of this post has helpfully implied, today I’ll be talking about torturous books. And this goes both ways: the good torture (AKA suspenseful suspense, emotional emotions, tense tensions, etc) or bad torture (AKA a plot moving at a snail’s pace, characters that are as likable as my aforementioned college courses, or weird formats that burn my eyes).
Today I will be also be debuting the fabulous thing called the “How-Much-Did-This-Book-Kill-Nina-O-Meter”, or the HMDTBKNOM for short. The empty doily-thingy will be filled with the appropriate number of skulls corresponding to how much I have been slayed by the book in question. For the positives: the more skulls, the better. For the negatives: the more skulls, the worse. It’s very scientifically accurate. National Geographic used it once, under my permission. Trust me on this.
And oh! Today I’ll be joining up with (for my first time, wooo!) Top Ten Tuesday ! The prompt is “Ten Books That Were A Chore To Get Through“ with my own weirdly positive spin, so I’m making it into “5 Books That Killed Me Positively, and 5 Books That Killed Me Negatively”.
Let’s do this.
1. A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab
When I everyone I love is being stabbed, threatened to be stabbed, possessed, or threatened to be possessed, I GET ANXIOUS, OKAY? Plus, Schwab does not play nice with her characters. I wasn’t even a chapter in before things got reeeally out of hand, and I just – I don’t know, okay? All I know is that this book was NOT good for my blood pressure. Or fragile emotions. Or general well-being.
What is the HMDTBKNOM reading?
We’re starting strong, aren’t we? 5 skulls/ 5
2. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a brief summary of this book.
Maybe Illuminae has the highest death toll of any book I’d read? Maybe I am protective of my MCs? Maybe I am freaked out by zombie-stories-set-in-the-cold-hard-blackness-of-outer-space-where-everyone-and-everything-dies? Maybe I also don’t like abundant typos in my books? Maybe. But we can never be sure.
The reading on the HMDTBKNOM says:
4 skulls/5 seems a bit right, doesn’t it?
3. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
I’d probably blame the feeling of imminent doom on the fact that this is a war book. An actual war book. Meaning: battle tactics. Psychological warfare. And open battle where people gut each others’ horses and cut down others’ limbs while screaming YAAAAARGH! Yeah. Not quite soothing to the nerves, is it? I didn’t think so either. But at least Marie gives us time to breathe between one battle scene to the next. But stiiiiill.
Meter, what do you say?
4. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
(ME trying to keep up with the sociopathic genius that is Kaz and all his back-up plans and back-ups of back-up plans *cries*).
Okay, so. If there’s one thing CK (not Calvin Klein, mind you) taught me, is that I AM NOT AN INTELLIGENT HUMAN BEING. I always thought myself smart, and Leigh just went “ha! you thought) and confused the ever-loving hell out me in CK. I had to repeatedly flip back, see what plan went wrong where, and then go back and try to discern what the heck Kaz is doing instead of Plan G because NINA IS LOST AND NEEDS SOMEONE TO KEEP UP WITH HER. How inconsiderate.
Roll in my meter, please.
2 skulls/5. Not very emotional damage was done, more that.. cognitive shortcomings were brought into light. Still though. CK nearly killed me, so that’s that.
5. Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
(And here we see a picture of ME, not two pages into Girl in Pieces).
Okay, so this book might be the odd one out on this list because the level of emotional destruction in this one was so high that I .. straight-up DNFed it. Why? Because it bordered on just plain graphic, and I am somehow the person that can endure bloody stabby scenes, but not scenes like the one in this book. Don’t ask me why (because I honestly do not know), but that’s just how I’m wired, apparently.
What does the HMDTBKNOM say?
Oh my god the book broke my meter IT BROKE MY METER, MY UNBREAKABLE METER, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE AAAAAAAHHHHHHH –
*sweeping shards of my broken meter off the floor*
I bought a new meter.
For the next round.
Let’s do this.
1. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Oh no. Oh no no NO. We have a severe insta-hate relationship, this book and I. Severe. In fact, if you want me to leave a room, crank up the audiobook of this thing on high. I guarantee you, I shall flee from the room clutching my ears like my life depends on it. Make no mistake.
HMDTBKNOM, what is the reading?
You shouldn’t be surprised.
2. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
(My reaction to this book’s shenanigans, trying hard not to roll my eyes. Or fall asleep.)
Oh, Marissa Meyer. I know you’re capable of better than this. Waaaay better. I do not know what happened here, but it would be so cordially appreciated should you not resort to formulizing stories in this fashion anywhere in the near future (there, I even said it nicely).
3 skulls. Not too shabby. But about as underwhelming as biting into a cream puff and finding no cream.
*squints up at last simile*
Okay, I hate cream puffs. What was I thinking?
3. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Okay, I get that this is a severly unpopular opinion, but guys. Guys. I couldn’t do it. I tried to love it, and couldn’t. I cried from the effort of trying to force myself to like this book. It was also my 2nd most anticipated read of 2017 (after the flawless ACoL), and it turned out to be so anticlimactically bad that I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Forgive me, friends. But it’s a no from me.
Yeah. Seems about right.
4. I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin
This was actually a recent DNF from me, unfortunately. Between the ambition-less plot and the horrendously unlikable characters, I gave up. Sorry not sorry.
Plus, that cover is hideous. And too similar to the cover of Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner (which I seriously need to get around to reading).
Has anyone seen my meter? Come on, I just bought a new one honestly that thing isn’t cheap –
Ah. There it is.
5. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
I am conflicted on this one.
Please mind my unpopular opinion, but I hated Shatter Me. Feverently. And yet, it was one of those books that I know I shouldn’t love (technically speaking) but I kind of .. do? I mean, no, I’ll never read another book of that series, but it’s amusing. Come on, guys.
HMDTBKNOM, what do you say?
Shatter Me killed me softly, I guess you’d say.
So, let’s talk! Add to my list.
Are there books that
killed you emotionally? Not-so-emotionally?
Your last DNF? And oh! a fun one: DID MY METER GLITCH
on any one of these ratings? I’m all ears.