by: Joelle Charbonneau
More often than not, I choose not to read books that are given a lot of hype. Maybe it’s my contrary nature – I tend to avoid being one of the people that goes along with the crowd. I still haven’t read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and it took me several years before I cracked the cover of the first Harry Potter book. (I admit that I have since read and enjoyed each and every one!)
A few months ago, a new book in a genre I have decided to dabble writing in was released with a great deal of fanfare. My husband knew I was experimenting in this genre and bought me this much hyped book. It wasn’t until last weekend, when I was done putting the final touching on my own manuscript, that I cracked the cover of the book and started to read.
Before I started writing, I read every book from coover to cover. Nowadays, my TBR pile is so immense that I find myself being much pickier. If the story doesn’t grab me in the first 30 pages, I put the book down and move on. In this case, the combination of hype and my own experimentation of the genre had me turning the pages waiting for the story to pull me in long past the point where I would have normally given up. I waited for the thriller aspects of the book I'd seen reviewed to begin.
It never did.
After almost 500 pages of reading, I reached the end of the book feeling unsatisfied with almost every level of the storytelling. The worldbuilding felt superficial. The character grown was either non-existent or rushed and the climax of the book felt tacked on and unimportant. And come to think of it, I’m not really sure I could define the main plot of the book.
So why the hype?
Got me. But this debut novel has racked up US sales, will soon be released in dozens of languages and has even sold the film rights. Now, I’ve read books I haven’t loved before – a few of them were hyped more than this one. Perhaps it is my fledgling attempt at the genre that has made me feel so dissatisfied with my reaction to this one. And I have to wonder if I'm the only one. So tell me - have you had this happen to you? Have you cracked the cover on a book the rest of the world loved only to find you hated it? Have you wondered whether anyone else read the same book you did? Did you ever go back and reread it later just in case you were wrong? And if you have read a book that didn’t live up to the hype, did you tell people that you didn’t like it or did you keep silent and assume you were the only one?