My Worst Reads Of 2021! // ft. a lot of disappointed sighing

Someone stole my Office keys. He’s gonna pay, you have my Word. (get it? like Microsoft Office? MS Word?)

Oh hi. Yeah I don’t know what happened there. Obviously my poor attempt at lightening the mood was unsuccessful. Well then. Points for effort.

Sooo. As part of wrapping up the year, you’ll be seeing a lot of these bookish lists on my blog this month. And what better to start off than a list of the worst books I read this year, right? What can I say, I always believe in getting over and done with the bad stuff first. (if you ever say to me “i have good news and bad news”, like they do in the movies, you know, I’ll always vote for the bad news)

Some quick little pointers before we start!
– all of this is based on personal opinion. Though I didn’t like these books for whatever reason, that doesn’t mean I hate their fans. If you liked these books, i’m happy for you.
– this list is in no particular order, though I did dislike some books more than the others.

With that out of the way, let’s get started right away!

~ The Young Elites by Marie Lu ~
The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)

Ironically, The Young Elites was our first pick for the hype-o-meter series (a series of posts in which I and my dear friend April determine whether or not a book is truly worth the hype), because hello, it’s Marie Lu, the popular author whose books everybody seems to love.

I think this book and me got off in the wrong foot (the initial scenes weren’t very encouraging), and after that, well, everything just went more and more downhill. I mean okay, so Ms Lu tried very hard to create morally grey characters but they just turned out to be conflicted and confused about everything in their life. And to top that, the narration was first person, and if I despise the main character, do you really think I’d be interested in seeing the world through their eyes? I mean, Adelina had no direction. She thought something, said something else and did something totally different (and often these actions were stupid). Add to this sorely underdeveloped characters and you get a recipe for what Rachel dislikes in a book.

~ The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman ~
The Infinity Courts (The Infinity Courts, #1)

This. This was the biggest disappointment this year, maybe the biggest ever in my life. Maybe it was my fault for having huge expectations? I read this back in the month of April, just a few days after it got released. This honestly had SO much potential, the concept was mind-blowing, but the execution just fell flat. *sigh* Nami as the main character and also our narrator was so repetitive that it got really annoying. Unpopular opinion, i know.
Then the plot twist at the end was sort of lazy writing, to get the reader excited for the sequel i guess. I don’t know. I just didn’t care.

~ Shadow Jumper by J.M Forster~
Shadow Jumper (Shadow Jumper #1)

To be honest, the first part of the book wasn’t bad. In fact, it was good. But I have no idea what happened after that. Like everything seemed too hasty and not properly researched. The plot was quite predictable and the conclusion was extremely unsatisfactory too. I think I also read this during the time I was just giving up on middle grade, so that might have played a part too.

~ The Middler by Kirsty Applebaum ~
The Middler

Once again, the synopsis was so promising, even the whole concept of ” the middle child being bad luck” was unique, but the story as a whole failed to deliver. I read this way back, in February, so I don’t even remember much of it. From what I recall, I almost dnf’ed it several times, it was so monotonous. I felt distanced from the characters; I didn’t care what happened to them. The escapades seemed too convenient and some plot points didn’t even make sense.

~ The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He ~
The Ones We're Meant to Find

This is the classic “it’s not you, it’s me” case. I spent nearly the entirety of the book feeling confused and stumped. The dual povs + the switching timelines were something I couldn’t keep track of, so I barely understood what was going on. Among the things I liked were the atmosphere, the worldbuilding, and the unique take on climate change. Unfortunately it was not enough. Among the two sisters Celia and Kasey, I liked Celia’s chapters much more than Kasey’s (at least initially) and the whole “surviving on a remote island” concept was cool until it got boring, and once again, confusing. I also felt quite underwhelmed by the plot twists. Sorry but no.

Which were your worst reads of 2021? Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Chat with me in the comments!

~ Rachel

The Young Elites vs The Hype-o-Meter!

Guys I have news for you, I redesigned my blog!! (yet again) It now has a new theme, a new header image and other stuff. If you haven’t seen it yet, hop out of your reader and go check it out!

And today we have a much anticipated (for me, but I hope it was for you too haha) post with us – the first in a collaborative series with April @Booked Till Midnight in which we pit popular books against our very own hype-o-meter. (have no clue what is going on? take a look at the introduction to this series here and here)

The first book we (buddy) read for this series was none other than The Young Elites by Marie Lu! Let’s see how it fared against the hype-o-meter.

Book Details

Title: The Young Elites

Author: Marie Lu

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Format: E-book

Synopsis:

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

Thoughts

If The Young Elites was to be described in one word by me, the word would have been NO. I know it lacks eloquence, but I cannot find a better way to get my point across. The plot was a no, that characters were a no, the overall atmosphere was a no. Hey hey, don’t come at me with war hammers and pitchforks just yet, I’ll try to explain it all.

There was absolutely nothing unique about this book that separates it from 10476 other young adult fantasies out there. It’s almost like it was screaming “I am a typical fantasy that everybody got tired of long back” in every single page. People with magic are hunted? Check. Secret magical society? Check. Fire-boy? Check. Rebellious prince? You wouldn’t believe it, but unfortunately, check.

Normally, I am all for morally grey characters, but I took a dislike to Adelina, our very morally  grey main character right from the beginning. She was everything I hate in fictional characters – confused, self-pitying, often contradictory and repetitive, and of course, she had no idea how to sort her priorities and made bad decisions all the time. Our other main character, Enzo wasn’t much better either. The only character I actually cared about a little was Lucent, and guess what, only her name gets mentioned and that too perhaps half a dozen times in the book. Ever heard of character development?? Anyway, more on that later. 

The basic essence of the book doesn’t make sense, to be honest. Are you telling me this entire story takes place because our main character accidentally kills people?Is that even possible? If I wanted to sum up the plot of the book it would go – Oh, Adelina kills people by mistake and cries about it later, no biggie. 

What breaks my heart the most is the fact that this book truly had the potential required to make me fall head over heels in love with it – the elites were all that were needed to execute a beautiful found family trope. And there was SO much scope for more dialogue and witty banter between the elites. But do we get this? Nope. What we get are sorely underdeveloped characters (what do we ever get to know about Raffaele except a description of his clothes and mask? And with Lucent and Emma and Michel, we didn’t even get that) with absolutely zero sassy dialogue.

The next paragraph contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.

I do not know what exactly I was expecting in the end. Perhaps I was looking for something extraordinary, something that redeems how bad the rest of the story was. The actual ending was far from extraordinary, and maybe this book would have got a much higher rating from me if that end hadn’t been there.Like of all the mistakes she has done and all the people she has killed, Adelina kills Enzo instead of Teren? Are you kidding me??

Verdict

Soo. That definitely did not go as expected. The hype-o-meter vanquished the Young Elites without a second glance. Tough luck.

Oh, and that’s not all! Click HERE to read what April thinks about The Young Elites!

Have you read The Young Elites? What would you rate it on the hype-o-meter? Let me know in the comments!