Culture Writer Weronika Bialek takes us through three books she could not finish, from Lisa Toddeo’s Animal to Wicked Saints by Emily Duncan
I would describe myself as a mood reader, and there is nothing that ruins my mood more than when a book that I have high hopes for ends up being so tiresome to read that I need to put it away and hope to move on from it quickly enough to not fall into a reading slump. The following books have brought me this exact displeasure.
Animal by Lisa Taddeo
I was excited to read this book because it was described as a dark tale of female rage with a morally questionable main character; however, I was disappointed to find that the narrator was not only unlikable, but also uninteresting, and I struggled to get through more than 50 pages.
The book was made even more tedious by the descriptions and metaphors which seemed to make up 90% of the text. Not only was the amount of metaphorical language overwhelming, especially when it was describing objects which I really did not need help imagining, but it was also confusing.
Taddeo tried to make her descriptions of the surroundings and the narrator’s feelings unique and eerie, but I found that most of the time her metaphors simply did not make any sense. Sometimes, I even had to re-read a sentence five times and say it aloud to really imagine what the author was trying to convey, but I could never come up with any feasible way of attaching the picture in my head to the thing being described.
The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh
I pre-ordered this book because it was described as a gothic vampire romance novel set in 1800s New Orleans and, having watched The Originals a couple of years prior, I was very excited to read it.
I got about halfway through the book when I realised that none of the main characters were vampires or were going to become vampires anytime soon. The romance was also incredibly lacklustre and underdeveloped.
The murder mystery aspect of the novel was also basic and not particularly involving. The way in which the main character, Celine, put the clues together seemed like a way to move the story forward rather than creating actual puzzles which the reader could ponder themselves. This was because Celine would randomly associate unassuming clues with very niche information that no one would realistically think of in her place.
The only thing I enjoyed in this book was the description of the smell of the food, and this was certainly not enough to keep me hooked for 450 pages and the two books that follow.
Wicked Saints by Emily Duncan
Wicked Saints begins with a girl named Nadya who is the embodiment of ‘the chosen one’ trope. The reader is introduced to a handful of characters in the first two chapters and a couple of pages later, the monastery where Nadya is residing is attacked because the ‘bad guys’ found her.
Everyone flees from the monastery, many people die, and the main character becomes incredibly soppy because everyone sacrificed themselves so she could live. The problem with this is that we are only 10 pages into the book and no emotional connection has been formed with any of the characters, so it is hard to believe Nadya when she talks about how close these people were to her… because they were only there for two sentences.
The book also felt clunky to read because the setting and characters were inspired by Slavic countries, but the author evidently did little research. Even for someone who, like me, understands both Polish and Russian, the names of characters and places were unintelligible.
Enjoyed This? Read More Culture here!