Overall, 2022 was a good year. I made a lot of progress in most areas of my life, from work to my personal life, my dogs, my reading and my writing. But we’re not here to talk about that now, I’ll give you a full life update later. For now, I’m going to be talking about the parts of 2022 that were bad…
Because yeah, I read some bizarre books this year.
Let’s get into it!
China Dream? More like Fever Dream.
This book is absolutely bizarre, and its literally like one of those horrendous dreams you have when you have the flu (or covid) and your temperature is 40 degrees Celsius and you wake up sweating and immediately forget everything about the dream except that it was weird and you never, never want to repeat that experience.
Ok. That’s enough rambling. I read this book for a reading challenge for the category of Asia. And I still have no idea what it was about or why I continued reading it. It was also my first book of the year, which I guess means I started the year with a bang.
In fairness, I believe this book was originally written in Mandarin and satire often doesn’t translate well, which may have been the issue here. Whatever it was, reading this was more of a nightmare than a dream.
The Secret Life of Cows is such a sweet, cottagecore title and I love it, unfortunately the actual book was not good or really that cute. It was boring, dull and mainly contained detailed family trees of the author’s cows, which was not particularly entertaining.
I think this book came from a good place. Rosamund has a good, kindly heart and obviously loves her cows very much, but she really doesn’t know anything about animal behaviour or cognition. Based on the Goodreads reviews, most people seem to agree with me.
This book is disgusting and I hate it. I will have a full review coming soon, as soon as I get together my thoughts into something that vaguely resembles human language.
I love Jules Verne as much as the next girl, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is one of my favourite books of all time, but this book is next level boring. It’s so, so dull. And I really don’t have anything more to say about it. If you need a good dose of that old fashioned sci-fi, read 20,000 Leagues or something by H.G. Wells instead.
I’ve never heard anything bad about Scythe or Neal Shusterman in general, but something about this book just didn’t click with me. In fact it was a DNF, which is super rare for me, as you can probably see by the absolutely horrible books I occasionally read. But the worldbuilding didn’t make sense to me, I did not care about the characters at all, and nothing made me want to know what would happen next.
This one was probably more of a “its not you its me” sort of book, and I might try to read it again in a little bit, but for now its firmly on my list of worst reads this year.
Ok, so this book is based on a famous unsolved mystery, which involved three lighthouse keepers simply disappearing from their lighthouse on an island in the Outer Hebrides. Their bodies were never found and to this day their deaths/disappearances remain unsolved, though it is generally assumed that they were washed out to see during a violent storm and drowned. It’s a fascinating story and I don’t know why it isn’t more well known or talked about.
Anywhooo…The Lamplighters is a supernatural thriller/mystery based loosely on this story. While I don’t mind a supernatural thriller, I did not realise that was what this book was when I started reading it, because it’s only listed as historical fiction, and quite frankly the cover and blurb of the book makes it look like a historical romance type of story. So let’s just say, when the supernatural elements where introduced I was…heckin’ confused.
And when I got the ending I just went “Whaaaat? What is this nonsense? What is happening? I have never been so confused in my entire life.” And as I read through the Goodreads review now I’m just even more confused.
If I had to sum this up in a single sentence, I would say its like a Reddit creepypasta but longform and someone made the writing really pretty.
I hate, hate, hated this book. I cannot express how badly this triggered my anxiety. And I don’t say that lightly, I read books with all sorts of dark topic matters and instead of being triggered by murder or something, it’s this book about redemption and hope that sends me into an absolute panic attack. That’s kinda stupid of my brain, but hey it does what it wants.
Looking back on it almost a year after I originally read it, I think what was so anxiety-inducing about it was the way it depicted “only one true life path”. I understand that the intent of the storyline was to show that Nora had the power to change her life, and that the life she was living was the life she meant to live, none of the other lives she tries in the midnight library were truly her. But for me, it was just overwhelming. She went through life after life and all of them were differentiated by only one or two different choices, and she was miserable in every single one of them. Not to spoil the ending, but finally she returns to her original life and she starts to make herself happy. And I get the original intention, but the way it came across for me was “there’s only one good choice, every other choice will make you miserable and suicidal”. Cue anxiety about every life choice to come.
I also just didn’t like how repetitive it was. Stories like A Christmas Carol work because they aren’t repetitive, Scrooge visits three alternate realities and then returns to his own life with a new resolve to change things. Nora visits literally dozens of alternate lives and it drags on forever. Just two to four different lives would have been sufficient.
I feel like this book could be compared to clickbait. Super cool cover with all the dark, sireny vibes you could ask for, a killer (pun intended) opening line, and a fantastic premise…
And then it was the most boring thing I’ve read in so long. As soon as Lira became a human and met Elian, she went down -10 in the character personality department. Elian managed to stay interesting for slightly longer, but he was also out by the mid point of the story. I can’t even remember any of it after that, because I started to do the audiobook version of skim reading (listening while completely checked out doing something unrelated).
It was like the first half and the second half were not even the same book. Also, this is a more minor nitpick, but didn’t the sea witch curse Lira to lose her voice, you know like in the original story? But Lira can talk completely fine once she learns the humans’ language. Confusion.
This book, guys, this book. It’s on another level, it really is. I’m planning on writing a full break down of this, so for now here’s the Cliffnotes:
- A lot of extra-Biblical stuff is referred to as substantiated fact, which I had a major problem with.
- Purposeful misrepresentation of and complete ignorance of other cultures and time periods.
- Repetition of repeatedly debunked “evidence”, such as use of supposed hieroglyphs and rock art that depict dinosaurs. These have all been shown to be misrepresentations, either other easily recognisable creatures, pure fabrication, or coincidental.
- Absolutely ridiculous use of logic.
- King James Bible supremacy which drives me wild.
- And the author was just generally unpleasant, with a mocking, condescending way of speaking about anyone who doesn’t agree with his point of view, Christian or otherwise.
- Racism and white supremacy.
And the Goodreads reviews are overwhelmingly positive, which just irritates me. It does have a pretty cool cover though. I like it.
So, how was your 2022 reading year? Did you read any absolutely awful books that you need to rant about in the comments?