Book Features

Least favourite books of 2018 // The books I just didn’t fall in love with

This year, as always happens, I read some books that I absolutely loved and, unfortunately, some that I just didn’t get on with. After sharing my favourite books of 2018, I thought it was time to spill the tea on those I really didn’t enjoy.

The Beast’s Heart

The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross

Rating: 2 stars

I was hoping to love this because it’s a Beauty and The Beast retelling, but it really missed the mark. The writing was far too overwrought (every sentence was forced into a lyrical and overly flowery style) and the characters were bland. There was also so much male entitlement and toxic masculinity that was never challenged in the narrative, and the book ended up toeing a dangerous line between romantic, and romanticising unhealthy, manipulative relationships. Hard no from me.

Milk and Honey

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Rating: 3 stars

Milk and Honey is split into four parts and each part deals with a different aspect of love. The final part was filled with empowering messages of intersectional feminism, but the first three parts were honestly pretty disappointing. I’d read a lot of reviews praising this collection and they’d led me to expect breathtaking poetry. Instead, I got mediocre poetry. The lack of structure in most of the poems ended up diminishing the power of Kaur’s voice and led me to feel disconnected from her. This was firmly a case of ‘the hype killed it for me’.

The Smoke Thieves

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

Rating: 2 stars

This book really didn’t do it for me. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it was awful. The characters were dull, the plot was haphazard (and yet also mundane?), and there was very little focus on demons/demon smoke at all, despite it supposedly being a pivotal plot point. There was an awful scene where an 18-year-old (male) character flirts with a 13-year-old (female) character in a leery, objectifying manner, suggesting that he’d like to see her with no clothes on. It was uncomfortable and put me off this book entirely.


Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

Rating: 2.5 stars

My main takeaway from this book was that there was sooooo much sexism in this story. Too much. Women were treated as vessels for childbirth and objects of men and were subjected to awful treatment so many times throughout the story that it became painful. It’s easy to see that the author purposefully included this as a social commentary on our society, but some scenes felt unnecessary uncomfortable. If sexual assault is a trigger for you, I wouldn’t recommend picking up this book, as there are numerous references to it and one more graphic scene involving an active assault.

The Last Children of Tokyo

The Last Children of Tokyo

Rating: 2.5 stars

The premise of this book sounded so good, but felt poorly executed. The narrative was ‘distracted’ and veered off on so many tangents that the story didn’t end up being told, and the plot became difficult to follow. Whether this was due to translation or the original writing, I don’t know, but it was a shame because the book didn’t live up to its promise.

Sadly, these were my least favourite books of 2018. I had high hopes for them but they all missed the mark and left me feeling disappointed.

Are there any books that you didn’t enjoy this year? What was your lowest rated book of 2018?

Until next time,KateNEW

16 thoughts on “Least favourite books of 2018 // The books I just didn’t fall in love with

    1. Yes! It’s the one I bought in London after YALC when we were all in Foyles and I almost lost my ring! I was a pretty disappointed that I didn’t love it, because it sounded like just my sort of thing, but the narrative digressed so many times that it derailed the plot. 😦

    1. Yeah, it just didn’t live up to expectations sadly. I wanted to love it, but the writing and form just wasn’t what I was hoping for. But, thankfully, the most recent poetry collection I read (Wild Embers) far surpassed my expectations, so it’s not all bad!

  1. Tinkers by Paul Harding was probably one of my least favourites. We read it at Book Ckub and it took me three and a half weeks to plough through even though it is only 191 pages long. I wanted to throw it out of the window and shout ‘but what exactly is the *point*?!?!?!’ on multiple occasions because there just wasn’t a plot that I could discern. Or a point.
    At book club we discovered that out of the seven of us, 5 hated it and 2 thought It was amazing – I love when that happens because it proves the theory that no two people ever read the same book because everyone is different.

  2. I agree with you about Milk & Honey. I didn’t read the entire book, but I read a number of snippets from the book at work and I wasn’t all that impressed. Some were good, but others were just underwhelming.

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