Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Most Disappointing Books of 2021

I'm a little behind on my end of year posts, but I know I always start out with my most disappointing reads to get those out of the way (I'd much rather end on a high note!), so below you will find some of the books I read in 2021 that just didn't quite hit the right note for me. My best books lists will follow soon, and my stats post–always one of my favorite posts!–will come a bit later in January, as I'm a bit behind on collecting all of the info for the post.

In regard to the following books, some of these books I didn't like much at all, while others were perfectly fine and I liked them well enough, but they were disappointing for one reason or another which I will explain below.  Please know that if you absolutely loved any of these books, then that's awesome! Anytime I dislike a book, I generally hope that it's just me and everyone else is enjoying themselves reading it. I know how much hard work goes into crafting a novel (which is probably why I've never been able to write one!), so I don't like to completely hate on any book. That being said, we all get to have valid opinions about things, and these are just some of those books that didn't agree with me. Let's check them out!

Nothing But Blackened TeethChronicles of the Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #1-3)The Lost Village

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw: This was, by far, probably one of my biggest disappointments this year because I was just so shocked by how much I actively disliked this book. This had so many elements that made it feel nearly tailor-made for me, and yet the execution was just–in my opinion–extremely, desperately lacking. I know some people loved that, and I'm thrilled for those that did, but sadly this just didn't work for me. I hated the characters (and not in a good way, if that makes sense) and felt that their infighting took away from the story rather than contributed, the plotting was confusing, and I felt the pacing was completely off. 

The Black Company by Glen Cook: The Black Company is considered a 'classic' in the grimdark genre and is widely considered to be one of the early books of the subgenre. I had heard so many great things about this book/series and was so excited to check it out... and unfortunately I struggled to get through it. The writing style felt very impersonal and made it hard for me to really follow along or connect with the characters. I've considered trying it again on audio at some point to see if perhaps that method of storytelling may work better for me, but until them, I'm just a bit bummed that this one didn't work out. 

The Lost Village by Camilla Sten: This is a case where I didn't hate the book, but it simply felt disappointing in comparison to what it was hyped up to be. It was mainly the characters, I think, that felt rather lacking and had so many weird conflicts among them that I felt really took away from what the plot could have been. 

The Death of Jane LawrenceThe Atlas Six (The Atlas, #1)Summer Sons

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling: Oof, I'm not sure where to start with this one. This had such an amazing premise and beginning, but it pretty soon just completely fell off the wagon for me and was unable to upright itself again. There were so many random plot points that seemed to be cast aside when they were no longer useful or contradicted with no real explanation, and the characters went from interesting and compelling to absolutely confusing. I loved Starling's The Luminous Dead, but I guess this one just didn't work for me. I still plan to read more of her work, though, because I feel like this one may have just been a random miss.

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake: This was simply a case of overhype, I think. It was a perfectly interesting story, but it was a little confusing and meandering at times, and I think the plot was a little lost as well. The characters were vividly written, but lacked something that made me care much for them. I am curious to see how it is received now that it is going to be released by Tor, and would be curious to check out what edits they made to it. This was not a bad book by any means, just a bit disappointing over what I expected. 

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo: This is another book that I didn't actively hate or anything– and in fact there are a lot of things that I really liked!–but I just found it so incredibly slow paced that it truly dragged and made it hard for me to care about the characters or plot. It's one of those where I was nearly 60% through and I still didn't feel like I wasn't even to the overall meat of the story. I love this book for the atmosphere and general storyline behind it, but unfortunately the entertainment value of it just wasn't there for me. Still, I wouldn't not recommend this one to anyone interested!


True Raiders: The Untold Story of the 1909 Expedition to Find the Legendary Ark of the CovenantThe AbominableDown Comes the Night

True Raiders: The Untold Story of the 1909 Expedition to Find the Legendary Ark of the Covenant by Brad Ricca: True Raiders was, unfortunately, a DNF, and was a disappointment for the sheer fact that I thought it was going to be written as a traditional nonfiction book, but was instead a weird fictional nonfiction thing that felt so weird and forced. I would've loved this as a true nonfiction, but the format just really through me off and I couldn't get into it. 

The Abominable by Dan Simmons: I really loved Simmons' The Terror, and I had heard that The Abominable was not typically as loved as The Terror, but it held a variety of elements that I know I love so I opted to give it a shot. I put so much time and energy into this book and was enjoying the slower, meandering pacing... until I felt like I'd read an entire book and we hadn't even gotten to the main event yet. I felt that Simmons' had a much more unpleasant vibe in his narrative as well for some reason when discussing women, etc., and while that won't make me stop reading a book, it didn't exactly endear me more to it. I DNF'd this one, but willconsider it again in the future because I mostly enjoyed the story I was reading, I just found myself getting a bit bored of it. 

Down Comes the Night by Alison Saft: This was another DNF. I'm sure this book worked well for many, but I could not make it very far because I was just so annoyed with the characters and it was already feeling like something I'd read a million times before. Maybe one day I'll give it another shot (?), but for now, I'm just not interested in trying it again, which is a bummer since it sounds so interesting. 


  1. "The Death of Jane Lawrence" made my list as well. Maybe my expectations were too high?

    1. I think that was part of my problem as well with it, and it's always a bummer when that happens.

  2. Summer Sons was probably my least liked book of the year. It was so so slow but not in a good way, and just didn't turn out at all the way I expected. I am so curious about The Atlas Six, and might consider it, maybe if a publicist offers it to me. 😁

    1. I know what you mean about Summer Sons. And honestly, I'd even be curious to check it out again to see if any edits touched on issues I struggled with! It may have been overhyped, but I still think it was a pretty interesting story in general. :)

  3. I thought The Lost Village was very atmospheric, but the ending was so strange!

  4. The Lost Village is one I thought about getting but just haven't pulled the trigger on that one yet. I'll keep my expectations low if I do get it so this is good to know. :)