Thursday, December 29, 2022

Most Disappointing Books of 2022

Well, it's finally that time of year where we get to start looking back at our year of reading and reflecting on all those books. Some of those reflections are warm and full of great memories, and some of those reflections make me want to surgically remove the memory of ever reading that book from my brain–okay, maybe that latter part is a bit too dramatic because I didn't hate any of the books that are showing up on this list, but it can definitely feel that way sometimes! 

This list is actually all about my most disappointing reads, which basically means any books that didn't live up to my hopes or that ended up being generally disappointing. Many of these books got pretty solid ratings still, but they are all ones that I felt pretty 'meh' about after reading or even made me feel a little angry because of how letdown I felt. I feel like this list is going to be a little... controversial (?) because some of these books were incredibly popular, but we're just diving into it and getting messy. I have less books on this list than I expected to have, but that's probably a good thing. These are the ones that stood out the most to me.

As always, if you loved any of these books–that's awesome! I am in no way saying anything negative about anyone who loved these books. I often find at least book recommendation from other peoples' worst of/most disappointing reads lists, so I hope this list might even help someone find something new. Now, let's dive in! (Please note also that these are in no particular order.) My best of the year books will be posted sometime in January, as I'm still in the middle of reading some books and the year's not over just yet. :) 

Wild and Wicked Things     The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May: I don't know that I really have all that much to say about this book, and that's pretty accurate to how I felt about it. It was perfectly fine and had some interesting things going on, but it was a bit convoluted, rushed, and not fleshed out enough in many ways. The pacing was super weird and I really struggled getting to know the characters involved, and that combined with a plot that left me wanting more really made this book a bit of a letdown. (Review)

The Daughter of Dr. Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: I was really bummed to realize that this is one of those books that I would be including on my list this year. I was so very excited for The Daughter of Dr. Moreau and subsequently immensely disappointed when I realized I was on the verge of DNF-ing it at multiple points in the story. This wasn't really anything like I expected it to be, and save Moreno-Garcia's beautiful prose and amazing setting, I just felt so bored reading this. It felt like the focus was more on the protagonist's love life than the Dr. Moreau part, which maybe I should have expected, but I didn't since I thought it was more The Island of Dr. Moreau-inspired. (Review)

Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution     Age of Ash (Kithamar, #1)

Babel by R.F. Kuang: This is probably the one that is most controversial out of any others that are on this list... but I can't lie: Babel was supremely disappointing to me. I have a very in-depth review up already where I get into some of my thoughts (it probably could have been longer, but who wants to read that?) so you can check that out if you're interested, but I just felt very letdown in regards to characters, plot, and a few other areas. I really appreciate and like and support the themes and messages that Kuang promotes in Babel, but the storytelling elements got lost in this and everything and everyone just became a lifeless mouthpiece for her lectures. I would love to read essays or nonfiction from Kuang because this shows me that they would be amazing, but this just bored me (and not for the reasons you might think!). (Review)

Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham: I had been meaning to read something from Daniel Abraham for quite a while, so when I saw this book coming out I was really excited for it! And then I started it... and then I lost interest so quickly I almost had whiplash. This book had so much potential, but the execution just felt very flat and it felt like I had read this book so many times already. I had zero interest in the protagonist and nothing about the rest of the plot was capturing. I thought the setting seemed interesting, but it wasn't enough to keep me reading. I really love the cover, though–it's always a bummer when an awesome cover doesn't pan out. 

The Hacienda     Mordew (Cities of the Weft, #1)

The Hacienda by Isabel Canas: This was another book that just didn't live up to what it promised. I was promised a Maxican Gothic x Rebecca-esque story and, well, I think it tried? This lacked any sense of suspense and I felt it was overly predictable in mostly negative ways. I also recall finding the ending pretty disappointing and left me struggling to decide what the point was and ultimately feeling like I wasted my time. (Review)

Mordew by Alex Pheby: This had such a compelling premise and was just a convoluted mess in the end. I wanted to be excited by this book, but I struggled staying engaged. I don't feel like I have all that much to say about this one because it didn't really stick with me. I will say I really enjoyed the overall premise and concept of the world set up, but the execution lost me. 

Have you read any of these books? What were some of your most disappointing books from 2022?


  1. I thought The Hacienda was pretty good - I don't read a lot of horror, so it's hard for me to judge, but I enjoyed it. The Daughter of Doctor Moreau - I agree with you, it wasn't what I was expecting.

  2. I was disappointed by The Hacienda, too. I need to pick Babel back up. I'm hoping I'll wind up liking that one. We'll see!

  3. Aww man, I'm sorry Mordew didn't work out. I'm looking forward to trying it at some point. Also, I've been seeing more and more mixed reviews of Babel as the hype calms.

  4. I struggled a bit with The Island of Doctor Moreau too. I wanted it to be more about the hybrid creatures, but they came off as just props.