Tuesday, 6 October 2015

TOP 10 BOOK SERIES OF SHAME

You know the theory of social roles? In the simplest of terms, it stipulates that you aren't the same person when you are with your friends as you are among family. And you don't act the same in class as you do at pep rallies. (Are these still a thing? We're out of the loop on teen movies so we don't know anymore.) And it's true. It makes sense.

When it comes to book-specific behavior, we tend to behave one of two ways.

Situation #1: A stranger/commoner/plebe/muggle mentions a specific book series.
Our response if we have read said series: I am Lord Supreme of Books and I know all. I see all. I have read all. There is no book, no topic, no author under this soon-to-bring-about-a-dystopian-apocalypse Sun that I have not already discovered.
Our response if we haven't read said series: I am Lord Supreme of Books and I know all. I see all. I have read all. There is no book, no topic, no author under this soon-to-bring-about-a-dystopian-apocalypse Sun that I have not already discovered.

Situation #2: A fellow Established and Impassioned Reader mentions books/reading/a specific book series.
Our response if we have read said series: A reasonable discussion of said series ensues. We humbly offer our opinions, with an immediate caveat that for all we know we are wrong, and our understanding is flawed. Their logic is just as good as ours.
Our response if we haven't read said series: This post.









1. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkein



This is the book series I'm most ashamed that I've not read yet. I will be 100% honest  - I've not even seen the movies. I've no idea what it's about, and after much pressure and being told I 'needed to watch it because I was missing out', I promised myself I would finally get around to it. I'm always behind on what's popular, as you can tell by my list, but I know it's a very well-loved series. It's popular for a reason for people of all ages, with its fantastical world and the epic story I've heard it entails. I'm quite looking forward to giving this series a try.

I'm not even sure why I've not seen or read this story, I just never got the opportunity, and I never really picked it up. But I will. Someday.



2.  The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater 




This story I know has a lot of love. It's widely known in the Young Adult genre, and for some reason, I've missed it. I don't know too much about it, but people with similar book tastes have spoken very highly of it so I trust their judgement. My co-blogger for one, and I trust her book recommendations. I know I will enjoy this and I do own the first book, The Raven Boys, so it's only a matter of time before I pick it up and read it. Again, I'm not sure why I've not picked this one up yet, so I think I might give this one a try around Christmas time. I know it's not Christmassy, but I want to actually finally read this book series.



3.  The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer



I think the idea of robots or cyborgs put me off reading this series. I know it's a sci-fi retelling of Cinderella, and I was a little worried that this would be ridiculous to me. I'm not the biggest sci-fi fan, and although the reviews for this series are quite positive, I still wasn't up for trying it. I did, however, finally brave it and bought this book because, after trying other books that were out of my comfort zone, I thought I'd go for this one as well. I don't really know much more about it except the cyborg part, so this'll be new and interesting to me.



4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey



I know the general gist of this book, about the various different waves that happened (I saw the movie trailer), and the idea does sound quite interesting. I bought The 5th Wave on my Kindle absolutely ages ago, and I just forgot about it. I think it was on sale so I bought it before it went back to full price, so I was actually already reading something else. I will consider reading this before the movie comes out, for sure.



5. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken



I will admit, I started reading The Darkest Minds on a plane to America earlier this year, and because of the turbulence, I got frightened and I couldn't focus. I just didn't continue reading it, as I was only into chapter 2. I know the general idea of the story from what I got from the first chapter, and I'm definitely interested in picking it up again. I didn't stop reading it because it was bad, I just didn't get around to continuing with the story once I put it down. I've heard some wonderful things about this series, however, and I have a copy of this book, so nothing's really holding me back from giving this book a go. 



6. The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo



I just bought this book after many recommendations, and I will admit - I did buy this mostly for the cover. Yes, I judged a book by its cover - but in a positive way! Look how stunning it is. I also bought this because I know it's set in Russia, and I found that fascinating. My co-blogger also chatted to me about this book, which persuaded me to cave and buy the book online. I now have this in my possession now and I have no excuse. 



7. Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen



I first heard about this series from BookHype, a book podcast from Hypable. They discussed it and chatted about it for their 'book of the month', and mentioned that Emma Watson was in talks to be in the movie. That's all I know of the book, that Emma is linked to it. So, that's not much. But again, all I've heard is positive reviews, and that book two is even better than the wonderful first book Queen of the Tearling. I think the cover is stunning - and as I live in the UK, I have this other one which is quite naff - but I just hope the story is as enchanting as I'm expecting it to be.



8. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare



Oh boy. I'm still on the fence about whether I want to read this series or not, because... well, I've heard some negative things as well as positive. I will be honest, the amount of hype and mentions it gets from people on Booktube kind of puts me off. I'm getting a bit sick of hearing about it. Also, the 'are we siblings' storyline is just ridiculous to me. I do have the ebook that I got from Amazon about a year or two ago, and just haven't been in the mood to read it yet. I'm a bit worried about starting this one. I saw the movie and disliked it, but again, the fans did too. We'll see.



9. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins



I'm not sure if this is as popular as I think, but I've read and heard a lot of people loving this book series. I have zero idea what it's about, but I'm sure there's a love story in there, going by the cover, and that it's a YA book. Maybe it's about vampires? I don't know, it seems to have that 'dark, broody guy in a misty wood' look on the cover, so I'm getting some kind of 'Twilight' feel and that's a little worrying. (And a big, red dress like that isn't appropriate in a wood, love.)
All I know is that people love this series, so I will probably buy this one day and give it a go. I've seen it time and time again, and I've yet to pick it up.



10. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead



I'm really not into vampires. Really not into them. The idea of reading about a vampire school is a little... meh for me. I saw the trailer to the movie and found myself cringing, but this series is so adored that I thought 'y'know what... give it a chance'. Also, my friend did buy this for me, just to make sure I would actually read it. Years later, I still haven't. I think I just need that push to actually open it and try it because there are so many other books I want to read, and the idea of reading a vampire book because everyone else loves it is off-putting. Maybe someday.





1. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson



It doesn't happen often, but it does happen all the same, that I become clairvoyant. I don't use it to fight crime or solve the world's problems because my clairvoyance is specific to books. You see, at times I glimpse a series or hear about its content, and I know I will love it. All chance of my disliking this series has been rendered null and void by my ability to see and to know ahead. This is the case with Mistborn, and this has been the case with Mistborn for quite some time. Why, then, have I not picked it up, you ask? (You didn't ask? Ask it, now. It's imperative to my narrative.) Because with great power comes great responsibility, and great gifts come at a great cost. I have paid for my clairvoyance with a spectacular propensity for hangovers (likewise of the bookish variety... sort of). I am forever suffering a strong conviction that I belong in a fictional world which has expelled me at the turn of the last page. My hangover cure, hair-of-the-dog style, is to dive into another book - but never of the same genre. The books which cause the hangovers are fantasies. Mistborn is a fantasy series. You see where I'm going with this?



2. The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss



These books are conspiring against me. It all started with a slow staring contest: them on the shelf, me on the bed/at my desk. Day in and day out, they would bore their spines into me (no, books don't have eyes; except for Shatter Me), coaxing, then challenging, then demanding my attention. A year into this, they have begun to conspire. I would know about their methods and tactics had I bothered to read their content. As I haven't, I am completely in the dark. Will they come after me on waves of monstrous guilt? Will they bleed me to death in a thousand tiny paper cuts? Time will tell.



3. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes



There's a good way to advertise a book to me. It goes something like this "It's amazing, it's fantasy, it's already well underway, I'm addicted, you should read it." (You had me at amazing fantasy, but I decided to let you speak the whole way through. I'm benevolent like that.) There is also a bad way to advertise a book to me. It goes exactly like this "Like, it starts out okay, but by the time you get to book three, it's mindblowing. And don't judge this character immediately for being a flat douchebag. By the time you get to book three hundred and forty seven, he is a changed man." In the case of Falling Kingdoms, a lot of both has been done. So I am yet on the fence (one, because I'm undecided, and two because the fans of the series can't reach me up here to pummel).



4. Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan


"So, you are intimidated by big books?" you might say. (Come on. Play along.) "The Percy Jackson books aren't big. They don't qualify for any of the reasons you've mentioned for the past three series. So what gives?"
I'm glad you asked! (Play along.) The Percy Jackson series in particular qualifies for all of the above. For one, it is fantasy, and therefore not the right pick to cure my incessant (book) hangovers. For another, I am pretty sure it has taken over my Tumblr dashboard in a systematic plan to destroy my life for my insubordination. And finally, not only does it contain ten freaking books, it has also been advertised as "Just make it through the first five books in the Percy Jackson series. Then you'll get to Heroes of Olympus and it'll get so interesting!" Just the five, then? No big deal. (In my defense, I have read the first. I was reminded of Harry Potter a lot and constantly throughout, so I ended up re-reading Harry Potter next. The PjO series just can't catch a break in my world.)



5. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman



Here's all I know about Rachel Hartman's Seraphina series: dragons. Here's all that's selling me on Rachel Hartman's Seraphina series: dragons. Here's all that's preventing me from picking it up: the nine hundred and seventy five other concepts which probably went into making this series into what it is, apart from dragons, and none of which I am familiar with. As someone who tends to vet books excessively before diving in, I suffer from an eternal Need To Know. This, of course, could be remedied quite easily. That's what the blessing of Goodreads has been bestowed upon us for. But with all ↑ those ↑ other ↑ fantasy ↑ series ↑ higher up on this list, Seraphina just never quite makes it to the pre-reading vetting stage and excessive background checks. For all I know, it's up to nefarious business, does shady back-alley deals and conducts sordid affairs. They probably involve dragons.
... That actually sounds interesting. Godfather with dragons. Hm. This loose train of thought might have finally bumped Seraphina into that desired vetting spot. (See, these lists are plenty useful, publishers!)



6. Something Strange And Deadly by Susan Dennard



Contrary to popular belief, there are, in fact, right and wrong reasons to read a book. An example of a right reason is: I feel like it. An example of a wrong reason is: my stupid teacher is making me. And an example of a ridiculous reason which dooms the book at the outset is: this author is my favorite author's best friend. In the case of Susan Dennard's Something Strange And Deadly series, my decision to read it at some point in the future is 15% reason #1 and 85% reason #3. As Sarah J. Maas's bestest friend in the whole wide world, Susan has received more unsolicited plugs in my bookverse than perhaps any other author I know. And so into my TBR her series went. And far from being uninterested in it, I have held back mostly because of its Victorian setting and my very iffy experiences with series set in Victorian England so far. For all I know, Susan will be the game-changer. But a louder and more obnoxious part of my brain is making me wait for Susan's upcoming Truthwitch series debut, as something which contains witch in the title and which automatically sounds right up my alley. Sarah J. Maas has done an excellent job of praising both, so I feel like I'm already acquainted with them as it is. (I miss you, Expectation Management. Now you're just a concept that I used to know.)



7. The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski



Once upon a time, I started The Winner's Curse. It was at a friend's house and we chose to listen to her audiobook together. It started out interestingly enough. A royal protagonist. A fantasy marketplace. Jewel counterfeiting. The Battle of the Classes. 
The protagonist's friend chose to buy herself a ruby at the market.
The protagonist chose to buy herself a slave.
And it was at this moment that I had to go home and could listen to the audiobook no longer. Talk about an awkward place to stop.
Following a cliffhanger like that, you'd think I'd have picked the series up straight away. And I would have, had it been in my possession. Alas, it wasn't. Alas, it still isn't. Alas, all my clairvoyance is reserved for book impressions and I am unable to tell how close or distant the future is in which I own this series and I'm hopping onto that particular bandwagon. But I'm interested. I've given it a + on our initial blind date. The Winner's Curse was certainly a wild, unpredictable one at that. Now I'm waiting to hear if my attempts at being likewise engaging were enough to earn me a + back. If so, we're extending the date to at least one night together. And we'll see what happens from there.
I don't know about you guys, but I ship this already.



8. The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings



The Murder Complex sounds dangerous. It has an ominous title going for it, and a similarly ominous one for the sequel. Its premise - a world where the murder rate is higher than the birth rate - is likewise deliciously ominous. (Did I say deliciously? I mean horrifyingly.) With all this street cred, a bad rep, and a death stare, it should have fought its way to the forefront of my TBR by now. But what most book gangs genres out there don't know is that The Murder Complex is a closeted softie at heart. It is the person in line who never seems to move because they let others ahead of them. It is the puppy which rolls over and shows its belly to other puppies instead of engaging with them. It is a cinnamon roll posing as a sinnamon roll. It has therefore remained at this exact position in my TBR pile for a very, very long time now - and possibly for a long time to come. I duly apologize.



9. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater



In your world, you know her as Maggie Stiefvater. If you follow her on social media, you possibly know her as Car Enthusiast or Drag Racer. If you live somewhere closeby in Virginia, you assuredly know her as She Whose Car Is Being Perpetually Scowled At By An Angry Woman After Having Broken Down In The Middle Of The Road. (Bonus points to you if it's the Datsun. The Datsun really hates her. If you attempt to high-five it for ruining Maggie's life, it'll high five you back. I swear.)
But in my world, she is known as Favorite Author Ever. Obviously I've done my fair share of internet stalking, and after the previous paragraph you aren't that surprised. I wouldn't bother to attempt to high-five just anyone's car. In Car Speak, that's second base. But Maggie Stiefvater is truly and unquestionably the Ruler Supreme of my Lexieverse, and the notion that I have yet to read her most popular book series is one that's harder to grasp the more you realize how much I know about her cars. And music. And Prismacolor pencils. (Stiefvater is a creature of many heads talents.) As for why I've committed such a transgression in my claim to the Biggest Stalker Ever role, the answer is quite different from all of the rest. And it is also sadly predictable. After much introspection and self-analysis as only a psychologist can, I've come to the conclusion that I am purposely postponing the Shiver series in self-defense. After I have read the Shiver series, you see, an option of an unread Maggie Stiefvater book will be taken away from me. And I will be stuck in the same dark pit of nextbooknextbooknextbook with all of the rest of the stalkers fans. Though on second thought, I am already there. So I'm not sure if this is an avoidance of pain as much as it is a battle for Power and Dominance over an abstract concept.
And on that note, I feel compelled to remind you that Maggie's Anatomy of Curiosity came out earlier this week and as Sarah J. Maas shamelessly promotes Susan Dennard, so I shamelessly promote Maggie Camaro Stiefvater. Read it. It's fabulous. Or add it to your very own Vague-Future-TBR-of-Shame list. Either of the two.



10. The Diviners by Libba Bray



Repeat after me: The Roaring Twenties. (The Roaring Twenties.) Serial killers. (Serial killers.) Eerie setting. (Eerie setting.) Ghosts. (Ghosts.)
This is the sort of read tailor-made, hems and all, for this fall season, and for October in particular. This is also the sort of read tailor-made, hems and all, for my every month of the year. I enjoy nothing better than being thoroughly creeped out, then slapped with a history lesson or two. If there are ghosts to boot, well, I'm there - winter, summer, or any other weird non-season which we seem to be having lately.
This blog, however, has so far had a thoroughly bipolar relationship with Libba Bray's work. Natalie was less than impressed with Beauty Queens and I was less than impressed with the Gemma Doyle series. At the same time, we are both thoroughly impressed by Libba herself, and enamored with each individual idea her wonderful, glorious brain concocts. The Diviners series is therefore the final frontier. The Diviners, you see, has to work out for us both.
The Diviners is also big enough to kill us both if we dare dislike it. Neither of us has upper body strength. It can take us.
So there's that, too.






Forgive us, fellow book-lovers, for we have sinned against famous beloved series. We are remorseful, we are ashamed, we are penitent and synonym synonym synonym. This is, however, not a list of series we have no intention of reading. This is quite the opposite. These books have made it all the way to our nightstands. They have almost made it. They are almost read. And once they are, we will be retroactively flogging ourselves for having missed out for so long.

So let us know (a) what your series of shame are, and (b) which of these (or others!) we should read. Feel free to proactively flog us now for not having gotten to them yet. We deserve it.


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