I’m an extremely picky reader. It’s not a secret. There are more than a few tropes I’ll outright refuse to read, and even het romance in general usually turns me off unless the relationship is untraditional in some way or another. Fantasy is another genre I’m quite picky about, since fantasy uses many of the same tropes over and over again without apology, and for some people, these tropes work and are enjoyable. Some people do genuinely like reading 15 different books about a main character who is Different Than The Rest and falls in love with another character who is Attractive But Brooding, and together they fight the White Queercoded Villain, and it usually takes three books to do it. And the last book is usually made into two movies. Sound familiar? It is.
I’m also notoriously averse to series, especially long ones. Trilogies I can sometimes swallow down if I like the plot enough, but I much prefer standalones. My reasoning has to do with variety; I don’t even like reading the same genre two books in a row, let alone hang out in the same world. Even if the characters are ones I love (like the cast of The Raven Cycle) I still need to take a break or I’ll just stop reading altogether.
So here I want to talk about books that I think I probably aught to read, for one reason or another, but that I’m hesitant to, for reasons that will be explained in more detail individually. This list in no way indicates that I don’t want to read them, it just means they’re far outside my comfort zone and I might need an extra push. If you see some of your favorites here, please don’t hesitate to let me know how much you love them and why! Inspire me to overcome my hesitation!
1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Weirdly enough, the romance isn’t what’s turning me away from this one. I’m just not really into the whole assassin plot. Unless it’s really violent and gritty, which since this is a YA series, I’m guessing it’s not, I just don’t know if it’s going to grab my attention. And with a plot that doesn’t interest me, it’ll take some pretty badass characters to keep me entertained.
I’m not sure if Throne of Glass has what I’m looking for, but I do want to try; I just probably will check it out from the library instead of buying it (as I probably will with all the books on this list). I do have a couple of friends who absolutely love this series, so maybe it’s something I need to open up to. Who knows.
2. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
I actually had another book loving friend recommend this one to me after reading a few passages out loud that sounded really great. And reading the inside of the dust jacket, it does sort of sound like something I would ordinarily pick up. However, the phrase ‘star-crossed love’ was used in said description, and that props up a big old ‘CAUTION’ sign on the highway of my brain.
Judging by the passages that were read to me, the style of these books would be something I really like. But if the whole star-crossed romance thing is a huge part of the plot, I’m not entirely sure I have the patience for it. It’s just a matter of balance with these YA fantasies.
3. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
I am all for fairy tale retellings, especially when they lean toward the darker side of things. But here’s something I’m willing to admit: a lot of sci-fi goes right over my head. So to be presented with a sci-fi retelling of Cinderella, which was never one of my favorite fairy tales, anyway, was not something I was immediately jumping up and down for.
But I’ve seen some great reviews of this series, and I know a lot of my favorite booktubers and friends loved it. I feel the same way about Marissa Meyer’s new book, Heartless. Fairytale retellings are really cool to me, but I also know that stereotypical, trope-filled romance runs rampant in fairy tales. So I proceed with caution.
4. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
This is the first on this list that I’ve actually read both great and terrible reviews for. And maybe I just love the cover, but I find myself weirdly fascinated with this one. The plot makes it sound like it’s more political in its focus on royalty, though I’m sure there’s plenty of fantasy and romance elements too. It does warm my heart when that inevitable romance subplot doesn’t make it into the main book description, though. The plot of this really almost sounds like a Game of Thrones Jr. series, with a bit more fantasy woven into the main plot.
But people I really admire have vehemently said that they didn’t like this series, so I’m hesitant. Again, probably one I’ll get from the library instead of buying my own copy.
5. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
This isn’t a countdown or anything, but if it was, this would be at the top of the list. In my more tumblr-heavy days, I saw so many beautiful, beautiful edits and fancasts of this series that I eventually added it to my to-read list even though, quite frankly, it does sound like another dime a dozen YA fantasy romance.
I did find out some other things about the plot later on that peaked my interest a little more, but still, every time I’m in a bookstore and hold this in my hands, something is holding me back. This one I actually do have from the library, sitting a foot away from me on the table right this second, so I’m gonna give it a shot.
Again, if any of these are series you totally love, let me know and sell me on them! Also, let me know some popular series you may be hesitant to read for whatever reason!
gossip girl Kell