Every now and then, there are books that don’t really work for me. These are books I managed to finish (unlike my confessions of unfinished books) but that had some fault or lack of brilliance that makes me less than anxious to recommend them (or at least to write a full post about them).
The Kingdom of the Gods by N. K. Jemisin
Jemisin may have mastered the art of the second book, but she didn’t quite pull it together for the end of the trilogy. While I still believe entirely in her fantasy prowess, this book seemed not fully realized. For one, Jemisin excels at the female voice, but here attempted to write about the male god of childhood going through some sort of coming-of-age stage. There was nothing distinctly off-putting, but the best part of the book was the an epilogue of The Broken Kingdoms appended to the end.
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
This book is divided into the story of an American girl living in Japan and a rather insane middle-aged woman who finds her diary washed up on the shore in Canada. The big problem for me was that I felt like I was reading a PoMo exercise, where the commentary of the actual book was laid out for me, thinly disguised as a secondary narrative, and the author kept trying to tell me how to feel about Nao’s diary. I also found the secondary character, Ruth, a repellant person – she is whiny, not a little crazy, and mean to her much-more-interesting husband. Yet, despite my loathing of roughly half the book, Nao’s diary was so good that I did, in fact, finish it.
The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
I delighted in the 1920’s Britishness of the detective and small town, but it probably wasn’t my best idea to start on book nine in an eleven book series. I would love to start at the beginning sometime so that I can get the whole back story of Lord Peter Wimsey.
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
I actually quite enjoyed this one, but there is no getting around the fact that this seems like an afterthought to the much more epic original Mistborn trilogy.
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead
There was absolutely nothing at fault in this book except that it wasn’t Stead’s brilliant and utterly surprising When You Reach Me. Stead still perfectly captured a child’s voice and curiosity about the world, but for me, a work of contemporary realism will never match a unique blend of realism and science fiction.
Loteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano
I was drawn in by the lush cover and deckle-edged pages (they always get me), but failed to identify with the Loteria card metaphor.