Books you finished and just thought: "Well...that was shit"

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"Legion" by Dan Abnett was so so boring, really under par for a normally excellent writer.

"The Ghost King" is the worst thing R.A Salvatore has ever written, by a long way!

And of course, from my teenage years i can't forgive the final Darren Shan book in the
"vampires assistant series" it had the kind of ending that makes you feel cheated

I guess if I can't say any school taught ones I guess The Hunger Games. It was... well... battle royal. I suppose that I can see why the lawsuit happened. also updates of fairy tales into EROTIC books. They all failed for me. American psycho was good though. Hey everyone, lets get collectively drunk and read Brent Ellis.

House of Leaves.

Oh, I'm sorry, I mean...

House of Leaves.

Incomprehensible is the start of the troubles this book has, and hardly the end of it. I do believe there is a conclave of writers who love putting just anything at random together and head off to the editor going "I HAZ A STORY!", and the editor just...wants to move it along before the guy tries to explain it to him...

And no, I don't want you to try either. I prefer House of Pancakes.

The Wykydtron:

Romblen:
Maximum Ride: The Final Warning. It's the fourth in the Maximum Ride series which were for the most part pretty good, although the science was a bit strange at times.

I won't go into detail, but the book is about the main characters having nothing to do, so they go to Antarctica, play with penguins, defeat a brain in a jar(yes, really.) by accident via hurricane, then they talk to Congress about global warming.

Oh, and a talking dog grew wings for absolutely no reason.

AHHHHH GOD! Just... Never mention that book ever again. I had managed to successfully forget it even existed until you came along.

It's like the writer just decided to throw all sembalance of the characters actually behaving in character and just generally making sense to make a really terribly presented statement about global warming and how teh warld is gonna b ruined 4evar by it.

Hmmmm, apart from that there's... Maybe the last few Darren Shan books in the Vampire and Demonata series'? He really seems to have a problem ending a long running series without throwing a "world resets from zero" plot device into it.

That oneshot he did about that executioner? Did anyone read that? Was actually really good I think. He just has to up the stakes to ridiculously high levels in his long running stuff so he can't really end things well without it coming off as Deus Ex Machina levels of contrivance

Anything else? Well I think that the last book in The Night Angel trilogy came close to having a shit ending but somehow managed to end things rather well, all things considered. I could go back and read those again just so I can read 'bout Vi again. I always liked her

DUDE! I loved The Night Angel Trilogy!! Although the ending did flirt a little too much with the concept of either SUPER HAPPY ENDING or EVERYONE DIED IN A FIRE. Seriously. Either a character's subplot ended miraculously perfect or they got torn to bits/ tortured and eaten to death. Still awesome series though.

Stuart Hill's 'Cry of the Icemark'.
I kept thinking "Well it has to have some sort of twist, I mean come on, he can't possible try to make me take this seriously."...but yep, he did.

Two Mary Sues, a constant lecturing about the wonders of nature and the evil of industry, plot driven by coincidences, laughable easy diplomacy considering half of those they talk to are supposed to be enemies of generations of warfare, un-modified mythology from all corners of the world mashed together and the bits the writer clearly loved given first place in a miss-mash, painting up the idea of some superior threat with a superior general, only for the superior threat to lack teeth in any engagement we actually see and the superior general being a blockhead...not to mention a severely lacking imagination in how to describe events and the book turned into a chore. (whew, that was a lot of stuff...)

I was not impressed.

Screw it, I don't finish shitty books, so I'm going to mention two from school:
Jane Eyre
What a FANTASTIC piece of shit. Jane spends the entire book reaching a stable point in her life, and running from it. She then (note: this was presented as a "strong female character" and had "great feminist ideals") spends most of the book bowing down to the man. Rather than standing up to views she disagrees with, she runs from them. Granted, the "run from a man who has the crazy 'ex'-wife in the attic instinct is probably right, but that is the exception. She then goes back to him. Her motivations are poorly planned, and it is evident the author was payed by the word. Descriptions are pages too long, for all the buildup of a character there is no payoff, etc.
I disagree that you have to judge a book based on the time it was written. Context is important, but a time difference doesn't excuse bad characters, horrid dialogue, and just poor writing.

Raisin in the Sun
Raisin makes some good points about racism and the quality of life of black in American cities in the early to mid 19th century. But I despised Walter's character so much. Rather than work to reach his goals, he puts his hopes in get rich quick schemes and cries about it when it falls apart. For all of the time he spends saying how he doesn't get respect, he does NOTHING to earn it.

I did like Frankenstein and Inherit the Wind, two books I remember from school. I also like Shakespeare, and have nothing against "classic" literature.

EDIT: Forgot about God-Emperor of Dune
It seemed to ramble and never really go anywhere except when you reached the "We found/he told the story about the plot-advancing McGuffin!" and killed my enthusiasm for the Dune series. Granted it was waning after Children, but God-Emperor felt like he just abandoned the universe he had spent so long to set up. I don't want to hear the jihad stories in the past tense, just as I read them in the future tense before, I want to experience them. It felt like the build-up lead to a period of time he had no intention of writing about, other than as a way of the character to say "That was/That's going to be crazy"

Meh, I never really enjoyed the hunger games. Don't know why, just found it perplexing and boring. I suppose I must be thick or something, or just have vastly differing opinions on things in life. I say that's the worst thing I can remember. The rest is just a blur of black smudges on paper.

The Stand by Stephen King.

Talk about a whole bunch of nothing that book is about 1000 pages long and just never gets going. It suffers from King's syndrome of having boring protaganists but for a book about the end of the world it shows a staggering lack of closure.

After I was done my reaction was: "is that it?" ...after 1000+ pages: "is that it?"

FalloutJack:

House of Leaves.

Incomprehensible is the start of the troubles this book has, and hardly the end of it.

It's not incomprehensible; it's postmodern!

*ba-dum-tish*

(I'm not disagreeing with you, by the way; that's basically the point I made earlier about the misconception that it can't be comprehensible and artistic/literary at the same time)

Yeah, as a story I really don't like House of Leaves and I've just never been able to stick with it the whole way through to the end, but it's a text I do keep coming back to a lot (especially to reference in literature essays) because of what it does with form and structure. I love epistolary fiction, I love postmodernism and layered narratives but House of Leaves is kind of an example of 'too much'. Like, how there are all those footnotes? Some of them from different sources? And sometimes the footnotes FIGHT? I love that.

If it had a better narrative to make you care about just getting the pages turning, it'd have been one of my favourite novels of all time. It's still one of my favourite BOOKS of all time (but purely in terms of the actual book, rather than the novel, if you get my distinction)

aba1:
I remember reading The Hobbit and when I finished I put the book down and said out load I have no idea what I just read. It wasn't that the book was bad I just couldn't tell what was happening mind you I read this when I was like 9-11 years old area.

I implore you: Read it again. I only managed to read part of the book when I was younger... got bored and gave up. Came back to it recently. Absolutely great.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to follow in the footsteps of many in this thread: the biggest disappointment of a book of late, for me, was David Weber's Out of the Dark. War between Humanity and well-meaning (in general) aliens, religious motivations on both sides, a struggle which was absolutely believable, the book reaches an incredible climax - and then, suddenly, Dracula.

I don't even want to spoiler that, because warning people off this work is a public service.

David Weber, you wrote so many wonderful books. Honor Harrington was a barrel of fun and excellent writing. Why did you feel the need to reduce yourself to this?! Slamming this against a wall was not enough; I want this thing to be hit by a .50 in midair.

---

ETA: The Narnia series, as read by a 12-year-old. I loved nearly every one of the books, but when I reached the seventh, the message that 'oh, this is a Christian allegory' beat me about the head and neck. I still love the series, as an example of fantastic writing, but C. S. Lewis abandoned all pretense at that point, and it lost me there.

I recently decided that I wanted to read all of Michael Crichton's books and, to my great surprise, some of his earlier works are absolutely terrible. The same guy who wrote Jurassic Park, Congo, and State of Fear is also responsible for stuff like Disclosure (perhaps the most boring legal "thriller" that I've ever set eyes on, not to mention blatantly sexist) and Rising Sun (which was supposed to be a police procedural based around the social quandary of foreign direct investment in American business but instead came across as a paranoid, racist rant about those underhanded, deceitful Japanese).

Crichton was always really good about wrapping a story around a social issue, but those two books (written in the 1990s) were all about how it was inevitable that the American corporate world would be ruled by hateful shrews of women and an Illuminati-esq collection of Japanese companies. Ignoring for the moment the sexism and racism, reading about the imminent collapse of American industry in a book written 20 years ago makes it hard to take anything he says seriously. Worst of all, the stories weren't even interesting...

Edit:

tensorproduct:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Just awful on every conceivable level. Condescending, preachy, mystical mumbo-jumbo horseshit. Damn, fifteen years later and I'm still angry that I read this fucking worthless crap.

...but that book is amazing...I guess it all depends on how you interpret his philosophy.

I got Dan Browns Digital Fortress last christmas so I felt obliged to read it... It was crap, just like everything else he's written. Mainly because the characters who are supposed to have IQ's of over 140 (in the main characters case 170) act like they have IQ's of 50-70, and the fact that the whole climax could've been solved by JUST UNPLUGGING THE GOD DAMNED COMPUTERS INTERNETS CABLE!

The one bit I liked was the plot twist about the digital fortress itself... Even tho I saw it coming from miles away.

JoesshittyOs:
I'm sure I'll get shit for this one, but A Clockwork Orange.

I enjoyed the fact that by the end of it you had almost learned a completely different language... but damn was it dull. The pacing was fucking terrible, throughout the entire thing.

Edit: But yeah, I'll have to agree with the guy above me. If I realize that a book is going to be dry, I'll probably just put it down. A book needs to be extremely engaging, such as the Dresden Series, in order for me to actually read the whole thing.

The only reason I went through A Clockwork Orange, was because it was for school, and the Sparknotes kinda sucked for it.

LOL. One of my favourite books ever. Think you hated it because you were forced to read it. It is AWESOME!.

Hmm... lots of the books in here getting crap are some of my favourites....

I am going to nominate: Emily Bronte's - Wuthering Heights.

WORST BOOK EVER!

Oh and just flicked through some more of the thread and TOTALLY agree with all the hate for Paul Coelho's - The Alchemist. Was extremely shit. My bookclub made me read that and boy did I give it the 1/10 it deserved!!!! RAORAOROAROAROAOROA)*(!_)(*!

SometimesSchizo:
Speaking as a big Chuck Palahniuk fan, I can safely say that Pygmy was kinda crap. The protagonist was impossible to relate to and the ending was totally inconsistent with the rest of the book. It was so bad I went and read Choke again to make myself feel better.

WhhhhhhaaatTtt???

Pygymy WAS HILARIOUS! I was in tears of laughter on the bus to work every day for a week with that one. I do know a lot of people that struggled to get past the ending of chapter 2 but after that it is bent over in tears of horror/laughter funny.

Transition by Iain Banks. The book laid lots of interesting groundwork that just never went anywhere. Characters were brought up that seemed to be important but were never developed, there were loose plot threads and the whole thing led up to an anticlimactic and unsatisfactory ending, which sort of made you think "well, what the fuck was the point of all that?".

It seemed like the kind of book that had been left open for a sequel, but as far as I know he has no plans to write one. =/

Cell by Stephen King.
The metaphor of mobile phones turning people into brainless zombies and the development of this into zombies that had a pshycic link to demonstrate the positive idea of us being bettter connected was a fantastic idea it just didn't work in practice.
Ultimately it was just a poorly written, generic survival story. The characters weren't fleshed out aswell as they could have been, they relied on a school boy as some authority on what was happening and the ending was left open ended to leave the reader thinking, in much the same vein as McEwan (although he does this successfully), which comes across as a bit of a cop-out.

superbatranger:
Atlas Shrugged. It took me months to finish that tedious load of crap. I thought it would be interesting, but damn, you could use it to put an insomniac to bed.

I salute you sir, I got to the chapter with the 70 page speech and have given up.

I think I can rightly say FUCK THAT! I've had your ideology for the last 1000 pages, I do not need it condensed any more.

ToTaL LoLiGe:
I'm reading Insomina by Stephen King, I wouldn't describe it as shit it's just a tad disappointing no where near as good as I thought it'd be. I've got to the last 194 pages and I just can't be arsed to finish it. Sorry, King old friend you've lost this one man.

Insomnia starts really slow, but the last half of the book is probably some of his best work - especially if you follow the Dark Tower series

DefiantGoblin:
Cell by Stephen King.
The metaphor of mobile phones turning people into brainless zombies and the development of this into zombies that had a pshycic link to demonstrate the positive idea of us being bettter connected was a fantastic idea it just didn't work in practice.
Ultimately it was just a poorly written, generic survival story. The characters weren't fleshed out aswell as they could have been, they relied on a school boy as some authority on what was happening and the ending was left open ended to leave the reader thinking, in much the same vein as McEwan (although he does this successfully), which comes across as a bit of a cop-out.

Contrary to Insomnia, Cell starts awesome and ends lame...Raggidy Man, w/e.

gideonkain:

ToTaL LoLiGe:
I'm reading Insomina by Stephen King, I wouldn't describe it as shit it's just a tad disappointing no where near as good as I thought it'd be. I've got to the last 194 pages and I just can't be arsed to finish it. Sorry, King old friend you've lost this one man.

Insomnia starts really slow, but the last half of the book is probably some of his best work - especially if you follow the Dark Tower series

I loved the first half of the book but it started to get a little below par when Ralph found out Lois could see the auras.

Captcha: my better half

ToTaL LoLiGe:

gideonkain:

ToTaL LoLiGe:
I'm reading Insomina by Stephen King, I wouldn't describe it as shit it's just a tad disappointing no where near as good as I thought it'd be. I've got to the last 194 pages and I just can't be arsed to finish it. Sorry, King old friend you've lost this one man.

Insomnia starts really slow, but the last half of the book is probably some of his best work - especially if you follow the Dark Tower series

I loved the first half of the book but it started to get a little below par when Ralph found out Lois could see the auras.

Captcha: my better half

It's been a few years since I read it, but I loved the Little Doctors that

I recently just kinda gave up on the Talisman, not for any real reason other than the fact that The Wind Through The Keyhole just came out, but I finished reading that one in two days

If your a fan of Stephan King, besides Dark Tower, I think the short story "Everything's Eventual", "Low Men in Yellow Jackets" and "N." are probably his finest works.

gideonkain:

ToTaL LoLiGe:

gideonkain:

Insomnia starts really slow, but the last half of the book is probably some of his best work - especially if you follow the Dark Tower series

I loved the first half of the book but it started to get a little below par when Ralph found out Lois could see the auras.

Captcha: my better half

It's been a few years since I read it, but I loved the Little Doctors that

I recently just kinda gave up on the Talisman, not for any real reason other than the fact that The Wind Through The Keyhole just came out, but I finished reading that one in two days

If your a fan of Stephan King, besides Dark Tower, I think the short story "Everything's Eventual", "Low Men in Yellow Jackets" and "N." are probably his finest works.

I haven't read any of the Dark Tower books, I almost bought the Gunslinger but it was £10 and that's alot for 200 pages. I've been thinking of buying Pet Semetary or The Dark Half.

ToTaL LoLiGe:

gideonkain:

ToTaL LoLiGe:

I loved the first half of the book but it started to get a little below par when Ralph found out Lois could see the auras.

Captcha: my better half

It's been a few years since I read it, but I loved the Little Doctors that

I recently just kinda gave up on the Talisman, not for any real reason other than the fact that The Wind Through The Keyhole just came out, but I finished reading that one in two days

If your a fan of Stephan King, besides Dark Tower, I think the short story "Everything's Eventual", "Low Men in Yellow Jackets" and "N." are probably his finest works.

I haven't read any of the Dark Tower books, I almost bought the Gunslinger but it was £10 and that's alot for 200 pages. I've been thinking of buying Pet Semetary or The Dark Half.

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger is the finest book I ever read in my life, it's cheaper(as expected) online
http://www.amazon.com/The-Gunslinger-Dark-Tower-Book/dp/0452284694/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335756044&sr=8-1

yogibbear:

SometimesSchizo:
Speaking as a big Chuck Palahniuk fan, I can safely say that Pygmy was kinda crap. The protagonist was impossible to relate to and the ending was totally inconsistent with the rest of the book. It was so bad I went and read Choke again to make myself feel better.

WhhhhhhaaatTtt???

Pygymy WAS HILARIOUS! I was in tears of laughter on the bus to work every day for a week with that one. I do know a lot of people that struggled to get past the ending of chapter 2 but after that it is bent over in tears of horror/laughter funny.

I've noticed that most people either love or hate Pygmy. I just couldn't get past the hard to read broken English and the god awful ending. One of the biggest turn-offs in that book is that I just CAN'T relate to the protagonist at all. In all of Palahniuk's other books that I've read the protagonist deals with issues and reacts to the world in a way more relatable (even if not realistic) way. I just can't relate to a totalitarian sleeper agent who talks like Borat and rapes dudes in restrooms. And thank God I can't, right?

Beloved by Toni Morrison, had to read it for my English class. It's basically about how an escaped slave is haunted by a ghost baby.


Needless to say it was pretty fucked up in terms of premise and plot. By the time I got to the end I wasn't exactly sure what I had just experienced.

Game of Thrones, to be honest it was just...not that good.

Two books come to mind: Halo: Contact Harvest, and Salvation's Reach.

The former is shit, fucks with the canon established in the previous books like no tomorrow and iirc was filled with meatheaded bros rather than the intelligent, articulate, professionals I'd gotten used to dealing with in the other books.

Salvation's Reach on the other hand wasn't bad. It just wasn't good. And well, it's in the Gaunt's Ghost series. Only In Death is one of the best books I've ever read, closely followed by more or less the rest of the series. I'm not all that sure quite what's happened to Dan Abnett actually, because Blood Pact was also slightly underwhelming, and Salvation's Reach just went even more sideways. Meh.

For a bit of historical badness, most of the Star Wars EU books just don't really do anything for me, chiefly because they (atleast the ones I read back then) tended to focus on the cardboard cutout named Luke Skywalker, and got about ten times better when he was nowhere to be seen (the X-Wing series, esp. Mr. Allston's works, is fucking brilliant for instance).

Gavmando:

Nigh Invulnerable:

superbatranger:
Atlas Shrugged. It took me months to finish that tedious load of crap. I thought it would be interesting, but damn, you could use it to put an insomniac to bed.

By reading or by clubbing them over the head with it?

My wife is a fan of David Eddings, so I plowed through the Belgariad books and was simply left with a "Meh" sort of feeling. They were just sort of formulaic and simple for my tastes, but I can see young teens reading them for their first fantasy series and falling in love with them, which is pretty much the case with my wife's familiarity with them.

David Eddings' books were awesome!

...And then I re-read them as an adult and thought "meh" too. He wrote every series to a formula that he even spelled out in The Rivan Codex. One of his pearls of wisdom for writing a book was to belittle the reader so that they would be impressed.
Just try reading The Redemption of Althalus. His books got worse with age.

Think Redemption of Althalus is bad try reading "The Dreamers".A story that could easily have been wrapped up in a single book is instead dragged out over four novels.Then just to top it off it has one of the shittest endings I've ever read

The Children of Húrin. It still astounds me that a story as simple The Hobbit could be in anyway related to some half-baked tragedy involving incest and suicide.

I've read a few Darren Shan books and they were all terrible. They were like something I'd have written when I was in the sixth grade.

Michael Crichton's "Terminal Man"
Seems okay while you read, a little dull, but you still look forward to the payoff... which never really happens. You finish it, and just realize that it was terrible the whole time. Actually, there are a couple of his books of his that work out like that...

A book I hated every step of the way through was "The House On Mango Street". A piss-poor piece of literature without any merit.

Esotera:
Neuromancer by William Gibson...it's hugely influential, coined the term cyberspace, but I literally could not get past the first 20 pages. It's as if it was written by a 5 year old.

Putting silliness the like of: 'it was written by a 5 year old' aside, what made you feel that way about it? I mean, sure, it's Gibson's first published book and attempt at a full novel with the high concept sci fi tempered with a youthful, counter culture vibe... is that what (I'm willing to meet you halfway on) seemed "juvenile"?

A couple of things to bear in mind, reading it, is that he was trying to capture 'cyber cool' in 1983, so its use of outlandish character names, punk rock attitude and 'outmoded' technical concepts are in part unavoidably associated in the time it was written.

If it's not for you, it's not for you, but I feel it really is a rich, edifying read and I'd encourage you to give it a second pass, with the time gap of culture in mind. A lot of the joy is projecting how cutting edge and forward looking it was *for the time*.

Anyway, penny for your thoughts.

II2:

Esotera:
Neuromancer by William Gibson...it's hugely influential, coined the term cyberspace, but I literally could not get past the first 20 pages. It's as if it was written by a 5 year old.

Putting silliness the like of: 'it was written by a 5 year old' aside, what made you feel that way about it? I mean, sure, it's Gibson's first published book and attempt at a full novel with the high concept sci fi tempered with a youthful, counter culture vibe... is that what (I'm willing to meet you halfway on) seemed "juvenile"?

A couple of things to bear in mind, reading it, is that he was trying to capture 'cyber cool' in 1983, so its use of outlandish character names, punk rock attitude and 'outmoded' technical concepts are in part unavoidably associated in the time it was written.

If it's not for you, it's not for you, but I feel it really is a rich, edifying read and I'd encourage you to give it a second pass, with the time gap of culture in mind. A lot of the joy is projecting how cutting edge and forward looking it was *for the time*.

Anyway, penny for your thoughts.

I'll probably end up giving it another go at some point just because of the great reputation it has, but I believe I found it really hard to follow what was actually happening, thanks to a rapid pace & loads of made up words. I read plenty of other sci-fi from this era and before and it seems to have aged better. But maybe that's just personal preference.

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown just gets stupid at the end. I bought it to carry me over the flight from the US to Italy and I ended up finishing it AFTER the return trip back to the states. Just terrible.

I also didn't like the 3rd book in the Hunger Games series...whatever it was called. Mockingjay? Something like that...

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