I buy… a lot… a lot of books. Like… a lot. I’m a book hoarder. I admit it. This year, however, I was determined to thin out my TBR stacks because I’m genuinely running out of room and it seemed a tad pointless to have so many books that I wasn’t going to read.
See, sometimes I buy books that have pretty covers because they’re cheap. I buy them and tell myself “Oh, I might read it some day or give it to my girlfriend or my best friend or one of my godkids…” knowing I’m not. I’ve ended up with a lot of books that are genres I don’t even like.
Or do I like them? Sometimes I think I have this brain block that tells me I don’t like fantasy (for years I truly didn’t) but then I read Six of Crows and INHALED the rest of Leigh Bardugo’s books… so I can’t actually not like fantasy, right? But then maybe it was just her style that I enjoyed. But that can’t be true because I also adored The Lunar Chronicles (which heavily involves sci-fi and… I claim to hate sci-fi)…so what’s the deal, brain?
As I was packing up books to take to the used bookstore, I told myself that I would read a chapter of each book I was planning to get rid of to see if they piqued my interest, including those pretty books from genres my brain claims to hate. Shockingly, or really not shockingly, I ended up saving several fantasy books… and went on to read them and give them fairly high ratings.
Here are a few books that I thought I wouldn’t like… and I ended up liking them a lot.
THE GLASS SPARE by Lauren DeStefano.
Why I thought I wouldn’t like it: Not only am I not a fan of fantasy, I’m not a fan of historical settings because all my brain can think of is outhouses and no anesthesia. I also wasn’t sold on the whole “cursed girl” plot because, to be frank, it’s overused and generally not well done. However, this ended up being a delightful tale of a heartbroken girl who had accidentally murdered someone close to her and her fight to save herself, her kingdom, and a terrible want to break her curse before she hurts anyone else.
THE FOREST QUEEN by Betsy Cornwell.
Why I thought I wouldn’t like it: A female Robin Hood retelling just… didn’t sound that great to me, honestly. How many more Robin Hood retellings do we need? This one, apparently. Between the reluctant heroine, the slow-burn (real slow) romance, and empowering female friendships, I loved this one beginning to end.
RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer.
Why I thought I wouldn’t like it: Here’s a secret- I’ve never seen a superhero movie or read a superhero comic. No Captain America, Spiderman, Thor, Wonder Woman, Batman, etc. Just not my cup of tea. When Meyer announced this book, I knew it would be one of hers that I skipped even though I had loved The Lunar Chronicles and Heartless. I was gifted this book, though, and it’s been sitting on my shelves for an obscenely long time. Finally picked it up this past weekend and fell in love. Action packed and with a ridiculously diverse cast, Renegades is damn near the perfect book.
HOUSE OF FURIES by Madeleine Roux.
Why I thought I wouldn’t like it: Roux’s books have always been a hit or miss for me, and I wasn’t sold on the historical setting. I picked this one up during a Kindle ebook sale and was goaded into reading it by my girlfriend. I was instantly drawn in by the atmospheric setting of the house and it’s strange inhabitants and I can’t wait to pick up the next book in this series.
A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE by Brittany Cavallaro
Why I didn’t think I would like this: 1) I don’t care about Sherlock Holmes. At all. Not the show, not the novels, not the spinoffs. Just… no thank you. 2) Charlotte has a drug problem which I really, really hate reading about. However, Jamie is an endearing character and while the book does lean heavily on Sherlock Holmes references, the references are explained for those of us who have no idea what they are. I read the whole series in a week. March and the fourth book can’t come fast enough.
A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING by Jessica Cluess
Why I thought I wouldn’t like it: After Harry Potter, I just kind of gave up on witches and wizards and sorcerers and abracadabra. This one was heavily hyped amongst the big youtubers (an instant turn-off, if I’m honest) so I put this one off until I found it at BAM for $3. Besides having a pretty cover, this one had me gasping at every turn. I loved the characters and the use of mythology. I bought the second book before I was finished with this one and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the third book ever since.
A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sara J. Maas
Why I didn’t think I would like it: High fantasy. Dudes with wings. Not my cup of tea. Plus, I totally get the criticism of it being A Court of Salt and Mayo. The whole series is hella white. But there’s also a guilty pleasure in reading this series… sort of like Twilight but with wings instead of sparkles and way more sex. The third book was kind of a flop, but I still enjoyed the adventure.
As I continue to weed through my TBR stacks, I have a feeling this list will grow.
And maybe my brain will stop telling me that I hate fantasy.