I read 130 books in 2021, so I was bound to find a few disappointments, but overall it was an excellent reading year. The books I am going to share either disappointed me or I actively disliked them, but I can see why they would work for other readers. These are just my opinions!
The Maidens is by far my most disappointing book of the year. I had heard so many amazing things about this author and The Silent Patient, and The Maidens received so much buzz before it came out. The cover and the premise set certain expectations for me, and I was thoroughly disappointed by the execution. For a book called The Maidens, the Maidens themselves were barely part of the story. I never felt invested in the story or felt connected to the main character and the ending was just the cherry on top. I will say that it was super fast-paced and I think I read it in a day.
Falling has such an intriguing premise and I love that the author herself was a flight attendant, so she has some inside information on what goes on behind the scenes, which was actually what I found most interesting about the book. The problem for me was the reveal of who the hostages were. There were so many more original and interesting ways that this story could have gone and it just felt like a cop-out in the end!
I read Stephenie Perkin’s first thriller, There’s Someone Inside Your House, last year and I thought it was campy and fun for what it was, so I expected the same thing from The Woods Were Always Watching, but I was ultimately disappointed. Not a lot happens here, I wasn’t on the edge of my seat, and it didn’t give me the campy vibes I was looking for. It was ridiculous in a way that wasn’t fun for me. Trust the low Goodreads rating on this one!
I really wanted to love Echo North and have heard that a lot of people adore it, but I struggled through it. As much as I love Beauty and the Beast, Echo North is the book that proved to me that its retellings or books that follow similar tropes rarely work for me. It always becomes clear how many issues I have with the relationship dynamic! I was also hoping for more world-building.
I am so sad that Lost in the Never Woods is on this list, especially since I absolutely loved Cemetery Boys! I tend to love Peter Pan retellings, but I have realized that I prefer when they take place in Neverland. I could not get behind the romance in this one and I was not invested in the mystery.
I should have known that Gods and Monsters would be disappointing after how I felt about Blood and Honey, but I still had some hope for it. Sadly, Gods and Monsters felt like a rehash of the first book, especially when it came to the relationship, but we lost a lot of the banter. I think it is best to think of this series as a standalone!
Grady Hendrix’s books are really hit or miss for me. The Southern Book Club’s Guide and My Best Friend’s Exorcism are two of my favourite horror novels, but I was left feeling underwhelmed after finishing Horrorstor. I thought it had a lot of potential but it took a while to get into the action and for it to even feel like a true Grady Hendrix novel. I did like the ending though!
I loved Red Rising when I read it years ago, but I was newer to the dystopian/SciFi genre at that time. I decided to finally continue on with the series and to pick up Golden Son and I had to force myself to finish it. This book made me realize how much I dislike Darrow and books with too much action. I felt like a lot happened but a lot of it was filler. I know that this is many people’s favourite book in the series, so I am not sure it is worth continuing on. I do love Mustang though!
No One Is Talking About This had an interesting premise and I am always intrigued by books that discuss social media in some way, but this book felt so disjointed. It is split into two parts and they felt like two completely different novels. No One Is Talking About This has received a lot of award attention, so I might just be missing something here.
Last Chance Books is a YA You’ve Got Mail retelling, which should have been something I loved, but I just don’t think it worked. The main character was childish and I think she took things too far. I understood her motivations, but I just struggled to connect to her or to get invested in the romance. Her best friend is a booktuber though, which was fun to see!
What was the most disappointing book you read in 2021?
37 thoughts on “Most Disappointing Books of 2021”
Carve The Mark and Instant Karma were some of the biggest disappointments to me! Such a bummer.
Ah I bought Carve the Mark when it first came out and dnfed it so quickly. Made me sad!!
I keep putting off The Maidens because the reviews aren’t good and then I’ll see someone who loved it so I know I need to just try it but… I’m nervous. Haha.
I think it will help because you’re going into it with most realistic expectations! It’s also a quick read, so worth giving a shot if you are curious!
I’ve only read Echo North on this list. I thought it was good but definitely my least favorite of her books!
That is what I have been told! I will need to explore more of her work because I did like the writing.
Completely agree with The Maidens! Sophomore novels for me in 2021 were disappointing in general 🙁
It is funny because I find that sophomore novels can really be hit or miss. I think author’s put years into their debuts and then there is so much pressure put on their next novel.
Mine was Circe by Madeline Miller – everyone raved about it, but I found it just ok. It wasn’t a bad book, but it was so hyped, it really failed to meet up to expectations
I loved Circe but I can definitely understand that. Thankfully I got to it before the hype, so I am not sure how I would feel about it now!
I felt the same about Echo North and I was really bummed as I love that author 😢
Oh good to know! I did like the writing, so maybe I should read something else by her. Which one should I try??
I loved Beneath the Haunting Sea ❤
I was most disappointed by Laura Sebastien’s Half Sick of Shadows. I love a good Arthurian story, but this had wooden characters, a plot that went nowhere, bad dialogue, and so many anachronisms that they kept distracting me from the story.
Ah that is disappointing! I love the idea of Arthurian retellings. I cannot stand bad dialogue though! It takes me right out of the story.
I felt the same way about The Maidens! Throughout the whole book I was questioning everything. Why did they automatically assume it was a male suspect? Why did she fixate on one person and immediately take her twenty-something distraught niece’s word like it was gospel? Ugh so many things irked me about this book. It was a fast paced book but I just didn’t like the “assumptions” right out of the gate.
Exactly! And there was so much focus on the one suspect, so you knew it wasn’t him. I think that is why I saw the ending coming because there weren’t many other red herrings. The whole thing was so frustrating!
It was very frustrating. Even those who liked this book said The Silent Patient is better which I have seen nothing but good things. I bought a used copy so we shall see.
I was also very disappointed in Lost in the Never Woods! I keep seeing The Maidens on these lists, still want to read it though haha!
I have seen a lot of people disappointed by Lost in the Never Woods, so we are not alone!
The Maidens is definitely a quick read, so worth a shot! I would be curious to see what you think.
My biggest disappointment was Lincoln Highway. I think I’m the only outlier on this one!
Oh no! I haven’t read anything by Amor Towles, but I have been wanting to. I do own Rules of Civility. I haven’t actually seen many reviews for Lincoln Highway now that I think about it!
I loved Gentleman in Moscow! Lincoln Highway was well written I just didn’t like the story and wasn’t in the mood for bleak. It seems that all the reviews are glowing though.
I did not bother with The Maidens because I HATED The Silent Patient!
I think I was most disappointed this year with Outlawed. It got some much good buzz but the plot was actually laughably dumb and I DNF.
I 100% agree with your thoughts on Last Chance Books and Gods & Monsters. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one bummed by those books. Hopefully next year brings more reads that unexpectedly delight you!
Last Chance Books had such a great premise too! Was so sad I didn’t like it.
I hope the same for you!
Agreed about Lost in the Never Woods – I feel the same about preferring the setting being Neverland.
And sorry to see Gods & Monsters was a disappointment. I didn’t pick up any past the first one and perhaps thats for the best…
Right?! I think it’s Neverland that makes Peter Pan special.
I definitely think that treating Serpent and Dove as a standalone is best!
130 books in a year?! I mean really how?! I wish I could..
Btw have you read blood and ash.. someone recommended it to me and i am sceptical about it.
Most of the books i read this year were great but The Murder of Roger Ackroyd disappointed me at end.. Although it was great and i was hooked but by the end I just didn’t like the whole point of it.
Audiobooks! They have definitely been a game-changer for me in terms of how much I read in a year.
I haven’t read Blood and Ash! It’s one I’m skeptical about as well, especially since it’s so long and I have heard that the sequels aren’t great.
And that’s too bad! I haven’t read a lot of Agatha Christie, but that one is on my list.
I haven’t tried audiobooks.. I don’t know if they give the same experience as actual reading.
I’ve read Agatha Christie’s 3 other
books as well and they were great..
Well it was just my personal opinion .. I would like to know yours too.
Falling seems to be a book you love or didn’t like. I won’t read it as I’m not a fan of thrillers anyway. I want to read more audiobooks in 2022.
It’s not easy to find a good book. Maybe your criteria of choosing a book depends on the genre and what are you looking for. You should be more selective and clear on what’s you’re opinion. For example what are you looking for in a thriller book? Tension, climax, insecurity. The new writer genereation makes ALL TOO PREDICTABLE AND FLAT!
Sorry these didn’t work out for you! I felt a little underwhelmed by The Woods are ALways Watching too. I didn’t even try Gods and Monsters because people were saying it was NOT good- what a disappointment! I couldn’t even make it through Red Rising so I feel you there 😂
Good call on Gods and Monsters. Not worth it!!
Yeah I wonder if I could get through Red Rising if I read it now!
I was disappointed in Project Hail Mary. Just never connected me with me like The Martian did.
I love that because Project Hail Mary was one of my best books of the year. Just proof of how we all have different reading tastes!