Does Hype Mislead Your Thoughts?

Does Hype Mislead Your Thoughts? discussion header

Something I’ve noticed when I read really popular books that everyone’s raving about is that I often feel like the book was amazing, only to realize a few weeks or even months later that I didn’t actually enjoy it as much as I thought I did. It’s not necessarily that I didn’t like it, but I certainly didn’t love it.

The first books that come to mind when I think of this are Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic and its sequel, A Gathering of Shadows. I finally picked these books up from the library after months of seeing tons of people in this community raving about how fantastic this series was. I read them and was amazed! They were so good! I liked them so much! But now when I think about the books, I realize I really didn’t enjoy them as much as I thought I would.

Again, it’s not that I disliked them completely. But they were a bit too slow for my taste and at 400-500 pages, they seemed to drag on forever because of that. I liked the worldbuilding, the characters, and the action when there was some, but I personally don’t think the books lived up to all of the hype. I’m certainly excited for the last book to come out next month and I’ll definitely pick it up at some point, but do I feel like the Shades of Magic series is one of my favorites? If I’m being honest with myself? No.

I think a big part of why this happens is simply that I love being able to rave about things with other people. A lot of the books I read are ones that aren’t particularly well-known and therefore aren’t talked about that much within the book community. So when I actually read a book or series that everyone talks about, I want to love it so that I can jump in on those conversations gushing about how fantastic the books are. Because of this, I’m sometimes not totally honest with myself about how much I did or didn’t enjoy them.

Hype has a way of making me think that I like a book more than I actually do. Everyone’s excitement for the book makes me excited, making me hope that I’ll love reading it as much as everyone else seems to. Most of the time, I do end up really enjoying the books. But I end up in denial when that’s not the case. Even if I do really enjoy it, but just not as much as others, I still end up in denial about how I really feel about the book. Part of me just doesn’t want to admit that I may not love it as much as everyone else.

Do any of you end up in denial about how much you loved (or, more accurately, didn’t love) a popular book?


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60 thoughts on “Does Hype Mislead Your Thoughts?

  1. This happens to me all the time. I usually avoid books that drown with hype but sometimes you just get caught with it lol I get queasy when picking up a hyped book only to discover it doesn’t match up to my expectations. I guess I’m simply a pessimistic person who doesn’t like noise. Hype has a way on making books sour for me so when a hyped book turns out to be really good, I get pretty surprised.

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    • I’m the complete opposite, haha. If a book has a lot of hype, I get desperate to read it, even if people I know & trust have said they didn’t really like the book I still get so excited for it. I usually try to wait awhile to see the hype die down a little bit before I try to read it, but there are some books where the hype never seems to go away (Shades of Magic series, Sarah J. Maas books, etc.) and so that doesn’t work out for me, haha. One of these days I’ll learn that just because other people enjoy a book doesn’t mean I have to πŸ˜›

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  2. This does happen to me too! But I also find that even minus the hype (I swear sometimes I live under a rock and don’t realise the hype is there until after I finished the book) that I tend to enjoy it more when I’m reading it and when I finish, I look back and think, wait, there are quite a lot of flaws. I think it’s because you’re so caught up in the book that you believe to be good, hype or not (a really good blurb can sway me) you don’t catch those tiny details. Or maybe I just don’t get those until I read someone else’s review… but great post πŸ˜€

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    • That definitely happens to me too, especially for books that were “meh” throughout but then had a good ending. I finish it thinking it was so good, but in reality it was only the last 50 pages that I enjoyed, haha. But it’s definitely more common for me with big, hyped-up books where I’m desperate to love it just as much as everyone else seems to. Other people’s reviews almost always end up bringing my attention to flaws/problems that I never picked up on.

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  3. I generally don’t think it’s the hype, but just getting swept up in the book. I regularly think back on a book and don’t like it as much as I did at the time and that’s for hyped books or not hyped books.

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    • Yeah, I notice that happen to me too. I think it happens more for hyped up books for me, but there have definitely been times where I read some random book, think it’s pretty good, and then look back on it and realize it wasn’t very good at all. That’s especially true for books that were just “meh” throughout most of the book but then had a good ending. I get so swept up in the ending that I forget I wasn’t a huge fan of the rest of the book, haha.

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  4. I have to agree with you. In my case, I choose books really carefully – mostly what interests me about the synopsis plus more factors – I also look at the reviews of the book and if they’re all raving about it I get excited, but I do get that feeling that the book isn’t what I thought it would be.

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    • It’s so hard not to get excited when you see tons of people talking about how much they loved a book/series. And then it gets really hard for the book to actually live up to all that excitement, haha. I think this might be one of the big reasons why I don’t read a lot of hyped-up books.

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  5. This happens to me all the time! Most recently with Cassandra Clare’s books. I read the first two Moral Instruments books, and while I can see how many would love them I didn’t get it. I didn’t what everyone was talking about. I have found myself disappointed by several books that everyone around me loved. Part of it I think is personal taste, but sometimes the whole concept of the book is overrated. Great post!

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    • I feel like the TMI series has been soooo hyped-up that it’s impossible for the books to actually live up to the expectations, haha. That’s one of the reasons why I still haven’t read that series – I’m too nervous that I’ll be disappointed. It definitely is partly just personal taste, but when everyone is raving about a book, it’s hard not to get your expectations up (and then it’s hard not to be let down when the book inevitably fails to live up to those expectations).

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  6. Ooh, this is such a great topic! I actually adore the Shades of Magic series, but I actually rated the first book 3 stars, and I thought it was just okay. The second one, I genuinely enjoyed and thought it as a step-up. I think, most of the time, I do really enjoy a hyped up books, but there are also books I like that everyone hates and books I like that I feel like no one has read, so it all comes down to personal taste.

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    • I think I rated one of the Shades of Magic 4 stars and another 3.5 but the more I look back on them, I’m not quite sure that those actually reflect what I thought of them πŸ˜› I think I reviewed them too soon and was still caught up in the hype, haha. I usually do enjoy hyped books, but depending on the book, sometimes the hype is so out of control that it’s impossible for the book to actually live up to it all.

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  7. Yes, I totally get this! This both happened and didn’t happen to be with Sarah J Maas books. Whilst I really enjoyed her ACOTAR series, I didn’t like TOG as much. Similarly with Cassandra Clare’s novels – I LOVE The Infernal Devices, but not The Mortal Instruments as much. I feel like a lot of the time I have middling feelings about hyped books, or don’t like them, but occasionally I’ll pick one up and be like, “Why haven’t I read this before?!”

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    • Sarah J Maas and Cassandra Clare are two of the most hyped up authors I can think of, haha. Although I haven’t read anything by Maas so I can’t say whether or not she deserves it. πŸ˜› One of the reasons I still haven’t read TMI is because I’m 99% sure they will not live up the hype, haha. I’ve read TID though and really enjoyed those, so I’m sure I’ll get around to TMI eventually. I usually do end up liking books that have been hyped, but there are definitely some that are just sooo hyped that it’s impossible for the books to actually live up to it.

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  8. I try my best not to fall victim to the hype of books, especially since I don’t normally read YA or fantasy, which is what most book bloggers are really into. However, I’ve been really lucky and the ones I have picked up that had a lot of hype I ended up really loving. My most recent one was Six of Crows, which I’m still reading right now. I love it soooo much, but I guess I’ll see if it hold up within a couple of months!

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  9. I don’t really do the hype thing much, but I have realized that waiting 3 or 4 days after I read a book to review it often means my rating will be lower as I come off the rush and start thinking about the issues.

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  10. It’s a tough one because I’ve experienced both where you read a hyped book and absolutely love it, and you understand why people are going crazy over it, and other times where I’ve been really disappointed with a book to the point where I’m confused as to how so many people loved it! I think it’s partly why I’m nervous to read Six of Crows, because I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. But I’m still gonna give it a go at some point πŸ™‚ great post!!

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  11. This has happened to me with a few books & actually with ADSOM as well. I haven’t read AGOS yet since I was holding off until the release of A Conjuring Of Light but I agree. While a good series so far, it isn’t my favorite. I find myself lately, having to marinate in my thoughts before writing my reviews for this exact reason. Great discussion post Kourtni πŸ™‚

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  12. Me and hyped up books have such a love-hate relationship. A lot of the time I won’t actually read books that are so hyped up due to the fact that I always have to be Ms. Unpopular Opinion time and fail to love them. Then I feel bad about it. πŸ˜„ But I haven’t really fell prey to loving them and then starting to not like them as much as time goes on. Perhaps I’ve done it with just two lately, but I’m more likely to not read the hyped up books instead of doing it the other way. Great discussion! πŸ™‚

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  13. I get the opposite, actually. I get super excited about a new book, only to find myself disappointed more often than not. The book is usually fine, just not as good as I had assumed that it would be, for the sort of reviews it was getting. Yours sounds more fun, though πŸ˜›

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  14. This is why I tend to read hyped books long after their release date. I find that the longer it takes me to read, more moderately reviews come in so I feel like I can trust recommendations a lot more. However, Shades of Magic is absolutely amazing and it sucks that the hype made you not like them as much.

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  15. This has happened to me a few times. I’m such a hype reader so when everyone gets really excited for a book I get really excited and have to read it. Most recently with Six of Crows where the first book exceeded my expectations and lived up to the hype but the second book didn’t. At first I kept telling myself I loved it more than I did but when I wrote my review I realized I was a bit disappointed by it. Like you with ADSOM, I didn’t dislike it but I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. Speaking of ADSOM that whole series is going to be my next hype read and it’s good to know it’s a bit of a slow read. I’ll have to keep that in mind and hopefully it ends up living up to the hype for me. I’m a bit worried now lol. Great discussion, Kourtni!

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  16. I actually find that I more often than not dislike hyped books. I think I go in with too high of expectations based on the hype. VERY rarely did I really love a hyped book after reading it. In fact, The Lunar Chronicles is the only series of book I enjoyed when I knew the hype. There are hyped books I love (Illuminae, I’m looking at you!), but I read them without knowing of the hype first.

    In other words, I completely agree with your theory that hype changes our expectations and interpretations of the books.

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    • That’s soooo common among book bloggers (and probably other readers, too). When the hype for a book/series is too much, it just gets to a point where it’s basically impossible for the books to actually live up to those expectations.

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  17. After reading your post, I am definitely questioning if I really loved some of those really hyped book (especially the ones I just read) or if it’s the hype rubbing off on me and clouding my judgement. I guess I’ll have to see in a couple of weeks’ time if I am still as excited about them!

    I usually ‘fear’ that I won’t enjoy a super hyped book as much as everyone else seems to, so I’ve been trying to leave a bit of room between a hyped book being released and me reading it. I also don’t watch reviews for a book until I’ve read it, to make sure that I don’t let the reviews influence how I’m feeling about a book.

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    • I do the same thing. I almost never read hyped books right when they come out and everyone’s still raving about it. And I always wait at least a few days before writing my reviews. I used to write them right away and my reviews ended up being way too complimentary, haha.

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      • I was just reading through my own reviews that I posted on my blog, kind of comparing them to each other and realized that even though I THOUGHT I had only said positive things about Heartless, it actually ended up being the opposite. Instead of gushing about the book and how much I loved it (like I thought I had done), I had mainly pointed out the things I DIDN’T like. Which is a good thing for readers to know, for sure – in my head I just thought I had written the review differently.

        Also, I feel like I left multiple comments on your blog today, after stumbling upon it while visiting different blogs and then just reading through posts that sparked my interest. I hope you don’t mind!

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      • I’ve done that before too, haha. Writing reviews is often how I realize that I didn’t like a book as much as I thought. I end up writing way more negative things about it and it makes me realize it wasn’t that great.
        I don’t mind at all! I love getting comments from people πŸ™‚

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  18. Pingback: Blogger Recognition Award – Reading Through The Nights

  19. I find this really interesting to think about. Because I have read a few books that were really hyped up and in the end they didn’t meet my high expectations, that are immediately there once I see people raving about it. One example would be the raven cycle series. It’s a great story but it just didn’t resonate with me as much as I hoped. I’m still going to finish the series it’s just that it didn’t meet my expectations. I also think it’s important to point out the negative in a review because a book isn’t supposed to be perfect and no book will ever be. In the end everyone has different taste in everything and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are books that I enjoyed a lot that other people didn’t and that’s okay.

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    • I completely agree with you! I read The Raven Boys and didn’t find it nearly as great as everyone says it is. I’ll still read the rest of the book (especially since I’ve heard the series gets better as it goes on), but I definitely think everyone raving about it just set my expectations too high. It’s a bummer when that happens, but I think it’s kind of unavoidable, unfortunately.

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