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.