My Worst Books of 2020

Wednesday 20 January 2021

This was a really weird year for me. Two of my favorite series released books that made it onto this list and two books that I thought I was going to like also made it on the list. 2020 was a weird year for many reasons. If you check out my Top Ten Books of 2020 post, you'll see that I read some amazing books last year, but the bad ones are still worth talking about.

5. Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

This hurts my heart. The Dresden Files is my favorite book series of all time. It got better and better with each installment. Then Skin Game came out in 2014, which was a great book, but it took 6 years for the next book to come out. Unlike Patrick Rothfuss, Jim Butcher made it clear he had good reasons as to why it took so long but when two books were announced in one year, I was so happy.  Then Peace Talks came out and I picked it up and.... almost put it down.

Here's what I think. I think Jim Butcher wrote one big book. He wrote one book that was over 700 pages and either he decided or his publisher decided to break it into two books. Because when put together Peace Talks and Battle Ground make for one epic book. But when you separate them Peace Talks is a boring mess with no point to it and Battle Ground is exciting but mostly all action. Peace Talks is the literary equivalent of Ben Stein's voice while Battle Ground is a coked up Tasmanian Devil.

If Butcher had released Peace Ground or Battle Talks in one big volume, we wouldn't have having this conversation. But two separate books were released and Peace Talks was not only the lesser of the two, but it was slow, boring, and pointless. 

4. The Genesis Game: Vol 1 by Andrew O'Kelley

I love LitRPG books. They're my guilty pleasure. They're so nerdy that even I hesitate, briefly. Then I own it. I also love Net Galley because thanks to that service I've read a lot of books for free before they even come out! This was one of those books.

This books is about Seraph, a tyrant known as the Angel of Genocide. He is the strongest person in the world dungeon, a powerful place that's coming marked the end of humanity. Seraph finally reaches the Altar of the End but is cursed and sent back in time with his powers sealed away. This time he's forbidden from hoarding the power for himself and must help humanity survive.

I wrote a full review on Goodreads but to give you the Cliff Notes version, this book had terrible pacing. The story moved so fast that it felt like O'Kelley was too excited to get to the next part that he rushed the plot. A downside of everything moving faster than The Flash with his ass on fire is that you don't get to know the characters so I didn't care about a single person.  To quote my review: “Seraph is supposed to come across as some dark and broody bad ass but he's just an a-hole. We meet his father but we get so little of their relationship that I think the Lindbergh baby would have been closer to his father than Seraph and his dad.”

Seraph and his dad's relationship is supposed to be his only hope to not turn out like the villain he was. But I never once cared. This book was bad.

3. My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Talk about a bait and switch. If you look at the cover of this book it sets you up for something light hearted or even comedic. If not that, then it hints that it's not super serious, something along the lines of Stranger Things. But no, this isn't a comedy, this isn't even slightly humorous. It's considered horror fiction and not only is it not scary in the least, it's so slowly paced that it could be cut down by half and it would only make it better.

Almost every character is unlikable and the two main characters Gretchen and Abby, are idiots. Gretchen is possessed for most of the book, so she mostly gets a pass, but even before she's possessed, she's simply boring. Abby is an idiot who has less personality than Katniss Everdeen. 

This book is boring and a waste of time.

2. The Land: Monsters  by Aleron Kong

This is another one that hurts my heart. The Land is another one of my all time favorite series. I stumbled upon the first book thanks to a sale on Audible and fell in love. The Land: Founding is a great book and a wonderful introduction to the LitRPG genre. If you like the first one, then dive right in because the first seven books are great and the 7th book is epic and is 2202 pages long (or 48 hours for the audiobook) but the 8th book is when it hits it's first hiccup.

There was no point to this installment. Nothing really happens. It's pointless and you hardly see any of the side characters as it mainly follows Richter as he tries to escape the underworld or wherever he is. But it feels like Kong took what could have been 2 -3 chapters and turned it into it's own book. 

You know what this felt like? This felt like something mindless Kong wrote that should have been released as a freebie to his fans or as a reward on Patreon. That would have been fine. I wouldn't have minded this if it was sold to me as a mindless add on and not an actual part of the story. But for the 8th book in a series I loved? It's terrible.

1. The Frame-Up by Meghan Scott Molin.

I hated The Big Bang Theory. It was just a group of aholes who were gross stereotypes of nerds. MG, the main character of this book, could have fit right in with that group of dicks. 

This book follows MG, a comic writer who realizes a recent string of crimes are just copies of crimes from her favorite comic series. So she takes it upon herself to help the cops track the killer, but can a geeky comic nerd really help stop crime

The story for this was more basic than a “ripped from the headlines” episode of Law and Order. It's a story that's been done before and done by better writers. Also, MG was horrid. She hates it when people put her in a box and assume they know who she is but she turns around and does the same thing to most people she meets.

What's worse is that there's at least one “nerdy” reference on each page and even worse than that, they're not all correct. I really should have written down some examples but at the time I was too pissed off to care, but there were quite a few times that  the nerdy stuff Molin was referencing, was completely wrong. Also, the constant nerdy references got super old. 

I also feel like Molin must have some huge chip on her shoulder because it came across in the book. MG is one of the most hateful and judgmental characters I've ever read and it feels like Molin was using her book as an outlet. 

This was a true waste of time. This is the first book in a series and if I ever read the second one it's because someone paid me a lot of money to do it OR my life was threatened.

So there you have it. My worst books of 2020. There were others that I didn't like but these were the ones that actually got a reaction out of me. What books from last year did you hate? And if you're not the type to hate, which books did you seriously not like? Let me know by leaving a comment!

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