As you may or may not know, I discovered the entire book community through booktube in around 2012 and 2013. At that time, these were the popular YA books, and being new to the book world and influenced by booktuber recommendations, I read all of these books and loved them. Do I still like them to this day? There are some I still find the merit in, others I do not. Ultimately, I wouldn’t consider any of these my favorite books now.
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The darkest minds
I read and loved the first two books in this trilogy, but I somehow forgot about the third book and never read it. I haven’t even read the spin-off Zu book. The first book is a road trip across an America ravaged by a plague outbreak that led to some teenagers obtaining superpowers. The main character, Ruby can look inside people’s minds and it’s so cool to read about her doing it! Ruby is an okay MC, but Liam Stewart >>>> any SJM love interest. Special mentions also to Jude, Zu, Chubs and Vida.
The winner’s trilogy
The first book, The Winner’s Curse, was a solid four stars. I liked that Kestrel was a main character who used strategic prowess as her primary weapon. The ending was a cliffhanger, so I immediately read the second book, and it broke me! I thought Kestrel was smart in the first book, but her intelligence is taken to new heights in The Winner’s Crime. Also, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but The Winner’s Crime had a case of the miscommunication trope done right. I know some people disagree and hate this book because of it, but I thought the reasons the couple wasn’t talking were valid, and the way the writer tortured us with their miscommunication was genius. We don’t talk about the third book in this trilogy, though. If you want to know why, you can read my Grey’s Anatomy book tag, where I briefly talk about the finale (shameless plug).
Throne of glass
Throne of Glass was an instant five stars—I loved Celaena, and most importantly, I loved the romance. But here’s the thing—I was team Dorian, which was actually an unpopular opinion at that time. The Celorian scenes were the only things I appreciated the series for, so when I read the second book, Crown of Midnight, and there were more Chaol than Dorian scenes, younger me was furious. The same thing happened with Heir of Fire and I never continued the series ever again.
The fifth wave
To quote Whitney, this book is good, you guys are just mean. These books are about mysterious alien attacks on Earth that come in waves–one was a plague, one was natural disasters, etc. The characters are meh, but the aliens in these books are so smart and completely unlike what we usually think of when we think “alien.” The The Fifth Wave’s plot unfolds masterfully, complete with time jumps and perspective changes. The second book, The Infinite Sea, was fine—I didn’t hate it like everyone else, but it wasn’t as good was the first, but the same as what happened with The Darkest Minds, I completely forgot to read the third book.
The lunar chronicles
These were the popular YA fairy tale retellings of the past, and that aspect of these books was actually well-done. The plot aligns with the fairy tale it is retelling in incredible ways, and the world is incredibly easy to get into. It’s a very light sci-fi featuring androids, space travel and everything else that we expect the future to have. The plot doesn’t carry much substance, making it perfect to fly through. My favorite of the four main couples was actually Scarlet and Wolfe, Scarlet being my favorite book in the series. That’s actually an unpopular opinion, and I don’t get why everybody hates on them and their book. I will defend Scarlet and Wolfe until the day I die, and what happened to Wolfe in the last book was extremely unfair.
However, something I’m mad at this series about is the fact that the author clearly did not research Chinese names while she was writing Cinder, which is set in China. Linh is not a Chinese name–what the heck! And you could argue that this series is set way into the future, but I see no reason why Chinese pinyin would evolve so much that there has to be an h after the name Lin. And Kaito is a Japanese name, not a Chinese one. I get this series was written at a time when these things weren’t as important, but I’m still salty.
I would say that these books carry the most merit out of all the books I talk about in this post! It’s a post-apocalyptic novel where angels have attacked Earth. That may sound cheesy, but the author takes this as an opportunity to poke fun at the tropes you expect the premise to have. The main character Penryn is strong but compassionate, even though the younger sibling used as motivation trope is strong with her. Her love interest is the archangel Raphael, and he is *insert gif of me fanning myself.* Again, I forgot to read the third and final book in this trilogy for some reason, but I read the ending out of curiosity, and I don’t think it goes exactly the way I want it to.
Yikes–we go from the books with the most merit to the one that’s dead to me. The first three books in this series had potential. The plot was kinda basic, but there was an angst-filled romance. How could I not forgive it? This series is hailed as a YA Game of Thrones, and if this is Game of Thrones, then it’s the most watered-down, simplified and childish version of GOT ever. Honestly, it read like the author noticed that everyone was comparing her books to Game of Thrones, so she stopped trying and got the barest plot points found in GOT, used them and never bothered to expand on them. In the end, she used miscommunication to keep the aforementioned angsty couple apart for the rest of the series, and then she gave us the most boring deus ex machina filled finale ever.
The wrath and the dawn
I will be the first to admit that these books aren’t perfect. The main character is supposed to be on a revenge mission to kill the king of her country for killing her best friend, but they both fall for each other so fast, and the revenge is forgotten within thirty seconds. The male characters are overprotective, and somehow everyone worships the main character, who is the typical sarcastic MC with a big heartTM. However, the romance is unbelievably angsty, and lots of the quotes in these books speak to my shipper heart. Also, the world is Asian-inspired, rich with vivid descriptions of the food and traditions of Ahdieh’s culture.
That’s all, folks! Let’s chat in the comments. Did you read any of these? What’d you think of them?