I Was Wrong

When I first launched this blog, I mostly used it as a way to review the books I read. I wanted to examine books critically, to understand what I loved and disliked about each one, to hopefully make me a better writer. Since then, this blog expanded to include whatever the heck I wanted to talk about. But it also has a lot of book reviews, that is still the primary thing I post.

I started this blog with a review of Jade City by Fonda Lee in August of 2020. Since then, I’ve posted 15 specific book reviews, one series review, and one classics recap. Before I review any book, I allow it to sit for a while, to let it rest on my mind so that my opinions aren’t clouded and can be somewhat objective. Even so, there are some books that I’ve changed my mind about the longer I’ve let them sit. As books exist in your memory or in your thoughts, your opinion of them can change. Some of these books have been in my life for over a year, so it stands to reason that I’ve changed my mind on some things.

I thought it might be interesting to go through my past reviews and see which of them I stand by and which I might like to update. Keeping in mind what my star grades mean, let’s take a look.

Tweet Cute

Original review here.

This is my most recent review so it has not had long to sit on my mind and change. Originally, it earned a 4 out 5 and I’ll stand by that grade. If someone forced me to update it, I’d shift it down to a 3.75, but really I think 4 is fair. It’s a fun, quirky, easy rom com that I loved. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re in the mood for a fun rom com, check it out.

They Both Die at the End

Original review here.

I scored this book 3.25 out 5 and I mostly stand by what I said in that review. This book contained so much potential, the premise and the world couldn’t have been more enticing. But the author didn’t do nearly enough with that world, which still hurts me. The longer that this book sits with me, I like it a little less. Not substantially, but enough for me to knock this down.

The only thing memorable about this book is the incredible world and that was the most frustrating part, since the author did almost nothing with the world. If I reviewed this today, I’d give it a 3 at the most. 3 and 3.25 fall within the same bracket of my grades, but I think it fits more with a 3.

All the Light We Cannot See

Original review here.

This book was so hard for me to review. So much of it was beautiful: the prose, the characters, the setting. All of it was phenomenally done. I understand and support all of the awards it won; it earned them.

But so much of it didn’t work for me. The stylistic choices the author made didn’t align with my personal preference. Which is no one’s fault. So, rating it objectively, I gave it a 4.5 out 5. I can’t do that anymore. Maybe because the beauty of it has worn off, maybe because I am leaning more into my preference choices when I review books now, whatever the reason, I’d have to lower that.

If I were to grade this book today, I’d give it no higher than a 4. Maybe even a 3.75.

One Stupid Thing

Original review here.

I don’t think I have too much to add here. This was a fine book, nothing about it sticks out now. I didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. I gave it a 2.5 in my original review and I think I’d leave it there.

One of Us is Lying

Original review here.

The longer this book has sat with me, the warmer I have felt towards it. That doesn’t typically happen, normally it goes the other way. But I find myself thinking about this premise and the characters somewhat routinely. It has stuck around in my mind in a way that other books (like One Stupid Thing) haven’t. I don’t think I was necessarily harsh on this one, I’ve just enjoyed the memory of it more as time has gone a long.

In the review, I said it sets out to do what it wanted to do. Which is fair. It didn’t break any new ground, it didn’t disappoint. It was bang-on average. But I do think the theme of hiding within stereotypes is cool enough to bump it up. I gave this one a 3 originally, but I’d think about bumping that up to a 3.5.

The Fortunate Ones

Original review here.

I didn’t enjoy this book a ton when I first read it. I remember leaving it feeling somewhat flat and disappointed. Now, thinking back on it, I’d have to agree with those feelings. Nothing about this book sticks out strongly in my memory other than the setting, and that’s only because it’s set in Nashville, which is where I’m from.

I gave it a 2 and I’d stand by that.

A Touch of Death

Original review here.

This is a self-published book. The author reached out to me and asked for me to review this one. I’m very glad she did because I did enjoy this book. I’m glad I had the opportunity to read it. In the original review, I spoke a lot about the potential of the setting and the world, which is all true.

But I think I was a bit harsh in my grading. I gave it a 2.75 and I don’t know that I’d stand by that. Having read some more self-published works since then, this book stands head and shoulders above them. I still remember plot points a year after reading it, which is a good sign.

Don’t get me wrong, there were issues for sure, but overall this book is better than a 2.75. I’d give it a 3.25 now. Maybe even a 3.5

Little Fires Everywhere

Original review here.

I really love this book. Still, to this day, I reference it and feel its influence in my own writing. There’s so much to love about this book and I haven’t cooled on it since writing the original review. This is still the pinnacle book when it comes to exploring themes for me. It forced me to think without realizing I was thinking, that was how much the author got me involved with the characters.

I gave it a 4.5 and I’d keep it there. It’s a really fantastic read.

Imaginary Friend

Original review here.

This book was an interesting one for me, since Stephen Chbosky created one of my favorite stories of all time in Perks of Being a Wallflower. When it comes to my YA influences, no one has impacted me more than Chbosky. But this book was so different from Perks. In almost every way. And I didn’t like it nearly as much.

Most of my criticisms hold true. Most of my likes hold true. But I think I’ve softened on it a bit since the review. It was a truly interesting, complex, dark, and wonderful world. I loved the setting Chbosky created with this book. My biggest complaint was the ending. I don’t like the themes he tried to force in there.

I gave it a 2.25 out of 5 and I don’t think that’s fair. It’s better than that. I think I was feeling my disappointment of not loving a Chbosky book when I wrote that review. Now, I’d give it a 2.75 or 3.

Mistborn

Original review here.

I do love Brandon Sanderson and I ended up really enjoying this trilogy overall. But I don’t know that Mistborn is the best example of Sanderson’s writing. It is still great, but not the best.

I gave this a 4.25 originally and I think I’d bump it down to 4.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

Original review here.

I was pretty harsh on this one. In a lot of ways, it deserved it. But maybe it shouldn’t have taken as much heat as it did. I still stand by a lot of the criticism. I do think this is basically a retold Halo, but most Sci Fi is derivative anyway. I do think the pacing was off, but some people might enjoy the unnecessary science explanations. I do think it was too long, but people who love it might enjoy that.

With the sheer repetitiveness of the story and the blatant influences from other stories, I just can’t rate this high. But did it deserve as low of a rating as I gave it? Probably.

I wanted so much to like this and parts of the world were so cool and interesting, but Paolini didn’t lean into those elements nearly enough. Instead he took 100 pages to talk about them traveling (yet again) where nothing happens. The character relationships didn’t work. The end wasn’t a great payoff. I didn’t like this one.

But why did I give a 1.45? A .45? What was I even thinking? Only because it is so hard for books to get one star, I might bump this up to a 2 star.

The Stray

Original review here.

The Stray is a debut novel published by an indie publisher. It is a philosophical Science Fiction that attempts to answer (or at least give perspective on) some interesting and fundamental questions.

While the story was unique and intriguing, other parts of this book felt a little cliched. At times it read like a debut novel – which sometimes was refreshing and honest, other times a little distracting.

I originally gave this one a 3.5. I’d either keep it there or move it down to a solid 3.

The Sword of Kaigen

Original review here.

I think I was harsher on this book in my review than it deserved. The longer this one has sat with me, the more I see and remember its merits. For one thing, thought it was a tad small, the culture and world developed so well. The characters were strong and the themes of family versus government were explored in depth without being worn on the sleeve.

I didn’t love the magic system, but that is a personal preference and parts of the magic system were utilized in such an epic way. M.L. Wang utilized some tropes that I’m a known hater of, notably the “kill everyone” trope. But the longer this has sat with me, the more I’m okay with it.

In the original review, I gave this one a 3.75, leaning towards a 4. I think now I’d put it at least a 4 if not a 4.25.

The Rage of Dragons

Original review here.

This book is highly respected amongst the booktubers and book reviewers that I enjoy and respect. Every time it is praised or mentioned I’m left scratching my head. It just didn’t work for me and that hasn’t changed with time. I don’t understand the hype or the love it has garnered from people.

Was it a bad book? Not at all. But it wasn’t great. It was fine. The world was interesting without being phenomenal. Some of the characters were good, but not all of them. I don’t know. It didn’t work for me.

I stand by most of my criticisms in the original review and I’d keep the grade the same. This one gets a 2.5.

Jade City

Original review here.

And we’ve finally made it to my first ever review on this blog.

I loved this book and I don’t think that adequately came across in the official review. Keep in mind how knew I was to reviewing or even critically examining fiction novels at the time of that review. The longer this book has been in my life, the more I appreciate and respect it.

I love the setting. I love the magic system. The characters were only okay, but they didn’t need to be the best ever. I’ve decided I’m going to pick up the second novel in the series, Jade War, this year and I couldn’t be more excited for it. Fonda Lee is a great author who has fashioned an incredible world.

I rated it 4 out of 5, which isn’t a bad grade for this one. If anything I’d bump it up a tad to a 4.25. While I agree with the grade, I don’t think that 4 adequately expressed how much I enjoyed the book and I wanted to make sure it was covered.

One thought on “I Was Wrong

  1. What a great idea of revisiting your own reviews. I too guess I should check out what I think about the books I’ve read from my past. Also, thanks for giving me more ideas on what books to read next!

    Like

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