03 December 2010

BookBloggerHop--Overhyped Books

Book Blogger Hop

This week's question from Book Blogger Hop: What very popular and hyped book in the blogosphere did you NOT enjoy and how did you feel about posting your review?

I generally don't post reviews on my blog for books that I don't care for.  Some may say that's the coward's way out; I say it's the courteous one.  Foremost, I'm a reader, not a book reviewer.  Secondly, I'm a bookseller, which means I frequently need to read books that aren't really my thing in order to do my job well.  Just because I'm not a fan of a book doesn't mean it's not a good one (and vice versa).

Of all of the hype in bookselling this past year, however, there is one title that looms large for me as being a shuddering disappointment.  Books that try too hard to appeal to everybody by crossing as many genres as possible almost inevitably fail, in my opinion.  And this year there was one book that had everybody buzzing: it was epic, it was literary, it was a thriller, it was a survival tale, it was apocalyptic, it was a biting commentary on the military industrial complex and humanity's overweening pride, it was part one of a trilogy, it was VAMPIRES like you've never seen before.  Of course, I'm talking about Justin Cronin's book, The Passage.  Did I read?  Of course.  I wouldn't go so far as to say it was a job requirement, but it was pretty close.

Did I like it?  Well, bits.

Did it keep me up at night?   Perhaps a few minutes.

Could any book have lived up to its hype?  I seriously doubt it.

Will I read the continuing trilogy?  Probably.

But here's the thing.  You can't have a page-turning thriller AND a book that waxes on about dust for several paragraphs.  You can't be literary AND be filled with trite language.  You can't be all things to all people.  And that's mostly why The Passage was hard to get through.  I skimmed at least 200 of its pages.  It needed a much better editor.  And I think the author should decide which audience he really wants to play to, since it's impossible to play to all of them with any level of success.


  1. Great point & mini-review all rolled into one!

  2. I just tried to read The Passage and couldn't get into it, so I gave up.

  3. I actually don't think I've heard of this book, so much for the hype for me anyway lol. I think in general a lot of hype books that are debut novels need better editing >.> Not that this one is a debut...

    Sniffly Kitty
    Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books

  4. I have a copy of this book - I put it in my son's bedroom... maybe he will bring it back to school with him (he's at college). It's not a genre I read but most books do not to be over 500 pages, when a book exceeds 500 it needs to be compelling to keep the reader interested.

    I love this week's question - I have to see The Passage seems to be the book not living up to the hype.

  5. Thanks for your visit to my blog! I got through about 250 pages of The Passage before abandoning it. I thought it was boring, but I know others who loved it.

  6. I felt the same way about The Passage. Disappointed. It wasn't that it was so terrible but it dragged on.

  7. "You can't have a page-turning thriller AND a book that waxes on about dust for several paragraphs. You can't be literary AND be filled with trite language. You can't be all things to all people." That says it all, doesn't it? ^_^

    I haven't yet read it, but I'll eventually get around to it....eventually. ^_^ I'll be sure to tamp down expectations.


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