The Worst of 2022

We’ve presented The Best of 2022 in our previous post; now, it’s PSA time 😉

Fortunately for you, it’s going to be a much shorter post. There’s no need to wallow in misery of the disappointments and unfortunate choices, or to taste the lingering, unpleasant rot of bad books, movies and TV series more than strictly necessary. And also, this past year was marked by careful deliberation and lucky strikes on our part, thus rendering the list of the bad and worse rather short.

Ola: Let’s start traditionally, with books. My biggest bookish disapointment of 2022 was, in a way, something to be expected: Joe Abercrombie’s The Wisdom of Crowds (2021) did not constitute a sudden dip in quality, a remarkable pivot in writing skill or storytelling panache; on the contrary, this was a culmination of a long and winding way to perdition through the sins of authorial hubris and sloth. This was the moment of parting ways between me and Abercrombie, and although I’m certain he and his fanbase won’t notice my absence, it does bear some significance for me – a confirmation of a long-held suspicion that grimdark is in its essence as juvenile and simplistic as whatever it rages against.

My next disappointing read came from Netgalley and could serve as the illustration of the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Gideon Defoe’s An Atlas of Extinct Countries (2021) promised a fun romp through history and geography, but emphatically did not deliver. Avoid this like a plague. Ooops, these days this saying kind of acquired additional meanings ;).

The title I want to mention belongs to the manga category. One of them is Tite Kubo’s Bleach, a long-time fan-favourite which proved so traumatically bad that I renamed it to Bleh. If you want to see the worst in manga, you don’t need to look any further. Try Bleh, or One Punch Man, and you’ll realize manga also has its tropes, weaknesses, and shameful pandering to the lowest instincts of teenage boys. To be fair, there were also some pretty weak volumes of Naruto along the way, but I am willing to overlook their weaknesses because they are followed by some truly great ones. That’s the thing about manga – it lasts for hundreds of volumes, and inevitably some of these will be fillers, but for the titles I read and love the overall quality remains astonishingly high.

And lastly, one re-read. J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Even the wonderful narration of Stephen Fry couldn’t help this rotten egg of a book. Oh, the teenage angst! As I mentioned in my GR review,

“It’s way too long, boring and terribly angsty, and for me it’s simply the worst part of the whole series. I had a hard time going through the entire book, because Harry’s angry special snowflakiness just grated on my nerves so much. Also, the glaring logical holes that this time around I couldn’t overlook even when I tried.

It was a re-read, and sadly looks like none of HP books can entirely live up to the first encounter – the first time around this one got 6/10 stars ;)”

Piotrek: I had some strong candidates to my “Best of 2022” lists. “Worst of…” lists aren’t as full. I was cautious in my selection, and most of the things I did not particularly like where kind of good, just not my thing.

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Fantasy Bucket List Book Tag

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Our second Wyrd & Wonder tag 🙂 We decided to go crazy, and there were a few we wanted to do for quite a while…

Ladies and Gentlemen – Fantasy Bucket List Book Tag, originally spotted on The Little Book Owl.

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A fictional world that you would like to tour

Piotrek: Middle Earth. There are many fascinating universes in the world of fantasy, but this is the one that started it all, the Amber of fantasy realms. I want to walk in Lorien, rest in Rivendell, climb… well, not necessarily Caradhras in winter, but perhaps Erebor, if Smaug isn’t around? Yes, one of the rare peaceful moments would be perfect for an extended tour. It already is one of my special places, although only ever visited in imagination.

I hope I’ll get to visit New Zealand as an acceptable substitute 😉

Ola: Please do! 😀

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As I am already in the Earth-equivalent of Middle Earth, the fictional world I’d like to visit the most would be Amber – the pattern-world of fantasy worlds created by Roger Zelazny. Though in truth it’s a cheating answer – because from there I could get (more or less) easily to other worlds: Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, Robin Hobb’s Realm of Elderlings, Neal Stephenson’s Arbre from his absolutely mind-blowing Anathem (the review of which will come soon!), Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea, Glen Cook’s world of the Black Company (but I’d only go there if I had a guarantee I would come back, even the mythical Khatovar doesn’t strike me as a good place to live), Iain Banks’s utopian Culture worlds and Neal Asher’s Polity, and so many others!

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To be read, to be bought…

Ok, so here it is, and I will wait with the Temeraire review, maybe till I finish the first trilogy. It’s late, but recent Paris bombings occupied my mind most of the weekend. I’ve even spent lots of time arguing about politics on the internet, never a good idea and something I’ve tried to avoid for a long time. But I had an unusually emotional reaction and needed to rant a bit 😉

First – both my TBR (To Be Read) and TBB (To Be Both) lists measure in hundreds. I’d like to read everything and I’d love to have a hardback copy of most of the fantasy & s/f books ever published.

The End.

Continue reading “To be read, to be bought…”