[LET’S CHAT] Problematic Faves & What To Do With Them

 Is it truly a bad thing to be a loyal fan?

I’m sure we’re all familiar of how it feels like to be part of a fandom! We’re all fans of certain book series, movies, TV shows…if there’s a name for it, there’s a group of people passionately carrying it somewhere out there. But, of course, being in a fandom can become hella complicated pretty quickly, and as bookworms, I feel like it’s a conversation that has popped up often.

I would say there’s definitely been a push for readers to approach books critically, not just being able to say a book is bad if you think so, but also pointing out things that could be portrayed as problematic or harmful to other potential readers, which is fantastic, and I’m pretty sure we all have enough compassion and empathy to understand why that is necessary and have the drive to do it. That situation can become a tad bit complicated when it turns to our favorite series and authors, though, which begs the question: how the heck do we figure it out?

I think we all probably have a particularly unhealthy attachment to a certain fandom, whether it surrounds a book, a show, a movie, etc.

You’re dedicated to it, you buy all the merchandise, you keep up with all the news, you bond with others over it…but what to do when something you love is criticized? Personally, my base instinct is to be overprotective and angry. I’m someone who doesn’t enjoy reading one-star reviews of my favorite books or likes to hear people complain over and over about things that I genuinely enjoy and love. I feel like there are lots of things I enjoy that get a bad rap or are so constantly hated on that when I hear criticism for it, I just huff and puff and move on because it’s the same old, same old.

But, when it comes to loyal fans in other areas, I tend to roll my eyes – when Taylor Swift fans say Beyonce isn’t that great, when Fifth Harmony fans constantly trash Camilla, when fans of 50 Shades of Grey try to tell others that the relationship between Christian and Ana isn’t abusive. So why do I always feel so differently when it comes to my own faves?

(Also, the examples just came to me; PLEASE DON’T FREAK OUT.)

I think we all like to think that we are critical and fair reviewers when it comes to books.

If I genuinely don’t like a book, whether it’s part of a fave series or author or not, I give my honest opinion, and if I love a book to death, I’ll rave about it until you’ll be begging me to stop. I have favorite authors I’ve loved who I will gladly criticize if I feel like a book just isn’t up to par. I think it’s easy to come to the conclusion that it’s perfectly fine to criticize the things you enjoy and know you can love and enjoy something that is problematic, but at the same time, it might be hard to apply to your life.

So, obviously, I decided that I would take a step forward and talk about some things I don’t like regarding three authors that are my favorites that I’ve absolutely adored (and I’ve met in real life), because why not?

  • I didn’t think the first book in either series was that great. Are Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses both addicting and fun reads? Hell yeah. Are they the best in the series? Definitely not. I personally feel as if Throne of Glass doesn’t fit the vibe of the rest of the series, and A Court of Thorns and Roses relied way too much on the relationship between Tamlin and Feyre, which I didn’t ship at all (I KNEW IT ALL ALONG). The second books are both fantastic, though.
  • Dorian was a completely unnecessary love interest. There will never come a time where I am not befuddle by those who genuinely think that Aelin and Dorian belong together. Like, why? They barely have a connection. They share the most boring kiss ever (do they even kiss? I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER BECAUSE IT’S SO IRRELEVANT). She never even loved him. I mean, the one time the main character doesn’t stereotypically fall for the player prince is the one time people are begging for it to happen. STOP TRYING TO MAKE DORAELIN HAPPEN.
  • I wish Nehemiah was still alive. Okay, I know Nehemiah died for the good of the people and it really pushed Aelin and her wonderful character development, BUT I STILL WISH SHE WERE BREATHING. Just imagine her and Lysandra and Aelin being best friends forever. IT WOULD BE MAGICAL.

(Also, off-topic, BUT DID YOU SEE THAT SHE’S PREGNANT? OH MY GOD.)

  • I didn’t like A Darker Shade of Magic that much. I KNOW, I KNOW. I really wanted to love it, especially since I read it when I was on Goodreads, and pretty much all my friends adored it, but I just wasn’t impressed. I think I gave it four stars, but then docked it to three stars because I just felt meh about the whole thing.
  • I hated how long it took for the games to start in A Gathering of Shadows. If you’ve never read the book, you won’t understand this, but in the summary for the book, it talks about a tournament, AND I LOVE A GOOD TOURNAMENT. Unfortunately, it takes more than HALF the book to actually get to the tournament. And then it’s over after a couple of chapters. I FELT SO MISLEAD. I still love the sequel, but this still annoys me to this day.
  • I found A Conjuring of Light slow-going. I’m actually still reading this one (technically), and I have to admit, I was sort of bored? So many people said it was action-packed and exciting, but I just felt sort of meh about it all. AH WELL.

  • I wish Blue had more female friends. I LOVE BLUE’S FAMILY; I REALLY DO. But I think it would have been truly badass to see her have a couple friends that are women. You know, like Stranger Things? Just think if some girl came in and had magic powers? I WOULD HAVE BEEN DOWN.
  • I request more Pynch. I mean, we ARE getting more Pynch, but I still wish there had been even more in The Raven King. I loved what I got, but I don’t think there could ever be too much kissing when it comes to Ronan and Adam. NEVER.
  • I hated the inclusion of Henry Cheng. I just did not like him at all. I didn’t like him in Blue Lily, Lily Blue, and I was really not into him randomly being inserted into the group in the last book out of nowhere. Especially when Blue and Gansey go to his house for some little party, and Blue attempts to do some sort of “they were my raven boys” to Henry. Yeah, no. Also, Blue, Gansey, and Henry deciding to cross-country the road together was the dumbest thing. I COULD RANT FOR DAYS. I WANT A MAGICAL GIRL.

Do you find it hard to criticize books and authors you love? What are some things you don’t like in the series or authors you love?

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25 thoughts on “[LET’S CHAT] Problematic Faves & What To Do With Them

  1. This is a really interesting topic! I think you’re right – it doesn’t matter what books you like (problematic or not), what matters is how you talk to other people about them. Your example of 50 shades and people trying to claim the relationship isn’t abusive – that is the wrong way to talk about the book. It’s misleading and could be offensive to people who have experienced abusive relationships.

    I do think there is room to disagree about problematic books, but I think you have to be respectful and considerate if someone finds something offensive or upsetting. Having said that, I can totally understand people wanting to defend their favourite books. I read Twilight when I was 13, and even though I can now see the problems with it and with the relationships in it, I still have that nostalgic emotional attachment to it, so when people start slamming it and saying it’s awful, something inside me objects strongly!

    This is such a good post! It’s made me think a LOT about problematic books! Thank you ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, that’s such a good point! People are perfectly fine to disagree when it comes to opinions regarding problematic books, but I think we do have to respect when people feel upset about something. I can see how it goes the other way around; when people pile on something you love, you just love it even more.

      Ah, thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A very interesting discussion as always! I completely agree with you – it’s really hard to criticize and acknowledge that the things you love have faults. And it’s hard to even see that on your own, since you’re in love with the book so much. That’s why I think other people’s opinions are so valuable. I compeltely agree with everything you pointed out about The Raven Boys, especially the part about Blue. I always say that Henry should have been a girl. That would have been great. Anyways, great post as always! 🙆‍♀️

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s very true about seeing other people’s opinions! I’ve never really seen it that way, but it’s true that it does make us think about things differently! He should have! I would’ve totally been into a girl moving into the neighborhood and just forcing her way into the Raven Boys, and they’re like, “okay fine.” XD

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting discussion! I always try to be honest but yes if it’s an author I love and know personally it will be harder. I will still be honest but I will use tons of words to express what did not like. I want to give the nuances and avoid bashing. I will feel guilty for not loving it but will still express my honest opinion. By the way I’m with you about the unecessary love interests in SJM. What infuriated me was how she treated poor Tamlin in the second book. She did the same with Chaol…

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s true! I feel like I explain myself more when I’m being critical than when I’m praising something, anyway. It’s just easier to express myself, I think. Hm, I hated Tamlin since the first book and thought there was something off about him (I have the same instinct for TV shows as well; I’m always good at picking out the terrible people). I can understand Chaol as well, but I personally wasn’t bothered by it. He was a jerk (like pretty much everyone in the series), and was redeemed by the end of QOS. But I know people see it differently.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think this is an important idea to understand: acknowledging that a favorite book or anything else can be flawed is essential to facilitating productive conversation with other readers and understanding different opinions. I did enjoy what I’ve read so far of Maas’s Throne of Glass and ACOTAR series, but I was not a fan of the romance you pointed out at all. I was glad to see changes in the second book, but I’m still unsure how I should feel about the ACOTAR series. Nice discussion!

    claire @ clairefy

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely agree! I think it can go the other way around as well: sometimes, situations are just blown out of proportion or not everyone who likes something that is perceived as problematic is the devil. Yeah, I hated Tamlin and Feyre together, and was so glad to be proven right in ACOMAF. XD

      Like

  5. I love your post. Sometimes I feel like I’m crazy because everyone is so overly critical and will defend every problem they find within a book to extremes. And sometimes it’s like they will punish you because you like the book despite the stuff that may be wrong with it. Like if there’s a problem in the book no one should like it and you can’t really tell people what to like soo… And there have been books that I have seen get so much hate that it completely turns me off from reading it because that’s all I can think about.

    I do love ACOMAF the most of that series and I don’t have a favorite Throne of Glass book. I loved ADSOM and I haven’t read anything by Maggie yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel that! I can get tired of it sometimes, cause I do think people will take things and just misinterpret it, and then it blows up into a whole thing. I thought that happened with ACOWAR, since the passage wasn’t indicating anything about anything.

      I LOVE ACOMAF SO MUCH. I also don’t have a fave TOG book – mainly because I love them all and can’t pick a favorite. XD

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel like if there are some sections of a book that are problematic, they need to be addressed but I still think it’s okay to like and enjoy sections that aren’t/weren’t problematic. One of the books that I read this year had some things that were problematic like the language used to describe one of the characters, but then there were other parts of the book that weren’t problematic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree! I feel like sometimes, people will just want a book to be not problematic or it’s a problematic mess, which just isn’t going to happen. I’m sure all books are problematic because authors are humans and we’re all learning, so finding the “perfect book” is just not going to happen.

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  7. OMG NEHEMIA and Lysandra and Aelin being friends would be MAAAIFEJKBFS AMAZING. AND YESSS with a gathering of shadows!! I’M “currently” reading it and nothing has happened. . .and it’s sat there for a while as punishment. I didn’t really like the first book either until about 50% of the way through since it was so. . . info-dump-y.. .

    I feel that I didn’t used to be overly critical in my reviews, and I’m still not. . . BUT I’m trying to think more about the book afterwards, because I know that I get swept with the hype of “omg I ship them let me rave for ages!!” and I physically need to stop that aajahahahah.

    this was a really cool post idea, I love it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I KNOW; I WOULD LOVE IT SO MUCH. I’m still waiting for Manon and Aelin to become friends because I think they’d be great together. XD I feel that! I enjoy the series overall, but it can be a bit slow for me. Vicious and This Savage Song are the two I prefer the most!

      I feel like I’ve always been moderately critical. Maybe it’s because I like to rant? XD And, I agree, sometimes I can be swept up in how much I loved a book that I don’t criticize it like I should.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I WOULD LOVE MANON AND AELING TO BE FRIENDS!
        ahhhh TSS and ODD give me all the feelllssssssssss.

        I love ranting but when it comes to reviews I don’t negatively rant????????? But at the same time, I’ve only needed to rant about a book 2 times over the past three years becuase they’re the only books that i didn’t like. . OMG RANTING. Can i get a job as a full-time ranter??? please???

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post! I also find it unnecessary when you’re so obsessed with something that you will bash anyone who goes against that (the fifth harmony/camila situation is a prime example of this, I think). It’s always okay to not like something about a favourite of yours! I used to feel a little hesitant to express myself in this way but I’m finding it easier now.

    Also: PYNCH!! Yes!! We definitely need more, and I agree, more in The Raven King would’ve been awesome. And I didn’t mind Henry, I just didn’t find him all that relevant? I’ve seen debates about whether he is part of the Gangsey, and I have to say I definitely don’t think he is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree! I can disagree with someone over a book, but I’ve always found people who dismiss an entire fandom to be rude, and I don’t get the point of it at all. I’m finding it easier as well!

      That’s true! I think the fact that he wasn’t there at all in the first two books, then played a minimal role in the third book, then playing this major role in the fourth book just didn’t make sense to me (especially the fact that Blue goes from “I don’t like Henry” in the 3rd book to “Henry, Gansey, and I are all going on a cross-country road trip!” Like, what???

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, I love this topic!! I personally get really defensive as well when it comes to people trashing my favorite things/books — as would everyone, really. But I think an important part about being a reviewer (and a person in general) is to be able to realize the faults of something EVEN tho you loved it / liked it / enjoyed it / thought it was good. For example, with Schwab, I LOOOOOOOVE her writing, but I recognize that I have a really hard time with her writing style and that it’s kind of slow. With Marie Lu, for example, I absolutely ADORE Warcross, yet I’m able to recognize a whole lot of flaws about it. (I just… don’t care.)

    And I feel like you kind of talked about problematic as in different opinions and stuff, but there are also some authors that I feel are actually like PROBLEMATIC. I try to separate the author and their work in that case, but it’s really hard?? But it is also a really interesting topic on being able to recognize problematic aspects of a book and still love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I feel like I can simultaneously hate it when people criticize things I love, but also criticize the things I love anyway. I think it’s because I’m doing it though. XD I do have books/series I refuse to believe have flaws, BUT THAT’S JUST LIFE.

      I had a discussion a long time ago about authors and their opinions (I don’t even remember what it was called lol), but I personally don’t really keep up with authors on social media and I like to think most of the authors I do love are pretty progressive anyway???

      Liked by 1 person

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