Dragons and Jetpacks, Top Lists

Most Disappointing Dragons & Jetpacks Books

Since 2013, I have run a book group called Dragons & Jetpacks on Goodreads. Originally set up with a couple of friends from university, we now have several other moderators on board and over 1300 members, all avid lovers of science fiction and fantasy. Most of the time, our monthly reads (one sci-fi and one fantasy, and a bi-monthly Mod Pick) are fantastic choices, and I frequently discover books I love and may have otherwise never heard of because of the group. But there are occasionally times where books chosen by the group just don’t work for me at all, and those are the books I wanted to discuss today.

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

  • The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick – I normally love PKD’s work, but this one just wasn’t for me. And interestingly, quite a lot of the group did not get along with it either. Although it was a clever idea, I found myself having great difficulty concentrating on it and taking in what happened.
  • Promise of Blood (Powder Mage Trilogy #1) by Brian McClellan – When I finished this and ultimately found it was not really at all what I’d expected, that I hadn’t enjoyed it and had barely focused on it at all, I blamed it on my mood at the time. I’d been studying a lot, I didn’t feel like reading that kind of fiction at that point… and more excuses. So I kept my copy with the intention of giving it a re-read at some point in the future, because I thought I’d enjoy it a lot more then. However, a few months later when sorting out my books, I got rid of it. I’d decided it was nothing to do with my mood – however much I wanted to deny it, I just wasn’t going to get along with this series.
  • Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann Leckie – I honestly don’t understand how this has won so many awards, and how so many people love it. I found it boring as hell. And at the time that the group read it, I thought I was the only one – but now, looking at my Goodreads friends’ reviews, I’m definitely not.

  • The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1) by Jim Butcher – This makes me so sad. I really don’t know what happened here but this book sounded amazing. And then it was just… eh. It was a huge disappointment after a massive build up, and months of waiting to read it.
  • The Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks – Very, very generic feeling fantasy. I’m sure Brent Weeks’ other series are excellent but I’m kind of hesitant to pick them up after this.
  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell – Oh, how it dragged. How little sense it made. Basically, the best bits of this book were the ‘normal’ everyday things.

The Martian by Andy Weir

  • NOS4A2 by Joe Hill – This wasn’t a bad book, so much as it made me feel very uncomfortable. It was not a nice experience.
  • Blood of Elves (The Witcher #3) by Andrzej Sapkowski – So apparently whilst this is the third book in the series, it also works as a standalone and is fine if you’ve not played or even heard of the games. I have played the games, and I didn’t always know what was going on… I definitely felt like something was missing, so perhaps this isn’t so much the book as the fact that it shouldn’t be advertised as a standalone.
  • The Martian by Andy Weir – Controversial! Everyone loves it! And the film was great. This is one of the rare instances where I loved the film a LOT more than the book. However, I do plan on re-reading this at some point – I read it on my Kindle, which always changes my reading experience slightly.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?


18 thoughts on “Most Disappointing Dragons & Jetpacks Books”

  1. I agree with most of these Rinn. Especially The Man in the High Castle. I read it shortly after really enjoying Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep which I really enjoyed and it was just so utterly boring to me. I will however disagree with Promise of Blood, I enjoyed it (although I’ve yet to read the next two) and Way of Shadow’s because the trilogy as a whole I really liked. Of course to each there own lol. This kind of thing always reminds me of me and Roger either completely agreeing with a book or completely disagreeing. There is usually zero middle ground :p

    1. I don’t think many of us enjoyed The Man in the High Castle, did we? I hope it hasn’t put people off PKD entirely 😦 I think I probably enjoy more of the same books as you than Roger, but those two we definitely don’t agree on!

  2. Oh wow, there are some controversial picks on here for sure! Personally I hated The Martian too so I get your disappointment with that one, but I haven’t heard many negative takes on Ancillary Justice yet…gotta read that one soon so I can see where I fall on it!

    1. You’re honestly one of the only people I know who also didn’t enjoy The Martian! And you’re right about Ancillary Justice – I just don’t get it. 😦

  3. Both The Martian and Ancillary Justice ended in my DNF section: like you, I could not understand the reason for the world-wide excitement about them. Ancillary Justice, in particular, was intriguing for the narrative choice concerning gender awareness, but – as you correctly put it – the story dragged in a painful way….

    1. I almost DNF’d Ancillary Justice, honestly I don’t know how I finished it. The gender awareness was interesting, but I also found it a little confusing and it made it hard to follow. But mostly I was just unsure about the viewpoint of a ship…

  4. I loved The Aeronaut’s Windlass and The Martian. Though you might have to really like cats to appreciate Aeronaut. My husband agrees with you on Ancillary Justice, and I started reading and got bored. Agree on The Bone Clocks – I’ve read nearly everything by David Mitchell and this one had so much potential (have you read Slade House?) but was kind of all over the place.

    1. I love cats, but it still didn’t work for me 😛 I’ve not read any other books by Mitchell, but I’m quite interested in the one about Jakob de Zoet (or something like that, a Dutchman in Japan).

  5. I have to agree with you about The Man In The High Castle – I also totally felt like that book was about… nothing. When I finished it I just felt so blank. Totally missed me.

    And David Mitchell is tough to read in general. He has undoubtable taken because he can write in so many voices. But I still feel like maybe I’m history his audience a lot. I did like number9dream better than The Cloud Atlas, although I haven’t read the Bone Clocks yet. And although this author has been tough to relate to, I still plan to read already a few more of his books, if simply for the fact that I only went on a Kindle shopping spree and now they’re waiting there for me xD

    1. I just finished another PKD book I didn’t enjoy – seems I either love or hate his stuff :/

      Ah, do you think? I’m still unsure whether to read Cloud Atlas or not…

      1. PKD did write for most of his life, maybe it’s that? One of my friends has said something similar about Vonnegut – most of his books are pure genius, except for the ones he wrote when he was really old already. Maybe it’s similar with PKD?
        Cloud Atlas… I don’t know. It’s rough, it’s.. pretty terrifying, and I.. found I couldn’t understand what the main idea behind the story was. But, the writing is great. And there’s at least one story worth attention in the whole book (it’s made of several stories, perhaps 6). To me it just felt like separate stories. Not much interconnectedness, unlike it claims to be all about it… So I think I just plain ‘didn’t get it’ 🙂

      2. That’s true, he did publish a LOT of stuff. And as for Cloud Atlas, maybe it’s also one of those love or hate books?

      3. I don’t know, maybe? I wouldn’t say I ‘hated it’ per se… I liked the way it was told (although disliked a lot of violence, although I can see why it’s there. Just didn’t enjoy it). The problem with that one was that I.. didn’t understand the idea. I feel that I’ve missed it 😐 that doesn’t make me dislike the book, that just.. kind of makes me feel stupid 😀 like, WTF was this all about..?
        I’m going to watch the movie in the future, cause the movie is like another rendering of the same thing. In this case, I’m hoping that maybe it will shed light on something I might have missed about the book..
        But like I said, there’s AT LEAST one thing I really did enjoy, and that’s one of the stories (out of the six). Sonmi’s story – a story of a clone that develops consciousness. It was.. wonderful. That bit was truly wonderful.
        Maybe the problem with the rest of the stories was that I just couldn’t connect to them all, because Sonmi was the only out of all main characters I could connect to at all.

      4. Oh yeah, I know that feeling! And then of course you really dislike the book because of how it makes you feel.

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