All About The Hype
I've read a lot of hyped books so far in 2018. And reading that many hyped books made me think - how much should we really be led by the hype?
If, like me, you get most of your book recommendations from fellow bookworms on twitter, you'll no doubt be familiar with the sense of excitement as people get ARCs of hotly anticipated releases, and reviews start filling your news feed. Your Instagram feed is full of gorgeous pictures of the book in question, and people are tweeting with far more capitals, emojis, and exclamation marks than usual.
But is this much hype potentially damaging your own experience of the book?
I guess it depends on what constitutes hype for you. For me, hype is a combination of publishing houses marketing the book to oblivion, and of friends on twitter raving about it.
Hyped Release #1: Goodbye, Perfect.
Now this was a book that didn't have the marketing juggernaut behind it, and I felt like that made the difference for me. And, I had already read Sara Barnard's other two books and adored them, so I knew what to expect.
Bloggers had been raving about this since the earliest ARCs were released, and that meant that I preordered the book very early on, and bounced along to my local indie on release day and inhaled it.
This kind of hype, for me, is all good hype. It's led by bloggers for the community, and I would always trust you guys to recommend great books to me and steer me clear of any calamaties!
All About The Hype: 10/10
Hyped Release #2: Turtles All The Way Down
There's a reason I didn't read this book when it first came out. There was just too MUCH of it. The marketing juggernaut was in full swing, you couldn't move in a bookshop for copies of it, and it felt like this release basically smothered all other great books that were released in the same month because this was the only book everyone was talking about.
Coincidentally, you should all go and read Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend, a book that seems to have been missed by the autumn's marketing nonsense but is sublimely wonderful.
But Turtles was always too much for me at the time. I had enjoyed The Fault In Our Stars for what it was, but I hadn't enjoyed many other John Green books. And I didn't want to read it just because everyone else was reading it.
So I got to Turtles a few months after it came out, after Christmas, after the hype had died down. And I enjoyed it. I elaborate further on my thoughts here, but I thought it was a great, mature offering.
But I’m not sure I would have thought that if I’d read it in the middle of the hype where everyone was telling me it was the best book since sliced bread. I think I would have just been disappointed, which would have been doing the book, and my experience of reading it, a disservice.
All About The Hype: 7/10
Hyped Release #3: State Of Sorrow
I love a good Melinda Salisbury book. Her Sin Eater’s Daughter series was fantastically good and I looked forward to her new series with anticipation!
The hype for this book came mostly from book twitter, which was great to see. No epic marketing juggernaut, no having it shoved down my throat every time I breathed in the direction of a Waterstones.
But I still felt a slight disconnect when I finally got my hands on Sorrow myself.
It wasn’t that it wasn’t fabulous – because it was. It wasn’t that it didn’t deserve the praise being lavished on it – because it did. It was a twisting, turning, suspense-driven political narrative with truly diabolical villains.
Yet it wasn’t what I thought I was getting based on early reviews.
I didn’t understand that what I was getting my hands on was a tense political drama. I was expecting a more traditional fantasy narrative in the style of Sin Eater’s Daughter, and so I felt like the first sixty pages was just me being thoroughly confused by what was going on.
In fairness, A Twist then happens and it feels like the whole story slots in to place, and as a reader I felt like I knew what I was dealing with. I just felt like the story itself, which I adored, wasn’t the story that was hyped to me, and so my experience fell slightly short.
It’s a cracking read though, and if you haven’t read it I suggest you do. I can’t wait for the second one!
All About The Hype: 7/10
Hyped Release #4: Children Of Blood and Bone
I love a fantasy story. I love it even more when it’s set in a different world with different magical systems and when I read the blurb for this I went and pre-ordered it.
It was also exciting because this is Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel, and to have the marketing juggernaut behind a debut fantasy novel by a WOC was fantastic to see.
But again, I felt like my reading of this book was harmed by the juggernaut’s powering through all my social media feeds. Everyone was raving about it, publishing houses were on twitter losing their heads over how brilliant it was, and I was expecting it to be a mind-blowingly good book.
Yet for me, it wasn’t.
Don’t get me wrong – I thought it was a great book. I enjoyed reading it and the characters were interesting and I really want the next book to find out what happens to them.
But it’s not the greatest fantasy book I’ve ever read. And the way the hype talked, you’d have thought it would be.
And I don’t think it’s fair that a great book might not leave the reader feeling as amazing as it could, just because the hype has got a bit too much. I felt like as an experience reading it, the hype did this book a disservice by just not knowing when to rein it in.
All About The Hype: 7/10
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is – hype is all well and good, and it’s great that books, especially like Children Of Blood And Bone, are getting the marketing madness because historically that’s definitely not been the case.
I just hope that in the future I can keep my eyes on book twitter’s recommendations and people’s blog posts, without letting marketing cloud my judgement too much.
What books have you read that you felt were over-hyped? Are there any you think should have been hyped that haven’t got the press? Let me know in the comments!