Sunday, January 1, 2012

Worst of 2011

I debated whether or not to write this post, but I decided that, since I like to read "Worst of" posts, others might want to see a list of my "worst of 2011." Some of the works listed below aren't necessarily "worst," so much as "biggest disappointment." If that's the case, I'll say so.

I've only listed things I've written whole posts about.

Reading:
  • Romancing Mister Bridgerton (book) by Julia Quinn - This book isn't so much one of the worst I read in 2011 as it is one of the biggest disappointments. The first half of it was wonderful. In the last third of the book, however, Quinn did a few things that really disappointed me and tainted my enjoyment of the earlier parts of the book.
  • Basilisk (e-novella) by Kate Cotoner - No real emotional connection, the characters' first sex scene is on stage, in public (public sex and sexual situations are one of my personal red flags), and I just didn't find the characters in general to be all that interesting.
  • The Prisoner of Zenda (e-book) by Anthony Hope - Not as much fun as I was expecting it to be, and filled with characters I didn't like or didn't care about.
  • Never a Bride (e-book) by Amelia Grey - I hated the heroine and was annoyed by the hero. Grey's writing is appealing, and the hero and heroine occasionally made a good pair, but, overall, I didn't like this book. I managed to find another one of Grey's works while at a used bookstore, though, so I plan to give her another shot.
  • Duck! (e-book) by Kim Dare - I've read reviews that have said that Dare writes wonderful, hot, emotion-filled BDSM romance, but I just didn't see that this in this book. I found the characters dull and the world-building weak, and the romance disturbed me a little, because I felt that what Raynard took as a sign of Ori's natural tendency towards submission was actually a sign that he could have used some therapy after all the abuse he had endured.
  • DEAD(ish) (novelette) by Naomi Kramer - There was too much telling, not enough showing, and this novelette has the distinction of being the only work I read in 2011 with not a single likable character.
  • Pregnesia (book) by Carla Cassidy - This book features an 8-month pregnant heroine with amnesia, its only sex scene features said pregnant woman performing a hand job on the hero, and it's packed with "are you kidding me" moments. Its primary saving grace is that it's fast paced and, with a title like Pregnesia, only an idiot would pick it up with the expectation that it will be fantastic. For that reason alone, I suppose it shouldn't be on this list, but I decided to include it anyway.
  • Abandon (book) by Meg Cabot - Okay, so there are worse YA paranormal romances out there (*cough* Breaking Dawn *cough*). I suppose this one fits more in the "biggest disappointment" category. I love the Persephone myth, and I usually glom onto dark, brooding heroes, but Cabot somehow managed to write a dark, brooding hero that didn't make me go all fangirly. Personally, I think Cabot would be better off sticking to light-hearted stuff.
  • Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes: The Authorized Adaptation (graphic novel) by Ron Wimberly, introduction by Ray Bradbury - I haven't read the original work this was based on, but I got the feeling that this graphic novel tried a bit too hard to be faithful to that original work. It didn't make effective use of the strengths of the graphic novel format. I also wasn't a huge fan of the artwork style.
  • Blood Alone, Omnibus Collection 1 (manga, vols. 1-3) by Masayuki Takano - I've read worse manga than this, but this is probably the worst manga that I wrote a full post about in 2011. It reads as though what Takano really wanted to do was write a slice-of-life almost-romance about a girl and the man who takes care of her - the vampire elements are there and could have been really interesting, but Takano didn't make effective use of them and couldn't seem to draw really good action scenes.
Listening:
  • The Adventures of Sally (audio book) by P.G. Wodehouse, read by Kara Shallenberg - I was expecting more light, frothy fun, in the vein of Jill the Reckless. What I got instead was a heroine I didn't quite like but who was inexplicably loved by everyone else, a love interest who never seemed to mind being stepped upon by the heroine, and a whole collection of moments that either angered me or chilled me, emotional reactions that I don't think were what Wodehouse was necessarily aiming for. Even if he was, it doesn't really matter, because that wasn't the kind of book I wanted to read.
Viewing:
  • Bunraku (live action movie) - I do believe that this is the worst movie I watched all year, beating out even Cowboys & Aliens.
  • Cowboys & Aliens (live action movie) - I'd only recommend watching this if you can do so with a friend, in an environment where you're free to make fun of it without upsetting others. It's not quite in the "so bad it's good" category, but it's close. Maybe that means it shouldn't be on this list, I don't know.
  • Murder Princess (anime OVA) - This felt like an unfinished mish-mash of a bunch of other much better shows.  None of the characters grabbed me, and I can't even recommend it for its fight scenes.
  • Dance in the Vampire Bund (anime TV series) - Technically, this isn't a truly bad series. The story was fairly interesting, and I was intrigued enough by what was going on that I couldn't seem to stop watching, even though I sometimes wanted to. The reason why I've added it to this list is because it includes several things that are gigantic, glowing red flags for me: sexualized children and incestuous or semi-incestuous relationships. The main character has the mind of a sexy, flirtatious woman unabashedly going after the guy she's interested in, but she has the body of a young (undeveloped) child. I watched the censored version, so I thankfully never got to see her naked. This same character even got the equivalent of an on-screen gynecological exam near the end of the show. There's another character who ended up in a romantic relationship with the young boy she had cared for like a brother. The overall story may have been interesting, but I spent way too much time wishing there were some things I could un-see.
  • Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts (anime TV series) - This show definitely had its funny moments, and there were some aspects of it that I liked. However, a lot of its humor fell flat with me, and there were quite a few running gags that I thought seriously outstayed their welcome. Plus, remember what I said about incest being a red flag for me? Yeah, this show has incest-related jokes.

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