The “NOPE” Book Tag!

Warning: This Book Tag contains mild-to-major spoilers for “Don’t Cosplay With My Heart” by Cecil Castellucci, “The Midnight Star” by Marie Lu, “Stars of Fortune” by Nora Roberts, “The Great Library series” by Rachel Caine, “Caraval” by Stephanie Garber, “Wings Of Fire” by Tui T. Sutherland, “The Assassin Game” by Kirsty McKay, “The Game Of Triumphs” by Laura Powell, “This Savage Song” and “Our Dark Duet” by Victoria Schwab, and “The Missing Files of Charlotte Dodd” and “Coming Home” by Holly Kerr. If you haven’t read any of these books and want to avoid spoilers, read with caution.

A woman wearing glasses holding a book and reading it, a hand held up with a disbelieving look on her face.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on I’d look just as frustrated as the model in the photo if I read a bad book, ending or bad character development.

Ever been frustrated by reading a book?

Ever wanted to vent about how bad that ending was?

Or how about that one choice in character development?

Thankfully, the “NOPE” Book Tag is the perfect opportunity to vent about these things, and that’s what I’m writing in this post today! The “NOPE” Book Tag was created by the farah project (you can watch the original video by clicking here!) and I’ve found this Book Tag across several other book and writer-related blogs, so I figured it was about time to give this a shot. Also, I’ve read countless badly-written books before, so this also gives me the perfect opportunity to vent about these things (and, hopefully, you find this informative and/or fun to read).

A quick disclaimer before we get into the questions: All of these answers are my own opinion. If you feel differently about any of the books discussed in this tag, that’s perfectly fine, but please don’t send any bad vibes in the comments.

With that out of the way, here are all the questions and my answers!

1. NOPE. Ending: A book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage, or simply because the ending was crappy.

The entirety of “The Midnight Star” by Marie Lu, which is the last book in the “Young Elites” trilogy.

I had such high expectations going into the last book. The first two books, “The Young Elites”and “The Rose Society,” were quite interesting with all the characters and worldbuilding, and they were books I was super-hooked on to as a reader. Then, when I read “The Midnight Star,” it felt like everything got tossed out the window. From multiple unnecessary character deaths to strange worldbuilding decisions thrown in at the last minute, none of the “Midnight Star” really made sense compared to the first two books at all.

2. NOPE. Protagonist: A main character you dislike and drives you crazy.

Edan Kupferman from “Don’t Cosplay With My Heart” by Cecil Castellucci.

I felt a little sympathy for the main character, Edan, and her home life, and she didn’t have much development other than her external situations. Her constant comparing herself to Gargantua felt heavy-handed throughout the book, and also acted like she’s having a tantrum every couple of chapters in reaction to her situations. The fact that she bemoans not having an allowance due to her home-life situation to get all the expensive cosplay/fandom-related things made it harder for me to sympathize with her as a reader, and so I wasn’t a big fan of her in the book.

3. NOPE. Series: A series that turned out to be one huge pile of NOPE. after you’ve invested all of that time and energy on it, or a series you gave up on because it wasn’t worth it anymore.

“The Great Library” series, by Rachel Caine.

If you’ve followed this blog for at least a few years, you probably stumbled upon my reviews of “Ink and Bone,” “Paper And Fire,” and “Ash And Quill.” You probably also know, from reading those reviews, that I grew steadily frustrated with how much lack of (or strange choices in) character development there were. By the time I reviewed “Ash And Quill,” I had to give up on the series entirely. It wasn’t worth it for me, as a reader, anymore, and frankly, I didn’t want to write a slew of increasingly negative reviews about that series anymore, either.

4. NOPE. Popular pairing: A “ship” you don’t support.

Bran and Sasha from “Stars Of Fortune” by Nora Roberts.

I think this ship had potential to be interesting. It really did, given Sasha’s dreams of Bran and the mysterious circumstances with how they both met. However, both partners were terrible at communicating with each other in this book, and Bran deliberately kisses Sasha while she is unconscious several times and is also incredibly forwards towards her, to the point of making her uncomfortable. Not only does Sasha not call him out for this, but she goes along with it and reasoning that it’s all romantic. Realistically, this is not romantic—it’s just plain creepy. Even worse is the fact that they never work through these issues for the rest of the trilogy that follows this book, so we as readers don’t really know if they’re genuinely in a happy relationship at the end or not.

However, if there is a ship I think one should support in this, it’s the one that’s established in the second book in the trilogy (Annika and Sawyer from “Bay of Sighs”), as it’s a much healthier romance portrayed between them on top of these two just being very fluffy and cute to read.

5. NOPE. Plot twist: A plot twist you didn’t see coming or didn’t like.

The reveal of the murderer in “The Assassin Game” by Kirsty McKay

The Assassin Game had a really fun concept; a tradition of fake ‘killings’ (actually pranks) gone horribly, horribly wrong. However, the eventual reveal of who the real killer was led to my head scratching rather than me yelling out about what a brilliant twist it was, because it literally made no sense to have that specific character be the killer, even with the supposed motivations he had.

6. NOPE. Protagonist action/decision: A character decision that made you shake your head NOPE.

Jess’ lack of communication in “Ash And Quill” by Rachel Caine.

I don’t know if I fully understand why Jess went and separated everyone and then also disguised himself as his twin brother Brendan. I don’t know if I ever will. I am still mad that Jess deliberately sent Wolfe straight into the Library’s clutches so they can imprison him and torture him like they did in the past, despite full knowledge from the previous book, “Paper and Fire,” that Wolfe is clearly traumatized from such events and is in no shape to face the Library.

Jess didn’t even inform everyone of the plan beforehand. He just randomly threw them into all these various, troubling situations because he was playing as the grand master of a plan that might not even work (especially without telling your friends beforehand). That just led to my head shaking in disappointment. One would hope that the main character would be smarter to at least tell people the plan beforehand and how all of this will hopefully work out, rather than catch them off guard and throw them into (potentially dangerous) scenarios.

7. NOPE. Genre: A genre you will never read.

I wouldn’t say never read entirely, but most likely crime fiction.

I’ve read one or two before, but I never really got interested enough with that genre of fiction despite that, so I’m not likely reviewing any books in the crime fiction area here, let alone reading many.

8. NOPE. Book format: Book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition.

I don’t know if I can really answer this one. I’ve read varieties of books in paperback, hardcover and ebook formats. The only time I find myself disliking any of them is if the actual formatting of the pages within are jarring, like what I discovered when reviewing one of the poetry ebooks I read.Other than that, however, I don’t really have a “NOPE” for this one.

9. NOPE. Trope: A trope that makes you go NOPE.

Romanticized Abuse (an abusive relationship that is portrayed as (and glorified as) romantic). 

This is the one trope I am not okay with, as a reader. Unfortunately, I’ve come across this trope multiple times when reading and reviewing books. I certainly don’t condone it, and  virtually any romanticized abuse is enough to give not just a low rating on the romance sections of books where it’s contained, but also potentially for me giving a hard pass on reading the rest of the book as is.

10. NOPE. Recommendation: A book recommendation that is constantly hyped and pushed at you that you simply refuse to read.

The entire “Game Of Thrones” series by George R. R. Martin.

BEFORE all the rest of you run at me in the comments asking me why I wouldn’t read this series (and maybe recommending I watch the show save for the final season—yes, I heard news that quite a few “Game of Thrones” fans generally hated and/or disliked the last season), I feel like I just don’t have interest in reading it all, mainly due to all the character deaths that I’ve heard happen in that series, and how grisly those deaths can be. I’m sure the worldbuilding is interesting, what with all the politics and characters involved, but the fact that constant character deaths happen in every book (to the point of them being a higher death count per book than the “Wings Of Fire” series by Tui T. Sutherland) can be…well, there’s only so much I can stomach as a reader. I know my limits. If “Wings of Fire” pushed it with about five major, graphically-described character deaths per book and I was shocked enough (and, for those wondering what age demographic “Wings of Fire” is for, it’s a series marketed for minors), I don’t think I can stomach more than five deaths per book in “Game of Thrones.”

11. NOPE. Cliche/pet peeve: A cliche or writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes.

Playing with all the typical highschool tropes at once within a book.

To explain, what I mean is all the ideas one might have if envisioning a stereotypical jock, the school bully, the cheerleader, the popular cliques at school, etc. I feel like these types of characters are either a hit-or-miss for me when reading them in books. I know that they’re there for a reason, but if you base the characters just on their highschool personalities/reputations/images given through these character templates alone, there isn’t a lot in said characters that make them feel interesting to read, or anything that gives them depth to me as a reader.

However, I know there are a couple stories I read where playing with the highschool-type of tropes can be interesting. For instance, there might be jocks that are actually very talented in more than just althetics, but they maybe hide that part of themselves to fit in. Or maybe the science lab partner you have sings super-well. (Yes, I’m taking a leaf out of High School Musical as an example, but the movie actually does do a great job of subverting standard highschool types of personalities/stereotypes.)

12. NOPE. Love interest: The love interest that’s not worthy of being one. A character you don’t think should have been a viable love interest.

Julian from “Caraval” by Stephanie Garber.

It’s one thing to attempt to establish a fake-fiance-turns-into-actual romance in the book. I’ve read my share of those types of romances before,and I know they can be well-achieved. But Julian and Scarlett’s romance in “Caraval” was straight-up abusive from the start. Julian called Scarlett names that she wasn’t comfortable with, and he never respected her wishes about sharing a room together under the guise of being a fake engaged couple or just giving her privacy in general. The constant harassment and lies he sent her way throughout the book made me wonder how she fell for him (other than his apparent good looks).

13. NOPE. Book: A book that shouldn’t have existed that made you say NOPE.

“The Game of Triumphs” by Laura Powell.

How did this book exist? This was one of the earliest book reviews I wrote, and I’m still baffled to this day that this was ever published. From a complete lack of character development and worldbuilding, to a plotline that made absolutely no sense, I’m surprised that this book even existed for me to read. I have no more words I can say for that one right now (though if you want to read what I did think of it in full, check out the actual review!).

14. NOPE. Villain: A scary villain/antagonist you would hate to cross and would make you run in the opposite direction.

Sloan from “This Savage Song” and “Our Dark Duet” by Victoria Schwab.

This man was a brilliant villain in this duology. But he’s so incredibly manipulative, smart and resourceful that he would be hard to beat. I would hate to be on this person’s bad side. And even if I was on his good side, I’d still be worried about hanging around him.

15. NOPE. Death: A character death that still haunts you.

Kestrel’s death in “Wings Of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy” by Tui T. Sutherland.

Remember when I mentioned earlier that “Wings of Fire” is full of character deaths? Kestrel, one of the mentor-figures of the protagonists (and later revealed to be the mother of another dragon), ends up getting brutally killed in the first book. Not only does this mean that she’s another corpse in a giant dragon war of three princesses fighting for the throne, but this also means that she’ll never have the chance to spend any time with her long-lost daughter, ever. This is so impactful in the series that it carries over into the sequel, “The Lost Heir,” where her corpse is actually discovered by another character, and her daughter has to live with the realization that she only saw her real mother alive once, and she’ll never get any time to spend with her again. Even if Kestrel had to die at some point in the series, I wish it hadn’t been that early.

16. NOPE. Author: An author you had a bad experience reading for and have decided to quit.

Holly Kerr.

I’ve reviewed two of her books before, namely “The Missing Files of Charlotte Dodd” and “Coming Home,” and I was disappointed with both of them after reading. I just found her books not the most interesting to read, despite the interesting concepts presented in both books’ summaries, so I figured her books just aren’t my cup of tea.

Those are all my answers to the “NOPE” Book Tag!

I hope you enjoyed reading my rants/answers in response to all the questions. Are there any books you disliked? Any endings you abhorred, or ships you just can’t sail? Let me know in the comments! As for those I tag, well…I would tag everyone that reads this post, if I could, but since I can’t, just feel free to write your own “NOPE” Book Tag post if you want to!

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3 thoughts on “The “NOPE” Book Tag!

  1. The Julian-Scarlett relationship in Caraval drove me nuts! There was literally no reason for her to fall for him other than that she found him attractive. He did grow as a character (a little) as the series went on, but WHY did they even get together in the first place? It made no sense.
    Lovely post!

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