Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Struggled With at First But Ended Up Loving

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week I will make a list of 10 books, authors or other bookish things surrounding a certain topic. Today, I’m talking about books I struggled with at first but ended up loving.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin // Yes, I am a big fan of this series. But I have to admit that when I first started reading it, I struggled somewhat. Mostly with the 55687354 characters and their very similar names. I watched the first episode of the TV show, and then started reading it again. That actually helped a lot, because I could put a face to most of the names. 

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth // This is a book that I really need to re-read (because they’re making it into a movie or show). This is about a girl called Cameron Post, who finds out she likes girls at the same time her parents die. This is quite a slow-paced book, which is why I struggled a bit in the beginning. But I ended up devouring it.

Seeker (Seeker #1) by Arwen Elys Dayton // When this was first released, the reviews were… mixed. Some people loved it, others either hated it or couldn’t finish it. I actually really enjoyed it! But I definitely struggled. This book is just so confusing at times, and you have to accept that you’ll be lost for a little bit every once in a while. 

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch // Is this one of my all-time favorite series? Yes. Did I struggle with the first book when I first started it? Definitely. I started this when I was just getting over a reading slump. This book is definitely not an “easy” read. The first book in the series takes quite some concentration in the beginning, which is why it took me a while. Once I got into the world and characters though, I couldn’t stop reading. 

Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon // I struggled with the first 50 pages of this one. It takes quite a while for the story to get going, and for Claire to accidentally time travel. The part before the time travel didn’t really hold my interest, which is why I struggled with it.

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota // I think I struggled a bit with this one because I’m not used to reading adult general fiction. Yet I found this story really interesting, and finished it in just a couple of days.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt // Same argument as the one above. I’m not used to reading adult general fiction. Combine that with the frequent use of Latin and Greek in this one, and you’ll get a struggling Jolien. At least for the first few chapters! It’s not a secret that I absolutely adore this book now, and I can’t wait to re-read it one day.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance #1) by N.K. Jemisin // I definitely had a hard time with the first few chapters of this book. I felt extremely lost and confused, like I was just dropped into this world and tale without any explanation whatsoever. Once I got a grip on the characters and world though, this became a compelling read. 

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien // I remember the first time I tried to read these books -in Dutch, of course. I felt like I was fighting a battle with Tolkien. His sentences were so long and full of description that I couldn’t focus on what was happening. A few years later, I tried to read them again -in English- and fell in love. I still think that his sentences are way too long. But I love this series too. 

The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) by Samantha Shannon // Samantha Shannon has to set up an entirely new London with clairvoyants in the first few chapters, which can be very tricky. You need the information of the first few chapters to understand what’s going on. But it still is a bit confusing and intimidating when you first start reading the book. Rewarding, though! 

Which books did you struggle with at first, but ended up loving? Or do you tend to give up on books you’re struggling with?

11 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Struggled With at First But Ended Up Loving

  1. I can imagine Game of Thrones would be quite hard to get into! I sometimes struggle to get into fantasy books at first because it’s a whole new world and there are generally a lot of characters/story lines to remember but once I get into it, it’s generally so worth it! *_*

    My TTT post!


  2. I had the same problem with both Outlander and Lord of the Rings! I pushed through though and ended up loving them. I really want to start The Lies of Locke Lamora, so it’s good to know that I may need to push through at first to get to really enjoy it.


  3. I often struggle with fantasy novels simply because there is always so much history to be explained before you can understand why everyone’s fighting. The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams is a good example – it starts so slowly but winds up being one of the best fantasy series I’ve ever read.

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thanks!


  4. So many of these are books I still need to read! I still haven’t read my copies of Outlander and The Lies of Locke Lamora, and I’ve heard amazing things about The Secret History. I’d really like to check out The Miseducation of Cameron Post, too. Great list!


  5. I am actually happy to see The Bone Season on here. That is one of my favorite book series but, MAN, that first section of world set up is tough to get through. Once you do, though, it is golden. The Lies of Locke Lamora ended up my list, too. Sadly, in my DNF section. I sometimes think about trying it again but I guess we’ll see. Nice list!


  6. I tried Locke Lamora and just couldn’t get into it, but to be fair I didn’t read that far. Maybe it just wasn’t the right time, and I should try again…


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