Today, the guys in the Goodreads Top 5 Wednesday group have an interesting topic this week: FAVORITE POLARIZING BOOKS! These are the books that people either love or hate, with no in between.
As a lover of books, I try very hard to keep my emotions in check. No need to get angry about a book not living up to my expectations, or fall crazy in love with one which exceeds them. Nope, I try (though I don’t always succeed) to find something I appreciate in every story. Which sounds easy enough, but really isn’t, because stories illicit strong emotion — both good and bad. All of which means it wasn’t too hard to find five novels for this list.
5. THE GUNSLINGER
Stephen King is one of those authors people seem to love or hate, so it probably isn’t a surprise that this genre blender by him is a polarizing story. For myself, I loved this novel, its weird world, and its title character. Many of my friends hated it.
Why the differing reactions? I have lots of theories, but nothing concrete. So, I suppose, I will just say the story is polarizing and leave it at that.
4. LORD FOUL’S BANE
Thomas Covenant. Leper. Unbeliever. Whiner. Sinner. Person most likely to be left out whenever fantasy fans have an anti-hero party. I mean, Elric of Melnibon and all the rest are cool, but Covenant . . . Naw, this guy repels nearly everyone who has to spend time with him. And that is why readers either love or hate him and his story so much. Can’t be more polarizing than that.
3. THE MIRROR EMPIRE
I’m adding this book on here because it has been the most polarizing review I have ever written. To say I received some negative push-back for my criticism of Kameron Hurley’s speculative fiction story is putting it nicely. But for every person who disagreed with my point of view there were just as many others who agreed with me in some fashion. So for that reason, The Mirror Empire immediately came to mind when I started putting this lsit together.
2. PRINCE OF THORNS
Jorg Ancrath stirs strong emotions in people. Mark Lawrence’s grimdark protagonist causing people to come to virtual blows in comment sections on Goodreads and elsewhere. Both sides absolutely convinced they are right and the other side is a group of depraved idiots who do not deserve to continue to draw breath. At times, I swear reading a Thorns comment section was almost like reliving the 2016 American Presidential election over again — which isn’t anything I ever want to do again.
1. THE DARK TOWER
I began with the first book in Stephen King’s magnum opus, so I felt it only appropriate I end with the final installment. Where Gunslinger either convinced you to read the series or caused you to pass on it, the book doesn’t raise the passions of The Dark Tower Vol. VII. Honestly, I have never seen an ending to a book series which causes fans to either close the last page with a satisfied nod of their head or stand up and throw the damn things across the room and start cursing for minutes, if not hours, at the sheer audacity of King for writing this ending. There really isn’t any middle ground here: You either accept it or absolutely despise it. And that, my friend, is polarizing at its finest.