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.

gunslinger25. 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.

lord foul's bane4. 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.



the mirror empire3. 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.

prince-of-thorns-dark2. 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.


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.

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  1. Rebecca says:

    Prince of Thorns starts some serious arguments! I’ve seen some of the craziest reviews for it- what did people think they were going to be reading!? I haven’t read any of the others, thought Mirror Empire is hanging out on my shelves un-read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marcia says:

    Prince of Thorns! OMG. I bought it because I simply could not resist the cover. I read it. ALL of it. It was grim. And dark. And disturbing on many levels. But I could not put it down. I guess that was my first real Grimdark fantasy, and it was riveting. I’ve bought everything else Lawrence has written since. My only problem is, I haven’t been in the right frame of mind to read them, yet. I want to. But . . . but . . . but did I mention “grim?” And “dark?” I figure I need to be in a strong place before moving on to the second book, which, btw, also has a cover I adore. I keep walking by it, whispering, “Soon, my lovely. Soooooon.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nathan says:

    Was never a King fan but I still want to give Gunslinger a try. I loved Mirror Empire but couldn’t get through the next book. And I liked Prince of Thorns but damn do people who LOVE it get cranky over any criticism of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lord Polymath says:

    Been on the fence for years about reading Lord Foul’s Bane… The more comments/reviews I read about it the more I wax and wane. I just need to give it a try! Or maybe not.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved The Dark Tower. It was probably the strangest book I’ve read for a long time. The Gunslinger was difficult to get into at first but after reading it, I just had to read it all over again. Things got really interesting for me by Wizard and Glass, and the following books were as amazing as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s been ages since I’ve seen Thomas Covenant being mentioned. I used to like these books, I should really check them out again. Yes, he wasn’t the most pleasant character, but the stories were really good.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Prince of Thorns was one of the most difficult reads I can remember, and it gave the term “grimdark” a whole new layer of meaning for me, but still I found it was a powerful story. I was not aware of the heated controversy it can engender though….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The Dark Tower has been on my radar for a while now. I’ve been hearing much the same that you’ve said. It’s either love or hate and it can switch several times throughout the series.

    I’m not surprised that Kameron Hurley’s work is so hot and cold for people. I’ve personally chosen not to read anything she touches, but I’m sure there are plenty lauding her genius.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love The Gunslinger and I really enjoyed the rest of the series, but I wasn’t a fan of that ending!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ‘Prince of Thorns’ is still on my to read-list! Never been interested in Donaldson..
    ‘The Dark Tower’ is one of my favourite series! I get why it’s polarizing though… I am still not sure how I feel about the ending of the whole series 😀

    The Mirror Empire.. I also wasn’t sure for a long time if I want to continue. I decided to do so now. It confused me a lot but had some pretty innovative stuff.. See where the story goes.

    Liked by 1 person

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