Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Struggled to Get into but Ended up Loving

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic for bloggers to choose and list their top ten. This week’s theme is Top Ten Books I Struggled to Get into but Ended up Loving.

When it comes down to it there are two main reasons why I struggle to get into certain books; one is that what I’ve picked up isn’t something I’m in the mood to read, and two is that the world building is so heavy it takes me a while to get past that and into the story. These books below are a mixture of both reasons, with a few extra ones added in.

Top Ten Tuesday #77

Prodigy by Marie Lu

This book took me the longest time to get through, and that’s because the first time I picked up Prodigy I was in the middle of a huge reading slump. I started this book back in 2014 and only finished it earlier this year. Now I’ve read all three books the Legend trilogy is one of my favourite dystopian series.

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

Although I ended up loving this book by the time I finished it when I first picked up A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares I wasn’t in the mood to read it. I can’t say why so what I did was pick up another book I was in the mood to read, then once I finished that I was ready to jump back into a story that would become one of my favourite contemporary reads of the year.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor is one of my favourite authors and one of my auto-buy authors. I was beyond thrilled when I heard she had a new duology being released and Strange the Dreamer went to the very top of my to-read list. The world building was incredibly heavy though so it took me a while before I could fully immerse myself in the story and in Lazlo’s adventures.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

The beginning of this book was so slow. It was recommended to me by a friend and for a while I was considering DNF-ing it because there was nothing that was grabbing me. I stuck with Red Rising though, because my friend rarely recommended books to me and I knew this would be a good read, and I’m glad I did because when the story finally got started it was incredible.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani  Chokshi

Like with Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer The Star-Touched Queen was very heavy on the world building. Don’t get me wrong I loved it. Parts of this book reminded me of the magic I experienced reading The Night Circus, but it meant it took me longer to get into the story than you would have thought given this is an all-time favourite of mine.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

The beginning of this book confused me a little. The time jumps that seemed to happen every other paragraph in chapter one confused me, but the first sentence had me hooked so even when the story was slow, when the world building was heavy as Mia navigated the Red Church, I was always interested in what would happen next.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This was another emotionally heavy book. I knew what was coming at the end. Even though I hadn’t read the original story I knew how things would go for Achilles and Patroclus, and part of me wanted to avoid that ending for them by avoiding the ending of this book. I couldn’t, and the end of The Song of Achilles broke my heart as much as I knew it would.

Gilded Cage by Vic James

I’ve said this before but dystopian books are never going to be a favourite of mine, Gilded Cage is one of the rare exceptions. The world building is heavy; despite being set in a version of England there are new and complicated politics surrounding the Equals to get your head around, but the story and the characters, especially Luke, grabbed me from the start.

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

The mistake I made with this book was in trying to binge read Adam Silvera’s releases. I finished More Happy Than Not, loved it, and then tried to read History is All You Left Me straight away. Adam Silvera’s books are very emotionally heavy so it took me ages to get through this one just because after More Happy Than Not I needed something less heavy.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus is an ultimate all-time favourite of mine, but the first time I read it it was slow going. The constant time jumps that didn’t have any kind of order and all the characters I was introduced to made for a confusing read, but this isn’t my all-time favourite for no reason. The world building had me hooked and I slowly fell in love with The Night Circus.

So what do you think? Did you take part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, if so let me know what some of the books you loved but struggled to get into are.

47 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Struggled to Get into but Ended up Loving

    1. Thanks Lashaan. 🙂 Red Rising had a really slow beginning, there was a lot of background and world building to get through. Still once the plot actually got moving oh my god it was addictive. I think if I’d gone into the book knowing about the slow start I wouldn’t have struggled with it so much.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It can be a struggle but on the other hand, with all of these books, I’d never want the world building to be less or I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed them as much. It’s definitely worth it in the end.
      Thanks for the link, I’ll be sure to check out your TTT! 🙂


  1. So… I haven’t read any of these books but now…I’m warned ahah. I really want to read Strange the Dreamer and The Star-Touched Queen someday so I’ll be sure to remember about that heavy world-building first 🙂 Great list, Beth! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes the heavy world building may be a struggle at first but if you stick with these books hopefully you’ll love them as much as I did by the end. The Star-Touched Queen and Strange the Dreamer have very heavy world building, but they’re also two of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.
      Thanks so much Marie! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read a single one of these, but I definitely feel you on heavily focused world building to be hard to get into. That’s how I felt when I started reading A Darker Shade of Magic, but once I got past that point and understood what was going on, I really began to enjoy it. I’m reading A Gathering of Shadows right now and it’s A LOT more fun than the first one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I feel like the world building is the main reason I struggled with a lot of these books in the beginning. It can be hard to adjust to fantasy books at first when you’ve got to understand the world it’s set in.
      I read A Darker Shade of Magic for the first time so long ago I can’t remember if it was hard for me to get into or not. Possibly, I remember it being very heavy on world building and character development in the very beginning. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read The Night Circus for the first time this past Spring and struggled with the time jumps and infinite characters as well, but I kept my copy because I feel like it will be a lot more enjoyable on rereads! I really liked the writing, I just had a hard time getting into things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The time jumps were one of the things I struggled with in The Night Circus, I think it’s one of those books you have to be in the right mood to read. Hopefully you’ll be able to try it again and you’ll really enjoy it as well. It’s a good book if you can get into it but I know it’s not for everyone. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh god, NEVERNIGHT. I’ve heard such great things about it so I definitely have to finish it, but I just COULD NOT get into the book! Jay’s writing was so dry to me (except for the dialogue and the footnotes, WHICH WERE HILARIOUS) and I just could not focus. Plus it was all very confusing and nothing really made sense.

    And yes, Strange the Dreamer! I had an issue with Laini’s writing style (tho it’s very beautiful!!) and I just had a hard time reading all the prose. But later I got MUCH more into it! Oof, I was the opposite — More Happy Than Not took me a while to warm up to. (I was scared because History had been a really big disappointment.) Great post, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nevernight is a good book in my opinion, but it was very different to anything I’ve ever read before. I wonder if it’s a book you’ll find yourself slowly getting into as it goes on or if you just can’t connect with Jay Kristoff’s writing. Either way if you do get back into it and finish it I’ll be interested in knowing what you think of it May. 🙂
      I know what you mean. I love Laini’s writing and the way she creates her worlds but it can be a lot to get through, especially in the beginning.
      Oh that’s a shame, but I’m guessing you eventually warmed up to More Happy Than Not right?
      Thanks so much May. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ermegerd yasss Nevernight and Strange the dreamer LOVEWEOFIÖJEWOFHEWIFJE

    I was actually disappointed with Gilded Cage and The Night Circus (where was the blood in this fierce competition and why didn’t anyone tell me it was a romance instead of an action book?!?!?!?)

    I haven’t read the rest but I have heard good things about The Song of Achilles! Red Rising has been on my shelf for pretty much a whole year now, and I’m not sure what’s keeping me from reading it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re amazing books aren’t they? The world building is heavy but it just makes the stories all the more amazing! 😀 ❤
      I remember that from your TTT post this week, and yeah that's definitely a shame but it sounds like The Night Circus just wasn't what you hoped at all. 🙂
      The Song of Achilles and Red Rising are incredible books, I think you'll really love Red Rising especially. Based on what you've said in previous comments it does sound like the perfect book for you Esther! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thoughts a plenty! I am so glad you stuck with Red Rising Beth! It’s one of my all time fave trilogies & it most certainly gets better as it goes. The last book was a rollercoaster of emotions but gahhhH! so good! lol. All of Laini Taylor’s books for me are a slow go cuz I love her writing so much, I have to read a little each day. Still haven’t read Strange the Dreamer, waiting till January. I couldn’t agree with you more about Gilded Cage! I’m also not the biggest fan of dystopian but Vic James def gave the genre a re-boot with GC & now I patiently wait to p/u my copy of Tarnished City 🤗🤗🤗

    P.S. we have such similar taste in books! 😃💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I stuck with it, my friend recommended it to me and I knew it was going to be good so I was determined to get past the slow beginning. 🙂 I want to start the last book soon, definitely before Iron Gold is released.
      Laini Taylor is definitely an author who’s books take a while to get through, but they’re so worth it because they’re amazing. God Gilded Cage is incredible, and I’m sure you’ll love Tarnished City even more Lilly. I managed to get an ARC of that book and it was amazing, even better than Gilded Cage in my opinion. 🙂
      Ha, that’s good to hear! 😀 ❤


  7. The beginning of The Night Circus was a bit slow. Morgenstern gives you this whole lovely tease of the circus and it takes AGES until you finally get to it. Totally necessary for the rest of the book, because you really need to understand the magic to understand the story, but you’re right. Hard to start.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really was, but before we even got to the opening of the circus I was hooked. There was something about the way Morgenstern wrote the story that captured my attention and wouldn’t let go. Yeah if you can stick with the beginning of this story you’re well rewarded by the time the circus opens and you experience all the magic and wonder. 🙂
      I’m definitely glad I managed to stick with it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that’s a shame about HIAYLM, but then again it very nearly became a DNF book for me just because I picked it up at the wrong time. The Night Circus is one of those books that, if you can stick through it through all the detail, is a brilliant read. I really hope you enjoy it when you get around to it.
      Thanks for the link. I’ll definitely check out your TTT! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. God, Song of Achilles is so heartbreaking! I thought I knew what I was getting myself into and then that ending came… whyyyyyy?
    I struggled a bit to get into And I Darken, and to this day I don’t know why, because it turned out to be one of my favourite books….

    Here’s my Top Ten Tuesday post if you’re interested!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was just so horrible. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for how it ended, I mean, I thought I was prepared but I was so so wrong.
      And I Darken is one of my favourites as well. It was certainly different to what I expected but just an amazing book right?
      Thanks for the link. I’ll definitely check out your TTT! 😀


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