The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines hype as: promotional publicity of an extravagant or contrived kind.
The truth is that at some point we have all read hyped books, sometimes even over-hyped books that we didn’t find interesting at all. I believe the expectations we consciously or subconsciously build are neither good or bad, in general. The problem is when we cannot separate our hopes for a book from our own unrealistic expectations. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a book though, people create expectations on pretty much anything. (Although having expectations about a book or a movie, is harmless compared to having expectations about other people. I strongly advise against it and am trying to follow that advice myself. )
For example, until two days ago I was eagerly! awaiting my copy of A Court of Wings and Ruin to arrive and my expectations were through the roof. Now, this was partially because lots of people who have already read it have claimed it was amazing – but it’s mainly because my expectations were also high for the previous books in this series and they met them, surpassed them and punched them in the gut. (So you could say I’ve been suffering from anticipation since the previous book came out last year.)
Personally, I prefer to read fantasy (though I also read other things, especially sub-genres of fantasy because clearly, I like to get out of my comfort zone). I mostly decide if I want to read / buy a book
- if I think the synopsis seems interesting
- if I know the author’s previous works (and liked them and/or think they have potential)
- if someone I know recommend it to me
- if someone who likes the same books as I do liked it
- or if I read a review and find it interesting
I’m sure these are common methods (if they can even be called methods – I mean, it’s very basic). I read hyped books and even over-hyped books sometimes too, though I’m not usually happy when it turns out to be the latter. For me, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is an over-hyped book (as some of you might know if they read any comment I made about that book series and movie at all). Basically, I think it’s a great concept and fantasy world; and I like the characters, but I dislike the writing and pacing a lot.
The problem with hyped books though is that sometimes you can’t tell why you wanted to read them in the first place. Is it because everyone loves it? Is it because you find it interesting? Can you even remember when was the first time you found out about that book?
It’s even harder when you’re almost certain you’ll love that book but have this small voice inside you that doubts that certainty. At some point, if you’re like me, you’ll even be scared of reading a book because it’s so hyped and you’re just so sure about it – but at the same time – what if it’s not that good, what if you don’t like it? (I currently kind of feel this way about The Raven Cycle. I even have a pdf version of The Raven Boys but I’m still scared to read it – I’ve only gotten as far as the second chapter, I think. But I really want to read it (and buy a physical copy) nevertheless).
If you want to talk about any books you feel are under-hyped, over-hyped, or expectations in general (or anything, really), just comment below!
The idea for this post came to me a few days ago, though I dismissed it at first, it came to me today again. It’s just something I wanted to share. It’s not exactly an in depth analysis of the causes and consequences of expectations but I thought it was something interesting to think about.