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#BookTok Recommendations - Worthwhile or Worthless


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Okay. I've read several books that have been proclaimed as #BookTok sensations. For the uninitiated, #BookTok is a community of booklovers on the social media platform TikTok. Readers make short videos, often gushing over their favorite reads, and authors make video promoting their writing. Gaining popularity in the #BookTok community can lead to reaching the heights of bestseller lists.


So I asked myself a question. Are the #BookTok sensations I've read sensational or a waste of time?


 
book cover

This was my first foray into reading a book recommended on #BookTok. The Atlas Six presents an interesting fantasy world, a unique magic system, and a high-stakes plot where students in a "graduate" program in magic are pitted against one another. Sounds promising, right? Unfortunately, I failed to connect with any of the characters.


I believe this novel falls into "new adult" since it features college-age characters. Maybe if I was younger, I would have appreciated the characters more. However, I found them more self-absorbed and immature than the characters in most young adult fantasy tales.





book cover

This is one of those books that surprised me with how good it is. On the surface, any book that includes "Low Stakes" in the subtitle sounds, well, boring. However, Baldree derives plenty of drama from the story of an orc warrior turned barista. He uses typical fantasy tropes to quickly create an immersive secondary world. At the same time, he turns some of these tropes on their head. The crowning example is Viv, an orc who wants to hang up her sword and make coffee for people.


This is a heartwarming story with just enough action to keep it interesting. I will read Baldree's follow-up novel, which sounds cut from a similar cloth. I wonder how long cozy, low-stakes fantasies will remain a subgenre with legs.





book cover

This book has a compelling premise. A school for dragon riders where you either learn to fly a dragon or die trying. In the end, this premise kept me reading. Also, the protagonist is sympathetic, and the dragons are somewhat interesting.


Conversely, the dialogue struck me as overly contemporary and too reliant on run-of-the-mill curse words. I'm not against cursing in novels, but every time one of the characters spewed a series of modern curse words, it took me out of the story. Also, numerous modern idioms are used.


This is a romance story at its heart, an enemy-to-lovers yarn. It had more "spice" than I cared for but less than I expected, leaving me pleasantly surprised.


Overall, I enjoyed this book. The climax is quite exciting, and there's plenty of mystery around the motivations of different characters to keep the reader curious. However, I don't know if I'll read the next book in the series. It has a little too much romance and spice for me. But if that's your jam, this might be a book and series you'll fall in love with.



So are #BookTok recommendations worthwhile or a waste of time? As with many things in life, it's hit and miss. But as an author, paying attention to the fantasy novels trending on TikTok has been worthwhile. It's got me reading books that connect with readers I wouldn't have otherwise picked up.

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