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Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 books I liked better than the adaptations

Hello bookworms!! Welcome to Top 5 Tuesday!! This week’s topic is top 5 books I liked better than the adaptations.

Well… last week we probably all surprised ourselves and came up with a lot of adaptations that were better than the original. But let’s get back onto our high horses, because the book is always* better.

An image depicting a stormy sky, deep sea and healthy tree on the left, with a dead tree, dusty sky and desert on the right. The image has the words "book" on the left and "movie" on the right, indicating that the book has more depth than the movie.

Yes, that’s right. Today’s topic is all about hailing those books that far surpass any adaptation that has been attempted. Now, I’m sure that some of you, like myself, struggled to stick to five this week. But bring your epic lists, and let’s get comparing!!

If you missed the June topics post, please click here!! Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm, and is now being hosted here @ Meeghan reads.

*Of course this is excluding all the ones we talked about last week!! ?

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top 5 books I liked better than the adaptations

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / True Blood

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine HarrisI started reading the Sookie Stackhouse books (originally called The Southern Vampire Mysteries) in around 2007, which was about a year before the TV series aired. Which means that I was in DEEP by the time it aired. And by deep I’m pretty sure I was 8 books in and all sorts of shit was going down.

True Blood tv show posterNow, admittedly, the first season of True Blood was … good. It stayed pretty true to the first book, and the characters were well cast. But by the time we hit that season finale, cracks were already starting to appear between the book-world, and the tv-world. And by cracks, I mean the storyline went to hell and WTF was that disaster that was airing on my television??

I also have to admit, that while I read every single book, I stopped watching the show. Three episodes into season 7. Which is the last season. So I only have 7 episodes left to watch. And I still cannot bring myself to do it. That show was f***ing trash, and not good trash. The only good thing to come out of it was Alexander Skarsgård. However, if you’re into paranormal books, this series is actually great.

The Mortal Instruments / Shadowhunters / City of Bones

Mortal Instruments #1 City of Bones by Cassandra ClareLook, I’m not saying the books are great – they’re highly problematic – but the absolute shitshow that they created BOTH times they tried to adapt The Mortal Instruments genuinely kills me. I kind of want them to try again, but honestly I don’t think I could sit through another adaptation of this. It hurts.

The Mortal Instruments film posterI just don’t understand how they can screw up plot, casting and well…  everything… when it’s all set out in a six-book series!! That has OTHER books in the same world. Plus a trilogy that’s set in the middle of it. What are they doing??

Shadowhunters tv series posterNow, I know some people like the tv series, and that’s fine. I guess it has its place in the world. (So long as that place is far away from me, I’m ok.) But if I had to choose between the two adaptations, I’d choose the movie. But it’s for two reasons: Robert Sheehan as Simon, and Godfrey Gao as Magnus. I even liked Lena Headey and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Jocelyn and Valentine.

It’s just a real shame that I haven’t liked Clary or Jace yet… ?

Looking for Alibrandi / Looking for Alibrandi

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina MarchettaI was so excited when it was announced that one of my favourite books of all time was being turned into a movie. I first read Looking for Alibrandi when I was about 13, and reread it MANY times until we had to study it for our Year 12 exams. The movie came out when I was in Year 11. And WHAT a disappointment it was.

Looking for Alibrandi film posterThe book focuses on Josie’s family drama and internal torment about not knowing what she wants to do with her life, with the romance being kind of a side plotline. The movie almost creates this weird love triangle and that uncertainty about university and her future almost disappears completely.

The book and the movie may show the same story, but it’s told from entirely different perspectives. And because of that I feel like the movie loses that poignant moment that I think we all feel around the end of high school where we ask ourselves “what now?” and “where do we go next?”

The Rook / The Rook

The Rook by Daniel O'MalleyI don’t think I can explain the depth of disappointment that I had when watching the tv show adaptation of The Rook. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, raised by wolves (or you’re new here), The Rook is one of my all-time favourite books. Which then became a duology, and is soon to become a trilogy. The concept of the story is utterly fascinating, and the delivery of an amnesia trope (could have gone any way, really), was spectacular.

The Rook tv show posterSo when it was announced it was being developed as a tv series, I was so excited. Possibly more excited than any other tv show announcement to date. And I was utterly and completely let down.

It’s not even a casting or acting decision – both of these were fine. It was that they ultra-modernised it (for no reason whatsoever considering that it is set now), and they cut half the characters out. Including some of my favourites. There are PLOT REASONS those characters should have made the final cut. But instead they also cut half the plot. In a paranormal murder mystery series, it was hard to pick “whodunnit” when there were 7 possible suspects… it’s a lot easier when they cut it down to 4.

The show also tried to push more diversity than the book had, which isn’t always a bad thing. But to completely change a character’s story so that they could add someone in a wheelchair isn’t really something that translated well, or shows a good understanding of the source material. It also felt like a token gesture to people with disability.

Stephanie Plum / One for the Money

Stephanie Plum #1: One For the Money by Janet EvanovichHello, my name is Meeghan, and I will read pretty much anything that Janet Evanovich publishes. Is it problematic and trashy? Yes. Do I enjoy it anyway? Hells yes I do. So imagine my delight when I heard they were making the first Stephanie Plum book into a movie. A proper Hollywood production with a budget! You don’t have to imagine, I was excited.

One for the Money movie posterAnd most grievously disappointed. In fact, I was so disappointed I’ve never actually finished watching the movie. I walked out about 30 minutes in. Because it was THAT BAD.

Whoever was in charge of casting this film should be very disappointed with themselves. Katherine Heigl as a Jersey girl with mobster ties? No. And the guys who played Morelli and Ranger? Hells no.

I can’t even really comment on the film itself. I don’t really remember watching the part that I did see, because I was so appalled by the characters. Maybe it was fine. But the fact that there are 27 books and only one film doesn’t really lend any credence to that.

bonus 3… (I can’t help myself, ok?!)

Vampire Academy / Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy by Richelle MeadAgain, the Vampire Academy series aren’t greatest books, but I enjoyed the universe they are set in. I even liked the movie. Was it a good adaptation? Absolutely not. But I saw the movie before I read the books, so that helps some.

Vampire Academy movie posterHowever, I have since read the books. ALL of the books. And I’m actually pretty psyched that they announced that it’s being made into a tv series since I wrote my post on books I wish were tv adaptations.

In all honesty, the movie was pretty trashy. But it’s also from that era where there were a lot of trashy teenage girl movies, so I can forgive it somewhat. I mean, I also enjoyed Wild Child and St Trinian’s at the time. So… it’s good trash?! But the books are still better!!

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda / Love, Simon

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky AlbertalliOk, so hear me out, because I do love the movie for this one. The casting was literally perfect. I even cried while watching it. (Honestly, seeing Simon and his parents talk it out was heart-wrenchingly emotional.) But I still liked the book better.

Love, Simon movie posterIt’s really because of the ending. The ending of the book was so emotional because it was just shared between Blue and Simon. There was no fanfare, it was just them being honest and sweet and adorable.

But, I felt like the changes they made to the end of the movie cheapened it. It became this show-off thing with an audience. This special, intimate moment became something that everyone watched and cheered for. Which wasn’t what the story was about at all. It changed the whole meaning of Simon’s fight against being outed and having his heart bared to everyone, without his permission. And I don’t think it did the story any justice.

Inkheart / Inkheart

Inkheart by Cornelia FunkeI was a fan of Brendan Fraser. Until I saw this movie. I don’t even know if I can truly describe how much this adaptation disappointed me, because it’s been so long since I’ve seen it or read the books. But I’m going to try anyway!!

Inkheart movie posterReading Inkheart felt like you were being drawn into a fairytale come to life. It had this magnetic feeling of magic, treachery, betrayal and adventure. I know that this feeling is hard to capture in film, but it can be done. (Maybe we should get Peter Jackson to redo the films??)

However, the film (and they only made 1 from the trilogy), felt like an action movie. It was all chase scenes and sword fights and (very bad) special effects. They changed the characters and their motivations to make the film more exciting. It didn’t need that. The magic in this story is told in the quiet moments as well as the tense ones. And I often think that’s something that isn’t done well in a lot of films.

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Please don’t forget to link to one of my posts (not my homepage or a category, as I won’t get the pingback), or comment your link below, and I will link back to all of your posts as soon as I can!!


Happymess Happiness
Jillian the Bookish Butterfly
The Punk Theory
Wings and Fables
Reading Buffs
DB’s Guide to the Galaxy
Stories and Sidequests

What are your top 5 books you liked better than the adaptations?

until next time, happy reading! Meeghan xo


  • dbsguidetothegalaxy

    I’ve only watched the True Blood series but I got so upset by that last season ??‍♀️ that’s why I’ve only watched the series once because I don’t want to go through that last season again.
    While I do prefer the show to the movie (Mortal Instruments) some of the acting in the show wasn’t that great ? With the cast, I prefer some of the movie choices and other the show choices (Like I prefer show!Alec, but movie! and Show! Magnus (Rip Godfrey Gao ?

    Yes Yes to VAMPIRE ACADEMY!!! Lol I think I watched Wild Child the other month and it’s like… why did I like this movie?
    I will be FOREVER pissed off at Inkheart’s movie ??

  • Louise @ Monstrumology

    I’m glad that I missed out on the Vampire Academy movie because it sounds so bad and not even the good kind of bad. There are so many books that I liked more than the movie, but I think the most recent one I preferred was Ready Player One. I liked the movie and it’s a really well-made movie in terms of CGI and storytelling but a lot of the time it felt like I was playing bingo with pop culture references, whereas the book is more about the characters going on a hunt for the easter egg than the audience.

    • meeghan

      It’s been a really long time since I’ve read Ready Player One, but I thought it was quite pop culture heavy in the book too, just at a slower pace. But books are usually better at being character driven, as you can better get inside their heads without having a voiceover / narrator making it obvious.

  • tasya @ the literary huntress

    I’m the minority that prefers TMI movie adaptation compared to the TV series, the cast just works for me! Especially Jamie and Lily as Jace and Clary- Jamie really nailed the whole Jace cold arrogance while Lily nailed Clary petite fierce personality <3 It's a shame that they butchered the plot….

    • meeghan

      I know!! I’m still sad about it. TBH, these two are my fave Jace and Clary, but it annoyed me that Lily didn’t really have red hair. ?

  • ketutar

    😀 Most of them 😀
    So… which are my favorite books?

    LOTR – the movie is great, but it’s not LOTR. And they should have given Gandalf to Christopher Lee. And they all should have listened to him. He was the only one of the bunch who had actually met J.R.R.Tolkien and talked with him, being a huge fan of the book. I mean… typecasting an 80-years-old, just because one cannot see beyond one’s preconceived notions. He would have been the best Gandalf, and he would have deserved to be Gandalf. He wanted to be Gandalf. That, and the arbitrary changes in the book because the… er… Ok, calm down, now, Ketutar 😀 Can you tell I’m stanning the books? 😀 Since I was 10, which was a couple of decades ago…

    Howl’s Moving Castle – again, it’s a nice movie, but the books are so much better

    Earthsea – the adaptations (yes, all of them) are just insulting.

    Little Women and the latest version.

    Pride and Prejudice and Keira Knightley version.

    • meeghan

      You’re making me feel bad that I never finished the LOTR trilogy Ketutar!! But I love this list, and how passionate you are about them!! ?

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