When I first started this blog almost four years ago (wow!), one of my main goals was to always review the books I read. In other words, every book I read I would write a review. That goal held up nicely for the first two years. The third year, I started reading books that I didn’t review because this blog is specifically centered towards children’s, middle grade, and young adult books and the books I read didn’t fall under those parameters. Then, somewhere along the way, I actually started to–gasp!–not finish reading books.
In all my life of reading, I can’t remember ever leaving a book unfinished. On purpose. Starting the blog, I thought it was one of the worst things I could do–thus my determination to write a review for every book I read, no matter how awful the book. But then, as I grew more acquainted with plot tropes and writing styles and everything else under the sun and my time for reading slowly dwindled, I found myself suddenly losing patience with books that were simply not up to par. Not even the thought of my 1 out of 5 rating suddenly becoming nonexistent if I didn’t finish motivated me to continue.
I did write a review for one of the books I didn’t finish. It was The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau and I’ll be posting that review here at some point. But since then, for every batch of books I read, there’s one that I end up not finishing–and I don’t write reviews for them, either. Not reviews for the blog, anyway. For every book that I read where I don’t write a review specifically for this blog, I write a mini-review on Goodreads. You can see all those reviews by going to my Goodreads profile. They include books that I don’t finish as well as the previously mentioned books that don’t quite fit my blog, such as Agatha Christie’s mysteries and Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels. In addition, my Goodreads page also has every review that I post here.
I’ve been wanting to branch out a little on my blog for a while now, and although I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to writing posts such as this one and my “Why You Should…” series, I want to try to bring little “specials” like these more often to the blog. So, without further ado, here’s a list (with some commentary) of the books I DNF’d (that’s “did not finish”):
1.) Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor. The reason I didn’t finish this book was not because of the absolutely stunning cover or the heaps of praise about it or the wonderful lore and setting. Simply put, Akata Witch bored me to death. Writing style is very important to me, and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that at least every other review I mention the writing style, if not harp on it at great length. Setting, lore, cover art–A+. Writing style and interest–D.
2.) The Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck. I read about 3/4s of The Tiger’s Curse before I gave up in despair. Not only was it super boring, but I also I couldn’t stand how everyone gushed over how sympathetic/compassionate/brave/pretty Kelsey is. Not to mention the book also contains a love triangle and a number of other overused, cliche plot devices. The cover is pretty; the book, not so much.
3.) The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett. Another book where the cover art is amazing and the book is not. I had problems with The Nightmare Affair from the get-go: the expositional worldbuilding is clunky and gives too much useless information at once. I hate “let’s dump everything on you at once and talk about the way the world works in normal conversation as if characters have to ask themselves every day why the world they live in and grew up and are used to works the way it does” worldbuilding. In addition, the writing isn’t great, and everything is too formulaic for my liking.
4.) The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge. More expositional worldbuilding, more female protagonists that I can’t stand. In my opinion, the attempts to make what constitutes a “strong” female character these days simply makes the main character selfish and extremely unlikable. I can’t remember the last time I really enjoyed a female character of this type. Usually I find them all brats.
5.) The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove. Yet another book where the worldbuilding drags it down into the mud right at the beginning. The Glass Sentence was so difficult to get into that it felt like work simply reading it, and I don’t like it when reading books feels like work. I read books so I feel relaxed, not so I feel like I’m being tied to a chair and forced to read.
6.) Libyrinth by Pearl North. Here’s a book where I’m sure the author thought she was being incredibly clever and/or humorous with her world building, and maybe it was in theory, but in application it fell flat on its face. The “garbled over decades/centuries” rhymes were incredibly trite and the rest of the world building wasn’t particularly great, either. Also, I’m really starting to hate the “girl falls in love with the servant” romantic plot.
7.) The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. Remember my complaint about female protagonists? Well, The Kiss of Deception’s is almost as bad as Eadlyn from Kiera Cass’s The Heir. She’s a narcissistic, selfish princess who’s willing to let her kingdom fall to ruin just so she could wait tables at an inn as if she’d been doing it her whole life. I also couldn’t stand the love interests, because love triangles are beyond overused and there was 1.) no reason for the prince to go after her and 2.) no reason for the assassin not to do his job.
8.) A Riddle in Ruby by Kent Davis. To be honest, I’m not sure what I didn’t like about A Riddle in Ruby. The worldbuilding was part of it, but the whole thing seemed clunky and melodramatic. It was so dense that I had trouble understanding what was going on. However, I have to give credit to the author–I was not expecting one of the plot twists.
I think 1 DNF’d book out of approximately 50 books read is a pretty good average, don’t you? There are a couple of books that I did not put on this list, but my reasons for not finishing them are pretty similar to those above. And as I mentioned above, The Prophet of Yonwood will get its own review at some point. While four-years-ago me may have gasped in horror at the thought of not finishing a book, today I think it’s actually fine–necessary, even. If it means that I’ll give out much fewer 1 out of 5 ratings as a result, than so be it.
See you on Tuesday for another book review!