Friday, June 14, 2013

Three DNF Reviews

I've been inspired (yet again) by Christina at A Reader of Fictions. Being the brilliant and conscientious person that she is, Christina regularly puts together posts about the books she has had to DNF. I usually don't bother talking about books I've DNF'd, but I recently had an unnerving streak of books that I simply could not finish.

Soldier Dog
by Sam Angus

I received a physical ARC from the publisher. It was one I had agreed to take despite it being about a human-animal bond during wartime, which more than likely means said animal will die. I was prepared. I made it about halfway through.

Really, the writing was almost like a fairy tale, very soft and non-threatening yet not dumbed down. I think my younger self would have enjoyed it. I think my older self would have enjoyed it as well, had I been in the right mood and not so irritated by certain misconceptions I had had when I started reading. I require the back copy of a book to match the story waiting for me inside. If the back copy presents a plot that only takes up a tiny piece of the actual plot, I become cranky.

I'll try again later with altered preconceptions and selective amnesia in regards to the back cover.

The Rose Throne
by Mette Ivie Harrison

This story was marketed as something that would appeal to Megan Whalen Turner fans, which is rarely a safe gamble. I came in with astronomically high hopes and set it aside when it failed to grab me. I was confused by the fantasy jargon that came in a wave with little-to-no explanation at first, and I didn't want to deal with a narrative that bounced back and forth between the two girls.

I hope to try it again later with lowered expectations. I need a new high fantasy.

Zenn Scarlett
by Christian Schoon

Ergh. Another book that lost me in the very beginning, this one because of muddled timelines that jumped back and forth in an unclear fashion. It was hard for me to keep clear which time I was in, and it seemed like a poor way to start the story. There was far too much explaining and telling (as opposed to showing), and the writing felt stiff and stilted. Still, I did like that it was a true sci-fi and had a very Star Wars Field Guide feel when it came to the beasties.

Again, I hope to try this one in the future with a different mindset and see if that helps.


I think the big takeaway for me with this batch is 1) the reader's mood can make or break a book going in, and 2) the opening chapter is SO important when it comes to keeping a reader glued to the story. I have a suffocating stack of books that need to be read right away. I get antsy at the mere thought of being stuck with a story that doesn't immediately resonate with me. However, it's rare for a Did-Not-Finish to permanently morph into a Will-Never-Read-Again. When the day comes when I have time to pick something not waiting in the queue, maybe these books and I will meet again.

Note: All books shown above were received from their respective publishers in exchange for an honest review.