Monday, July 2, 2012

A Collection of DNF Books

I try to finish every single book I read. I really do. In addition to being able to dodge the critics who say my opinion is invalid because I never finished the book (though that brings on the critics who ask "Well, why did you finish it if you didn't like it"--I never win), it means I get all my questions answered and I get to have my peace of mind. When I leave books unfinished, all the unanswered questions nag at me and drive me up the wall!

I do write reviews for some of the books I don't finish, but I estimate I've only reviewed maybe half of my DNF books. Here's a post collecting some of the books I've given up on and why.

(All links in the titles take you to the book's Goodreads page, where you can learn more about it.)

by Laini Taylor
June 21, 2007 (Putnam Juvenile)

I love Laini Taylor's other books. I really do. Her lyrical prose, her creative worldbuilding, the way her stories make me feel--I love it all. Blackbringer, her debut novel, lacked everything but the creative worldbuilding. A complete and utter lack of emotional investment made me skip over 100 pages just so I could get to the end of the novel and see what happened. Because of that, I don't consider it a book I've truly finished.

What a shame. I faith-bought the sequel because I thought I'd like Blackbringer! Heck, if I can reach 200 blog followers before I move in a month and a half, I'll probably give away Blackbringer and Silksinger (books the author herself admits can be difficult to find) in a reader appreciation giveaway.

Kings & Queens
by Courtney Vail
January 27, 2012 (Little Prince Publishing)

This one is a book I've had my eye on for months and when I realized it was just $0.99 for a Kindle ebook of it, I didn't see why I shouldn't buy it.

Important tip, everyone? If you can read a read an excerpt of a book you're considering, even if it's as inexpensive as Kings & Queens is, always read the excerpt before you buy it. If I'd done that, I would have saved myself $0.99. I barely even started it before I gave up! A prologue and a single chapter. That's all I could force myself through because the writing style is like nails on a chalkboard on infinite repeat inside my head.

The cover had a strange appeal to me--hell, if I saw that on the bookshelves in my local bookstore, I would definitely stop and give it a gander/read the book's description--but once again, an interesting cover does not mean it's a good book. I don't know why I keep getting tricked when I know this like I know my shoe size (6 1/2 or 7, depending on what style shoe I'm wearing).

by Michelle Sagara
May 1, 2012 (DAW)

This isn't the first time I've read to read one of this author's books. I tried her adult fantasy novel, Cast in Shadow, a few years ago and I didn't finish that book either. There's just something about Sagara's style that puts me off and makes it difficult for me to keep reading the book, much less finish it. Silence had all the ingredients for a great YA novel (top-notch characterization, an interesting plot, etc.), but they didn't mix well enough to keep me interested and something about her writing style kept me too distanced for me to enjoy the book.

That's the problem with books sometimes. If you have a problem with the author's personal style, it's highly unlikely that problem will ever be solved and you will have that issue with every single book the author writes. I have the same issue with Sarah Dessen, though I still read her books and like them very much.

So Close to You
by Rachel Carter
320 pages (HarperTeen)

There's very little I can say about So Close to You. I made it through 220 of its 320 pages, but all I had to say about it was that it was dull, formulaic, and stuffed with insta-love. The corny way astrology was incorporated to really hammer it in that Wes and Lydia are meant to be together irritated me too. I have a small interest in astrology, though I don't know it very well. I won't know much about it until I finally get to write my astrology-focused novel and have to immerse myself in research to make sure everything is perfect. Seeing it used the way it was in So Close to You made me roll my eyes.

This had nothing to do with my opinion of the novel as I read it, but I was suddenly less surprised I liked it after discovering it came from Full Fathom Five, aka that fraud James Frey's book packaging company/writer sweatshop and the same company that produced I Am Number Four. Learning it did not make me like it any more or less.

Dearly, Beloved
by Lia Habel
September 25, 2012 (Del Rey)

I somewhat enjoyed Dearly, Departed, the first book in this series. It was kind of "meh" for me except for the badass beauty that is Pamela Roe. She is the sole reason I still have my copy of Dearly, Departed and she is the sole reason I wanted to read Dearly, Beloved. 

I very rarely take more than a five days or a week to read a book, especially if I have all the free time in the world to read said book. Even 500 page books like Dearly, Beloved present me with only a small challenge. Considering all that, it took me eleven days-- a week and a half--to get to the halfway point of Dearly, Beloved. I hated how the first book was divided up into five points of view, and the sequel was divided up into six. Not even Pam's segments and appearances made me happy! In addition to all that, I consistently lost track of which narrator was speaking and felt no tension from the zombie-human issues the novel was focused on.

I didn't have anymore time to waste on a book I had no investment in and dreaded reading every time I tried to get back to it, so I gave up.

And now a quick discussion question: do you feel pressured to finish every single book you read? What are your thoughts on DNF reviews? Some say they're invalid, others (like me) say they're perfectly valid. What about you?


  1. When I was younger, I never stopped reading a book until the end. Now, I actually don't mind at all. If I don't like it, I won't read it.

    It's just that simple, because face it: while you are struggling in a book, you could read something amazing! I just don't want to waste my time on books I don't like :) There are so many great books waiting for me :p

    I also like to read DNF reviews. I like to see why people didn't like a book: why they didn't finish it. It comes in handy with choosing my next read and it can prevent me from buying a book I might hate.

  2. I used to always finish books as well. I still don't give up on them easily, I will try and try and try.

    But...with so many great books out there, I find myself becoming pickier with my time. I have 200+ books on TBR list ~ that does not leave much time for a book that I just don't see eye to eye with.

    I'm learning to be a little easier on myself for adding a book to the dreaded DNF list. :)

  3. I try to finish every book I guess I feel guilty especially because books are very expensive in my country (eheh). Now that I buy in english it's easier, I guess. Still, I don't get rid of it immediately, because it might just be that I wasn't in the right mood for the book. But there are a few books I just can't make myself read twice.

    I also think DNF reviews are valid. As Mel said, I like to know why people didn't finish a book. If it's something that annoys me in a book as well, best if I know it before I buy it, I think. ^_^

  4. I have never felt pressure to finish a book. If I don't like something I am not going to torture myself to finish it. There are better books to read and so little time to do so.

    DNF reviews are completely valid. Maybe I won't like it for the same reasons and I need to know.

    I read an excerpt once and fell in love with the book and had to have it. Sadly that was the only good part in it. I ended up almost despising it. Sometimes excerpts can be misleading.

  5. I try to finish all the books I start, but sometimes I just fall out of it. I hope to go back and try to finish the books that I stopped reading though, but if it is still hard for me to get into or I just start skimming I wouldn't pick it up again after that.


I love hearing what others have to say about books and it makes me feel less like I'm talking to an empty auditorium, so comment away. Thank you for reading my blog post!