I try to finish every book I start to read, but sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s impossible. Sometimes books are so badly written that it’s an insult to expect me to waste my very valuable time on them.
Other times the book just isn’t working for me, and it’s a waste of my time when I don’t think the book will get better, and when I don’t think I will start to enjoy it, based on the evidence I’ve already read. If I have faith the book will get better, I’ll finish it.
I generally don’t review books I don’t finish because my time has already been wasted in the reading-then-giving-up part, but I’ve posted before about the ten books I gave up on, and seeing as how I recently abandoned my fifteenth book since starting this blog, I thought I’d showcase the latest five and mention why it is I gave up on them.
The Zero Stars Books
While I was pretty excited for a tale of three cousin witches in Alyxandra Harvey’s A Breath of Frost, I found myself putting it down for good at around 17%.
“I’m listening to my instincts on this one.
I’m not abandoning it because most of the ‘ff’, ‘fi’ and ‘fl’ combinations are mysteriously missing from this ARC copy. I can figure out what they mean.
I’m abandoning it because three major events happen in quick succession and the three lead girls seem completely unfazed by the earthquake, the fire, and the frost. They don’t care, and they’re not reacting at all to these major events. One of the girls broke her only remaining keepsake of her mother and was only vaguely annoyed at the person who caused her to drop it. One of the other girls is supposedly very close to her mother, and when he mother asks why she’s wet the girl brushes off the enquiry and doesn’t mention said earthquake, fire and frost. Why write that stuff in if the girls don’t react?
I’m also quitting because there’s a surprise fourth point of view unmentioned in the blurb, and the prose is attempting to emulate Jane Austen wit and failing. ”
The Keepers by J.L. Block was one of the first unsolicited books I received, and I was excited to support an Australian author. I read this from October 2013 to January 2014, so hard did I try to finish it. Eventually I had to admit defeat.
“Abandoning at 50%.
I know it sounds awful to say this but it just isn’t very interesting. And the saddest part of all is that it’s not the plot or the characters that aren’t interesting, because they are, but it’s the actual storytelling itself, the way the author chooses passive words and awkward dialogue tags and inconsistent characterisation to tell this story. The entire book is written in passive voice. It’s painful, because I want to like this and I actually do want to know what happens further on, but I’m so bored by all the little things – info-dump question and answer sessions, training, learning, even action scenes – that I can’t bring myself to read the rest of it.
By 50% I’m sure the writing won’t improve and I’m bored. By continuing I feel like I’m leading the book on: if I were dating someone and it just wasn’t working, would I continue to force it until I ended up marrying the guy or could I cut it off after the first few awkward dates?
Consider this me breaking up with this book.
It’s not you, book, it’s me. (Except it is mostly you.)“
“I managed two pages before I gave up. I just know this book and I aren’t going to gel. Great concept, terrible execution.
I wasn’t always such a magnet for hot guys, but the secret of my awesomeness got out the day I met Dalton Deangelo.
I have quite a few issues with this opening sentence. To begin with, it’s a crap opening sentence. Our heroine is clearly egotistical, (FYI I have no problems with girls too big for their boots a la Letty ‘wannabe badass’ fucking Dilliger in Strings)) the ‘awesomeoness’ is in italics for no fucking reason, and I’m still trying to work out if ‘Deangelo’ is pronounced ‘deen-jello’ or ‘dee-angelo’. The sentence is clearly trying to set up the fact that this ‘awesome’ heroine will deliver more of her awesomeness that is so fucking important it needs to be in italics, but it’s not fooling me.
I was supposed to be on the blog tour for D.E.L. Connor’s Spirit Warriors: The Concealing, but had to make other arrangements due to being unable to finish the book. I thought the blurb sounded really interesting and the cover’s beautifully coloured, but I found it so hard to read.
“DNF at 13%
Prose too awkwardly stilted, clunky, and overly juvenile, repeating words on the same page instead of choosing new, exciting, describing words, with way too much telling and not showing. Also, really weird use of beats in dialogue. Far too clumsy storytelling for me to read the complete book.“
Excited to try another Native American-inspired heroine, I really tried to get into Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac only to find that I couldn’t quite articulate why I wasn’t enjoying it, which was quite frustrating in itself.
“No, I’m sorry, I’m not going to finish this.
I really, really don’t like the writing style.
And I hate that I can’t quite articulate why. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s not quite jarring, it’s certainly not offensive. It’s just really, really not working for me. It’s quite heavy on the worldbuilding and I don’t like the narrator’s voice at all.
I’m not going to waste time trawling through a novel I’m not enjoying only to give it one or two stars when I can quit now and not rate it.”