DNFed Fictions (3)

Not counting my secret project DNFs, I’ve DNFed 6 books in the last month. I do realize that I tend to give up on books really quickly, but I do so after researching and why force myself to a certain point into the book if I knew right off it wouldn’t have a chance of being something I would really enjoy? If you don’t like DNF commentary, move along.

Afterworlds - Scott WesterfeldAfterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Pages Read: 146

Why I DNFed: I feel bad about this one, but I can’t. I don’t hate it by any means and I don’t think it’s poorly written. However, I put the book down for a couple of days and it looks way too heavy to pick back up. The main problem is that I’m not at all invested in either of the story lines. I don’t care what happens to Darcy or to Lizzie, her main character. If it were the average 300 page YA novel, I would finish, but I have 450 pages to go, and that’s so many pages.

 

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve ValentineThe Girls at the Kingfisher Club - Genevieve Valentine

Percent Read: 13

Why I DNFed: All the sad. A 1920s fairy tale retelling was all that I wanted. The really frustrating thing is that I do like the writing and in theory I am so behind this book. Unfortunately, the writing, while pretty, isn’t engaging me in the story. It drifts above and doesn’t get down into the actual moments, leaving me feeling really disconnected from the characters. The chapters are broken down into incredibly tiny sections, most of the scenes incredibly brief and not allowing time for character or relationship-building. As of yet, I have no more than one or two characteristics to apply to any of the girls. I’ve not read much so it might improve, but I did some scrolling through the book and the basic format seems to remain consistent. Without a connection to the characters, this is probably only going to be a meh read for me, and I want to move on to something that will hold my attention better.

If I hear word from friends that it improves greatly, this is one I might pick up again at a later date, since I did like the writing.

The Name of the Blade - Zoe MarriottThe Name of the Blade by Zoë Marriott

Pages Read: 25

Why I DNFed: I’m really sad about this one (and, yeah, I do realize I start a lot of DNF reviews this way, but honestly I want to love all the things), because I LOVED Marriott’s Shadows on the Moon so much. When I heard about this one, I thought it would be more of the same: dark, complex and with an incredibly swoony ship. From what I gathered in the little I read (the first two chapters), this is not remotely the case. The tone is so very different, running more towards something light and comedic, though the jokes really were not hitting for me.

I took an immediate dislike to the narration and, consequently, the heroine. This didn’t happen in my previous Marriott read, so I can only assume it’s a stylistic choice, one that will presumably work for others but that I find off-putting.

The thing that bothers me is that apparently the whole plot is going to hinge around Mio doing something stupid. She was told not to touch the family’s katana again until she was 16. She’s almost 16 and it’s HERS, so she decides to get it out to use for her Halloween costume (because taking an actual katana to a teen Halloween party is an excellent idea no one would ever have a problem with – there have got to be better reasons for her to want the damn sword). When she’s grabbing it, by the way, she also goes totally Gollum with her “MINE.” Anyway, I just find the whole Pandora element really problematic, since doing this is apparently what’s going to unleash the evil and the hot boy. It’s possible there are nuances I’m missing, but what I read combined with the back copy implies this is the case.

Then I went to reviews of the book to assess whether I wanted to keep reading.

I learned from Marriott’s own review of the book that View Spoiler »

The reviews of those who were meh on the book all reference the same issues with the characters that I was already feeling: that they’re one dimensional, driven by a quality or two. They all cite a dislike of the romantic elements. I do believe that instalove can be done well, but it does not sound like this is one of those times. Plus, many people mentioned that Shinobu is perfect, as in without flaw.

Since I’ve taken an immediate dislike to the book, I feel no desire to continue when these sorts of elements are not going to overcome my dislike; they’ll just add fuel to the fire.

That said, I was so excited about this book that I had ordered a UK copy long before I got a US ARC. As such, I’ll be keeping the version I bought and maybe trying it again down the road.

No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin BrownNo Place to Fall - Jaye Robin Brown

Pages Read: 14

Why I DNFed: It became pretty much immediately apparent that I’d made a mistake here. I’m pretty much always up for a contemporary romance and the cover said contemporary road trip romance to me. However, in the little portion of the book I’ve read, I’ve gotten dialect (not tons but enough to annoy me), drug use (which doesn’t interest me), and problematic descriptions of characters (“He sounds close enough to local, but he doesn’t look like anybody I know. Shoulder length black hair. Big sleepy eyes the color of goldenrod in the fall. Bronze skin. I think he must be part Indian. Red dot, not feather.”)

Mostly, I find the narration really annoying immediately. I just cannot see me liking this book. Moving on.

Zodiac - Romina RussellZodiac by Romina Russell

Pages Read: 4

Why I DNFed: I’ve made a terrible mistake. I was skeptical of zodiac anyway, but, hey, I loved Fruits Basket. I just can’t, though, immediately. The book’s already said several times how the people from each zodiacal planet are, which is making me fear this will be Divergent in space. Also, random words are capitalized all the time so you can admire their great Import. Plus, there’s a traumatic scene in the first couple of pages and the narration made it feel dry. This was a long shot anyway, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s not a Christina book. Perhaps it will be more fun for those who subscribe to the zodiac.

The Fall by Bethany GriffinThe Fall - Bethany Griffin

Pages Read: 14

Why I DNFed: The Fall starts with a dramatic scene of someone waking up in a coffin and screaming for help. Well, it should have been dramatic, but I didn’t feel it. The same goes for the girl going to bed in her creepy house. I can tell it’s all supposed to be creepy and the writing’s nice, but all I felt was bored. I also felt a bit confused, since the opening chapter isn’t labeled a prologue or as any other point in time. I went to look at some reviews to see if this book was worth reading further. Here’s what I found:

1) Pretty much everyone reported loving the opening but that the book suffered from serious lulls and repetition in other places. Since I was already bored, this was not encouraging.

2) Everyone raves about the atmosphere. If there’s something to highly recommend this book, it’s the Gothic writing. Unfortunately, I don’t tend to love something for atmosphere alone.

3) One reviewer noted a major plot point that’s completely idiotic and plot hole-y regarding how the evil of the house is combated. No thanks.

4) What I enjoyed most about Griffin’s debut Masque of the Red Death was actually the romance. As such, I was dismayed to learn there’s minimal romance in this book and it might all be with the heroine’s brother. Which no.

Basically, I feel like I would be struggling through a 420 page book that bored me. I’ll pass.

19 responses to “DNFed Fictions (3)”

  1. Angie F. says:

    Divergent in space, you say? So I did not like Divergent, but I might have if it were set in space and people behaved like how their signs predict they will (at least this is what I assume you meant). Sooo…I am now intrigued by Zodiac.
    Angie F. recently posted…Review: Avoiding Responsibility (Avoiding, #2) by K.A. LindeMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Hahaha! Sounds like you might like this then. The writing was worlds better than that in Divergent, so it ought to be different enough to give you a chance! So glad that you’re interested because of the DNF review. Really shows their versatility!

  2. Fida says:

    I haven’t read AFTERWORLDS. But I was talking to someone else about it. It should probably be a series instead of one book.

    I still feel like I should read it myself along with NO PLACE TO FALL. I hope you find books you love.
    Fida recently posted…Hugs & Kisses Tour Day 2: Cover DesignMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Hmmm, I’m not sure if I would have liked it better as two separate books or what. Probably not personally, since I didn’t really enjoy either book. *shrugs*

      If you try those two, I hope they work better for you!

  3. Lesley says:

    I almost DNFed Afterworlds as well, but forced myself to plough through it. I regret that now. Much time was wasted on a book that I ultimately really disliked. I wouldn’t recommend going back to it!
    Lesley recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday (11)My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Such a shame! I loved the idea of it and I read so much, but the execution left a lot to be desired. I just didn’t bond with it and that’s a lot of pages to be vaguely annoyed in.

  4. Heather says:

    I actually really liked Afterworlds. I thought it was super interesting, and I put it down for a bit because other things in my life took priority, but I was just as absorbed when I picked it back up. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you!

    Also, I haven’t seen you since you started DNFing like whoa (mad props, by the way; I really need to do that), but are you DNFing everything forever, or do you have plans to go back to certain books when you’re in a different mood? Just wondering 🙂 I don’t DNF often enough, or when I do, I tend to pick them back up later and try again. It’s so hard for me to let go of books, even when they aren’t working for me! lol

    • Christina Franke says:

      We agree so often, but it can’t be all the time. I just really couldn’t deal with Darcy, unfortunately. Plus, the window into publishing wasn’t as illuminating for me, since I’ve talked to authors enough to have an idea what it’s like.

      Woooo! I’m not DNFing everything definitively forever, but most of them, hopefully. A few I wasn’t in the mood for or maybe had the wrong format, and might be willing to try them again if they get good reviews.

  5. Kayla Beck says:

    Oh! I DNFed Zodiac, and I totally didn’t mean to. I put it down to do something else and never got back to it. I should pick it back up now. I have lots of time to read because I’m DNFing everything like some sort of maniac. I cannot remember the last time I finished a book that wasn’t audio. I think I hate everything now.
    Kayla Beck recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I Cannot Wait To ReadMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I know this feeling. I’ve been DNFing a lot, which I think is good, but it’s also slowed down my progress. I’ve just been so moody lately.

      • Kayla Beck says:

        I don’t like anything anymore. I’m reading The Boleyn King right now, and that’s the longest that I’ve gone in a novel in probably a month. And I got approved for Golden Son, so I’m hoping to get out of my slump before I start on it. I’ve been wanting to read it for so, so long.
        Kayla Beck recently posted…Book Deals: November 19, 2014My Profile

  6. I read through Zodiac and I hated that I wasted my time with this book. I wish that i DNF that book.

  7. Dahlia Adler says:

    I didn’t DNF AFTERWORLDS, but I did skim through most of the Lizzie chapters. I cannot for the life of me understand who the target audience of that book was. I don’t *think* any of the rest are on my TBR except for NO PLACE TO FALL, which I actually don’t know a ton about somehow, though I do know that particular description was changed for the final copy of the book; I think a *lot* of people DNFed the ARC for it.

    Always good to get some DNF insight!
    Dahlia Adler recently posted…Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait To GetMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Yeah, I don’t know, for my part, if the full draft of her novel was really necessary. But, then again, I found Darcy deeply irritating, so I don’t think I would have liked it anyway.

      Good to know that the description was changed. Honestly, it was heading for a DNF already before I even got to that line, but it definitely didn’t help. The writing really bothered me, because it was dialect AND lots of fragments.

  8. Dragana says:

    I have The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine but didn’t read it (yet). I was excited about it for the same reasons as you, but I agree with you that connection to characters makes all the difference. I will have to give it a try and see for myself…
    Dragana recently posted…Book Review: King’s by Mimi Jean PamfiloffMy Profile

  9. Lyn Kaye says:

    Red dot, not feather. OMFG. WHY WHY WHY. Oh, this one is going on my PASS shelf just for that! UGH.

    Zodiac worries me a bit. I was really looking forward to that one, now I keep skeptical.

  10. We don’t always agree on stuff, but when we do…

    I got through Afterworlds on sheer stubbornness and the hope something good would come out of it in the end, but I was left displeased the whole way through (except for the first chapter of Darcy’s novel).

    Oh lord, The Name of the Blade. Best left unremembered. But I still want UK copies of the entire trilogy because such cover so nice wow.

    “Red dot, not feather”? Sweet daisy maisy, NO. Indian is a poor way to refer to Native Americans anyway because that label came from explorers’ incorrect assumptions that they’d made it to India and they never wanted to correct themselves (racist bastards), but I wouldn’t have needed that nearly-racist clarification and no one decent would have either.

    The Divergent-y factions of the zodiac signs in Zodiac and telling and Important Capitalization of random Words is probably going to KO me, but I fail to care because ZODIAC SIGNS IN A MAJOR ROLE IN YA FICTION YAYYYYYYYY. Ahem. I may or may not have an unhealthy appreciation for them.

    • Christina Franke says:

      Your review of Afterworlds was one that inspired me to give up even though I’d read so much (but also somehow so little) already. Based on the people who liked it a lot, you had to be really into one of the stories and I was meh to negative about both. Such a shame.

      Blerrrrgh. I might try it again since I bought the UK edition forever ago, without the new awesome cover. Maybe the series will improve? But also it just all sounds so bad. I can’t even about the whole plot being because she didn’t listen to gramps and wanted to take AN ACTUAL SWORD to a Halloween party. No, I’m not over this.

      Apparently that line was taken out of the final copy of No Place to Fall because so many advance reviewers complained. Even so, I didn’t like the book otherwise. It just was not a Christina thing. That line was baaaad though and, even with it gone, I don’t think I’d like the heroine’s voice at all. She’s still the sort of person where that line fit.

      Maybe you’ll love Zodiac! I’m not into the zodiac at the best of times. I think it’s amusing, but I don’t have enough interest for it to hold up a whole world. I wish I did.

  11. I’m bummed about The Girls at the Kingfisher Club. It sounds so good, but I might give it a shot and see if it does work for me. It’s sad, but I put The name of the blade on my ‘not-interested’ list now. I had to read the spoiler and that’s really off-putting for me as well. Shame, because like you, I had good experiences with her previous books. The fall.. it started out fine and pretty creepy, but the story went downhill so fast and the ending was terrible.
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