(Yeah, I know the weekend has passed, but I was busy.)
This week’s topic:
Books I DNF
(FYI: DNF means did not finish.)
This post isn’t about my struggle to DNF books or whether or not it’s right to do so or whether or not we should rate books we DNF. I think all such choices are entirely up to the reader and though we are book bloggers, we should remember that we are readers first; so if you don’t like a book, it’s okay to stop reading it. And if you have a strong opinion on it, though you haven’t yet completed the book, it’s a free world (for the most part) so share your opinion and rate the book on Goodreads and/or your blog, if you feel like doing so.
I sometimes rate and review books I DNF. It all depends on how far I got in the story and whether or not I have a solid opinion about it. There are books I’ve read and given up on after a page or two or ten. With such books, I usually stop reading because I’m not in the mood for it, so there’s no need for me to rate or review it. I’ll just include it in the Excel spreadsheet I use to track my reading for the year and move on to something else. A recent book I’ve done that with is The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff.
Some books I give up on after reading a couple chapters, which is what happened with the books I’ll discuss later in this post. I read about a quarter or half of the book or more before accepting that I’m not feeling the story or characters or the writing and can’t bother to continue. Sometimes I haven’t yet formed an opinion on the story or do not have any strong feelings toward it, so I don’t review or rate it but will share brief thoughts about it on my blog and/or on Goodreads (which I intend to do in this post).
However, other times I will rate and review such books because I have a solid opinion about its content despite not completing the entire story. My thoughts on such DNFs are always negative (if I had positive feelings toward it, I would have completed the book), so my review will reflect that and my rating of the story will be low. However, I always note in the review that I did not complete the story so whomever reads my review will know to consider my opinion with a grain of salt. A recent book I read, DNF’ed, and review/rated was School for Psychics by K.C. Archer.
In this post, I’ll briefly discuss two novels I recently DNF. I didn’t form strong opinions about them, which is why I didn’t bother to do a full review or rate them on Goodreads. However, since the whole point of this blog is to keep a record of what I read and my experience doing so, I had to make note of these reading experiences somewhere — hence this post.
June 19, 2018; was independently published in October 2015
I was granted an e-ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
The Grey Bastards is a grimdark fantasy novel about an ambitious half-orc called Jackal who wants to unseat the ruler of the Grey Bastards, a sworn brotherhood that Jackal belongs to, and claim the leadership for himself. The Grey Bastards is one of several bands, called hoofs, that humans rely on to patrol the Lot Lands, a desolate area, for orc invasions. Such hoofs are populated with bad-ass half-orcs, usually males, who ride large hogs and work together to track and kill orcs that invade the territory.
By the time I stopped reading, Jackal has suspected something fishy going on with the ruler of the Grey Bastards, so he “makes friends” with a sorcerer, fights a demon in a swamp to rescue an elf girl, and later makes a deal with a pious halfling dude. From the synopsis on Goodreads, I suspect he’s about to be betrayed soon and things will take off from there.
Unfortunately, I stopped reading a couple weeks ago because I lost interest in the story and couldn’t bother to continue reading to find out what exactly will happen next. I suspect that I lost interest in the story because the other books I was reading were more compelling and distracted me from The Grey Bastards. I hardly read one book at a time these days, which is both a good and bad thing: good because I’m always reading a variety of things so if bored, I can switch to something else and I get through TBRs faster (if I follow my set TBR); and bad because if one book isn’t as great as the others, then it gets neglect — which is what happened with The Grey Bastards.
I started The Grey Bastards in January. By the end of March, I decided to give up on it. I was spending more time with the other books than with it.
However! As I write this, my interest in the story has perked up again, especially when I read the synopsis. I can’t help wondering in what way will Jackal be betrayed. Will the sorcerer betray him? After all, the sorcerer, called Crafty (lol), is a new dude and neither Jackal nor Jackal’s closest friends — Oats, a burly half-orc, and Fetching, a female half-orc (it’s rare to have a female in the hoof) — trust the sorcerer; or will it be Oats or Fletching who betrays him? (That would really hurt if it’s Oats or Fletching.) I kind of want to know this, so it’s possible that I’ll return to this story later in the year when I can be more patient with it.
Do I recommend it?
Yes or No
It’s not a bad story, I just wasn’t in the mood for it. Though I DNF’ed it, I would still recommend it to those interested in fantasy novels, especially grimdark fantasy or fantasy stories told from the perspective of someone who isn’t human.
Since the book will be published by Crown in June, they gave it a new cover from the one it had when it was self-published. …. I prefer the self-published cover.
The author reached out to me to ask if I would like to read one of her novels and I said “yes,” of course. She sold me on 1001 Islands when she described it as an adult high seas adventure fantasy, a bit like “Pirates of the Caribbean meets Inception,” which sounded awesome.
From what I’ve read so far, I get that it’s an adult fantasy novel set in an archipelago. An individual called the Silence seems to be causing trouble for the rulers of other islands, who are all frustrated with the Silence’s antics because they can’t catch him or figure out what exactly are his intentions. Those in power try again to get the Silence and rescue a spoiled princess he kidnapped by sending a Kingsman (a spy) to infiltrate his island by posing as a doctor.
I was mildly interested in the story at first because the many islands made me think of Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea books and because it begins with a girl trading her sight to a witch — sounds creepily awesome — but, as with The Grey Bastards above, I lost interest as the story progressed because the other books I was reading were more exciting.
Also, the structure of the story turned me off. The chapters are short, which I liked because it made me feel as if I’m getting through the story quickly, and it is fairly fast paced, but there are many POV characters and almost every chapter is from a different character perspective, sometimes on a different island. All that — short chapters, many characters, different POVs and location — made the story confusing, especially since I was reading other books at the same time.
The switches in POV got a bit better as the story progressed. By the time I stopped reading (which I think was about halfway through the story), the perspectives were mainly from the spy sent to the Silence’s island, the spoiled princess, and a guard called Nala, but by then I’d lost interest because of the other books I was reading.
Do I recommend it?
Yes or No — I don’t know.
I’m indecisive about it. It had my interest at first, but the short chapters and frequent jumps in POV lost me. And now I’m no longer curious about it.
What I’m currently reading:
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
I’m rereading this and am loving it so much. I like that we get Jaime’s perspective on things.
The Water Witch by Juliet Dark
I enjoyed reading The Demon Lover so much that I couldn’t wait to jump into the next book. So far it’s okay but not as engrossing as The Demon Lover.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
This has gotten a lot of hype recently and so far I don’t see why, but I am enjoying it. It’s interesting, but I didn’t like the sex part much. It was a little awkward.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Of all the books I’m currently reading, I’m most excited about this one. It has 60% of my attention. The other 40% is divided among the other books. I’m so hooked on it! And am glad that so far the hype building up around it is right. I hope it’s good all the way to the end.
The Devourers by Indra Das
I’m buddy-reading this with Rachel from Life of a Female Bibliophile and so far we’re struggling with it. We’ve only read the first part and… I don’t know what to make of it yet. It ain’t working for me so far. I kept falling asleep while reading it.