Some Recent DNFs

Posted 8th February 2020 by Siavahda in Fantasy Reviews, Reviews / 0 Comments

I’m a fast reader, but between working full-time and writing my own stories, I have very strict rules about wasting time on books I’m not enjoying. If I don’t care how the book ends by the time I hit the 20% mark on my Kindle, that book is getting DNF-ed.

Some of the recent additions to my DNF pile were especially surprising and disappointing, since they were books I was really looking forward to.

I’ve loved every one of McLemore’s books, but this one just didn’t work for me. Nothing about the present-day storyline held my attention at all, and it didn’t help that it was told in first-person by characters who seemed incredibly bland and 2D. The historical storyline was much more interesting, but…the magic just wasn’t there for me this time. Sigh.

Bolivian-inspired fantasy with night-themed magic – I have no idea how this one went wrong. First-person present-tense narration definitely didn’t help (that pretty much always rubs me the wrong way, and I hate that it seems to be so popular in YA right now), and it all felt weirdly simplistic? I still find myself staring at that gorgeous cover, but unfortunately the writing within the pages was just too bland to bear.

I tried with this one, I really, really did, but if I’d had a paperback copy I’d have thrown it across the room. Although the heroine was refreshingly ruthless, she was also incredibly stupid, and there was so much info-dumping to establish the Extremely Important cultural and historical backstory – which could have been conveyed so much more elegantly through some kind of poetic prologue. Also, I have an Anti-Thing about stupid monarchs, and I couldn’t stand the mc’s father, the king – I wanted to push him off one of the cliffs of his island kingdom. And don’t get me started on the magic ship that only needs one person to sail it – that was so clearly a way to duck out of needing a larger cast of characters it was embarrassing. The worldbuilding was clearly meant to read as intricate, but it was like Grace came up with this interestingly complicated world and then watered it down to simple, wishy-washy mush. Nope.

I received this one as an ARC, and wow did it make me angry. The writing itself is really beautiful, but the conceit has the mc growing up inside a brothel – and I mean literally inside it: she’s not allowed to leave the house, ever. To the point that when she does eventually sneak out, she runs back to the house screaming because she mistakes the sun rising for the sky being on fire. That’s not funny, it’s fucked-up, and her being allowed out one day a year – on her birthday – isn’t some grand gesture; it doesn’t erase the cruelty of it all. But we’re supposed to accept this because the mc has feathers growing on her back and this is all for her ~protection~. Yeah, no. Fuck all the way off.

I have zero tolerance for shitty parents – especially ones we’re clearly not meant to think are bad parents, see the whole ‘stop sulking, she’s sacrificed so much for you’ line. Urgh.

I have been reading some fantastic books that I need to write reviews for – I just needed to scribble some notes about these DNFs first. I hope everyone else’s reading has been going better!

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