I don’t DNF very often, but when I do, I don’t typically review those books here, mainly because I don’t have enough to say. However, I’ve decided to start doing short DNF reflections when I have a couple of DNFs. I think DNF review/reflections can be valuable, because what causes me to DNF something might actually make someone else pick the same book up!
1. Twisted Fate by Norah Olson
source: Advanced reader’s copy granted by publisher through Edelweiss
Where I stopped: 30%
When Alyson meets Graham Copeland, the new boy next door, she instantly feels like he’s a kindred spirit—shy and awkward like her, someone who has trouble making friends. It’s impossible to resist having a crush on him.
As usual, her sister, Sydney, sees things differently. In Sydney’s mind, Graham’s odd personality and secretive past scream psychopath, not sweetheart. Her gut is telling her to stay away from him, and to protect a love-struck Alyson from her own naïveté. But despite her instincts, Sydney is surprised to realize that a part of her is drawn to Graham, too.
And the more Sydney gets to know him, the more she realizes just how right—and wrong—she is about everything.
Perfect for fans of Michelle Hodkin, and E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars, Twisted Fate is an unputdownable novel, teeming with suspense.
Why I DNF-ed:
Twisted Fate sounded so great. I mean, two sisters(completely different from each other), and a new boy who they can’t quite figure out and might be dangerous(actually dangerous, not bad-boy-next-door-loser-dangerous)? I love books like that! But I got 30% in and wasn’t feeling it at all. The writing style was really throwing me off. The voices of the two sisters were good and distinguishable, but then all these other people ended up having point of views as well, and it just felt like too much jumping into other people’s heads. Plus, at 30%, I didn’t feel like anything had really happened at all. There was talk of something bad but it was withheld just to create suspense, which is one of my bookish pet peeves unless it’s done really well. In the end, though, it was mainly the multiple POVs that made the decision to set this one down easy.
2. Snow Like Ashes
Source: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where I stopped: at 45%
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.
Why I DNF-ed:
Snow Like Ashes currently has a 4.05 average rating on Goodreads so clearly I’m in the minority on this one but I just couldn’t get into it at all. First, the book opens with a sparring scene which is sort of a fantasy pet peeve of mine. Why does every fantasy book have to open with sparring? I was able to overlook that since the next few chapters were exciting, but after about the 18% the story started lagging. I tried to be patient and hold out for improvement but I realized I was going out of my way to actively avoid this book so I figured it was time to DNF. The final straw came when the main character was forced into an arrange marriage, which is another one of those things I really don’t like reading about in books(though at times I can overlook it). This one’s just not for me.
3. Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Source: I received an electronic advanced reader’s copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
DNF-ed at: 15%
Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?
Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.
As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.
Why I DNF-ed:
Bone Gap is a strange little book, and most of the early reviews I read seemed to love it. I understand why. It’s sharply written and I could tell it was well-plotted, but the writing style just didn’t jive with me at all. Even at 10% I was dreading picking this book back up again. The opening was confusing and while I’m sure I would have understood more if I stuck it out, it was already grating on me. The style is very literary which I normally love but for some reason, for THIS particular story it just did not work to make me love it. I was just so, so bored so early on in the novel.