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A Reader of Fictions: January-March 2013 DNFs

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

January-March 2013 DNFs

One of my goals for my reading in 2013 was to DNF (which stands for did not finish and has since been verbed by bookish folks everywhere) books I'm not enjoying if I don't think that's going to change. Much as I have a reputation for a snarky bitch from at least a few people out there, I really don't like reading books I...don't like. Shocking, that. Even so, I force myself through a lot of review copies because I feel like I owe the book a review, even an unflattering one. Plus, sometimes I just keep hoping the book will get better and it doesn't.

Though I don't review books I haven't finished (that's not a statement on DNF reviews in general, because I've often found them exceedingly helpful), I thought I would do quarterly posts on what I've DNFed and why.

The Red Knight
The Traitor Son Cycle, Book 1

Author: Miles Cameron
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 672

Why I DNFed:
This book is very well-written and, based on the many glowing reviews, has marvelous world building. Sadly, after 200 pages, I am unable to get into The Red Knight. It's massive, and I don't think the things I'm having problems with will get better.

Basically, this book has minimal characterization and a HUGE cast. I cannot keep the different knights straight in my mind, so I don't know who's doing what. This makes everything really confusing, so I'm giving up.

Pulse, Book 1

Author: Patrick Carman
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 384

Why I DNFed:
The writing and characters did not impress me right off the bat and based on one and two star reviews from so many of the reviewers whose opinions I trust and generally agree with, I got out while the getting was good.

The Memory of Love

Author: Linda Olsson
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 217

Why I DNFed:
Linda Olsson's The Memory of Love is categorized as literary fiction, which, in this case, seems to mean that it's all about Olsson showing how clever she is via sophisticated philosophical ramblings on the nature of love and memory. Unfortunately, the fact that the first 25 pages consisted of nothing but this made the heroine unapproachable and flat. 25 pages may not seem like much, but it's over ten percent of this slim volume.

When I finally got to a bit of plot, the story switched from first person to third, narrating Marion's past with "she did this" and "she did that." I like this even less than the show-offy nature of the beginning.

Fox Forever
Jenna Fox Chronicles, Book 3

Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 304

Why I DNFed:
I really can't remember much about the previous book, and I'm not finding Locke's narration any more engaging. Read some reviews which seem to indicate that the romance and tear-jerking epilogue are the best parts. I skipped ahead to the epilogue to see if it made finishing the book worthwhile for me, and...no.

By all accounts this is better than the second one, which was pretty unfortunate, but I think I'm going to go back to pretending that this isn't a series.

Taken, Book 1

Author: Erin Bowman
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 352

Why I DNFed:
I started this book on January 11, and I didn't pick it up at all in February. Finally, sick of having it on my currently reading shelf, I picked it up again on March 18, and determined to power through. Well, obviously I wasn't that into it to begin with if I left it alone for a month and a half. It shouldn't take me two months to read a book.

Picking it back up, I was even more bored than before, with no patience for the unnecessary descriptions (two boys are carrying water and either have blisters or callouses - FASCINATING).

Plus, I've read some reviews and it seems like most of the people who have enjoyed Taken liked Gray, and I feel nothing but annoyance for him. From what I've heard he only gets worse, and I'm already feeling stabbity. Engagement with the MC is crucial in first person narratives, and I do not have it.

So I'm marking this DNF, because I don't think it's right for me. I don't care enough to get force myself through it and write a negative review.

Period 8

Author: Chris Crutcher
Publisher: Greenwillow
Pages: 320

Why I DNFed:
This saddens me because I liked Chris Crutcher when I was a teen. I made it a total of 24 pages. In that brief span (though it's almost 10%), I already hate everyone in this book. I hated the MC on page two. I'm pretty sure they're going to be in danger later, and I would be rooting for the psycho killer or whatever.

Why do I hate the MC?

Paulie's on a date with his girlfriend. He tells her he wants to talk, but they make out for a bit first. She's said she's a great listener. Then he tells her he cheated on her. She insists that he take her home "in fucking silence, or I'm walking." He has the audacity to think this: "So much for the world's best listener" (2). To be fair, she didn't listen, but FUCK YOU for being an asshole. There's nothing you can say to make cheating on your girlfriend acceptable and she shouldn't have to listen to that shit. Being honest is a point in his favor, but his snarky comeback in the face of that just pissed me off.

The he goes to meet up with his philandering father at some diner, and his dad talks about why relationships suck.

Then he goes and talks to Logs, the teacher who runs Period 8, where the most slang-using kids in school meet up to talk about things in an offensive manner. Paulie tells Logs about the situation with Hannah, his ex-girlfriend. Logs says he shouldn't have told. FUCK YOU, Mr. Authority Figure. He would have "asked if you thought it might happen again or if you believed you could reign in those impulses from now on." Cheating once is totally okay, so long as you don't do it again! No no no, fuck no. As Paulie leaves this conversation, he remarks that he doesn't want to be like his father. Here's how you don't cheat you asshole: don't put your put your dick in someone who isn't your girlfriend. I know that's hard. (That's what she said.) It's so easy to accidentally screw someone else. Poor guy. Fuck that. Take responsibility for your own life. It's not your dad's fault you're an asshole, it's yours.

THEN they go to Period 8 and Hannah, who of course is there too, tells everyone that shit went down, and Paulie confesses that he told her the truth. At which point every freaking guy there says Psulie shouldn't have told her the truth. What. The. Fuck. I hate these people so much.

I ought to like Hannah at least. She was wronged, right? Well, yes, she was wronged, but then she goes off like this:
"'Can you believe this? Paulie Bomb cheats on his girlfriend, has the huevos to step up, and I'll bet ninety percent of the guys in this room think he's a pussy. Any of you chicks want to go lesbian with me? I mean, I'm liking the guy who cheated on me better than the ones who didn't, and I don't like him at all.'"
Is Crutcher serious with this? I have two main issues with this. 1) I feel like that "want to go lesbian with me?" thing is in seriously poor taste. 2) The language. I swear up a storm frequently. Swearing doesn't generally upset me, but every damn one in this book made me squirm. They don't feel natural; they feel forced, which makes the words not sit right.

Based on reviews, this book will not be getting any better, so I'm sparing myself the experience and am going to remember past Chris Crutcher instead of etching this into my memory.



Blogger Brandy said...

I have so much rage for the characters in Period 8 now and I haven't read a word of it. Just your synopsis up there.

I was on the fence about reading Taken but the more I see the less I think I will like it.

April 17, 2013 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ha, oh man, I cannot even believe Period 8 was by the same author whose books I liked when I was a teen. I'm not sure if I just didn't know better or if this one was just off.

I wouldn't peg it as something you would enjoy. It seems to hinge on whether one likes the MC, so you can always try it and DNF with a swiftness if you want to kick Gray.

April 17, 2013 at 3:44 PM  
Blogger GillyB said...

I've never even HEARD of Period 8 and I want to stab it with a pitchfork.

I am currently muddling through Taken. It's one of my current crop of disappointing debuts. Guhhh.

April 17, 2013 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

What the heck is that writing? It felt like watching one of those edgy urban high school flicks of the 90s. Dangerous Minds or something. No, no, no.

Yeah, that one...I'm glad I caved and DNFed.

April 17, 2013 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

It amazes me that you waste so much time reading books you dislike. Why not turn to something you enjoy.

April 17, 2013 at 4:17 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ummm, this comment doesn't make sense this is a post on books I put down since I didn't like them.

April 17, 2013 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger GillyB said...

The entire point of this post is about not torturing yourself by reading books you dislike. Like, that is literally the point Christina was trying to make.

April 17, 2013 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger GillyB said...

It amazes me that you spend so much time commenting on blog posts you dislike. Try to be more respectful.

April 17, 2013 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger Christina (Christinareadsya) said...

How is Christina supposed to know that she doesn't like a book without giving that book a chance in the first place? And she is turning to books she likes; that's what this whole post is about. She didn't like these books, so she's not going to waste her time on them.

April 17, 2013 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Blythe Harris said...

You: http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lydqzl2uD41r02765.gif

That's pretty much what the entire point of this post is about--books she didn't waste her time reading because she didn't enjoy them.

You should go now.

April 17, 2013 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger Karis Jacobstein said...

I just DNFd Fuse by Julianna Baggott and Reached by Ally Condie. Both kind of broke my heart because I loved the previous books so much, but I am having a harder and harder time finishing books I don't love these days... That said, I am loving the ones I finish that much more!

April 17, 2013 at 5:43 PM  
Blogger Wendy Darling said...

It amazes ME that people constantly feel the need to police the way other people read or review. And that people waste so much time trolling the internet with nothing better to do.

April 17, 2013 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

You're an asshole Linda. That's what book reviewers do. Review books. Christina didn't finish these precisely because she DIDN'T like them. So your comment doesn't even make sense. There are plenty of other blogs for you to troll. It's not allowed here.

April 18, 2013 at 1:14 AM  
Blogger Faye M. said...

Yeah, I think I only read like 10 pages of Period 8 and then scrapped the idea of reading it. I don't want to waste my time on a book I know I would vehemently hate. :/ The lack of internal narration made me a bit iffy, too.

April 18, 2013 at 2:01 AM  
Blogger Dragana Mitrovic said...

Thanks for sharing your DNF's with us Christina. I was first reluctant to post DNFs on my blog since you can't really review book you didn't read but later I realised that people should be warned about some books. It even happened to me that someone got interested into a book for the same thing that caused me to DNF it. So I guess everything is better than no mention at all.

I have Taken on my tbr but after you and Giselle, I'm kinda scared to start it. o.O

April 18, 2013 at 7:59 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Awww, that's too bad about Fuse. I did like Pure. Was not a huge fan of Condie's series. It does suck when you find yourself not loving a series you did previously. So many sads.

April 18, 2013 at 8:15 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I made it twenty. All of that was from twenty pages. If I read the whole thing, the review would have been short story length.

April 18, 2013 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Right, I've never posted about my DNFs before, but people have asked me about it. I was inspired by Giselle, who did a couple of posts on them at the end of the year. These aren't official reviews - they don't come with a rating and won't show up in my review archive or anything.

April 18, 2013 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Linda, did you even read the title of this post, or the introduction?! She didn't read these books because they didn't work for her. And if you have such an issue with it, why did you even read her post on it. Go somewhere else!!

April 18, 2013 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

OMG I did not like Period 8 at all. The only reason I finished it was because it was so short. So many things bothered me about it. Like, when Hannah shows up at Log's house at midnight? Ummm that's not an okay teacher/student relationship. You probably didn't even make it to that point, but ugh!! Now I feel stabby thinking about this book again lol!! I hated Gray in Taken too. He freaking beats up a girl in the first chapter...
Great post hon!!

April 18, 2013 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, I did NOT get to that part. Haha. I quit right after that first Log group thing in Period 8. Everything about it felt forced and inappropriate and just no.

It wasn't even him beating up the girl that bothered me. I mean, I think it's kind of sexist to say guys can't punch girls because they're girls, but I think he punched her for no reason, which isn't cool, and he did it right after all his whining and moaning about how no one likes him. Uh, no shit no one likes you. You punch people for no reason. It was his whininess and hypocrisy that I couldn't handle.

April 18, 2013 at 8:46 AM  
Blogger Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings said...

I appreciate your DNFs post! Though I didn't have any of these on my TBR list to begin with, they are much less likely to go on now. I completely agree with you about the annoying reactions of the characters in Period 8, ugh.... Those are the kinds of kids I would have wanted to punch in high school, don't need to be reading about them now!

Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings

April 18, 2013 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Hahaha, glad you like it! I don't officially review DNFs, because I generally quit within fifty pages, but I like seeing why other people put books down. I'll probably do four of these a year!

April 18, 2013 at 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BAHAHAHA those gifs! This post officially guarantees that I'm not going to try any of these books - especially Period 8. Seriously, I can't count the number of negative reviews I've read for this book. Blekkk. I'm still unwilling to give Taken up, though. I know a lot of people didn't like it because the main character was an ass, but you have to admit that that cover and blurb's really... mesmerizing...

April 18, 2013 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Period 8 was a hot mess, and all the reviews indicated it was only going to get hotter and messier. No thanks.

No reason to give Taken up. Blythe really liked it. If you don't immediately want to duct tape Gray's mouth closed, you might love it!

April 18, 2013 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) said...

I'm always SO GRATEFUL for people telling me why they DNF a book! So thank you so much for taking the time to do that. Seriously. The only book on your list that I have interest in reading is Taken. I love the cover and the summary sounded interesting to me. I do plan on giving the book a chance, but I've heard mixed reviews. THAT BEING SAID - mixed reviews tend to make me even more curious to try out a book, so I guess we shall see! At least after hearing reasons, I kind of have an idea of what I can potentially expect going into a book even though I am really good at making my own ideas and opinions.

Seriously, love you for doing a post like this. The more I come back to this blog, the more I'm so glad I found it recently. Thanks!!

April 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

That is why I decided to do it! If I mention that I DNFed something, people want to know what and why!

Also, I totally agree with you about mixed reviews. I'm rather more inclined to try something that's gotten a bunch of 4s and 2s than something that's gotten straight 3s. There's a chance I'll not like it, but also a chance I'll love it. All 3s means I'll probably enjoy it, but the odds of me loving it passionately seem really low.

Awww, thank you so much! *twirls*

April 18, 2013 at 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll probably like Fox Forever since I liked the rest of the series. We shall see. And now I'm totally worried about Period 8 because I LOVE Chris Crutcher. Your rant already has me thinking I won't like the characters.

April 18, 2013 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, I didn't like the second Jenna Fox book, but, if you did, I think you should be fine with it. I just never connected with the new characters.

I loved Chris Crutcher when I was younger, so I do not know what happened there.

April 18, 2013 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Kayla Beck said...

I rarely read through all of the comments, but this dude hit a girl?! I bought this freakin' book! *rages* I should have read more reviews. I think it's going to have to go in my library donation pile. >.<

April 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh yeah, I remember that's a trigger for you because of that one where you got a self-pubber to change a scene where that happens.

April 18, 2013 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger Shelver506 said...

Ewwww. I'm so glad I didn't request PERIOD 8.

April 18, 2013 at 7:14 PM  
Blogger April (BooksandWine) said...

Hahahahha that 10 Things I Hate About You GIF wins all the prizes.


A few of these are on my TBR -- notably Pulse, Period 8, and Taken. I am nervous. Very, very nervous.

April 18, 2013 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh lord. Good luck. I've some decent reviews of Pulse and Taken, so maybe you will enjoy if you're in the right frame of mind. I don't think I've seen a super positive one of Period 8, though.

April 19, 2013 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

I am secretly pleased right now that Taken didn't end up on my review pile. Usually the most talked about dystopians end up irritating me. And then I feel guilty. I just finished The Eternity Cure and was dragging my feet with this book like you did with Taken. It was way too slow...

April 21, 2013 at 7:23 AM  

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