DNF Review: Hunter by Mercedes Lackey

Hunter by Mercedes LackeyAuthor:  Mercedes Lackey

Genre: Young adult, fantasy

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

Shout out to the wonderful Emma at Miss Print for sending me this ARC.

Man, I wanted to like this one so much more than I did. I tried. I really did. But after putting it down a couple of times and not really caring if I picked it back up, I finally DNF-ed it. This is why:

  • The writing style is really strange. The MC keeps addressing the reader but you’re never really sure why/who she’s even talking to. Is she telling her story to someone? Breaking the fourth wall only works occasionally and it didn’t here. Plus, wtf is up with the weird combinations of words like “certain-sure”. Just, why?
  • Info dumping out the bum. I didn’t get very far into this one; I’ll admit that, but it’s because there was SO much info dumping without any real explanations for WHY things were the way they were or WHAT she was actually talking about that I got SUPER frustrated. In the end, I found I didn’t really care about the characters, the world, or anything that was happening.
  • Some of the descriptions felt lazy. Instead of coming up with her own words to describe a creature or a marking on a character, Lackey would say “You know that Jabberwocky thing from Lewis Carroll? Yeah, it looks like that but longer.” I’m not kidding. That’s not a direct quote, but it’s close.

The bottom line: I loved the idea behind this one and I was excited to read a story about dragons, but the writing style was weird, there was a lot of dull info dumping right off the bat, and in the end, I just didn’t care about it. I may try again later, but I doubt it.

DNF Review – Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross (ARC)

Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross is a Snow White retelling that was really intriguing at first, but I just couldn’t finish it. Reasons below.

Tear You Apart by Sarah CrossAuthor:  Sarah Cross

Genre: YA, fantasy, fairy tales, retellings

Publisher: Egmont USA

Publication Date: January 27, 2015

384 pages, hardcover

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Egmont USA for letting me read this.

Tear You Apart is set in a strange town called Beau Rivage that is full of the Cursed – people who’ve had curses places on them by malevolent fairies, each curse repeated over and over. So you have past Snow Whites and Cinderellas and Sleepy Beauties. It’s a seriously cool concept and I was really intrigued by it. Viv is a Snow White; she knows that her stepmother Regina (WHYYYY would you give her the same name as the OuaT queen??) will eventually order her best friend Henley (given the Huntsman curse) to kill her. I LOVED Beau Rivage, overflowing with curses and princesses and evil stepmothers. It reminded me of Storybrooke from Once Upon a Time, which was a plus. I could have really loved the fairy tale retellings but I couldn’t finish.

But there were a lot of things I didn’t like:

– The absolutely volatile relationship between Viv and Henley. Viv is jaded and horrible and she toys with Henley’s heart and if he were to want to kill her, she’d definitely be the reason why. She pushes him away for something he might do but then turns right around and cuddles with him. She got on my last nerve and is a big reason I stopped reading.

– I liked Henley at first – he was just trying to love Viv – but his obsession with her was creepy and weird.

– The darkness given to the story was really cool. BUT why does that have to come with abusive, clichéd relationships (can you say love triangle?)?? The characters are shallow and unlikeable on top of that. Strange that Tear You Apart has great world building and horrible characters.

I ended up taking a break from this book 50% of the way through to read something else in the hopes I’d want to finish it after. When I finished that book, I had no desire to pick Tear You Apart back up. And that right there is the reason I had to DNF this one at 50%. We all know that hardly ever happens for me, so I’m really sad about this. It’s also my first DNF review on the blog. I wanted to love this one so much, but I couldn’t do it.

I’m pretty sure I know what happens at the end anyway.

The bottom line: DNF’ed a 50%. I can definitely see some people liking this one. The retelling is interesting and Beau Rivage is a cool place. I just couldn’t get past the relationships and the MC.

Bookish Talk: DNF-ing books – Do you do it?

I’ve been talking to several people recently about when or if you should DNF a book. For those who don’t know DNF means “did not finish.” In other words, it is a book that you started and didn’t like, so you chose to leave it unfinished.

Some people I’ve spoken to about this said that they never DNF a book. I was kind of shocked. I don’t DNF a book often because I really appreciate the time and effort it took for that author to write the book. I know that it can take years to write a book, find a publisher, and get it published. I feel horrible when I DNF a book, but sometimes you just have to put it down. Sometimes you don’t connect with a book or like the writing style or you aren’t in the mood for that book at that moment and you need to move on.

To NEVER put a book down because of an inner need to finish every single book you pick up seems crazy to me.

I used to force myself to finish books even if I wasn’t enjoying them, but then I realized: life is really short. Why would I waste precious reading time on a book that I just wasn’t enjoying?

I want to spend my time reading books that pull me in and don’t want to let me go. I want to dive into a world in which I can escape for a time, that will open its pages and wrap me up in them. I don’t want to waste time in a world that makes me roll my eyes or makes my skin crawl or makes me laugh for all the wrong reasons.

I know it probably seems that I DNF books left and right, but I don’t. I give every book I buy or borrow or receive for review a fair chance to suck me in. I just want to read as much as I can in my lifetime that will change me and teach me things and make me fall in love, and I don’t want to waste time on things that won’t. Some people ask how long I give a book before I know whether or not I’ll finish it, but it’s different for every book. I’d like to say that I give each book 50 pages or 10 chapters, but sometimes, if I’ve read 20 pages and I just can’t force myself any farther, I’ll stop. The last book that I DNF-ed was Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. I gave it 6% on my Kindle ARC before I DNF-ed it. That’s not a lot. I just know what I like, and that was not it.

So I want to know what you think. Do you guys DNF books? At what point do you do so? Let’s start a discussion in the comments!