Book review · Fantasy

Mini Reviews: Recent DNFs

Today, I review a book I DNFed; then I’ll talk about some books I recently DNFed less than 100 pages in – too soon to write an actual review, but I will explain why I made that decision.


34804767I wanted to like this book. Lost Gods is an African high fantasy about assassins and betrayal; I didn’t think this premise could go wrong, but it did.

It’s 2018. We should know better than introduce a deaf character just to kill him off for the abled main character’s development. Fridging marginalized characters isn’t ok.

In the first ~100 pages we are introduced to a world that had the potential to be really interesting, but the writing was dry and emotionless, the dialogues even more so. Everything was explained through long, meandering paragraphs of exposition that I can’t consider anything but infodumps.

The only character who had a consistent (even if not that interesting) characterization for these first 100 pages was Neythan; this wouldn’t have been a problem if it weren’t for the fact that in these 100 pages I got four different PoVs, all of them rushed and full of graceless infodumps – so much that they felt like chapters of exposition rather than an actual story.

I did found some interesting ideas here and there – the first scene drew me in, and the scene under the waterfall was intriguing – but they weren’t enough to make me want to continue this.

My rating: ★½


Other Recent DNFs

Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler and Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
A few weeks ago, the T5W topic was “favorite romance books”; because of that, I decided to starts some of the romance books that had been on my TBR for months. I quickly realized I wasn’t in a romance mood and I didn’t want to write two bad reviews just because these books weren’t I wanted to read at the time.
I didn’t think they were awful – I actually really liked the main character from Let’s Talk About Love; that book also had black asexual rep, which was great. Out on Good Behavior is a f/f story with pansexual rep, and that was the only thing about it that stood out to me; I thought Under the Lights by the same author had better writing. These books weren’t bad, but they’re not what I usually reach for and it’s unlikely that I will ever pick them up again.

Blood of a Thousand Stars by Rhoda Belleza
This was such a disappointment. I thought Empress of a Thousand Skies had its flaws, but I found it entertaining anyway. This time, I couldn’t even finish the ebook preview, because:

  • The writing was awkward. It’s been a while since I read a book in which the writing flowed this badly.
  • I thought the first book was predictable, but now I understand it wasn’t the plot’s fault – it’s the writing’s. It’s so unsubtle it makes you understand everything that is going to happen before it happens.
  • Also, it keeps trying to draw parallels with the current political situation in the clumsiest way possible.
  • I remembered nothing, so it’s also my fault, but they kept mentioning characters I didn’t remember.

Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer
I finished the ebook preview and this is not happening.
I have so many conflicting feelings about this series because it’s so weird and there’s nothing similar – it’s… an experience. It’s also really, really disturbing and while that’s fine and fun once in a while I’m not interested in reading 3 more books of that.
I’m fine with Too Like the Lightning being a standalone for me at the moment; if you’re interested in a story about a not-so-utopian utopia slowly plunging into chaos because of a heretical brothel, two deity children, a murderous genius and a group of stabby celebrities, this may be for you! It’s as weird as it sounds, I promise.


Have you read any of these? Do you DNF books often?

9 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Recent DNFs

  1. I had really high hopes for Blood of a Thousand Stars! The first one wasn’t perfect, but was such a fun, light sci-fi adventure and I really enjoyed that. But bad writing is the biggest dealbreaker. I’ve never heard of Lost Gods before, but it’s a shame it wasn’t great, cause the premise sounds awesome.

    Like

    1. I liked Empress too, I wanted to know more about this universe, but I really couldn’t get into this sequel. I decided to read an ARC of Lost Gods just because of that premise (being a June release from a relatively small press, it got no hype so far) but… I have your same feelings about bad writing and this had a lot of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was excited for Lost Gods, because its premise sounded so good, but oh dear, killing off a disabled character to further the main character’s development is horrible and not acceptable 😦 Thanks for mentioning this, so I can avoid the book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I almost couldn’t believe it when I read it, we have been saying that’s not acceptable for years now, but books like this one keep getting published…
      That was not the only reason I decided to quit Lost Gods, but it is one of the main ones.

      Liked by 1 person

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