Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January DNFs




I've had a really excellent string of reads lately. I added two books to my YES PLS SEQUEL NOW shelves this month (Truthwitch and The Dark Days Club, the latter of which I plan to review tomorrow if I'm not lazy again which I probably will be). But too much positivity does things to a person. It makes my hair limp and my skin dull. It is time to bring some negativity to this business and restore the evil sparkle in my snake lord eyes.


Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan
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Series: Yes, #1 in the series
Release date: January 19th, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 384 pages
Source: eARC via Edelweiss

Raisa was only a child when she was kidnapped and enslaved in Qilara. Forced to serve in the palace of the King, she’s endured hunger, abuse, and the harrowing fear of discovery. Everyone knows that Raisa is Arnath, but not that she is a Learned One, a part of an Arnath group educated in higher order symbols. In Qilara, this language is so fiercely protected that only the King, the Prince, and Tutors are allowed to know it. So when the current Tutor-in-training is executed for sharing the guarded language with slaves and Raisa is chosen to replace her, Raisa knows that, although she may have a privileged position among slaves, any slipup could mean death.

That would be challenging enough, but training alongside Prince Mati could be her real undoing. And when a romance blossoms between them, she’s suddenly filled with a dangerous hope for something she never before thought possible: more. Then she’s approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slaves—to help liberate the Arnath people. Joining the Resistance could mean freeing her people…but she’d also be aiding in the war against her beloved, an honorable man she knows wants to help the slaves.

Working against the one she loves—and a palace full of deadly political renegades—has some heady consequences. As Raisa struggles with what’s right, she unwittingly uncovers a secret that the Qilarites have long since buried…one that, unlocked, could bring the current world order to its knees.

And Raisa is the one holding the key.


I'm sooooo saaaaad not to love this one, but as much as I adore high fantasy, not all of it hits the mark. The blurb promises revolution, throwing off the shackles of slavery, culture, religion, and epic romance (admittedly a romance between a tutor-slave-girl and the prince whose people enslaved hers), but honestly, most of this book was...reading and writing lessons. And blushing. And instalove. And a lot of blushing. I was already predisposed not to like Raisa, our main character, because she STOLE the name of the main character of one of my forever favorite series, the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima, but it really doesn't help that this Raisa is no Raisa ana'Marianna.

But my biggest issue is the lack of plot. I had to stop because nothing at all was happening, minus a quick (mostly off-page!) chemistry-free twu wuv thingamabob between Raisa and Prince Mati. Blah blah forbidden, blah blah


I wanted plot! Action! Intrigue! Forward momentum of any sort whatsoever! Gods and verse and swords! But no. Not here. Not in the entire first half of the book, at least. Alas, I had to move on.

My Second Life by Faye Bird
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Series: No
Release date: January 19th, 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux (Macmillan)
Length: 384 pages
Source: eARC via Edelweiss

A pacy pageturner that asks: Can you be held responsible now for something you did in a previous life?

Fifteen-year-old Ana has a good life--she has friends and a boy she likes and a kind mother--but still, she's haunted by her past; she knows that she lived once before as a girl named Emma, and she still misses her old family. When, by chance in her life now, Ana meets a woman she knew in her previous life, a terrifying memory flashes through her mind of a young girl drowning. Was Emma responsible? And should Ana pay the price? Consumed by guilt, Ana sets out to find out as much as possible about the person she was before and what she had done, only to discover that the family she misses so deeply had dark secrets of its own. To come to terms with her life now, Ana must figure out how to let go of the past.


Oh my god, did this book and I not get along right off the bat. The writing is VERY MUCH not for me, like, from the very opening lines:

The first time I was born, I was born Emma Trees. I was born to Amanda and Richard Trees. I was Emma. I was beautiful. People told me that. I had everything to live for. People told me that too. But I died. It was October 18.

Amazing concept, but I cannot bear to be inside this girl's head for more than a couple chapters. I do like my unlikeable heroines, I do, but I always want main characters to at least be compelling, and the main character--whose name I can't even remember, made more difficult by the fact that she had two names because, you know, past life--was insufferable. She kept going on and on about how much she didn't love her "second" mother, despite the fact that this woman gave birth to her and raised her and...well, wouldn't you develop some sort of attachment to her? Unless you're a total sociopath? It felt a bit like being in the rude mind of a whiny sociopath. No thank you.



There's a slim chance I may return to this in the far distant future when, I don't know, my blood sugar is higher and there are fewer amazing books clamoring for my attention (HA). Because the concept really is so intriguing, but I just could not.

7 comments:

  1. Ugh, I'm sorry you had to DNF these books Gillian :\ I have heard so many mixed things about Sword and Verse. I don't think I would enjoy it either. Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts about them, though :D You are awesome. <3

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  2. I "finished" Sword and Verse.. but means of intense skimming LOL. So disappointed in that book! I wanted a lot more adventure and fantasy, and unfortunately the romance was just not very good. *sad face*

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  3. I DNFed Sword and Verse too for the exact same reasons. Where was the plot? And there was no character development. Just exposition. The time jumps didn't help.

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  4. I've heard quite negative things about Sword and Verse so I'm thinking of skipping that one! XD

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  5. The writing of the second book would have made me want to claw out my eyes. O.O Sword and Verse really did not work for me either. Nothing much happens afterwards either except a lot of horizontal tangoing.

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  6. I really tried to give Sword & Verse a chance, but it honestly just wasn't working for me right from the start. There was something missing to make it the type of read that I, personally, would enjoy, so even though it had potential, I had to DNF it too!

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  7. I was so disappointed by Sword and Verse :( I was highly anticipating it, but like you said, it was SO BORING.

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