Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Handful of DNFs: Or, I'm in a MAJOR Reading Rut

Gahhh, I'm in a slump! The dreaded slump. Nothing is grabbing me, nothing is working, I want to read but I don't want to read, I think I'll just watch six hours of Merlin instead and maybe a donut or seventeen, woe is me, alas and alack.

While I most definitely am in a slump (and hope to blog a bit tomorrow about how I think I've managed to break it), I hope the following DNFs were not merely a product of my current cantankerosity. Or maybe I could totally love them on another, less Merlin-y day, and they are tragic casualties of my readerly malaise. Take these DNF reviews with a grain of salt (or seventeen).

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
DNF reason: Oh man, is that writing not for me

This book had the unfortunate honor of releasing in the same year as another highly lauded Scheherazade retelling, The Wrath and the Dawn, a book I balls-to-the-walls, take-me-soul-it's-yours-I-don't-want-it-without-you loved. One of the things I loved best about TWATD was the sumptuous writing and imagery, while the writing was precisely the thing in A Thousand Nights that stopped me mere pages in. I've read reviews that say this book has awesome themes of feminism, and provides a great twist on male-oriented tales and myths, but I couldn't make it there. I could not make it past writing that felt, to me, lyrically forced, awkward, and rather overblown. I couldn't sink into it.

I also had an enormously difficult time connecting to the characters, especially since none of them had names, save the evil king who kills his brides. All the women were unnamed, and I understand that that was intended, so that this book could serve as an ode to the unnamed women of history, but it almost felt like it was counter to that idea to me? Naming the women and un-naming the dude might have better served, but again, I didn't read the whole book (I read about 40 pages, tbh) so I can't speak to the full success of these themes. All I know is I find it hella hard to connect to a nameless girl with a very distancing voice.

Reawakened by Colleen Hock
DNF reason: hard pass no

Yeah, i don't think this one was my reading rut. This one just didn't work. Insufferable main character (and not in an interesting way), insanely clunky writing, possibly offensive portrayal of Egyptian mythology, TERRIBLE prologue, a mega awkward reawakened mummy love interest (no, really), and Gillian is checking right out, no gracias, will not stay for refreshments.

Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein
DNF reason: malaaaaaaise

I love this jinn mini trend cropping up in YA right now. More jinn! Yay jinn! But that usually means I want jinn, you know, doing jinn-y things. I struggled to get into Becoming Jinn because not much really seemed to be happening. I really liked the themes of wooooo ladies and that all jinns in the human realms are female and basically lady jinn covens and whatnot, but most of the beginning of the book is the main character whining and sniping (and ack, I can't even remember her name, which never happens to me!). I suppose it just wasn't what I was in the mood for with a jinn book. Or maybe it was my crankitude. This is one I might take another whack at on a day where my attention span is a wee bit longer.

All three books were ARCs provided by the publisher for review. And let me tell you, I'm especially sad to have DNFed these, since I'm always looking forward to fantasies based on non-Western cultures.


  1. Def skipping Reawakened, I haven't heard one good review about it. I lost interest in Becoming Jinn unfortunately, seems like I was right to :/

    I actually really liked A Thousand Nights but I seem to be in the minority. And I purposely read it before reading The Wrath and the Dawn so that wouldn't color my opinion of it. I actually didn't find the name thing that distracting and the feminism angles are pretty awesome! But the writing is definitely different and not for everyone.

    I'm STILL in a rut! I can't decide on anything even though I have so many good things to read. I don't want my brain ruining any of them ughhhh.

  2. Ah, sorry you're in a reading rut. Those are the worst.

    I've heard some pretty bad things about Reawakened, particularly with regards to the cultural elements, and poor research on the part of the author - so I'll definitely be avoiding it!

  3. Shame you're in a reading slump, it happens to the best of us! I've been excited to read all these books so hopefully I'll have better luck :) in the meantime I hope the next book you pick up is more of a success

    Enchanted by YA:

  4. Reawakened: I would have LOVED to see the review that came from that, but how can one write a review if one scratches out their own eyeballs?


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