So, I am a huge proponent of DNFing a book if you’re not enjoying it. I DNF’d a whopping 51 books last year after having read somewhere between 5 to 68% of those books. Given that I don’t really talk about DNFing on here or on my Goodreads, I thought I’d talk about some of my memorable DNFs from the past couple of months.
The Round House by Louise Erdrich (DNF’d at 32%)
This started out so strong. It immediately gripped me and I loved the writing too. But then somewhere past the first couple of chapters it just…fizzled out. The plot started to feel super aimless and I quickly got bored. There was no sense of direction plot-wise, and I could just feel myself losing interest.
Midwinter by Fiona Melrose (DNF’d at 31%)
I really liked the writing in this, and I enjoyed the focus on the father-son relationship, but the more I read this the more I felt like it was a discount version of The Wild Laughter by Caoilinn Hughes (which was one of my favourite reads of last year). Also the narration of the audiobook was weird, which put me off the book even more.
Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura (translated by Philip Gabriel) (DNF’d at 24%)
I LOVE Japanese fiction, but this was just straightup boring. There was literally nothing interesting here: no beautiful writing, no complex characters, no compelling plot. Just so very vanilla. (It reads more YA, so maybe I just don’t like the YA vibe?)
Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen (DNF’d at 25%)
This book was not my jam. Another one that felt aimless, and I didn’t really gel with the writing either.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (DNF’d at 10%)
I’M SORRY OK !! I know EVERYONE loves this book, but I could tell right away that it was not my vibe at all. I was already irritated by the 10% that I read, and looking at one- and two-star reviews of this on Goodreads convinced me that continuing to read it wouldn’t make me like it any more. It was just very…twee. And I don’t usually get along with that kind of writing.
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan (53%)
*sigh* I tried. I tried so hard to like this. I read TWO HUNDRED WHOLE PAGES OF THIS. I was so desperate to get invested in a new fantasy series, and this sounded amazing. It’s been getting nothing but GLOWING reviews, so I thought it was gonna be a new favourite. Reader, it was not.
As is the case with so many of these books, I was bored, y’all. One especially irritating thing about this book was that characters frequently just Knew things that they shouldn’t have been able to know?? Like they would just Look at a character’s face or something and be able to glean some Extremely Useful/Convenient/Deep/Profound information about them. Also, the pacing and the characters did not work for me. The characters were just there, but I didn’t feel emotionally invested in them at all.