Daughter of Recent DNFs

I tried to read some books and stories recently but Did Not Finish reading them.

1. The concept behind this story intrigued me exceedingly – what an unusual twist on a famous myth! But after the prologue, which explained the twist, it was as if that premise had never been. Suddenly, I was reading a story that I had seen a thousand times before. Then I was reading another story that seemed to have completely different themes and tone…without any transition that I noticed. Then back to the first boring story…how many authors wrote this thing? What was it meant to be about? What happened to the cool premise? Befuddled, I stopped before I’d hit page twenty.

2. From the cover, and the blurb, I was expecting a nice, cheerful contemporary romance. Alas, I fell into a land of sordid poverty and sexual harassment that wasn’t going to cheer up any time soon.

3. I suspect the opening chapters of this one, those included in the electronic sample, had been rewritten and edited to a fine polish for workshops or contest submissions. After I bought the book and read further, all the dramatic tension fell out, leaving only banter that evaporated like cotton candy in the mouth. And then came a sudden influx of new characters who were…not interesting. And an abrupt switch in tone, from angstful darkness to drawing-room farce.

4. I used to like this author’s books, despite their flaws. She got better technically. But this most recent one…I was bored. I’m sad I was bored, but not so sad I forced myself to finish the book anyway. *sigh*

5. Okay, this one…not the author’s fault. It was supposed to be a cornucopia of literary awesomeness, but I just kept putting it off and putting it off. Then when I began to read, I just wasn’t into it. The writing was lovely. I just wasn’t into the characters or the story. It happens.

6. Diction, author. If you start with one sort of diction, that’s meant to convince me I am visiting another world, you can’t keep slipping into another sort of diction that makes me think of a bunch of teenagers at the mall down the street from me rather than another planet.

7. This book was full of prose. Lots of prose. It had plot and all that. It was set in an alternate version of a time period that interests me. I just didn’t care. Maybe it was the prose. I don’t know. Luckily, I know someone else who wants this book!

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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4 Responses to Daughter of Recent DNFs

  1. SuperWendy says:

    Oh yeah #3. That one has happened to me. It’s like the author keeps polishing and polishing those first few chapters for the contest circuit and…..forgets about the rest of the book. So what you’re left with are three awesome, amazing chapters followed by a couple hundred pages of…..not good.

  2. In this example, the dropoff was scarily dramatic! It was almost like a different book, all of a sudden.

  3. willaful says:

    #6 has been driving me out of my gourd lately.

  4. That one’s a perennial peeve!

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