Books I Didn’t Finish: January & February 2019

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on March 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
A Chorus of Dragons #1
Published by Tor (2.5.2019)
Genre: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 560 pages
Source: Netgalley

There are the old stories. And then there’s what actually happens.

Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew up on storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests. When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn’t what the storybooks promised.

Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family’s power plays and ambitions. He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins.

Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin isn’t destined to save the empire.

He’s destined to destroy it . . .

I made it an excruciating 150 pages before I had to let it go. The storytelling was tedious and made me want to bash my skull into a wall. It flip flopped back and forth between Khirin’s story – in first person, at point B in the timeline; and Talon’s story – in third person, talking about Khirin/Rook, at point A in the timeline. I think it would have been interesting if it had been done just a certain way, but this one sooo did not work for me.

There were a lot of names and places being thrown around – names that sounded like my cat decided to galavant across my keyboard, might I add – with little to no explanation (except for the mind-numbing useless facts in the footnotes that did absolutely nothing for the readers’ comprehension or story line, which I’ll get to in a minute) and it made the world confusing and hard to follow. I do hope the final copy will have either a map or a glossary (or both, preferably).

Which brings me to the utterly useless footnotes that made me want to rage quit after two chapters of reading them – I ended up skipping them altogether after a few chapters and I’m pretty sure I missed exactly nothing. There was “world building” in them on occasion, but it was irrelevant drivel that didn’t add to the plot in any way, shape, or form. To further my point, here are some examples of said footnotes:

The vane’s eyes glowed.* (*footnote: One presumes not literally.)
Most folks just assume it must be a diamond.* Hard as a diamond, anyway.* YES THAT’S TWO IN THE SAME FREAKING SENTENCE (*footnotes: It’s not a diamond. /// *Harder.)

Like I said: utterly. useless. I think maybe the author was going for a Nevernight-esque thing with the footnotes, but most definitely failed. If you’re going to drag me out of the story, at least make it worth my while.

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
 Something Dark and Holy #1
Published by Wednesday Books (4.2.2019)
Genre: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 400 pages
Source: Netgalley

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

This was definitely not a Jessi book. I didn’t make it very far, as I could tell immediately that this book would not work for me because I hated the writing. It felt choppy, awkward, and very sophomoric, and had lots of basic “telling” sentences. She went to the door. She opened the door. She stepped outside.(That’s not a quote from the book, I’m just giving an example of what it felt like to read the book.)

Color me disappointed. Sob.

I do think that fans of the Grisha will enjoy this one, because the setting felt very much the same to me. (I did not like the Grisha books, btw lol.)

Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Creekwood #1
Published by Balzer + Bray (4.7.2015)
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 303 pages
Source: I own it

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

I wanted to love this one, but sadly I just didn’t. I made it about 90 pages. The writing is so bland that I was bored out of my mind, and I had trouble investing in any of the characters. I really loved Becky’s writing in The Upside of Unrequited and was hoping for quirky prose in this one as well, but I feel like it was lacking that element – which makes it hard for me to get into, because I’m not really a fan of contemp so I desperately need quirky writing or lots of humor to keep me interested. (You’re probably thinking, Jessi why the hell did you read this if you don’t care much for contemporary? and the answer is: The Big Bad Hype Monster. Plus, I do enjoy the occasional contemp if the writing is spectacular or hilarious) This was solidly a “it’s not you, it’s me” case here. I definitely think that all fans of contemp will love this book!

I did really love the diversity of this one and I think that there needs to be more books like it! I’m planning to just watch the movie since I couldn’t get into the book :(

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
The Broken Empire #1
Published by Voyager (8.2.2011)
Genre: Adult, Grimdark, High Fantasy,
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Source: Library

Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother’s tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that’s true enough, but there’s something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse.

From being a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg has the ability to master the living and the dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father’s castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.

Mark Lawrence’s debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, and sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.

What the actual fuck did I just attempt to read?! The prose was an absolute trainwreck. I was laughing out loud because it was so ridiculous, and it was so disjointed that I felt like I was high trying to read it. This prose may be interesting to some, but it was soooo not for me.

Not to mention our main character, who we are supposed to be cheering for, rapes girls in the first couple of chapters. No thanks.

Jessi (Geo)

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