Books I Didn’t Finish: Winter 2019-2020

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on January 31, 2020 | 2 Comments

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
Series: The Never Tilting World #1
Published by HarperTeen (10.15.2019)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 496 pages
Source: I own it

Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.

While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.

But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.

I found it to be super confusing because we were getting two different stories – one from dark, and one from light. I kept getting them mixed up. I found it interesting that light and dark had different versions of history, but didn’t care for the execution because I had trouble remembering which was which. It could have been a really cool concept.

I already forget all of the character’s names. None of them are actually introduced? They were all just thrown into the story like we knew them already. The result of that was that I didn’t give AF about any of them. There was no dimension or personality to any of them, they were just cardboard cutouts holding place and conversation.

I do think the concept is cool, so I want to try again on audio. I’m hoping with different narrators I’ll be able to tell them apart, and that the audio will bring life to the cardboard characters.

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
Series: Kingdom of Souls #1
Published by HarperTeen (9.3.2019)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 496 pages
Source: Library

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.

I only made it about 25 pages into this one, and it simply wasn’t catching my attention despite the awesome world. It also felt a LOT like Children of Blood and Bone in the beginning, which I did not like, so I think maybe that was ruining it for me a bit. I’m going to try again on audio!

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Series: The Blood of Stars #1
Published by Knopf (7.9.2019)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, 392 pages
Length: 13 hours, 54 minutes
Narrator: Kim Mai Guest
Source: Audible

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Yet another Asian Fantasy that let me down *sighs* I made it 134 pages in, which was a whopping 5 hours into the audiobook. I love Kim Mai Guest, but even she couldn’t save the story for me.

It wasn’t terrible, just horribly slow and boring. I didn’t care one bit about the story or any of the characters so it would be a waste of time to push through. Solid case of not for me.

Filing this one under “black sheep” with all the rest of the books I didn’t like that everyone else loves *sighs again*

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young
Series: Sky in the Deep (companion)
Published by Wednesday Books (9.3.2019)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 327 pages
Source: I own it

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

I made it 140 pages into this one before I had to let go. For some ridiculous reason, I didn’t know going into this that it’s set in the same world as Sky in the Deep (it’s labeled as the second book for crying out loud, I’m an idiot lol). But when I realized it was, I got excited! I really enjoyed Sky in the Deep and was looking forward to more of the world. Unfortunately, this one fell way short for me.

I didn’t care. At ALL. About any of the characters, the world, the story, the writing…none of it. The writing was utterly bland, which is not something I had a problem with in Sky in the Deep. The characters are also bland. Actually, ‘bland’ is how I would describe everything about the book up to where I put it down. In the 140 pages I read, almost nothing happened. And when something did happen – a very huge something, in fact – View Spoiler »basically everyone died in the span of one scene [/spoiler] and I felt absolutely nothing. Which is really not good at all for the magnitude of said something.

I am so, so sad to let this one go, but I just couldn’t justify wasting any more time on it with the utter apathy I felt toward it.

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library #1
Published by NAL (7.7.2015)
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, 352 pages
Length: 10 hours, 26 minutes
Narrator: Julian Elfer
Source: Audible

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

This is another solid case of not for me. I made it 126 pages, which was nearly 4 hours of audio. And I was just SO BORED, even though I like Julian Elfer as a narrator. I didn’t care about any of the characters at all and I just couldn’t force myself to continue through the apathy.

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
Series: Insignia #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books (7.10.2012)
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, 446 pages
Length: 15 hours, 18 minutes
Narrator: Lincoln Hoppe
Source: Audible

The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S. J. Kincaid’s fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy perfect for fans of Ender’s Game.

The planet’s natural resources are almost gone, and war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning. The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn’t seem like a hero. He’s a short fourteen-year-old with bad skin. But he has the virtual-reality gaming skills that make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones.

As a new member of the Intrasolar Forces, Tom’s life completely changes. Suddenly, he’s someone important. He has new opportunities, friends, and a shot at having a girlfriend. But there’s a price to pay. . .

I made it 80 pages and I knew that this book was not for me. I had actually tried to read this once before and couldn’t get into it. It’s been a couple years, so I wanted to try again – this time I downloaded the audio, because it’s narrated by Lincoln Hoppe and I loved him in Illuminae and Aurora Rising.

Sadly, that was literally the only thing about this book that I remotely liked. I didn’t like the prose, the tone, or the main character. Or any of the characters, actually. It looked good on the surface, with plenty of diversity and characters that I should have liked, but I just didn’t. I think the sophomoric tone/writing really ruined everything for me. It also felt exactly like every other generic dystopian I’ve ever read. It didn’t bring anything new or exciting to the dystopian table, which made me not want to continue. I saw a couple people comparing it to Ender’s Game, which I hated, so maybe that’s another one of my issues. It really did feel like Ender’s Game all over again.

Then, as if I wasn’t already feeling apathetic enough, there was an exercise/training simulation in which “Japanese ronins came rushing out.” That’s right. Ronins. (In case you’re unfamiliar with Japanese culture, the plural form of ronin is, in fact, RONIN.) How TF did that pass editing and publication? My eye twitched every time it was repeated and it was just too much for me.

Jessi (Geo)

Posted in: Book Reviews, Features | Tags:

Subscribe to Novel Heartbeat to get more posts like this!

2 responses to “Books I Didn’t Finish: Winter 2019-2020

  1. So, I got an ARC of Rin Chupeco’s last series starter, The Bone Witch, and couldn’t get into it. So I probably am not going to try her books, even though the publisher sent me an ARC of this one as well. I also had issues with the Ink and Bone book. I did finish it, but have no desire to read on in that series. I keep saying one of these months I’ll do one of these DNF posts. I had several I did that with this month, so maybe I’ll do that in February!

    • I’ve heard very mixed things about The Bone Witch. I’m not sure if I’d like it but I might give it a try anyway. Based on her writing in this one, though, I don’t have very high hopes >.< I love doing DNF posts! It's a great way for me to keep track of it, because I tend to forget sometimes if I only read a few pages.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.