Books I Didn’t Finish: January & February 2020

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on March 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Series: The Locked Tomb #1
Published by Tor (9.10.2019)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, 448 pages
Source: Audible

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

DNF @ 108 pages (ARC) / 4 hours of audiobook

I wanted SO BAD to get into this book – I actually tried twice. I didn’t make it very far the first time, physically reading, and I thought it was just a mood thing; but after 4 hours of audio it’s time to let go.

On the surface, I should have loved this book – a badass heroine, dark storytelling, necromancing, diversity? I thought it would be right up my alley.

However, our “badass” heroine just came off as a douche, and after 4 hours of droning I was bored out of my mind. I felt like nothing was happening, I was having trouble grasping the world, and I just flat out don’t care to continue.

I’m so sad. And almost everyone else loves this book, too. Looks like I’m the black sheep…AGAIN… *heavy sigh*

Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop
Series: The Black Jewels #1
Published by Roc (3.1.1998)
Genres: Adult, High Fantasy
Format: Paperback, 412 pages
Source: I own it

The Dark Kingdom is preparing itself for the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy–the arrival of a new Queen, a Witch who will wield more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself. But this new ruler is young, and very susceptible to influence and corruption; whoever controls her controls the Darkness. And now, three sworn enemies begin a ruthless game of politics and intrigue, magic and betrayal, and the destiny of an entire world is at stake.

DNF @ 65 pages

When I first started this book, I was kind of enjoying it. The magic system and world were extremely confusing – you’re just thrown in and expected to learn how to swim – but I was intrigued. However, I put it down for a few days, and when I picked it up I was utterly bored and had completely lost all interest in continuing.

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar
Published by HarperTeen (8.11.2020)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 448 pages
Source: Edelweiss

The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. But when a flare of starfire injures her human father, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.

Sheetal’s quest will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must act as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens—or risk never returning to Earth at all.

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets a rich landscape of Hindu mythology and celestial intrigue in this sparkling YA fantasy debut.

Stopped @ 25%

I wasn’t enjoying this at all. The writing is horribly sophomoric and it felt like a juvenile rip-off of Stardust. I desperately hope it was just a mood thing, so I’m putting it down temporarily in hopes of trying again later. I’ll probably try to pick it back up again closer to release – normally I’d just DNF, but this was my most anticipated 2020 debut *sighs*

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
Published by Roc (3.3.2020)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC, 336 pages
Source: YALLfest

Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish–to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age–her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true–but his help may cost her everything.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.

DNF @ 50 pages

Not terrible, just not for me.

I wasn’t going to read it at all, because I hate Historical Fiction, and don’t care to read about the life of Mozart, even if it’s fiction. I picked it up out of curiosity and read the first couple pages, and was kind of intrigued! I didn’t realize it had magic in it, and it’s basically a Narnia retelling. However, there was a lot more time spent in the real world, with piano recitals (boring) and mundane family affairs (more boring) and not a whole lot of the magical world, the Kingdom of Back. I was just too bored to continue. Like I said, it’s simply a solid case of ‘not for me’ – my hatred of anything Historical-feeling killed this for me. I’m sure lots of people will love it, though!

Sherwood by Meagan Spooner
Published by HarperTeen (3.19.2019)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, 496 pages
Source: Library

Robin of Locksley is dead.

Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on, but the people of Locksley town, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, need a protector. And the dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley andMarian’s fiancé.

Who is there to stop them?

Marian never meant to tread in Robin’s footsteps—never intended to stand as a beacon of hope to those awaiting his triumphant return. But with a sweep of his green cloak and the flash of her sword, Marian makes the choice to become her own hero: Robin Hood.

DNF @ 75 pages / 2 hours of audio

This is a solid NOT for me. I don’t know what I was expecting – I guess for some reason I thought it was a genderbent retelling of Robin Hood. It so is not. It’s about Marian, who I never really cared much for. (Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of Robin Hood to begin with, but I was onboard for a genderbent retelling *shrugs*) Robin dies at the very beginning and it’s her process of taking his place, apparently.

Which I never got to. What happened in the 75 pages I listened to? Couldn’t even tell you. Basically nothing. Even with Fiona Hardingham’s fantastic narration, I was bored half to death. I didn’t care about anything that was happening, and even though it’s supposed to be Marian’s grieving process over losing Robin, I felt exactly nothing.

I read a few reviews where the review had similar issues, hoping it picks up eventually – I mean, this book is nearly 500 pages for crying out loud – but the general consensus is that it in fact, does not pick up. That’s a hard pass for me.

Do you DNF books? If so, which ones have you DNFed lately?

Jessi (Geo)

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