Mini Reviews: Three DNFs from Rebeca
I used to be a die-hard, must-finish reader. If I started a book, by God, I would finish it--even if it made my eyes bleed.
These days I’m much more relaxed; if a book doesn’t speak to me I don’t force myself to finish it. Since I started school again full-time I’ve had less reading time and even more DNFs to my name. These are a few of the books that I’ve abandoned over the last few months.
(Keep in mind this may say more about my own reading habits than about the quality of the books themselves.)
Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt
I love fairy tales and re-imagined stories of all kinds.
Elizabeth Hoyt’s The Princes Trilogy, a series of historical romances with fables woven into them, is right up my alley and I’ve become a fan of her work. While I haven’t enjoyed her Maiden Lane series quite as much I was still excited to read the fourth installment, Thief of Shadows.
This book follows Winter Makepeace, headmaster of a home for foundling children who is also secretly a Batman-style vigilante named the Ghost of St. Giles. When he is rescued by Lady Elizabeth Beckinhall after another close brush with death he struggles to protect his identity from the lonely society widow.
I was somewhat frustrated by the improbabilities inherent in this plot and the Insta-Attraction ™ between Winter and Elizabeth didn’t help matters. How is it possible Winter’s multitudinous siblings have never caught on to his double life? He’s not exactly subtle with his convenient disappearances and mysterious injuries.
Likewise, I didn’t buy Elizabeth’s reaction to Winter. For a woman whose entire life has been characterized by a strict adherence to propriety she sure defies convention without a second thought. Her immediate attraction to the buttoned up headmaster prompts her to start a torrid affair without delay, damn the consequences. The characters seemed to make decisions that advanced the plot rather than behaving in ways that were in keeping with their personalities.
I gave up about halfway through; the Maiden Lane series may not be for me.
Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl
Dahl is a talented writer who creates strong female characters, believable men, and sex scenes that should by all rights set paper on fire.
I have really enjoyed her books in the past, particularly her Tumble Creek series (Talk Me Down, Start Me Up, and Lead Me On). Close Enough to Touch kicks off her new series set in another small town, this time in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Sarah, a much hardier reader than I, managed to finish Close Enough to Touch and summed it up perfectly. Dahl experimented with a new style in this book, one that actually reminds me of Molly O’Keefe’s writing. She created a prickly heroine named Grace and gifted her a mountain of angst, not unlike Can’t Buy Me Love.
Unfortunately, Grace’s motivation and backstory just didn’t ring particularly true to me. In fact, none of the characters’ actions were comprehensible and a lot of the angst felt manufactured. Here’s hoping Dahl’s next in the series, Too Hot to Handle, gets back on stride. I’ll definitely be checking it out.
Renegade by Nancy Northcott
A book that shares my awesome nickname (thank you auto-correct! You finally did something right!) and features a shirtless hunk on the cover is obviously something I had to check out.
Renegade takes place in a world much like our own, give or take a hidden mage society called the Collegium that battles ghouls. Griffin is a renegade member of the Collegium, having broken with the establishment when his team was betrayed. Now he fights the ghouls on his own while desperately trying to find the traitor who ruined his life. Valeria, the Collegium's replacement for Griffin, is thrown into the mix one night when Griffin rescues her from an ambush. Valeria must reconcile Griffin's heroic actions with his reputation as an outlaw and decide who she can trust, the establishment or the renegade.
I thought Renegade was promising, but it sacrificed character development in favor of numerous action sequences. Northcott's writing is perfectly suited to the Action and Adventure genre but I didn't know the characters well enough to be invested in whether they survived the battle or not. Toss in more Insta-Attraction™ and I lost interest.
Renegade may be the perfect book for someone less interested in character development but it fell outside my area of interest.
Well, there you have it. The three books I wasn't crazy about had a lot in common, namely, Insta-Attraction ™ and characters who weren't particularly well- developed.
Do you have similar reading turn-offs? My own seem to crop up more often then I would like.