Book Talk

To DNF or not to DNF?

TWO GIRLS DOWN by Louisa Luna is my first DNF of the year!

I have been trying hard since restarting this blog last year, to focus on making sure I picked books I think will be a good fit for me. Reading plenty of reviews, yes, even those 3 stars and below over on Goodreads—some of those tell you more about how good a book is than any 5 star review. And, for the most part, my strategy has been working as I don’t remember DNFing any book through the last half of 2020. At least, I don’t think I did?

Today, though, I’m calling it on a book I started Tuesday evening, as the characters, never mind the story, are just not doing it for me. The story lacks any real cohesion, and, at times, there’s confusion as to which character is speaking or who is thinking what. And that, over anything else, has begun to annoy me.

It really is irritating to say the least and I don’t know if it’s just me, or the author could have done better with the he said, she said tags. But one minute we’re being told what P.I. Alice Vega is thinking and the next, without distinguishing between characters and in the same paragraph, we’re suddenly being told what Caplan, the ex-cop, is thinking.

It all just blurs. Becoming an indistinguishable jumble of thoughts, conversations, and descriptions, that in turn are just filler for any real action. Throw in the fact Vega has as much personality as a house brick, and it’s difficult to connect with her on any level.

The upshot is, I am putting this one on the shelf and, may or may not put it in the next box destined for the library.

Onto my next read …

12 comments on “To DNF or not to DNF?

  1. Avatar

    When it does not work I don’t read any longer either Alexandra. There is no point except if I know it’s purely mood related. Then I’ll give it another shot later.

    • Alex

      I think mood is a part of it, but also, this time around especially, it’s the quality of the writing. It really just isn’t doing it for me. I started a much better book last night and I’m thoroughly enjoying that one!

  2. Avatar

    Good call! I sometimes struggle through a book because I hold on to hope the story gets more interesting but if it’s the format (the he said/she said) and personality.. that won’t change so better not to torture yourself. Onto the next one!

    • Alex

      Yeah, I think we’re all guilty of that, at times, but this one? Definitely has problems. The style of writing just doesn’t flow, and the characters have no depth. Nothing.

      Yeah, I started Ambush by Barbara Nickless, book 3 in her series, and it’s really gripping so far!

  3. Avatar

    I’m trying to DNF a lot more lately because it feels like a waste of time to read something I’m not feeling. But it’s not always easy, because sometimes I’m doubting and thinking it might get better if I just read another chapter… which almost never happens of course. But good that you decided to DNF this one if you weren’t feeling it!

    • Alex

      I think we all do that, but I’ve made a conscious effort to move on to something new if what I’m reading isn’t working!

  4. Avatar

    Sometimes you just have to DNF, I’ve tried to struggle through with books but it’s more productive to move on to something new!

    • Alex

      It’s annoying to DNF because, I buy my books, mostly paperback. So it’s not like I just wasted $1.99 on an ebook. It’s $20 wasted. I’m hoping it will be the only one this year.

  5. Avatar

    Yeah, I’ve encountered the he said, she said confusion before in books. It really *is* very irritating. Sorry you had to DNF this one!

    • Alex

      The problem was, the author decided not to include the he said she said never mind had both characters thinking at the same time, in the same paragraph. It was utterly unreadable.

  6. Avatar

    DNF-ing a book can be such a hassle. Sometimes it’s not even because the book is wrong, but just because it’s the right book at the wrong time. I try to DNF more when I am struggling with a read. Sometimes only to come back to them later.

    My first DNF this year was Death to Me. I know the television series of Scott&Bailey are really good, but reading them written down… I was so annoyed by them being annoyed with each other! I just couldn’t cope with all that negativity.

    • Alex

      Yeah, this is definitely one of those that I might have come back to, especially since it’s a physical copy. But I’m guessing the rest of the book is as bad so really, what’s the point? Bad writing is bad writing.

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