DNF Review: Infinity Son

So my first fresh read of 2020 (meaning I didn’t start it in 2019) was meant to be Infinity Son by Adam Silvera. I’m a big fan of Adam’s contemporary work, so when he said he was releasing a fantasy novel I was so excited! However, I’m sad to say that this was not what I was hoping for at all and it’s also become my first DNF of the year.

Over the last several months I kept seeing tweets referring to it as an “epic fantasy novel” which I took to mean high fantasy (think Lord of the Rings) when it turns out the use of the word “epic” was meant to be used as a word for “cool” and in reference to the book rather than the genre. Part of this is my own fault for not looking more closely at the back of the ARC, but I’ve got to say I was disappointed at the “urban” level of the genre.

On a good day, I’m not a fan of urban fantasy. It takes a lot for me to be interested in a fantasy novel that is set in the real world, so that was already a mark against this novel. Strike two was that not only was it urban fantasy, it was a superhero story; yet another subgenre element that I’m not interested in. Had I known that’s what this book was going to be I wouldn’t have requested the ARC in the first place.

To me, the biggest problems were in the first two chapters. And by problems, I mean the entire plot of the book is so easily guessable. In this world, it seems that people have until their 18th birthdays to discover if they have superpowers or not. It is also mentioned that there are “villain” characters who do something with phoenix blood to force superpowers on themselves. Now, this is a decent enough concept (with more PG-rated Vicious vibes) but quickly becomes boring when you consider that the main characters are twin boys, one of which just wants to be a normal boy and the other who wants to be a hero. I didn’t even make it past 13 or so pages but I can basically guess that Normal Boy Twin gets powers on their birthday while Other Twin goes after phoenix blood to become a hero.

I’m so sad that this book is miles away from what I was hoping for, but as a result, I will be hosting a giveaway on my Instagram for this ARC. I’d really love if it went to a good home with a reader who would actually enjoy a book like this.


Giveaway post
(Giveaway open to North American residents only, see post for details)

The Assassin & The Empire

I don’t have a review for this one, or much of a synopsis. Although anyone who started the series prior to reading the novellas will know what happens. As I felt it would be after reading the previous novella, The Assassin and the Empire is about how Sam died and Celaena ended up in Endovier.

I had to DNF this one.

Having heard time and time again about Sam being killed in the main books, I just couldn’t bring myself to care about the details in this novella. I didn’t care that Arobynn was a dick, because we already knew that, and I didn’t care about how it broke Celaena.

Having really liked the previous novella, I was hoping for more, but I’m sad to say I was disappointed in how bored I was with this final one. Perhaps if I’d read the novellas before the actual books I would have gotten more out of it, but instead I found it repetitive.


Today’s photo prompt was ROYALTY but I forgot my crown is in storage (oops!) so here’s a beautiful dagger. Be sure to tag me on Instagram at @lucieninthestars and use the hashtag #TWOTOGCountdown so I can see all of you’re beautiful photos!

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And finally, be sure to check out the wonderful A.K. Lee over on her site! There would be no read-a-long without her support and she’s an incredible author and friend. 

The Guilt of DNF

It’s a hard thing to do sometimes, not finishing a book. Sometimes all we want to do is a part of the hype but can’t because it turns out the book is not our taste. Book clubs, subscription box books, school assignment readings. These are all examples of books thrust upon that we may or may not want to force ourselves all the way through, but sometimes we don’t want to read a book because we don’t want to read it!

With GoodReads reading goals turning into something of a competition for some people, it’s hard to remember that it’s okay to read what you like and read for the fun of it. Life’s too short for books you don’t like and it’s okay to stop reading a book.

No one should feel the need to justify their feelings, especially when it’s interfering with something they enjoy doing. We stop reading books for all kinds of reasons; it contains trigger content, it’s poorly written, it’s offensive, or – as I mentioned above – it’s simply not in our taste.

To be completely honest, I have marked two books as “Did Not Finish” on GoodReads, and it’s only January! The one book simply wasn’t my taste in contemporary fiction, and the other had some rather explicit and triggering content within the first five or six chapters. Am I disappointed that I marked these books this way? Of course. I was rather excited to read both of them, but life is too short for books you don’t like. Sure I want to reach my 52 book reading goal, but not if I’m wasting time on things that aren’t engaging.

So don’t feel bad about giving up on a book. Don’t stress over reading goals or challenges that are meant to be a fun way to get you to do more of what you love and find books you might not have otherwise picked up. It’s not worth the pressure.

Now you have my DNF confession for the month so far, what books have you DNF-ed that you were excited about? What do you do with your books you’ve bought that you don’t finish? Let me know!

REVIEW: Nine Candles of Deepest Black

I received a free advanced copy of this novel in exchange for the review.


 

It has been a long time since I have be unable to finish a book (not including library books), but this one has broken my streak. I could not finish it.

26832363Nine Candles of Deepest Black follows 16-year-old Paige and her friends as they seek to gain their deepest desires by way of Witchcraft that they do not entirely understand. The YA horror novel has an interesting premise, but fails to live up the hype its own synopsis.

Paige is pale with long, black hair and purple eyes. Major scares mainly involve tropes that were popular in late 90s to early 2000s horror films – including spiders crawling out of people. The humour primarily involves nods to outdated references to pop culture that are several years old when the book seemingly takes place within the last year or two based on the cell phone technology they have. The characters are tacky stereotypes of several kinds of high school girls yet they are all “the outcasts” – even the rich, blonde one who is referred to at one point as a Barbie doll. Even the way the girls speak feels dated and unnatural.

However, my biggest problem with the novel, and the reason I could not bring myself to go further than the half-way point, is the sexual implications.

Several times throughout the first few chapters, author Matthew S. Cox keeps referring to the girls’ breasts – a word that no teenage anything thinks of when referring to boobs outside of a medical context. Along with that, there is a scene where Paige is having a “nightmare” while in the shower and is attacked by sentient branches while entirely naked. Most people in this age bracket might not see the similarities to the scene in the Evil Dead films (both the 1983 and 2013 versions) when the lead girl is sexual assaulted by the trees, but I caught it and it made me feel more than a little uncomfortable. The most upsetting, however, was when the girls of the novel go to a frat party and one of them – despite being warned by the clairvoyant Paige – is roofied and then sexually assaulted. The party had no point to the story outside of giving Paige another reason to have a vision of something terrible coming in the near future, and given that all of the girls are 18-years-old at the most, I found it an entirely inappropriate scene to include in a YA-horror novel. Rape is not a plot point. Ever.

On top of all of this, Paige’s mother is borderline abusive until twelve or thirteen chapters in. Typically behaviour is meant to add more “backstory” or “motivation” to the character experiencing the abuse, but – much like the party scene – does not seem suitable or even approached in the appropriate manner. Yes, Paige’s mother is grieving the death of her other daughter, but that is not an excuse for her behaviour.

The bottom line on this one is that there is a lot in it that feels very irrelevant to the plot.

I can usually get through a book when I have an obligation to fulfill, but I was just too uncomfortable to push through to the end of this one.


Author: Matthew S. Cox
Published: September 15th, 2016
Pages: 300
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
ISBN: 9781620076699

Synopsis: Almost a year after tragedy shattered her family, sixteen-year-old Paige Thomas can’t break free from her guilt. Her mother ignores her, doting on her annoying little sister, while her father is a barely-functioning shell. He hopes a move to the quiet little town of Shadesboro, PA will help them heal, but Paige doesn’t believe in happiness anymore. On her first day at school, a chance encounter with a bullied eighth grader reawakens a gift Paige had forgotten, and ingratiates her into a pack of local outcasts. For weeks, they’ve been trying to cast a ritual to fulfill their innermost desires, but all they’ve done is waste time. After witnessing Paige touch the Ouija board and trigger a paranormal event, the girls are convinced another try with their new fifth member will finally work. Once the darkness is unleashed, it’s not long before they learn it will give them exactly what they asked for―whether they want it or not.