Showing posts with label dnf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dnf. Show all posts

Thursday, August 11, 2016

[Review] The Darkest Minds (#1) - Alexandra Bracken: Dystopian Concentration Camps and Road Trips





In THE DARKEST MINDS an illness epidemic is causing children to either die or develop supernatural abilities. The government's reaction to that is to stick all survivors into correctional facilities. After five years, Ruby Daly manages to escape.
What intrigued me: Recommended by a friend. I had no idea what this is about.

Concentration camps in dystopian YA? Yikes.

THE DARKEST MINDS starts off with pages and pages of backstory from the protagonist Ruby's childhood to establish the world. 
The concept is nothing that I haven't seen before (similar to SHATTER ME or THE PROGRAM), and it just didn't knock my socks off. Thurmond, the facility that Ruby is imprisoned in for the first 100 or so pages, is a very sloppy and uncanny version of this world's concentration camps. It's there for nothing but shock value and it doesn't even do a great job at that. 

I was simply bored and contemplated quitting multiple times because there was just nothing interesting about this because Bracken does her best to withhold as much information as she can get away with. Ruby's experiences at Thurmond are nothing but a plot device, and this book would do so much better if it had just started right at Ruby's escape instead of torturing the reader with a whopping 80 pages of info dump world building backstory that's absolutely unnecessary to understand what's going on.

Your average road trip story

I didn't find the world of THE DARKEST MINDS extensive enough to really get to me - superhero-like abilities in dystopia are very difficult to pull off and require a lot of world building to get me really into it. I crave explanations, especially in dystopian novels and the lack thereof didn't really make this more enjoyable for me. 

Essentially this is a "rebels on the road" kind of story. It really reads like an elongated road trip, and as charming as the characters are, the weak premise just can't carry this. It reminds me a lot of UNDER THE NEVER SKY, which in my opinion had the same problem - too much pointless running around instead of actual story. I found it really boring and not really living up to the promising start at Thurmond. 

Rating:

★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

You aren't really missing out if you skip this one. I did like the characters, but found the whole concept not groundbreaking enough to want to read the sequels.



Additional Info

Published: December 18th 2012
Pages: 488
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA / Dystopia
ISBN: 9781423157373

Synopsis:
"When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.' to
 "(Source: Goodreads)


What's your favorite Dystopian read?

Continue Reading...

Friday, April 1, 2016

When is it okay to share your review of a DNF?






Even if we don't like to admit it, we've all not finished a book and still written a review on it.

Whether you just skipped the last 5 pages or the last 50, it does happen sometimes. But the question is, is that okay? 





The biggest argument against this that I've heard is that

"Books can have a sudden plot twist that changes everything and make you suddenly super interested in it again"

To me this does sound more like wishful thinking than a common thing that actually happens. When I get to the point that I'm DNF-ing or at least contemplating it, the last thing I want to do is "give the book another chance".

When I DNF, it's probably for a very good reason. That might be the writing isn't for me, the book is full of characters with questionable moral choices (that rather seem like the author trying to preach their own values), or it's just not a genre I'm not interested in.

Some books do turn around within the last couple of pages, but this has only ever happened to me a handful of times and never with a book that I was intentionally going to DNF. If you've written reviews for a while, you'll get a feeling for what works or what doesn't. You'll know your own taste and be able to judge a book very quickly.

I can tell by page 10 whether a book will be something I like or not. Regardless, I always give books 50 pages before I DNF. 

Is it justified to still write a review if you DNF like that? 

If it's a review copy, I would never do that, I'd rather contact the person I'm working with and tell them the book is not for me. I wouldn't feel comfortable writing a review for something I didn't read and 50 pages aren't nearly enough to justify a negative review.

Especially for unknown authors with few reviews for their books, that's just not something that I'd feel comfortable doing. At the end of the day, I want to help authors out and talk about books with other readers and writing a review for something that I didn't /really/ read is doing more harm than benefit in my opinion. 

So I was talking about review copies before, but what about reading books in your free time, do you DNF silently and still write a review for it? If nobody would ever find out, would you do it?


DNF reviews? Yay or nay?

Continue Reading...

Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to Deal With DNFs | Book Blogging Tips (#29)


We've all had it and we all dread it. DNF-ing a book is probably one of the worst things to happen to a book blogger. 

But sometimes you just don't want to finish a book and that's perfectly okay. 

What is a DNF?
A DNF is a book you did not finish for what reason ever.



Why It's Okay
Not all books are for everyone. 
You have to think like this: If you're forcing yourself to finish every single book you start, you'll miss out on a lot of great books while you're stuck reading the shitty ones. Life is too short to torture yourself with bad literature. Don't feel bad because your taste doesn't match with every single thing you read.

I've even DNF-ed books and afterwards went on to ask a friend who read it about what happened next. If you simply don't feel like the writing clicks with you - don't read it. You're under no obligation to finish any book.

When to DNF
  • You don't have any enthusiasm left for the book, you're dreading every page you have to read. When is it over again?
  • You dislike the characters so much that you've just stopped caring about their journey
  • The author pulls an unforgiveable faux-pas
  • The plot is too graphic, too emotional, too violent etc. for your taste
  • Poor langugae makes you have to guess what the author is trying to tell you
  • Copy cats: Haven't you seen this somewhere else? 

As you see, there are millions of reasons to DNF a book. If yours is not on this list I'm not even surprised. You can DNF for thousands of reasons and every single one is a justified and perfectly okay reason to.

What if it's an ARC?

Actually, most publishers I've worked with state in a the package leaflet that it's okay if you dislike a book. You don't even have to DNF it- if you flat out change your mind about wanting to read a review copy , you should send your contact an email. 

Most publishers are very considerate. You can even send the copy to another blogger for review and inform your industry contact. You don't even have to be specific as to why you didn't want to read the review copy after all. Just be respectful and state that the book wasn't for you.

With review copies though I have a minimum of 50 pages for every book to get me hooked. Don't DNF if you've only read ten pages, especially not with review copies, that's just disrespectful. 


How do you handle DNFs?

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Impossible Goodreads TBRs - Do You Even Try? | YA Talk



"I'm adding this to my TBR" has become an ancient proverb to me. I say it so often that it probably lost all its meaning.

The times where I did actually go to my TBR to determine which books to read next are long gone. 






Let's Do Some Math

I actually started laughing when I took a look at my Goodreads TBR and saw this:

  • The average book is 80,000 words long
  • The average reading speed per minute is 200 words. 
  • An average-speed reader needs 400 minutes to read an average-length book, that's 6.6 hours.

I have 2239 books on my TBR. Pretending these are all average-length books and I'm an average-speed reader, I'll need 14,777.4 hours to read all these. That's 615.7 days. That's 20.5 months. That's 1.7 years worth of consistent reading. Doesn't seem that high, am I right?

Sadly, in reality I read about 50-100 books a year. The span is that high because I'm super inconsistent. If we pretend I read an average of 70 average-length books for the next few years, it'll take me 37.98 years to get through this TBR. Let's hope there's a lot of DNFs hidden in there.

How Books End Up There

Do I intend to actually read the majority of these? Probably not. I put books on my TBR too easily. 
  • I think I'll like the book, so it's going on my TBR. 
  • Great synopsis! On my TBR.
  • Ooh, my favorite author has a new book? On my TBR.
  • Hey my friend said it's a good book. On my TBR.
  • Wow I like the cover. TBR.
  • Wow I like that review. Gotta check out the book. TBR.
  • Great list of topics I like, better add every single book on it to my TBR.

Do you handle your TBR as carelessly as I do? Or am I just a mess?

Does Anyone Actually Work on Their GR TBR?

Because I don't. I used to, but right now I've got the book blogging community and an immediate TBR stored in my head. I know exactly which books I'm about to buy when my physical TBR shrunk a little. Who needs Goodreads if you have a surprisingly long list of recommendations?

I know that my TBR is nothing compared to the pile of books some of you guys have. I've seen TBRs in the six digits. 
The question is, is it really important what I put there? There are so many books on my list that I probably won't ever read and only added for some long-forgotten reason.

Should I have been more selective with what I add? Probably. Should I actually use it like it was intended - to keep track of what I actually read? Who does that?! I don't know. I just know that I have a lot of reading to do now. About 37 years of it.

How high is your GR TBR? 

Are you actively working on getting rid of it?

Continue Reading...

Friday, June 12, 2015

[Review] A Clash of Kings (ASoIaF #2a) - George R.R. Martin


Previously: After the death of Khal Drogo and her unborn son Rhaego,  Daenerys Targaryen has managed to hatch her three fossilized dragon eggs.

Robb Stark is on a quest to avenge the death of his father Eddard, who has been executed by king Joffrey for being a traitor and failing to pledge allegiance to him. While Sansa is being held hostage by Joffrey, Arya has escaped is on her way to travel to the Wall.

In the East, the deceased kings' brothers Stannis and Renly Baratheon are separately building armies to claim the Iron Throne for themselves.

"A Clash of Kings" is exactly what the title says - several people have declared themselves kings of their own territories in an attempt to overthrow the reign of Joffrey Baratheon as ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.
It's a very theory-loaded read. The characters spend a lot of time theorizing about military techniques and how to eliminate their rivals. We are mainly presented what the Baratheons, Starks and Tyrion are planning and I really wished that Martin had shown the other side of the battle. The Lannisters still don't have their own chapters and especially in this novel it would have been extremely interesting to get insight into Cersei's head.

Instead, a lot of new characters are being introduced and previously minor characters are getting their own chapters. I was very disappointed to only have two chapters from the point of view of my favorite character Daenerys and have to endure seven chapters from Arya's perspective. The problem with multiple POVs is always to keep it balanced. While I understand why Martin chose to tell certain story elements from certain people's POVs, I feel like a lot the story could've been omitted without sustaining a loss of quality. 

The majority of Arya's chapters are about travel and getting in fights with nameless strangers. Therefore they don't really bring the story forward in contrast to Tyrion's chapters for example, which always involve major reveals.
Stannis Baratheon plays a major role in this novel and I'm not really convinced of him as a character. His story line  revolving around the discovery of the new God R'hallor isn't really interesting. I couldn't connect to either Melisandre or Davos and therefore all chapters taking place at Dragonstone weren't exactly my favorites. For some reason I couldn't take Stannis seriously and I don't see him ever even remotely close to sitting on the Iron Throne.

Clearly a Transition Novel

The second novel is a lot of talk, but little action. The dialogue scenes outweigh everything else and it's starting to get complicated to keep up with all the different parties. I could hardly keep up with who is loyal to whom now.
A lot of theoretical discussions are necessary to finally bring the big showdown on and overthrow the king. There's not much action and fewer epic battle scenes than in the first novel, which I am pretty happy about. I like to theorize with the characters and learn more about their motivations. I particularly enjoyed Tyrion's chapters and his interactions with Lord Varys. It's super entertaining to see these extremely witty and smart characters try to one-up each other.


Rating:

★★★☆☆

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

"A Clash of Kings" is definitely an essential read to understand the characters' motives. However, it could've been shorter. I was an easier read than "A Game of Thrones" Part 2 though. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the second part of the novel and hoping that Martin will end the second novel with a major twist as well. 



Synopsis:
"Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon; who held sway over an age of enforced peace are dead...victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. 

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky;a comet the color of blood and flame;six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard's son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King's Landing. Robert's two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers. 

A Clash of Kings transports us into a magnificent, forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and wartime. It is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. 

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors."
(Source: Goodreads)

The Series
Die Herren von Winterfell (#1a) + Das Erbe von Winterfell (#1b)
A Clash of Kings (#2):
Der Thron der Sieben Königreiche (#2a) + Die Saat des goldenen Löwen (#2b)
A Storm of Swords (#3):
Sturm der Schwerter (3a) + Die Königin der Drachen (#3b)
A Feast for Crows (#4):
Zeit der Krähen (#4a) + Die dunkle Königin (#4b)
A Dance with Dragons (#5):
Der Sohn des Greifen (#5a) + Ein Tanz mit Drachen (#5b)

Bantam Cover, 2002.

Additional Info





POVs featured: Arya, Sansa, Tyrion, Bran, Jon, Davos, Theon, Daenerys, Catelyn
Original Title: A Clash of Kings (pages 1-322)
Author: George R.R. Martin
Published: June 21st 2011
Pages: 574
Medium: Paperback
Publisher: Blanvalet
Cover: Blanvalet, 2011
Genre: Adult / Fantasy / High
ISBN: 9783442268221
(pictured above: Blanvalet Cover 2011)

A Clash of Kings on Blanvalet's Website



Who's your favorite GoT character?

Continue Reading...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...