In a book-world full of trilogies and multi-book series, it’s a given that we may come across one we don’t like. I have read many first books and moved on. Sometimes, I give a second chance before giving up. There have even been times when I’ve given it my all until the final book, and then I just couldn’t give any more.
Like many, I keep a list of the books I read (Goodreads), and I even keep track of series that I need to finish. Unless the first book is absolutely terrible, I try and give a series a chance. But as time goes on, I realize more and more how little time I have to read and do the many other things I enjoy (my kids are only asleep so many hours). There are just too many books I want to read to slog through something I am 75% sure I won’t enjoy.
But, just as we can never be absolutely sure of everything, I may one day change my mind, so that is why this is a list of books I probably won’t finish.
Everless by Sara Holland
I’ll start with the book that kind of inspired this post. It’s one of my more recent reads. I plan to post a full review where I go into more depth, but suffice it to say that this book was disappointing. It takes place in the kingdom of Sempera where time is money and blood is time. It’s such a fun and interesting concept, but the execution is lacking. The characters are underdeveloped and mostly stupid. The love story is lame. Several plot points were predictable and boring. I know it sounds like I hated the book, but I didn’t. It was just… okay. It came out in January of this year, and the sequel is likely due in January of 2019. If this was an older series, I might consider giving it a go, but I know by the time Evermore comes out, I’ll have forgotten all about this book.
The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence
How do I even start with this one. Oh boy. I read the first book in the series, Prince of Thorns, earlier this year. I feel like it was one of those books that I never would have finished if it wasn’t the book chosen for my book club. The writing is great. In fact, I am willing to give Lawrence another chance (I picked up the first in his Book of the Ancestor trilogy), but this book was brutal. Just like the protagonist! I am all for unlikable narrators. The dark fantasy genre has many examples of well-done versions. This narrator though, I just can’t get behind. Within the first few pages, he commits murder and rape, and as he continues down this path, telling us his sad story, we are supposed to accept this kind of redemption arc. It wasn’t happening for me. Probably because his voice is that of a little shit. And without spoiling any of the plot, I just wasn’t feeling the world-building.
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
I am over it. I read the first book, A Game of Thrones, in the series in 2009, well after it was written but before the television show was more than a script. I read each following book (A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows) immediately, catching up in just a few short months. The first three books were amazing. Something completely different from any fantasy you could read at the time. The fourth book was bad. Martin had written so much material that he had to split the book in half. Rather than chronologically, he chose to split the characters. All the characters you couldn’t care about were in A Feast for Crows. So, I waited patiently for four years until A Dance with Dragons came out to read about the more interesting characters, like Tyrion. Too bad he made those interesting characters utterly boring. So here I am, five years after that book and nine years since I read one I liked, and he announced that the sixth will not be released this year. He has all the right in the world to do what he pleases, and it’s clear he enjoys curating anthologies and his fame from the television show more. The television show filled the void the lack of books left, and I am pretty sure I’ll be satisfied with their conclusion. If the book series ever wraps, maybe I’d put it on my TBR list, but I am sure that other books will take priority over it.
Phèdre’s Trilogy by Jacqueline Carey
The reviews are glowing, and it is always one of those books that comes up when you talk fantasy. I have tried reading the first book, Kushiel’s Dart, three times, but it never seems to stick. The writing is beautiful. The world-building is wonderful. The characters are fleshed-out (pun intended). Yet, I can’t get past the first quarter. Maybe it’s too dense for me, though I’ve certainly read more challenging books. I’m not sure really. All I know is that after the third try, I had to move on. I even donated my copy of the book, so you know it’s over.
Books with Issues
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
I read this one a while back before the series was made, and I remember enjoying it. But, I think I enjoyed it in the way that you enjoy a romance novel. It felt lusty and forbidden, but it wasn’t really a mind-blowing plot or idea. But the more time that passes, the less I remember why I liked it. Not to mention there are some very problematic scenes and themes that I just don’t care to read any more about.
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
At the time, I thought it was a fun read and rated it accordingly. But, it really was bad writing and bad plotting. Not to mention the whole incest thing. I read the first two books, and I just couldn’t go any farther. I have heard the writing gets better, but I am just not a fan of urban fantasy like this, particularly when the characters are bland. I have been watching a lot of Booktube, and people mention her more recent series The Dark Artifices, so maybe I’ll give the author another try.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The main protagonist is a douche. The portrayal of women is pretty bad. It’s meant to be an “adult” version of Harry Potter or Narnia, and he succeeds in stealing a lot of things from those books and turning them to shit. The television show was better, but I am stepping away from this dog pile altogether.
Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
A fantasy book with sci-fi elements isn’t usually my thing… but dragons! Except the “threat” are threads of something falling from the sky. Oh, and you know, all the rape and mysogony that everyone seems totally cool with.
Books That Didn’t Keep My Interest
The Dark Tower by Stephen King
I wanted to like this, and it still has one of the greatest opening lines, but I couldn’t get into it. I found The Gunslinger to be all over the place, confusing, and not terribly exciting. My dad tells me it gets better, but he also really loves all of King’s work, so I lean toward setting it to the side for good. I am also not a huge fan of King’s writing style. It’s too easy and simple for my typical fantasy tastes.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Way back when I was really excited about these books. But then a trilogy turned into a series of four, and it took a long time to come out. By the time it was released, I forgot everything about the previous three. I am not much of a re-reader, and while I could have read synopses, I just lost interest in finding out the conclusion.
Themis Files by Sylvain Neuvel
I kept seeing Sleeping Giants in the bookstore, and I was drawn in by the beautiful cover. It was a fun premise, discovering giant robotic body parts buried in the earth, but the execution couldn’t pull it off. It was told in interview style, which meant a lot of telling, not showing, and little emotion from the characters.
Matched by Ally Condie
Another book that with time diminished my interest. The books weren’t anything to write home about, but they were a fun quick read. I enjoy a lot of YA simply for that reason. But by the time I got to Reached, the conclusion of the series, I couldn’t get past the first chapter. The characters are boring and have little chemistry, and I’ve moved on.
Books that are Ridiculous
The Selection by Kiera Cass
It’s good for what it is: the reality show of books. The premise really is cool and interesting, but the execution is so bad it’s laughable. The character names are bad, the writing is poor, and it’s just all around a bad go. Check out the full review I did a while back.
Fallen by Lauren Kate
Stupid girl meets brooding boy and a horrible love story unfolds.
Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris
I am sure everyone is past the vampire thing by now, but I just can’t get past how bad this book was. If you need beachy trash, then go for it.
Books I Just Forgot About
These aren’t terrible books, and I’d be willing to keep going in the series despite the long amount of time that has passed since reading them. But if I’m honest, I have bigger and better reads to do.
. . . . .
This turned into a pretty comprehensive list of books in series that I’ve left unfinished. Maybe some of these books are no longer talked about, but it was refreshing to be reminded of those left behind. I’m considering doing a list of the series that I need to hurry up and finish!
What’s on your unfinished shelf?