I’ve been feeling a reading slump coming on these past few days, so I decided to look back on the books that I DNF’d in 2019. I always hate DNF’ing books, but sometimes it is just absolutely necessary.
There’s nothing wrong with any of these books, this just means that I was not feeling the story and was not drawn into it as much as other readers. If a book on this list catches your interest, I still recommend giving it a chance, even if I was unable to finish it.
hunted by meagan spooner
I honestly hardly remember anything about this book, except that I found it extremely boring. This book is a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in Russia. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. This book just moved too slowly for me with countless descriptions of snow and the woods. I just wanted something to happen, and eventually lost interest. I also did not find the world as charming as I hoped, but rather grew to be confused by it.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Before you come at me, please know I really, really tried to like this one. I was about 70% of the way through when I DNF’d it. This is an Alice in Wonderland retelling, told from the Queen of Hearts perspective, or Catherine, as she is known as in this novel. I was really invested for the first 100 pages or so, but eventually I just got bored. I think part of the reason this novel didn’t mesh with me is because I’ve never read the original Alice in Wonderland, so maybe I just couldn’t get a feel for the world. This is definitely one I would be willing to revisit in the future.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
I bought this book because someone on BookTube (I forget who-oops!) said it was their favorite read of the year. Since I am minoring in Asian studies, I have been trying to read a lot more Asian literature, this one being one of the books I picked up. However, I just could not get into it. I was interested in the stories and the characters, but I felt like not much was happening. I heard that the first half is much better than the second, so decided to not even give the last 50% of the book a chance.
Spinning silver by naomi novik
I genuinely thought I was going to love this book! I saw it on a reading recommendations video and immediately ordered a copy for myself from the library. This is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling set in Russia, which sounded like everything I could ever want. However, similarly to Hunted, there was just so many descriptions of snow, the woods, and the cold. After I decided the physical book wasn’t working for me, I started the audio book, which just made it worst. The author jumped perspectives from different characters without giving any indication who was who, which made it confusing and boring. I finally gave up at 58%. I am honestly shocked it has such high reviews.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchet
I was drawn to this book because of the gorgeous cover, and unfortunately was fooled to believe I would love it. This book has extremely high reviews and the plot sounded interesting to me, almost like a modern day Cinderella. My biggest problem with this book is that it had no plot. The characters were dull and just recounting their childhood memories. The author would switch time periods and so I thought I was reading about the main character in his 20s, but he was actually in his 40s, and then he would be back in his 20s. I gave up with less than 100 pages at 78%, but I could not make myself continue.
Circe by Madeline Miller
Even though I DNF’d this months ago, I still feel like I was missing something because everybody else loves this book! This follows the Greek goddess Circe and tells the story of how she became exiled by Zeus. This is another book that moved to slow for me. I tried the physical book and the audio book before deciding to give up on it. I am unfamiliar with The Odyssey by Homer and not super educated on Greek mythology in general, so perhaps this is why I was not fascinated by the book. Maybe in a couple years I will try again.
The Queen’s Vow by C.W. Gartner
I took an Elizabethan England class last semester and really enjoyed it, and wanted to read more about Isabella of Castille, one of the most powerful European queens of her time period. I was expecting a story about what Isabella did as queen and a novel radiating girl power (which looking back is kind of silly because this was written by a man oops), but instead it was a coming of age story about Isabella’s life as a princess and how she met her husband. I gave up at 62%, because at this point in the story she still wasn’t queen and so I just didn’t care.
I’m happy you made it to the end. Let me know which books you have DNF’d and if there are any on my list you loved!