Hello book lovers! So this month I’ve decided to try something different. While most people do an end of the month wrap up to discuss the books they’ve read and the reviews they’ve written, I’ve decided it might be beneficial to discuss the books I just could not get through. It wasn’t until recently that I actually discovered that I didn’t have to finish a book. I’ve always been an if I start it then I have to finish it kind of reader. Life is too short though and there are too many good books out there to waste my time on the ones I’m less than enjoying.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.
In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.
Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
I wanted to so badly love this book. The cover is gorgeous and the idea was intriguing, it was just so damn slow. I made it 30% and even that was like pulling teeth to get me to pick it up. I like January she was a fun narrator and tried to make her boring life exciting for me. I learned about these magical doors through a book she was reading and found that fascinating, but nothing was happening to January herself. I was literally reading about a girl reading. I’ve scoured Goodreads and other blogs to see that others have had the same problem with the book. From other eviews I have learned that the book picks up after 30% or so, but I shouldn’t have to wait that long. Maybe I’ll circle back around one day to see if that’s true or not, but for now I’m moving on.
The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy
In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.
Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal’s” memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.
To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.
So I’m actually embarrassed to say how far I got before giving up on this one. It wasn’t far. I received a eARC of this novel and was so excited because the synopsis sounded amazing. Remember that movie where time was a currency? I sort of pictured memories to be like that in this book. While a good idea the writing really let this book down. I’m usually drawn in from the first chapter of a book and I just wasn’t here. I pushed through just to see if it would improve but the whole book just seemed… off. The reviews on Goodreads aren’t looking too well either with an average rating of about 3.33. I do hope it finds its people though, I am just not one of them.
Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo
The streets of Creije are for the deadly and the dreamers, and four crooks in particular know just how much magic they need up their sleeve to survive.
Tavia, a busker ready to pack up her dark-magic wares and turn her back on Creije for good. She’ll do anything to put her crimes behind her.
Wesley, the closest thing Creije has to a gangster. After growing up on streets hungry enough to swallow the weak whole, he won’t stop until he has brought the entire realm to kneel before him.
Karam, a warrior who spends her days watching over the city’s worst criminals and her nights in the fighting rings, making a deadly name for herself.
And Saxony, a resistance fighter hiding from the very people who destroyed her family, and willing to do whatever it takes to get her revenge.
Everything in their lives is going to plan, until Tavia makes a crucial mistake: she delivers a vial of dark magic—a weapon she didn’t know she had—to someone she cares about, sparking the greatest conflict in decades. Now these four magical outsiders must come together to save their home and the world, before it’s too late. But with enemies at all sides, they can trust nobody. Least of all each other.
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo is my of my favorite books. I loved the characters, the world and the overall plot of the novel. It had a few weak spots but I was willing to overlook them and love it regardless. Into the Crooked Place had too many flaws for me to overlook. It started out pretty decent but ran off the rails at around 40% for me (pun intended). This was one of my most anticipated reads this year and I’m so disappointed in it.
Gangster fantasy seems to be huge right now with the top being Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. From there we have The Gilded Wolves, Ace of Shades and now Into the Crooked Place which are being all lumped together fors their knock-off feeling. It’s not an original idea anymore and since it’s not the characters need to be amazing and have the ability to stand out. Christo’s characters fall flat for me. Wesley and Tavia were interesting in the beginning but then Saxony and Karam get added in and besides Wesley I would sometimes forget who was who and whose chapter I was currently reading. The adventure part of this novel started quick but left me with so many questions about the world, the magic, and our characters backgrounds. I get that no one wants an info-dump happening on the first page, but I was almost halfway through the book and still had no clue what was really going on or how the gangster system or magic system worked. Maybe all my questions would have been answered in the next 50% of the book, but I’m not going to keep muddling through this confusing and messy story to find out.
While three seems like it’s a short list I feel like I am DNFing too many. Maybe it’s because this is the first time I’ve allowed myself not not finish books I don’t like that I feel weird, but oddly free. With all the ARCs I have to get through in October I sincerely hope to have a short list next month as well. Did you DNF any books last month? Maybe even one of the same ones as me? Please validate me so I feel a tad less terrible.