Ok so I only DNF’d one book this year. But I’m still writing this post because there was one other book that I wish I had abandoned but didn’t.
by Odette Beane
Emma Swan’s life has been anything but a fairy tale. She’s been on her own since she was abandoned as a baby–that is, until the night of her twenty-eighth birthday, when Henry, a ten-year-old boy, shows up on her doorstep. He’s the son Emma gave up for adoption, and this surprise visit turns her life upside down.
I didn’t know going into this that it was a novelization. I thought it was a bonus story that hadn’t made it into the show. When I found it was just a novelization of Once Upon a Time Season 1, I still thought I would give it a try since that is my favorite show right now. This novelization felt really crammed because an entire TV season was smashed into this short 337 page novel. There was a lot of telling. Conversations were sometimes summarized which is kind of boring to read. There were some insights into the character’s thinking, but it felt like stuff I already knew or guessed at from watching the show. I quit at just over halfway on page 170.
The chapter titles felt familiar to me so I looked them up. They are the episode titles. The novelization even skips some of the episodes which surprised me. I can’t imagine how much telling there would have been if they had fit all the episodes in there.
I understand it’s a novelization and I shouldn’t expect amazing writing, but there was not much I was getting out of it that was new or interesting. Usually when I read a novelization it either fills in details and expands the story or it’s an immersive reliving of my favorite show. But this one did neither. There wasn’t much insight into the characters or new story lines and there was so much to fit inside the novel that it felt like I was being told way too much and I couldn’t get into it.
Spirit Animals: Wild Born
by Brandon Mull
Four children separated by vast distances all undergo the same ritual, watched by cloaked strangers. Four flashes of light erupt, and from them emerge the unmistakable shapes of incredible beasts – a wolf, a leopard, a panda, a falcon. Suddenly the paths of these children – and the world – have been changed for ever. Enter the world of Erdas, where every child who comes of age must discover if they have a spirit animal, a rare bond between human and beast that bestows great powers to both. A dark force has risen from distant and long-forgotten lands, and has begun an onslaught that will ravage the world. Now the fate of Erdas has fallen on the shoulders of four young strangers …and on you.
This is the book I wanted to abandon. So bad. But I couldn’t because I was reading it out loud to my kids. I kept trying to convince them to read something else but for some reason they liked it. There was a huge cast of characters that this tiny book spent almost the first quarter just introducing (I had to remind my kids all the time who was who). The writing was very dry. Not much humor, not a lot of dialogue. Lots of telling about the surroundings, telling how the world works, and telling about fight scenes. It was not fun to read out loud. The lack of dialogue and humor made this short book seem soooooo long. If your kids want to read these books, they would probably like them. But get out of reading it to them.