Books I DNF’d in 2019

Before this year, I had only ever DNFd 3 books in my life. This year, I did quite a bit more than that. There’s so many books out there, why spend time reading things you’re not enjoying?

In total, I only DNFd 7 books for the year which in the long run, is not that many. But by being able to put these aside, I saved so much time by just moving onto a new read rather than forcing myself through one (often leading me into a slump when I try to do so).

Disclaimer: I am not saying any of these books are bad, they just weren’t for me. If any of these are on your list, I still recommend checking out books that appeal to you! And hey, if you’re like me, sometimes seeing why people didn’t like other books makes me more intrigued into reading it myself.

starworld.jpg1) Starworld by Audrey Coulthurst and Paula Garner

This was my first book of 2019, and it set the stage for 2019 being the year I didn’t waste time on books I wasn’t enjoying. There were a lot of great aspects to this story, it just wasn’t for me. I had a really hard time getting into it, and had a hard time not cringing at parts.

Synopsis: “Sam Jones and Zoe Miller have one thing in common: they both want an escape from reality. Loner Sam flies under the radar at school and walks on eggshells at home to manage her mom’s obsessive-compulsive disorder, wondering how she can ever leave to pursue her dream of studying aerospace engineering. Popular, people-pleasing Zoe puts up walls so no one can see her true self: the girl who was abandoned as an infant, whose adoptive mother has cancer, and whose disabled brother is being sent away to live in a facility. When an unexpected encounter results in the girls’ exchanging phone numbers, they forge a connection through text messages that expands into a private universe they call Starworld. In Starworld, they find hilarious adventures, kindness and understanding, and the magic of being seen for who they really are. But when Sam’s feelings for Zoe turn into something more, will the universe they’ve built survive the inevitable explosion?”

odd one out2) Odd One Out by Nic Stone

I started this is an audiobook the first day of 2019 and it took me almost two weeks to get to 43%, where I finally stopped. I wasn’t meshing with this one. I felt pretty uncomfortable reading about this guy who was so in love with is lesbian best friend.. and him hoping this wouldn’t be gay. And the uncool opinions on bi people. I read some reviews from others confirming the not-so-great queer rep with this one and I decided to call it quits.

Synopsis: “From the author of Dear Martin comes this exploration of old friendships, new crushes, and the path to self-discovery.

Courtney “Coop” Cooper
Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn’t mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl.

Rae Evelyn Chin
I assumed “new girl” would be synonymous with “pariah,” but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I’m right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing.

Jupiter Charity-Sanchez
The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . . .

One story.
Three sides.
No easy answers.”

297519983) The Cerulean by Amy Ewing

Okay, so I know earlier I said I don’t think any of these books are objectively bad, but this is the exception. This book was my biggest disappointment of 2019. I declared it to be so in early February, and the rest of the year this statement still held true.

This was hyped for so long as a sapphic utopia, and marketed originally as a queer book. It was not that. It begins with the first 50 pages in a sapphic utopia, but our MC has a revelation that she’s “not like other girls” and that she’s actually straight. She descends down to earth from this utopic place and discovers an out-dated misogynist and homophobic society (and conveniently the dark skin people are coded to be the bad people), and there’s just a slew of issues. I got like over 200 pages in with the hopes that maybe the story would make up for some issues. I didn’t. There were almost 500 pages, but after how awful the first half was, I wasn’t gonna bother.

Synopsis: “Sera has always felt as if she didn’t belong among her people, the Cerulean. She is curious about everything and can’t stop questioning her three mothers, her best friend, Leela, and even the High Priestess. Sera has longed for the day when the tether that connects her City Above the Sky to the earthly world below finally severs and sends the Cerulean to a new planet.

But when Sera is chosen as the sacrifice to break the tether, she doesn’t know what to feel. To save her City, Sera must throw herself from its edge and end her own life. But something goes wrong and she survives the fall, landing in a place called Kaolin. She has heard tales about the humans there, and soon learns that the dangers her mothers warned her of are real. If Sera has any hope to return to her City, she’ll have to find the magic within herself to survive.”

the afterward4) The Afterward by E. K Johnston

I really wanted to love this one. Queer lady knights? Sign me up. I got through about 50% before putting it down. It was just slow and I was struggling to get into it.

Synopsis: “It has been a year since the mysterious godsgem cured Cadrium’s king and ushered in what promised to be a new golden age. The heroes who brought the gem home are renowned in story and song, but for two fellows on the quest, peace and prosperity do not come easily.

Apprentice Knight Kalanthe Ironheart wasn’t meant for heroism this early in life, and while she has no intention of giving up the notoriety she has earned, her reputation does not pay her bills. With time running out, Kalanthe may be forced to betray not her kingdom or her friends, but her own heart as she seeks a stable future for herself and those she loves.

Olsa Rhetsdaughter was never meant for heroism at all. Beggar, pick pocket, thief, she lived hand to mouth on the city streets until fortune–or fate–pulled her into Kalanthe’s orbit. And now she’s quite reluctant to leave it. Even more alarmingly, her fame has made her recognizable, which makes her profession difficult, and a choice between poverty and the noose isn’t much of a choice at all.

Both girls think their paths are laid out, but the godsgem isn’t quite done with them and that new golden age isn’t a sure thing yet.

In a tale both sweepingly epic and intensely personal, Kalanthe and Olsa fight to maintain their newfound independence and to find their way back to each other.”

gideon5) Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

I was SO disappointed when I DNFd this. This was one of my most anticipated of the year, but when I started reading it, I found it confusing and didn’t have enough to grasp my emotions. I was so disappointed about not finishing this that I never even got around to wrapping up my thoughts on Goodreads (I mean, I had also just moved to another city and was super busy started my Master’s program). In theory, this is one I should love. It just wasn’t for me.

Synopsis: “Gideon the Ninth is the most fun you’ll ever have with a skeleton.

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.”

the never tilting world6) The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

This had a lot of potential on its premise. It had a world with twin goddesses and a catastrophe around climate change in a fantasy world. Plus, it’s queer. I just didn’t connect with the storylines and the four POVs were too much and not working for me. This book was 500 pages and I got about 60% of the way before deciding to move on.

Synopsis: “Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.

Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.

While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.

But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.”

cursed7) Cursed by Thomas Wheeler and Frank Miller

I was super excited about this one because it was the first unsolicited arc I ever received. It came in a cute promo box and everything. But I just couldn’t do it. I was excited for this King Arthur retelling, which was hyped as a gender bent retelling, but it wasn’t quite. The sword chose Nimue, but Arthur was still Arthur and he was still getting the majority of the attention and the narrative for Nimue just wasn’t interesting. The characters felt very bland, nothing bringing me in to the story. I got about 38% of the way through this one. As much as I didn’t care for the book, I can see this being a fun Netflix adaption (considering the show was already in the works before this book was published, I’m sure the adaption was the focus and will be getting more of the love anyway).

Synopsis: “The Lady of the Lake finds her voice in this cinematic twist on the tale of King Arthur created by Tom Wheeler and legendary artist, producer, and director Frank Miller (300, Batman: The Dark Night Returns, Sin City).

Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true King.

But what if the Sword has chosen a Queen?

Nimue grew up an outcast. Her connection to dark magic made her something to be feared in her Druid village, and that made her desperate to leave…

That is, until her entire village is slaughtered by Red Paladins, and Nimue’s fate is forever altered. Charged by her dying mother to reunite an ancient sword with a legendary sorcerer, Nimue is now her people’s only hope. Her mission leaves little room for revenge, but the growing power within her can think of little else.

Nimue teams up with a charming mercenary named Arthur and refugee Fey Folk from across England. She wields a sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt king. She struggles to unite her people, avenge her family, and discover the truth about her destiny.

But perhaps the one thing that can change Destiny itself is found at the edge of a blade.”


If you want to purchase any of the books mentioned here, or any others, use my book depository affiliate link and help me receive a small commission!

3 thoughts on “Books I DNF’d in 2019”

  1. I completely agree–DNFing books saves so much time in the long run because you’re not slogging through something that you’d rather not be reading. Happy New Year!


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