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DNF Reviews: Dissonance, Allegiant, Frostborn, and Grim

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Dissonance #1, by Erica O'Rourke

Genre: Science Fiction   Hardback: 496 Pages
Publication: July 22, 2014 by Simon & Schuster BFYR

Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.

Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.

But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.

One of my first thoughts upon starting this novel was: Del is kind of a brat. Not a great way to start a relationship, and unfortunately, the feeling just got stronger the more I read. Del doesn't seem to have a strong regard for the rules. At first, I decided to give her a chance. Sam from Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall also starts out as a brat but changes into a beautiful, strong, kind-hearted character after all.

The problem with Dissonance, however, is that no character motivation is provided for why Del thinks and acts the way she does, making it harder for me to connect with her than it already was. She's into Simon Lane but doesn't seem to know anything about him other than the general facts that most anyone can list. She goes on a Walk by herself even though her parents forbid her to do so with good reason—and the things that happen during the Walk only prove their point. Del even suggests hiding what happened during her Walk from the Council. Seriously? At that point, I didn't have the heart to continue the story and see what happens.

DNF 9% into the novel

A copy was provided by Simon & Schuster for review

Divergent #3, by Veronica Roth

Genre: YA Dystopian   Hardback: 544 Pages
Publication: October 22, 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

I just couldn't read Allegiant anymore. I couldn't. From the beginning, I didn't feel any connection to the characters or the world in which they live. The dual perspective didn't help. It switches so constantly, sometimes with little time skips, that I never got the chance to settle down into the world. The plot moves really slowly, taking us here and there and setting up all the pieces, such at almost 50% into the novel I still didn't know what the point of this book was or what our protagonists would do about the information they find in the outside world. It felt like it was taking us on a meandering journey where, somewhere along the line, some big event / discovery would take place to tell us why we were here in the first place.

Furthermore, I couldn't connect with either Tris or Four. I just got so fed up with them, Four especially. They're burdened with so many problems and yet cannot communicate with each other about their fears. Instead, they resort to making out, seeking a physical connection that will allow them to temporarily block out the problems they don't want to think about. I missed the kickass, take-action couple from previous books.

DNF 43% into the novel - story fell flat

Content: kissing, intense making out, violence

Related reviews
Divergent | Insurgent | Four: A Divergent Collection

Thrones and Bones #1, by Lou Anders

Genre: MG Fantasy   Hardback: 352 Pages
Publication: August 5, 2014 by Crown BFYR

Meet Karn. He is destined to take over the family farm in Norrøngard. His only problem? He’d rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones.

Enter Thianna. Half human, half frost giantess. She’s too tall to blend in with other humans but too short to be taken seriously as a giant.

When family intrigues force Karn and Thianna to flee into the wilderness, they have to keep their sense of humor and their wits about them. But survival can be challenging when you’re being chased by a 1,500-year-old dragon, Helltoppr the undead warrior and his undead minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, and an assortment of trolls and giants.

This is a different kind of DNF read in that I actually really liked what I read of the story. The writing is fantastic, the world is fascinating, and Thianna and Karn are wonderful characters. I have a special place in my heart for Norse mythology, and I'm glad that the author really did his research for this book. What didn't work for me is how the POV is constantly changing between Thianna and Karn—as in constantly changing. I'd barely get into one scene before I was whisked away to the other character. Plus, there'd be a time skip from the last time we saw the current narrator. While I'm all for dual perspectives, this was taking it to a whole 'nother level in a way I didn't like.

On a personal note
I learned something in my Family Psychology class about how rapid scene changes are detrimental to children developing longer attention spans. This was with regards to movies, however, and is an argument for why Sesame Street is actually bad for children (though the content sound). I'd be interested in learning if the same goes for books. . . .

DNF 16% into the novel

A copy was provided by Random House for review

Grim (Anthology)
edited by Christine Johnson

Genre: Fairy tale retelling   Hardback: 476 Pages
Publication: February 25, 2014 by Harlequin Teen

Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today

I only read a couple of these, so my comments may not necessarily be applicable to everything. I've read anthologies in the past where I only liked a few of the stories. However, what I did read didn't make me eager to read the rest. They were poorly formulated, more like snapshots than a whole story that can stand by itself. To be fair, short story writing is very different from novel writing, and these authors' primary focus is on the latter. And as an English major who has studied short stories, I'm comparing these to a higher standard. As it is, this wasn't the anthology for me. I've seen great reviews on it, however, so there's definitely an audience for it!

Content: N/A

A copy was provided by Harlequin for review

8 comments on "DNF Reviews: Dissonance, Allegiant, Frostborn, and Grim"
  1. I do hate DNFing a book but sometimes, it can't be helped. I dragged myself through Allegiant, though I did want to DNF it several times. I haven't tried the others but think I'm going to just go ahead and cross them off my list. Too many good books out there!

    1. Yeah, with so many books to read, I've had to learn when to dnf a book. Glad my reviews can help, Mary!

  2. I'm sorry to hear you didn't like Dissonance, I'm looking forward to that one. I hear you on Grim, though. I've stopped and gone back to it a few times because I just don't feel it.

    1. I've seen great reviews for Dissonance. While it didn't work out for me, maybe you'll enjoy it! Yeah, the same happened to me for Grim, and I finally decided to give up on it.

  3. Hmm, I've only just recently purchased Divergent so it's on my list of TBR books. It's unfortunate to hear you didn't like Allegiant though. It's sad to hear you didn't think highly of Grimm, I only heard of the book today and thought it sounded a little interesting.

    1. Divergent is a fantastic book. I loved it! :) The sequels not so much. I'd recommend giving Grim a try if it interests you. As it's an anthology, there's a chance you'll find some that you really enjoy.

  4. So sorry these didn't work for you. I loved Divergent and own the last book I just haven't opened it yet..LOL

    1. Lol I've been there too where I have a sequel sitting on my shelf unread. I hope it works out better for you!


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