Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Couldn't Finish Them...

Sometimes the temptation is there to put books that I couldn't finish to one side and pretend that I never picked them up in the first place... Actually, that's only the case with the really awful books and we've all read a few like that haven't we? ;o)

Books like that will more often than not get a whole review slot all to themselves but what about the others? What about those books that didn't actually do anything wrongbut just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? Well, they end up in an occasional series of 'Couldn't Finish It' syle posts where I come out and say, "It wasn't you, it was me..."

Up today are,

Her fate is in her flesh.

In an environmentally fragile world where human and animal genes combine, the rarest mutation of all--the Trader--can instantly switch genders. One such Trader--female Sorykah--is battling her male alter, Soryk, for dominance and the right to live a full life.

Sorykah has rescued her infant twins from mad Matuk the Collector. Her children are safe. Her journey, she believes, is over, but Matuk's death has unleashed darker, more evil forces. Those forces--led by the Collector's son--cast nets that stretch from the glittering capital of Neubonne to the murky depths below the frozen Sigue, where the ink of octameroons is harvested to make addictive, aphrodisiac tattoos. Bitter enemies trapped within a single skin, Sorykah and Soryk are soon drawn into a sinister web of death and deceit.

I fancied checking out something a little different to what I'd read normally (I'm finding it far too easy to feel 'jaded' these days but that's another story...) so agreed to give 'Tattoo' a go. I really got into the characters, setting and even found 'Tattoo' one of the few books I've read that manages to be erotic without going way over the top and being plain corny instead.

So what led me to put it down then? As rich as it is, 'Tattoo' is a book where you have to have read its predecessor ('Ice Song') to really get what is going on here. I haven't read 'Ice Song' so found myself tripping up, a lot, on the bits of 'Tattoo' where I really should have done. It was time to put this book down but if I ever do get round to reading 'Ice Song' then I'd definitely come back and give 'Tattoo' another go. It's worth it.

Senator Howard Stark wants to be President of the United States. So does the demon inside him. With the competing candidates dropping out due to scandal, blackmail, and ‘accidental’ death, Stark looks like a good bet to go all the way to the White House. And if he gets there, Hell on Earth will follow.

Occult investigator Quincey Morris and white witch Libby Chastain are determined to stop this evil conspiracy. But between them and Stark stand the dedicated agents of the US Secret Service – as well as the very forces of Hell itself. Quincey and Libby will risk everything to exorcise the demon possessing Stark. If they fail, ‘Hail to the Chief’ will become a funeral march – for all of us.

Having had some fun with Gustainis' 'Evil Ways', I was expecting more of the same with 'Sympathy for the Devil' but only lasted about a hundred and fifty pages before finding I couldn't go any further. The reason why really stumped me, it has to be said, until I saw the following lines in my review of 'Evil Ways'...

I got the impression that Gustainis’ writing style was more about recounting events rather than getting right inside the heads of his characters. While this works up to a point, it felt like there was a wall between me and Quincey/Liberty etc and this left me feeling a little detached from the book as a whole.

It was exactly the same this time round and if an author isn't too bothered about my getting to know his characters then I find that I'm not all that bothered either. Down went the book and that was that.

And so it's onto the next book(s) to see if things pick up. 'The Cold Commands' is looking good although I'm waiting for it to hurry up and get going. Peter F. Hamilton's 'Manhattan in Reverse' is also looking promising.
What about you though? What are you reading and (perhaps more relevant to this post) what books have you found that you cannot get through? Comments here please! ;o)


Jamie (Mithril Wisdom) said...

I'm just starting Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone (with all the hype that's surrounding it, I wanna find out what's so special about it).

My 'book I couldn't finish' up until last week was Fellowship of the Ring. I bought the LotR trilogy just before the first movie came out 10 years ago, and I finally finished the first book last week. Awesome as Tolkien is, it just takes too damn long to do anything in Middle Earth :P

Silver Thistle said...

I should do a post like this, I've got a ple of books that I could feature. I do the 'let's pretend I didn't start it and maybe I'll get on better with it anohter time' thing.

I should just call it like it is though and admit that they're not for me. There's soooo many books out there and life is too short to waste it on stories that don't grab me.

Great post!

I've got Tattoo on my wishlist as it happens..wonder how I'll get on with it...if I ever get around to getting it.

Sally Bibrary said...

I was a little worried to see 'Tattoo' on the list, but it makes total sense if you haven't read 'Ice Song' first.

I have a few books in my library like that, reads that I picked up not realising they were part of a series. Some are still half-finished, waiting for me to read their predecessors, but there aren't too many I've just given up on.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.....footnotes wore me out.


bubbasmom said...

I just couldn't finish "Orcs," by Stan Nicholls. I have to say that the concept of orcs as heros was very intriguing, but sadly the book just didn't deliver.

nimrodiel said...

If you have time to read Ice Song I totally suggest it. It was one of my best books of the year the year I read it.

I'm glad you posted this Couldn't Finish Them post, I had no idea that there was a sequel. It's a title to add to my keep an eye out for this book list.

RobB said...

I've done posts like these a couple of times on my blog. The most recent book I had to set aside was Omnitopia: Dawn by Diane Duane. It wasn't bad, it wasn't good. It was very middling and I couldn't help comparing it to the far superior Infoquake by David Louis Edelman.

Pabkins said...

I could not finish the last phillip pullman dark materials book

Graeme Flory said...

Nimrodiel - If I do have time (might even have to make time...) then I will definitely give Ice Song a go.