Welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This isn’t something I take part in every week so I always have a lot of fun putting these lists together when I do!
I quite often go it alone with topics rather than following the set topics for the week. That said, however, this week I am taking part in the scheduled topic, as I have DNF’d (Did Not Finish) a few books lately. I don’t do this very often though, so I am going to have two lists – books I DNF’d and then books I removed from my TBR before even beginning them.
Let’s check out the lists and why I abandoned them, shall we? Each list is in date order, from my most recently abandoned book in each category.
Boom Time – Michelle Lowe
Bootleggers, coppers, and no good, dirty gangsters! During Prohibition, the parties were wild, the alcohol was flowing, and danger was never far away. Pierce Landcross has been brought to the fast-paced future of New York City, 1926. His abductor, the Trickster, claims he’s hiding Pierce for his own protection, but cutthroats and femme fatales lurk around every corner. Lost in a strange land, Pierce vows to keep his nose clean, but that doesn’t last long when he falls into the bootlegging racket. Pierce has to quickly adapt to a world full of diesel-fueled machines, airships, moving picture shows, and clashes with rival gangs. At the same time, he has to elude a hunter from his own time sent to kill him!
This is my most recent DNF, and it was purely a matter of timing as to why I had to put this down. I signed up to review this and my review was due this month, but with the house move and all I was unable to honour that! I believe I can submit a real review later with the particular site I downloaded it from, so I might finish it later and do that.
Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’
People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?
You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.
It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.
And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…
I was really disappointed to DNF this one, but I had to! I love Terry Pratchett’s humour, but the narrative felt comparatively dry to his usual books. You can tell this isn’t purely his writing style and that it’s a collab with another author. Unfortunately, my experiences with Neil Gaiman’s books are mediocre at best, and WTF at worst. I was hoping Good Omens would turn the tide on my experience with this writing, but it really hasn’t.
Gardens of the Moon – Steven Erikson
The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.
For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.
However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…
Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order–an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.
I love epic fantasy books, but I just could not follow what was going on in this one. A lot of people rave about it, that it’s a classic etc, but I couldn’t get on with it. I would read a chapter and finally grasp who was who and what was happening… and then the book would cut to another completely different scene and character set. It was too choppy for me to get into. Sorry guys!
The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
My friend Rachael will dislike me for this, but my first experience of The Eye of the World wasn’t the best one. If you guys think The Lord of the Rings books are heavily descriptive then let me introduce you to this book! It was just a bit slow for me and even though I tried to stick with it, I had to give up. I might try again at some point when I am in a better mood for an (epic) epic.
The Seventh Scroll – Wilbur Smith
For 4,000 years, the lavish crypt of the Pharaoh Mamose has never been found…until the Seventh Scroll, a cryptic message written by he slave Taita, gives beautiful Egyptologist Royan Al Simma a tantalizing clue to its location.
But this is a treasure cache others would kill to possess. Only one step ahead of assassins, Royan runs for her life and into the arms of the only man she can trust, Sir Nicholas Quenton-Harper-a daring man who will stake his fortune and his life to join her hunt for the king’s tomb. Together, they will embark on a breathtaking journey to the most exotic locale on earth, where the greatest mystery of ancient Egypt, a chilling danger and an explosive passion are waiting.
Steeped in ancient mystery, drama and action, The Seventh Scroll is a masterpiece from a storyteller at the height of his powers.
I loved River God, and my friend who recommended these books to me loved this book best of all. You can imagine my disappointment when I just couldn’t get on with it at all. Unlike River God, The Seventh Scroll is set in modern-day. The story follows on from that first book, but I didn’t like the sudden switch of time setting. I tried to stick with it but ultimately had to DNF as I wasn’t enjoying it.
This next list is of books I have removed from my TBR. In fairness, a lot of these will have been removed as they were added many years ago and my reading tastes have changed quite a lot since then! So… here is the second list!
The Sheep Look Up – John Brunner
An enduring classic, this book offers a dramatic and prophetic look at the potential consequences of the escalating destruction of Earth. In this nightmare society, air pollution is so bad that gas masks are commonplace. Infant mortality is up, and everyone seems to suffer from some form of ailment.
When I originally covered this in my Down the TBR Hole series (a couple of years ago now) I marked this as a keeper as I was interested in the dystopian aspect of it. I confess that since then this silently slipped off the TBR. Sure, I like dystopian books, but whatever appeal it had to me when I added it has now been lost. It sounds a bit depressing, to be honest!
The Just City – Jo Walton
“Here in the Just City you will become your best selves. You will learn and grow and strive to be excellent.”
Created as an experiment by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by over ten thousand children and a few hundred adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future–all set down together on a Mediterranean island in the distant past.
The student Simmea, born an Egyptian farmer’s daughter sometime between 500 and 1000 A.D, is a brilliant child, eager for knowledge, ready to strive to be her best self. The teacher Maia was once Ethel, a young Victorian lady of much learning and few prospects, who prayed to Pallas Athene in an unguarded moment during a trip to Rome–and, in an instant, found herself in the Just City with grey-eyed Athene standing unmistakably before her.
Meanwhile, Apollo–stunned by the realization that there are things mortals understand better than he does–has arranged to live a human life, and has come to the City as one of the children. He knows his true identity, and conceals it from his peers. For this lifetime, he is prone to all the troubles of being human.
Then, a few years in, Sokrates arrives–the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself–to ask all the troublesome questions you would expect. What happens next is a tale only the brilliant Jo Walton could tell.
This is another book that discretely slipped off the list. The appeal for this one was in the combination of different time periods all coming together, but I’ve lost interest. It is as simple as that. There are so many books out there so why waste time trying to read one you aren’t fussed on?
India Black – Carol Carr
When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.
Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents-and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator.
I added this because the plot sounded cool, but when looking at it again more recently, I’m not 100% sure I am going to get on with the narrative. Maybe I was prepared to chance the awkward cheesiness of the main character falling for ‘the handsome conspirator’ once, but I’m honestly just put off by that now.
Tess of the Road – Rachel Hartman
In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.
Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl—a subspecies of dragon—who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.
Returning to the fascinating world she created in the award-winning and New York Times bestselling Seraphina, Rachel Hartman introduces readers to a new character and a new quest, pushing the boundaries of genre once again in this wholly original fantasy.
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed reading Seraphina and Shadow Scale years ago. I liked the concept of dragons being able to disguise themselves in this world, but I’m not sold on this related book. I’ve heard that it’s not so good as those other books, and I think I’ve probably outgrown the series anyway.
The Potato Factory – Bryce Courtenay
Ikey Solomon is very successful indeed, in the art of thieving. Ikey’s partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from 19th century London to Van Diemens Land. In the backstreets and dives of Hobart Town, Mary learns the art of brewing and builds The Potato Factory, where she plans a new future. But her ambitions are threatened by Ikey’s wife, Hannah, her old enemy. The two women raise their separate families. As each woman sets out to destroy the other, the families are brought to the edge of disaster.
I feel like I originally added this to the TBR based on a review or recommendation because the synopsis doesn’t really sell it to me. That was several years ago now and I’ve no idea what the appeal was to add this to the list, so it dropped off again!
There you have it – that’s my Top Ten Tuesday post for today! Have you abandoned any books recently? Let me know in the comments!