Thursday, 20 July 2017

Books I Almost Put Down But Thankfully Didn't

It's rare for me to put a book down with no intention of picking it up again. When I do this, it's normally because I get super frustrated in my inability to get into a story, and it's often made worse if the book is very hyped.

Occasionally I also put a book down for other reasons, like with The Kite Runner where the content really upset me. But when I put a book aside because I can't get into it, I normally find myself coming back to it and trying to finish it.

The need to finish a book in these situations is usually because I need to understand why the book is so loved by everyone but me. It's the reason I forced myself through the irritation and boredom of The Foxhole Court - I just wanted to know why. (Side note: I still don't understand the internet's love of The Foxhole Court, even after finishing the book. I don't really care if the series gets better because it was super problematic, didn't make sense, and the characters were kind of toxic. But I digress!)

The Raven Boys was one of these books that I DNFed only to come back to later. Initially I had no interest in it because of how strongly it was marketed as a romance. But the more I heard about it, the more it sounded like a book that was made for me. Lovable characters, magical forests, uncommon mythology? It sounded like there was a feeling to it that I would instantly connect to.

BUT I DIDN'T! I literally got through the first few chapters and then wanted to scream. What was this obnoxious writing style? Why did it seem so bland and ugh? There are suddenly 4 boys introduced to me and I can't tell them apart what is happening? Those were all thoughts I felt merely 50 pages into The Raven Boys for the first time before I dropped it.

This year was the third time I read that beautifully weird and quirky book, and the second time I actually finished it. It's still my least favourite of the series, but it is my least favourite book in my favourite series. Ever. A few months down the line when I picked up the book again I didn't spot any of this frustrations. I don't even know why they were frustrations in the first place. Stiefvater's writing style was magical to me and the characters were so clearly distinct and unique from the very first page. For reasons I still don't understand, it was like reading a totally different book. And I now love it with all my heart.

This also happened with Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, although I can't remember why i first put it down. It might be because I am not a contemporary person? Honestly I'm not sure. Whatever it was I just wasn't wanting to put the effort in and continue.

But like with The Raven Boys, I went back to it. It's now one of my go-to books to reread if I'm feeling down or need something light to get me through exam times. It's so utterly sweet and funny and Simon and Blue are the cutest Oreo loving children ever. The book is so nerdy and relatable and I can't imagine why I ever wanted to give up on it.

I think my expectations for Six of Crows were so through-the-roof high due to all the hype that the slow start really threw me. When I first picked it up I didn't even dislike it - I was just disappointed. I expected everything to be happening immediately because I was an impatient little reader. I think I was also reading it at a time where I had a lot of other things to be reading, and so because I didn't hit it off with Six of Crows straight away I put it aside.

But when I finally came back to read it properly, I got it. I got why people adored it so much, and even though I didn't think it was out-of-this-world brilliant like the hype suggested to me (which probably ruined it a little for me forever), the sequel, Crooked Kingdom is literally OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD BRILLIANT. Six of Crows was a great 4 star read and I really liked the humour, the adventure and the characters, but Crooked Kingdom was all the stars! It was like the first book magnified to the power of infinity, and likely my favourite read of 2016. Which I wouldn't have read hadn't I pulled myself through the slow start of the first book.

What about you? Are there any books you've put down that you gave a second chance to? Have you had any DNFs lately that you're considering going back to? Or do you prefer not to give books second chances? - there is a lot to read, after all!


  1. I haven't really picked up a book lately and given it a second chance...mainly because I've only picked up one book, and I finished that one haha!
    But I think I've started Six of Crows, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and The Raven Boys and put them all down hahahaha. Guess I'll have to give them a second chance and hope that I love them as much as you did?

    1. I get that. Normally it takes me a year before I consider giving it a second chance so I can go in with no feelings towards it again.
      What a coincidence that we both put all three of these books down at some point! There are plenty of books I've tried to read more than once that still don't work for me, so it's possible that these three might not be for you. But if you do pick them up again I hope you like them too!