DNF – Yay or Nay?
I really wanted to talk today about DNFing books. I mainly just want to get my thoughts out there and see what everyone thinks about DNFing books.
I used to be one of those people who had to finish a book whether I liked it or not, mainly because I wasn’t buying the same amount of books that I have now. In fact, growing up I was mainly a serial re-reader because I almost never got new books! Now, its extremely rare for me to go a full month without buying at least one or two new books.
Because the amount of books I buy has changed, so have my views on DNFing books. (For those of you new to book slang, DNF stands for Did Not Finish). I now have so many books that I want to read and blog about, that if a book doesn’t hold my attention or if there is something about the book I don’t like, I feel a lot more comfortable putting that book down.
My mindset now is that there are hundreds of thousands of books out there and there are some that I just won’t like, so why put myself through the struggle of reading a book if I don’t think that I will like it, or if there is another book I would rather be reading? If I review a book that I DNFed, does that mean my review is less meaningful than someone who finished the book?
Recently, I DNFed Fawkes by Nadine Brandes, and not necessarily because I thought the book as a whole was bad. I love both historical fiction and fantasy, which this book blends together in an alternate history of the gunpowder plot involving Guy Fawkes.
Fawkes follows Guy’s son Thomas as he deals with having a plague that is slowly turning him to stone. Magic comes into play with color masks, which enables the wearers to command the colors, so people who wear brown masks can control things that are brown, like dirt or trees. These masks are created by the fathers for their sons, and mothers for their daughters. Thomas’ father didn’t make him a mask, so Thomas travels to find him to demand his mask so that he can try to cure his plague. When he finally finds his father, he becomes involved in the plot to kill the king.
While all of that sounds like it would be right up my alley, there were some elements that just stuck out to me, and the more I noticed them the more I didn’t want to continue. First is that while the color powers sounded extremely interesting, the magical system wasn’t really explained of fleshed out to the extent that I would’ve liked it to be. Another main reason I had to put the book down is Thomas himself. He was just so whiny and mentioned at least once or twice a chapter that so-and-so called him a boy, and he’s not a boy he’s a man! Combine this with the fact that the narrator of the audiobook spoke in such a pompous way when voicing Thomas, I couldn’t stand it!
I got to 59% of the audiobook before I decided that I just coudn’t finish the book, at least the audio version. Maybe the physical book would be easier on me? But maybe not, since my issues were mainly with the actual material itself.
So because I DNFed this book, does that mean that my opinion is less valuable than someone who has completed the book and can give a review of the entire thing? I don’t really think so, because while yes, I didn’t get to the ending and maybe Thomas changes and isn’t so wrapped up in himself, and maybe they do explain the color powers more thoroughly, but at the same time, maybe my review on what I actually did read can give someone else insight as to what I didn’t like about the book. If a person who has similar tastes in reading as I do, then they may be able to steer clear of books I didn’t finish so that they can focus on the books that interest them even more.
With all that said, I don’t really think it is fair to the book or the author to give the book a star rating based on the fact that you DNFed a book. Obviously the book just wasn’t for you, and it seems a little cruel to give it a low rating just for that reason, especially when the book is sitting there uncompleted.
So do I feel bad that I DNF books? Not really, because there is most likely something out there that I will love so much more than what I DNFed.
So those are my thoughts on DNFing books, sorry if it seemed like I was rambling on, this is a different style blog post for me and it was tough trying to get all my thoughts to come together into something that made sense! Do you DNF books? Why or why not? I would love to know!