Tag Archives: DNF

A not-review of DragonMark, by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I don’t usually review book that I don’t finish here on the blog. In the five years I’ve kept it, I don’t think I ever have. I post a note on Goodreads for myself and move on. But I have to have a little rant on about this one. Partly because I’m enraged and partly out of pure WTF confusion.

Let me start by saying how much I hate (with a passion I’m not sure words alone can convey) coming across books like this. (And I’ve complained about this before). It’s book number 25 in one series, 10 in another, 5 in yet a third, 41 in another and the first in Dragon-Hunter: Dragon Rising. Apparently all these series intertwine. But can I read it as the first in ANY series, as that number 1 suggests? Or do I need to have read the others. What exactly, as a new Sherrilyn Kenyon reader, should I base that assessment on? Your guess is as good as mine. I picked the audio book up at the library and, despite serious misgivings, thought I’d give it a try.

For the first half the book I was fine. I could feel that there was history I was missing. Characters probably had their own books, but I was able to follow the hero and heroine’s story. I had complaints, such as how fast it all moved and how magic with no defined limits side-stepped so many problems in too easy manner, but it was a readable PNR. And I appreciated that the heroine was a larger lady. Plus, it was funny at times.

Then I reached disk 5, roughly the middle of the book. (There are 8 disks total.) Suddenly, and I do mean suddenly, despite having fallen in love in a day, ten years passed and then in a page or two the heroine was dead and centuries had passed for the hero. The story picks up with two totally new people. The original hero becomes a side character in their story and everything moves along as if the train hadn’t literally just changed tracks. I stopped the player to make sure a disk from another book didn’t get mixed in! It’s that abrupt and incongruent.

Logic would suggest that the new characters are the characters from whichever series has Cade and Joe in it and the two timelines are crossing. (As and aside, at least I can pronounce their names, unlike Illarion and his love, whose name I don’t remember and apparently isn’t considered important enough to even include in the blurb of her own book.) And I would guess that at some point it’s all going to wrap back around such that Illarion can bring unnamed love back to life, or whatever. But I can’t bring myself to listen to hours of story about people I literally don’t know, because they literally just appeared with no introduction or explanation, before getting to it. (And that’s assuming I’m right about what happens.)

So, to answer the initial question of can a book with multiple series listed be read alone, even if its called number one in one of those series, no. Half this book can be read as a first book in a series, but half is apparently the continuation of another’s story and can’t be read without all those previous books from multiple other series. That is my take away. I gave up. I didn’t finish disk five and I won’t be finishing the book. I’m left reeling and confused. What the hell just happened.

I can almost imagine the narrator, who did a fine job, calling up the publisher and asking, “Hey, just checking, but you didn’t happen to mix up your manuscripts did you? I’m just making sure you didn’t send me two? Again, just checking.”

What’s worse, in reading the reviews of other readers, this seems to just be rehashing other books in the other series (whichever it is). My advice is don’t bother. I’m going to stick to my initial instinct and steer very clear of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books in the future. The foul taste left in my mouth from this one is that strong.

Bound By Blood

kinda/sorta a Review of Bound By Blood, by Tara Manderino

Bound By BloodI downloaded a copy of Tara Manderino‘s Bound By Blood from the Amazon free list. I read it as the final book in my Bound By Blood reading challenge, in which I set out to read 5 books titled Bound By Blood.

Description from Goodreads:
In his two-hundred and fifty years as a vampire, Alex only observed, never intervened with any of his progeny, yet what else can he do when a little girl of his lineage is kidnapped? When he meets Lisa, the child’s nanny, his protective instincts kick into gear, yet he finds he must expose her to ever increasing danger as they search for the missing child. To protect Lisa from perils she is unaware of, he harbors her in his own home.

With Lisa’s help, Alex is able to determine who has the child. Learning why she was abducted rocks him on his heels and sets off a transcontinental search that leads to ancient myths of the Cardinal’s Ruby; the stone in Alex’s ring.

Alex and Lisa have one shot to save the child, but will they be able to stop the impending destruction raining down?

I’m afraid I gave up on this at 40%. I just wasn’t going to be able to make it any farther. (And I hate not finishing a book.) It’s like Manderino went out and read the 50 most popular PNR novel and then took the 50 most common scenes and crammed them into a novel. As a literary experiment, it might have been interesting, but as an attempt at a readable novel it failed.

For example, how many PNR books have you read in which a man can’t get a woman to be quiet so he kisses her? Yep, that’s in here, except it makes even less sense than normal (and lets be honest, it almost never makes sense anyway). Here they’re running down a sidewalk, in a hurry, both mad and he actually even has a free hand he could cover her mouth with if just stressing the importance of quiet didn’t work for him. Plus, it REALLY came out of nowhere.

Or how about the ‘the only way I can keep you safe is if you come to my house’ trope? Yep, that’s here too. But it shows up after the characters have known eachother for less than 24 hours, only in professional capacity and there has been no credible build-up of…well, of anything (friendship, lust, love, trust, anything). The two had hardly even spoken. The reason these scenes are familiar is that they pop up a lot, but to see one book with so many of them (even at only 40% through) makes the whole thing feel horribly unimaginative.

Everything is flat. There is no emotional resonance in anything. Alex tells Lisa he’s a vampire…no reaction. He flies with her across the room…”nice trick,” she says. But even worse than that, is the whole attempt at a romance. The book pulls all the expected shticks. He can’t stop thinking of her. He’s enamoured, but doesn’t know why. Bla Bla Bla. But the thing is that their meeting is dull. There is no build-up in their attraction, but neither is there any dun dun dunn big deal meeting. So, Alex’s attraction to her (or love or lust or whatever, it’s not even clear because it’s so poorly executed) feels completely out of left field, unsupported and hollow…FLAT, like everything else in the first 40% of the novel.

Alex is supposed to care so much that his great-great…granddaughter has been kidnapped, but he doesn’t seem to actually be all that concerned. She’s referred to as ‘the child’ throughout the book, he walks away even after discovering where she is, he never asks what she’s like, etc. Again, it’s just FLAT.

The heroine is Too Stupid To Live and does all the expected stupid things that heroines do in such books. She runs off on her own after being told how dangerous it is because she didn’t get her way. She disbelieves everything she’s told loooong after her disbelief is no longer believable (come on, the man picked her up and levitated across the room and she didn’t bat an eyelash and still didn’t believe he was a vampire when he told her). She makes rescue attempts on her own instead of calling anyone for help, etc. Honestly, it’s the TSTL aspect of the book that finally made me give up. When she ignored all reasonable warnings about the danger and AGAIN ran out on her own to try and rescue Sandy I gave up.

But nothing was helped by the fact that there are no transitions between events, no character development, no world-building, and names are used too often in dialogue. The book needs a copy edit and I just can’t take anymore.

I normally wouldn’t review the book since I didn’t finish it. But since it was the fifth book in my Bound By Blood challenge, not reviewing it would leave my challenge incomplete and that would have haunted me.