I'm very much a completest, so it was extremely unusual that this year, I had not one, not two, but three books I started, but was unable to finish. Without further ado:
1. Keeping it Real – Justina Robson
I picked out this book after seeing it at Barnes and Noble. It takes place after some sort of dimensional explosion that’s opened up a rift between our world, and several others, including worlds peopled by elves and various other monsters. I made it about four chapters in. It fell into the “I could write better than this when I was 12” category of books I’m unable to complete. Eragon was another of these books. That book at least had the excuse of being written by a twelve-year-old.
2. The Mulberry Empire – Philip Hensher
I picked this book for the Booker Challenge. It’s set against Britain’s rather disasterous foray into Afghanistan during their colonial period. I was rather looking forward to reading it. I figured it would be some interesting perspective on a country I’m not that familiar with.
The first thing I didn’t like was the set up of a story of a girl back in England who falls in love with the geographer for this first trip to Afghanistan while he’s in England before the trip. Surely only angst and pining would follow. But, the POV was flipping through enough people I figured I could put up with that.
What stopped me reading was the chapter that set up the story’s villain, a man in the British Army who murders his way to AWOL-ness and wends his way up to Afghanistan. The man was truly repulsive. I don’t mind a good, evil villain now and then, but I draw the line at unrepentant pedophiles. The book went back where it come from the next day.
3. The Mirror Prince – Violette Malan
In this book, a prince of the fae has a lost a war, and has been exiled to the Shadowlands (aka our world), where his memory has been wiped, and only three fae guardians ward him until his exile is over.
Issue #1: prince with no memory = convenient exposition dump. I hate exposition dumps that convenient. Issue #2: the fae all have long Native American style names (i.e. Rides with the Dawn), and with the cast of thousands that was being introduced, it was getting really hard to keep track. I gave up four chapters in.