Sometimes there are books that just don’t work for a reader, for one reason or another. Those books may get consigned to the dark shelves of Did-Not-Finish, or they may be quietly shifted to the To-Read shelves for a second chance later. In either case, these are the stories of those books abandoned and postponed . . .
To start with, a book I struggled so hard not to postpone is The Deep by Alma Katsu. A ghost story connecting the sinking of the Titanic and her similarly ill-fated sister ship, the Britannic, through two survivors who must deal with love, guilt, fear, and secrets, it’s a book that I absolutely must read. So, if that’s the case, why have I postpone it? Sadly, it all comes down to formatting. The review copy looks like a very pretty PDF, but trying to convert that into an EPUB reveals an iceberg of pre-press formatting ugliness lurking beneath the surface. I put way more effort into attempting to clean it up than I should have, but finally consigned myself to the fact that I’ll have to wait and pick up a finished copy like everybody else.
Another from the postponed shelf is Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton. This is a book I really wanted to read, and one I still very much want to read. A Shakespearean novel of betrayal and battlefields and destiny, complete with Lady Knights and female Princes? There’s so much here that intrigues me and excites me but, when I nabbed the ARC, I had no idea it was actually a sequel to The Queens of Innis Lear, and my literary OCD will not allow me to read this out of sequence. I did pick up the trade paperback of Queens, and will read my way back to Hotspur, it just won’t happen in time to count as a proper ARC review.
Next up is a collection I had high hopes for, and was excited to read, but ultimately chose to abandon. Behind the Sun, Above the Moon, edited by Taylor Barton, was blurbed as a “queer anthology inspired by magic and the cosmos” that celebrates non-binary characters. It sounded great, and I can appreciate that these are sci-fi and fantasy stories with (as opposed to being about) non-binary characters, but they just didn’t work for me. I read through the first four stories, and just couldn’t find one that made me want to keep reading.
Finally, that brings me to this weekend’s abandoned read, Sword of Fire by Katharine Kerr. I read several of the Deverry novels in my early fantasy days, and I enjoyed them for being so unique in the way they played with timelines, reincarnation, and the astral plane while incorporating high fantasy elements of elves, dragons, and magic. It’s been a long time since I last visited, so I was excited to give Sword a read, but it’s not what I remember. It reads like Deverry-light or Deverry-for- beginners, lacking everything that made it unique, and weighing far too heavily on the boring politics of class struggles and legal reform. I tried to stick with it, but I just wasn’t enjoying it, and even skimming to the halfway mark, I didn’t see anything to draw me in.