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5 sept. 2017

Discussion | Are DNF Reviews Useless ?


Hello everyone !

I've seen a lot of people on Twitter, Booktube and such say that people who DNF a book shouldn't write reviews about them. As you may have guessed - since I have a DNF section on this blog – I disagree.
I understand why they think that way. There are some things you'll know only after reading the whole book, like the message behind the story, or maybe a plot-twist that changes everything.

But on the other hand , I think it's interesting to see why someone would DNF a book :

- What was so unbearable ?
- Did they notice something I didn't ?

What I like about those types of reviews is that – by definition – they're about the 1/3 or 2/3 of a book which means that they won't be influenced by a huge thing happening at the end.
Let's take And I Darken by Kirsten White for instance. I wasn't sure about this book so I read on Goodreads the most popular reviews.
They were all positive and described how complex the story and its characters were, how it was much more than the premise let on and how mind-blowing the plot twist was towards the end. I started reading the book and I was surprised to see that no one mentioned how slow and tedious the beginning was. I didn't feel connected to the characters, I didn't care about the political aspect of the book (and I love politics) and I didn't find anything remotely feminist about this book. Having a strong independent female character doesn't mean anything if that character looks down on other women.
I checked the reviews on GR again but this time I only read the negative ones – which were mostly written by people who DNF the book – and they all had the same issues I had (they also mentioned how historically unaccurate it was).

I'm not saying those reviews were valid and the positive ones weren't. I'm saying that it's important that we have the option to read both sides. I tend to DNF a lot and I like knowing that I'm not the only one. It's good to know that other people share your unpopular opinions (whether it's because you liked a book or not).

However, writing this kind of review can be tricky : You only have to talk about the parts of the book you've read.
I read some reviews saying « oh I didn't like this and that and at the end she even did this », how would you know since you didn't finish the book ? Reading reviews of people who read the book doesn't give you the right to use their opinions to back up your own review. Even if it's written by someone you trust.
You can read a whole scene from the book and then make your mind about it but don't just read some quotes and think that you know what and how it happened.
It's just like with the controversy about Carve the Mark. Someone wrote a review saying it was racist and had other issues and everyone shared it even though they didn't read the book. Some people who read it apologized saying they didn't notice the racism (I don't know about the other issues) and other people said it is not racist and they explained why in their own reviews. I can't tell you if it is or isn't because I haven't read it but I think you shouldn't agree with a review about a book you haven't even opened.

What do you think ?
 Do you review the books you DNF ?

Hope you enjoyed, see you next time.

22 commentaires:

  1. I don't DNF a lot, so I've never written a DNF review. Normally when I DNF something anyways, it's simply because I lost interest and not because of a big reason or anything. But I do love reading DNF reviews! I personally enjoy reading negative reviews more than positive ones. That way, my expectations are lowered and then I'm either prepared when reading it or blown away by how much I enjoy it! My only problem is when people do a DNF review of a book that they only read 10 percent of. I personally think that's a bit silly, because you've only read a mere fraction of the book. What might seem "problematic" in the beginning might be addressed, and son on. After the reader has gotten to the twenty mark though, I'm all for DNF reviews! I just don't see how a reader can get a good grasp of a book when they read so little of it. I don't know...just my opinion! I do want to write some DNF reviews now! XD Great post Lys!

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    1. I didn't think about that before but now that I think about it, it's a great way to lower expectations ! Like many bookworms I tend to expect too much so I think I'll try that.
      I agree with you, you can't judge a book based on its beginning. I usually DNF around 50%.
      Haha negative reviews are always easier to write ~

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    2. I agree with negative reviews being easier to write! You don't have to explain and go as in depth, you can just rant! And to be honest, they are kinda fun. XD

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    3. Are you officially a member of DNFers clan now ? *.*

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  2. I don't DNF often, but when I do I'll usually say on Goodreads (or maybe even on my blog) why I DNF'd it - not a full review.

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    1. I used to do that until I realized I had a lot of things to say about them.

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  3. I do review books I DNF. I don't tend to DNF a lot, so when I do, I feel like it's worth talking about? I don't do a big review or anything (mostly because there isn't usually a lot to say since I've only read between 1/4 and 1/2 of the book) but I like to say something! I agree that you shouldn't base your review off of someone else's feelings and opinions, too. Because... how do you know? It's one thing to decide not to finish because you read something, but another to then transform it into your own review.

    I have said when reviews have helped me make my decision to DNF, though, so Idk if that is the same thing? I also think DNF reviews can be very helpful, because maybe the thing that made one reader NOT able to finish is something that doesn't bother another reader at all- and that is good info to have! Great topic!

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    1. Exactly ! It's just like recommending books you haven't read, you can never know if you're going to like a book or not.

      I don't think it's the same thing. As long as you mention it and don't make it your own, it's okay.
      You're right. Before reading Gilded Cage (an amazing book btw) I read a negative review saying that it was too political and it pushed me to pick up the book.

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  4. I don't DNF a lot or have many DNF reviews, but I have nothing against them. In fact I agree they can be helpful- you can't really know about a book without seeing the positive AND negative reviews, seems to me. After all one person's DNF is another person's 5 star, so I like to see all different opinions. Sometimes DNF reviews are the best ones! They might cover something that the other reviews aren't addressing.

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  5. I don’t write long reviews for books I DNF, but I do usually put a few sentences on Goodreads about why I DNFed. I think DNF reviews are useful. If I have similar reading tastes to the reviewer, the review might make me rethink my desire to read the book. Life is too short to read bad books.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. *nods* so true. I DNF a lot (maybe too much), I really don't like wasting time on a book I'm not enjoying.

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  6. OOO I didn't know this was a controversial topic lately. I love reading DNF reviews (unless they're for my absolute favorite books because then I end up wanting to tell them to give it another try). Whenever I pick up a book I haven't heard much about I read both the best and the worst reviews so that I'll be more properly prepared. I personally don't DNF that often but I'm trying not to waste time on books I'm not enjoying, but when I do DNF and review them they tend to be shorter reviews because I haven't read as much. But DNF reviews are definitely worth existing because that's another opinion on a book!

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    1. Haha me too ! I can't read the negative reviews of my favorite books, they're too important to me.

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  7. Hey. Just wanted to let you know I've tagged you in the Mystery Blogger Award. Check out my post for the rules and questions: https://scorpiobookdreams.co.uk/mystery-blogger-award

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  8. I DNF'd And I Darken for that exact reason. I was about 150 pages in and just gave up because NOTHING happened! I still write DNF reviews and I like reading DNF reviews (most of the time). For me, it's more of HOW MUCH did they read/I read? If I only read 10 pages and then gave up, I'm not going to review that or READ a review of someone who did. On the other hand, if someone read nearly half or over half and decided to give up, I think that can be helpful. Usually you have an opinion about a book by then so knowing that someone just couldn't handle the writing, or the main character, or the slow pacing by that point is helpful when deciding to read a book for me :) Great discussion!

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    1. I know ! I don't know why people like it so much.
      I agree with you. There is no point in reviewing a book you barely read.
      You're right, it can be very helpful !

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  9. I rarely DNF so I don't write those reviews unless it is a review copy which hasn't happened yet, luckily. However I did do a post a while ago about some of the books I dnfed over the years and why. Like you say, I think it can be good to read why people have dnfed. And if you don't care for those kind of reviews, you can just skip them? Instead of complaining about them?

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    1. Exactly ! You don't have to read them if you don't want to but saying that there shouldn't be any is a little extreme.

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  10. I think with DNF reviews it's important to mention how far your ad so readers know to which part of the book your thoughts apply. I do write DNF reviews on Goodreads and sometimes post them at once on my blog at the end of the year, but I rarely DNF. I also think both positive and negative reviews and DNF reviews can be helpful when deciding whether to read a book.

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    1. You're right I started doing that recently, like you said, it's important.
      We definitely need both positive and negative reviews !

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