House of Fear was a Frightful Bore

house-of-fearFull disclosure: I could not finish this collection. I got about halfway through before doing the smart thing and giving up. Honestly, the main reason I gave up on this is that I wasn’t scared. At all. Not even a little bit. I have a hyperactive imagination, can be easily jumpy and so I am pretty easy to scare. And yet in this supposedly scary story collection, the bravest thing I had to do was DNF it.

Yet since I wasted enough time with it, I thought I might share them with you anyway. Welcome, then, to my very first DNF review… where everything is unsatisfactory and incomplete.

To say this was a mixed bag would be too generous a description, because too often the same issues plagued these stories. One of the main issues that occurred time and again with this book was that there was much too much detail. Now, a little mundanity I can understand, creating a nice contrast in a scary story, but “I need fairy liquid” while going grocery shopping (and the whole darn grocery list) is too much. Honestly, too much information is always an issue, but this was especially noticeable in short stories. Far too many of these were convoluted instead of atmospheric, weird instead of intriguing, and mostly *yawn* instead of *ahhh*!

There were also too many stories- too many for me going into detail for all of them (especially since none of them could keep my attention for long) though I will address a few. “Objects in Dreams May Be Closer Than You Think” felt like it was trying too hard to be clever and didn’t deliver the promised chills. “Pied a Terre” was the only one I found genuinely creepy and had a strong, convincing voice. “An Injustice” was the last story I read and was alleged (from other reviews) to be good, so I powered through it, but there was a political vein to it (cos why not, everything needs to be political nowadays) that was just too meh to be interesting.

Since I didn’t finish this it wouldn’t be fair to give it any bananas, so I guess I shall declare this “the end”. The one great thing about this was that it inspired me to write a short story for the first time in *years* …. One I might share on here, if I feel like it 😉 (yes odd that sometimes blah stories are more inspiring than the ones that make you think “I could never do that”)

So how easily can you DNF books? And what was the last book you gave up on? Let me know in the comments!

36 thoughts on “House of Fear was a Frightful Bore

  1. I like your description of “convoluted rather than atmospheric”…atmosphere is everything in a horror book!

    I rarely DNF books, but when I do it’s usually because the book is boringly derivative and/or has poorly written characters whose unbelievable stupidity is necessary to move the plot forward… fantasy is usually the biggest offender in both of these areas for me.

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  2. I am probably the queen of DNF – since I get most of my books from the library, I have no qualms at all about returning something within as soon as a day if it isn’t catching my attention. Last week there were 3 alone I got 20 pages in and wasn’t grabbed by anything, so to the drop off box I went! Most of the time I don’t even find a need to post a DNF review – unless there were very specific reasons that I let it go and think it’s important to share (or maybe I feel the need to rant!).

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    1. hehe that’s great!! Yeah I found it easier to dnf this cos it was a library book actually (where I get most of my books too) Just the fact that it was no longer on my shelf and i could dispose of it easily made it easier for me to give up on! I totally get what you mean- with library books, if it’s not grabbing me, I can find it so much easier to just drop it off again. hehe yeah, I don’t usually talk about dnf books either- but this one I went over halfway and had enough notes that I just felt like it would be worth it 😉

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  3. It’s a while since I ditched a half-read book. It was sci-fi, written by somebody local in New Zealand but published internationally. Competent enough but… well, meh. It takes quite a bit for me to DNF. I mean, I even finished the Sword of Shannara (the first volume, the one that read to me like a Lord of the Rings role-play write up).

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    1. Yep I completely get that- this was my second DNF of the year and that’s me getting a lot better at giving up on books I’m really not connecting with. Usually I persevere to the end… but it’s often not worth it. haha I haven’t actually read that (though I was planning to)- but I can relate- I’ve read so many fantasy novels in that vein!

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  4. My first DNF was sad to say a Terry Pratchett, Dark side of the sun it was called, personally, I was not in the right frame of mind to read it, I was having lots of bad work days and just couldnt concentrate on the book. It was Sir Terry’s most earliest works and I just could not get used to the writing style. I will be taking it up later again when my mindset is better.

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  5. Oh, too bad about this being super boring and not scary at all! Why are they called scary stories then??
    But at least it gave you some well-awaited inspiration to write so it’s not all bad 😉
    Love your negative reviews as much as your positive ones! Especially when the former can sometimes be even more entertaining hahaha

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  6. Well I Did Finish this review, and I’m honestly happy to not have to add another book to my Goodreads to read list lol. Seriously though, really unfortunate that this book wasn’t very good. Crazy when something os advertised as being scary, and you weren’t scared for even a single moment. That happens to some horrormovies as well…one has to wo der what the point is then. Oh well…it at least made you write your very first DNF review, which is a positive thing that came out of it I guess 😊

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  7. I rarely give up on books, because sometimes I might not be in the mood for that kind of book, and it was my own fault for picking it! I think you do know though when a book really stinks, you’re reading it with an increasing feeling of urgh (fifty shades of grey … )

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  8. Oooh, so many new things in this here review… your first dnf review and a possible promise of a short story from you? Yes pleaaase! 🙂 No, really, I’d love to read your work…

    I usually DNF books when just nothing seems to get me excited and I find myself huffing more and getting impatient or annoyed or angry that the story is just doing nothing for me… I don’t mind if it angers me, because it’s still an emotion but if I am completely neutral to characters and plot then, buhbye it is!

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    1. hehe aww thank you so much for saying that!! 🙂 hehe well I don’t know if it’s any good- it’s really not my usual genre, but it might be good for me to bite the bullet and share something for a change- we’ll see!!

      I totally get that- I wish I DNF’d more- I’ve really had to work on it, cos so often I continue with lousy books. Yeah I get that- if a book drives me mad, then it’ll prod me to finish it quicker even. But if I am bored- like I was with this- then I feel like I have to stop!

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  9. As I sit here I procrastinate writing a review for a book I DNFed… not something I do easily but when I know NOTHING will change my rating from ZERO stars I know it is time to give up… especially since I have 3 hyped books waiting for me on a library time limit!

    Funny how the problem was too much detail… or rather not enough in the right things!? And I think I am speaking for EVERYONE in saying we would LOVE to read your short story, Orangutan!! ❤

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    1. hehe I get that completely- it’s *so* tough to give up on a book- but sometimes it’s got to be done!!

      Yeah, it just made a lot of the stories crowded- at one point I was thinking “wait, why do I need to know that he’s picking up fairy liquid and a bunch of other groceries”- it didn’t even end up being relevant later on. And for some reason, those pointless details turned up in all the stories (it must have had something to do with the editor? I dunno it seemed a strange coincidence for so many writers to do it) Aww thank you so much!! That’s really kind of you!! ❤

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  10. Oh man, that is unfortunate. I can see how the mundane overabundance of detail ruined a lot of it though. Short stories + horror? Sounds super tough to deliver, really. I personally haven’t yet DNF’ed a book just because I tell myself that I’d prefer finishing the whole thing so that I could back up anything I had to say about it afterwards. I’m sure there will come a day where a book will challenge me really, really hard into giving up on it though. Hope that doesn’t occur! 😀

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    1. Yeah it really was :/ I don’t know if it was the editor telling them to expand on the stories or something, cos it was a strange coincidence that all the contributors (well the half that I read) had this problem. Yes, that’s very fair- I rarely do it, cos I feel like I’ve got to be fair to the book (plus on the positive side I might end up liking it- that’s happened once… but it does happen!) Yes- I hope you never get to that point! 😉 😀

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