Friday, April 30, 2021

DNF&Y [36]

DNF&Y is used to explain why I gave up on certain books, and what about them just didn't work for me. What I disliked about a book might be something you love, so it helps to share your thoughts even when they're negative! If you would like additional information, please click on the DNF&Y tab at the top. If you want to join, you can link up at the bottom!

The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, #1) by London Shah

Narrated by: Shiromi Arserio

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.

At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean's surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father's been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness—a debilitating malaise that consumes people, often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he's innocent, and all she's interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she's picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she'll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture—and her father might be lost forever.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I really wanted to like The Light at the Bottom of the World, but ughhh. I thought it had an interesting premise and the cover was intriguing (plus I love books that take place underwater), but the main character was impossible to like. Additionally, the pacing was slow and the secondary characters were dull. I DNFd the audiobook after two(ish) hours, because I felt like the story hadn't really gone anywhere (although the author did go into GREAT detail about Leyla's daily life). I wanted to know more about what happened before, and how the world started living in the ocean's depths. It seems like that would be something that's really hard to pull off, so I would have appreciated more information regarding their living conditions, but the setting was skimmed over and only briefly explained.

We quickly learn that Leyla's father has been arrested and she doesn't know why. She's been making inquiries and keeps getting ignored, and I hated how little we actually knew about her and her family. I thought her grandfather sounded interesting, but his interactions were brief and not at all enlightening. However, I do feel like she should have moved in with him when her father was taken away, since she's still a child and shouldn't be trying to "make it" on her own. 

Basically, Leyla was a terrible protagonist. She wasn't likable, her actions rarely made sense, and my breakfast had more personality than she did. She's 16 and thinks she can take care of herself, which is ridiculous. People are dying from some sort of sickness (something that has to do with a lack of sunlight, or was related to them no longer being aboveground), yet this girl thinks she has everything under control. There are literal robot terrorists hunting humans, buildings collapsing from the pressure they're constantly under (how they were still standing and functioning is a mystery to me), but she thinks she can do everything alone (or at least with her rich friends just giving her everything she needs). The book and the main character were both constantly stating how dangerous the world was, which made her carefree attitude all the more exasperating. She also contradicted herself all the time, and everything seemed to happen exactly how she wanted it to.

I think the pacing suffered from too many unnecessary details, and the story suffered from ridiculous characters who behaved unrealistically. I wanted to like this book - truly - but too much eye-rolling is bad for your health. (★★☆☆☆)

Two books I wish I had DNFd: The Toot Fairy & Cheesemaker Durdsden by Mark Huffman, Dawn Davidson (Illustrator)

Synopsis for The Toot Fiary (via Goodreads): 
Since Jessa was little, her goal has been clear: 
To trade quarters for teeth for her fairy carreer!
But when plans for the future go horribly wrong
Here comes Poobums the Pungent to help her along!

Synopsis for Cheesemaker Durdsden (via Goodreads): 
Cheesemaker Durdsden was bad at his tradeSo he packed up his bag and went searching for aid
His new cheese was proved a delicious success
But when asked how he made it, he had to confess...

I was asked to review these books for a blog tour and declined, yet they somehow ended up in my mailbox anyways. I knew they wouldn't be books that I would enjoy, but I also feel like I need to tell you how terrible they were so you don't unknowingly buy them for your children. 

Cheesemaker Durdsden was just gross. Clearly this author likes to write about topics most people would avoid, and for good reason. This book actually made me sick to my stomach. The main character makes bad cheese, leaves to learn how to make better cheese, comes back and somehow makes cheese that everyone loves. We have no idea where he went or what he did, only that he ran into something that's the secret ingredient for his new recipe. IT'S SO DISGUSTING. I think it was supposed to be funny, but I honestly expected the townspeople to spear him with a pitchfork for pulling that nonsense (Durdsden, not the something). I was actually really disappointed by their lack of a reaction.

Surprisingly, they were weirdly okay with how Durdsden made his cheese. I know it's a children's book, but it still has to make sense. The author also went into great detail about how his new cheese was made - excuse me while I vomit - and it was just too much. The illustrations just added another layer of repulsiveness to the book. (★★☆☆☆)

The Toot Fairy was VERY INAPPROPRIATE. A skeevy old fairy opens children's pants and puts money inside. That is not okay. It's not funny, and it's definitely not something that should be done or joked about in a children's book. Kids should not expect a creepy man to come by and give them money for farting (ugh, I hate that word), especially since someone REACHES INTO THEIR PANTS TO DO IT. Even the illustration shows the child with a VERY weird look on their face (see below). 

The story itself was also uninteresting. A lot of the rhymes felt forced which affected the story's flow. I honestly hate that I read this one with my kids, but they thought the title was hilarious (kids, right?) I'm just relieved that they were disinterested and didn't notice when I skipped several pages of the book (read them to myself, just not aloud). (★☆☆☆☆)

*this post has been backdated

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  1. I remember having The Light at the Bottom of the World on my TBR for awhile, seems like I made the right choice in getting rid of it!

    1. I tried to read it several times, but I only got so far before giving up. The main character isn't someone you want to root for, and the story progresses very s l o w l y.

  2. I love the cover for the Light At The Bottom of the Ocean, and the premise sounds awesome, so I'm sad it was a disappointment. Oh well, one less to clutter up my wish list! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The kids books sound like trash fires and the fairy putting money into kids underpants? Yeah... How the hell did that get published? (Nevermind the question why would someone write it in the first place? ๐Ÿคฆ‍♀️)

    1. The cover is what initially caught my attention! Although, I'm not sure if it's supposed to be depicting lights or a dome, because the latter would be inaccurate. The author described the buildings, and I don't remember her saying anything about a domed structure, since the animals are able to swim by freely.

      Apparently, the author is a super religious guy? I only partially read the acknowledgements, but still. I have no idea why he thought toots and fairies were a good topic to combine and write about. People need to keep their hands to themselves! Definitely trash fires. ๐Ÿ”ฅ

  3. "Kids should not expect a creepy man to come by and give them money for farting (ugh, I hate that word), especially since someone REACHES INTO THEIR PANTS TO DO IT."
    I mean...the first part is gross, the second is just sick.

    1. Right?? Thank you! I have no idea how this book got published. SOMEONE should have read or seen THAT and said it was inappropriate content for a children's book.


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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless