So about a half a year ago, I sat down and tried to figure out what it was I liked about the books, TV, and movies that I loved. It was a rather eye opening experience and ever since then my method of reviewing books that I don’t like has drastically changed.
The biggest step in this process came when I started reading A Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I had finished The Name of the Wind with an overall …meh. I was torn because by all accounts that book was an amazing, raving success that will change the face of fantasy for years to come. So why didn’t I like it?
I got about a quarter of the way into A Wise Man’s Fear and realized with startling clarity, that I didn’t care about any of the characters. The world Rothfuss created was beautiful and deep, the magic system intricate and believable, and the writing smooth and poetic. But when I realized I didn’t care what happened to Kvothe, or any of his friends/allies, I put the book down as dnf.
Now, I find I can more easily decide to mark a book dnf because if what I enjoy in a book is not there, then there’s no reason for me to finish it. At the same time, I am aware that just because that book doesn’t have what I enjoy doesn’t mean it’s a bad book and it doesn’t mean the author is a hack (In fact I think Rothfuss is awesome, and I would love to meet him some day and/or read his next series.) it just means I didn’t like the book. I just wish more people could understand this concept.