Sunday, April 7, 2013

That's What Chey Said: Reviewing Unfinished Books

Sometimes books just don’t hold our interest--we’d rather be reading something else or they’re extremely disappointing.  We have to move on, but what do you do after putting that book down?  To review or not to review….that is the question.

Personally, I can’t stand seeing reviews for books that the reader never bothered to finish.  If I can’t get into a book, I put it down and start a different one.  I don’t give it a rating based on the first couple chapters that I read, because I usually end up coming back to the story and end up having completely different thoughts about it.  

I also have it stated in my review policy that I cannot promise that I will review every book I accept, and the reasoning for that is because I think it’s wrong not to look at the book as a whole and find its rating that way.  You can’t look at the book as a whole if you haven’t finished it, therefore your review doesn't help those trying to decide if they want to purchase it or not.  There may be exciting plot twists, incredible discoveries and hidden treasures in the last half of that book.

I’m not telling you that you should force yourself to read something that doesn't interest you.  Life is too short for that and if you’re like me, you have hundreds upon hundreds of books in your TBR pile.  All I’m trying to say is that if you’re going to stop before you get to the end of the book, think twice before giving it a bad rating.  Honesty is the key when it comes to writing reviews, but is there really that much to say about the first 50 pages of a 300+ page book?  You've barely just gotten to know the characters and their stories.  Books are like people, there’s usually more to them than what you find out the moment you first meet.

Do you review books that you don’t finish?  What are your thoughts? 
*p.s. I couldn't resist using another GIF from The Office...I'm obsessed*


  1. I agree - it's not fair to review a book you never finished because I've read lots of OK books that had great endings and my whole opinion of the book changed. I need to say no more often, because most of the time I do make myself finish the book so I can give it the promised review. I'm sure an author woudl rather have no review than a meh, it was OK review. (I know I would)

  2. I don't usually review it if I don't finish it, but there are certain times in which I do, but I make sure to clarify in the review that I didn't finish and it could have gotten better.

  3. I don't review books I don't finish because like you said, I don't think you can accurately judge a book that you don't finish. That being said, I'm one to force myself through books, and since I started my blog, I've only marked one book as DNF. Instead of giving it a full review, I did a mini-review that just explained why I didn't finish the book.

    Also, you can NEVER have too many Office gifs!

  4. I don't think it's fair to review the book. However, I think it's okay to let people know "I didn't finish this book because..."

  5. I don't review it UNLESS I have finished almost all of the book and just can't stand to read any more. If I have read more than 75% of the book and still really hate it, I will review it and say why/where I stopped reading it.

    As with Chloe @YA Booklover Blog, these DNF reviews are shorter than my full reviews. I also try to find something positive in all my reviews, even if I disliked the book.

  6. I've never reviewed a book I didn't finish, it's never crossed my mind. No matter what happens in a book I always try and see it through to see if it changes my mind.

  7. I'm a stubborn kid, so I normally don't DNF books. But when I do, it's normally after I've read at least 100 pages, and normally it's around page 200 when I decide to just quit. This is why I normally review books that I don't finish. Because in my mind, if a book is so bad that the stubborn me can't even finish, it's not going to get drastically better. I like to think it's helpful for other people to know that I've had such a struggle while reading a book, enough that it made me DNF. Although, I always make it clear in my review that I haven't finished the novel and that the book could magically get better in the end (which in almost 99.999999% of books, doesn't happen). I also find DNF reviews helpful, because if the reasons a person is citing for not being able to finish a book are things that I would dislike as well, then I won't even want to bother coming near that book.

    However, when a person has only read a few chapters of a book and decides to review it, then that most definitely irks me. Because you really can't get understand a book before 100 pages in, IMHO. Although I do think some DNF reviews are helpful.

    Lovely discussion post, Chey! <3

  8. I don't like when people write down a full review for a book that they didn't finish. I don't mind if they read about 75% of the book and/or just skimmed through the rest and write a review based on that. You can't give a full review of a book if you don't know how it ends, when I read a review by someone knowing they did that then it doesn't really sway my desire to read the book.

    That being said, when I mark a book as DNF then I'll usually write a sentence of two saying why I didn't get into it and if I'll try reading it again later.

  9. I recently reviewed a book before finishing the whole thing, however, it was a book of fairy tales and saw it more as a, this is what I'm getting from it so far.
    Having said that, I would never review a novel before completing it, I feel I wouldn't be able to give it a fair review. Also, I think if you're only finishing the book for a review, not your own enjoyment, the review may turn out to be a bad one and not wholly justified.
    I do find 'First Impressions' interesting however because it isn't necessarily a review as such.
    This topic is quite an interesting one, especially to see any varying views.

  10. To be honest I'm currently reading a book that bored me to death. I got confused in chapter one and it took me, like, three weeks to get to chapter nine ._. Let's see if I can finish it.

    I always try to finish every book I start no matter how bad it is and sometimes I can even end up enjoying the book thanks to last few chapters. And I've never not finished a book so far. And if in the future I finally don't finish a book, I will state why I don't finish that. I agree that it's not fair that you review a DNF book, but I think it's also helpful to people who want to read that book. At least they could prepare for the worst xD