Do you have to Finish a Book to Review it?

Hello hello! Wow it’s me, back on the blog again (I know what is this maddness?!). I’ve decided to try pick it up, but with a slower pace (maybe a post every week, maybe a post every two weeks, I’m not sure yet). Anyway, here we have the first post back and it’s a rare unicorn: a discussion post.

The other day as I was casually perusing the blog-sphere (and completely ignoring my other responsibilities) when I read a review by someone who said they hadn’t finished the book. They were about half way through and these were their thoughts.

Which got me thinking: Do you have to finish a book to review?

Many a time I have reached for pen and paper about half way through a book, deeming it too furstrating to not vent about. I have started rants no less than seven pages in before because a book has annoyed me so much. But I’ve never published a review before reaching the end. I always give it those last few pages as an attempt of redemption, a final chance.

I have DNFd books. I’ve come to the overall conclusion that life is too short to read rubbish. Even if bookstagram is shouting that it’s the best thing since sliced bread. But I’ve always decided to not review them, because I feel somehow bad for the book? Almost like I don’t have a right to review it, because I never actually read the end? Which isn’t necessarily a choice I’d pin others too, or even agree with.

Because what if no-one never finishes the book? Does a book that is never finished just receive no reviews, and then do people keep picking it up, wondering if it’s any good, find it’s not and abandon it. Could we break this whole cycle by being honest and just saying why we DNFd it?

But if you do review books that you DNFd how far through do you have to get through? If you read a paragraph, a page? A first chapter? Right up to the second last chapter? At what point can you review and what do you tell the reader? The page number you go to? The sentence? The percentage through and the last four characters you read?

And then there’s what’s fair on the book. What if people aren’t giving it a chance? What if the author can’t write beginnings but the end is just perfect? Well then arguably the author should probably learn to write beginnings. But still.

I can (kind of) see if both ways, but my overall conclusion is that no, I think you can review a book you DNFd. I think as long as you say you DNFd it, why can’t you give an insight into why? Surely reviews are to inform other readers, and you can save them wasting their time if you say why it rubbish. I do think it’s helpful to put how through you got and an overall page number would be good.

So let’s throw the question open. Do you DNF books? Do you review them? Do you like it when people do DNF reviews? (I do but that’s because they’re usually a little ranty and I love a good rant). Let me know in the comments!

11 thoughts on “Do you have to Finish a Book to Review it?

  1. Yay! You’re back 🙂 I cannot believe I saw your post right when I published my Sunshine Blogger Award post and I was going to nominate you. Anyhow I’m glad you’re back 😊💙 I too have dnf’ed a lot of books, and I think you can review them as long as you say why it wasnt for you. I havent done that myself before but I defo would if I want to talk about a book that I disliked.

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  2. Interesting blog post – I’ve posted a couple of reviews about books I haven’t finished because I’ve needed to post on a certain date for a tour and I’ve just posted my thoughts so far. I’m also pretty good at working out how much I’m enjoying a book from pretty early on and I’ve not come across many authors who have drastically different styles from beginning to end – but saying that I don’t mind a slow start, sometimes a book needs a few chapters to set the scene. I’m also not against DNFing a book…does any of that make sense?

    As I said, great blog post.

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  3. I do DNF books and the last time I reviewed one, I only did so because it was a book that was sent to me for review. It is not common practice for me now to write reviews on books I DNF, I don’t rate them either, however if I do, I say why it wasn’t for me but that it might grab someone else’s attention. I do try to give a book at least 150 pages before making my decision though.

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  4. I literally been thinking about this topic all day, haha. I DNF books and write reviews for why I DNF’d and how far I got. Ultimately I started the book because I was interested in the story but while reading it turns out the book either isn’t for me or just not that great. I’ll usually read a couple chapters more after deciding to put the book down, just in case anything changes (which rarely ever does).

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  5. While I have yet to post a review for a book I DNFd or was half-way through, I think it’s a valid point to do it. I think reviews with DNF were a tricky thing for me to navigate because it wasn’t necessarily a bad book…just something I couldn’t read. And it wasn’t until recently that I even started DNFing books…I used to just try and power through them…but now, time is of the essence and I’d rather tell people I couldn’t finish a book than just…leave it in its corner (with my reasons of course)

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