Let's Talk Books

Fizzled Fire

I’m struggling. Oh boy am I struggling. What with I hear you ask? My latest read, The Fire Court, by Andrew Taylor. Which is a shame, because I read The Ashes of London (book 1) in two fast sittings. I practically ate it up, it was such an interesting read. Well, for me at least. I loved the setting, the period surrounding the Great Fire of London, which came just after the restoration of Charles II to the throne, and the ending of the Cromwell Era.

An absolutely fascinating time, with lots of intrigue, subterfuge, and yes, Regicide (don’t you just love that word?) followed by one of the greatest tragedies of the time, a fire that nearly consumed London. So, what’s not to love. The Ashes of London certainly delivered, with intriguing suspense littered with a couple of baffling murders, and a merry chase through the streets of London. I thoroughly enjoyed the shenanigans, which was also tinged with some tragedy and heartbreak.

So why am I having a hard time reading book two, which follows directly on from where Ashes left off? It’s not that we’ve lost sight of James Marwood or Cat Lovett, the two protagonists from the first book. They’re still there and, I assume, at some point, will again be integral to the plot. But right now, at the point I’ve struggled to reach—with the utterly boring (so far) story.

I’m wondering if I should even bother continuing or, whether I should just shelve The Fire Court and come back to it in a few weeks. What do you think? I might be in better frame of mind to pick up where I left off. And I usually find that taking a break helps.

What do you do when you hit a speed bump, or story-slump, give up or take a break?


  1. I’ve had that sort of experience, too, Alex. Sometimes it’s boredom. Sometimes it’s my mood. Sometimes it’s something else. I find that taking a break for a few days helps. Then I go back to the book. If I still can’t get into it, it’s DNF time.

    • La Blonde says

      Oh, I am glad to hear that, Margot. Sometimes I think it’s just me being, well, me. And, so far, this one has been really boring. And yes, you’re right. Shelving it and coming back at it another day, might help. And, well, if it’s still as bad, then yes, DNF it is!

  2. I say, drop it like it’s hot.
    You could be reading something truly awesome instead of struggling with this one.

    • La Blonde says

      Ah, Norrie, that was my first impulse, and then, I kept picking it up again, and again. And now, have wasted way too much time on it already. I feel almost compelled to finish it.

      But I’m going to shelve it because, as you say, I could be reading something truly awesome instead. 😉

  3. I’m with Norrie on this one, I would drop it as well.

    I think it will probably drag and drag… and reading something more fun may be even more challenging.

    There is always the ‘coming back to it’ option. I always tell that to myself and it somehow helps. 🙂

    • Alex says

      Indeed, Vera, the consensus is definitely put it aside and maybe, come back to it later. I shelved it yesterday and took out one of my new books, The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown, because I think I need something fun and lighthearted to cheer me up.

      And who doesn’t like elephants, I mean, come on? ☺️

      • Sounds like a great choice. Hope you enjoy it and have lots of fun. 🙂

  4. Isn’t it odd when a book we’ve set ourselves up to thoroughly enjoy turns out to be a disappointment. Sometimes I think it is a matter of time and place, mood, circumstances, time of year…. well for me at least! Sounds like you need that fun and light-hearted read you’ve just started more than something heavy and historical. It’s summer – I almost always want light-hearted in the summer! Hope the new read hits the spot, Alex 🙂

    • Alex says

      You are, of course, right, Sandra. Along with time of year and mood, I think I set myself up for more and was left a little deflated by my own expectations. I’ve shelved it, for now, and as you say, will try again later this year when I’ve forgotten about it. But for now, have started a fun, light read, full of whimsy. What could be a better tonic than something that makes us laugh!

  5. I feel guilty when I don’t finish reading a book! But there was this one time I gave up. It was a book I won from a giveaway. I just couldn’t get past the first few pages. And I did attempt to read it a few times!

    It’s the same with movies. I don’t think I have ever ditched a movie midway no matter how much I hated it!

    • La Blonde says

      Yeah, I feel a sense of guilt but only because I buy all my books. I’ve yet to figure out and do the Netgalley thing. So when I’ve spent $20+ on a trade paperback and been excited about reading it, it’s kind of a let down to discover it doesn’t meet expectations or, is in fact, just boring.

      But as others have pointed out, shelve it and get back to it later in the year and, who knows, it just might be different by then!

  6. I have a shelf devoted to such books that didn’t make it to the finish line, and they’re frightened to death because they know I WILL off them without prejudice. Shelf space, that precious real estate in bookcases, provides homes to only the keepers; others join their kind in a ratty box destined for the used bookstore. They’re noisy little fellers, too, en route to their final resting place. 😉

    • Alex says

      OMG! You did make me laugh, Kenny! I pictured all your books squealing in a box as you haul them to a charity shop. Their little spines complaing all the way. And thinking about it, I really need to do the same. Every book that came up short, should be taken off my shelves, thereby making room for new keepers, as you say! 😉

Comments are closed.