Book Trial: Serena DNF

Posted June 19, 2015 by Kayla in Reviews / 3 Comments

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Review Type:

Serena Book Cover Serena
Ron Rash
Historical Fiction
September 29, 2009
400 | 11 hrs and 25 mins

The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton arrive in North Carolina to create a timber empire. Although George has already lived in the camp long enough to father an illegitimate child, Serena is new to the mountains—but she soon shows herself to be the equal of any worker, overseeing crews, hunting rattlesnakes, even saving her husband's life in the wilderness.

Together Serena and George ruthlessly kill or vanquish all who fall out of their favor. But when Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she sets out on her own to kill the son George had without her. Mother and child begin a struggle for their lives, and when Serena suspects George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons' intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking finale.

My Impression:

I don’t normally do reviews for DNF books [Did not finish]. In fact, I have only done one. The only reason I am doing this one now is because it was part of my 2015 Reading Challenge. I have been trying to listen to it but whenever I do I just can’t focus on it. I don’t know if it’s the narrator’s fault but he is VERY boring. His tone is so monotonous, it’s unbearable. Aside from that the story is very slow so far and I just can’t get into it.

The book is named Serena so I would have expected it to be about her or at least from her POV but it’s not. The story shifts from person to person and it’s starting to feel more like it’s about Serena’s husband, George, than about her.

The synopsis sounded so good, but I never got that far to see them kill anyone. A few months had already passed and I really didn’t feel like the story was progressing. I listened for almost 3 full hours. That’s about 25%.

The characters seemed rather flat to me. Perhaps this is one I maybe should have read versus listened to. Audiobooks can make a huge difference in your perception of a story but I don’t want to go and get the book and then not like it either.

I will still try to give the movie a shot. Although I have looked at the reviews and they don’t seem too promising. The difference is I will only waste a couple hours versus 11.5 if I read/listen.

About the Author:

Ron Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Finalist and New York Times bestselling novel, Serena, in addition to three other prizewinning novels, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; three collections of poems; and four collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. Twice the recipient of the O.Henry Prize, he teaches at Western Carolina University. [Source: Goodreads]

About the Narrator:

Phil Gigante has narrated over 70 audiobooks, including Audie Award winner The Dark Highlander. An actor, director and producer with over 20 years experience in theatre, film, television, and radio,he is currently the artistic director of Gigantic Productions and Little Giant Children’s Theatre. He makes his home in the Midwest. [Source: Goodreads]

The Verdict:

2 Stars

Rating Report
Overall: 2

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3 responses to “Book Trial: Serena DNF

  1. Well, this is disappointing. 🙁 I was kind of looking forward to the movie, mostly because Jennifer Lawrence is in it (haha), but the rating on IMDb is putting me off as well, and now seeing that the book wasn’t that great to begin with… Yeah, having doubts now. I get easily distracted and have a short attention span, so books need to capture my attention early so that I continue reading. That’s one huge reason why I probably won’t be able to get through Serena, too.

    And nooo, alternating POVs. They’re brilliant when they’re done right, but otherwise, they just distance me from the characters and make the story really choppy. And you found the characters flat, too. Not good. Also, it’s weird that the book seems to revolve more around George than Serena. Maybe Serena’s part comes later on? :/

    I wasn’t planning on reading the book, but now I don’t think I will, lol. I’m hoping the movie is much better! Thanks for the review, Kayla, and so sorry that it didn’t live up to your expectations.

    Megan (ง︡'-'︠)ง recently posted: Allegiant Broke Me
    • Kayla

      I really wanted to like it… plus, I wanted to watch the movie because I loved the chemistry between Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook. I’m planning to watch the movie over my vacation in a couple weeks so I’ll see then if I can get into it.

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