Sometimes I bounce off of books without ever properly disliking them, including books I expect to like.
I've had this happen a few times now with very different stories. It happened with Too Like the Lightning on my first read. It has happened twice with The Count of Monte Cristo, which came highly recommended from a friend (two friends?). It happened with Ward, the sequel to Worm, which I love, and with Pact and Pale and Twig by the same author.
Bouncing off is clearly not a sign that I will never like the book—I loved Too Like the Lightning when I listened to it as an audiobook.
I wonder why I bounce off like this?
It's not because of the early chapters' events—both Too Like the Lightning and The Count of Monte Cristo get pretty quickly to their story. Too Like the Lightning gives us Bridger, and a chapter later Martin Guildbreaker and the Black Sakura Seven-Ten list. The Count of Monte Cristo shows us Danglars's scheming in the first chapter, although it's a bit slower than a modern book in that it doesn't have a clear hook in the opening page—just long description. (Unless sailing was exciting for someone of that era. Maybe the hook doesn't work because I find sailing boring.)
It might be because of the style sometimes. Too Like the Lightning and The Count of Monte Cristo make lots of references to things I'm not familiar with. For Too Like the Lightning it's Voltaire and Diderot and 18th century French philosophy. The Count of Monte Cristo worst of all with its unexplained references to French geography, history and politics.
There's something else about The Count of Monte Cristo, but I don't have time to think it over more carefully now.
But what about Ward and Pact and Pale and Twig? I got a few arcs into Ward and liked what I read. I got at least a few chapters into Pale, as far as for the kids to meet a few spooky people in the woods and follow them to another spooky place. I read a few chapters of Twig, too. What stopped me there?
Something to think about.