Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Caress of Twilight--chapter 7

It is time for LKH to have her main character meet new people. Anybody remember how hard it was for Anita Blake to get into Narcissus in Chains armed? Well, I hope you found that scene to be fucking riveting because we're about to get a replay. 

Remember: Merry is here to meet with Maeve Reed . The chapter opens with a description of Ethan Kane, a character who is manifestedly not Maeve Reed, who is one of her psychic bodyguards/PIs. Why would she hire more PIs when she already has Merry's major competition on retainer?

We will find out. And we will not be happy.

Ethan attempts to be imposing to the Fae men, who pretty much define imposing for the sake of this story. Although I do have to ask...how imposing is Christmas tinsel hair? Several members of my household watch WWE wrestling regularly (...my primary writing place is on the couch in front of the TV, and Mondays are my only real day off. So yes. I usually wind up watching the first and last thirty minutes. The other two hours though, I usually wind up playing Minecraft until a Creeper blows up my house), and the big thing for the past month has been watching the Rock call Paul Haymen "Twinkie Tits" and C.M. Punk "Cookie Puss". So kids? If your descriptions of your Bishe men makes me think of the Rock's kindergarten (if admittedly clever-ish) TV safe insults? YOU FAIL.

(For the record, I'd rather be watching Sherlock, but the roomies get the TV on Mondays. My retaliation has been episodes of Sherlock)

And my attempts at imagining this scene:

He frowned down at us from just outside Maeve Reed’s large double doors. We were all standing at the foot of the marble steps that led up to those doors.
Has me giggling madly. I see this huge, sweeping front staircase, with Merry and Co at the bottom and this dude in little dark glasses and a pressed suit staring down at them with his arms folded. Nobody's saying anything. They're just kind of standing there. And there are four other people standing between them and the door.

This is hilarious.

And then they start talking.

I'm going to be real honest with you guys. Dialogue is not LKH's strong suit. Dialogue exists to develop characters and convey information you would not normally get. Screaming is perfectly acceptable dialogue. Repeating very fucking obvious shit that you already covered in previous paragraphs? THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Ethan asks Merry what she's doing there. She says that Maeve Reed invited her. She asks what he's doing here. He says he's Maeve's bodyguards.


I really hope Merry didn't pay a lot for that PI badge of hers. (...and suddenly I'm hearing Joe Pecci saying "They fuck you they fuck you they fuck you with the cell phones" and I realize they both got their badges from the same place)

Merry says in her internal monologue that she is about to be blunt. Then she spends the next several paragraphs describing everything except what she should actually be doing, which is getting into Maeve's House so the plot can actually exist. 

"Blunt", Merry, is when you actually say the thing you're intending to say in as few words as possible.

...Oh, hey, what's Kitto doing?

He looked oddly out of place in his short-shorts, tank top, and child-size Nikes.

He’d put on black wraparound sunglasses, but aside from that he could have passed for someone’s nephew,
the kind that usually isn’t a nephew at all but a boy toy.


Jesus. Jesus Christ. I need to go take medication for this.

Okay. I'm better now.

Merry's form of bluntness is to tell Ethan why he's being a dick--he is worried that Merry and the boys are about to replace him. Merry, I would not want to be within six feet of me with a gun becasue I would not be confident that she wouldn't have a sob attack or decide to get passive aggressive about getting a raise ("...yes I know your stalker killed your cat, but I am allergic to cats. Now give me a two thousand dollar raise so I can afford medication for my allergy to people")(Also: Not saying girls can't guard. I am saying that Merry shouldn't guard) but if I were Fae and the Queen of Crazy's royal guards were suddenly on the market? Fuck yes I'd hire them.

But Merry is quick to assure Ethan that Maeve wants to see her, and only her, and I guess it is that obvious that Merry should never preform guard duty for anything, ever, because Ethan backs right the fuck down.

Hey, how respectful of Merry's person are her boyfriends?

“I can be very nice if people give me the chance, Ethan.” 

Max spoke low so that Ethan couldn’t hear him. “And how nice can you be?”

 Rhys answered, voice low, “Very, very nice.” 
The two of them shared one of those masculine laughs that women never seem to be able to participate in, but are always the subject of.

That's the most sexist thing I've read this year. There are layers of suck in that tiny paragraph. First of all, there's the fact that Merry's fucking bodyguards just told somebody they don't know from fuck all about how good Merry is in the sack. For all they know this dude could have a Merry Gentry shrine in his bedroom (Because remember, kids, Merry is more famous than Elvis) Second, there is how this passage doesn't demonize this at all. It's a comment on Merry's sexual prowness, not an example of what kind of men Merry surrounds herself with. It's trying to tell you how awesome she is. And thirdly, it implies that all men are like that. It takes the whole thing out of the relm of character development and shoves it into the land of gender typecasting. It's not people doing this, folks, it's men. it's not Merry being left out of the conversation re: her ladyparts. Nope. It's women. Here's the age-old divide that LKH swears she's trying to mend, and here's the shovel she's using to make the canyon just a little bit wider.

And I know that some guys do have this conversation, just as some women have it. They're assholes reguardless of gender. But even if we did have that conversation, most of us are smart enough to have it when the object of our genetalia's affection ISN'T FUCKING STANDING RIGHT IN EARSHOT.

And he's doing it in front of her competition. You know how Merry was going on about respect? This is a sign they don't respect her at all. Not that they don't obey her orders, or Rhys's freaking out over man-child goblin sex. It's the fact that Rhys is airing out her dirty laundry not just in public but in a business setting. And Merry doesn't turn around and reprimand him for it.

Gang, the basis for respect is healthy bounderies. If you establish and mantain them, people respect you. If you prove that you're willing to violate both yours and other people's? People lose respect for you. If you are willing to let your employees gab about your personal information? Eventually they're going to start taking cash out of the till. Merry has no bounderies, and neither does anyone else in this god-awful book.

And then we start playing the "We're not letting you in with your guns" part of the "LKH's Main Character meets new people" game. Jesus Christ, you'd think she'd come up with a new way to do this after twenty fucking books.

Anita solved this by talking in circles for hours. Merry solves it by shouting "Maeve Reed, Maeve Reed, come out to play!" at the top of her lungs until Maeve shows up.

I liked it better when Patrick Swayze did it:

Finally Maeve's secretary comes out and asks them to come in. Ethan insists on releaving Merry of her guns, it takes ten minutes for Maeve to threaten to fire Ethan and for Merry to step through the house's front door.

End of chapter.


  1. More pointless bickering and petty threats. I know LKH wants Merry and her crew to come across as hardcases, but they really just read like a bunch of immature frat boys looking for a fight with a bouncer.

    The toughest person I know is a former infantry Master Corporal and drill instructor. He has three decades of martial arts training, and while sparring can tap someone in the left front abdomen hard enough to bruise their right kidney. He once used a hot Coca-Cola bottle to remove grenade shrapnel imbedded in his face. Pretty much anyone you ask would agree that he is a genuine tough guy.

    He's also polite, avoids unnecessary arguments, and will cheerfully back down from the idiots who try to start fights in bars (He's a blues musician. He spends a lot of time in bars). Compared to him, Merry and her friends are a bunch of petulant children.

    I'm just going to ignore the grossly sexist shit with Merry's 'friends' yakking about how good she is in the sack. I'm just going to walk away from that.

    1. This man needs a book character based on him, because he is made of Awesome. :D

  2. "Repeating very fucking obvious shit that you already covered in previous paragraphs?" THIS IS ALL LKH EVER DOES, I SWEAR.

    Kitto...just...Kitto, oh god why.

    They had the same 'you can't go in with guns' scene in Skin Trade and it was incredibly annoying and frustrating and long to read. Not to mention pointless because...they ended up not needing the guns at all anyway, so why all the buildup?

    Yeah, LKH loves her "Men always do THIS/women always do THIS except Anita" divides. They range from laughably ridiculous to just plain horrible.

  3. I am going to try really hard not to explode in a fiery ball of rage every time Kitto comes up in this review, I promise. Right after this one, lol.

    But the whole Kitto situation is just so fucking creepy that I can't stand it. I know that LKH is all about "pushing outside her comfort zone" (to snark a recent facebook post of hers) and being all Edgy and Misunderstood and whatnot...but this is NOT sexy, sensual, or even vaguely arousing. It is Fucking Disturbing, and it makes Merry look like a pedophile. LKH's insistence on using descriptions like "child-size Nikes" and "someone's nephew" makes it even worse.

    We know that Kitto is not ACTUALLY a child, I suppose, but she sure does drive home the fact that he looks like one. Over and over. LKH seems to be going for the "perfect, tiny little doll" effect - which is a whole different type of dehumanizing bullshit - but if that is her intention there are much better ways to handle it. She could use descriptions like delicate, slight, or slender...not rocking out the "child-size Nikes" and comparing him to "someone's nephew". I almost expect him to show up wearing a beanie and sucking on a lolly pop. Or something worse. O_o Jesus.

    Honestly, how does this shit make Merry any better than the bad guy vampires in the Anita Blake series who have a preference for young boys?! HOW DOES LKH NOT SEE THIS?!

    You are going to need SO much medication to make it through this book...I commend your mental fortitude! ;)

  4. "He’d put on black wraparound sunglasses, but aside from that he could have passed for someone’s nephew, the kind that usually isn’t a nephew at all but a boy toy."


    Buddha Jesus there is a difference between 'pushing your comfort zone' and 'revelling in the gross stereotypes you grew up with'. In LKH's case she'd need to write a respectful and humane gay male (Or any sort of female) to be honestly pushing her comfort zone.

    1. Amen to that. A respectful and humane gay male who is ACTUALLY a gay male and not redeemed by some sort of magical vagina love. -_- (Lookin' at YOU, Anita Blake!)

  5. "not
    redeemed by some sort of magical vagina love."

    *waves hands in a dramatical fashion*

    The power of straight sex compels you, the power of straight sex compels you...