And on a more personal note...I got nothing done this weekend. Absolutely nothing. It was a working weekend, which sucks, so I usually don't do much that doesn't involve waiting on tables or making fancy french doughnuts for people with more money than I'll ever see in my lifetime. But I got de nada done this weekend because we did a Mardi-Gras style faire in one of our neighbor-towns, and I had way, way, WAY more fun than I should have, given that it's a small-town's fake Mardi-Gras and I had to work that evening so, while the beer truely was flowing freely, I couldn't drink any of it. There was a knife-sharpening guy who set up shop just outside the gates, and he had the kind of goodies that make parents and guardian angels cringe in terror. I blew way more cash than I should have on a knife-throwing set. Mostly because I can show it to my brother and then say "Don't touch, they're mine" to make up for how he broke most of our steak knives throwing them at trees.
I'm also going to learn how to use them. Because ditto. Yes. I am that kind of evil.
...Do I have to review the book now? Do I? No, it's not because there's sex. It's just...fine. FINE! Let's do this already.
If there is one thing that annoys the living fuck out of me with this book, it is the chapter jumps. I do not mind jumping between, say, Merry's office and her bedroom. What bugs me is jumping from Merry's office in the middle of an unresolved emotional crisis into a van several miles away, with all the loose ends neatly tucked away. I'm sorry. I can't say I'd have liked to actually watch Merry put herself back together, given that her hystreonics are less legit and more "The boys are fighting and I must escilate this situation by sobbing wildly until they stop." This is the kind of shit a relative pulled on me all the fucking time, so I have VERY little respect for that "I can scream louder than you" emotional manipulation shit.
But given that we're jumping from forced make-outs with phobias to "We're
Another thing about Merry--and sometimes, Anita Blake, which really means this is an issue with LKH herself--is her frequent retreats into sarcastic nursery-words.
I like oversimplification. One of my favorite passages in That Hideous Strength is where a character "wanted to be with nice people, away from nasty people." So when I read this passage:
There were ways around the media that didn’t need magic— for instance, a white van with rust spots that sat unused in the parking garage most of the time. The Grey Detective Agency used it for surveillance when the usual van would stand out too much. If it was a nice neighborhood, we used the nice van. If it was a bad neighborhood, we used this van. The media had started following the nice van every time it went out, on the theory that it could be hiding the princess and her entourage. That left us with the old van, even though it stood out like a sore thumb in Holmby Hills.
I ought to like it. But I don't. I actually feel like gagging every time I read it. See, what I like about the THS passage is how the oversimplification develops that character's mindset. Jane, the character in question, is either psychic or experiancing a nervous breakdown (She's psychic), and has been told by one group that both they and this other collection of people want to use her visions to their own end. The one group is rather nice, and kind, but rather off-putting because they're going at her directly, whereas the other guys (The NICE) are trying to recruit her by going through her husband first. So up until that point in the story, she could be going crazy, she knows the NICE are offering her husband a very cushy job, she knows this group of good-but-offputting people want to use her for things she doesn't understand, and so she is staying PUT, thank you very much...
...and then she sees a guy from one of her visions, a guy who has done nasty things in her visions and who should, if there were any good in the universe, be just a figment of her imagination, walk out of a shop and get into an NICE car. She realizes that everything the good guys has been telling her is real, and while she doesn't know who is good or bad, she knows that she wants nothing to do with the guy who just got into the car. "nice people/nasty people" is Lewis's way of portraying the kind of breakdown in reality that leaves you reduced to basic inner qualities, a kind of light/dark distinction that has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with wanting to feel safe right now, and it works beautifully.
This? This is Merry Gentry saying "You press shitheads won't let us use the van that doesn't make us look like inner city gangster, so fuck you," using sarcastic baby-talk.
This is not endearing or clever. It's about as passive aggressive as having hystreonics because your boyfriends are fighting. So basically, it's totally in character for Merry.
But it is worth noting: the van? is tailor made for PI work. And if they had thought to plaster "Gonzoles Family Lawn Care" magnetic signs on the side, and drag a half-empty trailer of lawn mowers and weed-eaters, nobody would notice the shitty van, no matter where they went. The invisibility of service workers+the innate racism of wealthy people=the Best. Disguise. Ever.
But nope. Merry is complaining in passive aggressive tones that the van is a rust-eaten monster.
Kitto is hiding under her legs. Literally. Because that's not dehumanizing at all.
And then we introduce Frost.
I like Frost because he's my type. I have a lot of issues with him, though. He's tall, he's imposing, he was Queen Crazypants's other go-to killer, he's handsome, yadda yadda yadda, let's skip straight to the problem.
His hair. Oh, Jesus Christ. His hair.
Guys? I went through the Mary Sue phase same as everybody else. I had rainbow-eyed girls who shape shifted into perfect glass immortal "elves". One of these was a Sailor Moon clone, because I had that phase too. So I have a certain level of sympathy. But guys? Frost has Christmas tinsel hair.
That is not me saying that. That's the description in the text.
Only it's not coarse, though it looks like it ought to be. It's dreamy soft and it flows down to his fucking ankles. And is completely tangle free.
Yeah. Of course it does.
So did your parents save Christmas tinsel? Because mine did. We never used it two years in a row, though, because while it comes soft and flowy and smooth and shiny in the box you bought from Walgreens/Home Depo/Wal-Mart, by the time Year Two rolls around you have a great big gray hairball in a grocery bag, no matter how hard you tried to preserve the stuff. (Also: NEVER HAVE TINSEL AND CATS IN THE SAME HOUSE EVER IT IS NOT GOOD FOR THEM. My pets have always been very lucky but I stopped draping everything with shiny gut-cutters a long time ago) So I cannot buy this description of Frost's shiny silver hair, because I'm not seeing long flowy beauty. I'm seeing that rolled up ball of shiny tangle which is not pretty at all.
And I like how LKH has put rough-feeling with coarse and smooth and shiny with soft. For the record, human hair of every type is terribly coarse as a fiber. People talk about spinning things from human hair and wearing it, my first thought is not "OH GOD THAT IS SO GROSS". It is "FUCK that must itch."
Tangleless hair that flows down to the ankles. The hours of brushing, kids. The shampoo and conditioner bills. The ungodly split ends.
We're not even in Maeve's house yet. Fuck.
Merry calls Frost's hair "Silken grace".
Frost has apparently been telling Merry things about Maeve Reed that Merry is not listening to because describing the fucking van she is driving in is more important. So LKH has her repeat what Frost was saying because exposition instead of actual observations on Merry's part is more interesting.
Oh, hey, we haven't addressed Frost's eye color yet:
They were just grey, not tricolored like mine or Rhys’s,
Well, thank fucking GOD. If I had to read one more fucking block paragraph about the speshul color of someone else's eyes I think I'd--
but, of course, they weren’t just grey. They were the color of clouds on a rainy day, and like clouds the colors changed and swirled not with the wind but with his moods. They were a soft grey like the breast of a dove as he lowered his head to kiss me.
Has LKH not read any good books? How about Mary Sue Litmus tests? How about her own fucking writing? How in the name of God can you write a line like "soft gray like the breast of a dove" (and my own inner editor rewrote that line as "gray as a dove's breast" twice. It's like I have this psychological block against repeating someone else's overwriting) and not explode from the sheer hiliarity of it all?
Anyhoo, the info dump we're avoiding for the sake of eye sex is, Maeve Reed has employed psychic bodyguards and has warded her own property so tightly that Nightcrawler couldn't teleport his blue ass inside. This means she thinks she'll be killed, and given that she's been exiled from the land of Sparkly Psychopaths for over forty years and King Taranis still beat Merry into a bloody pulp for asking why, Maeve is probably right.
Meanwhile, Merry realizes she is in love with Frost. And is dwelling on it.
EMPOWERING FEMALE CHARACTER. MUST ENTER INTO MONOGAMOUS RELATIONSHIP WITH EMPREGNATING PENIS. HAS NO CHOICE IN THIS. THE LOGIC, IT DOES NOT EXIST.
And again: when your species is having a fertility crisis, monogamy is not how you fix it.
Merry goes off on how she has to get pregnant. It's the only way to save her lovers from being murdered by her crazy-ass sadist cousin if he should be the first to get pregnant.
...and that brings me to a Question: How would anybody know for sure that it'd be Cel's kid? Merry's kid, it's kind of obvious, but I know a major plot point in future books is Taranis, he of the Light version of insanity, tries to claim that he is the father of her eventual pregnancy, rather than the five or six men who actually are the fathers (two babies. Five/six fathers. This happens) and the only way to prove that the guard managed to get more than one sperm into more than one egg, in this world of overnight paternity tests and episodes of Maury, is to summon the presence of an actual goddess to prove that Merry's kids are fathered by 90% of her current guard. So if it's that confuzzled, what's stopping Cel from throwing his harem at the penis of a proven fertile man? He could claim the kid was his long enough to get rid of Merry and Co, and after that who gives a fuck how the kid got here, he's the only contender for the throne.
Have I mentioned that this series ties biology down and does unspeakable things to it without lube?
They start discussing why Maeve was exiled. Which would be interesting if Frost and Merry gazing into each other's Sparkledog eyes weren't taking up more space than the actual plot (NOTE: If you do not know what a sparkledog is DO NOT GOOGLE IT. Just imagine what would happen if a Lisa Frank sticker kit had sex with a poodle)
Eventually they decide to ring the doorbell...and that's when the chapter ends.