It takes a while. And when they get there, Maeve insists Merry take a lounge chair when Merry is in a short skirt.So instead of working on plot we're setting our protagonist up to inadvertently replicate that leg-crossing scene from Basic Instinct.
This is several pages into the chapter. It's the only thing worth blogging about for the first three pages. I want there to be porn just for something to have happened.
Rhys goes off with Marie, Maeve's assistant while Kitto clings to Merry and everybody else picks a chair. Maeve is upset. Maeve is upset. Maeve is really upset. We're halfway through the chapter and all I know is that Maeve is upset and Merry doesn't know how to manage a skirt properly (you can sit in a lounge chair and not flash the whole world. You just have to think about it and keep your hands on your thighs)
Kitto made sure that he touched some part of my body continuously.Also, LKH either doesn't understand human interactions and what "subtext" means, or else her brain is very very very very very very wrong.
We get a play by play while Maeve drinks an entire fifth of scotch.
I knew a dude who would drink a fifth and a half of whiskey a night. When you consume that much booze, you're not even fun to watch. I am willing to believe that Maeve, being non-human, could manage to consume that much and not be at the painful-for-onlookers stage, but the text even implies that a fifth would hit even the fairy folk very hard.
Maeve moves on to rum and coke.
Merry refuses to drink.
Merry says no.
This repeats ad nauseum. And I mean Maeve literally says "I really do hate to drink alone," over and over and over again while Merry comes up with various excuses.
Trees died for this. Trees.
We also find out that Maeve is married to a guy named Gordon. This is going to be important. Or as important as things ever get in a LKH book.
Maeve asks for privacy. Merry says that won't happen. Maeve calls Merry on being rude. I swear to God, this book is stuck on repeat. I've read NaNoWriMo projects that weren't padded with this. Even Narcissus in Chains had wrapped up its first rescue by chapter twelve.
And then finally, finally, we get to the fucking point.
“Your exile was the bogeyman for all the younger sidhe in the Seelie Court. ‘If you don’t please the king, you’ll end as Conchenn did.’ ”Given how the entire cast are deities of some kind, and most of them are ones I recognize from my (albeit casual) readings of irish/scots/welsh mythology, I got curious. And I just spent twenty minutes trying to figure out which one Conchenn is. And while I found a few mentions (as in baby names and lists of gods and goddesses) I cannot find a single website with more information than "goddess of love". There was a tribal celtic queen named Conchenn, but I kind of expected more, given the emphasis on HOW MUCH SHE WAS WORSHIPED IN YE OLDE TIMEZ we hit a little earlier. (I also found something called the Salmon of Wisdom, and I have to say that is the most awesome thing I have read today. It's a Salmon. Of Wisdom.)
It's probably dumb how hung up I'm getting on the many use of Celtic deities in this book, but Celtic mythos is incredible. You have the "invasions", the Tuatha de Danan and the Formorains in Ireland, the Welsh cycles (which I don't know well enough to reference yet) the Scots cycles, not to mention the blurring between god and not-a-god that happened during the conversion to Christianity. There are so many things that LKH could be drawing upon, and instead she's made a major character out of a goddess that I cannot research via google.
Either LKH has research sources that normal people do not have access to, or she googled "celtic goddess of love" which was the only fucking way I could find Conchenn's name without actually typing "conchenn" into the search field. I even checked Maeve, to see if that wasn't a variation on Conchenn--kind of like Artemis/Diana in Greek/Roman mythos, but that's not it. There is a Maeve, but the only (questionable) source I could find that discussed her as a goddess and not a warrior-queen who was very fucking badass in her own right says that Maeve was the goddess of...well, booze.
...I really doubt that LKH is this subtle, but I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maeve Reed, she of the whiskies and the rum-and-cokes, is now the goddess of intoxication for the rest of this review.
The potential. The story potential. Totally. Fucking. Wasted.
So Conchenn aka Maeve Reed was exiled from Faerie for "not pleasing the king." And yes. They mean sex. Meaning that for centuries the King of the Fairies has been telling women that if they don't give him a happy ending, he's going to throw them out of Crazyland. And most of them are crazy enough to see this as a bad thing. Well, so far in this series we've covered vore, blood play, vampirism, bestiality, pedophilia and tenticle porn, so I guess we really need the rapey overtones to make the non-con crowd happy.
And please note: the only homosexuals in this series so far are the ones whose entire relationship is offscreen. Because god forbid we get any of that in our vore-blood-vamp-pedo-zoo-rape-hentai. That'd just be nasty.
Maeve asks what her supporters did after her exile. Merry tells her that she, Merry, was beaten for asking about her. Well, that's bad. I'm not going to say that wasn't bad. But that wasn't what Maeve was asking. She wants to know what her friends did in her absence, and apparently that was "die". Taranis killed one of her supporters in a hand-to-hand duel for asking what Maeve did that was so very, very bad.
She refused to have sex with the King. That's what it was.
Now, I actually have no problem with this plot twist in and of itself. It's been established that the entire Faerie people draw power from their rulers, AND that they are suffering a severe fertility crisis. Queen Anadais, AKA Crazylady, is stepping down because a magical ring of matchmaking no longer fits on her finger, indicating that her eggs have gone off, as it were. AND the Queen is taking steps to make sure that whoever does take the throne after her is as close to "fertile as a wheatfeild" as someone can get. Meanwhile, Maeve told the king she didn't want to "be his queen," NOT because he's a crazy abusive psycho perv, but because Maeve wanted to have children and she was fairly confident that Taranis couldn't have any.
Which would mean that the fertility crisis afflicting the Fae is entirely the rulers' fault. And while the Queen is trying to fix things in her own crazy way, Taranis doesn't want to step down at all. And if the Fae find out that he's the reason they're dying out as a species? They will kill him during a religious ritual to see if that won't fix things.
If you cannot see the plot potential of that setup, I disown you forever.
So what are we going to focus on that ISN'T the hugely promising politics of the Fairy Court?
Maeve Reed wants a child.
That's how the chapter ends. And I have to say it, I might get clobbered for it but I HAVE TO SAY THIS. For the good of humanity.
IF YOU ARE ACTIVELY TRYING TO GET PREGNANT FOR FUCK'S SAKE DO NOT DRINK A FIFTH OF ALCOHOLIC ANYTHING. If you've decided to bring a human life into this world, you make sure you do everything you can to make that life a good one. Not drinking or doing drugs while you're trying to get pregnant is the minimum. I've known people with fetal alcohol syndrome. I don't want to give more details than that because privacy is important, but you don't want to do that to a kid. Especially not if it's yours.
Tomorrow: Second verse, same as the fucking first.