Sunday, March 17, 2013

Caress of Twilight--We're finishing this shit.

So. I woke up at seven AM on sunday, and didn't see my house again until ten forty-five.

This is why there have been no posts.

This is all I will say on the matter.

Also: I AM FINISHING THIS SHIT TONIGHT SO HELP ME GOD. Which means we need to pick out something else to be snarky about. Options? Options:

1. We can make CW read something that she actually loves and tear it to pieces.
2. Eternal Prey. Men posessed by the shapeshifting ghosts of dead dinosaurs, mayan prophesy misued badly and I swear to god cross my heart and hope to die, a Bella Swan Clone.
3. The Caterpillar's Question. Which should come with a trigger warning for basically everything, in part because it is written by Piers Anthony.
4. I would say "the gap series" but its general awfulness would probably break the blog. But I am saying "The Gap Series" anyway, sans the first book. Because I am never reading that book again. EVER.
 5. More LKH
6. More Gor
7. More L. Ron Hubbard.


So. The end of the book opens with exciting wall scailing, which is derailed by this:

I was helped down into a narrow lane that was planted so thickly with dark green camellias that they formed a second wall to nearly hide the house in front of us. It wasn’t the right time of year for blooming, so they were just tall bushes with thick, waxy leaves. I knew exactly how the leaves felt because Lucy and Galen both made me stand in the damn shrubs. I could come along, but they were both going to make sure I didn’t get to do anything.
I just finished Frost Burned, the seventh Mercy Thompson book. I didn't hate it, but I didn't like it either. Pasted on thematic resolution and a couple of other issues. But you know what? for all that Mercy stood over in the shadows and waited for the big bad to literally fall on her magic sword? She smiled and nodded at all the overprotectives telling her to stay out of the fight and then told them to go fuck themselves.

And then the Nameless reveals itself, and LKH was obviously re-reading her old books for this one, because you remember that big zombie/Katamari Damancy thing from the second Anita Blake book? That's the Nameless. Only its got magic to point at you and Lovecraft sanity rolls. Which two of the cops fail.

Apparently the cure for loss of sanity in this universe is to repeat that slapping scene from Airplane, only instead of saying "Everything's going to be alright" while a nun stands behind you with a pipe wrench in hand, you call the screaming, panicked person a son of a bitch.

Not kidding:

“Son of a bitch,” slap, “son of a bitch,” slap  …   until the screaming officer sat down on the grass and hid his face, whimpering.
Speaking of Lovecraftian nightmares, be glad I did not post that whole paragraph. The punctuation alone...

Anyhoo, Merry describes the thing as "indescribable", only with a lot of moving mouths and tenticles and assorted body parts.

The police open fire, managing to kill only their own panicked people in the process. Yes, folks. The police in this universe are not smart enough to pull their obviously insane personell out of the line of fire before they start shooting at things.

Maeve Reed shows up with Gordon. Note: she doesn't really have to ask what's going on. Taranis sent it, everybody knows it, Lucy's radioed for a helicopter.

Rhys throws his axe at the monster's eye, Galen tells Merry to get out of the fight, and the chapter ends.

And Merry...actually runs after Galen at the start of the next chapter. The thing is batting her men around like they're little plastic army figures, and while they've gotten the Magical Blade of the Month into the thing, it isn't slowing it down.

And then it knocks Nicca out of the fight and barrels down on Galen, and Merry pulls Magical Power B directly out of her ass. 

 See, she touches the Nameless's blood, and the blood sinks into her, and she discovers she literally has the power to make people bleed to death through a papercut if she wants to.

I shrieked in pain, and Kitto touched me, tried to help. He yelled and let go of me, staggered back. The front of his T-shirt bloomed red, fresh blood. He clawed at his shirt, raised enough for me to see the marks of my nails spilling blood everywhere, worse, so much worse than the original injury...Doyle had told me once that I would have a second hand of power, but there was no way of knowing when it would manifest or what it would be.

Yeah. Can we spell Convenient here, kids? And then we almost oust Kitto from "Most disturbing thing ever" with this description:

I pointed my left hand toward the creature, palm out, and thought, not the word blood but of blood. I thought about the taste of it, salty, metallic; the feel of it fresh and almost scalding hot in large doses, the way it thickened when it cooled. I thought of the smell of blood— that neck-ruffling scent— and the way enough of it freshly spilled always smelled like meat, like raw hamburger.

Uh...HOW WOULD WE KNOW ALL THIS? Also: Neck ruffling. Are we talking Elizabethian or that spitty dinosaur from Jurassic Park here?

Merry walks towards the Nameless. End of chapter. Next chapter: The Nameless starts bleeding.

Wow. Big surprise.

It realizes that Merry can make it hurt, so it slowly oozes towards her.

VERY slowly. Like B-movie blob monster slow. When they turned on the heat lamp to make the jell-o ooze they only put in a 50 watt bulb.

Merry then decides she doesn't just want the thing to bleed, she wants it to die. And she causes psychic wounding, somehow, that makes it bleed faster and she gets all happy and peaceful and the language reminds me of every S/I session I ever had. Yeah, I just remembered why "trigger warnings" should exist. It is not for "Oh, I mentioned that I used to do this". It's for shit like this:

The more it bled, the calmer I became. A stillness filled my body, almost a peacefulness. I knelt in the growing spread of blood, watching the thing quiver toward me, and I had no fear.

Belated trigger warning.

Anyway, the thing reaches for her VERY. SLOWLY....and then it explodes into a splashy rush of monster blood, because we haven't been gross enough in this book yet, I guess.

Next chapter...Uh...acid?

Magic was everywhere, streaming through the air like multicolored fireworks, flying around us in flocks of fantastic birds that never knew mortal sky. Entire forests rose and fell before our eyes. The dead rose and walked and faded. It was like watching someone else’s dreams and nightmares march through the bright California sunshine.

Seriously. Did we suddenly cross over into Fear and Loathing in Rivendell here? Tell me that does not read like Hunter S. Thompston's morning halucination.

(Just the morning one. He's got a different one reserved for second breakfast, elevensies, lunch, dinner, supper and afternoon tea.)

What it is, kids, is all the magic that anybody gave to the Nameless is all going back to the things that gave it up. And apparently there is some left over for Merry? Or maybe it just goes to whoever is present, and Merry is like the person who gets the door prize after the first number gets called a few thousand times? I don't know.

And then we move from the Acid Trip that Gandalf forgot straight into LKH's Patented Plot Resolution Summery:

The boys bind the Nameless into Maeve Reed's backyard while Merry is unconsious. Uh...okay.

Hey, remember how Merry's big problem was that her apartment was too small and she had no money for a bigger one? Maeve's letting them use her guest house now! PROBLEM SOLVED! And damn time, too. Otherwise members of the audience might begin to sympathize with Merry's real life problems...

Taranis is worse than Andais. Yeah, we got that part. Everybody has magic now, yeah, we got that too. Oh, and since Merry's second "hand of power" has been ass-pulled into existance, she now has to have more magic waiting in the wings to rescue her! Oh, YIPPEE! And hey, how special is Merry's new power?

All I need is a small wound and I can call all the blood from a being’s body. I am Princess of Flesh and Blood. The hand of blood hasn’t been seen as a power since the days of Balor of the Evil Eye. For those of you not up on pre-Celtic history, that’s thousands of years before the birth of Christ.
Yep.  I'm gonna just leave that there.

Hey, remember how Frost freaked the fuck out over having to go back to Andais when all this is over? Queen Crazy was in such a good mood about the whole nameless/hand of blood thing, that she gave Merry all the men. Kind of the way you'd give somebody a chess set as a homewarming gift.

The last paragraph is all dedicated to pointing out the one major plot fail in this book: Merry got Maeve pregnant, but couldn't manage the same for herself. Because that would resolve things. Ah, but she is praying to deity who is always listening and be careful what you pray for because you get it, because Deity is just a magical bag of holding there to grant your pretty shiny wishes all the live long day.

This is the last line in the book:

  • Goddess grant us good luck and a fertile winter.


(...BONUS ROUND! Frost Burned. Yeah, so each of the Mercy Thompson books has a "theme." Like the first book was wolf/Mercy-centric, then we had a vamp book, then we had a fairy book. Second cycle, Vamp book, fairy book, Mercy-centric book (in which the shark was well and truly jumped.) and so this one, predictably enough, was a vamp book.

...for the last twenty percent. the first twenty percent was Adam and the wolf pack getting kidnapped and Mercy doing absolutely nothing to find them. Her thing was "hide Jessie", which we did until Adam and the wolves saved themselves via an info-dumping deus ex machina that also had a handcuff key. The nearest we got to an actual vampire was when Mercy let a werewolf bleed all over the Queen of the Damned's car. She stood around watching the climatic fight--which was NOT foreshadowed at all--and then let the big bad fall on her magic sword. And then Adam ripped the big bad's throat out because Logic. I guess. My love affair with Mercy has not ended, but that love was mostly rooted in watching the pack interact with itself and watching Mercy and Adam try to turn their relationship into something healthy. Removing the pack and Adam for most of the book? This is not helping. Also: if your book is first person perspective and you find yourself having to switch to another viewpoint character AND to third-person to resolve a VERY MAJOR plot point? SOMETHING MIGHT BE BROKEN WITH YOUR PLOT.)

(Suffice to say I am not happy with the book.)

(Also-also: The third book had a rape scene in it. I acknowledge that it was probably problematic, but I found it to be validating re: my own experiances and the fact that Mercy killed the fucker herself was profoundly satisfying. It had a profound effect on many characters and was central to the plot of the third book. It might not have been the most accurate or socially acceptable thing to put in a book, but it's not the most socially acceptable thing to have happen to you, either.

So using similar circumstances as filler for Frost Burned? Circumstances that had no effect whatsoever on the final conflict? THAT WAS NOT A GOOD PLAN. The series could still rescue itself, but it had better damn well do it with the very next book.)


  1. For your next book to shred, keeping with your "trigger warning" about Piers Anthony, may I suggest "The Gutbucket Quest" to you? It's worthy of this treatment solely for the preoccupation Anthony and his co-writer (whose name I forget, that's how memorable the book is) have with the size of the lead character's dick.

  2. My first vote is for more LKH, my second for Piers Anthony. No Gor though, please no Gor, I don't even wanna get close enough to snark it.

    The Nameless sounds like it would be pretty cool in the hands of a different who wouldn't make the solution to insanity be slapping people. The blood powers could also be cool if they weren't used as a damn deus ex machina.


  3. I vote for not Gor, because I read a handful of them and they bored the snot out of me. I couldn't even drag up the energy to be offended because it was all so repetitive and pointless.
    As much as I hate to put you through it, your LKH sporking is so good and so much fun to read I vote more of that.

    As far as neck ruffling, I vote that Merry developed a Jurassic Park-style dilophosaurus frill that flares whenever she gets angry.

  4. "So. The end of the book opens with exciting wall scailing"

    The wall-scaling is more exciting than you think, given that Merry is wearing a light sundress and is described as being built like Denise Milani (Those of you who are gynephilic should google that name. You can thank me later).

    Neck-ruffling? Does she mean it raises the hackles on your neck? 'Cause if that's what she means, there are a couple of perfectly good, descriptive, short phrases for that.

    And of course Merry Sue pulls a never-been-mentioned-before magic power out of her ass to solve the problem. She's like the Silver Age Superman, except that the power of super-ventriloquism is at least silly enough to be fun.

    I'm voting for more LKH as well. In part because she's considered a major figure in modern genre fic, but also because Piers Anthony is the only writer on Earth capable of out-squicking her.