Friday, May 31, 2013

The Wolf Gift--Chapter 12

You guys are awesome. This has been the best month so far by a landslide. I love every single one of you forever.

...You're going to make me read the next chapter aren't you?

So Rubes wakes up at four AM, after having screwed Random Chick, who still does not have a name. And he is still a werewolf.

Have I pointed out yet that this is fucked up? Because this is fucked up. I am not going to address the issue of compatable genitalia, because there is not enough tequila in the fucking world to make that set of theories okay. But hey, why can't Ruben's fuck-buddy have a name? Why does her willingness to screw the main character have to have priority over her fucking identity? She's a pretty little cardboard cut-out of femininity in a flowy white nightgown, who has gray hair at thirty.

I guess Anne Rice needed a self insert.

We don't know her name. Or her hobbies. Or what her life was like before she showed up in her fucking nightgown. But we know that she'll fuck the main character. Right.

Now we're going to have about three hundred pages try to convince us that she is Noble and Right and Righetous and whatever else Ruben's Perfect Mate ought to be.


I think the most annoying thing about Anne Rice's books is that all the characters have to love each other. Or more specifically, they all love the main character and have no feelings whatsoever for each other. There is no chemistry between any other member of the cast and Ruben. There is no chemistry between members of this cast and each other. When a cast-mate wanders out of Ruben's orbit, they stop existing. The whole fucking cast is basically this:

the planet is Anne Rice.
I do not like this. I do not find this entertaining. I find it to be a waste of words that could possibly have been entertaining, and are now deader than dog shit.

 Embarrassing as it is to admit, I love David Edding's books. I read them like they are candy. This is not a boast. This is the kind of thing you admit when you're at AA and the dude running it asks if maybe you'd like to share. It's not because of the writing (DEAR FUCKING GOD IT IS NOT BECAUSE OF THE WRITING) or because of the numerous one-sided victories the protagonists are handed, or how David Edding's told that one story so well, he's repeated it SIX FUCKING TIMES. No. What I love about his writing is the characters. Yes. They are all the same characters. Sparhawk is Belgarath is Althalus, Polgara is Serephenia is Emmy is the goddess chick from that series he published several years ago, whose name I cannot fucking remember. I didn't read the Eleniad and Tamuli (...god this is embarrassing) six times because I think it is the best book series in the universe. There are many. Many. MANY better series out there, and I read those when I need something to remind me what good writing looks like. But on a bad day, when I just need to be distracted and feel better about life? I pick up the Mallorean or the Eleniad, or the Tamuli, and spend the next two days being happy. I read it because Sparhawk is kind of an ass, Kalten is more of an ass, Generic Male Barbarian Lead(s) need to go die in a fire, Talen needs to grow the fuck up and stop bitching about being put through knight school, Serephrenia is fucking awesome when you piss her off, Mirtai should be a fucking saint, she is that kind of cool, and Danae (Sparhawk too, while we're at it) needs to stop lying to her mother about being an actual Goddess because Elenia is much stronger than anybody gives her credit for, including the author. In short, I love books that shove six or eight prickly, nasty, smelly, un-PC characters together, ensure that at least two of them hate each other and that the rest would rather not have you drink much more, thank you, and then point them in the general direction of a quest and kick them out the door.

There is a wonderful alchemy in a well made cast that transcends everything else in a book. Shitty writing? The characters are awesome. Cliches? The characters are awesome. Problematic elements? The characters are awesome, I'll donate time somewhere that does something meaningful to make up for it. Is it the sixth fucking time you've revisited that particular story? Well, that's good, because it means we'll have the same characters as the last four technically unrelated books, and in case you haven't gotten it yet the characters are awesome.

Of course, your mileage may vary on the awesomeness of Sparhawk/Althalus/Belgarath (Garion can go die in a fire. Bonus points if he takes Ce'Nedra with him). But I have yet to see a vibrant, lovable, fuck-the-bad-writing cast that didn't include more than a little friction between the cast-mates. In other words, somebody in the cast ought to call somebody else in the cast a stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder, and be completely justified because the guy they insulted really is that much of an ass.

Anne Rice does not do that. Her characters are supposed to be these perfect bastions of moral superiority--the Archetype of Rightness, if you will. They do not have prickly bits. They do not smell.  Nobody drinks too much. Nobody tells the designated drunk that they are drinking too much. Sure, Eddings is repetitive as fuck, but he's fun while being repetitive as fuck because his characters are your drunk uncle and endearingly sexist cousin (who you know is going to have the tar beat out of him in a couple more pages, which is what makes the sexism endearing) and watching the flaws rub the other characters the wrong way is what makes it fun. Watching them become friends in spite of all the prickliness is what makes it even better. (And of course, the reunions after long separations are, IMHO, the best parts) Anne Rice's characters get along so well it's like watching hagfish wrestle around in their own goo. There isn't any friction, and that's what makes it kind of gross. Nobody in her stories tell the main character to fuck off. There are no in-jokes. Nobody has any real hobbies. Nobody's stuffing snakes down their blouse ('d have to have read the Mallorean) or arguing over putting boobs on armor (...this one's in the Belgariad, and in Edding's defense everyone said it was a bad idea and that nobody would mistake Ce'Nedra for a boy in a functional breast-plate) or figuring out how to shave gold off state coins without anybody noticing (the Tamuli.) There are no Salmissras or Sadis. Everybody gets along and everybody fucking worships whoever is in the main character slot, and that is exactly what kills the book deader than a vampire with a stake in its heart and garlic in its mouth.

In short: Anne Rice's characters are a lot of things, but they're not fun. And they sure as fuck are not the moral bastions of rightness that she so very fucking desperately wants them to be. Watching David Edding's repeats throw sheep at their enemies (...*sigh* Redemption of Althalus. Yes. That actually happened.) amid heaping piles of racism is much more entertaining than watching Anne Rice deify the most boring white-collar idiot since somebody threw a dragon egg at Eragon.

And just to make it really fucking clear, if I am comparing your cast to something David Eddings put together and his cast is the one that looks good? I AM NOT COMPLIMENTING EDDINGS HERE.

Right. Moving on. 

We get a description of Ruben and Random Chick's afterglow that is absolutely revolting on every possible level.

Ruben then decides to leave, because he'll change back soon and fuck if he knows where he left his car.  This happens:

He kissed her now with this lipless mouth, feeling his own fangs pressing against her.

 Her eyes snapped open, large, alert, glistening. 

“You’ll welcome me again?” he asked, a low husky voice, soft as he could make it. 
“Yes,” she whispered.

After about another page, Random Chick finally tells Ruben, the werewolf thing she's just slept with, that her name is Laura. Ruben responds with the most puke worthy line I think I've seen since I quit reading Harlequin Romances:

 “I wish I had a name,” he answered. “I’d gladly give it to you.”

This is wheels within wheels of douchebag wrapped up in a layer of technicolor pony puke. And somebody thought this was romantic enough to put onto paper, and that woman has more money and influience than any of us will ever see.

God save us all.

And then Ruben hikes his Porsche.

Because in addition to being a murdering monster, Rice just has to remind us at every turn that he's richer than fuck.

 Ruben then heads back to Los Angeles, hits the first hotel he sees, and goes back to bed.

End of chapter.

I am now going to go onto Amazon and buy the first David Eddings e-book I can find that isn't utter shit. Yes. He is a terrible writer. I'd rather read characters that I'm supposed to want to bat across the floor for their stupidity. Also, I need to get the taste of werewolf sex and tequila out of my mouth.

EDIT: ...yeah. No e-books. Because nobody could figure out who inherited the rights. This is how I just found out that Eddings died in '09.


  1. Okay, so we know Laura doesn't have a sleep disorder. But I'm willing to bet money she has a fursuit under the bed and a terabyte-drive packed with furry porn.

  2. I've never read/heard of Eddings, but I agree, a big part of what bugs me about Rice's writing is everyone loves the main char and have no relationships among themselves and very little motivation that does not relate to the main char. For me, that's a bigger Sue trait than being ridiculously beautiful or super powerful or what have you. It's the absolute un-reality of the universe revolving around one person to the detriment of all others. LKH has a big problem with this in the Anita Blake series too.

    1. Reading David Eddings is like playing DnD with a bunch of quirky college friends who love each other deeply but really can't stand being around each other at all. The characters are all overpowered as fuck, at least one of them is always a god/goddess, climaxes are usually resolved by literal divine intervention by the aforementioned deity.

      Oh, and the DM is smiling.

      If you think you'd like it, I'd recommend either the Mallorean, the Tamuli or The Redemption of Althalus. It's all the same story, with the same cast with different names, and the stand-out best are usually the second series in whatever universe, because the cast bonds have had time to mature.

      I am sorely, sorely tempted to review Althalus next just because I love it, it isn't painfully dull, and yet the sheer amount of repetition and problematic stuff Eddings uses in his writing style is comedy gold.

      My definition of a Sue is an extraordinary character minus any situation that requires their extraordinary skillset. Because God Forbid anything terrible happen to the precious. Borderline sue characters like Sherlock Holmes, the Doctor and Honor Harrington (sci-fi female Admiral Nelson) are rescued by their incredible support cast. Holmes wouldn't be any fun if we didn't have Watson, the Doctor sucks without his companions, and the citizens of the Honorverse are so awesome I cry for a couple hours when major cast members die.

      When an author loses that focus--that it's not just about the main character--the book stops being fun. It might be a beautifully masterpiece, but it won't be fun.

  3. I'm pretty sure wolves have lips. They're not like human lips, but they're not chickens either.

  4. That is EXACTLY what I hate about Anita Blake. NO ONE has a life outside of Anita and they basically never talk to one another without her.

    "This is the kind of thing you admit when you're at AA and the dude running it asks if maybe you'd like to share."