In other words? I AM TIRED, MY LOYAL BLOG READERS. SPLIT SHIFTS. EVERY DAY. Oh, and it is now summer and in the low to mid ninties. I WANT TO GO SOAK MY HEAD IN ICEWATER.
I am going to do this review, edit more wases out of the next Starbleached book, and then go build things in Minecraft for a while.
I'll be happy to post screenshots.
So where are we?
...right. Anne Rice discovered superheroes, and Ruben is off to research the million dollar mansion he would have bought spur-of-the-moment if its owner hadn't died and willed it to him on the spot.
...WHY WOULD YOU NOT SEE THE PROBLEMS IN THIS PLOT LINE? Better yet, why not have had the first chapter be Ruben and Marchant signing papers re: the sale of the house or something and then go get into bed. WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT THAT RUBES ONLY KNEW HER A COUPLE HOURS? THIS DOES NOT IMPROVE ON HIS CHARACTER AND--
Okay. I'm stopping. I know. We're way past that point. It still bugs me.
So Ruben calls the lawyers and asks if he can go visit the house he inherited under suspcious-as-fuck circumstances because Plot. Lawyers are all like "yeah you can, here are the keys PLEASE TALK TO THE CARETAKER WE ARE TIRED OF DOING YOUR CHORES FOR YOU".
And because there couldn't possibly be anything modern in the World's Perfect Mansion, Ruben brings his second, old computer (...yeah at this point anybody over the age of twenty-one has the new computer and the old computer so I'll give Rubes a pass on that one) and, very specifically, Bose DVD players.
I kind of like brand-name love in books, because it's a part of life. Mt. Dew. Malibu (as in the coconut rum and not the place). Nissan, Hewett-Packard, Exxon. It's kind of hard to write a book in modern times without having somebody pass a McDonalds, a Wal-Mart and a Starbucks along the way.
(...Unless you live in my city. We broke our Starbucks so they went away. Some people mourned their ability to purchase overpriced coffee in which "tall" equals a small and something quasi-italian replaced "Large". I did not. Like most sane people, I didn't like the coffee. Mostly because I could buy a decent book for the same price)
THAT. SAID. There is something very sad about the brand-name drops in this book. Y'all HAVE watched Megamind, right? (If you haven't, go fix it right now. We'll wait) You know how Megamind keeps mispronouncing words? Metrocity becomes MeTROSity, revenge is REVANGE! and it's basically showing you that Megamind is a shut-in who reads a lot and doesn't talk much. Yeah, Anne Rice's brand-name drops are kind of like that. It's like she came across this weird object in her mental processess and wikied it, realized Diet Coke is a thing to the rest of the world, and decided to use it in the book without properly understanding the social connotations (namely, that Diet Coke tastes like floormats, and you shouldn't be drinking it)
Also? I googled Bose DVD players. I have a passing familiarity with the brand because it's the sterio system Rush Limbaugh continually pushed during the 90s (When my dad listened to Rush, and only Rush, on long drives back before MP3 players were a thing. I don't really know which was worse, actually, three hours of enforced Rush Limbaugh discussing Why Monica Lewinski Sucks--I think at one point he used those exact words--or three hours of Silly Songs with Larry.)
(...actually, let's go with Silly Songs with Larry. It kills fewer braincells.)
Anyway, Bose makes MASSIVELY overpriced speaker systems (FIVE HUNDRED FUCKING DOLLARS FOR A FUCKING CD PLAYER ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?) and cables and many other things, but you know what my google-fu has failed to find? ANY HINT OF BOSE DVD PLAYERS. And I've looked. Amazon shows no evidence of these things, nor does Best Buy. Nor does Bose's own website. Which makes sense, because THEY ARE A SPEAKER COMPANY. NOT A DVD PLAYER MANUFACTURER.
Please. If anyone can find me a Bose brand DVD player, PLEASE LINK ME TO THE SUCKER. Otherwise, I assume that Anne looked at her personal entertainment units and read the brand off the speaker hub rather than the actual DVD player.
...I'm not even off the first page yet. Help.
Ruben thinks that he has to get alone to control his powers and see if he can put off the transformation, or force it, depending on how he feels:
Whatever the case, he had to get away from everything, including the voices that had drawn him into the slaughtering of four people. He had no choice but to head north.I like how the murder of four (admittedly awful) individuals is just dropped in there like an afterthought. "OMG I HAVE THESE POWERS, AND THEY'RE KIND OF COOL, AND THEY TURN ME INTO A WEREWOLF AND I CAN HEAR EVIL DEEDS AND I CAN TELL IF YOU ARE EVIL JUST BY SMELLING YOUR BO
And you know, Anne Rice's downright refusal to use the words "werewolf" outside of Ruben's research into his own condition is kind of weird:
The Man Wolf— that’s what they’re calling him. You could get a cut from the mugs and the T-shirts, you know. Maybe you should trademark ‘Man Wolf.’Nah. That couldn't have ANYTHING to do with weird-as-fuck-writing choices.
He calls his boss, Billie, on the way in.
“You scored again, Boy Wonder,” said Billie. “I don’t know how you do it. It’s been picked up by the wire services and websites around the world. People are linking to it on Facebook and Twitter. You gave this monster, the Man Wolf, some metaphysical depth!”Uh...yeah. About that...anybody ever heard of Amy's Baking Company? Google it. I'll still be here when you're done. Linkings to twitter and facebook don't equal quality. It's more likely to be one of those point-and-laugh kind of things.
So after blathering about the werewolf for a few more pages, Ruben asks Billie about the missing forty-two students and teachers, and it's basically like "Nothings happening. Back to the werewolf"
Billie suggests that the werewolf save the kids in the name of Vigilante justice. Because no way Spider-Wolf here could have thought of that on his own. Ruben feels faintly ill when he remembers killing people, and then is all like "PHHH, they were murderers and rapists and they don't deserve my guilt" and he continues driving.
Human!Ruben has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Ruben hears people talking about the werewolf being a costumed crusader--seriously? Did Rice just, like, suddenly discover that superheroes exist? Did one of her grandkids take her to see Rebooted Spiderman? Or has she been saving up seventy plus years of pop culture for one
For the werewolf.
It involves big boots and raincoats.
And then...Anne Rice drops completely out of third person and into first for half a second:
Around four o’clock, he reached the forest road leading directly to Marchent’s house— well, our house, that is. The news sang on.Either Rice forgot to properly format someone else's thought process, or she is literally living in Marchant's house with Ruben, and either way an editor would have cleaned that right up. Just saying.
There is a LONG discussion of werewolf spit, and then an itty-bitty footnote about one of the kidnapped children being found dead off the beach. And of course it's a little eight year old girl, and Rice would probably have dressed her up in victorian lace if she could have gotten away with it.
And then he reaches the house and it's like "What little girl? I HAVE AN AWESOME HOUSE!"
Then we're back to the dead little girl.
And then we're back to the house.
And then we move on to Ruben's supper.
The handyman fixed it for Ruben. The handyman's wife cooked it. Well, actually, she just drove out to the restaurant and picked it up, but she was the prime mover behind its manufacture! WE NEEDED TO KNOW THIS, BLOG READERS. WE NEEDED TO KNOW.
The handyman's name is Leroy. I am now imagining this guy:
and I will be very put out if Ruben doesn't demand that Leroy give him back his shoes at some point.
Ruben reaches the point where he almost died and has a poorly-described panic attack. Leroy rants about how the mountain lion that got Ruben took his dog and he's hunting it now, permit or no permit.
We get a three page description of the house's furnature, thanks to Leroy.
There's also a ramble about how Marchant hated TV and she brought friends up here all the time, which is WEIRD because I could have sworn the beginning of the book implied that Marchant had only recently inherited the house and was trying to offload it before her brothers wrecked the place. Apparently this involved lots of dinner parties, but no television. Ruben asks for one. He demands it be a "good flat screen".
You know. As opposed to all the other kinds of TV they sell in electronic stores these days.
It'll probably be Bose. Like his DVD players.
We also get a long ramble about how awful the brothers were for dragging out the silver and scattering it everywhere to make it look like a robbery. It being Marchant's murder. Because, you know, making a mess with the serving stuff totally compounds the brutal stabbing murder of your own sister.
Ruben realizes he isn't hungry anymore:
Eating right after a “death” had always revolted him. He remembered when Celeste’s brother had died in Berkeley. Reuben had not been able to eat or drink anything for days, without vomiting.
So...you haven't eaten a damn thing since you killed four people? AND WHY IS DEATH IN RANDOM QUOTATION MARKS?!? Also, how terrible that he suffered after Celeste's brother died. How awful. Her brother's death was all about Ruben.
Please go die in a fire.
Ruben then orders Leroy to buy groceries:
And stock the freezer and the pantry, you know, with all the usual stuff. I know how to defrost and cook a leg of lamb.Yeah. I wanted to make lamb stew once. Also, my restaurant did leg of lamb for Easter, and got sent a leg of mutton instead, and my boss, when she figured this out, called our supplier and had a "talk". The kind you save for when there are no customers because the language will peel the finish off the wood. I know exactly how much lamb costs. Fuck you, Ruben. Fuck you.
After getting yet another tour of this fucking house--seriously, this book is almost as bad as the dude from my old writer's group with the Texas Mystery-and-possibly-Nazi-House. (It was in Lamar. It had a three-storey basement. I remember all the details because that was all he brought to writer's group: discussions about the house. Not actual pages on the house. Just more pictures and more unwritten stories about the house.)--the handyman leaves and Ruben settles in for another night.
End of chapter.