Why yes. That is a bible reference in the title of a fantasy book. I could go on a long screed about playing with the concepts of economics and how I realized halfway through writing that story that everybody on the Isles are completely fucking boned, but I'd much rather you buy and read the book.
So. How long does it take for Ruben to make me want to punch him?
Reuben, dressed in a white cashmere turtleneck sweater and his favorite Brooks Brothers double-breasted blazer, was shown into the conference room where the meeting with Felix’s illegitimate son would soon take place.White. Cashmere. Sweater.
My hobby is spinning and knitting. Lace, specifically, because it's math I can do (Sixteen reps of a twenty-stitch, sixty row pattern complete with double yarn-overs and the dreaded seven-stitch nup? And the pattern, due to being left on the bottom of my purse for a few hours, is now in a state of mud-colored incoherance? No problem. Basic multiplication, which is not significantly different from charting out a pi shawl? FUCK.) and because the results are pretty. I have a short list of things I would like to play with before I die. One pound of cashmere fiber is HIGH on the list. I think the only thing higher is actual goat down from the Orenburg reigon of Russia.
I do not know why, but reducing some of the most awesome fiber in the history of textiles to "Cool thing to randomly name-drop to make my character awesome" makes me want to hurt Rubes so very very badly.
Ruben and Simon sit in the conference room, while Laura is escorted someplace girly, with coffee. They discuss what Felix 2.0 might do to claim the estate, but this conversation is summerized. What isn't summerized, however, is the conversation about how hot Ruben looks with long hair, and how many ladies he must be driving crazy.
These are two grown-ass men discussing legal business. KILL WITH FIRE.
Felix's lawyer enters. Felix enters. It is clear that Felix is the original Felix, and that the role of the vampire Armand in this series is going to be played by Felix fucking Nideck, because he is immediately praised as being handsome and perfect and generous and please fucking gag me.
I just realized that the only reason I could stand this praise bullshit in Interview with a Vampire and The Vampire Lestat/Queen of the Damned is because it fit with the narrators. Louis had a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome and his time with Lestat colored his perception of the world. Lestat was a fucking egomaniac and it fit for him to, for example, praise his mother in overly sexualized and almost worshipful tones, and then call her a fucking idiot for not playing his game his way. Because we were seeing the world through his eyes, and that meant his egomania got on everything and made it all icky. It was annoying as fuck, but it fit and it developed Lestat's character extremely well. And it REALLY helped that Lestat was the more-or-less villian of Interview, because it meant you didn't trust him through the other two books.
This is a third person narrative. We are not that deep inside the pube wolf's head. Lestat trying to force his view of the universe down our throat was one thing. It was expected. Ruben's got no business trying to convince me he's right. He's not telling this story and he doesn't know I'm here.
And of course, unlike Marrok who envied Ruben and tried to kill him, Felix is all genuinely pleased. He genuinely is. It's genuine.
That stopped looking like a word about six chapters ago.
First thing we do is make it clear Felix doesn't want the house.
There is a thing in writing where you take any given situation and you make it worse, and this adds tension. It's possible to take it too far, but in decent moderation it can help. Anne Rice seems to have decided that the exact opposite tactic--take any given situation and remove every possible aspect of tension ever--is the better move.
Felix then tells Ruben that he is beautiful.
Oh GOD I wish Felix were a villian. He'd be fucking Moriarty. All urbane and nice and kind and shit, and then he'd rip your head off and use it as his bowling ball, and make sure to leave a dish of your blood out for his baby kittens because he thinks they are just precious. He'd have a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul sitting on top of his plans for blowing up the orphanage so that whenever the idea of dead children makes him feel a little depressed he can get a nice little pick me up.
That won't happen. But it'd be SO nice.
So Felix piles the compliments on and Ruben just drinks it up and thinks "Hey maybe he won't kill me" while the lawyers look at each other and are all like "What the fuck is going on here?" and they discuss the Mesopotamian tablets and Felix's secret writing--which means Ruben found diaries and sciencey things written in code he can't break--and he hands Felix a letter they found on Marrok and spend the next several pages establishing that Marrok is dead and that Ruben killed him, and that Marrok acted alone because the perfect perfection that is Felix Nideck would never have tried to kill the perfect perfection of perfectness that is Ruben. No, the idea had to originate in the cranium of the ONLY FUCKING BROWN PERSON in this book.
Sorry. I just...had to bring that up again.
The lawyers are still staring all like "WTF", and I've decided they are the best characters in this scene.
Ruben brings up the word "Chrism" randomly and he and Felix look at each other for a while. Then Ruben gushes about his obsession with Felix, and rather than being skeeved out like a normal human Felix is all complimented and nice about it. He basically is going "TEACH ME ALL THE SECRETS BECAUSE I NEED TO KNOW" and Felix is all sitting there nodding sagely. And the lawyers are clearing their throats because I guess whatever their hourly retainer is, it's not big enough for this shit.
Meanwhile the cloak-and-dagger infodumping continues, and not only is there nothing of note here it's so effing boring. And juvenile. It's like watching two teenagers try to talk about sex in front of their parents, in code.
Ruben offers to give Felix back his stuff.
The lawyers go apeshit.
Felix nods sagely. He quotes things, then leaves. Simon, Ruben's lawyer, starts insisting that Ruben go see the Russian Paris Doctor that his mom found. Ruben sits in his chair and thinks about victory. He goes to find Laura, finds that Felix is talking to Laura, decides that all this means nobody is going to try to kill them ever again, and they decide that they have to go out to lunch.
They sit in the restaurant and Ruben feels proud of Laura because when she met Felix, she looked pretty.
When he thought again of Felix standing there, holding Laura’s hand and talking to her, he could have cried. He was quietly proud of how attractive she had been in that moment, in her gray wool pants and sweater, sleek and groomed and shining. She’d worn her white hair tied at the nape of her neck with a ribbon as was her custom, and she’d given a beaming smile to Felix as he’d withdrawn.
And while they are eating lunch and he's looking over Laura, Celeste texts him with an "SOS ARE WE STILL DATING" and Ruben basically breaks up with her via text messages while oggling his new girlfriend over pasta.
Ruben. The hero of this story. Has just dumped his old girlfriend via text message because he couldn't be bothered to stop undressing his new girlfriend with his eyes.
Of course, to justify this, Celeste is already banging Ruben's best friend Mort.
Everybody in this novel, with the possible exception of Marrok, is a terrible excuse for a human being.
He and Laura discuss turning Laura into a werewolf. Ruben has what is basically a religious experiance while remembering what talking to Felix was like. The chapter ends.
If you can point out one fucking issue that got resolved this chapter other than Celeste getting the shaft, I will eat my wine glass.