Book stuff first: Don't forget that Starbleached: Liberty is out. It's on Amazon, and FINALLY is up on Barnes and Noble (grumblegrumbleTWO DAYS OF NON-STOP UPLOADING ATTEMPTSgrumblegrumble) and it's over on Smashwords. Where, if you are a new-blog-and-book-reader, you can get the first Starbleached book for free, and both the omnibus and Liberty for half off. You're basically getting seven bucks worth of stuff for three fifty.
Go buy things. Go. Go.
You know, probably the biggest question people ask...well, not me, but so called "negative" or anti-fans of LKH why they keep reading. Well, I think this chapter will probably show both why I, at least, can't look away from the train wreck and what happens when LKH finally starts doing the things she's done from the beginning.
Siun has appeared in the magic mirror...phone...thing. Siun is Rhys's primary rapist, and also Kitto's "owner". She is also a gigantic spider...thing, and does sound legit horrifying. Merry keeps her mouth shut while Rhys calls bullshit on Kurag. Kurag insists that, if he agrees to this alliance on the terms of one extra month per part-sidhe goblin brought over, Merry and her boys bed whomever he offers. Siun is part sidhe, so she'd be on the roster, so to speak.
Doyle calls bullshit and says that's not fair. Even an alliance shouldn't mean they have to sleep with whoever wants it.
Kurag says he's being generous. Doyle calls bullshit again.
Kurag tries a different tack--he implies that Siun is the product of a Sidhe raping a goblin. Rhys calls bullshit and says that Siun boasted that her mother had raped her Sidhe father. I honestly have to say, I haven't seen the word "rape" be used so much in an LKH book before. Kudos to her, but damn.
Finally Merry stops everything and agrees to the deal. Doyle agrees to bed Siun. Rhys says no, you can't, he's sworn a blood-oath to kill the thing the next time he saw her in person. Well, that settles that. Rhys gets to try his best to kill Siun before anybody has to fuck her.
Siun then fucks herself over by scaring the utter shit out of Kitto:
- "And after I have killed Rhys," Siun said, "I will have his trull, my Kitto. I will ride him until he shines underneath me."
Nobody calls bullshit on this.
LKH, and a lot of other people, think that you can control how much pleasure you feel, and that if you feel pleasure at all...well, you must have wanted to. This becomes especially disturbing when Rhys shouts at Siun:
- "I told you then, and I'll tell you now. You can force yourself on me, but you can't make me enjoy it. You're a lousy lay."
However, that last shot enrages Siun, and she lunges for Rhys.
This is too much for Kitto. His undefined magic suddenly kicks on, and he drags Siun through the mirror...but only part way. She's now stuck between Goblin Town and Merry's house. And Kitto won't put her back because he's afraid opening the mirror again will let her through the rest of the way.
They spend a few minutes dithering about what to do with her...and then Rhys decides that he's going to make good on his oath. RIGHT NOW.
And something amazing happens. The book stops sucking.
Rhys wastes a minute taunting Siun. Then he orders Frost to give Kitto a sword. Kitto has displayed his magic for the first time, and Rhys knows if Kitto wants to keep his hand of power, he needs to shed blood. This must make the softer, gentler gifts a bitch to handle--I mean, what if you have something like a hand of healing? Do you have to go slaughter a chicken if you want to keep it?--but it means that Kitto is about to make a god awful mess.
Meanwhile, Merry is sitting over in a corner, watching and making no comments whatsoever. This scene might as well be a third person scene, for all the emotional investment Merry is giving it. And because it has nothing to do with LKH's self-insert, and everything to do with the two men here, the scene is good. At one point Kitto is struggling to advance on Siun and Merry starts to rescue him...and Doyle stops her, because this is Kitto's shit, it has to be Kitto's shit, and she needs to sit down and butt the fuck out.
And then there is one single paragraph of perfect awesome.
Siun is still alive, even though she's now in lots of itty bitty pieces. Kitto can't kill her. She is, literally, immortal. Rhys walks up to her, touches her, and tells her to die. She does. Rhys has his godhead back, and he's a death-god. Probably not the person you want to maim. And it's creepy, it's chilling, and it makes all the romantic pronouncements afterwards have decent weight to them.
THIS IS THE SHIT WE COME HERE TO READ. It's exciting, it's emotionally engaging, the overtones are cool, and it's chilling as fuck. The failing here is not in the scene itself, it's in all the utter, worthless garbage before it. The questionable consent issues, the victim blaming, the fact that Kitto looks twelve, the "They're brown but not human brown" racism around Doyle and the other brown boy-toy. When LKH takes three seconds to stop kissing her self-insert's ass, she can still write a good scene.
The problem I have with LKH is not that I think she's a terrible writer. I think that L. Ron Hubbard is a terrible writer. I google Stephenie Meyer sometimes to make sure the woman is NOT coming out with a new book anytime soon (so far, so good) and whoever decided Fifty Shades of Gray should have seen the world outside of FanFiction.net should probably sue their lobotomist because twenty page e-mail exchanges are not exciting reads. LKH is a decent-to-passable writer who can, when motivated, piece together enough good scenes to make a good book. Her problem is that she is unable to tell a good idea from a bad one on her own, and she has systematically removed every single person who could do the job for her from her life. This is why the same person who could write a scene like this--a newly restored god of death killing the everloving fuck out of his own rapist--is writing scenes where two major characters get glued together by their own bodily fluids. Is it a good scene? Not particularly. There's probably a lot of issues I can't focus on because the preceeding chapters burned me out. But it's a damn sight better than anything else in the book, and it's interesting. It makes me more interested in Rhys as a person, in Kitto as a person.
The reason anti-fans keep reading LKH when her book quality is so abysmal is we know she can do better, we resent that she won't, and we're kind of mourning the fact that a book that contains scenes like this can't manage to be any better.
She also has the timing of a broken clock. This chapter should end here. It's done. But instead, it goes on for several pages. A celtic god of death just got his powers back...and instead of actually letting us focus on that, and how utterly bad that could be--or good and awesome--LKH has to shift things over to how much Merry Loves Galen.
He's green. It's boring. Let's skip it.
Next up: This is not actually their house. This is not really mentioned in any of these chapters, but they're living with Maeve Reed. I guess LKH's copypasta doesn't extend to descriptions of actual places. Maeve has just come home. Her husband has died in the months between this and the last book, and she's pregnant via Merry's fertility spell, the last time she'll ever have a baby with her dead husband. The studio execs that she works for want her to have an abortion because she won't be able to make her next movie if she's pregnant.
In a rare case, I agree with Merry 100%; these guys are a bunch of assholes. Maeve is inconsolable, so Merry heads off to comfort her.
End of chapter.