Monday, November 17, 2014

Stroke of Midnight 16

What's this? Has a random countdown appeared? Yes. I am committing to a date, and that means lots of energy and work and all sorts of other wonderful things. 

Taking a brief break from Elsie to work on other projects, but I figured we might as well keep LKH going.

We have yet to have a single law enforcement officer see the body of the dead human. We are sixteen chapters into this book.

Meanwhile, we've managed to have a full blown sex scene and a lot of making out. So at least we know where the author's priorities lie.

It was almost as if the chalice didn’t want to leave me alone to solve the murders. The cup pulsed so hard that it made me gasp.
So apparently the cup is a lot like a penis. It's tumescent and it keeps getting in the way of the plot. The cup keeps sending orgasmic little thrills through Merry, and the guards who didn't see the cup are all like "WTF IS WRONG WITH HER" and the ones who did are like "NOTHING TO SEE HERE MOVE ALONG"

Meanwhile, Random Boy Toy A has eyes that are...special.

His eyes were not the three rings of color common among the sidhe, but a spiral painted in lines of color, with his pupil at the heart of the design. As a child I’d once asked him how he could see out of them, and he had smiled and replied that he did not know.
The same way you can see out of a spiral contact lens. In fact, probably better. 'cause his iris can contract and a colored contact can't. Also, I swear to god the first time I read that I went "he has heart shaped pupils" and I threw up in my mouth a little.

Everybody smells apples, and Merry brings the chalice out where everyone can see it, just as if we hadn't spent the last several chapters discussing how ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT it is to keep the goddamn thing hidden. Everybody gasps. Ivy says that they should be making Merry queen and not "playing copper" even though I think he's about three hundred years too old for that slang to come casually. The cup pulsates again. Then this happens:

“You just want to fuck her ,” Dogmaela said, and she made it sound like a dirty thing. An unusual attitude among any fey.

LKH's special brand of slut shaming. It's slutty clothes, unless the main character is wearing them, or its dating multiple men, unless the main character is dating them, and generally any kind of sex at all, unless the main character is having it. It's less double standard and more "I have no self awareness whatsoever, pass the condoms".

I looked up at his face, so carefully arrogant. “Are you saying I should take time out of solving a double homicide to have sex?”


Everyone talks about how much they want to have sex. And whose desire to have sex is strongest. It's like a philosophical dick measuring contest. Then Amatheon and a couple of the others start down-talking Merry's mortal heritage because Prejudice Allegory, which is now incredibly squicky for me because this series is set in fucking St. Louis. So Merry gives Amatheon a hug, aaaaand we're having sex now.

I stood in the middle of a huge, barren plain. Amatheon was still pressed to my waist, his head buried against my body. I wasn’t certain that he knew anything had changed.

One of the bizzare side-effects of LKH's unwillingness to use either "penis" or "vagina" in her writing is I have no idea if this is actual sex or not. Merry becomes the stand-in for the Goddess again, and starts telling Amatheon that she (the Goddess) has never left them--even though they're making out in the middle of a barren plain, which doesn't exactly scream "Divine Blessings."

I understood then that if one tear felt so good to the land, then other body fluids would feel even better.

You have no idea how much dread this one sentence filled me with. Then it became clear that Amatheon wants to give his blood to the land, and not his semen.

...Dude. The cops are RIGHT THERE. Okay, they're upstairs, but they are here on campus, they'll be back real soon, and you are offering to let your princess take your blood. THIS IS NOT A SMART THING.

And then the Goddess tries to talk Merry into killing Amatheon.

Her voice came from my lips again. “He will not die as men die, but as the corn dies. To rise again, and feed his people.”

He's not motherfucking John Barleycorn. This is a bad idea. This is a very, very, very bad idea.

“But this is not real death. This is vision and dream.


“Will you leave the land barren?” the voice said, out of my mouth.
The bizzare thing about LKH's writing is she keeps having scenes like this, where the heroine knows that there's something wrong with this shit. Merry knows that human sacrifice isn't the smartest thing to do right now. Anita knows it's a bad idea to screw London/Richard/All the wereswans ever because the consent is iffy and it'll probably be a rape. But some higher power--Jean Claude, the Goddess, the MOAD--then talks the main character into it because Laurel K. Hamilton wants this to happen and screw anybody who says "UH HELLO, THERE ARE COPS UPSTAIRS."

And then the Goddess begins chewing Merry out for trying to investigate the murders instead of having sex.

Laurel, this is YOUR PLOT. Do you know what you do when you do not like your plot? THROW IT OUT AND START OVER. YOU are the writer. YOU get to make the plot be what you want it to be. Oh, and by the way? Airing out your issues over your writing IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FUCKING BOOK is not a very smart thing to do. You hate plot. Great. Write porn. Admit that you like writing porn and write fucking porn. You will not die. Bolts of lightening will not rain down from heaven and incinerate you. You can be honest with yourself and your audience. It's not gonna hurt you.

But DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT promise us a murder investigation plot a la early Anita and then bitch your character out for trying to follow through with it. If I want a bait and switch I'll go to a mega church during fundraiser week.

“I do not mean Cromm Cruach’s true name, I mean these deaths. They will be reborn, Child. Why do you mourn them so? Even true death is not an ending. Others can find your murderers and clues, but there are duties that only you can perform, Meredith, only you..” “And what exactly would those duties be?” She motioned at Amatheon . “Make my land live.”


“He is a willing sacrifice, Meredith . There is no evil here.”
I'd draw connections with "you can't rape the willing" and how utterly fucking stupid both these statements are, but I think I'd get eviscerated.

And then the Goddess sighs happily, because it was all a dream test.


On the other hand

That means that all of this--the tree shit, the stuff with the cup, the conversation with Amatheon and the Goddess--is a motherfucking non-event, and LKH has, once again, wasted our time.

Meanwhile, it's time for our dose of quasi-pagan pretentiousness! Courtesy of 20+ Kindle Highlighters, here we go:

“I did not stop speaking to my people, they stopped listening to me, and after a time, they could no longer hear my voice. But I never stopped speaking to them. In dreams, or that moment between waking and sleep, there is my voice. In a song, the touch of another’s hand in theirs, I am there. I am Goddess, I am everywhere, and in everything. I cannot leave, nor can you lose me. But you can leave me, and you can turn your back on me.”
Yes, folks. Goddess doesn't leave you, you leave Goddess.

Either LKH is talking about the unnamed Wiccan Lady (which is Oathbound material and not something you can easily find, which shows how seriously Wiccans take their Oathbound shit) in which case DAMN the Wiccan Lady is an awful lot like Protestant Jesus, or she's talking about that general, quasi-Celtic-and-Greek-with-a-pinch-of-Native-Culture, all-encompassing Goddess figure that certain brands of paganism (coughfluffybunnycough) like to embrace. In which case WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. 

Even the Christian God "turns his face away", albeit from really awful bad shit. If you believe in religion than Deity is something that gets to decide shit. And your respective Gods are fully capable of deciding that you've screwed the pooch and they don't want to play anymore. In other words, this is dehumanizing Deity.  

And for the record, NO. "Goddess" is not an all-encompassing figure. Athena is not Diana is not Kali is not Pele is not the Virgin Mary. Grow up.

“Goddess,” he said. Her voice floated to us. “Yes, Child.” “Will I see you again?” Just her voice now, young and old at the same time. “In the face of every woman you meet.” And she was gone.
I need an "Even for Dummies" book because I have forgotten how to Even. I haven't been this flabberghasted since I accidentally watched the 700 Club.

This chapter is not done yet. Why is this chapter not done yet?

He smiled, a quick flash of real humor, that made his face less perfectly handsome, but more real, more precious to my sight. “My honor was never gone, because no one can take your honor from you, not without your letting it go. I was going to say that you have given me back my honor, but I understand now.” I smiled at him. “No one can take your honor, but you can give it away.” The smile wilted around the edges. “Yes. I let fear take my honor from me.”
Ah, because we have to get even more pretension out of the way. Okay. You did it. Can we get back to the plot now?

Right. More sex.
. “I want you to ride me, to press my naked body into the dirt. I want to watch your breasts dance above me. I want to feel your body slipped over mine like a sheath to a sword.

Every time she does this I keep thinking of that (albeit problematic) scene in American Gods where the Indian goddess-figure swallows a man with her vagina. THERE IS A REASON WE HAVE THE WORD PENIS.

I put my finger on his lips and stopped him. “Let’s make the grass grow.”
It's not quite "Ride the Storm" but it'll do.

I sat up and pressed my most intimate parts against his most intimate parts, and even through all our clothes, the sensation was amazing.
What? Did you suddenly forget how a thesaurus works? Did it die? It died, didn't it. You used the poor thing so much that when you finally needed it, it had shriveled up and died. Also, am I the only one having My Immortal-esque flashbacks? "He put his thing into my you-know-what and we did it for the first time."

The chapter ends with them taking off their clothes.


  1. I don't think LKH could pull off writing actual porn. It's clear she wants to write erotic scenes, but they're such a weird mix of childishness, prudery, and fetish that they just end up as squick.

  2. So I just decided to pop back in after awhile of having not visited, seen this, and gone, "...oh wow I'd like to leave a nice long snarky comment but WOW I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN HERE"

    speaking of having been gone for awhile, I am ever so impressed that you're still doing these. You have my admiration!

  3. Oh wow - I happened to google "Caress of Twilight chapter reviews", because I'm also working my way through doing this exact same thing for the benefit/torture of my friends, and here I find you're doing it too. We are a special sort of person to force our way through this series's slog, haha.

    Anyway, your writing is excellent and and I'm really glad that someone else has done these chapter-by-chapter reviews of LKH's books. Keep on keeping on :)