I’m about 3/4 of the way through The Devil’s Right Hand by Lilith Saintcrow—3rd of 5 or 6 books in the Dante Valentine series—and I don’t think I can take any more.
I want to know how the story ends. I really like some of the characters. I just can’t stand the main character! She’s a total harridan. I’m starting to think that Saintcrow is incapable of writing a female protagonist who isn’t set to the highest bitch levels at all times, especially with anyone who is nice to her. What are this woman’s personal relationships like, I wonder?
When I was in 10th grade, a new girl moved to my neighborhood. We quickly became close friends. A few months into our friendship, I remember her saying something about me and my friends being “so passive.” What? That is not an adjective I had ever imagined anybody had ever used in reference to me or the people I hung out with. We were all pretty opinionated, intelligent, and talented, and most of us were somewhat prickly in one way or another. Not doormats, pushovers, or “passive” people.
We didn’t fight, which, to her, meant passivity. I tried to explain that we could disagree without fighting, and knew the difference between debates and arguments, but we never did see eye to eye on that issue. I’m sure that a major difference in our family backgrounds had a lot to do with her perceptions. In her family, screaming was a daily occurrence, after which the air was cleared and all was well. In mine, raised voices meant physical violence. If someone raised his voice anywhere near me, I expected violence, and the whole fight-or-flight thing started. I never considered wasting energy by yelling back. If she heard yelling, she’d wade right in and yell back fearlessly. (I’m pretty sure that she wasn’t ever hit in anger, probably not ever hit at all by a family member.)
I’m not going to be friends with someone who is constantly picking fights with me or anyone else. I have zero interest in argument for the sake of argument. What’s the point? I value my peace too much for that, so combative, aggressive people quickly get an invitation to the world when I encounter them.
I think that friend might relate to Saintcrow’s female characters. Valentine sure as hell isn’t passive. She can’t manage assertiveness, either, though—she’s unhealthily aggressive.