Methinks I Need to Safeword

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family, Reading | Posted on 05-09-2008

5

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, 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 assertive, either, though—she’s unhealth­ily aggres­sive.

Review: Selene by Lilith Saintcrow

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 28-08-2008

0

Selene Selene by Lilith Saint­crow

My review

I was just as annoyed with this lit­tle 5‑chapter novel­la as I was by the bit that was in an anthol­o­gy—Hot­ter Than Hell, maybe? We get a good idea of who Selene is, a glimpse of Niko­lai, and lot of Selene being an utter­ly ungrate­ful bitch to him, hot sex, and NO res­o­lu­tion in the plot. None. At. All. Blah.

Edit­ed: I’m informed that this isn’t just a novel­la, and that it is still being released. So I’ll wait and review the whole thing when it’s done, if it is inter­est­ing enough to read. What I said so far is absolute­ly true—Selene is a bitch and Niko­lai is inex­plic­a­bly devot­ed to her—but that seems to be part of Saint­crow’s for­mu­la. Maybe there will be more plot soon.

Review: The Watcher Series by Lilith Saintcrow

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 25-08-2008

3

Mindhealer (Watcher, Book 5) Mind­heal­er by Lilith Saint­crow

My review


rat­ing: 3 of 5 stars
I’m actu­al­ly review­ing all five of the Watch­er books. They’re quite short—novella length, really—and very much inter­re­lat­ed (espe­cial­ly the first four). I read all of them in about a day and a half, despite doing oth­er things. I do advise tak­ing them all in row, which is the equiv­a­lent of read­ing one “nor­mal” nov­el.

Dark Watch­er opens in San­ti­a­go City (aka Saint City), with a quar­tet of witch­es. Mind­heal­er is the only book that takes place out­side of San­ti­a­go City, which seems to be the pri­ma­ry set­ting for all of Saint­crow’s nov­els (from what I’ve read in their descrip­tions).

Theodo­ra, earth witch and heal­er, runs the Caul­dron, an occult book and sup­ply store. Mari­amne Niege (water witch, prog­nos­ti­ca­tor) and Elise Nichol­son (fire witch) work for her in addi­tion to being, respec­tive­ly, a grad­u­ate stu­dent and a musi­cian. Suzanne (air witch, I don’t believe we ever learn her last name) is Elise’s fos­ter moth­er and their teacher, some­thing of a high priest­ess to the lit­tle group.

The four women know that they’re psy­chic and that “mag­ick” is real. They don’t know that they are “Light­bringers,” that there are groups and crea­tures in the world that hunt them, or that a group called Cir­cle Light­fall trains and sends out “Watch­ers” to pro­tect (and recruit) Light­bringers in order to coun­ter­bal­ance the dark­ness in the world.

Watch­ers are for­mer­ly wicked men with some psy­chic tal­ents who have been giv­en a chance to redeem them­selves. They are bond­ed with a tanak, a dark sym­biote that gives them super­nat­ur­al speed, strength, heal­ing pow­er, and longevi­ty. The tanak also makes it pos­si­ble for them to sense dark­ness, but it caus­es the Watch­ers to expe­ri­ence pain when­ev­er they’re around Light­bringers.

The catch is that for every Watch­er, there is one Witch whose pres­ence and touch will be intense­ly plea­sur­able instead of tor­tur­ous. The hope of find­ing that one witch is what keeps each Watch­er going, fight­ing and sur­viv­ing hor­rif­ic wounds for one chance at hap­pi­ness.

The use of the tired soul­mate meme (though that spe­cif­ic word is nev­er used) is annoy­ing, and it detracts from what is oth­er­wise a fair­ly orig­i­nal con­cept. The fact that there are only male Watch­ers, though there are a few (most­ly queer) male light­bringers, is a big­ger dis­ap­point­ment. The rea­son­ing giv­en is that women do not have the vicious­ness to kill with­out hes­i­ta­tion. That’s sim­plis­tic, at best. Male light­bringers are also paint­ed as weak­er than females, and that, in com­bi­na­tion with the pedestal upon which Watch­ers place Light­bringers, unbal­ances the nov­els.

Theodo­ra is the main sub­ject of the first book. Mari­amne is the focus of Storm Watch­er. Fire Watch­er, of course, is pri­mar­i­ly about Elise. We meet a new air witch, Anya Har­ris, in Cloud Watch­er. And final­ly, Mind­heal­er is about Caro Rob­bins, whose broth­er plays a small part in Fire Watch­er.

The books should cer­tain­ly be clas­si­fied as romances first, although they do have very strong para­nor­mal themes. Every book fol­lows the clas­sic romance nov­el for­mu­la. The fact that I kept read­ing despite my dis­like of romances is a tes­ta­ment to Saint­crow’s tal­ent.

I sus­pect that the author either is pagan, or is very famil­iar with pagan prac­tices. The rit­u­als in each nov­el are nice­ly done, and I would­n’t be sur­prised to hear peo­ple using some of the invo­ca­tions used in Cir­cle.

I do have to pro­pose the Watch­er drink­ing game. Take a shot every time there’s any men­tion of treat­ing a Watch­er “dread­ful­ly,” and every time a Watch­er moans about how unwor­thy he is to be in the pres­ence of a Light­bringer. You’ll be past notic­ing any for­mu­lae in no time!

View all my reviews.

Review: Hotter Than Hell

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 04-07-2008

1


Hot­ter Than Hell, the lat­est “Hell” anthol­o­gy is edit­ed and has an intro­duc­tion by Kim Har­ri­son. I don’t know if the sex­i­er trend is her choice, a response to mar­ket demands, or some­thing else again.

The anthol­o­gy is thick­er than most, with longer pieces–short novellas?–by each of the 13 authors. I read a copy from the library, but it’s one of the few antholo­gies that I’d con­sid­er worth the $7.99 cov­er price.