So I went out on a date, my first in like five months, I’m very proud of myself. I swear, I am catnip for bicurious straight dudes. We came back to my place and watched Dr Horrible and I beat him at Scrabble and sent him home. Then I settled in to read a book, and what I grabbed off the shelf was Black Blade Blues.
What follows is less of a review and more the commentary I was jotting down as I read, joined by my BFF as she wandered in drunk and started reading Judge Dredd comics for the first time. Recall that I promised to read at least 50 pages of a book before giving it up as a lost cause.
This author has odds turns of phrase — wrong turns of phrase? Like saying “trending toward” rather than “tending toward.” Might not be wrong, but it’s distracting.
This has less interesting & concrete detail than the rageprufrock fic I read earlier. (Granted, there is a reason why the woman is a BNF.) Concrete, humanizing detail is one of those things I’ve started paying attention to since Bastard out of Carolina, and this book lacks that. There is nothing in chapter 1 to make the protagonist in any way unique.
Very boring established relationship. (Did I mention that I bought this book for my BFF specifically because it was lesbian urban fantasy?)
Oh christ, forty pages before I can quit.
After having read and written a lot of third-person POV fiction lately, first-person feels… unsubtle. In general I don’t have a preference, but now I can see why some people think it’s a definite negative and possibly a deal-killer.
(Have had someone refuse Melusine because they hated first-person POV so much, which is a damn shame.)
The protagonist is a modern-day blacksmith, and some detail on the how-to of that would be interesting — everyone likes to feel like they’re learning something. Like Neal Stephenson’s Zodiac, where you learn how to be an environmental terrorist.
….christ, thirty-six pages.
Man-hating is no more attractive than woman-hating is.
Quote: “Testosterone is a poison. It takes perfectly nice guys and turns them into raving maniacs.”
……shitfuck, I don’t even know what to say to you, lady. My knee-jerk response is rude and ad hominem and doesn’t exactly elevate the debate.
Okay, engaging that line on a more intelligent level than it deserves: I think the problem has more to do with certain types of male social conditioning than with hormones. Look at prepubescent boys — they’re little shits, and you can’t blame that on testosterone.
Methinks this is going to become another in-joke around our house. Deadpan: “You may be unaware of this, but testosterone is a poison.”
Me: “I bet she thinks it’s clever.”
Me: “The writer.”
BFF: [look at book] “J.A. … Pitts?”
Me: “Which is practically code for being a lesbian writer.”
BFF: “What is this code?? I need to know this code!!”
Me: “Initials + last name.”*
BFF: “Which would make me… M.M. Payne?”
Me: “Sounds legit.”
BFF: “Mmm, pain!”
* This observation was taken from the stacks and stacks of lesbian fiction that my aunt used to leave lying around, though apparently it’s not as prevalent as I thought it was.
Me: “Okay, so the text starts on page 11…”
BFF: “Tutti frutti! PLAGUE MAN, LOOK OUT!!”
Me: “…so does that mean I can stop at page 50, or do I have to read until page 61?”
BFF: “WE DO NOT WANT THE VACCINE!! WE WANT… THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT!!”
Me: [snorfs water through nose]
BFF: “What? Come on, you’ve read this before. Surely you realized how ludicrous it was.”
Me: “Was trying hard not to.”
BFF: “I think I’ll make that my new zombie battle cry. TUTTI FRUTTIIIII!!”
27 pages off now.
23, holy shit I am so bored. Everyone is an idjit. This is like the crap I wrote in middle school.
20, and I’m fucking done.
BFF: [holds up book] “Is that a badger?”
Me: “No, that’s a rat — a flying rat.”
BFF: “Okay, I’m done.”
Every night is a party night at our house.