The Grim Company, by Luke Scull

Waste of money.

So… the title probably should have tipped me off that this was GRIMDARK GRIMDARK, but all the cover blurbs (from reputable sources!) raved about how it was “fun” and had a “great sense of humor,” so apparently I’d concluded that the title must be sort of ironic.

Yeah no. Clumsy prose, laden with telling-not-showing, punctuated by tedious infodumps; a monotonously grim and dark setting; every character going out of their way to be unlikeable; seasoned with a dash of sexism and homophobia. I’d pick out examples of what is evidently supposed to constitute a “great sense of humor” but it’s pretty cringe-worthy.

Apparently I have the same problem with grimdark that I have with urban fantasy — that I can’t stop myself from reading it, but never like it much when I do. And I haven’t worked out entirely why that is, though I’ve been circling that question for a while now. Cuz I like the Ye Olde Medieval Fantasylandia setting. I like magic and mayhem and plots with Epic Stakes, I like dystopias. I’m not a prude, about sex or violence, though I find them both pretty uninteresting without context. I don’t have the triggers that grimdark tries to set off about once per page. So why do they never deliver what I want?

I realized while I was writing this that I never got around to finishing up the post I’d started on Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death, which is not grimdark, but might be considered a foil to it. It sparked the beginnings of a revelation on what it is specifically about this modern crop of novels — the ones that inspired the coining of the term “grimdark” — that makes them different from earlier fantasy stories with a similar body count. Saving my thoughts on that for a longer, more organized post.

Anyway, at 20.6% of the way through Grim Company the plot was finally starting to become mildly interesting, but not enough to merit slogging through all that other bullshit, so I abandoned it.

Spring Cleaning I: “The Way of Shadows” & threats of sexual violence

Greetings, my fellow queer literates!

I haven’t actually fallen off the face of the earth, I’ve just started — of all things — a business selling fetish gear and am actually turning a profit. It’s kind of surreal. It’s also consuming all of my free time, which is why I haven’t had time to read anything except nonfiction books with titles like Online Marketing for Small Business Owners, and even less time to blog about it.

But! Books are my first love and I miss discussing them with y’all folks, so here’s the game: I found a bunch of half-finished writing-about-reading posts that I’d started and then shelved when I couldn’t hammer them into coherent essays. The plan had been to come back and polish them at some later point, but, well, once I’ve moved on to newer and shinier things that’s not likely to happen. So I’m going to be doing a round-up, wrapping up my not-entirely-streamlined essays and tossing them online for public discussion. Your two cents are always welcome! :D

Today’s post is about The Way of Shadows, by Brent Weeks, and how much it pissed me off. If rape is a sensitive issue for you, you may want to skip this one, because WoS fucking button-mashes it.

"THROW HIM TO THE SODOMITES!" and other gems