Okay, so:

Closer to Home: Book One of Herald Spy by Mercedes Lackey.

Before I say this, I want to review the following: I have with only moderate irony liked these books. They were cracky and I took a very weird pleasure in reading them and reviewing them. I mean, keep that as the baseline here.

I finished the last in roughly four hours, and this is not only not fun, it's embarrassing, uncomfortable, and shitty in all ways and seriously, I don't believe Mercedes Lackey wrote this. At all.

Over one third of the book is a fucking earnest honest to God rewrite of Romeo and Juliet, complete with the fucking shitty Nurse, and I don't mean in the remix/deconstruction/parody level or even someone who understand what stories are or how words work. This is a rewrite in which a fourteen year old girl, Violetta (Juliet) is slut shamed for daydreaming and called a female dog bitch by her dad and Brand (Romeo) magically teh last few pages becomes a psychopath who tries to kill a miniature dog.

I want to repeat this--Brand, who until this point was kind of a careless Romeo-esque--tried to kill a tiny dog because he's actually evil and was actually plotting all this time to marry Violetta and kill all of both their families. Because reasons.

This is horrible, earnest, honest to god This Is How It Should Have Happened Let This Teach You a Lesson About Being Romantic and Violetta--fourteen, people, she acts like a little girl who likes to read romantic poetry--is fucked over and lectured by everyone, but that's okay because Amily is going to empower her or something and teach her fighting skills.

This is a bad, bad, terribly written book period, with a bad, bad, bad plotline and I don't know what I read but I hate it. There is nothing--and I do mean nothing--that makes this worth reading and I wish I hadn't; this is actually causing me issues with Valdemar and I unironically love all things Valdemar. That was uncomfortable as shit just to read, and thinking about it is gross. Whoever ghostwrote this should never be allowed near a keyboard ever.

Dude, even Todd McCaffrey's butchering of Pern didn't bother me this much. Shitty horrific sure, but it didn't cause active nausea.

I don't think I've loathed a book like this before quite so much. I feel betrayed. The person who wrote about Kerowyn and Talia and Tarma and even the later icky Elspeth is not the person who wrote this.

I need a drink. I actually want to see if I can forget this one.
Bastion: Book Five of the Collegium Chronicles by Mercedes Lackey appeared on my Kindle Tuesday morning, to my unutterable delight in all things that are Mags and his deeply uncomfortable relationship with his Companion Dallen.

Earlier Collegium reviews
Foundation: Book One of the Collegium Chronicles
Redoubt: Book Four of the Collegium Chronicles

Maybe covering some stuff below. There is like, eighty percent less action and while the crack is high, the variety for our delectation is not.

spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers )
Just to say, I totally called it: Bastion: Book Five of the Collegium Chronicles. Mark your calendar: October 1, 2013. Preorder! I did.

My review of Redoubt: Book Four of the Collegium Chronicles - I won't rehash the majesty of the deeply uncomfortable chemistry between a boy and his Companion that makes Lavan and his goddamn lifebonded Companion Kaliera seem almost chaste, which is hard since there's at least one point in that particular novel where Lavan thinks quite literally how he'd totally be the proverbial pacing daddy-to-be when Kaliera gave birth to her abomination against the Havens sprog, yes, that was in that goddamn novel, but still.

Mags and Dallen are like when you are trapped in a windowseat at a loud party where you went to get away from it all and two unattractively drunk people start having awkward and unsanitary sex in front of the door and the window is shatterproof glass so not like you can gratefully jump to your death, but okay, wait. Wait. Eventually--when you realize sanity is for wimps and people who won't have nightmares about this for the rest of their lives--it becomes the best thing ever. It's not even voyeurism at that point; that implies what you feel isn't the diametric opposite of pleasure and is more on the order of popping a very stubborn pimple or maybe fixing a dislocated shoulder--the pain is there, but you're crazy--I mentioned that, right?--so whatever, bring on the zoophilic bondage mind-control, it's like Christmas if you never heard of it before and got the concept from a DIY manual on How to Make a Holiday More Sadistic (No Safe Word Required!) For Dummies.

To prepare myself, I went back to review my Lackey novels, and this is random, but for years, I've wondered what this mean:

Background:
The White Gryphon, when Shalaman (who hunts lions, God, why do we not have a book about Shalaman?) proposes completely unexpectedly to Silver Veil:

She did not feign surprise, nor did she affect a coy shyness. She was too complex for the former and too honest for the latter. But her eyes lit up with a joy that told him everything he needed to know [...] Her joy was doubled by the fact that she never truly expected to have that heart's desire fulfilled.


The definition of surprise--and I've only been speaking and reading and writing English my entire life here, so correct me if I'm wrong--involves something unexpected happening to you. How the hell is anyone too complex for surprise? What does that even mean? Is that like an emotional level-up? Level 56 Human Emotions, you now possess the emotion known as Complex, which ups your Surprise to Level 45 when confronted with the unexpected and you no longer actually feel it?

I have no idea why this haunts me, but years, years wondering how to achieve Complex. Dude, I'd love that. "Dude, you heard about Seperis getting Complex? Evolution in action! No longer feels surprise and kills demons with one blow of her Disdain." That's a terrible example, but it's 10:33 and I burned through the entire Gryphon trilogy in like, a day.

Note: By the Sword is, weirdly enough, still the one Lackey novel I love without even a pretense of irony, because it's a goddamn awesome novel. I honestly think that it's her best. I love Kerowyn, and I still go back to it whenever I want to read about an awesome, not faultless heroine who grows up and legitimately changes due to maturity and hindsight who has no abusive rapey childhood, random-ass bouts of torture, who can balance duty and responsibility and carve a happy life out of it.

It's been that kind of a week.
Have finished Redoubt, the fourth book in the Foundation series and huh.

Series
1.) Foundation
2.) Intrigues
3.) Changes
4.) Redoubt

I'm covering major plot points below, cutting.

spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers )
Reading Foundation by Mercedes Lackey, about early Valdemar.

interesting )
Surfacing from work, work, God, work....

Notes on the Mage Storm trilogy.

1.) If you read The Mage Storm trilogy, Karal will desensitize you to Mary Sues forever. I mean, to put it this way; I like Lavan now. I like Lavan Fucks-a-Horse and Firesong Loves-Reflection-Too-Much so much my heart beats for them. Myste seems a well-rounded, realistic character. They aren't Karal. Who seriously should have died in a fire, and I swear I forgave Firesong everything ever for perpetuity for hating him. Just. DIAF.

2.) Now I remember why I stopped reading the Mage Storms trilogy. That was a nightmare. But Tremane made it worth it.

3.) If Elspeth and Gwena could be more smug and self-satisfied, I'm pretty sure they would explode.

4.) For a woman whose people sent demons after other people for fun, Solaris et al have an awful lot of self-righteous rage for Tremane assassinating Ulrich, who was also a demon caller and you know, I bet he might have like, sent them after people. You know, since that was his job and how he got his special robe and all.

5.) An'desha - die in a fire. You were so annoying when you got all 'healed' which seemed to mean 'being a dick and whining a lot' and 'being a dick and smug about it' and 'being a dick because you are finding a Higher Spiritual Plane'.

6.) Seriously. They brought back Tarma from the dead to talk about how awesome Karal was. I--what? Are you kidding me?

7.) Irony--Elspeth bringing assassins to assassinate Tremane for--assassinating people. Weird--no one seemed to think that was strange.

Notes on The Last Herald Mage:

Vanyel is awesome. I mean, this could be because Karal brain damaged me, but that's okay, you know why? Vanyel isn't Karal. Also, because only Vanyel could have a twink half his age with tons of sexual experience panting after him and not like, notice. And then when he does? Angsts about it. Oh Vanyel.

Final Notes:

Why is there no hate Karal groups? We need one. I want to join it. TEN WAYS KARAL DIES AND THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE.

This has been a message from me and my Kindle bonding.
Okay, so book report.

I read (or re-read) the following over the last two weeks:

(re-read, six or eight years since last reading)
Winds of Fate
Winds of Change
Winds of Fury

(new, read)
Exile's Valor
Exile's Honor
Take a Thief

(new, read)
Sun in Glory

(re-read, six or eight years since last reading)
Arrows of the Queen
Arrow's Flight
Arrow's Fall

(re-read, pretty much memorized)
By the Sword

(re-read, prety much memorized)
Brightly Burning

(have read, didn't this sitting)
Oathbound
Oathbreakers
Oathblood

(have read, didn't this sitting)
Sword of Ice

Hmm, I think that's all I've read or have. I made it through part of the Mage Winds, but never finished, and a long time ago read The Gryphon trilogy, but I don't own it (yes, that's next on my purchase list) and am still avoiding The Last Herald Mage because dear God, the synopsis alone is depressing. I think I missed a couple, but feel free to enlighten me on what in Valdemar I missed.

short version; huh )

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