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Search tags: Slut-Shaming
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review 2019-01-02 17:37
Fun Series Marred by Unrelenting Girl-Hate
Halfway to the Grave - Jeaniene Frost
One Foot in the Grave - Jeaniene Frost

CW: rape & slut-shaming

 

Though the Night Huntress series is pretty basic urban fantasy -- a half vampire lady stalks the streets at night to stake the undead threat -- there's enough little twists to keep it interesting. Our night huntress is the product of rape, and everything she knows about vampires come from her vampire-hating mother, which isn't much, or just plain trial and error. She meets up with a Master Vamp (named Bones ugh) after trying to stake him in a bar. After he disarms her with laughable ease, Bones proposes they team up to hunt vamps of his choosing, and he'll train her not to get killed. She thinks she's being real clever when she agrees to this while plotting to kill him at the end of the training period. Inevitably, they hook up. &c. 

 

I sort of let this slide in the first book, but boy does Cat shit on other girls. But I thought, she's maybe 18, and has been raised by an embittered mother who tells her she looks just like her father, who is a rapist. Mom sends her out to get killed on the regular, using her as a revenge proxy. Her mother seems to punish her daughter for her father's sin, so it made psychological sense to me that a girl raised without much affection and as the product of rape would be all "slut" this and "whore" that. By the second book, though, there's a big time jump, Cat is adulting pretty well, and seems to understand her mother's deep failings as a parent while maintaining a relationship with clear boundaries. 

 

And yet, the girl-hate only deepens, at times seeming to warp the behavior of many of the female characters. A variety of lady vamps from Cat's paramour's past show up through the novel, and they are all bombshells who spend their time crawling all over Bones or reminiscing about all the threesomes (or fivesomes!) they had with Bones back in the day. They are ridiculous misogynist caricatures, and not even relying on the more fun sexist tropes like Ice Queen or Hitchcock Blonde; they're just Slut Trash. Bones is not criticized for catting about in his youth, natch. 

 

Cat's inner and outer monologue is basically WHORE BITCH DIE, and this is passed off as "vampire possessiveness." Which, no. From all evidence, vampires screw around a lot, and without a lot of regard for gender norms. If they were sexually possessive, they would not be leaping into big fuckpiles all the time. (Indeed, the vampire penchant for fuckpiling is used at least twice as a plot point.) The concept of "vampire possessiveness" is inserted into the text so Cat (and by extension, the reader) can feel ok with how much she hates other women. It does not come up, either in word or deed, at any other point in the plot. 

 

Admittedly, Cat now has a woman friend on whom she does not shit, so not all of the female characters are treated this way. (And there's her mom, but that's obviously a whole other thing.) But it was a common enough element of the books that I began to sour on Cat. She regularly is required to dress up in "slut gear" (I think she calls it "slut gear") to lure male vamps to their deaths, so there's this weird acting out of the very thing she castigates other women for. Cat may look like all those other slutty sluts, but of course she is Not Like Other Girls™. 

 

Cat is a fun character: a hard-drinking hard case who is way more naive that she pretends. What I've read of Frost's later books don't have this girl-hating element in them, so maybe it's just Cat, like girl-hating is just part of her personality or whatever. Maybe Frost isn't in control enough of her first person (yet, these are her first novels) to delineate the thoughts of the character from the parameters of the world. (That's the standard objection when a reader criticizes the actions of a character, anyway: that I can't tell the difference between what the character thinks and what the author does.)

 

However, given the stated behavior of the slutty sluts, which are objective acts and not subjective opinion, that is not the case: the world works like Cat says it does. Which is to say, most women are oversexed and duplicitous by nature, except for Mom and Designated BFF. Put another way, women are slutty sluts whether Cat calls them that or not; this characterization of women is baked into the world, not one character's worldview. 

 

I just ... can we not? Can we not enact girl-hating and slut-shaming in girl pulp for girls? Don't we get enough of that hot garbage in real life? When I read escapism, I want to motherfucking escape. That gets hard when I keep running right into the same misogynist trash fire that is so vigorously burning in the world today. This is legitimately a fun series, but I just don't feel like pushing past the girl-hating at this point in time. Happy New Year! 

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review 2016-10-15 08:57
Fifteen-year-old me would've loved this.
Marrying Mister Perfect (Reality Romance Book 1) - Lizzie Shane

Thirty-something me has no patience for gutless heroines pining after oblivious idiots.

 

I still love tropes pining and angst, but first give me a character I can stand to watch pine. Give me someone who isn't afraid of living and going after something she wants and give me a real reason why she should pine in silence instead. Don't give me "for four years she was his doormat and loved every second of it because of his kids." 

 

The rating wavered between one and two stars, but I've read worse. Much worse. 

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review 2016-07-31 18:05
Inception for bad books
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood,Margaret Atwood

...maybe you'll climb out of it at some point but the smart ones drive off the bridge right at the beginning.

 

Oh, wow. That turned out more meta than I intended.

 

Anyhoo. The first chapter is called The Bridge, it's only two pages long and it's the only good chapter in this book of 521 pages. There were a handful of good observations or amusing passages here or there, but nothing resembling a coherent, well written, good story. And I wasted all three weeks of my holiday reading it. So. Boring.

 

I have an itch to read The Handmaid's Tale at some point, so I won't say I won't be reading Atwood ever again. But it's a close thing.

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review 2016-07-19 21:00
Sweet as Sin
Sweet as Sin (Bad Habit Book 1) - J.T. Geissinger
I think this says a lot about why this book was just okay for me: "My hands were flattened against his bare chest as I tried to push him away. "I don't want to." "Such a fuckin liar," he whispered. Before I could react, he lowered his mouth to mine."
Nico was mostly an overbearing asshole with semi-sweet moments. Kat was opinionated, and while funny at times, I thought some of her comments were flat-out mean. I will say this, there was a lot going on that I didn't expect (r/t Nico's secret).
 
 

 

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review 2016-05-12 21:52
AH-MAH-Zing!
Shadow of the Sun - Laura Kreitzer

A fan of Russian roulette? Craving for something more dangerous?

 

FEAR NOT! I have the drinking game for you!

 

You need to buy roughly as much alcohol as you'd normally consume in two years. Then double it and add few bottles extra. Looks better, but you should really make two more trips and you'll be set!

 

Pick a copy of Shadow of the Sun by Laura Kreitzer. Audiobook not necessary but Tavia Gilbert's voice will help you along in those short moments between sips.

 

Start drinking.

 

Listen to the first chapter and choose your phrases. As tempting as it might be, I suggest avoiding words "my mind" and "my brain" for your health. You don't want to pass out during chapter two, do you? Also smirking and all instances where Gabriella (B-Ella for those closest to her) is a horrible person or tells a 'cute' factoid of herself should be reserved for advanced players only.

 

Listen to chapter three and call for the ambulance.

 

Drink. Listen and drink.

 

Listen to chapter five and pass out.

 

Regain consciousness, take some hair of the dog and start counting ways this story is really nothing more than a Twilight fanfiction with Angels and worse writing.

 

Put Tavia Gilbert's magical voice on double speed and try to hold your fatty breakfast inside.

 

Keep listening. Your morning migraine will pale in comparison.

 

Drink some more.

 

I assume by this point you're somewhere around chapter ten. Stop and save yourself. I didn't and I'm telling you what comes after isn't worth your time, health or sanity.

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