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review 2014-01-19 14:26
Cervical Bruising
Rapture at Midnight - Isobelle Cate

I have never been so amused by written descriptions of sex before. This is me, paraphrasing the book:

Juliet: Verliy, for I am brought forth from Isobelle Cate's mind like Athena from Zeus's brow, for I am a new Juliet, a warrior, a hacker-of-hacks, who shall best evildoers with mine own intellect and a telescoping baton!

The Houses: Let us rape you!

Romeo: Juliet! Woe be the day that I cannot feast my eyes upon you, wretched be the night where the heady scent of your Mound of Venus doth not toucheth my rod.

Juliet: Hackety-hack. Also, my Mound of Venus doth groweth much in humidity.

Romeo: Pray, let me kiss you, for lips to nether lips do touch in holy were-vampire's true mate's kiss...

Juliet: Will thou giveth my cervix bruises?

Romeo: Verily, I shall!

The Plot: Screw you guys, I'm going home.

Juliet: Harder, Romeo! Deeper!

Romeo: The moon grows jealous of the luminescence of thine skin, my love. Also, take my cock, babe, take it!

I am far, far away from the intended audience for this book, and I knew that before I started it. 

But we should all read outside our genre from time to time. And good writing is good writing, after all, to wit, another novel (also categorized as erotica) I'm about to review got 4 stars, grudgingly, because while the subject matter, the characters, the plot and the themes had periodic nails-on-a-chalkboard effect on me, the writing was good.

Other times, I've found myself giving books 4 and 5 stars when they clearly had massive flaws. Because some development - the world, the plot, a single throwaway character - was so well-conceived-of that it was incandescent.

Unfortunately, this particular offering's only grace is that it made me chortle.

So, at first, I wasn't going to review this at all, because giving a 1-star to a work that someone has poured their heart and soul into? Cruelty is not really my norm. But then I thought: If I feel free to criticize authors I respect, authors I'm friends with in some cases, secure in the knowledge that they're adults and can handle it, and that they know my critique is no statement about them as people, then the only thing keeping me from eviscerating a stranger is cowardice.

Portions of cowardice still remains - the four paragraphs of justification before the review even starts. So.

The plot has so many holes in it, not even Donald Trump would donate it to Goodwill. The primary story device - a man is searching for his daughter kidnapped by his ex-wife, and our heroine is helping him. She's helping him by "hacking" into various corporations. One of these corporations is shady and strange, and she hacks into them and their programs contain "symbols", and they suddenly become her clients....wait, what? The thought-process for the MC's job/money process seems to be:

Step 1: "Hack" an organization
Step 2: ????
Step 3: organization becomes client, PROFIT!


Step 1: "Hack" an organization
Step 2: ????
Step 5: Kidnapped daughter is found!

Note that I've refrained from critiquing specific instances that make me think "this person doesn't know how 'hacking', software or, indeed, corporations work". I let James Bond slide, I'm letting this slide. People that know me know what a valiant effort this is ;)

The Immortal Werewolf/Vampire part of this seems mildly more thought-out. Ancient feud, a few bones thrown to various mythological constructs, hunky men looking for their mates. To, you know, mate with.

That's OK, I knew what I was getting into before I started. It's a linear variant of the "find the bad guy, confront, flee, repeat" plot. No demerits for this, can't go wrong with linear.

Okay, on to characters.

There aren't any. 

There's a filled-in character sheet from those writerly self-help books, complete with "hobbies" and "pet peeves" and "favourite color", attached to a functional penis and vagina.

And the Big Bad?

Nothing says it better than this book itself:

In all his immortal life no one had bested him...He had the best evil geniuses in his pockets and they took the fall for him.

Evil geniuses. Used in all sincerity and seriousness. I still don't let myself dwell on that too much, for fear of guffawing so hard the neighbors call an ambulance.

Also, on the same page:

He had imprisoned many Christians in those cells before feeding them to forcibly starved and voraciously hungry beasts for the entertainment of the Romans.

Also, he sells little kids into prostitution.

The author might have had better luck just rolling an appropriate D20 system's Neutral-Evil lizardman-half-orc? (still don't really know what these guys look like, beyond "muscular" and "they're smelly" and glowing eyes)...Only reason I hesitate to declare him chaotic-evil is because he's been running a corporation for a while.

Recommendation: Everyone I know, personally, should read this book because it's prime drinking-game material. Everyone is invited to Hamburg for a party where I will blatantly copy a friend's drink-a-thon for 50-Shades, and provide the vodka. Because I have found something more unintentionally funny, more repetitive, and more i-need-whiskey-now-please than...than Twilight!

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/826116899
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