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~生まれた町で夢見てきた...~
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
So, after a terrible morning, I buried myself in a book for the rest of the day. 
22nd-Aug-2005 10:43 pm
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Alas, the masochistic streak in me kept me buried in what I thought was a mediocre one.

Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey
This novel is to printed matter what Cheetos are to food. Absolutely no identifiable nutritional value, no subtle pleasures for the taste buds--yet, given the entire kit and caboodle, you just can't stop consuming. We start the novel with Phèdre consumed with three issues: 1) Joscelin, 2) Hyacinthe, 3) Melisande. By the end, #1 is resolved, #2 was abandoned and left entirely to dangle, and #3...well, she's contained but still dangerous. Naturally. The novel felt over-long, and there were certain repetitive themes that resounded over and over again, and I can't say that the major twist in the plot caught me by any great surprise. I got quite tired of hearing how great Melisande was; her ísn't anywhere near as interesting the second time around, and it's rather hard to take the narrator's word for it. I was not thrilled either by Carey's slavish use of (pseudo)historical cultures and locales. It doesn't really enhance the novel but rather evinces a lack of genuine originality on the author's part. Proponents of "freedom fries" will undoubtedly LOVE to pieces how the French are scions of angels in this series to boot. I'm not one of them, but still, I mean, GOOD GRIEF. Phèdre's unexplained ability to have lots of promiscuous sex for nights on end without getting pregnant continues to irk me, as does the sex she has itself, which, in spite of her supposed unrivalved courtesan's training, always seems to begin with a blowjob. When they don't just throw her down and have their way with her immediately. *sighs* You'd think the sex scenes would be more adventurous and carefully-described, but I'm beginning to think Carey likes writing about swordfights more. The battlefields in this novel are far more interesting than the beds. Is that a good thing? ^^;;
Comments 
23rd-Aug-2005 03:13 am (UTC)
LMAO, I love how she romanticizes fight scenes. Instead of 'Joscelin gutted the dude so he bled a lot,' we get to hear how his beautiful daggers, splashed with silver as the sunlight caught their sharp edges, dance around like a rogue ballet, flicking delicate crimson here and there.

I thing Avatar has more personality than Chosen. @_@ Chosen really felt like she was trying to recover details she felt were underemphasized in Dart. Which made this book lag quite a bit. -_-; I honestly preferred Waldemar Selig to Kazan! His 'tragic story' was just not that terrible. 'Let me get this straight, you killed your brother by ACCIDENT and act like you committed the crime of the century.' Sure, a little angsty, but blargh.
23rd-Aug-2005 11:00 am (UTC)
Yeah, the romanticizing of the battles is a bit amusing. Especially considering the historical time period that she's using. People didn't do martial arts with swords back then; hack and slash really was the order of the day. ^^; I think her subsequent series involves some sort of warrior protagonist? That's probably a good idea; I just don't feel the love from her for courtesans after awhile...

Your right. Waldemar had more range of personality than Kazan, though in all honesty, I didn't care for either of them, particularly. Come to think of it, I don't feel especially attached to any of the characters, anymore. I liked Delauney in the first novel, but, well, look what happened to him. :P The riff about Phèdre's Boys in the first novel was also quite amusing...and look what happened to them! :P :P
23rd-Aug-2005 04:45 pm (UTC)
Haha, I was a big fan of Alcuin and Delauney, and yeah, I was so depressed T_T I then put my hopes on Hyacinthe (who I liked from the beginning), and bam, fate worse than death. :( I'm afraid to like a character, because they get messed up. Oh, then in Chosen, the only character I like was Fortun~~ -_-; I knew something was going to happen to him too when I started reading. Oy. *cursed*
23rd-Aug-2005 04:52 pm (UTC)
*laughs* I think it's rather scary that the only thing Carey can think to do with her best characters is kill them off one by one. (Though I would swear CLAMP loves doing that too...*coughs* Seishiro *coughs* )

I'm about 100 pages into the third book, and I can't help but notice that the prose seems to be a bit less repetitive and stiff. The plot also got down to business in under 10 pages, which was nice. I think the author is getting better at writing. Marginally, at least.
23rd-Aug-2005 05:05 pm (UTC)
Considering Kushiel's Dart was her debut novel, I absolutely agree. She's learning as she goes. :) I'm just thankful her inconsistencies and (to me, unimaginative) fetish with killing off the best characters dont deter from my overall enjoyment.
23rd-Aug-2005 05:16 pm (UTC)
Ironically, I saw not a bit of improvement from the first to second book (heck, I saw backsliding), but I did noticed marked improvement from the second to third. I wonder why? ^^; She's never going to be a great writer, but she's reaching the level of "popular" one, which is about as good as it gets for someone who writes like she does.

I'm still looking for a new great woman writer a la Ursula K. Le Guin or Tanith Lee in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but one isn't appearing. T_T
23rd-Aug-2005 06:09 pm (UTC)
Recommend me some titles, Kethylia :3
23rd-Aug-2005 06:50 pm (UTC)
Well, both Ursula K. Le Guin and Tanith Lee are hugely prolific writers, but I would recommend starting with The Left Hand of Darkness by Le Guin (about a planet of dual-gendered human beings) and the four Secret Books of Paradys by Tanith Lee (the way a dark fantasy France *should* be done!).

For what it's worth, Tanith Lee also writes some of the most beautiful and inventive fantasy-laced sex scenes I've ever read. Better than Storm Constantine by far, who seems to be the one everyone's talking about these days.
23rd-Aug-2005 12:35 pm (UTC)
I'm beginning to think Carey likes writing about swordfights more. The battlefields in this novel are far more interesting than the beds. Is that a good thing? ^^;;

There is something a little disturbing about a preference for detailed romanticized descriptions of deathly violence over detailed romanticized descriptions of sex.. Ideally, sex=good, but there really is no good violence... Sounds like she needs to get a little more creative with her sex too (the writing ^^;;)...
23rd-Aug-2005 03:54 pm (UTC)
*sighs* Well, in spite of her French characters, she's an American, and detailed, stylized violence goes over better with readers and publishers than detailed, dstylized sex scenes in the United States. Ah, the hypocrisy...
23rd-Aug-2005 05:49 pm (UTC)
stylized violence goes over better with readers and publishers than detailed, dstylized sex scenes in the United States.

*sighs*

Sad statement on American culture... I've never quite figured out why people who would scream so much about the display of a human nipple on TV find it perfectly acceptable to display graphic violence on TV, not to mention celebrate actual war.....
23rd-Aug-2005 06:55 pm (UTC)
War = patriotism. Maybe we should come up with a way to make sex = patriotism! XD Unfortunately, the US doesn't have a population problem like other countries, so it probably wouldn't fly. It seems right now we have lives aplenty to expend in violence and war...*sighs in annoyance*

You know what's really creepy? Most of the best erotic writing I've ever read was writing by Brits...but most of best S&M erotic writing I've ever read was written by Americans. Hands down *best* S&M writing always often seems to come from Southerners, to boot. Even more scary, when you think about it.
23rd-Aug-2005 07:59 pm (UTC)
Hands down *best* S&M writing always often seems to come from Southerners, to boot. Even more scary, when you think about it.

>_< It would be kinda sexy, if not for that very real history of human bondage in the South.. Something disturbing in the cultural psyche I guess...

It seems right now we have lives aplenty to expend in violence and war...*sighs in annoyance*

*groans*

And have you heard the latest rationalization for war? We must continue fighting in order to honor those who have already died in the war.... Is that not the most insane thing, ever??? Of course, there is no other reason left, they've all proved to be lies or big F-ups....

Maybe we should come up with a way to make sex = patriotism!

In my little island country it will ^_~
23rd-Aug-2005 09:33 pm (UTC)
Something disturbing in the cultural psyche I guess...

That's what I think. ^^;; 'Cause, naturally, it's always the white people writing it.

And have you heard the latest rationalization for war? We must continue fighting in order to honor those who have already died in the war....

While our Commander and Chief is taking an extended summer vacation, protesters camped outside his ranch. Doesn't send a very consistent message, now does it? *sighs*
23rd-Aug-2005 10:38 pm (UTC)
That's what I think. ^^;; 'Cause, naturally, it's always the white people writing it.

"Call me Master!"

*whip*

>_<

Yes, that is pretty disturbing....

While our Commander and Chief is taking an extended summer vacation, protesters camped outside his ranch. Doesn't send a very consistent message, now does it? *sighs*

With the occasional speech in front of friendly groups that simply love war....
24th-Aug-2005 12:45 am (UTC)
Yes, that is pretty disturbing....

The two writers in that venue that always come instantly to mind are Steven Saylor and Anne Rice.

With the occasional speech in front of friendly groups that simply love war....

Though, if you believe all the polls, he's already lost the war of opinion here at home; might as well enjoy your vacation when it's a lost cause, eh? ^^;
24th-Aug-2005 12:56 am (UTC)
Though, if you believe all the polls, he's already lost the war of opinion here at home

I’m wondering how everyone feels about the fact that the liberal western democracy he was supposedly creating in the heart of the Mid East is becoming an Islamic Republic, something Rumsfeld once stated would never happen..
24th-Aug-2005 12:59 am (UTC)
It's like Afganistan Ver.2.0. We go in there intending to make the world safe for democracy, and all we're doing is destabilizing it further and making it a haven for people who bear a grudge against us.

Honestly, I think the bulk of the American public is cheerfully pretending that we're not in the middle of a war right now. Bush is taking his vacation, and no one's interested in sacrificing their "me time." Heck, I feel the same. I've got problems of my own...
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