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Jealous Hater Book Club: Handbook For Mortals chapter 10, The Hanged Man or “Internalized Misogyny, Rinse, Repeat”

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Another week, another installment of “Lani Sarem shows her entire ass.” In her now infamous Facebook thread, she added further proof of her racism to the mix, asking to send a friend request to a writer who insisted The Hate U Give was only defended by readers because it contains hatred of white people (Thanks to Cheryl Z for bringing attention to that in the comments). It’s only a matter of time before Sarem openly attributes her failures to reverse racism.

Some people have noticed that Sarem has copy/pasted the same question in several different Facebook writing groups. It’s pretty clear that she’s not doing it just to drum up vocal support; nearly every time she tells her sob story about nobody listening to her and everyone being against her, some indie author with a bug up their ass about how persecuted they’ve been by the “gatekeepers” swears they’ll buy a copy of her book. Her new marketing plan is at least less convoluted than the original one.

And away we go.

Zanielle tells us that we’ve time jumped to a few weeks later. So now she’s been in Vegas for what? A few months? And we’ve still not yet gotten to any sort of magical plot. Instead, we go to McMullan’s with her and the cast and crew.

I was still figuring out the whole “Mac and Jackson” situation, which each of them seemed to dance around while I hung out with the other.

Again, this is “a few weeks later.” And we already know that she’s been spending significant time with both them. So, how long, exactly, does it take? And how is Levi not doing exactly the thing the evil bitch who broke Mac’s heart did? Is the only difference that they’re not boning?

That said, I could tell they were both starting to get antsy and I knew that sooner rather than later they would want some kind of answers.

I feel like we should make a betting pool over when this is going to actually happen. My bet is on “not in this book.”

The whole situation was something that we didn’t really display at work, although it was obvious that a few people from work had an idea (I knew Tad knew something), but we had kept it away from most people at work and I liked it that way. Overall, keeping it to ourselves kept our work environment drama free. At work, Mac and Jackson were just colleagues to me, and they both seemed fine together at work as well.

Wait, are you talking about work? Work, like your job where you work? I feel like you could have made it clearer that you’re talking about stuff that happens at work. Maybe you should have been more specific that this was about work and mentioned work more in that paragraph about the stuff happening at work.

Also, just so you’re aware, Ziplock, there’s no “we” in that sentence. Jackson and Mac are talking about it constantly, and you were the subject of an entire conversation at work. Basically, you keep it away from work and they just run their mouths like gossipy cartoon animals in a Disney movie. Zephyr wonders if all this non-fighting over her will ruin Jackson and Mac’s friendship, but she once again states that she still doesn’t know how to handle the situation because she’s so torn between the two of them.

Jackson and I agreed on almost anything that came up and everything seemed easy with him. If I had written on a piece of paper all the things I wanted in a guy, well, he would have fit it to a T, except my ideal guy would also have powers.”

That errant quotation mark was present in the text, that’s not my ham fingers clogging things up.

All of this would be far more compelling evidence in Jackson’s favor if we’d ever seen any meaningful interaction between the two of them. All we ever hear about, though, is that they talked off-screen and oh, by the way, his eyes seem to sparkle. So…Jackson is clearly mahgjikkahhhl, right? That’s going to be the big twist or something?

I had learned from my mom that it’s easier when you are both magick–it’s actually deeply frowned upon or somone like me to end up with a mortal.

Another thing that’s “deeply frowned upon” is introducing brand new conflict and pretending it’s been there the whole time. Were we all just collectively in the bathroom during the other scenes where Zune was hemming and hawing over these dudes because of this highly problematic “breed with your own kind” edict? Is that why we missed it? Is that why something that should be a pretty major part of the romantic conflic hasn’t been brought up until now?

It’s practically a law for us to not be with our own kind. My mom instantly became an outcast for having me with a mortal. She never cared, though, because had always been a rebel, and I guess I didn’t really care either.

If it’s “practically a law for us to not be with our own kind,” that means you’re expected to not be with your own kind. What you meant was, “It’s practically a law for us to be with our own kind,” but you don’t know how words work. And I’m still unsure what Sarem means by use of the word “mortal.” The opposite of “mortal” is not “magjikhal,” it’s “immortal.” So, just like with Apolonia, we’re reading a book where the heroine may or may not be incapable of dying. As I stated numerous times during those recaps, you cannot create a sense of danger for an immortal character by threatening them with mortal consequences, so you need to be real fucking clear in your character building as to whether or not they’re a fucking immortal.

I guess the issue is when you “mix” you don’t know if your chilldren will be mortal or “gifted.”

Again, not the opposite of “mortal.”

Since I could do magic, mom’s “excommunication” was lifted and eventually people in our world forgot and stopped caring.

Tip: If you want to write about a secretive underground world full of majikkk and prohibition against mixing the races, maybe you should mention that any of it exists before you get halfway through your book.

The worry is that if too many of us pair up with mortals, and have mortal children, then we will stop existing. I cared about this on some level but that kind of problem was something I could fret about later.

No! It really isn’t! It’s something you should have been fretting about this whole time! Then there would have been actual conflict in your love story when now there is none!

Mac, was also a mortal and we clearly had our differences–but so much passion had sparked between us.

You might have wanted to find a way to work that into the narrative somehow. Obviously, the conversations about Aimee Mann and the long scenes of looking at each other while not trying to look at each other are the number one priority, but maybe somewhere you could have squeezed in a little more “passion” if you’re going to describe it as, you know. “Much.”

I have always hated making tough decisions, but usually the tarot was far more helpful than it had been so far, considering that it hadn’t given me a clear-cut winner no matter how I asked it.

First of all, asking the same question over and over again is probably not going to result in greater clarity. Especially not greater clarity than the extremely specific spread we saw earlier in the book. At this point, you’re just waiting to turn over a card that’s all text saying, “PICK THIS GUY.”

My mom’s favorite band from the 1960s was the Monkees–who also had their own TV show, which she also loved.

…That’s nice?

Balthazar from Supernatural asking, "...and?"

 

“You know what Peter Tork says of decisions,” she would tell me. “To allow the unknown to occur, and to occur requires clarity. For where there is clarity, there is no choice. And where there is choice, there is misery.”

Peter Tork doesn’t say that. The Indian dude in the sauna in Head says that.

In other words, he probably had to decide between two girls.

No, that is definitely not the context. It’s one thing to use dated pop culture references in your YA book. It’s another entirely to use dated pop culture references, get them wrong, and have no idea what the context is. Peter Tork (and the rest of The Monkees) are in Head, but it’s not an extension of the show. It’s existential counter-culture satire lampooning the very idea of The Monkees. It has nothing to do with a love triangle.

I laughed at the thought of “WWPTD–What would Peter Tork Do?”

He’d probably understand how capitalization works in acronyms, but whatever.

So, after a paragraph about Zanilla Lice changing her clothes and deciding whether or not to ride to the bar with Jackson, she decides to take her bike.

I wasn’t sure how it would look for us to show up at the same time, but Jackson actually didn’t seem to care who knew about whatever was going on between us and the little cool he did play, was only because he knew it was what I wanted.

And yet you just told us that all three of you were keeping it secret. But this wouldn’t be the first time you changed your story in the actual middle of the story.

Jackson goes off to talk to his band, and there’s a moment of romantically charged eye contact between Lay Z and Mac.

I wanted to go over and talk to him but figured I would stay away for a bit, though I noticed he was looking my way–a lot.

I mean, if she had just gone over and said hello to him, a guy couldn’t come up to her and start hitting on her, setting up the big almost-fight in this chapter:

He was obviously hitting on me, even though I was not even remotely interested–not just because I already had one too many prospects, but also because I am not the “get picked up at a bar” kind of girl.

Not Like Other Girls™

He was funny and it was kind of fun to have him fawning all over me and, honestly, it was better talking to him than standing by myself awkwardly.

Or, you could have gone to talk to Mac. Like an adult in a relationship with another adult.

I think that’s a huge problem with this book. None of the adults act like adults. If I were in this situation, I would think to myself, “Don’t avoid him, because people might think you’re difficult to work with and it would be better if they just suspected something was going on.” And for their parts, my coworkers might not immediately assume I want to fuck everybody I see.

Of course, Mac sees Livia talking to the guy and gets upset. He comes over and:

“Mac.” He introduced himself with a quick smile and a firm handshake.

The guy shook Mac’s hand, but cocked his head to the side and gave him a brazen look.

Brazen? Is he trying to pick up Mac?

Dude asks if Mac is Zippy’s boyfriend.

Mac looked at me for a second as if to ask me what he should say. I stayed silent. He was gonna have to figure this one out on his own.

This is exactly what’s wrong with the whole thing. You’re in a relationship together. Even though it’s casual, you need to talk about how it works.

Mac admits he’s just a coworker, then puts himself between Zani and the guy–whose name is Justin–and says she should come do shots with the rest of the group.

I normally would have wanted to be stubborn in a situation like that and would have said no just to spite him. This time there was something his face, though, and the look in his eye said I shouldn’t be stubborn. I did give him a look that said I wasn’t thrilled before answering him, “Oh. Um, sure. Shots. Cool.” I nodded.

I’m actually with Zanta Laus on this one. Mac doesn’t want to define their relationship, but he comes charging over and doesn’t want her to talk to this guy? That’s not how it works, champ.

This is also one of the very few places in this book where someone’s characterization is consistent with what the author is telling us it is; Mac is behaving this way due to the jealousy we’ve already seen him display.

So, obviously, this can’t be a thing where Zoella just goes off and she and Mac talk about how he can’t rush in and stop her from talking to people. That would be a productive conversation that might further their romantic tension. Instead:

I had started to walk away when Justin grabbed my arm and started to pul me back roughly. Mack instantly grabbed Justin’s arm and forced him to let it go. It would have been obvious to anyone who cared to look that Justin had been drinking a little too much.

“Owww! You jerk face! What’s your problem, man?”

A pug dog slowly turning his head to stare incredulously at the camera.

I’m sorry, did this chick write a bar fight sparked by the words…

you jerk face?

Because the interaction had gotten loud, some of the crew had walked closer to us. Half looked like they wanted to see what was going on, and half were ready to jump in if they neeed to. At the same time, a couple of guys who seemed to be Justin’s friends had walked over to back him up.

The Jets from West Side Story, looking tough and snapping their fingers.

“Besides you? Nothing,” Mac said sourly.

This is going to be the most devastating confrontation the fourth grade has ever seen.

“I’m not the problem. You are,” Justin said as he swayed a little and glared deep into Mac’s eyes.

Why does Mac have more sexual tension with this dude than with Zephora?

Of course, Lade is quick to tell us that she’s not into being fought over. If only there were someone around who was magjikhal who could do something to make the fight–caused or exacerbated by her own sexy powers of sexiness–not happen! Alas, Zod’s mahgjicks only work if the author remembers them.

“Zade said goodbye. I suggest you do the same,” Mac warned.

“What are you going to do about it?” Justin said belligerently.

Justin asked belligerently, but whatever. My biggest issue here is that neither of these guys is actually going to throw a punch or anything. They just keep standing around having every pre-fist fight verbal interaction ever portrayed in any book, film, and television show for all time.

Larva tries to pull Mac away from the impending fight that will never arrive, but she’s powerless, having only all of her boundless powers. So, Tad has to intervene on her behalf.

Which means now there are three dudes involved in this fight.

“Look, man,” Tad said, “I think you have had a little too much to drink, and I am sure that in this state you are positive that you can bend steel, but let me assure you that the sober vesion of you would think differently. And while I’m sure your friends are very tough, there are about twenty or so guys in here that work for this guy.” He gestured toward Mac, then continued, “He’s our boss and we like him–and we will make sure you never touch him. So, how about you re-think what you’re about to do?”

Sorry, now there are twenty-three dudes involved in this fight.

Chris, one of the show’s electrician’s, went straight up to the front to show there really were several of them.

Chris is either showing that there are several electricians or he’s showing them several unnamed things that belong to the show’s electrician. The first interpretation, however, requires you to ignore the misplaced possessive apostrophe.

Justin’s friends tell him to back off and leave:

“I know that I don’t want to get into a fight for you over a girl who’s obviously interested in someone else. Let’s go. Now.” Justin’s friend nodded towards Mac when he said the part about me being interested in someone else.

Which is fucking hilarious because literally, nothing about this situation suggested that Livonia was more interested in Mac. From an outsider’s perspective, she was flirting with Justin and then Mac came up and aggressively tried to move her away from the situation. At no point in the interaction did it seem like she was more into Mac than Justin, even in her own head, where she was annoyed with him.

So, the friends take Justin away and of course, at the last minute he turns and lunges for Mac, who steps aside.

I just stood there wide-eyed and watched as Justin crashed into a metal beam that spanned from floor to ceiling in the main part of the bar. Mac had just happened to be standing in front of the beam so it worked out in Mac’s favor when he sidestepped his would-be attacker. It was pretty impressive how hard Justin hit the metal pole, head on, like a freight train that hit the side of a mountain. His head and body went flying backwards–hard–as he crashed then hit the ground.

Hoo boy, there’s a lot here. Let’s start with the heretofore unmentioned metal support in the interior of the bar that has never been described definitively. Is it a beam, or a pole? A pole is round. A beam is rectangular or h-shaped. Now, someone is going to come in here and be like, “As an architect, I can confirm that sometimes poles are square,” or something, but I’m sticking to my guns on this from an authorial standpoint. If someone says “beam” a reader thinks squarish. If someone says “pole” a reader thinks roundish. They are different shades of the same concept and this author has used a touch too much Phthalo Beam on her happy little canvas.

All right, next on the list is the freight train hitting the side of a mountain. This…does not happen, Lani. A freight train’s route is very, very much planned in advance. If a freight train hits a mountain, it is because Wile E. Coyote has painted a fake tunnel on the side of it and quickly redirected the track, and even then it is incredibly unlikely that the collision will occur, owing to the notoriously poor quality of Acme products. I think what you were thinking of was a plane hitting a mountain or a freight train hitting something else.

As for Justin’s head and body flying backward…why not just, “he flew backwards,” as that sentence doesn’t imply that his head and body are moving independently from each other anyway?

Moving on to “flying backwards–hard”, it’s not the flying that’s hard. It’s the collision, either with the pole or with the ground.

You know who would have caught this stuff?

An editor.

You know what Sarem obviously lied about?

Having three of them.

We all stood there for a few moments, basically wondering if he had knocked himself out. He finally opened his eyes and slowly sat up. Mac could be very cocky when he wanted to be and leaned down towards Justin before he urged, “Friend, I think you should leave now.”

Every male character in this book is “cocky,” Lazarus. It’s the only way your author knows how to portray men.

I thought about the big knot he was going to have on his head the next day.

(That excerpted line is just a bookmark for something coming up. Keep it in your back pocket).

“Well, that would have been fun,” Tad said sarcastically. “Okay, kids, back to what you were doing. Turns out there will be no fight at recess after all.” He laughed.

Him laughing doesn’t actually make it funny.

It was silent for a couple more moments before everyone began to resume their conversations and the laughter picked back up. Mac and I just kind of stood there looking at each other for what felt like hours but was in reality was only about ten seconds or so.

That’s a super accurate description of reading this book. It feels like hours but is in reality is only about ten seconds or so.

He looked like he was trying to read me, and how I was reacting to what happened. I stood there for a moment looking back at him with a blank stare, mainly considering the knot Justin would have on his head in the morning, before walking away to where a couple of the girls had returned to talking.

Why does Justin’s head injury merit two separate mentions? Also, this is the part of the scene where Zenobia Lome should tell Mac that she doesn’t appreciate what he just did and he needs to get his shit together and decide what they’re going to be or something. But, as I have mentioned previously if they talk to each other, the flimsy soap bubble of “tension” pops.

Mac hung back with Tad and I purposely stayed within earshot so I could still hear what they were saying over the bar noise. The girls were talking about a new store in the Forum Shops that they all were “super into,” but that’s all I could tell you about their discussion, because I had completely tuned them out so I could hear Mac and Tad’s conversation.

Translation: “I’m rude.”

“That guy looked crazy and was pretty big. The only reason he didn’t crush you was because he was too drunk. Are you and Zade even actually dating?” Though one of the other girls could have heard if they weren’t so engulfed in their conversation about the mall, I was pretty sure I was the only one who actually overheard their conversation and I perked my ears to hear Mac’s response.

Leaving aside the fact that Lassie here is a literal Collie with perking ears and all, just let that sentence about the girls not overhearing wash over you in a glorious tidal wave of self-centered misogyny. How dare those shallow bitches talk about things that interest them rather than eavesdrop on Zapp Lannigan’s relationship drama! Ugh. Women be shoppin’, am I right?

Meanwhile, Tad cuts Mac’s bullshit excuses right the fuck off with the only words of sense anyone has ever spoken in this entire book so far:

“[…]If you’re not serious enough to say you’re dating, then Zade can talk to whomever she wants. We’re not fifteen. That’s high school bullshit.”

Never in the history of any book I’ve ever read has a character so clearly screamed that he has become self-aware of the absurdity of the narrative he’s trapped in.

I had never really seen Tad mad like that. I wondered why he was taking Mac’s actions so personally–more personally than I was, even.

Because he knows now that he’s operating within a reality that bears no resemblance to the world he should know and his soul is screaming.

Jackson goes over to talk to Mac, as well, because no chapter would be complete without Sarem reminding us that two boys are fighting over her avatar. For understandable reasons, the last person Mac wants to talk to is Jackson, but it happens.

“I’m sure Zade appreciated you defending her honor,” Jackson interrupted, it was obvious Jackson wanted to say whatever it was he had to say and didn’t care if Mac wanted to hear him or not.

It’s obvious that Sarem wants to use run-on sentences and doesn’t care if a period is required instead of a comma or not.

Jackson ignored Mac’s statement and continued to talk, “I just think that Zade’s a big girl and she can handle herself.”

You know who should be saying this to Mac? Larth Zader. This is a conversation that we should be seeing between the two of them to build up literally any conflict at all that doesn’t hinge on Ziffy’s indecisiveness.

I wasn’t sure why Jackson had made such a huge point to come and say what he had to Mac, and was not sure what he had accomplished. Must have had something to do with me and the fact I was basically seeing both of them, but I didn’t get what Jackson gained out of saying that to him.

Are you fucking serious? Are we really trying to make some sort of dramatic intrigue out of the fact that the heroine can’t tell if a conversation about her had something to do with her? Is that really the level of ham-fisted terrible writing that we’ve reached? And the book is only half finished, so there’s no way we won’t sink lower, but I cannot fathom how we ever could. I have read some incredibly thick heroines before who miss the point time and again for the convenience of the loose narrative but HOLY SHIT. She just shot past Anastasiabella Rose Steele-Grey-Swann on the oblivious scale.

Aside from the girls I was standing with, I no longer had conversations to listen to.

And listening to the “girls” is clearly out of the question.

Instead of paying attention to the girls I had zoned out in my own thoughts about everything an still wasn’t paying any mind to them or the conversation.

This is the second time Sarem has made it a point to tell the reader that her avatar is intentionally ignoring the women around her. I’m sorry, I know you’re supposed to separate the art from the artist, but this is so clearly the author’s insistence that she, herself, personally, would never, not in a million years, ever want to have any casual, positive interaction with another woman. This is absolutely Lani Sarem’s statement that she does not like women and she is the only woman who isn’t a silly, vapid bitch.

Also, Kindle search says that the word “conversation” is only used 64 times in the entire book, but that’s impossible as it was used at least four hundred times in this scene alone.

The women–I’m sorry, the girls because this is middle school–notice that Luella ZeVille isn’t paying attention.

“Oh! Sorry, I must have zoned out. What was it?”

“What’s your favorite clothing store?” she asked slowly and purposely, putting emphasis on the word store.

You needed to put emphasis on looking up the word “purposefully,” because that’s what you meant.

I pursed my lips together as I tried to think of any store, but I just wasn’t good at this girl-bonding thing.

There have been two scenes in which Zed Leppelin has gone to the mall for extensive shopping sprees. But she can’t remember names of stores and she doesn’t really get the whole talking about shopping thing. Which is all that women–sorry, girls–ever do.

She pulls a name out of her ass by remembering that she’s wearing a Betsey Johnson dress.

“I love her, but she doesn’t have stores anymore, you can only buy her stuff online now, which I hate cause I like to try things on first,” Nora, a tall, skinny blonde who was a dancer in the show said very passionately, as if we were talking about world peace or something.

This entire book has been solely about how many guys want to date Labia, how colorful her hair is, how everyone thinks she’s pretty, how girls are always jealous, and again two shopping scenes, but talking about a pretty common thing to talk about somehow makes the other women boring and horrible and nothing at all like her, who has interests and pursuits so far above basically anything feminine at all.

The weirdest part about this scene is that we’ve been explicitly told that woman should not like Zarbra. Yet here are some women making an effort to be kind to her and she’s like, “Ugh, they’re so beneath me.” Why doesn’t she suspect they might have magic? Why isn’t she relieved and grateful that they’re not attacking her at the lemonade stand?

In the mall.

Where she always fucking is.

I needed to get out of the bar and clear my head; I really needed to figure out who and what I wanted.

Yet your author had an entire chapter to do that and chose instead to make men fight over you, give you a chance to express her hatred of women, and not further either the magical plot or the relationship in any meaningful way.

Making excuses of an oncoming migraine, I excused myself from the girls’ conversation so that I could leave before I started banging my head against the table.

Jesus Christ, Lani Sarem. Me fucking too.

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The cover for Nightmare Born shows the silhouette of two teens facing each other, holding hands in front of a night sky. There's a scary dracula-looking castle on a hill in the background and a full moon in the clouds. The title and two logos for the Google Play and Apple App store show beneath my name.

123 Comments

  1. Jaycie
    Jaycie

    This book’s priorities:

    1. Ziti failing to decide between Mak and Jackster
    2. All other women are terrible
    3. Magickhque

    I’d say we already had that book and it was called Twilight, but Twilight at least had enough supernatural batshit to stop the whole proceedings from being thoroughly dull.

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
  2. Hippopotato
    Hippopotato

    God, her attitude towards other women is so gross.

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
    • For someone who spends so much time “reading tarot” she seems to be unfamiliar with the concept of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yeah, other women are gonna hate you if you constantly display your obvious contempt for them, duh.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
  3. Perlite
    Perlite

    For this problem to ruin Jackson and Mac’s friendship would require them both to have more character than “Damn, Zade is super hot and I want to have the sex with her.” “Jackson and I agreed on almost anything that came up and everything seemed easy with him.” As if we needed more reason to believe that Jackson is nothing more than handsome wall paste.

    “Frowned upon” by WHOM? If there’s a secret majjgiicckkal society in this book this is the first time I’ve heard it. Like, where did this “purebloods4ever” pseudo-Harry Potter BS even come from?

    That bar fight scene had all the scintillating wit of a hand sanitizer BBQ. Nice to see that Zod saved her powers for the real conflicts, like bullying fast-food workers. Can’t have the oh-so-special Chosen One stand up for herself. Better to let the dozen or so faceless mortal men do this for her. And is it just me, or is Tad’s dialogue super stilted during that scene? It’s like he got replaced by an android lookalike who took human lessons from Siri.

    And yay, more misogyny from our favorite witch. We get it, Lani, you’re a rude asshole who hates talking about anything with women because all other women are just shallow airheads who only care about clothing and men. I mean, screw getting clothes that you want to make sure fits you, amiright?

    Kiss my ass, Sarem.

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      She’s so far up her own ass her head will be coming out of her mouth soon, like that creature in “The Empire Strikes Back.”

      (I don’t know where I saw that expression, so credit to whomever thought it up.)

      December 11, 2017
      |Reply
    • Alexander Stallwitz
      Alexander Stallwitz

      Did you catch that Ziti’s father wasnt magical so her Mother was shunned for having a relationship and having a child with him but was welcome back when our Magic Girl heroine developed her powers. Because God forbid she actually face adversity and have character development. A better writer would have her mother’s banishment as a powerful character moviation to either prove herself to her fellow magicians or as a reason she refuses to have anything to do with it. Of course that make Zani actually intresting and get in the way of the scenes of the boys fawning over her.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
      • Goddesstio
        Goddesstio

        Or it could even be why she and her mother are stuck in that town – the mahjigk society has shunned them and trapped them and breaking free of it and escaping to Vegas has caught the attention of the society and they’re pissed, sothey sent Lambo girl to take out Zoolander.

        There are SO MANY ways this book could be good, and they have all failed so miserably.

        December 12, 2017
        |Reply
      • Indigo
        Indigo

        One more for the Writers Who Did This Better file: Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown, where our heroine is the child of a socially frowned-upon marriage and grows up dealing with the fallout of that, including “I don’t have the powers everyone expects of me”.

        December 12, 2017
        |Reply
        • River
          River

          YUS! Love that story and author. She wrote a genuinely complex story about struggling against expectations and family dynamics to become what you are supposed to be.

          December 17, 2017
          |Reply
    • Thera Pitts
      Thera Pitts

      All of the dialogue is super stilted, but his was just next level.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
      • Perlite
        Perlite

        “… I am sure that in this state you are positive that you can bend steel, but let me assure you that the sober vesion of you would think differently.”

        Seriously… who naturally talks like this?
        “My calculations suggests that your chances of being defeated are exponentially high. Please make peace and be on your way, human. Beep boop.”

        December 12, 2017
        |Reply
        • Thera Pitts
          Thera Pitts

          “I’m sure you think you can bend steel right now but see if you still feel that way when you’re sober”

          Still not good, but better.

          December 12, 2017
          |Reply
          • Amy
            Amy

            Um, guys, did we forget Mac is SUPERMAN? He could totally bend steel. Tad was just telling these guys to not tug on Superman’s cape.

            …is his name ever going to be a plot point? Then again, Lani’s obsession with strange names might just be another “quirk” no other girls have.

            December 12, 2017
  4. Thanks for the shoutout! Secondly, I hate Zade.

    That is all. 🙂

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
  5. In this interview with ThreeGeeks Podcast (it’s her second interview on this podcast. Don’t bother watching it, it’s boring AF), she talks up how The Movie will be “female directed, produced, and written” (or something. I don’t care enough to listen again for the timestamp). Also, she admitted that she will NOT be playing Zade. What a tragedy.

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
    • Maril
      Maril

      Isn’t American Pie producing it? And thus not female produced?

      December 11, 2017
      |Reply
      • I don’t know exactly what she said, but she definitely stressed the “female-driven production” or something. I just thought it was ironic because of how misogynistic the book is.

        December 11, 2017
        |Reply
        • Maril
          Maril

          Oh yeah, I get why you brought it up. I was just pointing out how her story changed. She can’t keep her fictional story straight, and she can’t keep her stories straight in real life either. She’s an idiot.

          December 11, 2017
          |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          Y’know, when i heard it was very female driven, i was like, “oh, that’s nice” but you reminded me that Lani is a lying liar who lies, and is probably only saying that to get women in the seats through the solidarity of “girl power”

          December 11, 2017
          |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      no, no, this is a good thing, that means an actress who actually has acting experience will get the role. Will that make this movie better? Probably not, but at least this actress will get some money out of it.

      Love how Lani touts that the movie will be directed by a woman. Like, at some point the director is gonna have to pull Lani off to the side and say, “Lani, I don’t want to include this scene because it’s so misogynistic and gross. So i’m cutting it out. And also we have to change this scene and this scene and this scene because it makes no sense-”
      Lani frowns. “But you’re cutting at least 80% of my book.”
      “Yeah, no sh*t, Sherlock.”

      December 11, 2017
      |Reply
      • Callie
        Callie

        Nah, «female written, directed and produced» most likely means «Lani written, directed and produced». No one with any sense will touch this mess, she’ll have to do it herself.

        December 11, 2017
        |Reply
      • cat
        cat

        I’m sure it will have a very fine female director the same way the book at three very fine editors.

        December 12, 2017
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Cat: Mrrrrrrow!

          December 12, 2017
          |Reply
        • Mel
          Mel

          My prediction is that it will be directed by one Alana Smithee.

          December 12, 2017
          |Reply
          • Mike
            Mike

            Ellen Smithee?

            Here’s the thing though; if this book gets optioned by a PROPER company, not being done on an indy level, it won’t look anything like the book. Most of the time the author has no say. Once they sign the contract, they have no more control and the movie comes out looking however the studio wants it to look. There ARE exceptions, but those are usually either the author is so huge and the books made SO much money that the studio gives them control as a part of the contract negotiations, or the studio is willing to let them write a draft of the screenplay and decides it’s decent enough to go with it.

            In the case of Handbook for Mortals, the book made no money, the author has no star power of her own and thus no leverage in the negotiations, and her writing is atrocious. They’d probably concede that she can cameo, or play the mother or something, hand her a mediocre amount for the rights to her story and be done with her. Of course, that’s assuming any big studio would touch this. But it actually wouldn’t surprise me if they did. You say the words ‘franchise potential’ in Hollywood and somewhere an accountant has an orgasm. Especially since, as I said, she has no leverage, so optioning the rights to her story should come relatively cheap.

            So theoretically; for once studio tampering could actually FIX a bad story.

            December 12, 2017
          • mydog'sPA
            mydog'sPA

            Mike, The development folks at a studio actually DO fix bad stories. Classic example was actually Star Wars. My writing instructor had some original script pages that had Lucas put Luke at the Cantina in Act I and whining that he couldn’t go with the other folks to the rebellion. So the first thing you see of Luke is a sniveling, whiny child. Completely unsympathetic. That scene was cut, thankfully. But Lucas had it in there originally and we’re pretty sure the studio was the ones who cut it out.

            So yeah, it does happen. . . .

            December 13, 2017
          • Amy
            Amy

            It’s an interesting point you make, that studios will end up changing the story/script for the better.

            But I wonder who is willing to put down money, any amount of money, for a “23 hour NYT bestseller”? Someone is going to google HFM and find the controversy, and even with Lani’s various celebrity friends to back her, are the studios willing to take a risk on someone with a continuing history of lies and scheming? Sharknado was dumb, but it was supposed to be dumb, and everyone had fun from the result of it. But HFM isn’t a “fun” movie. It’s supposed to be taken with a certain amount of seriousness.

            Even more, if they want to make money, they might even try to omit Lani’s name or even change the title, so the controversy isn’t the first thing people see when they google the movie. (Just google HFM again. The IMDB page is NOT on the first page. After googling for the movie, the fourth article is about the controversy, easily in full view.)

            Just looked it up, it took $2 million dollars to make Sharknado. Snakes on a Plane had $36 million. Even with dumb names like that they still got a decent budget, so maybe HFM might get a couple of millions to produce.

            December 13, 2017
          • Mike
            Mike

            My Gods PA: Heh, yeah, I know. I have done production work on and off for a while now and creatives can sometimes get… carried away. And our job is often to try and keep their feet on the ground and their eyes on the budget. But the conventional ‘wisdom’ is that every time the studio suits interfere it’s always a situation like Suicide Squad where they focus group to death then interfere not entirely understanding what they’re doing and turn something that could have been decent (we’ll never know) into… well, Suicide Squad.

            I forgot this comment section is full of people who are actually reasonable and won’t reflexively tell me I’m an asshole for suggesting that a producer isn’t automatically evil, and always ruins the genius creatives vision! As though creative people are somehow all infallible and all producers are money hungry assholes who don’t care about making something GOOD. Because it’s totally impossible that we actually care about the thing our name will be attached to.

            Amy: Funding in Hollywood is… weird. If you approach the right person, the controversy can actually work in its favour. It means more people will recognize the name. It means more people will be interested because ‘hey, isn’t that that book that scammed the NYT?! I’m curious, let’s check it out!’ especially if you’re making it without intention to distribute to theatres. A LOT of movies get made without intention to distribute. Hell, Blumhouse Productions makes ALL their movies under that assumption, including The Purge and Get Out. (If you’re interested there’s a good interview with them on The Nerdist podcast that talks about the process of looking at pitched scripts and deciding what to do with them. It’s definitely worth listening to, and the podcast host is a comedian so I promise it’s not just dry facts)

            When you make a movie with intent to release on TV, just for festivals, or for a streaming service like Netflix, then name recognition can push an investor from humming and hawing to putting money on the table because, well, it’s a lot less money! Soon as you decide to put it in theatres the cost more than doubles. Even if the movie is already made and there’s no more production costs to pay. So it’s not uncommon for things to look for the funding just to get made, and then decide what to do with it after that. That’s actually why it’s so important for the big movies to make BIG money. They’re not just paying for their own budget, but all the movies they made looking for the one that would be ‘the next big thing’. Only about 1 in 5 movies made by BIG studios actually makes any money.

            Investors invest knowing they’ll probably not get their money back, but they’ll get special tax incentives, access to industry parties and stars, and a lot of the time just to say they’re a patron of the arts because rich people are strange. So having name recognition, you get all the things you would normally get from investing in a film, plus a slightly higher than normal chance of actually seeing some of that money back.

            Just for some extra info ‘cuz I like talking about this stuff; Movies being made before they know how (or if) they’re going to release it and without a distributor on board, are considered independent. Because of this, even though it got picked up for distribution mid-production, the 90’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is considered an independent film, and thus became the highest grossing independent film of all time when it made $202 million at the box office, on a production budget of $13 mil.

            December 13, 2017
    • Paula
      Paula

      Did she actually use the word “female,” rather than “woman”? Because that says a lot.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Hope she changes her mind. Only Tommy Wiseau can do this project justice.

        December 12, 2017
        |Reply
    • cat
      cat

      “They’d probably concede that she can cameo, or play the mother or something, hand her a mediocre amount for the rights to her story and be done with her.”

      It would be awesome if they had her cameo as lemonade girl

      December 13, 2017
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Or told her she’s too old to play lemonade girl.

        December 13, 2017
        |Reply
        • cat
          cat

          Nice. Maybe she can get the role of Tad’s wife.

          December 13, 2017
          |Reply
          • Amy
            Amy

            “But Tad’s wife is never seen- ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…”

            December 13, 2017
  6. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    Haven’t even read the recrap yet. That friend request routine is mind-boggling.
    Gentle Trout-fans, I think Karma is finally here. It would be controversial enough to accuse Thomas’ book of containing hatred of white people, but how on earth would you know why readers are defending it? Maybe they like its prose style, maybe they like the development of characters, maybe they like the pace of the action…You know, all those things Sarem can’t do.

    And THAT is the kind of person who gets a friend request.

    Keep it up, Lanocane: there is NO way your movie is getting made.

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Isn’t the main character in The Hate U Give also half-white?

      December 11, 2017
      |Reply
      • Michael
        Michael

        Nope; Starr has a black dad and black mom. Though in the movie, she will be played by Amandla Stenberg, who does have a white parent and a black one. But Starr’s parents will be played by Regina Hall and Russel Hornsby, both of whom are black.

        December 11, 2017
        |Reply
  7. Tom
    Tom

    This book should really be titled “Handbook for Misogynists”

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
    • cat
      cat

      “Handbook for Female Misogynists” maybe? A LOT of women don’t seem to understand that you can be a misogynist and a woman at the same time. Humans are spectacularly ignorant creatures.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
  8. Mike
    Mike

    If there’s an entire magical community that her mother is a part of, why are they so isolated and hated in that town? If she had left it as her mother still being an outcast that would at least add up, but she’s made no mention at all of knowing anyone else with powers aside from her mother. She doesn’t seem to have learned anything about her powers, so she didn’t grow up around people with powers. She felt like she didn’t fit in anywhere yet here she only mentions them having issues if she had been born a squib but she wasn’t, so she should have fit in with them just fine. This feels like it was just tacked on to add extra tension to the relationship AFTER having already written the entire first half of the book and then she never bothered to go back and change anything she’d already written to fit with it.

    Based on her description of her feelings for Jackson and Mac in this chapter, what it seems to come down to is this: ‘Jackson is everything I want, but I feel like I’m going to want to hate-fuck Mac at some point. So I guess I’ll just keep stringing them both along so he’ll fuck me when that time comes and it won’t technically be cheating on Jackson.’

    Why isn’t Tad affected by her passive lust magic? Why was the kid with the girlfriend affected while his girlfriend was RIGHT THERE, but Tad isn’t tempted to cheat on his wife for her? It would be great if it turned out he was someone from that magical community she talked about trying to keep an eye on her to keep her from fucking up, or like, investigating some rogue magic user or something and that’s why he wasn’t affected. But in reality it’s just because he’s supposed to be played by her friend so she wrote him to be a loving husband who would never ever cheat! Lazy writing is lazy.

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
    • Perlite
      Perlite

      I guess it’s because Zade’s magic has a monogamy filter. She maybe a misogynistic, obnoxious asshole, but she’s no home-wrecker.

      December 11, 2017
      |Reply
      • But Lemonade Boy was in a relationship!!! Or does the relationship have to be legally recognized?

        December 12, 2017
        |Reply
        • Indigo
          Indigo

          Tad’s wife is probably a Cool Girl too, and thus her overwhelming chillness means Tad isn’t tempted to stray at all even with mahjikk involved. Lemonade Girl was clearly a frumpy jealous troll and deserved to have her boyfriend be brainwashed.

          December 12, 2017
          |Reply
        • Perlite
          Perlite

          It’s called the Single Ladies Clause aka “If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it”

          December 12, 2017
          |Reply
    • cat
      cat

      I’m still confused by why Zadie’s mother felt a need to protect her from something and used MagiKKKKK to keep her in their small town. Delmonte could have raised Zoidberg within the magikal community so that she wouldn’t feel like an outcast and would be surrounded by a supportive network (and eligible, magikal mens) but, instead, raised her in a small town where evidently Deli-meat was considered super unique and special because of the omgtarot reading and where Zardnuts doesn’t appear to have gotten a chance to understand her powers. If trying to protect her daughter from the magical community, why didn’t Dell-desktop-support raise her in a more traditional way without any magic at all?

      I don’t now if Jenny said this or if it was in Lani-not-Sarem’s recaps but the theory about Tad is that, as he is being played by American Pie omgfamous actor and that actor is married, Tad had to be grossly into Zade but still devoted to his wife. Remember, Tad did say “if I weren’t a happily married man, I’d totally hit that” (paraphrasing, of course).

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
      • Mike
        Mike

        Yeah, just leaving out the one line about them accepting her back in would have fixed about half the plot holes this bullshit opens up…

        Oh I get that he said if he weren’t married he’d be into her, but his wife wasn’t even there. Lemonade kid’s girlfriend was RIGHT THERE and he still openly hit on her, not just saying he WOULD hit on her. And Tad has shown no interest in her whatsoever since saying that, only laughing at everyone else’s crushes on her. So he was impacted enough to think she’s hot, but not at all beyond that. I get on an emotional basis why you don’t want your married friend playing someone that hits on you, but at least be internally consistent. Don’t include a scene, especially after the revelation, showing a guy in a relationship being impacted while having a guy in a relationship NOT be impacted. You could even make it so the magic can’t override existing feelings for other people, so it only works on men who aren’t already into someone else if you don’t want to go the more interesting routes you could with that. But then something in this book would have had some kind of internal consistency and logic. Can’t have that.

        December 12, 2017
        |Reply
        • cat
          cat

          Maybe Zade becomes even more amazeballs beautiful and desirable when the person’s SO is there. Tad is happily married because his wife isn’t around. Lemonade dude sees the juxtaposition of super fabulous not like other girls Zade compared to his common, nothing to see here POS girlfriend.

          December 12, 2017
          |Reply
  9. Amy
    Amy

    So my coworker borrowed a physical copy of HFM from the library. And I was suprised by how BIG the font is. We started comparing the font size of HFM to other YA novels, (the first one I grabbed was City if Bones) and HFM is bigger than your standard YA book. Then we compared it to junior fiction books and they were the same size. So one of the reasons why HFM is 450 pages long is due to the stupidly unecessary large font. WTF.

    Once again, a great concept was introduced in this book, but because Lani can’t write to save her life, it comes off as an afterthought. I love the idea that if you’re magic you can’t have a relationship with muggles. That right there is called world building!

    But why is being with a muggle a bad thing? okay, Zazz said it’ll water out the magick gene, but are magical condoms not a thing? Magical after morning pill? There’s magical epi pens, so the idea of magickal birth control isn’t that a farfetch of an idea. And since Lani keeps maintaining the fact this isn’t YA, maybe introducing, y’know, adult thoughts into sex and relationships wouldn’t be such a taboo concept.

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Oh, wow! That poor library… How did they categorize it? Did they fall for the YA lie or did they put it into the general adult fiction section? I’m more curious about the logistics regarding the physical book, and who gave it to them (I can’t imagine them buying it), than about the story… XD

      Then again, I’ve read the other blog, so the joy of seeing Jenny Trout review these involve more insight into the events, hearing about the current affairs, and the reactions to the reviews. I did originally join one of those Facebook groups when it was first brought to attention, but I haven’t kept up so it’s good to hear the highlights of her horribleness. I’m absolutely not surprised that Lani Sarem is a racist, although I didn’t expect that her goal was to try and sell these writers something. I mean, it’s entirely plausible in hindsight, she just wants something out of them, but how many book sales is that really? Ah, well. If they fall for her story, they’re either too accepting or possibly similar people, so perhaps they’ll enjoy their new paperweight.

      (Haha, if you stole the book, would anyone demand payment for its replacement or would the library be relieved? Would they assume you just needed some firewood?)

      December 11, 2017
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        Oh no, I would never dare mess with an inter-library loan because a) the owning library will get VERY angry at us, regardless if the book sucks or not. And b) it’s a little hard to explain, but basically if the book is lost, I will automatically be billed $1000 until I talk to someone about it.

        But I will say this, in my entire state, only eight copies are available to borrow. These books were either donations or someone specifically ordered the book. This particular copy was definitely very new and hardly been touched– I’ve no doubt HFM will get checked out by eager readers, BUT once it gets worn, no way will the library make an effort to replace it, preferring to spend their money on books people actually want.

        And yes, every copy in the entire state are categorize as YA. Now the NYT may have accidentally put it in YA, but the publisher must have *specifically* put it as YA because libraries follow specific rules in how we handle records of our books.

        December 11, 2017
        |Reply
        • Suzy
          Suzy

          I bet they were gifts. I’ll go further and bet that a lot of libraries will eventually get gifted these books by all those people who ordered these things during the NYT scam session. Then Lani can look up the library numbers and day ” Oh look, see how awesome libraries think I am!”

          December 13, 2017
          |Reply
  10. Leigh Stevens
    Leigh Stevens

    I’ve read a lot of books on the Amazon free section that were just terrible. But, I don’t think I’ve ever been so offended before. As a writer who has struggled to get a book deal, I feel like I should just throw my mss out. Maybe I need to fire my editor and beta reader, and write “girl-hate” instead.

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
  11. Dove
    Dove

    I think these moments of the narrative screaming at the author to get her shit together may be the only time the editors could make her see the light, but instead of fixing the even more fucked up novel plot, Zoroaster is forced to become inactive. This whole bar scene and the countless dumb “I was so torn” scenes are simple hints for what will happen in the finale.

    Also, I think the other problem is Lani Sarem wanting to be portrayed as the helpless victim of every scenario without using emotion or personality to portray why a character might become impassive in their own plot. Like, actually showing it. This comes from her being better at concocting stupid bullshit lies as opposed to actual flights of fancy.

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
  12. Lizz
    Lizz

    1) First of all, have you used “Zed Leppelin” yet? (I tried to search for it in your blog and it turns out it is, of course, a real name of a real Led Zeppelin cover band)

    2) I’d be willing to believe that in Sarem’s mind, this book DID have 3 editors – it’s just that she considers any friends or family members she hands to manuscript to to read to be “editors”.

    3) I’m convinced that none of the people who work on these shows actually have lives outside of the show. I know you said this is probably several months after Zale moved to Vegas, but it seems like the entire cast and crew is CONSTANTLY HANGING OUT WITH EACH OTHER – at auditions, shows, bars, camping trips, etc. I mean given the number of guys mentioned in the “fight” there have to be at least 50 cast and crew members. How many were at Zillow’s audition? AS SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY HAS NO LIFE OUTSIDE OF WORK THIS REALLY BOTHERS ME.

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      That’s a good point. When a show has a short run, they do become your family (frequently a dysfunctional one), but in a long run, you’d think people would want to avoid each other SOME of the time. Heaven knows that’s true of biological family.

      Again, this is like middle school.

      December 11, 2017
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        I’m surprised that they’re STILL having debates over Zade and Mac getting together. If it’s been months, then they would’ve moved on to drama a lot more interesting than two coworkers doing this “will they, won’t they” BS. The last chapter was them talking about their relationship. How often are we going have to sit through this?

        December 11, 2017
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Now that I think of it, even my short-run church basement productions have included gossip about the producer who punched the choreographer in the face, the director coming on to a chorus boy (who was gay but didn’t fancy him), the guy in a small role who was cheating on his pregnant leading lady wife, the guy with the mood swings who was replaced halfway through rehearsals because it turned out he was a cokehead….

          Not all the gossip was about scandals. Sometimes it was about health stuff: would the cast (most of whom had flu during Hell week) be able to sing by opening night? One dancer had brain surgery, and some people wondered why she was dancing the day before she went in to the hospital (that one actually made perfect sense to me), and the routine had to be re-choreographed with the remaining dancers. Then there was the Tybalt who injured his knee during a fight scene doing a jump off a staircase he wasn’t directed to do in the first place because he thought it looked more dramatic.

          Nobody’s going to worry about whether Mac and Zedekiah still haven’t banged each other, except to find it slightly humorous. It certainly wouldn’t be a source of fascination.

          December 11, 2017
          |Reply
          • Amy
            Amy

            lololol. Only some of the drama has come from my coworkers- most of it comes from the customers. We have a reoccurring child customer who keeps trying to steal cell phones. We have another guy we’ve dubbed as “thumbdrive guy” (cause he always uses two thumbdrives when he uses the computer) and he’s been caught twice watching porn. We just banned another customer for doing terrible things in the women’s bathroom.

            definitely a lot more interesting to talk about than boring romance.

            December 12, 2017
  13. Michael
    Michael

    I think the “three editors” thing might be true. I’m sure, but it’s a definite possibility that she got an editor whose advice she chose to ignore, fired that editor, and then repeated the process twice.

    Though of course it also remains a possibility that the book looks like it never saw an editor because it did in fact never see an editor, and the liar is lying.

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
    • Michael
      Michael

      *I’m NOT sure. (dangit!)

      December 11, 2017
      |Reply
  14. Mydog'sPA
    Mydog'sPA

    It’s only a matter of time before Sarem openly attributes her failures to reverse racism.

    Well, yeah, because in her Mag-ecchhh vs. Muggle world she’s really talking about those with Mag-ecchh (whites) getting bred out of existence if they mate with folks of color (Muggles)

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
  15. I love everything about these recaps but the one thing I love most of all is the jokes about her name.

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
  16. Rin
    Rin

    This is a published novel and not the thoughts of a very, very bitter woman?

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
    • Xebi
      Xebi

      It would seem the two are not mutually exclusive.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
  17. Zohn Zoe
    Zohn Zoe

    “I have always hated making tough decisions”

    You mean like the decision to drop everything, leave the only home you’ve known, and travel to Las Vegas to try and get a job in a magic show?

    December 11, 2017
    |Reply
    • River
      River

      This! Yuuusss!

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
  18. I just checked to see if the library where I work owns it. Thankfully no, we don’t. There aren’t any library-owned copies in the entire state of Oregon either. *big thumbs up*

    And the whole mortals/immortals meaning regular people/~mahhhhgickaaaall~ folk made me shout at my phone repeatedly “WORDS MEAN THINGS.”

    December 12, 2017
    |Reply
  19. River
    River

    So. Many. Things. To. Dislike.

    “Jackson and I agreed on almost anything that came up and everything seemed easy with him. If I had written on a piece of paper all the things I wanted in a guy, well, he would have fit it to a T, except my ideal guy would also have powers.”

    One, just because you agree with someone on everything that comes up doesn’t mean you should date them. In fact it probably should make you wary because it is highly likely YOU are agreeing solely to create false intimacy and he might be as well. And why throw in the bit about “writing it on a piece of paper” jeeze as apposed to chipping it on a rock slab? The useless descriptors are getting me down. Oh and where do we get the huge conversation with her Mom about marrying magical verses non-magical? It appears to be important and much talked about… Except for not. There also seems to be a broad and teaming world of people who carried enough to “disown” them but then took them back when Zurtafurt was muhhhgical. Why isn’t that used heavily? Zunkodunko was fleeing the constraints of an “arranged” marriage to keep pure bloodlines? Tension. Or whatever.

    Aaaannndd the bar scene. Blech. She admitted that it was enjoyable to flirt and laugh with Justin (I was a hundred percent sure it was going to be Justin Timberlake) even though she-isn’t-like-other-girls; because those bitches think it is fun when guys flirt with them. Not Zurk, she only thinks it’s fun. Then Mac gets between them which would have been fine if she’d sent up a distress flare but she didn’t. But there is no tension because they are both idiots. Are you dating or not and do you guys actually care if you are or aren’t? Why not just throw Timberlake in there as well Lurdy Serm why not just add a third guy since you can’t seen to maneuver the other two. But sadly she just smashes him into a beam. This poor guy is literally minding his own drunk business when he gets Zundoed. We really need to keep track of how many people get hurt around her.

    And then the rude and crappy Girl Hate. She deliberately goes over to converse with them to avoid saying anything to Mac and then disparages their polite attempt to include her. For me the most ugly comment was “Aside from the girls I was standing with, I no longer had conversations to listen to.” You walked over there you dumb nitbrain. You interjected yourself. No one has to craft conversation so you’ll be specifically entertained by it. Except you’re the center of the world, so my bad.

    Urrgggg. Sorry long post, end ramblings of someone who really needs to sleep. But I hate her. So much.

    December 12, 2017
    |Reply
    • Jane Eyre
      Jane Eyre

      Yup to the agreeing. Jane Austen’s Willowgbhy comes to mind. Marianne fell for him because he was that ideal. He agrerd with everything, liked the same things ect and then turned out to be a crook and with his conversation with Elinor he admits that he was saying a loy of those things to win Marianne over…

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Jane:. Willoughby is definitely a narcissist. They are experts in bring whatever you need them to be.

        His punishment is he gets the money and position he wanted, but his wife bores him, which Marianne did not. He may not be capable of true, deep love, but he’s capable of boredom, and it will define his existence thereafter.

        December 12, 2017
        |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      And as usual, it diffuses any dramatic tension. Supposing she had gone over to the girls to evade Big Mac and it went like this:

      “I was too upset to understand what they were saying. I tried to nod and seem alert, but I kept thinking about what happened. I’m not even sure what I answered, I might have babbled anything. Then I wondered how the incident must have looked to Mac. Did he think I really liked the other guy and not him? Maybe he’d lose interest. But if he thought I was just leading Justin on, he’d think I was shallow. Anyhow, he was getting so possessive, and we weren’t even officially dating. If this was how he acted NOW, what would he be like if we DID become a couple? I knew Jackson was probably better relationship material than this incipient control freak, but the control freak was the one who made me feel all the chemistry. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I feel a powerful attraction like that to someone who would treat me with more respect?”

      NOW there’d be some inner conflict. As opposed to, “Ah’m just so popular, Ah just cain’t decahde which of mah beaux Ah oughta choose.”
      Damn, even ultimate southern belle Scarlett O’Hara had mixed feelings about the kind of man she ought to want and the kind she actually did want.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
      • Chris
        Chris

        I’d read your book!

        December 13, 2017
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Chris: Thank you! Maybe I ought to write it. Story of my life: attracted to all the wrong guys. 🙁

          December 13, 2017
          |Reply
    • Xebi
      Xebi

      I dated a guy who was so much like me that his friends AND my friends independently described us as “one mind in two bodies.” We agreed on everything, genuinely. It was ridiculous. He not only ticked every single box on my hypothetical “what I want in a guy” list, but also had more amazing things I didn’t even know I wanted on that list. He was perfect.

      Yeah. Turned out we were terrible for each other, because we had nothing to learn from each other and couldn’t grow as (separate) people within our relationship. We couldn’t stay in a relationship with each other while retaining our own separate identities. It broke my heart. I so wish we’d just stayed friends instead of dating because we’d probably still be best friends now, 10 years later. Instead things got super weird and we haven’t spoken in years, probably never will again.

      THAT is what happens when you have a Jackson.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
      • Maril
        Maril

        When I was young I worked in a call center. There was a group of us that worked the same section and tended to be on similar shifts so we got to know each other pretty well. One slow night a couple of us were talking about relationship drama and most of the people there were talking about how they handle fights in their relationships, but this one guy who had been in his relationship for a couple of years at that point, went on about how he and his girlfriend NEVER fought. Not once. They agreed on everything of any significance and had never so much as gotten annoyed at each other.

        The rest of us got very uncomfortable and tried to explain to him why that’s not as good as he thought it was. He disagreed, and believed wholeheartedly that they were just perfect for each other and they would be together forever. He couldn’t understand why people settled for relationships with fighting, that it was totally unnecessary and his relationship was proof! They spent practically all their time outside work together, and had been together for years! It was perfect!

        Within the year they moved in together. Shortly after they had their first fight. A fight their relationship could not recover from, as after so long without fighting they started to believe that fighting now meant they weren’t meant to be after all. Their faith in their relationship was lost, and he sank into a massive depression he wouldn’t get out of for a few years because his faith in relationships, period, had been shaken.

        Lani seems to have given her character two options: the one with no passion who will, at best, result in a stale relationship that will cause both of them to get bored, and at worst cause their relationship and friendship to end and leave them both scarred and screwed up. Or the one where there’s passion and potential for growth but neither of them is capable of dealing with their issues so everything will just continue to bubble under the surface until she finally gets annoyed and ‘accidentally’ magically blows glass in his face. Awesome.

        (I say she’s the one to likely hurt him before he hurts her because, while he has been shown to have a bad temper and has serious issues, he hasn’t actually hurt anyone yet. Yet she was willing to potentially kill, or at least blind, an innocent girl for calling her names. She would totally be the one to strike the first blow)

        December 12, 2017
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          My ideal couple is Vinny Gambini and Mona Lisa Vito in “My Cousin Vinny”–especially the fight about the broken faucet.
          THAT is how to fight!

          December 12, 2017
          |Reply
  20. 1) The “witches can’t marry mortals” thing is a stolen Sabrina the Teenage Witch plot

    2) “He was funny and it was kind of fun to have him fawning all over me and, honestly, it was better talking to him than standing by myself awkwardly.” This is literally the exact reason why women like being hit on in a bar. Because the guy is funny and being fawned over when you’re alone is nice. Why is Lanie always describing normal responses as something ~extraordinary~

    December 12, 2017
    |Reply
    • Phil Lanthropy
      Phil Lanthropy

      Funny you mention Sabrina the Teenage Witch because, it makes me wonder if that’s where Lani picked up the whole mortal means non magic persons.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
      • That’s what made me think of Sabrina in the first place! That’s for sure where she got the idea.

        December 12, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          She probably got it from Sabrina the Teenage Witch and also maybe Charmed. Supposedly the witches calling other people mortals comes from the latter if Anon is correct (I know Lani Sarem is into Charmed but I’ve never watched the tv show or read the comic books so I wouldn’t know.) I wouldn’t be surprised at any rate since this novel is extraordinarily derivative.

          December 12, 2017
          |Reply
  21. yogacat
    yogacat

    The actual plot so far could fit into a blurb on the back of a book and I still would find it too boring to actually pick up and read:

    Zany was born into magic, but flees her mothers rules and her small town to get a job as an illusionist at a Las Vegas Magic show. There she meets two men who she can’t decide between. Will her magical past catch up with her? Find out in this poorly written exercise in vapid wish-fulfillment…

    I read all of your Fifty Shades recaps. I read through all of your Apolonari-whatever recaps. I am struggling to read through this, not because your critique is faulty, but because the books is just the same damn thing over and over and over. Zazu is desired by all men and hated by all women. There is NO FUCKING PLOT!!!!!

    December 12, 2017
    |Reply
    • Jane Eyre
      Jane Eyre

      Exactly, this book is equivalent of detention where you have to write certain sentence fifty times in a row, only with some stuff added to make it more “interesting”….but it’s still thousand times the same sentence.

      December 13, 2017
      |Reply
  22. Anon
    Anon

    “And I’m still unsure what Sarem means by use of the word ‘mortal.’ The opposite of “mortal” is not ‘magjikhal,’ it’s ‘immortal.'”

    On Charmed, they always referred to non-magical people as “mortals.” I’m not sure if they made that up or it comes from somewhere, but I can’t blame Sarem for this one because she didn’t come up with the concept. And the witches in Charmed could die.

    “He was obviously hitting on me, even though I was not even remotely interested–not just because I already had one too many prospects, but also because I am not the ‘get picked up at a bar’ kind of girl.”

    I met my husband in a bar. I guess I’m a dirty, dirty, cheap whore. And while I have said this before, it bears repeating: Sarem should be embarrassed by this book if for no other reason than the way she portrays herself.

    “… my coworkers might not immediately assume I want to fuck everybody I see.”

    No. You missed the point! Zany is pure. it’s all the mens who want to fuck her, not the other way around!

    Without all the word padding, this book would have been a chapter long, it appears.

    I thought there never could be a worse book/series than 50. But this and Apelonia I (Apellonia? I can’t remember.) surpass it. Bad as it was, it at least was entertaining in a train wreck sort of way. These two are just boring as well as poorly written.

    Unlike Zaphod, I like women. A lot. I have wonderful, lifelong friendships and wonderful newer friends. I have had a lot of conversations with them individually and as a group. I don’t think shopping has often been a major topic of conversation over the years. Maybe once a year? No one who isn’t in or wanting to be in the fashion industry talks about shopping that much, even while actually shopping.

    Why do so many women authors have so much trouble writing women? It’s frustrating. Obviously, there are exceptions, but on the whole, male authors seem to have a better grasp of women as human beings.

    December 12, 2017
    |Reply
    • mydogspa
      mydogspa

      Why do so many women authors have so much trouble writing women? It’s frustrating. Obviously, there are exceptions, but on the whole, male authors seem to have a better grasp of women as human beings.

      You don’t think Suzanne Collins got Katniss right in Hunger Games?

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      “Why do so many women authors have so much trouble writing women? It’s frustrating. Obviously, there are exceptions, but on the whole, male authors seem to have a better grasp of women as human beings.”

      No, just because *some* women have trouble writing about their own sex does not mean men *do*. There’s the smurfette principal, the sexy lamp test, the bechdel test, women in the refrigerator; these tropes exist because how BAD a lot of men write women. Lani is *one* bad writer, do not lump other women writers with her.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
    • AH
      AH

      I really don’t see how men are better are writing women. There are more well-known men authors, so perhaps that’s why you know more men that can write decent female characters. However, that doesn’t mean men are better at writing them. I would even say that it’s the reverse. Many tropes that end up in women’s works are originally the brainchild of men after all. Influence is a scary thing.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Let me gently remind you that you’re at the blog of a female author who writes in a genre almost entirely written by women who have no trouble writing female characters. Maybe you feel that male authors have a better grasp of women as human beings because you’re not reading books written by women. Believe me when I say that there is no man in the history of the world who has known the humanity of a woman more than a woman would.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
    • Thera Pitts
      Thera Pitts

      You like women? Because you really don’t seem to by the end of your comment.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      On Charmed, they always referred to non-magical people as “mortals.” I’m not sure if they made that up or it comes from somewhere, but I can’t blame Sarem for this one because she didn’t come up with the concept. And the witches in Charmed could die.

      What? I totally blame Lani Sarem for using the most generic and ill-advised term from a franchise when she isn’t writing fanfiction. This is her novel about witches. She could’ve come up with anything she wanted. I mean, it sure as hell didn’t stop Rowling from coming up with the term muggles for her books, so why would it thwart Sarem?

      Not to mention, there isn’t even a historical precedent for this. Traditionally, witches were assumed to be mortal people across most cultures that had folk tales about magic users. They might have some unique and strange traits that influenced having magic in the first place (whether they were born with it or gained it through some ritual), but they were typically mortal humans. The exceptions might be certain notorious examples, such as Baba Yaga, who is never explicitly explained and could be otherworldly, or perhaps Koschei the Deathless, if you want to consider him a witch (since he does have magic beyond his soul being hidden, so that he can’t be killed until it’s found.) These are two examples with far more distinctiveness than anything in the Handbook for Mortals (and both are of Slavic/Russian/Eastern European origin.)

      IMHO, the only people that should be using mortals to refer to humans are immortal deities.

      Why do so many women authors have so much trouble writing women? It’s frustrating. Obviously, there are exceptions, but on the whole, male authors seem to have a better grasp of women as human beings.

      To add to what other people have said, writing women is easy for anyone if they simply assume that women are human beings. From there, the distinguishing characteristics that might cause problems would entail having some insight into the societal issues targeting women, which requires a female perspective. The same can be said for writing about anyone different from yourself, such as people with a different age group, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexuality. All you have to do is open your mind, do some research, and get feedback from the group of origin during the editing process. This works for everyone, so it’s weird to assume men automatically have a better grasp on the whole. Women who live as women know what their day to day lives are like and while they can’t speak for everyone woman, just as no man can speak for every man, they’re aware of things that affect them specifically IRL. As another example, would a devout, practicing Catholic be better at grasping an Atheistic perspective without any help? Maybe. It’s not impossible to wander in the right direction and guess pretty well, based on a lot of thought and consideration, but it’s far easier and generally more detailed if they have some information from, or a general discussion with, an Atheist. There are inevitably concerns that assumptions might not bring to light and feedback is always helpful in this regard.

      I mean, let’s be honest here. Lani Sarem isn’t any good at writing men either because she isn’t thinking about them as people. If Tad ends up better written than the rest, it’s probably because American Pie had some input into the character, since he expected to portray him in the movie (and Tad was clearly inspired by him anyway.) Even then, he’s pretty badly written because Lani Sarem can’t write anyone very well, which just becomes more and more obvious as the book goes on.

      Basically, as AH pointed out, the problematic tropes and cliches tend to originate from an outside perspective. If a female writer has trouble writing about women, she probably doesn’t have a lot of experience with female friends or family and she’s internalized a lot of misogyny and stereotypical tropes. Poorly written female characters stem from an outside view and no internal world. Zapatista is boring and empty because she was never fully realized as a person with actual feelings and natural reactions to anything. This is a mistake that anyone could make, but it’s only more troubling from a female writer. It suggests that perfection is artificial, but it also suggests that they can’t fully fathom that femininity is merely a social construct. They’re used to seeing women as objects.

      Given the problem with every character being this way, I think this speaks volumes about how Lani Sarem sees actual people. She is admittedly a shitty and inexperienced writer, but since this is her wet dream wish fulfillment, with very little screening except to make her look cooler or more perfect, I think it’s pretty telling about who she is as a person. People are objects that she can manipulate. That’s all. Sofia is only slightly more realized because Lani Sarem is actually the mean girl and she sees herself in Sofia as well as Zahadistan. That’s why there’s some unexpected albeit minor sympathy after Sofia stops standing in as an effigy for all the girls who stole the movie parts that Lani Sarem should’ve gotten. (It’s just so much easier to see Sofia’s side of the story as sympathetic, even with Zany’s narrative trying to alter our perception.)

      Incidentally, Ziziphone is strongly objectified whenever we’re not in her first person POV. When the narrative switches gears, later on, Zapdos becomes a very literal object when she slips into a coma, and the only reason we remain in her headspace is because we get to see her commentary after the fact. You know there’s something wrong when the protagonist is such an empty shell that knocking her out for several chapters actually improves the events of the story. That has nothing to do with her by a female author. That’s just horrible writing right there. :p

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
    • On Charmed, they always referred to non-magical people as “mortals.” I’m not sure if they made that up or it comes from somewhere, but I can’t blame Sarem for this one because she didn’t come up with the concept.

      It goes back a lot farther than Charmed, at least as far as the 1962 – 1974 television series Bawitched starring Elizabeth Montgomery. Samantha’s non-magical husband Darrin was constantly referred to as a mortal (in a particularly disparaging tone by Samantha’s mother Endora). Mixed marriages between witches/warlocks and mortals were highly frowned upon in that ‘verse too, and for the same reason as mentioned in HfM (possibility of non-magical offspring).

      Given the author’s bizarrely outdated pop culture reference of The Monkees (1966 – 1968), I wouldn’t be surprised if Bewitched was her influence and not the more recent stuff. Maybe a reference to The Brady Bunch is coming next.

      December 13, 2017
      |Reply
      • Drea C
        Drea C

        In Bewitched the witches were very long-lived (Samantha was supposed to be about 300-400 during the show and Endora was 1000+, knew Julius Caesar, Shakespeare, etc.) They were of the practically-immortal-compared-to-humans variety. I think that was the case for Sabrina, too.

        So, Zula might have stolen the idea from other shows, but she never explained it the way these shows did.

        And it could have worked for the story, too. It would explain why a 25-year-old still acted like a bratty teenager–because her people age differently. Now, the other bratty 30-year-olds…

        December 13, 2017
        |Reply
  23. Beams don't work like that
    Beams don't work like that

    I got derailed by the beam description, and haven’t seen anyone else mention it, so: beams are horizontal supports. A “metal beam that spanned from floor to ceiling” would be a wall, and definitely not a pole >.>

    December 12, 2017
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Lololol, how short was Justin that he couldn’t see “a pole extending from floor to ceiling”? Once again, cartoon physics are at play here. XD

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
    • mydogspa
      mydogspa

      You’re half right, both a “beam” and “girder” are horizontal supports. The difference between the two is that a girder can carry loads from other beams but not vice-versa (i.e, girders carry the main loads of other beams to complete a horizontal floor or ceiling structure)

      The vertical supports are called “columns” and can be round (poles) or I or Z beams in their own right. Or even concrete. But the technical term for a vertical support is “column,” not “beam.”

      But what would a ham-fisted-writer-who-does-no-research know?

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
  24. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    Did some 90s surfing on YouTube last night. Any chance Zad-onk-a-donk’s incomprehensibly described diving trick is lifted from video for Tal Bachman’s “She’s So High”?

    December 12, 2017
    |Reply
    • Megan M.
      Megan M.

      OMG that’s a hilarious possibility!

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
  25. Alice Davis
    Alice Davis

    Mac looked at me for a second as if to ask me what he should say. I stayed silent. He was gonna have to figure this one out on his own.

    And this is why Zylo Ren is a huge bitch and this book sucks.

    December 12, 2017
    |Reply
    • Mike
      Mike

      This bothered me quite a bit. She’s saying in her head that she was letting him figure it out on his own rather than just leaving him out to dry after he made an ass of himself. There are only two reasonable ways to interpret that. Either she’s hoping he realizes the answer is no, but she doesn’t have the guts to say anything, or, even worse, she is hoping he just makes her decision for her right there in that moment.

      If Mac wasn’t a possessive ass he would just walk away right then and there, realizing she’s not worth it. If he wasn’t an idiot, he would take her aside and talk about how she’s had a good enough amount of time to pick between them and she needs to make a decision rather than continuing to toy with other people’s emotions. But Mac is a possessive idiot. So this bullshit will continue with these 20 somethings, written by a 30 something, acting like teenagers.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        If Mac was one being hit on, would Zoodberg be jealous and fight for her man? Would she step in and be like, “sorry girl, he’s taken” or would she use magic to physically assault them?

        and this makes me annoyed, the fact we don’t see what type of girlfriend zazu could be. Mac has been described multiple times as handsome and buff as hell, so of course women would go to him.

        This is yet another example of zasi being acted upon and the plot just happening around her. Not once has she gone up to Mac or Jackson and gone, “hey, I like you, let’s go out.” The men are always hitting on women… er… woman. Zade. They’re only attractive to Zade.

        The only time we see a woman take the initiative was Sofia, and her actions are slutified

        December 12, 2017
        |Reply
        • cat
          cat

          I think this interaction does give us a bit of insight into what Zaza is like as a girlfriend. The popular stereotype is that women like to play games. By consciously deciding that you are not going to tell this man you are interested in whether or not his presence is welcome, #notlikeothergirls is playing games.

          It’s entertaining to me that our introduction to Sophia is as a clingy, jealous girlfriend. I have no doubt that if The Great Zamboni and Mac (or anyone for that matter) were to couple up, any interaction with other female characters would involve Z’s smug inner dialogue about how all the girls want her boyfriend but Mac was so into her that he was totally oblivious.

          December 13, 2017
          |Reply
  26. Nocturnal Queen
    Nocturnal Queen

    I get the feeling that Zade (and I guess Lani too) is the Cool Girl TM who values mens’ opinions and friendships over women’s. She seems like that kind of Cool Girl TM who talks shit about other women with the guys, adapts every aspect of herself to become the laid back type of girl that she thinks every guy wants, sees herself as “one of the boys” (but she will never truly be of course as being one of the boys is always conditional if you’re a woman) and complains about women being dramatic or back-stabbing but will come running to her female friends whenever she needs emotional support even though she claims all women for some unexplicable reason hates her.

    December 12, 2017
    |Reply
    • Xebi
      Xebi

      I cringed, because that is a perfect description of my younger self. Not proud of that.

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
      • Nocturnal Queen
        Nocturnal Queen

        I think a lot of us have at some point in our lives fit at least parts of that description. Society teaches us to value men’s opinions over women’s and to seek male approval. Being “one of the boys” means you’ve taken a step up the ladder. Unfortunately taking those steps often involves positioning yourself against other women (she is a slut but I’m not, she is a prude but I’m not, she is vain but I’m not etc.) and it’s very easy to get pushed down that ladder. I think this whole Cool Girl TM thing is also aided by the individualization of our society.

        December 12, 2017
        |Reply
        • Vix
          Vix

          Totally agreed with this. I read a book about this a few years ago (I wish I could remember what it was – I have just spent 20 minutes googling varations on remembered snippets and I’ve got nowhere). Girls are taught from an early age that to fit in, they have to be “for the boys” or “with the boys.” Either they embrace all things girly, or they reject everything associated with femininity – both of which are strategies to appeal to boys. I recognised this from my younger days (I was a Cool Girl, too), and it really helped me make sure that I didn’t pass similar attitudes on to my daughter. Rather than rejecting princess dresses, I made sure that they were present among all the other options for playtime. And hey, it meant that when I had a son, he got to play with them too.

          Zlim Zadie did not indulge in the same self-reflection.

          December 13, 2017
          |Reply
  27. Indigo
    Indigo

    I can 100% guarantee that no one who has ever started a bar fight is the kind of person who thinks “jerkface” is a killing insult. That is literally the kind of language I use when working with kids, where normally I’d use words like “asshole” and “motherfucker”. And even the kids think it’s goofy.

    December 12, 2017
    |Reply
    • Mydog'sPA
      Mydog'sPA

      I can 100% guarantee that no one who has ever started a bar fight is the kind of person who thinks “jerkface” is a killing insult.

      Yeah, that’s like the movie where a bar fight starts with someone calling the other guy “Jerky McJerkFace. . . “

      December 12, 2017
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        That’s almost as magical and amusing as Boaty McBoatface. I can see it resolving the tension or lowering it briefly as opposed to escalating things. XD

        December 12, 2017
        |Reply
        • Mydog'sPA
          Mydog'sPA

          Definitely the comedy version of HFM . . .

          December 12, 2017
          |Reply
          • Xebi
            Xebi

            Oh shit, is this not meant to be the comedy version?

            December 13, 2017
          • mydog'sPA
            mydog'sPA

            Well it is when they start half-ass slapping each other and saying “Well, double McJerkFace to you, too!”

            December 14, 2017
  28. Stacy
    Stacy

    Bless you for taking so many bullets for us. I can truthfully say I’m informed enough about this and 50 Shades to justify my disgust without ever having had to pick up any of the books.

    If you need a break from this, perhaps you would enjoy some of this much more coherent writing. It’s an AI that has written a Harry Potter story. It probably still had more editors than this book.

    http://botnik.org/content/harry-potter.html

    “If you two can’t clump happily, I’m going to get aggressive,’ confessed the reasonable Hermoine.”

    December 13, 2017
    |Reply
    • Drea C
      Drea C

      Someone should run this piece of crap through the AI. It would probably be a big improvement.

      December 13, 2017
      |Reply
  29. Alex D
    Alex D

    On Twitter recently, Dan Olsen has been talking a lot about Todd McFarlane, and how he loves drawing the big moments in Spawn comics, but puts a lot of the actual action of the story in text rather than letting it play out. That seems to be the approach to relationships here.
    Has she ever had anything that passes for an intimate conversation with either Jackson or Mac? We just keep being TOLD they spend time together but the two men seem to talk to each other more often than they talk to her. She keeps saying that there’s a relationship there and I wonder if I just missed it or forgot it ffs…

    December 14, 2017
    |Reply
  30. small jar of fireflies
    small jar of fireflies

    I think we get more concern for an agressive man, who was trying to hurt someone, than we did for Sofia’s well-being after her accidental 40-foot fall.

    Also, he doesn’t have just one knot on his head. Skulls are not magical and secondary concussion from the brain hitting the inside of the skull is a real thing. He slammed his entire weight headfirst into a beam, rebounded, fell full length, and his head hit the floor. That’s at least four impacts to the brain. He might be dead.

    December 14, 2017
    |Reply
    • Cris
      Cris

      Head injuries are ridiculously underplayed in most any type of fiction, specially if the movie/book/comic/whatever falls in the action genre-although comedy has been known to have plenty egregious examples too-.

      December 14, 2017
      |Reply
      • small jar of fireflies
        small jar of fireflies

        Comedy underplays most injuries because the audience isn’t supposed to care about them or take them seriously. The weight and purpose of the scenes is understood to be elsewhere.

        It might be a choice for the type of story, but establishing that has a cost in how the reader feels and cares about the scenes in the book. And that, in turn, lowers the stakes and raises forgettability. I think here, it plays against the work, especially in terms of how the characters react.

        December 18, 2017
        |Reply
        • Cris
          Cris

          “Comedy underplays most injuries because the audience isn’t supposed to care about them or take them seriously. The weight and purpose of the scenes is understood to be elsewhere.”

          Oh, I know :). Although you have to be careful where you draw the line, since there is a limit to people’s suspension of disbelief.
          Like you say, here it just feels like there are no stakes. Nothing that happens has any significant effect in the characters, thus there is no real reason to care about them. Of course calling Zani’s carboard figures characters might be a bit too generous.

          December 18, 2017
          |Reply
  31. The Magikal Immortal Mortal of Vegastonia
    The Magikal Immortal Mortal of Vegastonia

    I call dibs on writing the Tad fanfic wherein he breaks the fourth wall of this abortion of a book!
    Is it Tad or Thad?
    I already forgot and I’m too lazy to scroll up and look…
    But my dibs still stands!

    December 18, 2017
    |Reply
  32. Figgy
    Figgy

    Can you do a search for how many times she uses the word “basically” in this book?

    My 9th grade English teacher told us all to never use the word “basically”. It’s stupid and childish and doesn’t belong in good writing. It’s sad that no one told Saren this.

    December 18, 2017
    |Reply
    • small jar of fireflies
      small jar of fireflies

      I can’t really agree. There isn’t any one word that is the secret book-ruining word.

      Maybe it was in your region specifically as a frequently misused word, or it was on her mind because she saw it overused as a pretentious part of style, or it was used a lot by kids trying to copy adults. But there’s no reason “basically” should be judged against, say, “fundamentally.”

      A bigger problem in Sarem’s writing style is the repetition, which is both grating and raw. It makes it more obvious how much of the prose has no purpose within the book.

      December 19, 2017
      |Reply
  33. I graduated from architecture school, and perhaps I wasted my money, but I’m fairly certain that a beam (I.e. an I-beam) is a horizontal structural member. I think the word she was looking for was “column”, since it was described as going from floor to ceiling.

    December 23, 2017
    |Reply
  34. Bex
    Bex

    What gets me most (well, equal with all the other things that piss me off) about Lenny Sauron’s bullshit writing is that her book has cartoon physics. In the lemonade stand scene, a character getting drenched with liquid was somehow comically knocked to the ground, while the potentially deadly shards of glass didn’t touch anyone.

    Here, we have a guy apparently rebounding off a fucking metal pole. How does that work? He lunges at Mac – so he’s going forwards – who steps out of the way, Justin hits the pole, and then goes “flying backwards” (or at least, his head and body do). Where did all that backwards momentum come from? Is this pole-slash-beam actually a fucking trampoline? Words mean things! And the mental image that conjures up is just ridiculous.

    May 17, 2018
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    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah, it could be charming if LS did a lot of wacky shenanigans with the cartoon physics and really played it up… but nope. It’s just how she gets around making this shit truly tragic.

      May 17, 2018
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