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Jealous Haters Book Club: Handbook For Mortals, Chapter 18 The Chariot part 2 or, “No One Is Responsible For Their Actions”

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For your laughing pleasure, Esther Anne sent me this lovely screenshot:

A tweet from @JustinBrady that reads, "It was fun to meet @RockanRollGypsy and @TINband in the @WHORadio studios today! Some are saying their new collaboration is going to be bigger than the Twilight series!" followed by a link to a radio interview and a photo of Sarem and Nicholas with the WHO Radio DJs.

First of all, @WHORadio is a prime example of why you need to carefully consider how your social media/web branding is going to look without spaces in it.

Second, the “some are saying” part is 100% true. It’s just that the “some” are Lani Sarem and Thomas Ian Nicholas. It’s a very exclusive group.

You can listen to interviews here if you have a high cringe tolerance.

So, when last we met, Lani Sarem was telling us about how in love her characters are, rather than showing us.

Abed from Community saying "Cool. Cool cool cool."

We also just saw Mac learn the truth about Zani’s magical lineage and finally got an answer to whether or not she’s immortal. She is not, which makes the fact that we’ve now spent like three chapters as some kind of leisurely stroll against the clock even more nonsensical. Upon having learned that his long-term not-yet-girlfriend is a witch, Mac says:

“Why do I feel like I am in some bad episode of Bewitched?” Are you both being serious right now?”

The mid-sentence quotation mark is present in the text, that’s not my finger slipping. This chapter has a higher-than-usual occurrence of typos.

Also, even a bad episode of Bewitched wouldn’t have had massive internal hemorrhaging. Imagine Darren inviting Larry over for dinner in the hopes of winning a promotion and Endora straight up fucking murders him.

He felt his whole world turning upside down––whether because these people were crazy, or beause what they were talking about was actually real, he wasn’t sure. Either way, he felt like he couldn’t win. He couldn’t be certain which option he preferred at the moment: did he hope everything they had said was true or did he hope they were crazy?

There’s that crazy again, implying delusion and separation from reality.

There’s a full page about the necklace that Zargon always wears and that is apparently a huge part of the story and has only been mentioned once before. I’m going to assume that since it’s barely on the page, the necklace is a super important piece of the story. Because that’s how this book works: needless detail about costumes and gifts lavished upon Lumbar, very little mention of things that turn out to be important.

Mac became fixated on Dela as she pulled at the pendant and ran it back and forth over the chain it hung on. He fixated on it because it was a nervous habit that I also had––and knew I had almost the exact same necklace, too., though mine was slightly smaller and the writing was less noticeable. He had never seen me without it and knew it was important and something to do with my family.

Ah, the random italics strike again. This is just a small slice of the description of the necklace, which takes up two long paragraphs. And Mac recognizes this nervous “habit” despite there only being one scene in which Lumps actually displays this behavior.

Charles explains that the reason no one can figure out Zoaster’s illusions is that they’re not illusions, they’re real magic. Mac asks what that has to do with her being sick now.

“When she did the Creation illusion, she built you into it. She was using you as a…how do I explain this? You were a conductor of sorts. Some magick needs to be grounded, basically, like electricity needs a grounding wire. She needed really strong energy to ground that magick and keep it stable. The magick she was doing was dark and old magick that…well…isn’t always very stable on it’s own. It’s referred to as chaos magick for obvious reasons. That’s why she wanted you to be on the board for the illusion.”

Record scratch. Hang on. There’s a lot to work on here.

No one had seen this illusion until opening night because it was so super secret. Laminate and Charles had only ever practiced it alone, with no one else in the theater. At one point, Mac was away on a camping trip when they were developing the illusion.

So, how did Ziggy “build” Mac into it if he wasn’t there all the other times she did it? Why was his absence only an issue during the actual performance and not during those rehearsals? If she’d been doing this super dangerous chaos majgikh all that time, if the excuse is that the majhgikal forces were ever so unpredictable and delicate, had it gone right every single time they’d rehearsed it? If that were the case, why would she have needed to make Mac’s presence a part of the spell?

Also, let’s talk about Mac’s involvement in this illusion. People cast bindings and hexes and curses all the time. I don’t pass judgment. Sometimes, people do magic for other people without permission. Do what you’re going to do. But this isn’t the same as casting a spell on someone. This is forcing someone to participate in your spell, as a conduit for magic or energy or whatever, without their knowledge. This isn’t using a toenail or a lock of hair. This is using an entire living person, body and soul or spirit or animus or whatever you want to call it, as an ingredient in magic that our protagonist acknowledges is super unstable and dangerous. Did she have a plan in place for what she would have done if things had gone wrong? What were the possible consequences to Mac? Did she have any misgivings about using him this way? Will any of this ever be explored?

Probably not.

“When did you walk off the board?” Charles asked.

“You mean during the show?

No, when you were doing the audience participation bit at that pirate-themed restaurant and your waiter forced you to “walk the plank” while everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to you. OBVIOUSLY DURING THE SHOW, YOU YUB NUB.

Never. Like I told you, after we got into our fight I was so upset that I knew I couldn’t run it, so I had Cam do it.”

Right now, he’s like, admitting to his boss that he walked off the job.

Charles and Sandwich grill Mac on when and where he was during the illusion.

He was feeling a little queasy about the fact that he hadn’t been there for me during such a critical moment––even though he’d had no idea I was relying on him in such a way.

You know what makes me a little queasy? The fact that right here is where blessed with the gift of hindsight, our narrator should examine her actions and note that it was wrong of her to have involved Mac without his permission. And then she should think about how bad it makes her feel to see him feeling bad over her actions. But that would only work in a book written by someone who isn’t envisioning their main character as a direct avatar of themself and who believes that any wrong choice their fictional self makes somehow reflects badly on who they are as a real-life person. Those types of authors tie themselves in knots trying to explain to readers that while it appears that the character has done something morally reprehensible, it’s okay because reasons. Nothing they ever do is actually wrong.

See also: Post-Obsidian Butterfly Anita Blake.

Anyway.

“So as long as you were in the theater, she could draw from you. It was when you walked out that the energy backfired through her, and that’s why she’s hurt,” Dela surmised from what Mac had just told her. He thought her comment held a tinge of blame––or at least it sounded to Mac like he was being blamed––but Dela wasn’t blaming him at all, just talking out loud.

This is another section where it’s clear that someone told Sarem, “You know, it seems kind of unfair that Dela is being so blamey here,” and she was like, “Ah, good catch. I’ll fix that,” and then the fix was just to throw in a line assuring the reader that what they’re reading right off the page isn’t actually what’s happening.

That doesn’t stop her from then reiterating the not-blame just a few lines later:

I was on my deathbed because of him.

Okay, like, at this point it feels like you’re really just on your inconvenience bed because there’s been absolutely no sense of urgency with regards to your condition. But either way, no, it’s not because of him. It’s because Zagina did her majghk without telling him. Dela even says that, but of course, we have to have our hero bereft that he thoughtlessly hurt the precious star of the book despite any of her reassurances:

“You didn’t know, so it’s not your fault. It’s not like she told you so you were aware. She’s a lot stronger than I knew, though. I don’t know how she made it through to finish the illusion, considering you left halfway through. It’s amazing that she could pull from you as long as you were in the theater.”

I know you’re suffering from crushing guilt because you think you killed your girlfriend but now is a great time to praise how strong and amazing she is. Just ignore the part where your spiritual autonomy was violated.

“Why would she do that without telling me?” Mac asked, sorrow in his voice and pain reflected across his face.

Because like mother, like daughter, Macswell:

“Well, I did it with Charles for years without him knowing, and she knew that. Of course, Charles was in the show, so he couldn’t have left. It’s really dangerous to use someone who is unaware without a surefire way of knowing they wont leave.” Dela was trying to reassure Mac it wasn’t really his fault, but it was only partially working.

It might just be really dangerous to use someone as a component in a spell without telling them in the first place. But this explanation allows us to finally lay the “who’s to blame?” question to rest for once and for all.

Spoiler alert: It’s Mac. Mac is to blame.

“Well, I wasn’t supposed to leave. I was just livid at the time. I let my emotions get the best of me. That’s something I don’t usually do. If only I could make it right.” Mac said the last words as he drifted off in thought. He felt more regret than he ever had about anything in his life.

Isn’t that a throbbing red flag right there? Remember what he was doing before he stormed off? Oh yeah. He was physically assaulting Lance up on the catwalk. Remember? Shaking her and hurting her on purpose? Gosh, he let his emotions get the best of him. That doesn’t usually happen. He regrets it so much and wishes he could make it right.

But back to the blame:

“[…]This isn’t exactly the best explanation, but, basically, because you caused the energy surge, you have to fix it as well.”

That’s Dela’s take on the situation. Mac is fully to blame and now he has to fix this mess. Our heroine glides right on past any responsibility for her own actions because it’s majjjekk and a different world and mortals can’t understand blah blah blah, totally absolved.

But Mac is willing to do anything to save Zunt, so he asks what he has to do:

“Normally I would sugarcoat this, but we don’t really have that kind of time. I’m just going to get down and dirty and to the point. Please try not to freak out. I have to forge a …um…well, it doesn’t matter what it really is. It’s going to look like a dagger––though it won’t actually be a dagger at all. It’s not worth explaining to you what it really is, other than it’s magick.

That’s the motto of the Lani Sarem School Of Storycraft.

At three o’clock sharp tonight, you’re going to have to plunge it into her heart on my altar outside.”

Katniss from The Hunger Games screaming "I volunteer" and struggling with the guards.
Me, actual footage

So, Mac does more thinking about how “insane” they must be and how everything he knows has been turned upside down or whatever. He tells Dela she sounds “crazy” and asks how stabbing Zappatos in the heart will help fix anything, but I’m over here like, “Couldn’t hurt to try, right?” while eagerly sharpening a kitchen knife like a cartoon chef.

“It’s extremely difficult to actually explain but, in a way, it will release the enegery that she’s battling with, plus––remember––it’s not a real dagger it’s a just going to look like one. It’s magick, with healing properties––think of it like an EpiPen. […]”

“Think of it working like this common object if that common object didn’t work exactly the way it works and instead you just kind of drove it through someone’s heart.”

Dela explains that once the energy inside of Limbo is released, she can then heal her and hopes that Mac listens and doesn’t think she’s “crazy.” Because like I said last time, this is the chapter of crazy.

Dela’s hands traced over the table out of nervousness, the tips of her fingers tracing the grooves of the tabletop in alternating slow and swift movements as the clock ticked by.

The seconds on the clock ticked by. The clock ticks but it doesn’t go anywhere while it’s doing that. And you have absolutely no chance in hell of suddenly ramping up the race-against-time drama now. Especially when Mac thinks:

Mac couldn’t believe everything that had happened in the past forty-eight hours […]

Remember when we couldn’t figure out how much time had passed? Well, here we go. Forty-eight hours. Lorde has been dying for forty-eight hours while they sit around drinking iced tea and sharing stories about the good old days. First of all, how long was that fucking story? And second, an author cannot reasonably expect us to believe that time is of the essence when we’re now on our third chapter of exposition sans heroine. No one has provided any kind of reason as to why they didn’t snap into action the moment they arrived. They just keep talking about how they don’t have much time and they have to act right away, after this quick story about their love lives and also would you like some fucking iced tea? We’ll get around to curing her at three in the morning two days later.

Mac is still grappling with the whole magic thing and he asks if Dela is sure this is the only way to save Zoloft.

“Dela’s not sure that at this point that even this will save her. Zade is pretty far gone already.” Charles’s voice resounded with pain and urgency.

Oh, now it’s urgent. After the How I Met Zade’s Mother tale of his past sexual conquests is over, now things are urgent.

“You don’t know how insane what you’re asking me to do sounds….”

WE GET IT! INSANE! CRAZY! NOT SANE! MENTAL! WEEEEE GEEEEET IIIIIIT. I think I said in the last recap that they say crazy and insane something like seven times but it feels like it’s a lot more. I realize now why that is: with the exception of it being used like once to describe Betty, it’s always being used in the exact same context. It’s always being used to express Mac’s doubt and that makes it stick out more.

“I do know how insane it sounds, Mac. […]”

See?

Anyway, Mac says he’ll stab Lindt Zuffles in the heart and Dela goes off to forge her magical hammer or whatever the fuck it is she’s going to do.

There’s a long section where Charles studies Mac and realizes how much Mac loves Zerbert, and Mac cries because he can’t lose her and it’s all his fault.  Charles is like, “you won’t lose her!” but he doesn’t say, “and it’s not your fault,” because if it isn’t Mac’s fault, it’s Zungbean’s fault and we cannot have that, dear reader. Oh ho ho, no, we cannot have that.

Mac asks Charles why he and Dela broke up and why he left Zunder’s life:

“In regards to Dela, well, the biggest reason is that I was a very stupid, ignorant man––and it’s a very long story.”

It’s not like you don’t have time. Just let your kid die a little more. What’s the harm?

He paused for another moment before he carefully chose his next set of words. “Also, I’d like you to understand that I never left them. Dela left me and took Zade away. Though, yes, it was because I did her wrong and deserved it––at least for the most part.” Pain and sorrow filled Charles’s voice and his eyes looked heavy and pierced with regret.

His eyes look pierced? Ouch.

So, Mac asks Charles to tell him the “short version” of the story. Which, you know, why not go the long route? Why not waste more time while insisting that the situation is urgent?

“Let’s just say you handled all of the information about Dela and Zade remarkably well compared to how I handled it when Dela told me. I lost it when she told me what she was. It was right after we had Zade. I thought maybe she had made me love her––which, by the way, even they can’t really do. Lust yes; love, no. Magick can help open your eyes and heart and even change circumstances to make it optimal, but it can’t force anyone to love you.”

Let’s just acknowledge here that Zade and Mac aren’t even dating exclusively and they’ve known each other for what, under a year? But Charles and Dela met during the seventies and their daughter is in her twenties. That means he and Dela were together for like twenty years before she told him the truth. And it was like, “By the way, I’ve been doing majjjikk on you without your permission for twenty years, surprise!” We really can’t blame Charles for not taking that all in stride.

“Because I wasn’t sure if I could believe her, I cheated on Dela to see if I could. When I was able to cheat, I realized that if she had put a spell on me she wouldn’t have ‘let’ me be able to do that

So, to test his theory, he had to go all the way through with it? Like Dela is going to cast a spell to prevent him from infidelity but it’s not going to stop him from engaging in the earliest stage of cheating? Like, she’s not going to remove the thought of doing it from his head? She’s going to do some spell that lets him flirt with chicks and seriously consider cheating? He had to actually cheat, like, go back to some woman’s place, make out, grope, get a blowy james, whatever they ended up doing, but he had to like, complete the act to make sure? Sounds like some desperate rationalizations going on there, Chuck.

I felt so guilty about what I had done that I started drinking heavily and even started doing drugs. Dela said she understood and forgave me, but I got to a real low point.

“To make matters worse, I also started talking about putting Zade in the show. I guess Dela saw that guy I used to be––the jerk that slept around and was power- and money-hungry. When she asked her cards, she saw that going back to my old life was one path I could take. There was another path where we would all be happy together, but she couldn’t see which of the two I would choose in the long run. So she chose her own path. She just up and left. I came home one day…to a letter.”

Because Sandwich Jones couldn’t see exactly what was going to happen in the future, she took her toys and went home? Okay.

“In the letter, she said she would come back when––and if––I had decided to take the right path, and when she saw it clearly. Her leaving made me so much worse, because when she left it made me depressed. It caused even more havoc on my thoughts; on top of everything else, I was embarassed. I never talked about my failure. I found out later, though, that she did put a spell on me to not talk about Zade––or to admit to a connection to either of them. That never made any sense to me, but I think it was because our break-up was just too hard on her. I broke her heart, so she thought it was best to push me out of her life altogheter. She just didn’t want to have to deal with our past at all. That’s the short version, anyway. Someday I’ll tell you the full one.”

There’s a longer version?

I want to go ahead and recap what we’ve learned in this chapter and how no one is responsible for it:

  • Zandelion used Mac to do a dangerous spell without telling him but that’s not her fault because her mom did it, too.
  • The spell went wrong but that’s not Lasik’s fault because Mac unpredictably left the theater.
  • Mac left the theater, but that’s not his fault because he was really, really emotional.
  • Charles cheated on Dela but that’s not his fault, he had to do it because he thought he was under a spell.
  • Dela kidnapped their daughter, keeping Charles from seeing his own child until she was an adult, but that was the cards telling her to do that.
  • Charles returned to his old ways, but that was Dela’s fault because she left him.
  • Charles never went back to see his own child because Dela had put a spell on him to make him…not be able to tell people about her?

Yeah, back up. Charles could have contacted his daughter but he didn’t because of a spell that made him not talk about her? Also, let’s look at how really sinister that binding is: without the ability to speak to anyone about having a daughter or an ex-partner, he had no legal recourse to pursue custody. From the way the spell is described, it wouldn’t have prevented Charles from trying to contact Zeddar Leese and Deli on his own, but it definitely would have prevented him from ever getting help in trying to assert his parental rights. Basically, Dela kidnapped their kid and put a spell on him so she could never be caught.

Which leaves me at the end of this chapter wondering: why can he talk about it now? At what point was the spell lifted? When he was in the waiting room at the hospital? Why didn’t his memories show any sense of surprise that he could reveal this secret? And why is he still in love with Panini after she did something so truly heinous?

The answer is: like the author herself, no one in this book is responsible for their actions just so long as they really, really want what they did to be the right thing.

132 Comments

  1. Emily Sappenfield
    Emily Sappenfield

    Heh neh heh heh “Yub Nub.”

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • L
      L

      Yubba dubba yub nub.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
  2. HerImperialMaj
    HerImperialMaj

    So Long Salami and Mortadella stole their partner’s energy without even telling them they were doing it, which even a muggle like me can see is a huge fucking problem.

    And Cheese is a cheater and a substance abuser, and also a deadbeat dad (although partly because he was magically forced to be a deadbeat dad).

    And Macaroni is a racist and physically threatening.

    I love when authors try to create these passionate, tortured romances, but instead they just make a couple of utterly vile mutual abusers (see also: the Twilight series and FSoG).

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • cat
      cat

      Mac isn’t even Zade’s partner. I can’t remember (because I don’t care) but did she decide between him and Jackson by this point? I thought we were still in the triangle and wondering “Do you like me Y or N” with this shit.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Technically, Mac has been chosen because Jackson doesn’t get told the truth about anything in this book. If she writes an actual sequel, he could learn then but as we’ll see soon, Charles is mostly keeping his crew in the dark about WTF happened and where the fuck he went. They’ve closed the show down abruptly (I hope anyone who bought tickets got reimbursed) and Zade never calls Jackson when she wakes up, to reassure him or anything, as far as I remember so… LS could still pull the “Y/N?” BS in the future but it’s way past that point now. Pretty much the instant we hit the original resolution of the “Charles or Mac?” dilemma it was all solidly directed at Mac.

        But yeah, same difference and worse… Mac was supposedly looking for a substantial relationship but what if he hadn’t been? What if Zadowoodo had been indiscriminately pulling from either man when she was in a purely casual relationship? What if she decided to steal it from her pal Tad if either one suddenly left the show? WTF would her limit be? Would she refuse to steal it from Sofia because of their supposed rivalry or is that cool too? It’s all murky and pretty unethical. “Twu Wuv” changes nothing. x.x;

        June 8, 2018
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        • Indigo
          Indigo

          They’ve closed the show down abruptly (I hope anyone who bought tickets got reimbursed)
          Which just goes to show how special Zaheer is, because they don’t close down shows for piddling little accidents where normal people get hurt. /ActualVegasPerformerNoReallyIAm.

          June 9, 2018
          |Reply
    • Jane Eyre
      Jane Eyre

      This all makes me think..about Sandwich and Zandu and people not liking them. so far, they both manipulated people, disregarded their autonomy, Zanzukan assulted two people and seriously injured them, one just for accidently bumping into her, whenever someone says “hey, maybe you’d be more careful this stuff is dengerous” she goes off on them and almost uses physical violence on them. Jeez, Zanzu, maybe, just maybe people in your town don’t dislike you and your mother because you’re so unique and tarot whatever(at least not mainly because of that) maybe they dislike you because you and your mother are petty, manipulative, vindictive assholes?

      June 7, 2018
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      • Amy
        Amy

        Good point. Think about it, imagine you’re just a kid, and kids do dumb stuff, so you call Zazu a big fat jerk. Zeeoie suddenly then turns around and you’re launched backwards, crashing into the wall behind you. You’re “not too badly hurt” and you run home crying to your mama. Eventually you learn that several people have had the same thing happen to them around Zzzed. Her teacher loses all four tires after she tells Zod she needs to work on her terrrible grammar. Zoopla’s first boyfriend moves after the emotional breakdown of getting moonblinked/lustblinked.

        So now to avoid Zooro’s terrible wrath, you start calling her pretty, even. You have no choice because unlike Zeekiel, you don’t have a multi-millionaire dollar father who pays for all your designer clothes, makeup, guitar and motorcycles. You work at burger king for minimum wage, using every penny you have to keep your head above water. You had a bike once to help you, but after accidentally bumping into Zoop, she destroyed it, so now you have walk everywhere. Everyone knows Zoork is a witch, but no one says it to her face unless they want to be thrown into oncoming traffic.

        June 8, 2018
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Oh lawd, she’s Anthony from “It’s a GOOD Life.”

          “And you keep thinking bad things about me….!”

          June 8, 2018
          |Reply
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            June 8, 2018
        • Dove
          Dove

          That explains so much… I find it ironic that LS probably never bothered to explain the way Zade’s past didn’t add up but the answer is so simple and in the text. She feels discriminated against but it’s either because she’s a jerk who is never at fault or it’s the random chaos of life and she assumes everything is always personal. It’s probably how she operates IRL judging from how she’s handled the NYT list fiasco.

          June 8, 2018
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        • Jane Eyre
          Jane Eyre

          yeah or like, she does real damage to you…after all she said SHE’S pretty sure the cyclist was fine but she didn’t check for real and he was in pain. So it’s like what if she throws you at the wall or off your bike or causes a car crash and you end up with broken neck or arm or god forbid paralised or with brain damage because she threw you so hard at the wall? This town doesn’t sound rich, she says it’s small so I doubt 100% of people there are very wealthy, so in most cases your blue collar/working class parents now have to pay for your medical bills from the hospital, and you have to climb the navigate around your house, and climb the stairs with your cructches or your parents have to carry you up if anything worse happened and if you’re older you migth lose your job because you can’t do it properly anymore. and if your parents put away a collage found for you? too bad now they have to reach into it for medical bills or to pay the regular bills. and all because you accidently bumped into Zanzu and caused her to drop her bag.

          June 8, 2018
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      • Agent_Z
        Agent_Z

        Seriously, the whole thing about these women’s magic making men fall for them brings all kinds of horrific implications about Zebrahead’s conception. I can actually understand Charlie’s fear that he was put under a spell because what else are we to infer given what we’ve seen of this story?

        June 8, 2018
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  3. HerImperialMaj
    HerImperialMaj

    Also, I would 110% watch the episode of Bewitched where Endora straight up murders Larry Tate. He was everything that was awful about the ’60s.

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • Lily
      Lily

      Bewitched had better characters, plotting, and speeches than this craptastic book.

      In all the years Mac has worked for Charles, he’s always been dependable and detail-oriented, until Zaprada hits the scene. Suddenly, he’s an emotional, abusive wreck who can’t do his job. Seems like Zarline is affecting him pretty badly, as well as succubussing him up.

      You know what might have shown some urgency? Performing the majiccccal spell and forcing Mac to stab Zapruder without understanding why, and then boring everyone with “Why” afterwards, whilst Zanine recovers.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
  4. I think in a different work, Dela could be a really interesting character as a woman presenting herself as a whimsical free-spirit bohemian, but who is actually extremely controlling (see: in chapter 1/0, Dela implies using magical means to keep Zillow.com from leaving home). Charles is 100% boring, though. So is literally everyone else, so. . .

    June 7, 2018
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    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah, Dela’s narrative could’ve been really good. Along with the juxtaposition you’ve pointed out, she had to make the same hard choice any woman would if they felt their marriage wasn’t good for them or their bratty child. Unfortunately, she isn’t allowed to make any genuine mistakes, be presented as truly human, interact with her kid in a meaningful way, or grow as a person and show any change over the years. 🙁

      Charles is boring because he’s a stereotype of a wealthy white man. Even him being a sugar daddy does nothing to alter this. If we could have explored his entrance into that even more privileged sector once he hit it big and how that affected him, it could’ve been better. If we saw him as a father and how that changed his life, it definitely would’ve helped. Instead, he’s an ugly mishmash of confusion thanks to the original love triangle and even that does nothing. LS really gave no shits about making him a character in his own right.

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
      • Agent_Z
        Agent_Z

        I suppose it’s appropriately ironic that the last chapter ripped on Charmed because this book has the same issues that show developed later on: boring stories, inconsistent magic and unlikable female characters that are supposed to be seen as feminist.

        June 8, 2018
        |Reply
  5. Mydog'sPA
    Mydog'sPA

    So was the violence at the lemonade stand and trashing the cyclist also not Zanzibar’s fault? (note : /s) In the former she puts out vibes that make men lust after her/women hate her, the two kids at the lemonade stand obey that rule, and Zest is the one that goes full-violent on them!?!?

    Bah, preaching to the choir here.

    My big question, though, is why the f**k does ZoopyPants want Mac? He can’t help himself to lust after her, he’s been moonblinked. But after the violence on the catwalk, why lust after him? (Unless she can use mag-ecchK from here on out to mind-f**k him into 1) lusting after her, and 2) taking the blame for all her screwups, aka, he’s ZooBoo’s Sam caught in a never-ending cycle he can’t get out of. Run, Mac, RUN!!!!!!!)

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah, Mac is basically Sam. Pity him for getting caught up in a horrible relationship but at the same time, he’s not a great person either. I find it amusing that Sam even fits the naming scheme overall… just three-letters. Ugh.

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
  6. Drea C
    Drea C

    Okay, soooo this story is pure crap. The explanation for this nonsense is “nobody’s to blame.”

    Every character is so vile. They make the characters in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” look like saints. But Zani thinks these characters are good.

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • hugseverycat
      hugseverycat

      I also thought of It’s Always Sunny – particularly when Mac was lovingly describing Charles’s features

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
  7. Gretel
    Gretel

    The author is gaslighting the readers.
    No wonder Salamander thought she could trick the romance world when her book clearly shows how she does NOT understand culpability and responsibility!
    It’s not HER fault she cheated the system, it’s the fault of the system and better authors!
    It’s not Mac’s/Chart’s/Sandwiche’s/Zamora’s fault or responsibility, it’s whoever just fits best. Of fucking course Sardine absolves the characters of their mistakes because she herself does live like that!

    Gaslighting and victim blaming.

    Also, I’ve had time to think about the spell because it was obvious from the beginning that Zucchini dying is because Mac wasn’t there.
    Let’s ignore the fact that she didn’t have his consent to do it, as you’ve already covered it, including the fact that it could go wrong at any moment (e.g. what if Mac got sick and had to leave?) and that there were obviously no back-up plans and also how did she train for that illusion without Mac’s presence, etc.

    What I’d like to look at is the following: the spell will surely be based on some sort of “tru wuv” bullshit. The catalyst needs to be in love with her and/or vice versa but probably the former so it’s more dramatic and then it can be revealed that “OMG you must truly love her because only with true love can this magkcikck work!!!”

    Here’s my problem with it: what constitutes true love?
    Wouldn’t technically Charles count as true love, too? He does truly love her as a daughter. Wouldn’t any other guy from the crew work? It’s been established how everyone loves her, pardon, every MAN loves/adores her and would be absolutely devastated if she died. Even if they’re not in love or have a crush on her – which they all do because that’s how the book operates – they’d still love her as a friend and that love is equally true and real – within the confines of the story, of course.
    So technically, ANYONE could’ve been used as a catalyst for her spell because tru wuv does NOT mean “romantic HEA riding on a white stallion”, it just means the person must like her and those feelings have to be sincere.
    Of course, Sarem is absolutely unable to understand this because we need clicheed plotpoints so naturllay true love is ONLY understood as romantic and sexual connections.
    But this would make Jackson equally usable for the spell.
    Unless she wanted to test Mac’s love for her and see if he truly loved her by using him on the premis that it works only with true love. But then she would have to be unsure of his feelings which she wasn’t otherwise she would have willingly risked her life, which she didn’t, she was surprised her spell didn’t work.
    Thus, Zamboni KNEW Mac loved her and yet refused talking to him.

    Man, I can’t wait to see if the speel is further explained, if at all.

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • Drea C
      Drea C

      Also it means that the love triangle is bs. Either way the ‘tru luv’ works, she already knows either a) she loves him or b) he loves her. So all those “two years passed and I still didn’t know who I wanted to be with” passages are pointless.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Sorry, I feel like i missed something. Was it ever exolained why zorro chose Mac and not her DAD?? Y’know, the guy who has intimate knowledge about magicK and would understand the risks?

      And Zazu is fucking lucky the spell backfired on her and not Mac because she could’ve killed him. He’s not magicK, he would have his heart exploded a’la Kill Bill. This is “chaos magickkkkk” and described to be so volatile not even Zeeo has 100% control over it. So Zika involved Mac without his knoweldge or consent, put his life and job at risk, all for a two minute magickkk act involving a goddamn guitar solo and underage incest “making out.”

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy, that’s exactly what I was thinking, too. Like, wouldn’t it make more sense, to get a little Frozen about it, to ground your ++magykke++ in the secure(ish) love of a family member than in romantic love? Especially when said family member understands/possesses/channels/dabbles in said ~*~majyque~*~? And there may be incestuous subtext, as a bonus?

        June 7, 2018
        |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        And even ignoring all these details, as Submarine pointed out, Chuckie Cheese can’t leave the show, especially not if he’s narrating her stupid act. If he calls out or gets a bad bout of diarrhea, the show has to close or else stall for time. 😛

        June 8, 2018
        |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      But then Lanzaprole would have to take her moral from “Frozen,” and all those YAs she’s writing for have seen it repeatedly.

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Gaslighting and victim blaming.

      Exactly. It doesn’t read as fantasy so much as it reads as abuse tactics. The reader isn’t in on this great story that the author is weaving, it’s a cover-up that tries to play with your head and even openly rewrites some things from previous sections of the text (such as Sofia’s accident and Zade’s rescue of her, the entirety of which feels like a gaslighting incident.)

      The only way for Mac to be blameless would be if the stupid argument over dad never happened and instead, Mac was suddenly violently ill, like vomiting everywhere for instance, which is outside his control, but that’s not the path the author took. Given the gaslighting of these memory pull scenes, it’s questionable if the scene on the catwalk even happened since Mac initially said he wandered off because he knew he was in a foul mood and he needed to be careful. If he immediately went to see Cam, without ever talking to Zade, it’d also make more sense because he doesn’t act as if he was furious or holding back his temper that much when he should’ve still been bitterly angry at Zade (and low-key assaulting her wouldn’t have curbed his ire, it probably would’ve made it worse or he might’ve shown some signs of regret for his terrible actions… just anything to tip off the reader that the prior scene happened.) I mean, maybe I’m wrong, not everyone acts the same, but the way it was written seemed weird to me.

      And it was bad of him to hoist this off on Cam, when supposedly Cam isn’t comfortable with his level of expertise, but they NEED a backup for running the board anyway in case something happens, like Mac needing to run to the toilet in a hurry or if he got an emergency call and some family member was hospitalized or anything that could pull him away suddenly. It’s a huge oversight that no one else can apparently fill in for Mac because he’s supposedly never once called out, not even for having a massive hangover, or being in a motorcycle accident, or needing to pass a kidney stone. People who rarely call out still need to call out occasionally because life is also chaotic. LS just wrote it this way so it would seem as if picking Mac was a no-brainer when nothing about that choice is sensible or handled logically. ;P

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
      • Agent_Z
        Agent_Z

        Clearly this book should have been called “Handbook For Abusers”.

        June 8, 2018
        |Reply
  8. Nanani
    Nanani

    It’s epically frustrating to see how easily the “time is of the essence!” cake could have been eaten simply by REVERSING THE ORDER.

    Save Zoomba with the magic epi-dagger first, *then* spend two days reminiscing about the parents while they wait for her to come out her majikkkkkkkkk cclkkcoma or whatever.

    Writing is bad. Book bad.

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
  9. L
    L

    Hurts children at a lemonade stand? Check.
    Sadistically injures biker for no good reason? Check.
    Invades everyone’s privacy by rifling through memories? Check.
    Spiritually rapes love interest and uses their mind/body without permission? Check.
    Blames everyone else because it’s a self-insert and the author is a twatwaffle? Chiggity-check.

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • Evil!Blonde Bitch
      Evil!Blonde Bitch

      Twatwaffle may be my new favorite insult.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Same! It’s fun to say too. XD

        June 8, 2018
        |Reply
  10. Camembert and Ernie
    Camembert and Ernie

    Forty eight ……….. forty eight HOURS ? !
    Two days AND two nights ?
    Yep , Zade’s bled to death by now . 8/
    But , no , she hasn’t because she’s going to be revived by her physical abusive true love !
    Btw and Imo , having Zade get stabbed by a Epipen / ” not a dagger but just looks like one ” feels like a rip off of a famous scene from Pulp Fiction .

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • cat
      cat

      I’m pretty sure the whole “you have to stab her in the heart” is Sarem’s way of trying to convince you that Zade is an independent and fierce female character even though this is basically Sleeping Beauty or Snow White with a dagger rather than a kiss.

      I would love it if after all this fake ass build up, they go to get Zade for the ritual or whatever and find that she’s been dead for a day and a half.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
      • Jane Eyre
        Jane Eyre

        only Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, were much more likeable in any incarnation, even as damsels to be saved. In all versions, Snow White is really sweet and helps out the dwarves while living with them, despite being a princess and in all versions aside from the Dinsey one not being reduced to a servant, and in Disney, despite being 14 she’s still sorry for accidentally scaring the rabbits and birds and other animals. Sleeping Beauty on the other hand in original tale is carefree and curious which is what gets her to get her finger pricked, and in Disney version she actually breaks down when she’s told she’s a princess, and yeah part of it is because she thinks Philip is just another guy and she won’t see him again, but still…she has some legit reaction to things. You can feel sorry for them and sympathize them, Zanzu? You don’t care whenever she lives or dies, heck you prefer her dead because she’s manipulative, petty, vindictive, self-absorbed asshole. Like aside from a pretty face she has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Even with Mac it’s like…he was described as work orientated and someone who is very much in control of his emotions until she appeared. and a lot of people started acting nasty, she literally changes people for the worse. and has no remorse about affecting them in such way.

        June 7, 2018
        |Reply
      • Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)
        Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)

        OMG please can we have this? That would be so fucking funny. I don’t understand why there isn’t a potion or ritual that needs setup/to brew/must be conducted at a certain time of night to justify why they are sitting around twideling their thumbs.

        I hate this book so hard. Although I’m still kind of tempted to do a fanfic version to fix some of this nonsense.

        June 12, 2018
        |Reply
    • Camembert and Ernie
      Camembert and Ernie

      * physically abusive . I didn’t catch that earlier ……. jeez .

      Oh , Snow White and Sleeping Beauty ! That too completely slipped my mind ! It’s been one of those days . xp

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Where do they shove the dagger?

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        I wouldn’t mind if Zade bled out her ass to death because that’s where they shoved it and it turned septic to boot. XD

        June 8, 2018
        |Reply
  11. “Also, even a bad episode of Bewitched wouldn’t have had massive internal hemorrhaging. Imagine Darren inviting Larry over for dinner in the hopes of winning a promotion and Endora straight up fucking murders him.”

    I’d watch that. Does that make me a bad person?

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • HerImperialMaj
      HerImperialMaj

      I said the same thing. Larry Tate was the embodiment of all the worst parts of the ’60s. He’s what would happen if you cross-bred Don Draper and a particularly uncharming potato.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
  12. cat
    cat

    “Normally I would sugarcoat this, but we don’t really have that kind of time.”

    Why not? Zerpderp, realistically, bled out a long time ago. And if you have time to discuss irrelevant things such as how mommy and daddy first met, you have time to explain the mechanics of how you are going to need this person to help with the majikk to save the super independent kickass but yet still a damsel in distress.

    OT but I still don’t know who Thomas Ian Nichols is. I’m not the last word on celebrities or anything, but he is totally unrecognizable to me and all I’ve heard is that he was in American Pie I think. Is that all it takes to become a “big celebrity”?

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • Drea C
      Drea C

      He’s d-list, at best. I doubt anyone even bothered making a whatever happened to that washed-up celebrity video about him.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
  13. Alex Silvers
    Alex Silvers

    Okay so…. regarding the 48 hour thing, I personally am going to go ahead and give Lani the benifit of the doubt and assume she *means* 48 hours since either Zucchini fell ill or since the illusion show started–probably the former. I mean it’s still not great, that means they’ve been chatting for maybe 24 hours, but. Yeah.

    Also I feel that there was an easy way to make the wait time work, simply have Salami Sandwich claim that this thing will only work at 3am on the cusp of the waining moon or something similar, oh how fortunate that’s tomorrow! …but there is no excuse for Story Time, Deli Counter should have been in Zugnut’s room, tenderly wiping her brow or some such.

    No wait I take it back, that indeed would be the perfect chance for Charles and Mac to talk, if Delilah would’t let them in the room. Then Mac could talk to Deli later, after Zebra is healing.

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • Alex Silvers
      Alex Silvers

      Also also re:48 hours, that really reinforces what a bad story teller Lani really is, if that’s what she meant; if the reader can’t figure out where you’re coming from, they’re not going to enjoy your story.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
    • HerImperialMaj
      HerImperialMaj

      At the very, very least, they should have had Story Time *in* Loophole’s room, so that every now and then she could moan dramatically and everyone worries for her. When she’s on a different floor entirely, everything screams No One Cares.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
  14. Mel
    Mel

    Zani wishes this trash was as good as a bad episode of Bewitched.

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
  15. Small jar of fireflies
    Small jar of fireflies

    New theory: Delly is an actual immortal. Zahd isn’t her daughter, but a malfunctioning homonculous that delly made back in the day but never had the heart to dispel.

    Because Zahd has been “alive” so long, she’s become slightly self-aware. Because she is a humonculus, she has a pipeline to delly’s power. Because she is artificial, a stage prop, Dell made her with an aura of glamour so everyone would love her. All her things: the car, the tent, the makeup, the motorcycle, are illusions that zad can handle because they’re magically spawned like accessories in a Barbie play house. But they’re not real to anyone else. She can’t decide between boys because she’s not a real person, and she seemed to be having chemistry with Spellman because she has no concept of a father. Spellman suspected she was just a magic creation, but when delly wanted him to pretend he was her father, he got creeped out and left, under a spell not to reveal any of it.

    Thinking she was real, zad tried magic she’d seen Del do. But she burned herself out and went inert. She’s dead right now. Delly can’t reboot her, she needs a mortal conduit for that. So she’s tricking mac into it because she wants her doll back.

    Lamborghini girl is Dell’s real daughter. She’s disgusted by Dell but can’t be mad at Zaad, besides trying to motivate her into total self-awareness.

    I just want an interesting book…

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • Alex Silvers
      Alex Silvers

      I would read that book just for the soap opera. Soap operas can be a lot of fun.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
    • Cris
      Cris

      I would totally read that book, it makes so much more sense.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
    • jane dow
      jane dow

      Seconded.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
    • Lily
      Lily

      THAT would be an awesome book. So of course Lanieee didn’t write it.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
    • Drea C
      Drea C

      Also, if she were a humonculus made to be like Dely, that would also explain her chemistry with Spellman–Dely’s ex. Her trying to have an independent relationship with Mac/other guy is part of her becoming somewhat self-aware, but not human enough to pull it off.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      There actually is a short story from the point of view of the witch in Hansel and Gretel. Her father tells her he made her out of sweets in the oven, but she doesn’t believe him.

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I’d also totally read that. It makes more sense, it’s much more interesting, and Zade is too weirdly empty to be human, IMHO. Lambo Girl is an excellent bonus that could also be great if explored further. Like what made Dela prefer the homunculus or was it because the homunculus was more like a special needs kid and just needed more attention, which Lambo understands but still resents since Zade theoretically isn’t real? And then, of course, we can explore what makes someone real and like the Velveteen Rabbit, maybe Zade can become better and learn that lesson. 🙂

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Unlike Pinocchio, Zade isn’t going to become human anytime soon. She’d have to let her Conscience Be Her Guide, and BLT forgot to pack one in the bag.

        June 8, 2018
        |Reply
    • Oh, I’d read the hell outta this book. Do it…write some HFM Crackfic!

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
  16. VGK
    VGK

    1. The thought of someone being stabbed in the heart with an EPI-Pen is really entertaining.

    2. Didn’t Zade say early on that she had no idea who her father was? But apparently she did if she was on the older side of childhood when her mom took her away, and she knew who Charles was after going to Vegas? There’s no parental big reveal on her part so like…she must have known.

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • Drea C
      Drea C

      Yep. The reveal is reader-only. A good writer could get away with this–if they show that the narrator of the book is unreliable, but the way Zani does it is just cheap and wrong.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
  17. RodeoBob
    RodeoBob

    it’s not a real dagger it’s a just going to look like one.

    Hurrah! Finally, we have a dagger, like on the cover art of the book. True, there’s not going to be a blindfolded girl, sitting on a stool, or a bulls-eye target, and the dagger won’t be thrown, and maybe there will be a rose involved, so at least one thing that’s on the cover is happening in the book!

    Also, thus far, no advice, guidance, or instructions have been offered to any of the non-majick people for interacting with the majickal people, and the events of the book have centered around one of the said majickal people, so I’m also going to say that the “handbook” portion of the title has not yet been met, nor the “for mortals”.

    Basically, 87% of the cover and the title is a lie at this point, and I want to give the book credit for moving that number down from the 100% it has been up to this point. There’s a lot more wrong here, but I want to focus on the positive for this comment.

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • Drea C
      Drea C

      But the blonde hair with multicolor streaks!! They got that part right…and I think there was a rose in Lorna’s first magicksskdds trick, so you get that, too. Other than that, it’s all stolen artwork.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
  18. Amy
    Amy

    “Oh right. The necklace. The necklace for Zade. The necklace chosen especially for Zade. Zade’s necklace.”

    I heard Kronk’s voice in my head.

    The first time I read Twilight, I got all the way to the part where Edward was telling Bella he’s a vampire. He went, “I’m a vampire.” And Bella went, “I believe you 100% without any skepticism whatsoever.” And I put the book down because wtf.

    This entire time Dela only TELLS Mac she’s a witch, doesn’t do any magic, and Mac, a man who doesn’t believe in Tarot, just accepts it? This comes across as an elaborate way of Dela trying to kill Zade and using Mac to do it. When Mac is eventually arrested, he’ll be like, “they’re witches and told me the dagger is an epi-pen!” And Dela would be like, “You think I’m a witch??? What the fuck is wrong with you??!”

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • I am still 100% convinced that, were this a non-self-insert & poorly written vanity project, Dells setting up Mac to murder Lani because “witchcraftLOL” is just what should happen, plot-wise.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Kronk is good but this time around, I thought about that episode in the second season of Galavant mostly. XD

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
    • Carla
      Carla

      At least in Twilight there was more setup priming Bella to believe that Edward was a vampire. He’s pale with a strange eye colour, she never sees him on days where it’s sunny out, she’s seen him use his super speed and strength and act weird around blood, Jacob has told her stories about the “cold ones” and the rumours that the Cullens are mystical. It helps that in that case we read the “mortals” point on view. But Mac has nothing to indicate that she’s magical other than the fact that she has tarot cards. He’s never even seen her using them.

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
      • Jane Eyre
        Jane Eyre

        Yeah, like esp the super-speed one. She knows and can tell this guy is strange because HE ACTS strange. When she sits next to him he just gets up and leaves and she later catches him asking if he can switch classes, and she noticed his eyes CHANGED colour too. It’s like the first time she sees him they’re BLACK/RED but then they’re GOLDEN. These two colours aren’t similar, it’s not something like ‘brown eyes that look golden’ which can be ascribed to shadow or trick of the light. Cullens often go on camping trips where we and Bella are told is dangerous because of bears and cougars. So we have another strange behaviour. There is also them being very beautiful, and staying away from people, and being outsiders. And as you’ve said she notices him make it across considerable distance and PUT A DENT IN A TRUCK AND HE’S UNHARMED BY IT. Gets hit by a car and walks off without a scratch. so yeah, as bad as Twilight story can be there is set up for both readers AND protagonist to start thinking that something is off about this family, they’re not like everyone else, they do strange things so when we’re told they’re vampires it’s more belivable because it explains a lot about their strange behaviour.

        June 9, 2018
        |Reply
    • Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)
      Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)

      That’s an amazing ending. I’d read the hell out of that.

      June 12, 2018
      |Reply
      • Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)
        Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)

        Should have specified – the suggestion that Deli is pretending to be a witch and get Mace to kill Zzzzzzz and plays dumb with the police.

        June 12, 2018
        |Reply
  19. Figgy
    Figgy

    Wait wait wait. The only way to save the heroine (who to my knowledge from these recaps hasn’t slept with Mac) is for the shining knight to literally penetrate her in the middle of the night in her sleep without her knowledge or consent? And her parents suggested it?! That’s some shit right there. Lani is terrible at being a human.

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      We had to destroy the village to save the village.

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Or maybe she’s been watching “The Omen.”

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
    • Subtract Hominem
      Subtract Hominem

      My prediction: The entire horrifying and contrived scenario is all setup for an elaborate pun so that Leaky Sailboat can make another dated song reference. This time it’s Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name.”

      June 10, 2018
      |Reply
  20. Black Knight
    Black Knight

    I like how once again any chance for actual suspense is destroyed before it even appears. Zunky needs to be stabbed with a dagger? Gosh, too bad we were already assured that it’s not a dagger at all, and that this action will actually save her life.

    WHAT does Sarem have against suspense? Is she one of those people who insist on reading the final pages of a book first, on reading detailed spoilers before she watches any film or TV show?

    I also like that we’re just now hearing about this tic of Zardi’s involving a necklace that she always wears. I’m sure at least one of the three editors mentioned this to Sarem, but since she truly could only “fix” this by actually going back and sprinkling mentions throughout what she’d written, instead of just dumping a clunky sentence right where the editor left the note, she chose to ignore it altogether.

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      I’m actually one of those people who read the last sentence of a book and looks for spoilers. XD

      I’m actually not bothered at all if I get spoiled or not. I like to be surprised, certainly, but *I* choose to spoil myself, and I am very conscious talking about spoilers around other people. Lani spoiled the entire plot without giving anybody the option.

      June 7, 2018
      |Reply
      • Drea C
        Drea C

        I’m with Amy. I’m usually more interested in the “how” than the “what,” so I like to know the ending first.

        It’s absolutely possible to tell a suspenseful story where you know the ending like in Sunset Boulevard (the main character opens by telling the audience he is dead) or even Titanic (everyone knows the ship sinks.)

        Lani’s just a bad storyteller.

        June 8, 2018
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          This is why Rogue One worked. It becomes clear soon enough what the mission is; the question is HOW they’re going to do it and whether they will survive the process.

          June 8, 2018
          |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          And that is the reason Rogue One worked. It becomes clear soon enough what the mission is and how it turned out; the question is HOW they’re going to do it and whether they will survive the process.

          June 8, 2018
          |Reply
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Sorry double post. Didn’t show up first refresh.

            June 8, 2018
  21. I don’t mean to sound indelicate but HOLY FUCKING CHRIST I LOVE THESE RECAPS!

    I kind of forgot about Handbook due to the whole cockygate thing but it looks like the deluded brain trust behind the scam haven’t given up, which makes for enhanced snark.

    June 7, 2018
    |Reply
  22. RaccoonLady
    RaccoonLady

    Okay if anyone has better knowledge than me PLEASE feel free to correct me but I’m a veterinary student and as soon as I read the Epi-Pen analogy I was like “oooo not in the heart though!” and now I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of what injection goes to the heart.
    All I can think if is with some situations (very, very specific situations!) we might give a cardiac stick for a euthanasia. But that’s….it. Or if there is fluid around the heart, we might put a needle in the vicinity to extract it.

    Okay, I get that her metaphor was more like “it’s not a stab stab, it’s an injection!” but even so, I don’t think I would have gone with Epi-Pen?

    Also, I’m in awe of her inability to sit back and realize how horrible her main characters are. Like, in almost any fantasy novel I can think of (because I don’t know much about real world spell-casting), using another person as a conduit is something you need their consent for.

    June 8, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      I am glad someone picked up on this as well. By making an epipen comparison, it invokes epipen situations . Epipens are used in emergency situations, not for someone to sit around 48 hours while drinking tea snd listening to cheap romances. And you press the pen against their leg, not into their heart.

      Mac is the safety director and I bet he has had experience of giving epipen injections. I bet he’s taken classes or at least seen it in movies.

      Shoving a dagger through someone’s heart is NOTHING LIKE giving emergency medical treatment. It’s a stupid and confusing comparison.

      There’s actually quite a lot of comparions in these last chapters. Getting your fortune told is like driving a car. Chaos magic needs something like an electrical conductor. A dagger is like an epipen. The dagger looks like a dagger. Enough with the comparisons, Dela. Jesus christ.

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
    • Alex Silvers
      Alex Silvers

      …well I was typing out a huge thing but then I thought to google it and apparently a shot of adrenaline put directly into the heart is a HUGE movie trope, though I can only think of two examples off the top of my head. It really makes no sense at all, to put a hole in your heart and possibly your lungs if your aim is off.

      But the point is that Lani clearly is just jamming every dramatic trope into this in a desperate bid to try and get us to care about the fate of Zagreus.

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
      • GS
        GS

        So distracted by her own image that she forgets everything else? Seems legit!

        June 8, 2018
        |Reply
    • Athena
      Athena

      Doesn’t Watson shove a syringe of adrenaline or something into Sherlock’s heart in the second movie? That’s what I keep thinking of about this scene. She just keeps ripping off other stuff. At the very least taking a real dagger and majikking it to cut the metaphysical ties between Zishy and Macdonald to hopefully stop the power leakage would make more sense than what is usually the end of a virgin sacrifice ritual in some corny 50’s B movie. You could still have Mac have to be the one to do it because it can’t be severed from outside forces, only one of the two bound together, or some other fake majik bs.

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
  23. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    ‘He tells Dela she sounds “crazy” and asks how stabbing Zappatos in the heart will help fix anything, but I’m over here like, “Couldn’t hurt to try, right?” while eagerly sharpening a kitchen knife like a cartoon chef.’

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ4SkBkoSK8

    June 8, 2018
    |Reply
  24. MayaB
    MayaB

    From this recap:
    I thought maybe she had made me love her––which, by the way, even they can’t really do. Lust yes; love, no. Magick can help open your eyes and heart and even change circumstances to make it optimal, but it can’t force anyone to love you.”

    From Harry Potter 6:
    “Amortentia doesn’t really create love, of course. It is impossible to manufacture or imitate love. No, this will simply cause a powerful infatuation or obsession. It is probably the most dangerous and powerful potion in this room – oh yes…”

    Should I say more?

    June 8, 2018
    |Reply
    • Athena
      Athena

      I wouldn’t put it past her, but I kinda feel like that bit is more Sachet having one shining moment of clarity that forcing someone to love you is bad. She probably had to watch Jessica Jones to figure it out though. So instead of writing the go nowhere ability out, she just cribs HP to make it all ok.

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        This is also a fairly common trope as a push-back against the old convention of love potions. The Genie in Aladdin mentioned this caveat too, though much shorter wording.

        I doubt LS had to watch or read anything specific to have that thought plus I’m almost 100% certain this was explained because one or more of her three editors facepalmed and tried to address it in the text. I mean, hell, maybe Lambo Girl was too. She sort of brought this up and it’s clear she was a later insert so it’s possible her initial scene got the tag “WTF does this have to do with anything?” and then later on Lani dropped her into the hospital scene. When Charles falling in love with Dela was revealed after him being such a womanizer, they pointed out that he was very unsympathetic and then went back to Lambo’s implication to ask more questions.

        June 10, 2018
        |Reply
    • Mike
      Mike

      Wow. She’s couldn’t even be original in how she worded the sentence… That’s almost impressive in a disturbing kind of way.

      For the record though, I mean, yeah, if the spells only inspire lust and obsession that’s not love, fair. But people fall in love with terrible people who they can’t escape all the time. The spell may not DIRECTLY generate it, but humans are hard wired to care about the people who are around them. If you’re obsessed with someone and lusting after them, and you spend all your time with them because of it, even if they aren’t deserving of your affections they could still easily begin to love you. Just because you didn’t TECHNICALLY force them doesn’t mean you didn’t force them. It would become Stockholm syndrome after a while. Not to mention that the human brain would instinctively look for reasons for your obsession and lust so it would be easy to convince yourself you MUST love them. They MUST be awesome! It’s the only thing that makes sense! It’s also still really goddamn horrible to do that to someone whether it’s ‘true love’ or not. Yeah Dela didn’t force him to love her but she WAS tricking him into being with her in the first place, and making sure he’d ONLY be with her (obsession would suggest he wouldn’t want anyone else) and honestly that’s not much different. Not to mention that I wouldn’t be surprised if she had a hand in his massive guilt spiral.

      He was a playboy as a young adult, he’s a playboy now, and he had so little guilt and care for any of the women he’d fucked around with that he couldn’t even remember there names, but he cheats on Dela once and goes into such deep depression that he ends up struggling with addiction for years afterwards? Yet still manages to go back to being a cheating prick after he gets over that without so much as giving a single fuck? Yeah, no, that doesn’t fit with the character at all. I know that’s just Sarem being a shitty writer, but given the circumstances there’s a lot of evidence pointing at ‘Dela made him suffer for hurting her’. Everyone in this book is a monster.

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
      • Evil!Blonde Bitch
        Evil!Blonde Bitch

        Except for Sofia, Mel, and Betty. I am a big fan of the “designated bitches” of the world. Sofia ain’t putting up with the Mary Sue waltzing into her story, and she cuts through all the bullshit. Sure, maybe she’s not an ahhhhmazing and ~myggiqueal~ person, but she at least can see through Zeppelin’s gaslighting.
        And Mel is just here to fuck and doesn’t care about the drama! It’s very refreshing.
        Betty fell in love with an asshole and ended up snapping when he showed himself to be an asshole. Honestly, I would also like to shoot Chappy Smalldick. Maybe what she did wasn’t right, necessarily, but she deserved SO much better. Which is more than I can say for Landmass’ “sympathetic” characters.
        So yeah. #TeamDesignatedBitch

        June 9, 2018
        |Reply
        • Mike
          Mike

          Eeeeehhhh I would keep Betty off that list. I mean, she DID try and kill someone. It was just Charles so it’s not THAT bad, but still. If you want to compare her to Mel and Sofia, they both reacted fairly reasonably to circumstances, never hurting anyone else, and only trying to further their own desires, never WANTING to hurt others (you could argue they wanted Zade tossed, but that wasn’t them wanting specifically to spite her, it’s simply that they believed she didn’t belong there for fully justifiable reasons that the book even addresses). Betty got pissed that her boss wouldn’t love her after she slept with him and instead of sitting him down and telling him how he hurt her, or quitting, or even just keying his car, she tried to murder him. Which, you know, kinda doesn’t fit with the other two… And weakens your point.

          But you do have a good point. I’d entirely forgotten Mel even existed, and while I did think about Sofia in terms of how Charles treated her, I didn’t think about her as an independent character. But she legitimately never does anything wrong in this book. She does flirt with Mac while still in a relationship with Charles, but for all we know they have an open relationship. There’s never any mention of her as a cheater, just that Mac doesn’t want her flirting with him ‘cuz he doesn’t like her and she knows he has a thing against dating coworkers. Everything else she did was completely harmless and entirely justifiable. So, there is one and a half good people in this book (Mel has like, one line. She doesn’t count as a full character. We don’t really know anything about her) and they’re the ones that the book paints as horrible and wants you to hate. Sarem revealed waaaaay more about herself than she realized in this book…

          June 9, 2018
          |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          And yeah, I’d also keep Betty off the list. She may have been unjustly demonized but it’s harder to argue in her favor when we don’t know for certain if she tried to kill someone. Sofia and Mel were definitely awesome though. 🙂

          #TeamDesignatedBitches all the way!

          June 10, 2018
          |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        Here’s another explanation the readers could’ve gotten from the beginning of the book, not near the end. Like incesteous Charles, we spent the entire book believing Mac has been moonblinked and possibly sexually assaulted. But I guess now there’s an “explanation” the readers can go, “Oh! I see! It was our misconceptions all along…”

        Pause.

        “No. It still comes off as creepy.”

        You don’t spend an entire book making readers believe that Zade is fuckiing Charles, that Mac is moonblinked, giving entire chapters of evidence, and then going, “Ha ha! Fake news!”

        Then what about the women? The women hate Zade because of magicKKK. So is it hate or mild distaste? Oh no wait, women cannot have their irrational behavior explained away. Zade can happily have sex with lust-driven guys because they’re not ~actually~ moonblinked, and she can punish women because they’re still acting on their bitchiness.

        June 9, 2018
        |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        I honestly think Charles could’ve been sympathetic if she’d made a simple change… He was on the road so much that he acted like a rock star does: having casual sex and doing lots of drugs to kill time and boredom. Perhaps he even had sex while drunk or on drugs and that’s why he didn’t remember names or decided to treat his partners like garbage afterward (not an excuse but if you don’t even remember the event it might make sense to simply ignore the person so you don’t have to talk about it after the fact.) Having Dela traveling with Charles could give him a more stable relationship and then he probably realized that his addictions were ruining his life but he was having some trouble getting completely clean before and after he met Dela. That would create some decent drama, it’d be a relatively easy edit, and it could explain why Dela got nervous when she got pregnant. Even if Charles wasn’t violent, she didn’t want him to have addictive substances readily available near a little kid or for the kid to eventually start asking questions about why dad acted so weird sometimes. And then he probably wasn’t helpful or reliable if he was trippin’ balls.

        But instead the author is obviously trying to punish him to generate sympathy but the logical in-story origin is Dela, considering how Zade treats people who offend her. In fact, I’m wondering if originally Zade was trying to make Sofia see the light by triggering her accident, which raised HUGE red flags with the editors, or if Lani really was just that lazy about covering up her authorial tracks.

        June 10, 2018
        |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Forgot to add, I’m not sure we have evidence that Charles cheated on Sofia, other than visiting Dela and then immediately dumping her to marry his ex. Remember, the book only wants to trick us into thinking that Charles was fucking Zade… lol but clearly they either have an open relationship (which does indeed match up with Sofia hitting on Mac) or Sofia knew right away that this girl had some kind of grip on her boyfriend but quickly learned they were related. Sofia only gets jelly in her introduction, which might be atypical for her, and then never again. She just gets righteously irritated about the special treatment lavished on his family member.

        June 10, 2018
        |Reply
        • Mike
          Mike

          I thought I remembered reading that he’d cheated, or it was assumed he was sleeping around or something, but I may just be misremembering. But my point still stands. He was a playboy who didn’t give a shit about the women he was with before Dela, and when we meet him post-Dela, he’s dating someone who he cares so little about that he isn’t even concerned when she nearly dies and dumps her immediately for his ex. Outside his relationship with Dela (Zade being considered inside the context of his relationship with Dela), he doesn’t care about women. That doesn’t really make me think he’s the type to go into a SEVERE guilt spiral for cheating once, that lead him to serious substance abuse and a complete melt down.

          To me, what he says to Mac implies that she DID put a spell on him to make him obsessed with her or lust after her. That’s how I’m reading what he says there anyway, I may be wrong. But if that IS the case, then his reaction to cheating on her may have been either her directly putting a spell on him to punish him for it since it would imply she has no problem using magic on him (which is established already since she admitted to using it in his shows, and to keep him from being able to talk about Zade after she leaves), or a backfire from him fighting against the spell to be with someone else. Either way, she got him using magic, and he was severely punished for trying to find out that’s what she did. And yet this, as with many other disturbing things in this book, is framed as romantic because Dela didn’t MAKE him *love* her, only made him obsessed with her, and he grew to love her via stockholm syndrome! And he did cheat on her, but he felt SO TERRIBLE that he punished himself for it for years! And then went right back to the selfish prick he’d been before he ever met her, and lived happily ever after, free to be in debatably consensual relationships once again (power dynamics are fun), until his daughter (who was also being magically controlled by Dela, and had to escape that magical control. Mommy dearest has some issues.) comes back into his life and reties him to his abuser! Hurray! It’s a happy ending!

          Actually it almost could be considered a happy ending if you consider keeping abusive people from being in relationships with innocent people a happy ending… Same could then be said of Mac and Zade. So, I guess, yeah, sure, happy ending.

          If she didn’t use magic on him, he just legit fell for her, and then went into a severe guilt and depression spiral after cheating on the only woman he’s ever loved because he didn’t believe that his love for her could be genuine, that… actually would be a story I would like to read. The story of someone who doesn’t respect women, who clearly sees them as objects, things to be used, GENUINELY falls for someone. He sees her as a real person, with real feelings, and he starts to really grow as a person, and realize he’s been being a dick this whole time and actually WANTS to change. Then he finds out she’s actually magic, and then thinks about the course of their relationship, and how drastically and suddenly he’s changed, and he starts to freak out that it’s all a lie, that his feelings aren’t real, but he’s actually happy, so does reality even matter? But of course it does because how can he be in a relationship with someone who would do something like that?! He thought she was this amazing person and in fact she’s a monster who tricked him! So he goes out and sleeps with some random woman he picks up at a bar after he drank too much while trying to figure out his melt down, then realizes when he wakes up that if she’d put a spell on him he never could have done that, and that she really is just an awesome person who he really loves and he’s just gone back to being the huge asshole he used to be and hurt the woman he loved, himself, and used this other woman who’s laying beside him unaware that he’s having an existential crisis. Then he can’t handle the realization that deep down he’s really a mysoginistic prick who would hurt so many people, and his guilt spiral isn’t just about her, but everything he’s done. Who he was fundamentally as a person before he met her. And he can’t handle the guilt and turns to drugs and alcohol to just ignore it and make it go away…

          I hate how many good ideas are buried in this garbage book. You could build a genuinely compelling book from so many of the base concepts in this book, and yet THIS is what we got. With every new idea I see someone post in the comments, this gets more and more frustrating. The alternate you present there would work so well with the idea I presented above. You’ve got someone living the rock star lifestyle, who then has a person start to travel around with him who he’s interested in, and the more time he spends with her the more he starts to have genuine feelings for her. And genuinely caring about her makes him think about how he’s lived his life and start to make positive changes. Having a stable connection in his life gives him some grounding, some sense that other people are PEOPLE, not just props that will get replaced when he goes to the next location. Hell, he could just be a dick to everyone, it’s not even about gender. Make it so most of his crew are local hires so he doesn’t really have many people who he can really build a connection with, and she’s the first one who’s actually around enough that he really can. But then he finds out she could be tricking him, and falls back into his old ways in frustration and presumptive anger. Then the guilt sets in, and that overpowers his ability to get past the addictions he’d been getting clean from, and he spirals from there, not getting clean again until years later when he has another stable gig in his life and he can start to build actual friendships and relationships with people for longer than a few days. It would be a story about the power of connections and stability, and emotional support. A story about fear, and addiction, and all that.

          It would be even better if you end the story with him meeting up with her again after his recovery, and he apologizes for how he treated her all those years ago, and he hopes she found happiness, and that they can be friends, but that he knows now that how he felt about her then wasn’t really genuine love so much as it was that she was the first real connection he’d had in his adult life and he’d clung to that connection like a drowning person clings to a flotation device. He hadn’t loved her, he’d NEEDED her. And that that had made him a shitty partner for her, she deserves someone who genuinely loves her for who she is not what she represents.

          Someone should write that. I would read that.

          June 11, 2018
          |Reply
          • MyDog'sPA
            MyDog'sPA

            At one point we’ll have to stop obsessing over this book because it was never well thought-out to begin with. One (of many) key element(s) of a good writer is one who understands the human condition. Sarem just doesn’t. And it shows up in the writing, page after page.

            We can carp or make suggestions to improve it out the wazoo until we bleed as much as this character does in her coma, but the fact of the matter is nothing will change this story. My wife wants me not to talk about it because she’s afraid the badness will rub off and she’ll retrograde her own growth as a writer. She’s trying to move forward, not get stuck.

            So, as Elsa says, it might be better if we just “Let It Go. . . . .”

            June 11, 2018
          • Amy
            Amy

            @mydog’sPA

            Confession: I’m actually really interested to see the movie. Not because I think it’ll be good, but I wanna see how bad it gets. My fellow librarians and I are super curious how it’ll turn out.

            IF it’ll turn out. The second book got pushed back till next year, Geeknation’s main website is MIA, their facebook account hasn’t updated since April, and most of their posts were memes, and there’s still no sign of the movie anywhere.

            “Bigger than Twilight” my butt.

            June 11, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            It would be even better if you end the story with him meeting up with her again after his recovery, and he apologizes for how he treated her all those years ago, and he hopes she found happiness, and that they can be friends, but that he knows now that how he felt about her then wasn’t really genuine love so much as it was that she was the first real connection he’d had in his adult life and he’d clung to that connection like a drowning person clings to a flotation device. He hadn’t loved her, he’d NEEDED her. And that that had made him a shitty partner for her, she deserves someone who genuinely loves her for who she is not what she represents.

            Goddamn, yeah! You improved on my thoughts with some excellent details and I love where you took it for the ending. I’d read that too, especially since it redeems Charles without forcing anyone else to give him a reward just because he became a decent person (more realistic and heartfelt for him to just understand and grow but also much harder to write.)

            I really think this book should’ve been about their family and resolving the loose ends, regardless of who is the protag and if there’s even a villain. Yes, there are a hundred ways to rewrite the book but the family interactions are the meatiest and most exciting for me and the most disappointing to see in ruins.

            My wife wants me not to talk about it because she’s afraid the badness will rub off and she’ll retrograde her own growth as a writer. She’s trying to move forward, not get stuck.

            Haha, you’re right, we have to let this go eventually, but I don’t think your wife should worry too much. I absolutely get it, I have that fear too, but I think if she reads the comments, she’ll get way more advice and inspiration than horrible, intrusive thoughts while writing. XD

            Confession: I’m actually really interested to see the movie. Not because I think it’ll be good, but I wanna see how bad it gets. My fellow librarians and I are super curious how it’ll turn out.

            IF it’ll turn out. The second book got pushed back till next year, Geeknation’s main website is MIA, their facebook account hasn’t updated since April, and most of their posts were memes, and there’s still no sign of the movie anywhere.

            I’m very curious as well, I just can’t fathom how they’ll pull that first movie off, and I’m quite amused that Geeknation seems to have disappeared off the map. I wonder if printing this dumpster fire killed the company. 😛

            June 11, 2018
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            I refuse to see this or the FSoG movies unless I have a janitor and some ‘bots on the Satellite of Love to help me through it.

            And LOTS of Mead.

            June 13, 2018
    • Athena
      Athena

      I’d also like to point out that Zade is Voldemort.

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Voldemort was interesting.

        June 13, 2018
        |Reply
        • Eye Roller
          Eye Roller

          True. Zade is more Narcissa Malfoy as a main character for no reason.

          June 14, 2018
          |Reply
  25. Agent_Z
    Agent_Z

    Seriously, I don’t know what sickens me more, Mac being used in a spell without his consent or the book just ignoring his assault of Zani. Sarem has a perfectly good reason for her protagonist to be pissed at Mac and instead she invents a new one that ends up making her unintentionally unsympathetic.

    Also, Sarem, making fun of other media that has witches in it is not going to make your book look better by comparison. Granted, I haven’t watched Bewitched the series but it can’t be worse than this.

    June 8, 2018
    |Reply
  26. Agent_Z
    Agent_Z

    “Normally I would sugarcoat this, but we don’t really have that kind of time. I’m just going to get down and dirty and to the point. Please try not to freak out. I have to forge a …um…well, it doesn’t matter what it really is. It’s going to look like a dagger––though it won’t actually be a dagger at all. It’s not worth explaining to you what it really is, other than it’s magick.

    If this dialogue is “getting to the point” for her, I shudder to think what her version sugarcoating it would be.

    June 8, 2018
    |Reply
    • Jane Eyre
      Jane Eyre

      also if it doesn’t matter what it is why is she telling this to him? If time is of the essence…apparently. I mean this is just so bad it would be better if she said “I’m going to forge a magickal dagger that will save Zade”. Here, we are told it’s not your regular dagger because it’s magical and it being magical gives audience/readers a plausible explanation why it won’t kill Zeezee.

      June 9, 2018
      |Reply
  27. RodeoBob
    RodeoBob

    It’s really something how badly the author and their three alleged editors managed to bollix this up.

    Here are your traditional story beats for something like this:

    Beat #1: Secondary character: “The world is not as you know it, because there is magic/aliens/simulated reality” Audience Surrogate Character: “I am skeptical of this assertion, because it is so far fetched and at odds with my own experience!”

    Beat #2: Secondary character: “Here is proof of our claim. Also, here are the rules for this new world. Here are the risks. Here are some consequences” ASC: “I am convinced and won over. I wonder how these rules work, exactly…”

    Beat #3: Someone (protagonist, antagonist) is about to break the rules/do something risky. Audience: “I feel anxious or worried, as I understand what is at stake, and what risks are present!”

    Beat #4: Dread consequences are averted through a loophole in the rules, or an exception, or the power of twu-wuv! Audience: “I feel rewarded for paying attention to the rules earlier, and anticipated this. Or, I am surprised, but will rewatch/reread the story to see how this twist was built up!”

    Each point requires the previous ones, and it all builds nicely. Even in a badly written story, the pleasure the audience feels from #4 comes from the understanding we gained in point #2.

    Sarem screws this all up, giving us point #3, then #1, then #2, then #4. So the skepticism from our audience surrogate makes no sense, as it comes after obvious proof of magic. There’s no fear or tension from beat #3 because we, the audience, simply don’t know enough to know when, how, if, or why we should be worried. And by jamming the rules and explanation *right next* to how we’re going to avoid the consequences, it removes any tension or surprise when that’s what happens.

    This isn’t a small error, either. This is a structural mistake that requires a major re-write to fix. This is the writing equivalent of those “architecture fails” pictures you see where there’s a toilet in the living room, or a door on the 2nd story of a house that has no staircase attached, just a 10′ drop.

    I’m not saying that every story needs to be written in the same way, and I think subverting tropes can be really rewarding, but first you have to understand the trope, know how it works and why. Otherwise, you’re just ripping out load-bearing pillars and adding balconies because you want one to be there, and it just ends badly.

    June 8, 2018
    |Reply
  28. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    WE GET IT! INSANE! CRAZY! NOT SANE! MENTAL! WEEEEE GEEEEET IIIIIIT. I think I said in the last recap that they say crazy and insane something like seven times but it feels like it’s a lot more. ”

    “You freaked-out maniac!”

    2:04:58:

    June 8, 2018
    |Reply
    • RodeoBob
      RodeoBob

      I kind of want to gift Lani a thesaurus, because it’s not just “hey, mental illness is a convenient hand-wave”, but also, when someone says “Magick is real, it’s spelled with a ‘k’, and it’s killing your love interest because of rules you never knew existed”, there are a lot of better words to use to describe your reaction.

      It’s preposterous. It’s absurd. It’s ridiculous. It’s implausible, it’s contrived, it’s far-fetched. It’s imaginative like a child’s fantasy, it’s like a fairy tale or a fever dream. It’s unrealistic and unreal. If true, it’s unsettling and unnerving. It’s so many possible things!

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
  29. Crystal M
    Crystal M

    You know, Lani has unintentionally written a villainous character. You can have a villainous main character and still have a good story…if you do it right. Lani has done it all the wrong ways. Take Death Note and Black Butler, for example. The main characters are cruel, murderous individuals, but the stories work because the writers make it obvious to the audience that Light Yagami and Ciel Phantomhive are despicable people. They do this through the reactions of the good, virtuous characters. Yagami and Phantomhive put on an act of being good, kind youths to deceive others for their own ends. When the good people discover the deception, they have the real, very human reactions of shock, horror, terror, rage, and a desire to see them punished.

    However, Lani doesn’t do this. Everyone likes everything Zozo does. Lani won’t admit that Zozo is horrible, and characters who dislike Zozo are painted as awful. The audience is expected to admire and look up to Zozo.

    Yagami and Phantomhive ultimately meet just ends. Yagami is shot and killed by the cops and his soul is denied entry to heaven for all eternity; he must wander the earth forever as a lost soul. Phantomhive dies and his soul is devoured by a demon, the price for making a Faustian bargain with the Devil. Phantomhive was warned by the Undertaker to change his behavior, or else face the spiritual consequences, but he didn’t listen. We don’t see this with Zozo. She never faces consequences or changes her behavior.

    Yagami, Phantomhive, and Zozo all make excuses for their shitty behavior. However, other characters state that Yagami and Phantomhive are full of shit, and it’s what the writers want the audience to think. Zozo’s excuses are seen as just and Lani wants the audience to believe it.

    If Lani had used these other authors’ techniques, she could have a good story. But Lani is a shitty author.

    June 8, 2018
    |Reply
    • Evil!Blonde Bitch
      Evil!Blonde Bitch

      Yes! Exactly! I love villain main characters; they’re amazing to play around with! The problem is, since Zabbadabbadoo is Latrine’s self insert, Latrine will never recognize Zapdos for what she is. To do that would take self awareness and actual writing skills.
      In fact, the entire clusterfuck of terrible con artistry around this book and Lab Suit’s would make a pretty damned good novel idea. The level of denial Labia is living in is unreal and it’s fascinating and horrifying at the same time. Just like her character, she is never at fault, never owns up to her mistakes, and insists she is a victim.

      And also, the writing of this book must have been like stepping through a goddamned minefield of good possibilities. “Hmm, that’s a good idea — nope! Gonna avoid that! And that! And that there!”
      She went to a gourmet buffet and came away with fries and rolls.

      June 8, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Land-0-Lakes’ peculiar gift is to make all her leads hateful, and all her adversaries (Lemonade, Lambo-girl, and Sophia) sympathetic if not likable.

        June 8, 2018
        |Reply
        • Athena
          Athena

          Camping trip Mel, since there seems to be 2 Mels, is my personal favorite. She only has the 1 scene, but she seemed to have the healthiest view of sex in this book. I was actually a little floored that Segway wrote such a such a good female character, but she isn’t written to be that. She’s written to be the slut that dares to actually like sex and seek it out herself instead of waiting around for a guy to make a move.

          June 8, 2018
          |Reply
          • Evil!Blonde Bitch
            Evil!Blonde Bitch

            Again, as I said earlier: #TeamDesignatedBitch

            And also, shockingly, Charmless and Macdonald are allowed by the author to say things like “She’s the kind of girl you want to marry, just not use to get laid” and casually rate people’s sexual performances in front of complete strangers and not be designated evil whores like Sofia and Betty and Mel. I mean, how very dare women enjoy sex! How dare they suggest bodily autonomy! How very dare they dislike being treated like trash! HOW COULD THEY WANT THE SAME SEXUAL LIBERATION THAT MAC AND CHARLES ENJOY?!!!

            /s

            June 9, 2018
          • Athena
            Athena

            Ok, seeing how Zeach is from a small town in the south, her and only her having this backward viewpoint could make sense. Especially if it came to light that her mother had instilled this as a way to protect the town boys from Zade’s power. The necklace that she “always wears” having some binding power that’s been weakening since she’s so far away from her mother could work with this scenario too. Though again this plotline would work better with a younger protagonist because her mother not telling her she has this moonblink/mind rape power or never teaching her how to control it by age 25 is seriously neglectful. Though it still makes Hoagie a better mother than she’s been portrayed so far.

            Actually Slider having put some sort of protection on the town does somewhat fit what we’ve been told. Zoinks never mentions guys fawning over her back in her old hometown, just the general townsfolk saying she’s pretty. Nor does she mention the catty mean girls back home. She seems genuinely surprised when it happens in Vegas. And the whole “I have my ways” bit at the beginning of the book supports this.

            June 9, 2018
    • EmmaG
      EmmaG

      I thought the Bartimaeus trilogy did a good job at having an unsumpathetic main character. In book one, the protagonist is a boy who’s taught he’s part of a ruling class with a natural right to rule over lesser beings (demons and non-magic humans), and he is taught the tools to do that (magic), but he is also emotionally neglected and doesn’t receive any moral guidance. Hence he becomes arrogant, vengeful and callous. The more he moves up the ranks in the corrupt and paranoid wizard ruling class over the next two books, the more despicable he becomes. But the book series makes this out to be somewhat a tragedy, something that could have been prevented.

      In comparison, we have no explanation for Zade’s indifference to other people around her, nothing to show us that her disregard for the autonomy, dignity and safety of others is due to misfortunes in her own past. Nothing.

      June 10, 2018
      |Reply
  30. “but I’m over here like, “Couldn’t hurt to try, right?” while eagerly sharpening a kitchen knife like a cartoon chef.”

    I’ll lend you my good knives and my grindstone.

    June 9, 2018
    |Reply
  31. Bundtcake
    Bundtcake

    Is Lani short for Delaney and that’s why the mother’s name is Dela?

    June 9, 2018
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    • Dove
      Dove

      If her name was Delaney and pronounced like Melanie, that would be a huge improvement over just L’Annie… but since she insisted on it having a specific twang to the a-sound instead of the typical Lah-knee or even Lane-ee, I’m gonna assume it’s a coincidence. That’s not impossible though, so if it were true, I wouldn’t be surprised. In fact, Dela’s name might be short for Delaney in the book, Dela sure as shit is a huge Delay. I’m assuming LS didn’t explain this fact because she got so swept up in the tension (lol) of the third act that she forgot about it or maybe she assumed everyone had heard of Delaney and how it’s pronounced (I didn’t realize that name also existed as a given name until now.)

      This could perhaps suggest that Zade’s family are Irish Travelers who moved to the southern USA during the Great Famine, which could explain them missing WW2’s horrible ramifications for the most part, but then I guess that would mean Charles is definitely Jewish. This begs the question of whether Dela converted at some point and if so, did that mean Zade was only referring to her parents and herself? Why the fuck was she so vague then? I guess she didn’t want to mention her dad, on the off chance Mac asked for more details, but all she had to say was “my parents” and not “my family” which can imply any number of relatives. Not that they couldn’t be Jewish but if Irish Travelers or Rroma wanted to seamlessly fit into the South, they’d become Protestants.

      June 10, 2018
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  32. Demonomaniac
    Demonomaniac

    The whole time I was reading this post, all I could think of was this:

    https://youtu.be/3kIPc7l6nF0

    Too bad Handbook for Mortals won’t end like this scene.

    June 10, 2018
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      • Demonomaniac
        Demonomaniac

        I give up and hang my head in shame.

        June 10, 2018
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        • Dove
          Dove

          The link is there but the website doesn’t highlight them in any way. I thought about the exact same scene though. Someone else mentioned it awhile ago too I think. XD

          June 10, 2018
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  33. katiedidwhat
    katiedidwhat

    Oh man. WHO is my hometown’s radio station- Ronald Reagan was a sports announcer there for a while. It was a good station until it got bought out by one of those conglomerates. This is a Saturday morning show featuring this guy and the former governor-for-life’s son’s wife, so, um, their target market is probably supposed to be conservative Millennials who listen to talk radio on a Saturday morning. That is to say, no one. And sure, David Tennant was at the comic convention, but the most prestigious person this show could get on air was Lambert. Kinda tells you all you need to know, really.

    June 10, 2018
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  34. Another Amy
    Another Amy

    About the time keeping in this book: Is Lani just basing the story’s time off of the time it’s taking her to write the story? Like maybe it took her a day to write from the point of Zade collapsing to the point where they’re all gathered at Della’s house, so she decided that OF COURSE if it took her a day to write it, then a day had passed in the story. Same thing with sitting down at the kitchen table to hear the story and then the big reveal to Lac that they’re witches. It took her a day to write that but so she made another 24 hours pass in story. I think this wonky time keeping and egocentric type of thinking (where everything is based off the author), is the reason why the parents met in the 70s and had Zade sometime shortly after andbyet she’s only a young-20-something in the story. Because the author can’t see past her own life, her own birthday, or apparently how much time has passed in real life. Maybe this is also why “a couple of weeks” pass between certain chapters—maybe Lani took a writing break of a couple of weeks.

    I’m so very glad you posted this and I see you also have a long post about the script, too. This is incredibly selfish, but when I read that you were stepping back from being the romance community’s social justice warrior to focus on the stuff that’s actually fun for you, I immediately hoped that it would mean more frequent jealous haters book club posts because I LIVE for these. I check your site multiple times a day to see if there’s a new post. I recently read every single Buffy and angel recap, in order, even though I’ve never seen either show, because I was trying to pass the time until the next handbook for mortals post. Thank you so much for this blog.

    June 11, 2018
    |Reply
    • Evil!Blonde Bitch
      Evil!Blonde Bitch

      Oh my god, that would make SO MUCH SENSE. Given Land Shark’s general egocentrism, I think your theory hit the nail on the head. The character is Lafawnduh’s self-insert to the point where she can’t distinguish in-story timelines revolving around Zennywise from what’s actually going on in her life.
      New headcanon: the run-in with Carrot Top was put in the book because Lodzilla actually did see him while she was writing the book.
      Or, you know, she just wanted to shoehorn in more celebs. Also completely possible.

      I have to concur with you on the recaps thing. I’m sad that your community betrayed you, Jenny. But if it means you get to do more recaps, I’m here for it. I also check your site daily, and have read every recap you’ve done! Your recaps have given me SO MUCH valuable editing advice, to the point where I finally solidified my choice of major. I’ve always loved English, and I write, but the experience of reading these recaps led me to seek out more sporkers, and I absolutely love that shit. I’m gonna see if I can work as an editor for my school newspaper and work in publishing after college!

      June 12, 2018
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  35. NyxaNitro
    NyxaNitro

    I have what sounds like a couple of insanely petty questions (even to my own ears), but here goes. 1) Is the woman on the far left supposed to Salamander? And 2) How in the pogo-sticking-hell was she envisioning herself playing Zinkleberry in the screenplay/movie adaption of this horse-piss?!

    Yes, it’s petty, but Zabumafu is suppose to be what, 18 or something? Slam-a-ram looks like she’s seen several miles of rough road, specifically with her face. Now, in general I prefer older women to get parts for stuff, because lets face it, we all age. But if Zootopia is Slimeball’s self-insert, then some other poor actress is gonna have to take up the mantle of being sexually remarked upon as the spawning-cedar tree of desirability. Because even if you write that people comment on how hot you are, actors are just that – actors. They’re people too dammit, not miracle workers Jim! Please god, this dumpster fire of a movie never happens and we can quickly forget this thing ever existed!!!

    June 12, 2018
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  36. Eye Roller
    Eye Roller

    So, I showed the photo in this post to my husband, who’s unusually good at guessing ages based on looks and asked him how old he thought Lani is. He guessed 35, which is fairly close. Then I told him she wants to play the 24 year old protagonist and asked if he thought she could get by with it. He said maybe, if she gets a nose job. So I said “a drop dead gorgeous, to-die-for 24 year old that all men stare at as she walks by?” And he said “no way in Hell”.
    I almost want this train wreck to be made into a movie because the reviews would be glorious!

    June 14, 2018
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  37. Preakness Everdeen
    Preakness Everdeen

    Charles, ‘ I had to cheat to see if I could’ story instantly reminded of some Family Guy episode where Brian dated a much older woman and at the end he cheated on her. With the end reasoning being something like, cheating on you made me realize how much I really do care for you. Although, I guess Charles is sorta kinda not really justified since he was moonblinked. But…not blinked enough to not cheat on Delibird, so who knows.
    Either way I don’t think I’ve seen the same or similar theme often enough to remember.

    Also I’m morbidly curious about the long version if that was the short version. Something makes me think we’d get another special flashback scene for that.

    June 19, 2018
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  38. Anna T.
    Anna T.

    I have to ask: is “enegery” a real typo from the book, or a transcription error?

    June 20, 2018
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