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Jealous Haters Book Club: Handbook For Mortals Chapter 19 Death (part two) or “THAT’S IT I’M SETTING THIS BLOG AND THEN MYSELF ON FIRE.”

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In this week’s Jealous Haters Book Club, there is no news about Handbook For Mortals.

Because it’s fading away. But don’t worry. You can still find a copy of Handbook For Mortals at your nearest, cursed bookstore.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept of consignment, what happens is that a bookstore and a self-published author or a small press representative make a deal in which the store will carry a title, which the author or small press provide, and if the book sells, the bookstore takes a cut. This is different to how a book that sells enough to legitimately make #1 on the New York Times list would be sold in a store. A book that is actually popular and in demand would be sold to the bookstore at a lower-than-retail price, which they would then sell at retail price. I’m not knocking consignment; I’ve done it myself because what else do self-published people do? But in one scenario, the business is investing in your product. In the other, the business is willing to let you rent shelf space. Twilight wasn’t hitting Waldenbooks on consignment.

In other news, a friend who lives in Las Vegas excitedly texted me, “You’ll never believe who’s on my flight!”

I was super disappointed to learn that it was not Carrot Top.

Linguini is still dying and Mac is still sleeping when we pick things back up. Sandwich is monitoring Zooboomafoo’s vitals and keeping calm:

If she showed a great deal of emotion, it would cause everyone else around her to get worked up––and what good would that do?

Yeah, what good would it do to have an emotional reaction to your daughter being nearly dead?

Since there was a table in front of her, and she decided to lay down some cards.

…did you wanna make that a complete sentence or…?

Chuckie Spellmanfield watches her.

She didn’t even seem to be really looking at them once she laid them down. She seemed to glance at them and then a frustrated expression would spread across her face briefly before she reshuffled the cards and threw them down again almost haphazardly, which was very different from the slower, more precise way he was used to see her read. Then again, he couldn’t remember when the last time was that he had even seen her read cards.

She hasn’t done any readings since they arrived? Sandwich and Zye Lelicia are the type who consult the cards for every god damn thing. I find it absolutely impossible that she hasn’t done ninety-six readings about all of this. Plus, I don’t get why she didn’t do a reading to see how the ritual would go or how it turned out. Many witches consult an oracle, from cards to seven-day candles, to see if the spell took.

David Copperman asks Deli what she’s reading about:

“Nothing, really. I think I am laying down cards out of habit. I can’t pick up anything anyway. They won’t cooperate and read on the situation at all.”

This is super realistic, with regards to just mindlessly laying down and shuffling tarot cards. I know a lot of people who read cards and who fiddle with them like some kind of metaphysical fidget toy. Sometimes, it’s just nice to be around your cards. So, this is, without sarcasm, dead fucking on.

On the other hand, the whole “the cards aren’t cooperating” thing rolls my eyes for me. The cards are a tool, Sandwich. If anything isn’t cooperating, it’s your intuition.

It was a difficult situation for her to be in. She was so used to being able to help everyone. She was used to having power and yet she was suddenly unable to help the one person in the world she loved more than anything––the one person she had been trusted to save, the one she would give her own life for.

The one she would separate from the father who loved her through magical trickery and manipulation.

“This must be what it’s like to be a mortal,” she joked.

Authors really need to stop using “mortal” as shorthand for “non-magical” if their “non-mortal” characters are…you know. Able to age and die. This isn’t a sin Sarem commits all alone. A lot of people use that sloppy world-building shortcut and it makes me bonkers no matter who does it.

Slowly she looked up at Charles, who was studying her carefully. She could see care and love in his eyes and she could feel her own barriers breaking down. She knew he still had the power to make her swoon even after all this time.

Does she know he’s in a committed romantic relationship? I mean, the author kind of forgets as we go along.

“Remind me that I don’t ever want to do this again, will you?” Dela was trying to lighten the mood, as she knew it wasn’t helping either of them to feel so deeply depressed.

Things It Is Okay To Be Upset About:

  • Fights with your mom
  • Fights with boys
  • Boys not liking tarot
  • Girls being jealous of you
  • Boys being jealous over you
  • Not being able to choose between two boys

Things It Is Not Okay To Be Upset About:

  • Your child possibly dying.

Chuck tells Bologna to take a break from sitting and worrying and tells her to get something to eat. She says she’ll make tea for them and something for Mac to eat when he wakes up. Lucretia explains that it’s okay for Chuck and Sandwich to have the following conversation right next to Mac because he’s really deeply asleep:

“What do you think about him?” Charles asked, drifting to a subject other than whether or not I would ever actually wake up.

“He seems like a wonderful guy. We certainly have put him through quite the test––and he seems to be dealing with it far better than most men would. I’ll give him that,” Dela said, looking thoughtfully at Mac’s face.

“You see this being something that becomes serious?” Charles asked, pointing to Zade and Mac in one swift finger swoop.

Behold, Laudnum referring to herself in the third person for no reason whatsoever.

“I mean…her future is unclear. I see a path that could lead to them being together, but over the past few days so many other paths have popped up. This incident has set into motion something bigger than I know…bigger than I have ever seen. And, based on my readings, I also think she has been hanging out with another guy, who has potential. At this point, though, I’d root for Sleeping Beauty.”

At this point, I’d say you’re correct, given the fact that Inaction Jackson has had approximately one twenty-sixth of the page time Mac has gotten. Can we talk about the fact that it’s gross to spy on your kid’s love life via oracles of any kind? It’s none of your business, Pimento Loaf. Let your daughter just live. Especially since she ran across the country to escape you. If she wanted you to know any of this, she would tell you.

After Deli leaves the room, Chavid Copperman picks up the tarot cards and starts laying them out.

During his years with Dela he had learned what most of their general meanings were and even understood how some of them related to the other ones. He also had learned that it was much more complex than what showed on face value, and that, regardless of the amount of information he had, he still probably wouldn’t know what they could be saying.

Reading tarot isn’t at all “much more complex than what showed on face value.” Literally, the pictures on the cards tell the story of what you’re looking at. It’s how intuitive readings work. Don’t doubt yourself, Chuckles.

Hey, remember how Sandwich is just the conscious avatar for Lugubrious while she’s knocked out? Here’s further proof of that:

He couldn’t help but feel that almost everything that was wrong was his fault––from the failure of his relationship with Dela to their daughter being in this life-and-death situation, both were completely his fault.

Excuse me, but how? His relationship with Deli ended after he cheated on her, sure, but he also cheated on her after finding out she’d been lying about using magic on him for years and her gaslighting fucked his head up. And Zark almost died because she chose to involve someone else in her magic without telling them or asking their permission. There are two reasons for Chuck E. Copperfield to blame himself and both of those reasons can’t exist at the same time.

Reason #1: Sarem can’t bear for either character she’s using as her avatar to be blamed for anything they’ve done.

Reason #2: David Charlesman is so egotistical and selfish that everything, including extremely negative things, has to be all about him.

He also felt he should have tried harder to be a part of my life even though he knew Dela had cast a spell to keep him away. He decided that he should have found some way to fight her on that––he didn’t really blame Dela for why she’d done it, though.

Imagine thinking that your writing is so masterful and your skill so great that you could convince a reader to accept being ensorcelled and permanently separated from your own child as a fitting punishment for cheating on one’s partner.

As I riffled through his memories, I realized that while Charles was sitting next to me as I fought my way back to life, he just felt like he had made all the wrong things priorities in life, and that his life had been mostly wasted.

Either Charles was kept away by a spell or he was kept away by his shitty choices. It can’t be both or else the impact of both is greatly diminished. A reader is going to either think, “Well, the spell doesn’t really matter because he was making shitty choices,” or “The shitty choices don’t matter because the spell would have kept him away, anyway.” The problem here is that Sarem can’t decide if she wants her protagonist to have a fairytale monster of a mother or a neglectful father and she’s trying to have them both while insisting neither of them are bad people because they are totally unresponsible for their own choices. The contradiction in characterization is boggling.

“Oh, Zade, I am so incredibly sorry, will you ever forgive me?” he said as he buried his face in his hands and collapsed on the table. Tears streamed down his cheeks and his emotions started to bubble up as he felt the weight of everything that was happening crashing down upon him. His overpowering amount of guilt washed over him and it caused every part of him to ache inside. Out of all of his accomplishments he still believed I was by far the greatest and most wonderful thing he had done, despite his failures surrounding being a dad.

Man, I really hope that when I take my daddy issues out on my readers, I do it in a way that it isn’t such transparent wish fulfillment. This is some “one day, my dad will be sorry!” shit I could have written in overwrought Labyrinth fanfiction when I was fourteen. And of course, all this regret is loud enough to wake Lolita from her magical slumber.

A cracking soft voice startled him right out of his chair. “Forgive you for what?”

Charles raised his head and his eyes met my weary eyes as they struggled to adjust to the dimly lit room and the dizziness that had hit me almost immediately. This was the first thing I remembered on my own since I had collapsed in the theater. Everything that had happened between then and waking up in my old room I wouldn’t know until later. For the moment, I didn’t know where I was and I was unaware of everything the three of them had been through.

So, we’re back in Zucchini’s first person POV, then, right?

Charles leaned in and caressed my cheek as a huge burst of happiness spread across his face, he responded to me very softly, “Hey, you. You’re awake.” The relief flooded his body so quickly that he practically felt like he was floating and his eyes welled up this time with happy tears.

Is…is that a “no” on the first person then or…

Honestly, my expectations were so low for this inevitable transition that I’m not surprised Sarem can’t keep her own narrative parameters straight for more than a paragraph. I’m just going to go limp and hope the prose thinks I’m dead long enough that it lets its guard down and trundles off into the woods, thus allowing me to make my escape. The idea of telling part of the story through the memories of other characters isn’t a bad one. With better execution, this could have been a unique and interesting storytelling device. The problem Handbook For Mortals has is that its author can’t stay in one POV consistently, let alone juggle several POVs through an omniscient central character. Obviously, a lot of this could have been fixed by avoiding numerous, nonsensical POV and tense shifts, but here are some other ways the “through everyone else’s eyes” part of this story could have been told more effectively:

  • If Lasagna had been privy to the actions of others through their memories, but not their internal thoughts; the storytelling falls flat when the narrator has to tell the reader explicitly what the characters are feeling.
  • If it had been formatted as its own section apart from the beginning and end of the story; this would have created an easier transition back into Lumpy’s waking thoughts as first person POV.
  • If the entire book had been written in the third person; this would remove the need to have Zason and the Largonauts tell a portion of the story she’s not a part of.

And here are the correlating reasons Lani Sarem could not have done these things:

  • She’s incapable of showing instead of telling.
  • It would have interfered with her tarot-card-of-the-day chapter format
  • Twilight was told in first person POV.
  • It would have required the author to move her avatar slightly out of the spotlight.

The fact that Sarem was willing to relinquish Lubnub’s stranglehold on the narrative any time the reader needed to see how men were reacting to the sight of her nearly nude or dripping wet body only makes this more infuriating. She was fine with having sections where she wasn’t narrating all the action, just so long as she could sexually objectify herself in those sections.

Anyway, the If I Stay section of the book is now over and we’re moving on to more beautiful suffering:

My head was pounding and I kept blinking my eyes trying to get them to focus enough so that I could see where I was. I felt like I had been asleep for years and that I had awoken from a terrible dream. My entire body ached everywhere. My joints felt swollen and painful. My chest felt as if I had been stabbed. My head felt like someone had ripped all my hair out by the roots. My veins felt as if ice and needles were coursing through them and my stomach felt like someone had punched me as hard as they could. I was pretty sure I couldn’t have felt worse.

Okay, but how do you feel? I mean, I can’t get a feel for how you feel at the moment. If only you’d used the exact same word in like seven consecutive sentences so that I would have some idea how this all felt to you.

I couldn’t help but lock one of my legs and grit my teeth in hopes of powering through as a wave of pain crashed over me.

Charles seemed sad, though I wasn’t sure why. “Are you in pain, my dear?”

I bit my lip and shook my head. “Yeah, it’s pretty bad. What happened though?”

She visibly reacts to pain. Her father, watching her, looks sad but she can’t tell why. He asks if she’s in pain. She shakes her head and answers yes. How does someone pack this much failure into such a small amount of text? Lozenge, your dad is watching his kid writhe in pain. That is why he’s sad. And when you answer someone in the affirmative, you don’t do it by shaking your head. You nod your head. This is a concept that admittedly baffled me for a long time…when I was a toddler. The inability to grasp that other humans react to emotional stimuli just like you also react to emotional stimuli (i.e., looking sad when someone is in pain) is also something I struggled with…as a child. I’ve been saying Handbook For Mortals isn’t a YA because its main character doesn’t fit the demographic. What I didn’t realize until now is that it should have been written as a picture book, since the protagonist needs to learn important lessons about how people respond to and deal with emotions.

The last thing I remembered was finishing our new illusion in the theater. And…something had gone wrong. Maybe having him tell me the story would help take my mind off the incredible amount of agony ripping through my body.

Trust me, having someone tell you that story will only increase the amount of agony you’re experiencing. It’ll even heap on some fresh agony as garnish.

Charles begins to tell her the “short version” of the story and I swear to God, if we have to read a retelling of the entire section we just read so that Lutefisk can get up-to-date on shit she’s just going to learn from the memories she pulls anyway I’m going to cancel the Jealous Haters Book Club entirely and turn this into a food blog where I blather on about why fall is my favorite season and how much I love farmer’s markets before giving you an overcomplicated and unappetizing recipe for butternut squash and kale risotto with very, very little seasoning.

Anyway, Charles tells her that “we” had to bring her to her mother’s house.

The moment he said the words “we,” the thought of who that could be flashed into my head. No one else at the show knew anything about who I was. Maybe he meant my mom when he said “we,” but that would be an odd way to word it if my mother was also part of the “we.” I decided to stop the story for a moment to clarify whom he meant.

“We? Who is ‘we’?” I asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.

See that tiny little one line of dialogue there? It could have stood on its own and easily replaced that entire paragraph above it.

Charles tells her that the “we” is him and Mac.

The last thing I remembered about Mac was that he had been furious with me and had stormed off in a fit of rage.

And therefore you probably shouldn’t have gone on with your Khaos Mahjik bullshit? Because you knew that the person you were depending on to make it work was furious with you at best, not even in the building at worst?

Just like with the “surprise” of Zucchini’s parentage, Sarem tried to hide crucial, plot-relevant information from readers despite the fact that the story is being told almost exclusively through that protagonist’s first person POV. Lumber knew that her magic depended on her connection with Mac. When that connection was broken through their violent argument she should have at least had the thought that the spell might not work because of that. Instead. there was the weak excuse that she was distracted by the argument and had to try to make the spell work despite her own lack of focus. But she would have known that wasn’t the issue, and as such, the reader should have been shown that knowledge.

Writing Tip For God’s Fucking Sakes: You cannot let a POV character withhold crucial plot information they possess only to spring it on the reader after the fact.

As I was lying there, I hadn’t yet pulled their memories to understand what had happened; so how he, of all people, ended up at my mother’s didn’t make much sense.

Stephen Moffat has written less confusing timelines than the one in that sentence.

Another wave of pain rippled through my body and I gritted my teeth again and arched my back as I gripped the sheets waiting for it to pass.

You know how on South Park they always make fun of Mel Gibson for his lengthy scenes of being tortured or in pain in his movies?

Writing Tip: Words have different flavors. To say she’s in this horrible pain that’s making her grit her teeth and arch her back, “rippled” is a pretty calm word. If it’s going to be a wave, I would say “crashed over” or “dragged me under,” something to evoke the violence of water. Rippling waves don’t inspire the panic of horrendous pain. My one exception to this would be descriptions of a non-harrowing labor and birth, in which pain is generally described more positively.

Charles tells Lumberzack that the whole story can wait––thank you Jesus––but Mac knows everything about her being…I don’t know. Not a mortal? Have they put a name on what the fuck these people are? We’re 92% into this book. Now might be the time to say “witches” or “immortals” or whatever she’s going to call it. Like, push that button anytime, okay?

Zagamander asks how fast Mac ran away, and then there’s more description of her acting out how miserable she feels so that there’s plenty to put on the For Your Consideration reels. Charles points out that Mac is right there in the room with them.

I could mainly just make out a body kind of piled in the corner. It took his word it was actually Mac.

What a weird thing to lie about. Why would he? “Yeah, that guy over in the corner there is Mac. Ha ha, she’ll never realize it’s not Mac when Doug the next door neighbor stands up and Mac is nowhere to be found.” This book has some of the fucking weirdest responses to situations that I’ve ever seen in my life. Why would you even begin to assume that your dad would lie to you about whether or not that was your love interest sitting a few feet away from you? What could his plan possibly be? Why must you extend the courtesy of belief in this situation? What even is happening?

I forced myself to consider that Mac being there because I was on the brink of death and him being there because he wanted us to work on our relationship were two very different things. I figured that I would find out what his thoughts were soon enough, probably about the same time I found out what he actually knew.

First of all, he knows everything. Chaz told her that. Why is she so quick to doubt Wish Fulfillment Dad?

Now here’s an amazing part of this story:

“Um…I’m pretty parched and could use something for all the pain. Got any morphine lying around?” I asked, trying to be lighthearted, but realizing that if I waited much longer I wasn’t going to be able to swallow at all.

“Oh yes, of course. I should’ve thought of that. I’ll go right now. […]”

Does…does Charles just have morphine? “Oh yes, of course.” Oh yes, of course, I have this controlled narcotic out in the car. Let me just grab it. Or does he mean, Oh yes, of course. I’ll go to the drug store and get some? This is amazing. I cannot wait for the follow-up comment from Real Vegas Pharmacist in which they insist that all the Olympic athletes in Cirque Du Soliel go to Tennessee to get over-the-counter morphine.

Chandler Spellsfield decides to wake up Mac to tell him that Zelda is awake. Like, you know. Don’t yell to Sandwiches to let her know that her daughter isn’t dead. The boyfriend is priority.

He patted my arm briefly before turning around and walking over to Mac to shake him. “Son?

Don’t call me son.

Son.”

CALL ME SON ONE MORE TIME.

My dad’s voice, which had just been a whisper as we talked, boomed into the corner of the room, as he shook Mac.

Damn, Dave. Bring it down. Find some middle volume, for fuck’s sake.

Mac awoke, completely startled.

No shit. I don’t blame him. He’s out cold and his boss starts shouting at him.

Anyway, he jumps up all panicked, thinking something has gone wrong. This is probably the part where he’s like, “I just had the most horrible dream! I was in a terrible book where I exist only to reflect how awesome the protagonist is!”

Charles tells Mac everything is fine and he leaves to get The Lorax some water and to tell Sandwich like, hey, by the way, our kid isn’t dead. Mac rushes to Lart’s side and gives her kisses on her forehead and says:

“You awake is a sight for sore eyes.”

There had to be. I mean had to be. No way there wasn’t. A better way to word that sentence or leave the cliche out completely. There had to be.

Now, remember: Mac was used as a conduit for chaos magic without his knowledge or consent. But our beautiful, magjikkal princess of goodness and light is never responsible for anything she does. See, if she ever did accept responsibility for anything, that would create a plot. A plot would get in the way of pages upon pages of Zob Lombie being not like other girls and being fawned over by every man in the universe. So, what do we do to avoid conflict that would require introspection on character growth?

“I am so sorry,” he said with regret and guilt riddled all through his face. The look he gave me was that of a begging dog when you walk into the room and they’ve knocked over something priceless and important.

That’s right! It’s all Mac’s fault! He’s just going to apologize for his actions having an outcome he couldn’t have possibly foreseen because he didn’t have any idea he was being magically violated by Lazarus. And of course, she has no fucking clue why anyone would be apologizing, because oh, golly gee, she hasn’t pulled anyone’s memories. I’m calling such a monumental pile of bullshit on this. She knew the “illusion” was going wrong. She knew it was going wrong because of Mac. She should have, at that time, in that scene, been like, “oh, this is because I broke my connection with him” or some such other bullshit, because she knew she had to use him to ground or whatever. SHE WOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN THE TIME TO USE HIM IN HER MAGIC IF SHE DID NOT NEED HIM AND THEREFORE NONE OF THIS CAN COME AS A SURPRISE TO HER.

But still, when she asks why everyone is apologizing, Mac says:

“‘Cause, your dad and I screwed up––and you were the one that paid the price.”

Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids saying "Are you FUCKING kidding me?"

Princess Bubblegum on Adventure Time flipping a table

Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect yelling "Enough! Enough!"

OH MY GOD NOBODY SCREWED UP EXCEPT ZADE! NOBODY! NOT A GOD DAMN MOTHERFUCKING PERSON IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HAPPENED TO ZADE BUT ZADE! ZADE DID IT! ZADE DID THIS!

Glittering text that says "Zade did this to herself"

God I hate this book so much. I just…

Look. LOOK.

Even if Lani Sarem and Thomas Michael Chad William or who the fuck ever hadn’t scammed the bestseller list, I would still hate this book. Like, the lying, the sneakiness, the generally just being horrible people who think way, way too highly of themselves? That’s just FROSTING on my fucking hatred for this book. They could have been the nicest, most playfair, humble people in the universe and I would still want them jailed for the crime against humanity that is this horrible book. And the thing is, if they were the nicest, most playfair, humble people in the world THEY WOULD HAVE NEVER COMMITTED THIS HATE AGAINST THEIR FELLOW MAN IN THE FIRST PLACE!

So, some other shit happens and Zade says something stupid about how she guesses her inability to open her eyes is what blind people must feel like (I’m not kidding) and lectures the reader on the fact that pain makes people sleepy BUT WE ALREADY KNOW ABOUT THE HUMAN BODY’S RESPONSE TO EXCRUCIATING PAIN BECAUSE WE’RE READING THIS BOOK.

But whatever. I’m done with this chapter. DONE.

DONE.

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106 Comments

  1. Skylar
    Skylar

    Wow, I just finished the last JHBC entry in preparation for this one and here it is! (This book is horrible, but I found an empty void in my heart where your snark is supposed to be, so I had to go back.)

    August 2, 2018
    |Reply
  2. My head was pounding and I kept blinking my eyes trying to get them to focus enough so that I could see where I was. I felt like I had been asleep for years and that I had awoken from a terrible dream. My entire body ached everywhere. My joints felt swollen and painful. My chest felt as if I had been stabbed. My head felt like someone had ripped all my hair out by the roots. My veins felt as if ice and needles were coursing through them and my stomach felt like someone had punched me as hard as they could. I was pretty sure I couldn’t have felt worse.

    – anyone who has read Handbook for Mortals.

    August 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      “Are you in pain?”

      “No.”

      Uhhh…. Zade spent an entire paragraph describing every ache she had. I’m pretty sure if she had a paper cut, she’d be complaining about that too. So why say “no”? If the contradiction is supposed to be funny, it’s not.

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
    • Liza
      Liza

      My chest felt as if I had been stabbed

      You were stabbed in the chest Zambot. Good God. I get that when you woke up you didn’t realize it, but you just spent five years telling us the story of how you, the mortal-immortal, almost died but were saved by a stab to the chest. Your readers already know this. You don’t have to tell them again. Or if you do, describe the pain itself. “Searing pain radiated across my chest” or something. How is it so hard to show us things? How? Why do you have to tell us eighty times that you were stabbed in the chest without once actually describing what that entails?

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
  3. Araige Arkham
    Araige Arkham

    Hamilton references for the win! I love your blog a million times more now!

    August 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • Evil!Blonde Bitch
      Evil!Blonde Bitch

      Same! I lost my absolute shit when she said “CALL ME SON ONE MORE TIME.”
      … Welp. Time to go listen to the soundtrack again.

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
  4. Emerald
    Emerald

    I had to stop reading to scroll down and comment, ensorcelled is one of my all time favourite words in the English language. So thank you for that.

    August 2, 2018
    |Reply
  5. A. Noyd
    A. Noyd

    “…he said as he buried his face in his hands and collapsed on the table. Tears streamed down his cheeks…”

    Tears “streamed down” the cheeks that were just buried in his hands and collapsed against the table? Um…how?!?! I mean, I know it’s minor compared to the rest of the shit in this awful farce of a novel, but it perfectly reveals just how much Lutefisk Salami “writes” by throwing cliches together without sacrificing a single second to visualize how anything would actually work.

    August 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • Emily Barnard
      Emily Barnard

      So much this! Massive peeve of mine, too.

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
    • hugseverycat
      hugseverycat

      And don’t forget that AFTER he buried his hands in his face and AFTER the tears streamed down… THAT’S when his emotions “started” to “bubble up”.

      August 6, 2018
      |Reply
  6. Amy
    Amy

    I’m surprised it’s all quiet on the western-lani front. Comic-con just happened and that would’ve been the *perfect* time to advertise her movie. Yet there’s…. Nothing? Considering how much money she’s spending just to go to these conventions, she couldn’t take a few dollars to create a mock-trailer or fake movie poster to create interest? (And I’m not talking about that weird trailer on youtube where the camera pans through a forest and badly cgi words flash on the screen)

    For my first published book, I took pictures on my phone in my bathroom. People really liked the cover and have complimented me on it. If I can do that, surely Lani can do better with her celebrity friends.

    I wonder if this is the eye of the storm and we only have to wait till Lani drops her next move, or if this is the beginning of the end.

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • SofiaThatB*tch
      SofiaThatB*tch

      Beginning of the end is what I’m PRAYING for

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
    • K R
      K R

      I was at Comic-Con and dreamt that I had somehow ended up in a panel about this book and at the end during the Q&A people started leaving and Lani was desperate to keep them.
      Then the next day and I’m walking around the exhibit hall, I just happened to bump into her booth. There was a girl sitting in the booth, but I don’t think it was Lani. There was a huge poster w/ Ian’s Something face though…

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        Was anybody actually buying the book?

        I haven’t been to a comic convention in ages, but is selling YA novels a common thing at them? Would you even want to buy a book at SD comic con?

        August 3, 2018
        |Reply
  7. Bookjunk
    Bookjunk

    “Thomas Michael Chad William.” Ha!

    Your rant at the end is spectacular and totally understandable. It being everyone else’s fault (but also at the same time not, because god forbid we have any conflict in this so-called story) but Zapercalifragilistic’s, whose fault it fucking is, is so rage-inducing.

    How does Lani fail so hard at characterisation? It’s like she can’t see how other people who are not her would perceive this dickish nightmare of a main character.

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I sincerely believe this is how Lani Sarem goes through life. She blames everyone else and tries to gaslight them if they disagree. The level of denial goes beyond your basic Mary Sue mistake, though I could be wrong about that. The simple fact that Zade doubts her dad so easily and everyone in her family is a good liar, coupled with Lani’s intentional “plot twists” created by withholding important information is what makes me think this. Plus, her amusing introduction as an Olympic Athlete.

      I suspect when those three editors tried to help out, they kept picking up on different issues, which is why Chuckie has two completely different, conflicting “reasons” to be wrong. One gave her a suggestion and another gave her a different idea but she didn’t try to follow-up on either and wrote them both directly into that specific scene. The poor bastards simply strengthened her ability to fill in the gaps with more ridiculous lies. 😛

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
  8. Anon
    Anon

    I always look forward to these posts and enjoy hate-reading along with you. But I’m to the point where this book is just so bad. So, so bad. Boring and self-indulgent and I don’t even know if I’m enjoying this anymore, which is because Sarem sucks, not because your recaps suck, but there’s only so much life you can breathe into this.

    I think setting the book (but not you!) on fire might be the best course of action.

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Good point! This was the climactic chapter. The readers should be relieved, happy, or satisfied by the ending. We should be hopeful for the future. But instead of going, “Ah….”

      We’re going, “eh…..”

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • Liza
        Liza

        Eh in part because we already knew Lorna Doone was going to be okay, so literally no tension. at. all. Eh in part because this book sucks so bad that it just needs to be over and at this point it doesn’t really matter how. And eh in part because we honest to God don’t care about a single one of these awful people. They are the worst. I would have had more of an Ah… moment if a flash flood suddenly took out the whole damn house and its inhabitants.

        August 3, 2018
        |Reply
  9. Fluffy
    Fluffy

    OMG, I’m so sorry you had to read chopperfield’s recap of what happened right after getting through the pulled memories version. That’s just like.. WHY?!! I wouldn’t want that in a book I was enjoying!

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      They do something like that in Acts of the Apostles, but only because they’re trying to establish that different people’s versions of events don’t contradict each other. It’s a way of documenting consistent evidence.

      Since Labanotation is not representing this as a documentary (in spite of all the Real Olympic Athletes she has consulted/been), that sort of testimonial comparison isn’t necessary.

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
  10. candy apple
    candy apple

    I’m here for you if you want to turn this into a food blog.

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • HeidiAphrodite
      HeidiAphrodite

      Oh, me too. Meee tooooo.

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
  11. Mel
    Mel

    This book has achieved the impossible, being worse written than 50 Shades. My god, the sloppiness of everything. She literally just puked this book out and decided it was perfect, with no need of revision or review and published it.

    If this chapter shattered your soul, I’m not sure you’ll make it past that hideous ending. I can’t believe GeekNation let their first book published have that bad of an ending, did they purposely want to tank their publishing career?

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Elyssa
      Elyssa

      Right?! Like, 50 Shades is a horrible piece of dumpster fire trash, but like… people did actions and they had consequences. Everyone’s character was horrible, but they WERE characters with their own traits and they were pretty consistent. And like, at least the plot of 50 Shades GOES SOMEWHERE? Like, the plot moves along. Just at all.

      God. I can’t believe I just said that. But it’s true.

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
    • Carla
      Carla

      I think the difference is that E L James at least seems to have been interested in writing a book instead of just blatantly chasing fame.

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        Nah, she was just interested in getting her rocks off with Edward Cullen and got popular because of it.

        August 4, 2018
        |Reply
      • Indigo
        Indigo

        One got the impression that EL James actually likes to read and has read books for her own enjoyment before. Sarem reminds me of a bit in Daria where one of the Fashion Club members says, “I think I’ll be a writer, it sounds easy. Like, how hard is it to type stuff?”

        August 5, 2018
        |Reply
    • A.B.Corbeau
      A.B.Corbeau

      I think 50 shades is better written but more horrible because of it. It is alarming and revolting in its abusive ways because it is written well enough to get the reader involved at least a little. This book is so clumsy and boring that it could propagate genocide and it would still fall flat.

      August 5, 2018
      |Reply
  12. An interesting by-product of these blogs has become clear to me, at least, in the last year or so, and I’m wondering if other authors feel it, too: Between this, Fifty Shades, and After, I am now frozen at the thought of publishing/self-publishing anything. I mean, I think it’s okay. Beta-readers have praised my mss. I’ve made edits/changes based on critical comments. But the thought that I might be as oblivious as EL, Lani, or Anna is terrifying. HOW do you deal if you’re a writer who is this… awful? Like, not just at writing, but at being an empathetic, considerate human being?

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • KC
      KC

      TBH, this gives me more confidence as a writer. I would actually have to work pretty hard to write something this crappy. And if 50SoG can get published, well…

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      If you are capable of asking the question, you’re not.

      The common factor in the above is a cock-sureness that you and your characters burp unicorns and fart rainbows. You must be certain that your earwax and your dingleberries have all the aesthetic and cosmetic properties of La Mer Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream and Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Black The Treatment.

      To reach that level of barfitude, you must believe wholeheartedly that when you sneeze, sparkles come out of your nose–and NOT because you mistakenly snorted glitter in a dark swamp party at Pennsic, thinking it was a line of coke (and yes I know someone who did that. She was coughing up sparkles for almost a year).

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • Chris
        Chris

        Whahahahaha oh shit here I go again

        August 4, 2018
        |Reply
      • Well, shit, there goes my erotic romance about a mystical pagan goddess who streams rainbows every time she orgasms. I’d already written the scene where she discovers her eiderdown wings that would ultimately create the windstorm that saves the whole world.

        Also, since I’m currently writing a gender-flipped Alpha/FSOG type of thingie on my blog, I’m trying to write with the same sorts of plot holes and character problems and ethical conflicts that the aforementioned do, and… it’s actually _difficult_ to be that sloppy. Like, you know most of their work has gone unedited and unrevised in any significant way, no matter what they say.

        August 4, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          So she’s one of those mythical squirters? XD

          August 4, 2018
          |Reply
          • Dove, only with the right guy. That’s how you KNOW it’s true love and passion! *coughs up more glitter*

            August 4, 2018
      • Dove
        Dove

        More proof that glitter is evil. :p

        August 4, 2018
        |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      I think if you’re questioning yourself, you’re probably a much better writer than any of them. And if you choose beta readers who know the craft and will be honest (and you’re open to honest critique), you’re already ahead of them.

      August 7, 2018
      |Reply
  13. Cris
    Cris

    The sparkly rainbow font killed me XD.

    But honestly this book’s whole existence is an insult to writing. Everyone involved should go to prison for facilitating the creation of this infamy.

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
  14. Michael
    Michael

    “I see a path that could lead to them being together, but over the past few days so many other paths have popped up.”
    That makes no sense. Those possibilities must, by logical necessity, have already been there, just less likely.

    Here’s an example: If you go on a vacation to Bermuda, and meet a nice person there, Zade’s mom will say that you going to Bermuda created a path where you and this person are lifelong friends.

    However! Even before you went to Bermuda, there existed a path where you go there on vacation, and thus there also must have already existed a path where you become friends with this person after going there.

    Otherwise, it’s like saying that there are no paths where I read a book until I go to a bookshelf and pick out a book; only then do those paths appear.

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
  15. SofiaThatB*tch
    SofiaThatB*tch

    I know it takes all kinds… But I am seriously forever judging the people who say this book is fantastic or that they liked it at all.

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I don’t blame you. Liking it is okay, everyone has shit taste at some point in their life, but if they said it was fantastic, then they’re just wrong. It doesn’t matter if they’re lying, they could genuinely mean it, but they’re absolutely wrong. This is a fact. 😛

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
  16. Agent_Z
    Agent_Z

    “Does she know he’s in a committed romantic relationship? I mean, the author kind of forgets as we go along.”

    Given how this story has treated Sofia, I doubt either the author or character care. Sofia’s only purpose was to be the Mean Girl who got taken down a peg by Zoey 101 and now that she’s served her purpose she is of no use to the story.

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
  17. Sam
    Sam

    Oh man, I was at SD Comic-Con and she was in a booth hawking the book!! I wish I had stopped to snap a pic but the exhibit hall is always packed and I was being pulled along by my group. SDCC booth prices are no joke!

    Also, I’m gonna throw a wild theory out there about the particularly bad POV hopping in this section. How much do you want to bet it was originally just a super long third person segment? And an editor said “this is cheating, your book is in first” so Laura hastily changed some of the pronouns to I (but missed some) and inserted a few sentences about pulling the memories later (but not right away cuz otherwise she’d have to edit the wake-up recap scene). I’m predicting we never get a moment where she acquires all those memories.

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Mydog'sPA
      Mydog'sPA

      Gads, I thought she’d never be able to get in. My wife’s comic had a booth over in Small Press, and I never saw hide nor dyed hair of her. Where was this booth of hers? I never saw anything in the program mentioning her as a vendor at all.

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        I wonder if it wasn’t under her name, but Thomas Ian Nicholas’s. Maybe it was rented under her NSYNC cousin’s name. Or Carrot Top.

        I bet it was Carrot Top.

        August 3, 2018
        |Reply
        • Mydog'sPA
          Mydog'sPA

          She was at the Dark Sky Pictures/CEEK VR booth (#4213) so obviously was able to scam them into letting her in.

          August 3, 2018
          |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      She has a few paragraphs devoted to the memory acquisition and it’s not very in-depth but does lead to a lot of questions, some about ethics since she basically says she wants to be able to steal memories without permission some day. 🙁

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
      • Evil!Blonde Bitch
        Evil!Blonde Bitch

        That part fucked me up so bad when I read it. What type of character blithely says something like “I want to be able to mind rape others without permission” and expects us to ignore that and consider them a hero? What kind of author thinks that’s fine to say?
        I don’t deny that being able to extract memories quickly without consent would be useful. The goddamn Death Note is useful in certain situations too. But with great power comes great responsibility, and you have to consider morality with it or YOU ARE A VILLAIN. Any decent author that gave a character the power to take people’s memories as their own needs to examine the ramifications of that, and how the main character would handle it. They could misuse their powers, and come back from that with a new ethical stance. They could refuse to use it. They could use it only when they absolutely had to. But you cannot make a compelling hero and make them ignore ethics. Or if they do ignore ethical boundaries, you better make goddamn sure that someone or something proves to them that they Royally Fucked Up (TM).

        August 4, 2018
        |Reply
        • Jane Eyre
          Jane Eyre

          yeah like x-men realised it with Rouge, she has the power to take away people’s powers and memories but a)she has no control over her powers and can’t have. b)she can kill someone with that and she has to wear gloves and can’t really touch anyone or kiss anyone so her powers take something away from her life, robbing her of some aspects of human contact c)she HATES this power, it’s something in every adaptation of the story makes her hate herself, and again SHE CAN’T CONTROL IT. It’s something she can’t do nothing about. She doesn’t want it but she’s stuck with it

          August 5, 2018
          |Reply
        • Indigo
          Indigo

          Jacqueline Carey actually has a character who can remove people’s memories from their minds (with their permission), and the ethics of using this power does come up and is explored. Of course, Jacqueline Carey is capable of thinking two seconds into the future and writing characters with actual relationships.

          August 5, 2018
          |Reply
  18. Jess
    Jess

    This is the best JHBC you’ve ever done, and I sorry this book has hurt you so badly.

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Jess
      Jess

      I’m sorry.
      No more twelve hour days for Jess.

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
  19. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    Morphine? Nonsense. When Real Olympic Athletes in Vegas damage L-1 or L-3 on a backbend, they don’t need morphine: injuries happen during the shows all the time, everyone know what they signed up for, and the show must go on.

    I mean WE don’t need morphine, and everyone knows what WE signed up for–I mean, we all know what we signed up for–[dang pronouns]

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Sorry, that was L-*2*, not 3.
      Not that we would stop the show for it, either.

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
  20. Lindsay
    Lindsay

    Pimento Loaf

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • RaccoonLady
      RaccoonLady

      I have worked in a deli and in my opinion Pimento loaf and olive loaf are the grossest of the deli meats and so I appreciated this.

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Only rivalled by mortadella and head cheese.

        August 3, 2018
        |Reply
  21. RaccoonLady
    RaccoonLady

    Okay, so I’m in veterinary medicine and so like with the dagger to the heart=epi-pen I’m gonna give my quick thoughts on morphine but with the caveat that people medicine could work totally differently! (Kinda doubt it with morphine though, cause controlled substances work the same for humans as animals)

    So morphine is a Schedule II drug! Which means that it has a potential to be highly addictive, and thus is closely regulated. Basically, those are the drugs that are the “worst” (in terms of addictive ness) that are still legal for medical use (schedule I are things like heroin). Actual wording is “high potential for abuse”, just checked. Generally, those drugs are not prescribed to patients, they are only given in the hospital. Especially considering america’s opioid crisis. However, I believe you can write a one time prescription for morphine in emergency situations. This is a very limited amount that the doctor signs off is for an emergency need and can be filled by a pharmacist.
    So, I guess if they rushed her out of the hospital and the doctor was like “she’ll probably need morphine y’all” and then wrote a prescription for it and then somewhere they had time to go to a pharmacy…they could have a one time dosage of morphine.
    Alternatively, he’s just getting her some Advil and calling it morphine. Or he or Deli or Mac is one of the many US citizens acquiring illegal opioids.

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Or their doctor is the kind who prescribed propafol to Michael Jackson as a sleep aid. (Propafol is a general anaesthetic used to put patients under for surgery. It is NEVER prescribed for insomnia.) Our Zantac may end up dead after all.

      BTW, if Lanzaprole’s all Majickall and stuff, why isn’t she using any herbal remedies? I don’t know anyone who’s into Wicca or Neo-pagan who doesn’t have at least a passing interest in herbal medicine.

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Just remembered– Charles is a former drug addict. For some, even hearing the words of a certain drug can trigger them. How and why he’s got his hands on morphine is now even more suspicious.

      August 3, 2018
      |Reply
    • River
      River

      It is possible to be prescribed long term repeat doses of narcotics. I have picked up various patients who’s home meds include oral Morphine or Fentanyl patches. However they are clamping down on willy-nilly giving out narcs. It isn’t likely that Chunkers would just randomly have some in his fanny pack though. I don’t know if The Super Important Doctor That Runs The Hospital would have written a prescription for oral meds since she’s unconscious nor would he have been likely to give them IV meds because without knowledge and training obviously they could kill her real quick with that… Not that we’d care though eh?

      August 5, 2018
      |Reply
      • Anon
        Anon

        @River — The major clamping down seems to be relatively new. I’ve been prescribed a few opioids over the years for surgeries and broken bones and am on my second shot at trying to lose weight with phentermine. Starting just this past July 1 was when new rules went into effect and when I refilled my phen script, I pretty much had to sign away my first-born to get it when in June, they just filled it.

        I had my tonsils out in March and they easily and without fanfare or requesting my first-born filled my percocet then, as well.

        Of course, I had prescriptions every time, but this last time was a huge PITA.

        August 7, 2018
        |Reply
        • Anon
          Anon

          And I realized I forgot my main point, which was that it wasn’t *quite* as regulated when she wrote this book, but I doubt they were just handing out morphine willy-nilly then, either.

          August 7, 2018
          |Reply
  22. Mike
    Mike

    The bit about Dela saying her cards aren’t cooperating reminds me of the old saying; a bad workman blames his tools. These magic users are pretty terrible at magic.

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
  23. Spacegeek
    Spacegeek

    It’s so goddamned bad. It’s not even so-bad-it’s-good bad. It’s just bad. Dante is breaking ground on a new circle of hell.

    Without all of the chicanery surrounding this book/movie/whatsit, these recaps would feel like unfair piling-on. As it is, they are my everything.

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
  24. Ambrea R
    Ambrea R

    I’ve noticed a lot of writers saying someone shook their head or shook their head yes to mean nodding lately. No idea why this is a thing suddenly. I’m not even really sure if it’s just amongst inexperienced writers or if it actually is some kind of trend or something now

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      That sounds like they’re complicating an overly simple matter. If nod means yes and shook means no, then shaking for yes or no takes more effort to explain. It’s a dumb turnaround if it isn’t simple inexperience.

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
    • hugseverycat
      hugseverycat

      I’ve noticed this too. I feel like I’ve seen “shook their head” followed by narration implying the affirmative often enough that I’ve started to wonder whether I have spent my life misunderstanding what the phrase “shake your head” means.

      So it was a bit of a relief to read this honestly. I understood it right! But somehow lots of authors are strange!

      August 6, 2018
      |Reply
  25. Mydog'sPA
    Mydog'sPA

    Oh, and I forgot to mention:

    “God I hate this book so much. “

    Don’t mince words, Jenny (Bones). What do you really think?

    August 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Well you see, authors tend to over exaggerate words in order to make themselves look big in front of predators. So if you break down the sentence word by word, take sarcasm into account, Jenny actually really loves this book. In this essay I will prove

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
  26. Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)
    Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)

    I totally want Sandwitch to read the cards 95 times in a row and finally have them tell her “Everyone is going to get fat and ugly, Lnnie’s hair will go back to a normal color, the show is going to get sued and close, and everyone will die a slow painful death,” basically “go fuck yourslf,” on deal 96 for asking the same damn question over and over.

    I get the playing with familiar stuff when you’re upset, but being right about something doesn’t lessen the mountain of garbage that is this book.

    The rainbow graphics! OMG that was amazing.

    August 4, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      With a special meta-message to the author: “After several fruitless attempts at literary/cinematic fame, you will get a dead-end job doing something incredibly boring just to pay the rent. Your supervisor will be someone you snubbed in middle school.”

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Makes me think of Monkey Island where Guybrush gets his fortune read five times and every time he gets the death card.

      “One more time!”
      “DEATH!”
      “Hit me!”
      “DEATH!”
      “I’m feeling lucky!”
      “DEATH!”

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
    • Maril
      Maril

      I read runes, and there are specific runes that have meanings that boil down to ‘it’s out of your control’ and ‘that’s none of your business’. They tend to come up when what you’re asking about is something you have no control over or you’re asking about other people. Like, ‘what does Jane think about Jimmy? Does he like her?!’ if you asked that you might get an answer, or you might essentially be told to fuck off and mind your own damn business. In rune form.

      When someone (or me in a panicked state…) asks about the same situation over and over again I’ve noticed that after a couple of times my readings will consistently pull these runes. It’s a sign to goddamn well stop asking. I would laugh so hard if tarot had similar meaning cards and she kept pulling them over and over again…

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
      • Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)
        Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)

        Maril – I’m curious – what runes mean it’s out of you control/it’s none of your business?

        August 11, 2018
        |Reply
        • Maril
          Maril

          Like with tarot, rune meanings can change a lot depending on the reading itself, the runes around them, things like that. But Hagall pretty consistently represents a force that you have no control over. An act of god. This can be something huge, something fated that you can’t prevent, or something as tiny as ‘it’s gonna rain on your picnic’. And Wyrd, the blank rune, in some readings means there’s a mystery, something being hidden from you or something you’re hiding from someone else. But in certain readings it can also be telling you to mind your own business. When it comes up when you’re asking about other people that’s the go to interpretation. But also when the reading doesn’t seem to make sense no matter how you look at it, and wyrd is right there in the middle of it, that’s pretty much the end of it. When that happens to me, that’s it. No readings after that will make any sense and wyrd and hagall (and a lot of the time the other runes that represent various delays and blockages, isa and nied) will pop up over and over again until I give up.

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

      “I totally want Sandwitch to read the cards 95 times in a row and finally have them tell her “Everyone is going to get fat and ugly, Lnnie’s hair will go back to a normal color, the show is going to get sued and close, and everyone will die a slow painful death,” basically “go fuck yourself,” on deal 96 for asking the same damn question over and over.

      Actually, I’d think Tarot would benefit if one ran 500 to 1000 deals and did a Monte Carlo method to see how all the coupled degrees of freedom interact. You’d get a better feel for how all the variables would shake out and see what knobs can be tweaked to either make a successful run or what it takes (small or large tweak to a variable) before it goes completely sideways.

      Of course, Lani would never have thought of this, but can you imagine a story where a Tarot reader does a full 1000 card read/Monte Carlo for every client?

      Unlike this drek, that actually might be a good story . . . .

      August 6, 2018
      |Reply
  27. Chris
    Chris

    OMG I’m at the hairdresser’s, reading your blog with a head covered in hair dye and I just started to cry with laughter. It’s this really hipster place with bearded people who look real good even with a cape on, and I’m here snorting and wiping my nose. Jenny I know this is excruciating for you but Jesus, is this great for us.

    August 4, 2018
    |Reply
  28. I still can’t get over why dear old Mum and Pop had to tell Mac their entire love story while their daughter was DYING when there was a ton of time after she was Fox-Force-Fived with the magical epi-pen dagger where they could have discussed everything.

    Lani, you didn’t even PRETEND to try when writing this drivel.

    August 4, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Lani wrote this book/script specifically so *she* can play as the main role. This is *her* fantasy. Why then, did she write herself into a coma???? Why write your own role where you spend the last 3rd of the book UNCONSCIOUS???

      “Oh yeah, this is the role I was born to play! Laying immobile with my eyes closed as I do nothing while other actors talk about stuff I’m not involved in in the other room! Imma gonna get an oscar for this!”

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
      • I think even lying immobile would be a serious task on her acting talents.

        August 4, 2018
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          No Juliet Act V for her, then.

          August 4, 2018
          |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        I’m pretty sure that’s why Deli and Zade are identical twins; so Sarem can be in both roles and remain on screen the whole time.

        August 4, 2018
        |Reply
        • Mydog'sPA
          Mydog'sPA

          Ohhhh-kkaaayyyy . . . . How does one give birth to their identical twin?!?!?

          August 5, 2018
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            I was being mildly sarcastic but I wouldn’t be surprised if these “immortals” are bacteria, in which case, it’s binary fission. If not that, then they’re viruses that infect a mortal in order to reproduce… which means Chuckie E. Jeeze performed a true magic act when he popped Zade out of his butthole. 😀

            But considering Deli and Zade look a lot alike, my previous statement remains. (I’ve also said in prior installments that it’d make more sense for the time-frame involved if Zade was Deli’s sister seeking out Chuck on her sister’s behalf and Deli thought it was nosy and annoying so she tried to stop her. Them being twins could’ve created some interesting plot conflict if Chuck never met Zade before and then maybe only a few years would’ve passed as far as the break-up went.)

            August 5, 2018
          • Well they both look alike and neither of them age due to Lani’s self-insert wish fulfillment and delusion so…

            August 5, 2018
  29. Melissa
    Melissa

    The way Lani uses “though” is like a teen in a groupchat. It really kills any mood or tone a sentence could possibly have set.

    “At this point, though, I’d root for Sleeping Beauty.”
    Not the worst, but take out though and that’s a better sentence.

    “he didn’t really blame Dela for why she’d done it, though.”
    This has so many extra words. Ya girl loves a long ass sentence but not one full of filler. In general there are so many better ways to say this.

    “Yeah, it’s pretty bad. What happened though?”
    This should come after someone asking Zzzz if she’s hungover. After all the I Am In Pain!!! it’s just fucking hilarious.

    August 4, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      It’s really clunky, and I thought the same, but I didn’t notice that she did it so much with the same word until you pointed it out. Most of her sentences need a major rewrite anyway.

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
  30. Ilex
    Ilex

    If this book is going through the entire Major Arcana, are there really EIGHT more chapters left?

    I’m exhausted for you just thinking about it, Jenny.

    August 4, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I don’t recall (too lazy to check the other blog to be certain) but we’re really close to the end and the chapters get smaller after this. Either she made 8 tiny baby chapters or she stops before hitting all of them.

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
      • Ilex
        Ilex

        Thank goodness for that! 🙂

        August 4, 2018
        |Reply
  31. Dove
    Dove

    Slowly she looked up at Charles, who was studying her carefully. She could see care and love in his eyes and she could feel her own barriers breaking down. She knew he still had the power to make her swoon even after all this time.

    I wanted to point out how crazy this is. Dela, you’re really upset and want comfort; that’s what he’s offering! This is the opposite of swoon, which better suggests you’re horny. I don’t think the author knows how to write any other kind of love (and she barely knows how to write hot-to-trot romance as it is.) I mean, I guess swoon could be used for general elation but it feels like the wrong word regardless. Also, we don’t really see any comforting anywhere in these chapters. She knows how to imply it but not how to write it.

    August 4, 2018
    |Reply
  32. Agent_Z
    Agent_Z

    “Authors really need to stop using “mortal” as shorthand for “non-magical” if their “non-mortal” characters are…you know. Able to age and die. This isn’t a sin Sarem commits all alone. A lot of people use that sloppy world-building shortcut and it makes me bonkers no matter who does it.”

    Actually this makes me think. Why is the book called “Handbook For Mortals”? As you say “mortal” in this universe is referring to non-magical people and this book depicts being a witch as being something you’re born with like Mutants in X-Men. So Zurg can’t be considered mortal by this book’s definition. Like what is this handbook supposed to do for mortals?

    Or is the idea to show the type of magical people normal people should avoid?

    August 4, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      You’ll find out why it’s called that. But will it answer your question? No.

      August 4, 2018
      |Reply
      • Agent_Z
        Agent_Z

        Of course.

        August 5, 2018
        |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Or is the idea to show the type of magical people normal people should avoid?

      This book could’ve been so much better if that was the case. Alas, it’s a dumb throwaway line right at the end and you’ll hate it. If she’d introduced that bit of dialog earlier and put it to use in some way, it wouldn’t be so bad. But here we are… :p

      August 5, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Oh! But you and Jane Eyre just gave me another idea…

      What if Zade was magic but it caused her a lot of emotional pain, so she decided to give it up? And if she transferred her power it wouldn’t necessarily be the exact same effect on the new person so roping Mac into this wouldn’t be auto-evil? (Or if she’s evil, she does trick him.) Then he needs to keep asking her questions about his new state, abilities, and world that he’s been introduced to and/or she finally writes a mini-handbook to cover the basics because it gets annoying.

      Alternatively, role reversal could have Zade getting a ritual from Mac that gives her power instead and makes him mortal. Then he keeps man-splaining things with some occasional info that she does need. In either scenario, there could be some regret and an attempt to switch back but the newly powered up character refuses so the mortal has to trick them with the immortal info they haven’t shared yet (or held back for this very reason.)

      Both could be a lot of fun to read and write! 😀

      (And I’m sure someone has done a plot like that, nothing new under the sun, but nothing comes to mind.)

      August 5, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        And I just realized this could be unclear so I rephrased it.

        There could be some regret and an attempt to switch back but the new immortal refuses, so the original has to trick the newbie with info that they haven’t shared yet (or held back for this very reason.)

        I also realized that in both cases, the protagonist could be good or evil and they could be the immortal or the mortal. If they’re the original immortal, it’s a little more awkward to keep their trick under wraps, since the reader is inside their head, but not impossible as long as there are relevant hints early on. It could be a bittersweet story or one about comeuppance and of course, it doesn’t need to be Zade or Mac. I just used their names as easy place-holders.

        August 5, 2018
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Lestat switches places with a mortal in one of Anne Rice’s books, forget which one.

          August 5, 2018
          |Reply
          • The Tale of the Body Thief. Gawl, that one was BAD!

            August 6, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            The Tale of the Body Thief. Gawl, that one was BAD!

            Oh dear. What happened? I’ve never read it. XD

            August 6, 2018
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Dove: pretty much what you said. Lestat switches with a mortal, mortal refuses to switch back, Lestat has to trick him.

            August 6, 2018
  33. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth

    I can’t reply on Twitter, Jenny, but you do need to keep writing! This blog keeps me sane at work and I’m super excited about your The Magicians/Dresden/Harry Potter story you’ve submitted. I know you’ll have some sort of Elliot and Margot characters and do them full justice!

    As for this post- love the rage quit at the end. Video or it didn’t happen of lighting the book on fire. Please don’t light yourself on fire. And thank you for the constant reminder that there is NO WAY my writing is this bad, so why not go for it!

    August 5, 2018
    |Reply
  34. Kaliko
    Kaliko

    “I could mainly just make out a body kind of piled in the corner. It took his word it was actually Mac.”

    This cracked me up. Before realizing it’s probably a typo I was slightly confused (and wildly amused) why Zade would refer to herself as “It”. I didn’t question it though, seeing as how bad Sarem is with pronouns.

    August 7, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      I’m still laughing about “a body”. Not “a person” or “somebody.” Lani makes it sound like there’s a dead body.

      August 7, 2018
      |Reply

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