This one almost writes itself. Usually I make funny (to me) jokes about how these books are turds, etc. etc. But the main character in this series of books is actually called “Deuce.” And she is a girl. Today’s offering, from the NLS’s magically awesome annotation generator:
Enclave, DB074167: In a post-apocalyptic future, Deuce, a loyal huntress, brings back meat while avoiding the deadly Freaks outside her underground enclave. But when she is partnered with outsider Fade, she begins to see that the ways of the elders may be horrifically wrong. Violence. For senior high and older readers. 2011.
Outpost, DB075532: Deuce and Fade struggle to fit in with the organized topside community called Salvation. An excellent fighter, Deuce volunteers her much-needed skills to patrol against the Freaks–but in Salvation, women do not use weapons. Sequel to Enclave (DB 74167). Violence. For senior high and older readers. 2012.
These books, together with any future “deuces” that Ann Aguirre decides to drop on us, make up the groundbreaking series: RAZORLAND.
Remind me never to go to “Razorland.” Please. I realize that I’m going to hurt feelings up in here, but truth be told, science fiction, fantasy, and most especially, post-apocalyptic fiction is not my cup of tea (that is putting it diplomatically). Now, that being said, I also know that it is a genre that is fiercely defended by it’s fans so I know I’m going to take some flack. But come on, re-read those annotations and pretty much every other annotation for the genre. They read like goulash for words. As in, here’s a bunch of stuff we had left-over, let us put it in this bowl and just mix it up, bake it in an oven and hope it comes out okay.
When cataloging any book from the science fiction or fantasy genre I usually have to read the annotations multiple times before I can even begin to figure out what the what they are talking about. Here are the hallmarks/problems with the genre’s annotations:
- words are used out of context/time/relevance; loyal huntress, brings back meat, enclave
- people are named after thoughts, emotions, nouns, adjectives…it’s chaos. In fact, I’m pretty sure that there are several “Chaos’s” out there between the pages.
- places are named by putting words in hats and drawing them out. Or, by Mad-Libs techniques.
- too many words; why can’t they say something like, This girl lives underground because there are zombies above ground. One day when she is above ground hunting she meets a dude and he makes her question her entire existence.” Why not?
- ridiculous premiss that nobody gives a crap about; “…[above ground], women don’t use weapons…” So what? I’ll bet they use their MINDS or something.
So you can see why I try to never share sci-fi/fantasy on this blog. It’s like not even fair and you’d get really tired of hearing me rant. At my desk each month you might overhear me muttering, “Oh barf, who cares?” So feel free to stop by sometime.
Today’s entry comes from the book Laced With Magic of the crapity-crap-crap, who-gives-a-crap (Sugar Maple Chronicles) series by Barbara Bretton.
From the NLS Annotation:
Part-sorceress, Chloe Hobbs, from Casting Spells, discovers that her boyfriend Luke was once married and had a daughter, Steffie, who died two years ago. Chloe wants to help Luke with Steffie’s spirit but also fears for the town’s safety. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. 2009.
This book was written in a post-Harry Potter world so I’m going to call BS right off. How is a person going to be “part-sorceress?” Sorcerers aren’t an ethnicity. You can’t be part-one. You are either a sorceress or you are a mortal (or Muggle, if you will). Period. And besides, it says on book one that she is the daughter of a sorcerer not a sorceress, so, like, is she part sorcerer, or was her dad, the assumed sorcerer, a transvestite or MTF post-transition? Get your damn masculines and feminines straight people…this matters.
And besides, who cares whether or not her dad wore dresses. If she does magic (or witchcraft) then she is a sorcerer or sorceress–she can’t be only “part” magic. You either are of your aren’t. No “parts.”
Thanks, that’s all.
Book 16 in Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series is on it’s way to an NLS library near you! What does this mean? I have no idea. I’ve never even read any of these books. But, I feel comfortable telling you what I already know I don’t like about them. Too much! As in, there are just too many things going on in the annotation for Breaking the Rules. As in, Suzanne Brockmann has too many letters in her name! As in, naming a series the Troubleshooters series is also, just, TOO MUCH. Too many letters! Too long of a word. Too ridiculous. From the NLS annotation:
Izzy Zanella helps fellow navy SEAL Danny Gillman and Danny’s sister Eden–Izzy’s estranged wife–rescue their gay brother Ben from their abusive stepfather. Ben’s new friend, sixteen-year-old Neesha, also needs their aid after escaping kidnappers and eight years of forced prostitution. Violence, strong language, and explicit descriptions of sex.
Is this for real? So, according to above 50 words, Breaking the Rules, in 528 pages (too many pages!), covers the following concepts:
- Navy SEALS
- marital problems
- teenagers (am I right?)
Obviously that is TOO many bullet points for one novel!
So, Izzy Zanella is a boy? I just pictured him as a her until I read about “Danny’s sister Eden–Izzy’s estranged wife–” and I was like, wha-huh? And this is book 16 in the series. So these two Navy SEALS have been running around in these convoluted suspense novels 15 other times?
Now, I’m not sexist (yes, I am) but I’m a bit dubious of a woman writing a book about Navy SEALS and not having it be a romance. This is mostly why I assumed that “Izzy” was a girl. For those of you not in the know romance novels in which good looking, dashing, daring, Navy SEALS get the girl have a HUGE following. So, when I see a Navy SEALS novel about two SEALS in a sweaty adventury suspense novel with no romance, I’m going to assume gay subtext. But then when I see that a woman has written the many adventures of this dynamic duo, I’ve got to pause. Either there IS gay subtext (I believe they call it “slash” in the fanfic world), or Suzzaanne Brockkmaann is just writing crappy “suspense” novels that are really just romance vehicles.
Somebody who has read this series about
Batman Izzy and Robin Danny comment here and let me know? Romance? Honest suspense? Overly convoluted story lines? Gratuitous sex, violence, and strong language? Inquiring minds want to know…
Sorry Reader, I know it’s been a long time. I’d like to say that my absence from this blog has been due entirely to the fact that I haven’t stumbled upon any poopy books. Alas, that isn’t exactly true. I can admit to you, my friend, that although I’ve been cataloging like crazy for the last three months, I haven’t been paying much attention to the individual books’ contents. Does this mean that I’ve been a bad cataloguer? I can’t answer that. I will tell you though, that I’ve been reading a shit ton of books since August…which enhances my qualifications, not only as a cataloger, but also as a judge-er of books.
This week’s submission is called The Tale of Halcyon Crane. I have both cataloged this turd and read it cover to cover. And here is what I have to say: what a waste of time. This book is 328 pages in print, and 9 hours, 52 minutes in audio. This book should have been about 1 hour, 30 minutes, or a whole lot less pages.
From the NLS annotation:
Journalist Hallie James learns the mother she thought had died thirty years ago was, until recently, alive–and a famous photographer. Hallie travels to remote Grand Manitou Island on the Great Lakes to seek the truth but instead encounters hostile locals and ancestral ghosts in her childhood home. 2010.
The NLS annotation doesn’t give any indication of what a
fart bag waste of time this book will be. Basically, this person (being a journalist really doesn’t come into play much at all in the book so don’t worry about that detail) Hallie James has lived in Washington since her mother died in a fire when Hallie was 5 years old. Since that time, Hallie lived with, and later near, her father, who was an important, and well renowned educator in, I want to say…mathematics? Changed people’s lives, stand and deliver, etc. etc., you get the picture.
Anyway, one day Hallie gets a letter from her “dead” mother. The woman has tracked her down and is telling her, by letter, that she is her mother and invites her to come to Grand Manitou Island. Unfortunately, the woman died before the letter was recieved by Hallie. Hallie asks her father about her “dead” mother, and then later that night, he suffers a heart attack, or stroke, or something and also dies.
Hallie jets off to Grand Manitou Island to GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THINGS. Without telling any of the locals (and she talks to a lot of them) that the famous photographer woman claimed to be her mother, she learns that the woman had a daughter named Halcyon who drowned, with her father, about 30 years ago. She hears this alot. From all the locals she talks to. And yet…
And yet it takes this moron nearly half of the book to realize that Hallie MIGHT, just might, be short for Halcyon. Ohmygod, she’s the girl who was thought to be dead!! Just like her [now] dead mother is the woman whom Hallie thought to be dead for all of these years. Is this supposed to be a mystery because it just seems like patronizing poopcakes.
There’s a ghostly family history that and elderly family servant shares with Hallie/Halcyon that explains…over the course of a few weeks (or days)…how the family got to the events of the death-by-fire, drowned-in-the-lake misunderstanding.
It never occurs to Hallie that the old woman can’t possibly know all of the intimate details of the people who’s stories she is relating to Hallie. I mean, if this idiot is really a journalist, shouldn’t she start having SOME doubts about point of view and narrator? The woman is telling the story in a first person omniscient sort of way and you’re not a little curious about how she knows all of this? It also never dawns on Hallie that this old lady is only seen by Hallie and NOBODY else? [SPOILER ALERT (highlight to view): the old lady is the ghost of a witch.]
And that brings me to my usual, willing-suspension-of-disbelief, gripe. Hallie’s dad faked their death, the mother had been looking for her for years because she didn’t believe that her daughter was really dead, and yet NEVER found her? The father didn’t exactly “go underground.” Later you find out that he had an accomplice, and it becomes even more far fetched that this accomplice woman stayed quiet–and stayed on Grand Manitou without spilling the beans–for 30 years. Even after she gave birth to the man’s illegitimate son and raised him as a single mother. Please…it’s Grand Manitou…not outer Mongolia…where even THEY have heard of child support.
Anyway, the ghost story part of this book is solid. Unfortunately, it’s wrapped in wadded up soiled toilet paper masquerading as a “novel” and should be avoided at all costs.
Today folks, allow me to present the Narrow Interest of the Week Award. And the winner is…Left Neglected by Lisa Genova(Ph.D.)! Oh brother, when the cover of the trade paperback edition includes an endorsement by Jodi Picoult you know you’re in for a bummer. From the NLS annotation:
High-powered executive and working mom Sarah Nickerson survives a car wreck with a condition called “left neglect.” No longer aware of the left side of her body and unable to see anything on her left, she ponders an uncertain future. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex.
Okay, I looked it up, and this book has 336 pages in the print version. So, I’m going to assume that the accident probably takes place in the first 50 pages (at most, right?) and that for another 280 this dummy is “ponder[ing] an uncertain future.”
BOR-ING. Why why why? Why does a book exist called Left Neglected that only deals with this medical phenomenon of left neglect? And that is why, in case you hadn’t figured it out by now, I award Lisa Genova the Narrow Interest of the Week Award. At the very least Sarah Nickerson should look into getting a left side transplant with the left side of a cadaver, right? Let’s mix it up a bit, people!
Now, I want to address the “strong language…some descriptions of sex” part of the annotation. I can be honest with you, Gentle Reader, I have no intention of reading this book. But I have every intention of commenting on what I think the content of this book might be. First; strong language. I think the strong language in the book will be situations where Sarah Nickerson curses her invisible left side loudly. As in, “damn you you useless piece of shit, I never favored you anyway,” or, “you good-for-nothing son-of-a-bitching left-side, go f*ck yourself!”
Which brings me to part two of the content disclaimer: some descriptions of sex. Really? If this book describes, in any detail, a sexual encounter in which her neglected left side leads to some wacky sex-hijinks, I must object. As in,
- Me: Objection, Your Honor.
- Judge: On what grounds?
- Me: On the grounds that this is stupid.
- Judge: Sustained.
See? Even the legal system agrees with me–this book is most likely stupid, and at the very least, lame. But, if you’ve read this post and for some crazy reason you still think you should read this book, here is a handy link to purchase it privately. I wouldn’t risk checking this doo-doo-pie out at your library, if I were you–somebody might see you. At least Amazon will ship it in a plain brown corrugated wrapper.
*my own disclaimer: if this book had been about somebody losing feeling of their left side due to a stroke, I wouldn’t have made fun. I’m sorry if you, or someone you love, has experienced “left neglect,” but that doesn’t negate the fact that this book sounds stupid to me, and, as a matter of course, must be ridiculed.
William Faulkner had it goin’ on. Susan Froderberg does not. Even her name elicits ridicule from somebody like me. The “froder” in Froderberg is too close to “Frodo” and should have been replaced by a pen name. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Experimental, or poetic prose, is great. I actually enjoy it in the by-and-by. But I don’t think it was the mood I was in that made this book unreadable. Yes, unreadable as in– I did my best to read this book and could not. If it had not been a library book I would have chucked it at a wall as punishment for being such a rock solid turd. And yet still, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Old Border Road is a first novel for author, Susan Froderberg. She studied medical ethics back East and was brought up in Washington state. I have no idea what convinced her to write this book. As far as I can tell, it is a story of a 17-year-old new bride named Katherine who is living in Southern Arizona in the 1970s(?), with her in-laws, on a ranch. Soon after getting married, I can tell that the young husband runs around drinking and carousing, her dad writes her letters, there is a drought, she learns to ride a horse, and her mother is a slutty tramp.
For a while (two nights in a row) I tried reading the book word for word. Then, last night, I tried skipping whole pages. At some point I can tell that somebody dies. The only way I know that the girl is 17 is from a review I found online. The father-in-law may be the young husband’s grandfather. Not in a family scandal kind of way, it’s just that I think he’s the grandfather but she refers to him as a father and his wife refers to the young husband, Son, as her actual, “son.”
From the book description found on Amazon:
Katherine is 17, living alone in the beautiful, desolate landscape of southern Arizona. Her mother is feckless, her father busy with his new family. Meeting Son, the scion of a local rancher, seems like deliverance. They marry and live as a family in his parents’ venerable adobe house, but it soon becomes clear that Son is a man who, as his father says, has a “young heart near withered beneath the breastbone.”
Katherine must find her own way during a dangerous months-long drought, when everything seems to be disintegrating around her. Susan Froderberg’s incantatory language–and her deep knowledge of both the complexities of a small, deeply-rooted place and the human heart–make OLD BORDER ROAD soar.
The one thing that I can say good about this book, as it relates to this blog, is that the NLS has not, as yet, recorded the book. Thank you Thighmaster. Since this poop-sandwich came out in December 2010 and it isn’t on the NLS horizon yet, I think I’m safe from having to catalog it.
Here is a bit of the “prose” from the book. I, once again, pay thanks to Amazon:
No, not here. Not in this place. I would have to go to him. But what? Go back to his office? But not his office, not the church. And not his home, not with his wife. All right, a ride. I could suggest a ride. We’ll find a cool place near water, find a place to settle in the shade. As if such a place existed anywhere nearby. But if it did. There could be a somewhere I haven’t found here yet.
Most of the time, I have no idea who, or what this idiot is talking about. She just seems to wander around the page with her word processor program dropping words and punctuation. I “get” that this book is supposed to be artistic and some totally awesome post-modern comment on the human struggle. Fart on that. This book is straight up literary self-indulgence. And, come to think of it, regular indulgence because I really have to ask my standard question #2: who green-lighted this shit?
I’m actually thinking of filling out the paperwork at my public library to “challenge” this book and have it removed from the shelves on the grounds that it may actually set literacy back 100 years and is, therefore, a danger to us all. At the very least, they could move the book’s location to the EHB’s Memorial Shelf for Shitty Books (ribbon cutting ceremony TBA).
Susan Froderberg; go back to the Shire. You make me wish I’d never learned to read.
Has this ever happened to you, Gentle Reader? Somebody close to you tells you all about this FANTASTIC book that they’ve read this year and you just HAVE to read it now! And upon reading it, you are expected to tell them all about how it changed your life too and how you’re going to proselytize this “good book” all over hill and dale. Well, GR, this has just recently happened to me and the offending turd is none other than Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches.
Where do I begin? I’ll tell you where I’m not going to waste any time: the beginning. Nothing, and I mean nuh-thing, happens in this book of any consequence for the first 300 pages or so. From the NLS annotation (because Harkness and Amazon’s synopsis are ridiculously long):
After scholar and witch Diana Bishop requests an alchemical manuscript from the depths of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, she finds the magical power within the leather cover disturbing and hastily sends it back. But the book’s reemergence causes a chain reaction through the paranormal community. Descriptions of sex.
Diana Bishop is also descended from witches dating back to the Salem witch trials…because all witches in fiction are descended from Salem, MA. She is also considered a “reluctant” witch because she refuses to use her powers, which are, of course, super powerful and she has like the most powerful potential witch-powers in the history of the world. Aaaaaaaaaand, her boyfriend is a vampire. A broody, tortured, rich, handsome, 1,500 year old vampire. I’ll get back to
Edward Cullen Matthew du Clairmont in a minute.
I left the part about “descriptions of sex” in the NLS annotation because there significantly ARE NOT ANY. So, no real magic and no real sex. This book is a 592 page rip off of every magic/vampire/witch/romance/suspense/secret society novel ever written.
The vampire, Matthew Clairmont, is some kind of undead Forest Gump. He has met and/or worked along side EVERYONE of political, historical, or artistical(?) note of the past thousand years. Vampire Matthew fought in the crusades, the Revolutionary War, the Napoleonic Wars, and probably even the Korean War (it’s the forgotten one, you know).
And you laughed when I likened Matthew to Edward Cullen, but in the part of the book I’m suffering through right now, it has just been revealed that the witch and the vampire are destined to reproduce. Re-pro-duce. I could punch Stephenie Meyer for introducing that little nugget of literary license to the vampire/magic genre.
And I’m not even done reading the thing yet. I have been suffering through this book for 5 weeks now. It is 2 weeks overdue. I owe the Salem Public Library $3.45 to date. I have to finish this book because I have to go back and tell the recommender something about this lame book.
But wait, there’s more. There are about 100 pages left in this turd and it’s real obvious that nothing is about to be resolved. So, we’re looking at a series. There will be more. Dear Deborah Harkness: you either write a long-assed book that sucks or you write several medium- to short-assed books that suck collectively. You DO NOT write a series of books that are all as long as hell. Thank you, Me.
As usual, check this book out at your public library. Go today and get on the waiting list because it’s a best seller and you will need to wait for your copy. How and why? I don’t know.