This book review has received a strong 'R' rating for disturbing sexual content. If you are eating, you might not wanna read this review right now.
DOThis book review has received a strong 'R' rating for disturbing sexual content. If you are eating, you might not wanna read this review right now.
DON'T go into this book thinking it'll get you in the mood. In fact, it may disturb the mood right out of you.
Did you know? Before Viagra, guys who couldn't maintain a good stiffy would often have "stilts" of some sort inserted inside of their penis skin, and they would essentially wander through life with a half-boner that never went away so they could still bonk. Special pants were designed to make this perpetual-half-mast issue less obvious.
Also, apparently a lot of guys are turned on by putting stuff inside the skin of their penises. To me, this sounds like exactly the LAST thing I would EVER want to do. For those of you without a penis, let me remind you, tis quite sensitive. Picture putting a bicycle in your mouth. I expect that would be about as painful as putting a gerbil up your. . . I did mention gerbils are popular for this, right?
ALSO, congratulations to homosexuals. In several studies, it has been suggested that homosexuals tend to be much less inhibited during sex. They tend to take their time about it much more, to spend more time with foreplay, and to communicate more actively with their mates during bonk. Apparently, heteros have a tendency to just git 'er done, then go back to watching TV.
Because humans tend to be prudish, for many a year, all studies of sexuality were done by watching other animals doing the bonk. Unfortunately, this is a very ineffective way of studying HUMAN sexuality, since pigs and monkeys tend to orgasm in a matter of seconds and not derive a lot of enjoyment out of it.
Also, do you know about electrical dick machines? Well, now you do! You can buy a kit to build your own machine that serves the purpose of making a plastic cock gyrate. Check out the latest issue of Boy's Life, they always encourage the buying and building of random shit--I can't tell you how many times I tried to convince my parents to let me buy a kit to build a hovercraft, but they always asked, "What are you going to do with a hovercraft?" And I would inevitably respond with, "I don't KNOW, but hovercrafts are awesome!"
Similarly, electric dick machines are awesome.
AND, perhaps this is the most important and encouraging fact of all. SHORTER WOMEN (in general) ORGASM BETTER AND MORE OFTEN. There is science to back this up, and I don't remember the details, but I do remember the rule of thumb: the distance between belly button and vagina is a good indication of the clitoris's location. The shorter this distance, the more conveniently placed the clitoris, and the more action it will receive during bonk.
This was quite entertaining, and I learned a lot--some of which I didn't want to know. That said, I didn't find this one as entertaining as Stiff. Bonk is similar in a lot of ways, taking the same humorous approach to the topic, and focusing on the bizarre and fascinating. If you feel like reading something that's light, fun, and able to make your genitals suck up into your body with fear, give this book a go. ...more
Ah, sexism, we meet again. And in such an unexpected location: a pulp fantasy novel!
I don't know what Leiber looked like, but I'm picturing that sicklAh, sexism, we meet again. And in such an unexpected location: a pulp fantasy novel!
I don't know what Leiber looked like, but I'm picturing that sickly-skinny kid from The New Guy. This book is every bit as embarrassing to read as Piers Anthony, although it has a slightly lower number of naked women per page. What it has to make up for this is SCREAMINGLY stereotypical and degrading female characters. Women fit conveniently into one of two boxes:
(1) Old, jealous hags, (2) Young hotties who put out.
Not only is this division of female roles strictly enforced throughout, the women all inevitably serve as foils for the male characters. In case any of you are foolish enough to read this waste of paper and time, I won't spoil exactly how this manifests itself, but it's clear that every female involved in the plot is being used as a vehicle for setting up the male characters.
In the one and only scene where two women were having a conversation without a man present, the conversation was summed up in this sort of fashion:
The two women sat on the couch, giggling and talking of girlish things.
It was one line, while the men were talking on the other side of the room about something much more important which had several pages dedicated to its explication. The wives of our two protagonists are ENTIRELY dependent upon their men, and horribly impractical and flighty. This, in spite of the fact that one of the women has seen much of the world on her own, and should understand the city they are in better than her husband: upon marriage, she apparently decided to let her man deal with all the thinking.
Uhh, so, about other aspects of this book. . . . Skip the first two stories if you choose to bother with this. They're crap, clearly written to extend the Farvhrd and the Grey Mouser series, yet creating absolutely no tension, nor developing characters. There's not even anything notably interesting about the fantasy world being presented in these two stories. The final of the three stories, "Ill-Met in Lankmar," is definitely the high point. . . although the "high-point" is relative in this case, like pointing out the "high point" in Kansas. It is significantly more entertaining, although it is as believable and realistic as Duck Tales, and caters to about the same level of intellect.
Overall, my opinion of Lieber--based only on this book, mind you--is similar to my opinion of Robert Howard, the other author credited with starting the Swords & Sorcery genre. They both sucked.
They stumbled across a genre that a lot of people have enjoyed, though, and that can't be taken away from them. Even if it is a stupid genre. I prefer the nuance, depth and world-building that's often found in the fantasy authors who came much later, like Peake, Tolkien, Martin, and to a lesser extent, Bakker and Abercrombie. But, this is just a matter of preference, which isn't based on anything scientific.
Similarly, you can't scientifically prove Bob Marley makes better music than Kriss Kross. . . but I can maintain a bullheaded opinion about it. I know who makes me wanna jump....more
Those of you who are Old School know about the original Legend of Zelda. The first game in the Zelda franchise was epic. It was badass. In my personalThose of you who are Old School know about the original Legend of Zelda. The first game in the Zelda franchise was epic. It was badass. In my personal opinion, few games have been as awesome since.
This book is a lot like the original Legend of Zelda. Unfortunately, it is like all the crappy and stupid aspects of that game, and none of the cool ones. Witness as I extrapolate.
The main character in this book lacks personality. All of the things that sound kind of cool about her--like she knows about alchemy--in the end amount to practically footnotes as she wanders her way through a storyline, always doing the most obvious thing at the moment. At first, she takes the tools thrust upon her by her father and lets him mold her personality entirely. Like the little old man in the cave who gives Link his first sword, thereby bringing slaughter upon the legions of weird animals wandering Hyrule, Protagonist's father gives her the tools of alchemy and the knowledge of a very limited set of topics (sciences and alchemy are about it). She takes these tools and does the obvious thing with them, seemingly content being her dad's clone.....
....until a MAN walks in. And then, it doesn't matter who he is, she is all hot and bothered and blushing and virginal, unable to focus on her alchemy or science. But, she remains true to her father, not going after any of these guys until one of them rapes her.
After he rapes her, she marries him....you know, because that makes sense.
But, because Link is only capable of following instructions and killing like some little puppet serving the war pigs--let me try that again. Because Protagonist is only capable of doing what she's told, she marries the young and handsome rapist--even though she witnesses signs that he's only out for her money before they even get married.
This is the pattern that she follows through the rest of the book, following the clearest instruction provided for her, slowly gaining cooler clothes and items. But, unlike Link, these items don't give her greater hit points or make it so she can do cooler things. She just continues being a uni-dimensional tool, ignoring the ways those around her are using her or manipulating her.
The plot also shares some common elements with Zelda because everything is foreshadowed way ahead of time. Every plot point is predictable, almost from the point the involved characters enter the storyline. Let me just throw some archetypes at you. Feel free to guess at the ENTIRE PLOTLINE in the comments, and you'll probably be right:
Overly Protective Father Flat Protagonist Kind, Sweet, Widowed Reverend Handsome, Money-Hungry Rapist Husband Sneaky, Distrustful Maid Mother who is Entirely Unknown by Protagonist, and is Never Talked About By Anyone.
The climax wasn't ENTIRELY clear until about two thirds of the way through the book, so that's a mildly good thing. But by the time you get there, end is entirely abrupt and exactly what you'd expect.
And, after reading the other Goodreads reviews of this, I was expecting some serious alchemy porn! I was excited about pages talking about strange experiments, and perhaps digging up bodies or...well, SOMETHING cool. Alchemy was the big draw for me here, but there actually wasn't enough focus on that for me. Mary Shelly can write some passages about science that add texture. This book didn't have texture, and the texture it didn't have wasn't improved by the small amount of alchemy included.
Unlike some of my reviews, I'm not being harsh just because I'm grumpy. I'm actually in a pretty friggin' good mood: It has been a long time since I've read anything by Ann Coulter. I just got a job I'm totally excited about, and I'm buying a beautiful house in a little over a month! So, coming from that frame of mind, let me reiterate: this book sucks. Skip it.
But you should totally play The Legend of Zelda. Link is a flat character, but he's a flat character who'll put his foot up a moblin's ass.
Sometimes as I finish a book I didn't enjoy, I relish the thought of writing the review that will tear the author a new asshole. I had a distinctly diSometimes as I finish a book I didn't enjoy, I relish the thought of writing the review that will tear the author a new asshole. I had a distinctly different reaction as I reached the end of Wolves Dressed as Men, because I didn't enjoy it, AND it was written by a friend.
I was confused. Last year, I read Steve's debut, Muscle Memory, and it narrowly missed being in my 2010 top ten. Literally just missed it; it was number eleven. MM was clever, surprising, constantly funny and poignant, and it ended perfectly.
Then, a few months later, I read this, and it was...well, an unpleasant experience. Werewolves? I fucking hate werewolves! And I'm beyond tired of the whole supernatural romance thing....publishing companies have been vomiting out so many empty calories' worth of supernatural romance that it's quite possibly a fatal disorder, and when it finally suffers a heart attack and dies on its own bathroom floor as a DIRECT RESULT of its own self-destructive tendencies, I'll be first in line to laugh and point. Err, but, back to the book: after loving his first book, this one just didn't leave much of an impression at all.
Despite what some people would tell you, though, I'm not a total jerk: I talked to Steve before deciding to write a review because I wanted to see what was up with this. It turns out this was his FIRST book--written first--even though MM was the first book published. So this novella is fair game to be picked on, because you're SUPPOSED to pick on people's first novels. First novels are usually a teeth-sharpening process, and almost always end up being generic supernatural romance novels. Hemmingway's first book? Supernatural romance. Faulkner? Southern supernatural romance. Even the greatest novelist of our time, Guy N Smith, started his illustrious career with a supernatural horror novel that was basically a proxy of Twilight, only more hot chicks and mutant crabs were involved.
So, when I write my debut, you ALL have permission to pick on it. Unless I never manage to get anything published, in which case I'd appreciate it if you just softly tell me I'm truly an awesome writer and it's what's on the inside that counts, or some crap like that to make me feel like less of a failure.
Back to the book. I've had a lot of caffeine, btw.
I shall recount for you the reasons this book didn't work for me.
1. The lack of humor. This book took itself surprisingly seriously considering it was a supernatural romance. And, the characters were archetypal in...well, in much the same way the characters in my first novel were archetypal. I had the good fortune of being turned down by all the publishers, though, so I don't get to be publicly humiliated.
2. THE BACK COVER IS PINK. Pink. I'm not a homophobe or anything, but I don't want to carry a goddamned pink book around Phoenix.
3. As seems to happen increasingly, I knew what was going to happen before it happened with all of the plot points. I'm not sure if this was the result of foreshadowing or the use of these archetypal characters, but either way, I prefer my reading experiences to be surprising. And to not be populated with werewolves. Or detectives. I kind of hate detective fiction.
Those are my bones of contention, and I don't really want to click the "Save" button now, because this is the second time in a row I've read a book by a friend and then written a negative review of it. But, dammit, if I don't give them honest ratings, I might as well not even be here reviewing them. I DO NOT LIE unless money is involved.
But I can assure you I'll be buying the next thing Steve publishes--I can't wait to see what comes after Muscle Memory.
By the way, the official day for burning Muscle Memory is July first, so I suggest buying several copies before then so you don't get left out on all the fun! ...more