I've wanted to brush up on my persuasive writings skills for a while as it's something I've been using quite a bit in recent monthsAnswer: Not really.
I've wanted to brush up on my persuasive writings skills for a while as it's something I've been using quite a bit in recent months and I always failed that part of my English language studies at school. I picked two books: this one (obtained from the library) and Persuasive Writing: How to Harness the Power of Words (which I bought). I'm glad I made this decision.
Can I Change Your Mind? isn't as useful as I was hoping, whereas quickly flicking through my other choice saw me finding some very clear and immediately handy tips. Of the four sections, the first is the worst. The layout and formatting didn't help which is notably better in Persuasive Writing. Camp rambles so I skimmed, proving him right that 'the reader never reads from start to finish', but helpfully, someone who'd read this book previously had underlined the key points in pencil. Defacing a book is wrong, but in this case, acceptable.
'Understanding the reader' is the best chapter of Section One, but although Camp says we shouldn't assume our reader is an idiot, only lacking knowledge, he appears to treat his readers as such because most of what he advises is exceedingly obvious.
The main points to take away are:
✺ Remember (what's appropriate to) the Reader and the (intended) Result ✺ Is this useful / relevant to the reader? ✺ Is it interesting? ✺ Is it enjoyable? ✺ Will it encourage a favourable Response? ✺ Is it Rewarding to the reader? Is it worth reading?
Section Two is comprised of a 61-page A-Z of tips which is the most useful part of the book e.g. adjectives, alliterations, (being) boring, etc.
Badly Behaving Author sensitivities
'For me, true creative writing - Writing as Art, if you like - comes from a completely different rules apply. Ad the most important of these, I believe, is that genuine artists should be driven by self-expression.
This doesn't mean, of course, that they don't care about how people respond to their work. But what it does mean is that they can never let this dictate to them. Artists must always give absolute priority to finding the best possible way of giving shape and substance to their own vision; regardless of whether that makes it more or less 'accessible' to the general public; easier or harder to understand. A real creative writer would never change a single comma just to please the reader.
As persuasive writers, on the other hand, we're perfectly happy to tweak our punctuation - and do much more besides - if it makes our reader more likely to respond in the way we want.' [Chapter 1, underlining mine]
What?! Why are authors of fiction exempt from being classified as persuasive writers? They have to convince readers to finish their story by making it interesting and enjoyable, and generally worth reading. If you want a favourable response from your potential readers, you have to cater to their tastes. If you don't, then you can't complain when few enjoy your work, as Badly Behaving authors often do, with little respect to their reputations.
Therefore, all BBAs should read Section Three, Chapter 5 for how to handle feedback:
✺ Don't panic ✺ Don't take it personally ✺ Don't get pissed off ✺ Be positive - because some feedback helps
Something that really good persuasive writers never stop doing. [Section Two]
Again, authors of fiction are persuasive writers. Also, this book could've been better edited based on the grammar and syntax. What a coincidence.
So while Camp is chatty, and therefore the opposite of concise, there are some helpful tips to be had, but I wouldn't buy this; borrow it, like I did.
Think of wit as verbal viagra: a little something that can spice up the relationship between reader and writer.
Metzengerstein is Poe’s first published short story, and it was not good. Seven pages of confusing, and almost nonsensical, Hatfields and McCoys tale of two feuding families.
Why give it two stars instead of one? Wikipedia. Yeah, I shouldn’t have to resort to another source in order to understand the story, but I identified the important pieces but didn’t know how to put them together. Once I did, it all made sense.
Vengeance was had on the young head of the Metzengerstein by a manifestation of the dead Berlifitzing patriarch in the form of a demonic horse, who had previously resided (and moved) inside a tapestry. That kind of reminded me of the film adaption of Roald Dahl's The Witches with girl living inside the painting.
Anyway, had this story been written more clearly, it would've been an awesome Halloween read. I loved the imagery of the horse's gothic triumph at the end.
Meh. The writing was pretty bad. It plainly said that it was unsure of its audience. One minute it read like it was for 9-year-olds and the next they'Meh. The writing was pretty bad. It plainly said that it was unsure of its audience. One minute it read like it was for 9-year-olds and the next they're talking about uncircumcised penises and people poking out the eyeballs of innocent children. (Those two things aren't related by the way. Just thought I'd let you know, in case you were wondering.)
I didn't care about Kaye's smoking, drinking, shoplifting and truancy etc. It didn't bother me because it was realistic, and I sympathised with the situation concerning her mother.
Kaye's sexuality seemed stifled even for a young adult book, which frustrated me because it was difficult to figure out whether she was actually attracted to Kenny or Roiben. Corny (what a nickname, but then who wants to be called Cornelius?) however - yay for a gay character who doesn't fit a particular stereotype. He's just an ordinary guy with insecurities.
But there was one thing that baffled me. One of Kaye's friends drowns but she doesn't think to give them mouth-to-mouth and try and revive them. Guess they weren't that good of a friend.
I liked the descriptions of the Unseelie Court and it's fey but most of the book was set in Ironside (our world). Kaye didn't slip down the rabbit hole until halfway, when I was about give up on this due to boredom.
Speaking of the rabbit hole, Tithe reminded me of Alice in Wonderland except Kaye/Alice is fey rather than human so she's an outsider in the human world despite growing up there and an outsider in the fey world because she doesn't understand all of the rules there.
The different elements of this book didn't really come together in a way that worked. It was unsatisfying. The highest praise I can give it: I love the beautifully striking cover accurately representing what's inside.
Out of the all the characters Roiben and Kaye's mother were the most fleshed out, the others were thin throwaways. The ideas in Tithe were interesting but the writing could've been better. I'm the first to admit that the fey aren't my favourite supernaturals but I didn't completely hate Black's incarnation of them. Despite my less than warm reception of the book, I do believe it would make a good movie (by Tim Burton?). I won't be reading the sequel....more
Did you know Barbie dolls were modelled after blonde German sex dolls called Bild Lilli? Disturbing to know I played with a sex doll as a child. o_O
CDid you know Barbie dolls were modelled after blonde German sex dolls called Bild Lilli? Disturbing to know I played with a sex doll as a child. o_O
Chapter One: Raunch Culture Published in 2006 one would assume Female Chauvinist Pigs would be fairly up-to-date, but it becomes obvious quite quickly that much has changed in the six years since this was written. Here, Levy focuses on the late nineties and early noughties, in the days of Sex and the City, Sexcetera, and Eurotrash, producing nauseating examples of raunch, harassment and coercion of women, exploiting them and their insecurities for entertainment and profit. Playboy's hypocrisy is maddening.
I could almost picture Levy's lips curling with distain and hear the disgust in her voice as she makes judgements about what women do with their own bodies. Framing her concerns in terms of self-respect and self-worth would encourage these strippers and porn stars she castigates, to listen to her arguments. Her angle seems to be to comment and complain rather than influence change to the status quo, therefore FCP appears at this stage only marketable to conservative types, or at least those that keep their private parts private.
Nevertheless, she does tell both sides of the story by using, as examples, the women who embrace, participate and perpetuate raunch culture, and Hugh Hefner and Playboy, letting their own words and actions speak for themselves. However, there is no mention of disadvantaged backgrounds or anything else that could lead them women to turn to raunch. [She rectifies this in Chapter 6.]
Chapter Two: The Future That Never Happened Less relevant to me as a non-American was the description of American feminist history, most of which was completely new and confusing to me, though, in the end, I grasped Levy's messages.
The ultimate (ideal) feminist goal:
“Women as a class have never subjugated another group; we have never marched off to wars of conquest in the name of the fatherland ... those are the games men play.We see it differently. We want to be neither oppressor nor the oppressed. The women’s revolution is the final revolution of them all. [...] The goals of liberation go beyond the simple concept of equality.”
Feminism diversified and splintered into the anti-porn feminists vs. sex-positive feminists, the former believing porn degrades women and feeds rape culture, while the latter thought porn empowering; evidence of sexual emancipation and freedom to pursue active sex lives, like that of men.
Raunch culture was pervasive, unrelenting. At its emergence, when it wasn't instantly rejected, it's subversive nature, working in the background until those you'd expect to denounce it embraced it instead, even feminists. That's when it became socially acceptable. The saying, 'give them an inch and they'll take a mile' comes to mind.
[Levy's thoroughly ruined "sexy" for me. She'd probably like that since we agree it's been co-opted as a slang term for "cool".]
Chapter Three: Female Chauvinist Pigs
'Why worry about disgusting or degrading when you could be giving - or getting - a lap dance yourself? Why try to beat them when you can join them?’
‘Them’ being men. Joining men meant taking part in male activities i.e. forgetting the feminist cause upheld by your forebears and participating in the un-sister-like behaviour of denigrating your fellow woman by acting like a man. In effect, they switch teams and start actively working against feminist goals and promote male ones. ‘FCPs don't bother to question the criteria on which women are judged, they are too busy judging other women themselves.’
In turning ‘traitor,’ FCPs can be interpreted as Uncle Toms. ‘An Uncle Tom is a person who deliberately upholds the stereotypes assigned to his or her marginalized group in the interest of getting ahead with the dominant group.’ Upholding sexist stereotypes and mimicking male behaviour by positioning themselves as the exception to the rule, setting themselves apart from other (inferior) women –‘the girly-girls’, ingratiates FCPs to men by showing them they share a similar mindset, thereby reinforcing anti-feminist views once the subject of them (women) accepts them.
So Levy theorises there are two types of FCP:
(1) ‘acting like a cartoon man-who drools over strippers, says things like "check out that ass," and brags about having the "biggest cock in the building"' (2) 'or acting like a cartoon woman, who has cartoon breasts, wears little cartoon outfits, and can only express her sexuality by spinning around a pole.’
Both involve pleasing and seeking the approval of others rather than being true to individual wants and needs.
Chapter Four: From Womyn to Bois Lesbianism and the transgendered are the examined in this chapter.
Butch (masculine lesbians) and femmes (feminine lesbians) I've heard of, bois is a new one on me. They seem to be characterised as behaving similar to teenage boys: unsophisticated, immature, letting their id control their actions.
[There is] 'another camp of bois who date femmes exclusively and follow a locker-room code of ethics referenced by the phrase "bros before hos" or "bros before bitches," which means they put the similarly masculine identified women they hang out with in a different, higher category than the feminine women they have sex with. This school of bois tends to adhere to almost comically unreconstructed fifties gender roles. They just reposition themselves as the ones who wear the pants-they take Feminist Chauvinist Piggery to a whole different level.'
I'm in complete agreement with Rosskum on finding 'the idea that there are two distinct genders and nothing in between constricting and close-minded.' Physically, genetically, hormonally and psychologically -One person can be a different gender in each of those categories (intersex). XX and XY are not the be all and end all to gender identification.
'Women are actually becoming men' and 'Elective cosmetic surgery - implants for straight women, mastectomies for FTMs (female-to-male transexuals) - is popular to the point of being faddish. Non-committal sex is widespread, and frequently prefigured by a public spectacle.'
Why so much body modification (or mutilation)? Genuine need for plastic surgery to aid reconstruction after injury or cancer, psychological requirement (e.g. gender dysphoria, severely impeding quality of life), or fear of dangerous situations (e.g. revirginization of girls worried about repercussions from religious community) -Those I understand, but to make possibly life-altering decisions when succumbing to peer pressure or to conform for acceptance is profoundly sad.
Almost exclusively focusing on specific subgroups of women in two metropolitan areas (San Francisco and New York City) of one country, such as the career woman, the stripper, masculine lesbians (butch and bois), FTMs, serves to highlight extremes among minorities some of which the global media may have made popular and as a result, socially acceptable, to the detriment of the feminist cause (i.e. equality with men) and the benefit of masculinism by reconfirming the superiority of men.
Unrepresentative of the larger population, these generalisations based on small groups aren’t necessarily indicative of a larger problem and treating them as such may hurt Levy’s message when some of us haven’t experienced or witnessed the examples given (but just because we've not encountered something doesn't mean it doesn't exist), and fail to see or understand the relationships between certain behaviours, causes and effects detailed.
Culturally speaking, on the whole, this is only directly applicable to metropolitan America, and to a lesser extent other developed countries, because feminism isn't always recognised or is oppressed in the developing world.
Chapter Five: Pigs in Training By far the best chapter, describing the feelings and actions of teenage girls, and the ineffectual sex education they receive.
A girl's self-worth is derived from the attention of boys, competition with other girls for a boy's attention results in dressing provocatively, flirting, the flashing of 'assets', performing oral sex on boys, intercourse and publicly documenting nudity or sexual acts and sharing them to increase one's popularity. Sadly, peer pressure seems to dictate when girls lose their virginity rather than thrill-seeking curiosity and the pursuit of pleasure.
At no point does it occur to these girls to request reciprocal oral sex, and have difficulty recognising, expressing and experiencing sexual desire, and sex education doesn't teach 'sexuality as a larger more complex, more fundamental part of being human.' Instead guilt-ridden Christian America has spent $1bn in ten years teaching abstinence while ignoring contraception or lying about its effectiveness. The message children receive is:
'Girls have to be hot. Girls who aren't hot probably need breast implants. Once a girl is hot, she should be as close to naked as possible all the time. Guys should like it. Don't have sex.'
Chapter Six: Shopping for Sex Levy's highly critical of Sex and the City, Carrie in particular, because she 'rarely evaluated her own happiness' and instead 'measur[ed] men's interest' which is a 'flawed guide to empowerment.' I loathed Carrie's unchecked materialist obsession with expensive shoes when she needed money to pay her rent. She regularly offended my practical sensibilities and her frequently 'complicated' love life because she made it so.
As a teenager I watched the show with fascination and surprise. It was a source of sex education, an insight into the fashionable American woman, and covered important subjects I'd never considered before, like abortion. Miranda and Charlotte were my favourite characters, though I respected Samantha's refusal to be embarrassed about anything sex-related, to her it was a fact of life, which it is.
I'd argue with Levy about Samantha's mannish approach to her sexual exploits as Levy emphasises FCP's requirement for quantity of sexual partners over quality, knowingly robbing themselves of satisfying sex, whereas Samantha made a concerted effort to get as much enjoyment and pleasure out of every conquest she could, exploring the different facets of sexuality along the way, without fear or judgement. She doesn't comfortably fit the mould Levy's created, though she does match a few of the criteria.
An underlying inferred theory for the reason women act like men by seeking unemotional, non-committal sex, is the possible prior rejection and hurt experienced after what turns out to be a one-night stand, encouraging women to take out emotion from the equation when they recover and decide to move on to the next man, and use sex as proof of future desirability to soothe the insecurities that arose from that injury to her pride.
Pornography is documented prostitution, and Levy argues stripping falls under this category as well, for the commodification of a naked body. She goes on to use successful porn star Jenna Jameson as an example of the damaging nature of porn:
'Jameson thinks that women outside the sex industry have internalized its spirit and model their sexuality on porn. [She] presents life in the industry as marked by violence and violation: She tells us she was beaten unconscious with a rock, gang-raped, and left for dead on a dirt road during her sophomore year of high school; she was life-threateningly addicted to drugs before she was twenty; she was beaten by her boyfriend and sexually assaulted by his friend. She also writes, "To this day, I still can't watch my own sex scenes."
Not once does she use the word 'pleasure' to describe her sexuality. 'Like most employees of the sex industry, [she] is not sexually uninhibited, she is sexually damaged.' Being a sex worker further damages these vulnerable people, and Levy suggests these inappropriate erotic role models are suffering PTSD from past sexual abuse, 'It's like using a bunch of shark attack victims as our lifeguards.'
Conclusion We've adopted and conformed to the sex industry's representation of sexuality, which dictates what's desirable and worthy of fantasy. 'We have to ask ourselves why we are so focused on silent girly-girls in G-strings faking lust,' must we also fake it to the detriment of our own personal tastes and sexual satisfaction?
'Why have we fallen sway to a kind of masculine mystique, determined that to be adventurous is to be like a man, and decided that the best thing we can possibly expect for women is hotness?’ The 'prevalence of raunch in the mainstream has diluted the effect of both sex radicals and feminists, who've seen their movement's images popularized while their ideals are forgotten.
‘Sexual power is only one very specific kind of power,' we should be looking at other types of power, breaking through the glass ceiling and pursuing higher female representation in politics and the boardrooms of big business for which previous generations’ feminists originally strived.
Men are all evil, sexist pigs! Well, no. They're not. As Levy shows men so unfavourably throughout, I do wish she'd included a caveat in her introduction stating that not all men act in negative, stereotypical ways. Kind and respectful men do exist, though you wouldn't think so from reading this book.
Occasionally, I was uncomfortable with taking Levy's chosen quotes from other people, whether from printed sources or her own personal interviews, as a truthful representation of that person's opinion. It would be so easy for Levy's bias to influence the way she edits and presents others' words. Although this was based on my own inexperience and naivety with regards to certain viewpoints, e.g. having had little knowledge of the ins and outs of lesbian and transgendered culture and communities, etc.
Warning: Don't read this book if you're easily offended, or partial to feeling shame or guilt for falling into one of the groups Levy criticises, it will only make you feel worse. Both Christianity and politics are also discussed and criticised....more
If you've never read or seen a comedy of errors or farcical play like those of William Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde, then you might find this more entIf you've never read or seen a comedy of errors or farcical play like those of William Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde, then you might find this more entertaining than I did. Having studied Wilde's slightly more modern The Importance of Being Earnest in great detail as a teenager and later watching An Ideal Husband, you come to realise this genre is little more than a one-trick pony; if you've seen one, you've seen them all. Besides minimal alterations in events, only the cast and the production values change from play to play, from performance to performance. Originality is harder to come by in these older and somewhat old fashioned, and perhaps less sophisticated, plays. Wilde managed to stand out from the crowd with his tricky witticisms and absurdities. She Stoops to Conquers possesses nothing so unique, as far as I can tell.
The repetitive nature of this sort of play's light humour devices such as the use of puns, wordplay, slapstick and the heavily relied upon mistaken identity trope (which is used here), concluding with the inevitable romantic happy ever after enacted by genteel, upper class main characters making satirical references to gender and class politics before falling in love at the drop of a hat (sometimes literally), tend to leave me a little bored of the predictability while only evoking a chuckle or two at most.
Also repetitive was the use of the word 'impudent'. Unfortunately this was written pre-thesaurus so I'll have to forgive Goldsmith's overuse since he didn't have easy access to synonyms like we do today.
Honestly, the skillful audio portrayal of She Stoops to Conquer by the distinct voices of a full cast, especially SpikeJames Marsters, is solely responsible for capturing and maintaining my attention throughout. I imagined Mr. Marsters in his Buffy persona's pre-vampire days as a less feeble version of the English gentleman William Pratt. You'd never know he's 100% American from his superb upper crust and unrefined British accents. Twice my age and yet I still perk up at the sound of his voice. *smiles*
This second book is better than the first but I still had problems with it. I got a bit fed up of a certain character being put in jeopardy at least tThis second book is better than the first but I still had problems with it. I got a bit fed up of a certain character being put in jeopardy at least three times and was saved (or resurrected) each time so I never really felt that any of them were in any real danger of dying. I liked Alec and Magnus more and I'm feeling more sympathy for Clary and Jace. I had to take a peek at some spoilers to get me interested in the third book and as it is the last I will finish the series but again I will need a break after reading this - it must be a blockbuster for so many to give it 5 stars....more
I thoroughly enjoyed this and went into it expecting the usual not-enough-depth that comes with reading most young-adult books. This was not the caseI thoroughly enjoyed this and went into it expecting the usual not-enough-depth that comes with reading most young-adult books. This was not the case here, not in my opinion. It was super-concise sure, which meant every word was vital to understanding what was happening - so no skimming.
Some may have found this style of writing abrupt but I didn't. There were no digressions and no unnecessary descriptions - so refreshing. Issues were raised which I'm familiar with and believe they were explained perfectly. The story was original, at least from my point of view, and didn't feel contrived or formulaic.
The only thing I can think of that is negative is the fact that I wanted a little more emotion from Janie when she is with Cabel and things are good between them, I had to use my imagination - or perhaps that was the point.
I can't wait to read the sequel. I won't be surprised if I'm reading it tomorrow. Well worth staying up to finish. I can't believe I waited so long to read it. It had me in its clutches from beginning to end....more
I read this in anticipation of the TV show and was surprised by how very Twilght-y it was. I gather that this was first published in 1991 so Smith wasI read this in anticipation of the TV show and was surprised by how very Twilght-y it was. I gather that this was first published in 1991 so Smith was there first. There were a couple of lines in this that I swear I read in Twilight but I digress.
Elena, who could double as Cordelia from Buffy, was a self absorbed evil teen queen then Stefan comes into her life and he becomes her obssession because no one turns down the high school princess. Perhaps she suffers from small-town syndrome where she wants to experience something different, exciting and exotic but rather than a boy I would recommend more holidays to France and other places rather than chasing down strangers. Anyway she chases him down and finally gets him. Nothing else matters to her once she has him, she doesn't care about anything but him even when she sees the monstrous vampire side of him, she accepts it. Even when he's suspected of murder and being associated with him threatens to ruin her reputation she's adamant and sticks by her man, that's growth I suppose.
This is a super light fast read not to be taken too seriously....more
The Highlander's Touch resonated with me. No wait, let's be more specific. Lisa resonated with me. Her experience as a carer is so accurately portrayeThe Highlander's Touch resonated with me. No wait, let's be more specific. Lisa resonated with me. Her experience as a carer is so accurately portrayed I have to wonder if Moning has ever been one. Many times I read something and said, "Yes. This is what it's like. Exactly." So thank you for that. What an unexpected to surprise. This is the reason for the 'favourites' shelf.
I appreciated Cicernn's knight-in-shining-armour routine, his understanding Lisa's refusal to enjoy herself while her mother lay dying and alone, and feeling she didn't deserve to be happy having had no reason to feel much positive emotion in years. Everything else...was okay, worthy of a 3-3.5★ rating, but a solid 4★ for what this meant to me personally. Moning's author note is a stark warning for all women to ensure they attend regular cervical smear tests....more
Bestiality. Kidnapping. Mugging. Ye olde carjacking. Burglary. Assault. Murder. Female paedophiles. Incest. Male rape. Adultery. Animal cruelty. SeriaBestiality. Kidnapping. Mugging. Ye olde carjacking. Burglary. Assault. Murder. Female paedophiles. Incest. Male rape. Adultery. Animal cruelty. Serial killers in the making. Poisonings. Homosexual priest gangbangs. Shapeshifting. Gods and goddesses. The Seven Deadly Sins. Evil mother-in-laws. Drama. Comedy. Tragedy. Adventure. Romance. Horror. Urban legends. Stories within stories. Inspiration for that Hannibal episode where a person was sewn into a dead horse's belly.
What doesn't The Golden Ass have?
At this point I should probably be comparing The Golden Ass to the brutality shown in Game of Thrones, only this is much less about political maneuvering and Machiavellian plotting, but still, they're both not for the faint of heart. The Golden Ass is one of the first, or the first, human-to-animal transformation stories that run in the same vein as Disney's Brother Bear and The Emperor's New Groove.
With all of the beatings Lucius received as a helpless slave in donkey form, carrying loads too heavy for his four-legged form, having his fur set on fire, never allowed rest when he most needs it and forced to continue on or have his feet tied together to be hurled off a cliff - because that's what they did to lame animals - I feel like I need to donate to The Donkey Sanctuary.
For a 1,900 year old novel, you realise that nothing's really changed in that time, socially speaking.
Sex scenes are surprisingly good. There's no hesitation. No repressed sexuality. No self-esteem issues. And all manner of positions are attempted.
'The only redeeming feature of this catastrophic transformation was that my natural endowment had grown too.'
Typical man. Turned into a donkey and he's impressed with the increase in the size of his manhood.
Yelling 'FIRE!' when being burgled and in need of help:
'Then, leaving him there fatally crucified, he climbed to the roof of his hovel and shouted at the top of his voice to summon the neighbours; calling each one by name he gave out that his house had suddenly caught fire, reminding them that this involved the safety of them all. So everybody, frightened by the danger next door, came running in alarm to help.'
Well, it's been proven. Video games don't make kids violent, a lack of video games does. Imagination is a dangerous thing. So many inventive ways to torture and kill, to humiliate and degrade. The devil makes work for idle hands, as they say. So parents, quickly stuff a Playstation controller into your little one's hands before they turn their minds to dastardly deeds.
Certain aspects of The Golden Ass really do get you thinking about contentious issues.
How do you define bestiality? Lucius is a man turned into a donkey. When it's proposed that he'll be allowed his choice of horses with which to procreate - is that bestiality? Is Lucius's fornication as an ass with a human woman bestiality? Does the fact that he has a human mind inside an animal body change the status of the sexual relationship?
Surprisingly, Apuleius doesn't deliver the stereotype paedophile. A lusty married woman sets her sights on her stepson. Oddly this is labelled incest though there appears to be no blood connection. And it's the same with rape. A cuckolded husband rapes his adulterous wife's toyboy lover as punishment. Perhaps male paedophiles and rapists were stereotypes even 2,000 years ago.
The feminist in me feels compelled to point out the unbalanced female representation. Many women were demonised as witches who pee on men's faces, who steal body parts from the dead, who are complicit in evil deeds, who are nymphomaniacs, adulterers, paedophiles, vain and jealous grudge-holding goddesses. Psyche (myth), Photis (Lucius's servant lover) and Byrrhena (Lucius's aunt) are the only exceptions.
The Abduction of Psyche by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
During Lucius's journey, the stories he hears are mostly told at the dinner table, around the fire, as a distraction on a long journey, or as a comfort to distraught kidnap victims. Understandably storytelling was their main form of entertainment. Well, that and gossip, which was free or you provided a meal for the teller. I really enjoyed the mythical telling of Psyche and Cupid.
Each of the 11 'books' are self-contained chapters of about 20 pages with a spoiler-y summary of what's to come at the beginning, so it was easy to dip in and out. I wasn't particularly happy with the ending, in fact I skimmed and skipped around at that point. I can understand Lucius's gratefulness at the chance to become human again, and I'm aware of that ancient tradition of 'a life saved, is a life owed' [see Azeem of 1991's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves], but I have an issue with blind faith. Lucius walks away from his previous life to devote himself and his future to worshipping his rescuer. That's just weird, from my 21st century non-religious perspective.
The translation very much played a part in my enjoyment of this ancient novel. I carefully researched which was right for me. I chose the Kenney edition as it seemed the least stilted of those available, and I'm glad I made that choice.
I never thought I'd enjoy a 2,000 year old novel, but I did. And you might, too.
Read this as a teenager. I remember being shocked that the main character managed to lead two lives. I hated that he cheated on his wife and his generRead this as a teenager. I remember being shocked that the main character managed to lead two lives. I hated that he cheated on his wife and his general attitude but there were some funny lines....more
Okay, so I’ve read 7 books by Keri Arthur and I can’t take it any more. This is one of her more recent books so I mistakenly thought the problems I exOkay, so I’ve read 7 books by Keri Arthur and I can’t take it any more. This is one of her more recent books so I mistakenly thought the problems I experienced with the Damask Circle trilogy, published 10 years ago, wouldn’t be repeated here.
Destiny Kills had a premise with great promise and the power to be unforgettable but it was ruined by a number of re-occuring factors concerning Arthur’s books and writing style.
First off, sex. Nothing can get in the way of sex and the I-love-yous. Not even romance. There's a lot of love-at-first-sight fated-to-be-mated because her, sometimes wooden characters, are incapable of falling in love gradually. Now, if Arthur was a writer of erotica this probably wouldn’t be a problem. But paranormal romance tends to require some sort of storyline, a reason for the hero and heroine to meet each other and for a little time to pass together before they start bumping uglies. I prefer there to be a balance between plot and sex. And plot almost always comes last with this author.
The beginnings of Arthur’s books are mostly very weak and Destiny Kills was no exception. Our heroine is on an unknown beach with a dead body with no memory of how he died, her name or what she’s doing there. Only she knows his name and his relationship to her. She knows they’re both non-human and how to traditionally dispose of his body with the proper ceremony. I’m no expert on amnesia but I have witnessed it first hand, and I find it unlikely that she would remember all of that so quickly.
I wondered why exactly the author decided to start the book at that exact point:
Destiny’s a child when her mother is kidnapped. Destiny and her dad run away to the US.
Aged 18, attempting a rescue, Destiny is kidnapped.
10 years of confinement: includes experimentation (read: torture), forced coupling with Egan (i.e. rape), protecting the dragon children who’re also confined.
Escapes aged 28, with Egan, leaving the children behind after her mother feels Destiny’s father dying.
On the run, caught and Egan’s killed.
[The book starts.]
Beginning the book a little earlier while Destiny is still imprisoned would’ve provided better background and a sense of urgency for her escape. Obviously Arthur wasn’t scared of harsh reality and if we’d witnessed Destiny’s living conditions and how she was treated before escape I could’ve felt sympathy, encouraging me to be invested in her mission. We also could’ve met Egan who was apparently a big part of her life, before he died. The flashbacks weren’t enough. They’re too brief, often confusing with little context to fully understand what happened and the effect on Destiny’s behaviour.
Which leads me to another thing, Destiny, although not unaffected by her experience as a lab rat, she’s remarkably and suspiciously functional. I’d expect panic attacks, crying, not wanting to be touched, crippling anger –some sort of post-traumatic stress. She experiences one moment of it: when she’d had to shoot someone in the head during her escape. That’s it. She seems more concerned about dishonouring Egan by moving on too quickly with his half-brother, Trae.
Where are all the people? We live on a planet of 7 billion people and yet most of Arthur’s books (excluding Riley Jensen) contain two characters, and if you’re lucky 3 others with a sentence of dialogue each. There are no side characters, no sidekicks. There’s only one POV: Destiny’s. The scope is too narrow. They’re not the only two people in the world. Neither have friends or family. They receive no calls to check-in after going AWOL. Destiny has an excuse but then the kids, I would think, would be her family but we don’t hear much from them. Trae is an outcast who hates his father but what about friends, his mother? Not everyone is a lone wolf. Contact with other characters can be a means of showing what our heroes and heroines are really like, can provide a little light entertainment to an otherwise challenging or bleak situation, or a reason to hate the villains. Evil scientists were the villains but we didn’t get to see them being evil. We were told.
The epilogue is a rushed summary of events. Events therein could’ve been expanded so we might properly understand the effects of being confined on Destiny and the children during the search for their parents. We could’ve met Trae’s mother and seen her reaction to Destiny, figured out what kind of relationship she had with her son and how she felt about Trae’s father. Emotional relationships are very important and yet they are ignored.
I was incredibly frustrated by the lack of depth to the plot and to the characters. So much more could’ve been done to make this book special. Disappointing.
My history with Keri Arthur: 2 Damask Circle trilogy books(pub. 2001-2) [PNR]* 2 Ripple Creek Werewolf duology books (pub. 2003-4) [PNR]** 2 Riley Jensen books (pub. 2006-7) [UF] 1 Myth & Magic book (pub. 2008) [PNR]
*I own the last in the trilogy, which I may or may not read. **The best of the bunch. ...more