Jet's Reviews > Havemercy

Havemercy by Jaida Jones
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Apr 12, 10

it was ok
bookshelves: female-author, fantasy, 2010, glbti
Read from April 07 to 11, 2010

** spoiler alert ** I was so disappointed with this book. I wanted to love it. I've very much enjoyed the authors' previous work, and the concept of Havemercy was so interesting.

But not one female character. Not one. There's a woman who is either raped or wasn't, and is slut shamed and harassed either way - all offstage; it's just a plot point. There's a shrew mother-in-law who faints a lot. There's a little girl for a couple of paragraphs, who cries a lot. There's someone's ex girlfriend, who shows a little promise by having a name, being on the page, and speaking a few lines, but she dies in the next scene. There's the Mysterious Mindreader, who Mysteriously speaks a few lines in one scene and is never heard from again, either. There's the misnamed woman at a palace party who is there to be the 'sluts totally ask to get raped by the rapist character' stand-in, and that scene is all about the two men in it anyway. That's all.

Oh, and the three kindly prostitutes who raised one of the main characters. They don't have names, either.

The metal dragons are called 'girls'. But beast-machines, while cool, do not count as representations of women, and besides which none of them speak more than a few lines either. And then they all sacrifice themselves for their country.

All other references to women are derogatory. Sluts, whores, and shews, and when a male character wants to insult another it's by comparing him to a woman.

This from two women writers who I've liked in the past was incredibly disappointing. One of the protagonists that we're supposed to like is almost definitely a rapist, and is without question an out and out misogynist. That could have been forgivable if there was a foil to him. There wasn't. By having no female characters, and only the one ineffectual other character who's supposed to teach him to 'respect women' - why would he do that, in this imagined world where apparently there aren't any? - his attitudes stand unchallenged.

I really couldn't get past this. I would have liked to see more of the dragons, as well. And rather less of what looked like racial stereotyping of the enemy state.

Two stars because the characters were interesting, when they weren't awful.
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04/11/2010 page 326
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