Vaginal Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Mar 2016: Pillars of the World > Pillars of the World Discussion Thread (Tag Spoilers)

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message 1: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 221 comments I've still got about 100 pages left, but I just wanted to say that I was impressed with how fast this book pulled me into it. Right from the beginning I was totally sucked into the story and it hasn't changed since.

Also I am so happy Kiala picked this book because this whole trilogy has been sitting on my to-read shelf for years.


message 2: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (mightypetra) | 2 comments I did not expect much from the book myself, but in the end I really liked it and will probably read the rest of the series soon!
This is the first book I picked up just because it was a book of the month here :)


message 3: by Heather (new)

Heather | 175 comments Incoming Rant:

Having read part of 3 different Anne Bishop series, I've come to the conclusion that they're all the same.

There's just some slight variations- the setting, what makes our leading lady ever-so-special, what makes her oppressed by the people most like her (in this one, other humans), and what makes some other group utterly drawn to her (fae and animals). They're all like this.

Black Jewel Series- the most powerful and "worthy" queen even though she's a child, oppressors are the other "unworthy" female magic wielders and other who would exploit her power, men (especially male magic wielders) adore/lust after/want to serve her.
The Others- she's a blood prophet who can see the future when cut, people who have enslaved these blood prophets for profit under the disguise of caring for their unique medical needs oppress her, and the Others- shapeshifting primordial animal people who otherwise hate humans regard her as special/interesting/worthy adore and want to protect her.

In the Black Jewels and The Others series, they're also weirdly half set in our world but things are just slightly different (the comically stupid names in the Black Jewels series- Saetan and Daemon- that are similar to but not the same as our typical connotation of them).

The Others has the same basic geography of our earth but continents have names like Afrikah, Australis, and the Thasia (N. America). The half-way between creating a world drives me up a wall.

The Black Jewels trilogy weirded me out and I couldn't stand it. I enjoyed The Others series because it was the only permutation of the exact same formula that worked for me. Even though I gave them 5-stars, I don't necessarily think the series is good and I wouldn't recommend them to anyone who doesn't absolutely enjoy Anne Bishop's writing. Having read this now, I'm reconsidering how I felt about The Others series.

tl;dr- Anne Bishop just keeps writing the same story over-and-over and it's getting tedious.


message 4: by Frakki (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments "Those damn witches with their rock and roll music promoting premarital sex" ~ The Bard


message 5: by Harryo (new)

Harryo | 17 comments Heather, love that you prologued your post with "incoming rant". I feel similarly about Anne Bishop's stories, as in: "such a great writer, but not this stuff again!"

And the ending. Ch-yeah, right.


message 6: by KaLee (new)

KaLee Douglas | 50 comments I haven't even gotten a good chunk in yet. I am trying so hard. I even bought the audio book to try and force myself to get into the groove. But... idk it isn't sticking. It is good right? How long should I hang on. Also women hating man ick.


message 7: by Harryo (new)

Harryo | 17 comments KaLee, about 40% of the way through the book the author stops describing all of Adolpho's sick s**t. Maybe one of her beta readers took her aside and said, "Babe..." Finish it for no other reason that it's a beautifully wrought world with a complex series of motifs that come together perfectly by the end.

Also, there's Morag, who for my money is the best character in the book.


message 8: by Frakki (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments I just finished the free preview and I'm deciding if I should buy. Can anyone answers in a non-spoiler way;

Are the Wiccanfae evil cartoons characters linked to the devil, as described by Aiden, "The Bard," in chapter one? He seemed like a puritanical areshole to me. I would hate for him to be the good guy.

The preview cut out with the Wiccan buried alive. It seemed like it was going to depict them positively.


message 9: by Heather (new)

Heather | 175 comments Frakki wrote: "I just finished the free preview and I'm deciding if I should buy. Can anyone answers in a non-spoiler way;

Are the Wiccanfae evil cartoons characters linked to the devil, as described by Aiden, "..."


About that 1st paragraph: takes a while for the fae to understand what that means. You find out more about the message being spread and why it's spread and who it involves. Not what it seems from your description.


message 10: by Heather (new)

Heather | 175 comments Harryo wrote: "KaLee, about 40% of the way through the book the author stops describing all of Adolpho's sick s**t. Maybe one of her beta readers took her aside and said, "Babe..." Finish it for no other reason t..."

Really only finished the book to see what became of Morag.


message 11: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Summers (summersevereads) | 17 comments What is it with everyone talking aloud to themselves all the time? I mean I do it occasionally but not whole paragraphs!


message 12: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (seaad) I will be honest it took me four chapters to really get into the book and it wasn't Ari's storyline that drew me in. But since I loved the side characters of the book I read the next two books right after. I really appreciated that the sequels didn't take up 3 chapters retelling the story of the previous books like most series do.

Since I did read all three books it is hard for me to go back and only focus on the first book. The whole big story really develops at the end of the second book and that is when I really fell in love with the story line and my favorite characters were introduced. I fell in love with just about all of the characters (No not Adolfo, I had to speed read through his chapters! Props on the author for creating such a hated character.)

I loved Ahern and Morag. Morag's story really doesn't develop in the first book though and I was overjoyed that we were rewarded with her story in the rest of the series.

Keeping in mind the entire context of the series I even grew to appreciate Ari's story and the choice she makes.

Dianna and Lucian are not stand-up good people but I still grew to feel for their storylines. Theirs is the story of Spoiled Brats!

I do highly recommend the entire series. There are side stories that were hit and miss for me. This first book wasn't just a set up for the rest of the books though and I really liked the flow, format, the romances that bloom, how the worlds are described and that they are dependent on strong, intelligent, and caring women. A not so subtle fantasy and feminist story.


message 13: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 221 comments Stephanie wrote: "I will be honest it took me four chapters to really get into the book and it wasn't Ari's storyline that drew me in. But since I loved the side characters of the book I read the next two books righ..."

I'm really glad to hear that the whole trilogy is good. I'm about 100 pages into the second book myself right now! :)


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Ari never actually did anything. I am not sure why she is the main character instead of Morag. I would have much rather tuned in for the Morag show anyway.


message 15: by Ju (new)

Ju Transcendancing (transcendancing) Although a fan of Bishop's writing and series (I find them emotionally satisfying), this is my least favourite of her series. It's also the one I've never been interesting in revisiting.

I can't really remember much about reading the book - even after reading all the spoilery comments! I'll be interested to see more discussion and to listen to the stream later this month.


message 16: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Summers (summersevereads) | 17 comments Still got a fair bit left but I'm enjoying it a lot more already and am tempted to read the other two afterwards.

Quick thought - isn't it lucky that it was Lucian in horse form rather than Ahern, running into Ari that night...


message 17: by Heather (new)

Heather | 175 comments Ellie wrote: "Still got a fair bit left but I'm enjoying it a lot more already and am tempted to read the other two afterwards.

Quick thought - isn't it lucky that it was Lucian in horse form rather than Ahern..."


Ahern would have never taken advantage of that. You can take the fancy and do nothing with it (or demand just a hug as the affection) or outright refuse to take the fancy.


message 18: by E.M. (last edited Mar 09, 2016 09:26AM) (new)

E.M. Summers (summersevereads) | 17 comments Heather wrote: "Ellie wrote: "Still got a fair bit left but I'm enjoying it a lot more already and am tempted to read the other two afterwards.

Quick thought - isn't it lucky that it was Lucian in horse form rat..."


Oh yes I know - but I found the description of their meeting very sexualised, even with Lucian in horse form. Still, if I gave my grandpa a cookie in the shape of a vagina I would feel a bit awkward!


message 19: by Gunnhildur (new)

Gunnhildur Rúnarsdóttir (grafarholt) | 173 comments Ellie wrote: "Quick thought - isn't it lucky that it was Lucian in horse form rather than Ahern..."

It wouldn't have mattered. Only the women were bound by the magic. A male could refuse the offering and be on his merry way.


message 20: by Gunnhildur (new)

Gunnhildur Rúnarsdóttir (grafarholt) | 173 comments Overall I enjoyed the story.

It was not hard to figure out that the reason for the roads through the veil were closing (view spoiler)

I hated that Summer Moon ritual. How the women had no choice and the men considered it a trap. Didn't mind the actual encounter so much but made sure they had alibis in case a woman got pregnant and named them as the father.

I liked Ari, she appeared innocent, weak and naive but actually wasn't. What I got to know about her family history fascinated me and I want to know more about the history of the witches. (view spoiler)

I was sceptical of Neall at first because of how he is introduced. (view spoiler) We see what he's thinking and even when he tells himself that he won't do anything, he admits that he'd be a fool not to. I did change my mind once I got to know more about him.

I really disliked Adolfo's view of the world and how he thought of women as property.
This is his view from the book. "No, women were not family. They were like the cow that gave milk or the hens that laid eggs. They were a necessary part of a man’s life for his comfort and well being, but they should never be thought of as being more valuable than the cow or the hen. Their purpose was to open their legs for a man’s pleasure and to birth the children who would be his heirs."
(view spoiler) He did not care if the woman he accused was a witch or not, as long as he had the satisfaction of a confession and got paid. He was an arrogant manipulative lunatic to put it mildly.

The Fae... The Fae. The only ones I really liked were (view spoiler)and Morag. (view spoiler)The rest were mostly self absorbed whiny petulant creatures.

Royce was simply a little shit. (view spoiler)

When Granny Gwyn was introduced, my thoughts went to Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. That changed quickly. Granny Gwyn was a malicious manipulative crone.

This is enough, I'm done for now. I'm probably forgetting something, I just have so many thoughts running around in my head.

As for all the spoiler tags. The thread asked for it.

Happy reading.


message 21: by Gunnhildur (new)

Gunnhildur Rúnarsdóttir (grafarholt) | 173 comments I thought the Love's Jewels was beautiful. The full version that Ari sang for Aiden.


message 22: by Frakki (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments The thread is quite this month. Are there no sexy times in the book?


message 23: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Frakki wrote: "The thread is quite this month. Are there no sexy times in the book?"

People have sex, but it isn't explicit


message 24: by Alicia (new)

Alicia I loved this book - I haven't read any of her others or heard anything of them, so I didn't bring any preconceived ideas to it.

Really well-worn tropes, but handled differently.


message 25: by Heather (new)

Heather | 175 comments Gunnhildur wrote: "I thought the Love's Jewels was beautiful. The full version that Ari sang for Aiden."

Not only was it sweet, but it really showed how different the the fae are from humans and how they aren't really meant to have lasting relationships in any sense of the word.


message 26: by Julie (new)

Julie (subtleseasonings) | 88 comments I gave this a shot but had to stop after the first 10% or so. I wish I had remembered that this was the same author who wrote the Black Jewels series, which I read but really didn't like. Her writing is just too graphic and upsetting for me. Maybe it would have gotten better if I had stuck with it, but I didn't feel the need to put myself through that.


message 27: by Serendi (new)

Serendi I've been reading the threads to decide whether I wanted to give this another shot. I read The Black Jewels trilogy and overall liked it, but it squicked me a LOT. Got this book when it came out, read the beginning, and just went "That's it, I'm done."

I think I'm still passing on it.


message 28: by Gunnhildur (new)

Gunnhildur Rúnarsdóttir (grafarholt) | 173 comments Serendi wrote: "I've been reading the threads to decide whether I wanted to give this another shot. I read The Black Jewels trilogy and overall liked it, but it squicked me a LOT. Got this book when it came out, r..."

The beginning of the story is really jarring with all the misogyny. It made me so mad that I almost stopped reading. The attitude Adolfo and some of the other men in the story have towards women is just plain horrible. The Fae aren't much better but their attitude is towards people in general.


message 29: by Susan (new)

Susan | 30 comments I haven't read any Anne Bishop before.

I ended up loving this book, though I struggled with some of the graphic scenes with Adolfo, it was pretty awful, as well as the other misogyny sprinkled throughout. Still, it is the first book in a while that I have just spent a whole day curled up reading because I was so into it.

I definitely got sucked into the world and the characters. Morag was my favourite, and I happy to hear she features more in the next books! I am definitely going to read them. And I would like to find out more about Ari's heritage and about the witches in general.

I thought this was a great pick!


message 30: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (sh0rtchica) | 17 comments I own this trilogy in paperback (been a while since I put the Kindle down!) and I've read it more than once, but it's been a few years. I know I had some difficulty with the first book but flew through the rest.

It's definitely Anne Bishop's standard formula, but I happen to enjoy that a lot, and find enough difference between her leading ladies and supporting characters that the payoff is worthwhile. Looking forward to picking it back up and reading everyone's comments!


message 31: by Heather (new)

Heather | 175 comments Susan wrote: "I haven't read any Anne Bishop before.

I ended up loving this book, though I struggled with some of the graphic scenes with Adolfo, it was pretty awful, as well as the other misogyny sprinkled thr..."


Despite my Anne Bishop rant, I very much enjoyed her "Others" series. Very emotionally satisfying, and even though bad things do happen to women in it, it's not as graphic. If you liked this pick, you should give it a try. Her "Black Jewels" trilogy has far more graphic depictions of violence than Pillars of the World.


message 32: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 8 comments I just finished the book, and while I found it a fun read for the most part, I found the end infuriating, (view spoiler)

That ending brought it down to three stars instead of four. But as I said, still enjoyable, though not sure I'll be finishing the series.


message 33: by DHeav (last edited Mar 17, 2016 06:48AM) (new)

DHeav | 6 comments I am almost finished with this book, and my first read with the book club. A book that I would not have chosen to read, but found it a good read.

I know some do not like the Adolfo character and the violence against women. I read this book as in the era of the witch hunts in the late 1600s to early 1700s, and it was brutal in those times. There was an actual "shame mask" to silence them. If this was the time period the author was shooting for, women were seen as nothing more than mere objects.

Not a bad pick for my first read and will probably finish the series.


message 34: by Heather (new)

Heather | 175 comments DHeav wrote: "I am almost finished with this book, and my first read with the book club. A book that I would not have chosen to read, but found it a good read. I know some do not like the Adolfo character and th..."

All of her series feature some brutalization of women, regardless of setting- beatings, selling their skin to be cut, rape, sexual slavery, pedophilia, torture, and murder. The Black Jewels also features torture of men at the hands of Adolfo-style evil women. Of the 3 series I've read by her, I'd put this one in the middle for graphic violence. If you liked her stuff, but have a harder time stomaching the violence, I would only recommend her "Others" series after this. If you liked this one and can stomach the violence, I'd give her "Black Jewels" a chance. It was the alt book during the month we read Kushiel's Dart.


message 35: by DHeav (new)

DHeav | 6 comments Heather wrote: "All of her series feature some brutalization of women, regardless of setting- beatings, selling their skin to be cut, rape, sexual slavery, pedophilia, torture, and murder...."

Thank you for the information and recommendations. May add "Others" to my very long reading list.


message 36: by Kid Disaster (new)

Kid Disaster (kiddisaster) Vanessa wrote: "I just finished the book, and while I found it a fun read for the most part, I found the end infuriating, [spoilers removed]

That ending brought it down to three stars instead of four. But as I sa..."

I totally agree with the bit in the spoiler tag! It seemed like a lame way to make a book into a series...

I enjoyed the book, but like many others I don't know if I'll continue with the series.


message 37: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Kiddisaster wrote: "I enjoyed the book, but like many others I don't know if I'll continue with the series. ..."

I didn't realise it was a series. Although I really enjoyed it, I don't feel at all compelled to read any more!


message 38: by Katie (new)

Katie (katie_jones) | 348 comments 2.5 Stars, really, but I rounded up because I really liked the Morag character, who I really wished the story had focused on more. The book was super formulaic (love triangle... sigh), the misogyny was layered on REALLY thick, and I hate when rape is the go-to threat just to lazily add tension/danger unnecessarily, without benefitting the story in any conceivable way.
The plot was kind of a mess, and "Adolfo," was the most boring type of villain ever, PREDICTABLE, and irredeemable. For a villain to really work in a story, I feel like they either need to keep you guessing, or have that spark of humanity that either makes them relatable, or gives them a story-arc. Change is interesting! It's compelling! Examples: Jessica Jones' Killgrave! Jaime Lannister! Severus Snape! That's what separates a great writer (IMHO) from...well....this kind. Sorry. If I was an editor, that would have been my recommendation.


message 39: by Jane (new)

Jane (javc) | 38 comments I seem to be in the minority here, but I loved this book. I had never read Anne Bishop before, and am pretty new to the fantasy genre, so all of the things that are common tropes are still somewhat novel to me. I enjoyed that the book centered around Ari, an understated character, rather than one of the more obvious choices. I thought that the misogyny in this case was plot furthering, but agreed with another commenter that I would have rather had a villain that could be seen as a sympathetic character at times. Total villainy can get boring and predictable. Adolfo was definitely easy to hate and root against. The things I enjoyed most were the world building and the history surrounding the witches and the Fae. I would like to see more of Lyrra and the Bard (can't recall his name). Also, Morag is a bad ass - I look forward to continuing her story. After finishing this book, I immediately wanted to read the next in the series, so I put in a request through the interlibrary loan system and have to wait 6-8 weeks. Frustrating. So I am about to start the Black Jewels series while I wait.


message 40: by Jane (new)

Jane (javc) | 38 comments Also...on Adolfo...that type of villain reminds me a great deal of Joffrey from GoT. There is a certain appeal to having a villain that has no redeeming qualities, if done well. I think Bishop has this skill, but I still prefer to be able to think the bad guy/gal has at least one good quality. I think it worked well for this book, though.


message 41: by Laura (new)

Laura (theloudlady) | 180 comments It took me awhile to read the book but I did enjoy it. It was a slow burn. I really enjoyed how the book ended for the Gather. It did seem as though the villain was kept alive to continue the series.


message 42: by Laura (new)

Laura (theloudlady) | 180 comments It took me awhile to read the book but I did enjoy it. It was a slow burn. I really enjoyed how the book ended for the Gather. It did seem as though the villain was kept alive to continue the series.


message 43: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (stormfire298) | 52 comments I really like Anne Bishop and I love this series. I think it stands better as a trilogy than as a stand alone. Morag is definitely a great character and she has more parts to play as the series progresses. Ari is not my favorite character but book 3 really brings it around in my opinion.

With Anne Bishop's books there is lots of brutalization but unlike some other books I've read I feel that it usually has a purpose. I first read her Black Jewels trilogy when it came out and I have to admit that I found it extremely difficult to read when it came to the violence in it. When it comes to this book I think you need to read the rest of the trilogy to get the whole picture, this book has always seemed like a preface to me. Some of the violence in this series and this book seems to be rooted in real-type events mentioned earlier. Though it's fantasy this book made me look into human brutalization when I initially read it. I like it because this book (and definitely the others as well) made me question things and want to look further into life. I enjoy things that cause introspection.

While I don't find Ari particularly captivating I think she is a strong but queit lady. I like that she was okay with her feminity and was willing to go out and use the cookies- even though it was Granny who made her, she was comfortable enough to continue and enjoy herself. What I really love about her are some of the decisions she makes and sticks to. It seems to me that many women characters are written whispish and flip-floppy, while people can certainly be like that I think it is over exaggerated in many works.

I think it's interesting as well that so many people like Morag in this book, when I read it she was not my favorite until later in the series.


message 44: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 4 comments I gave it a 2 rounded down from a 2.5. Not a big fan of this book. It had a slow start, the characters were pretty one-dimensional, and I was extremely disappointed with how it ended. It makes sense for the villain to outsmart the protagonists by being unpredictable or having one last trick under his sleeve, but it's extremely irritating to read a story in which the protagonists just roll over and take it because of their arrogance and foolishness. (view spoiler) Lazy writing like that killed this book for me. Of course there were other inconsistencies purely for plot movement that bothered me like (view spoiler)

Despite Ari being supposedly a strong female, a lot of her agency is removed from most of the book (view spoiler) You could argue that she makes her final choice of her own volition, but (view spoiler) The fae seem to be the main focus of the book instead of Ari (which is fine with me since Ari wasn't really that interesting), but the only one who seems to have any development is Morag (probably why we all like her). Diana and Lucien seemed to develop a little as they got closer to Ari, but did a total 180 by the end of the book and looked like infantile versions of the fae we met at the beginning.

I don't think I'll read the next two even though I went ahead and picked up book 2 when I got this one.


message 45: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sbransley) | 5 comments Anne Bishop is probably my favorite author. This series isn't my favorite but I still enjoy it quite a bit. I agree that a lot of the characters are annoying and the content can be dark. To me it mirrors life. People are stupid. Awful things happen. Life goes on.

Morag is the best though.


message 46: by Florence (new)

Florence This was my first try reading Anne Bishop and I didn't really know what to expect having seen really good and really bad reviews of her worked. As it turned out, I really enjoyed it! I think the story was well-written and well-crafted. As some of you have already said, I was sucked it really fast and I found the lore fascinating (her take on the Fae, the history of the Wiccanfae, Ari's family history).

In my opinion, Adolpho made a good villain. He was repulsive and digusting and I couldn't stay indifferent to him and his philosophy. I loved to hate him! Though portrayed as a powerful man with a lot of influence in at least to countries with building influence in Sylvalan as well, his backstory and his PoV (later in the book) showed what a weak weak man he was.

My favorite character would be Morag. She was fascinating: (view spoiler). She was clever and strong and she stood for what she believed was right. I like Ari a lot too. At first I thought, she was a bit soft and naive and I thought it would make her a bit helpless, but she had a lot more resolve than what I expected.

As for the love interests, I really didn't like Lucian at all. Some of his comments were a bit too close to those of Adolpho for my taste. He was entitled and selfish. I was really happy that (view spoiler).

The Fae were an interesting bunch... I am really looking forward to seeing (view spoiler).

As I said, I really enjoyed it and I will definitly check out the rest of the series.


message 47: by Suzanne (last edited Mar 30, 2016 12:21PM) (new)

Suzanne | 1 comments I liked this so much more than I expected to, mostly due to the interesting supporting characters (Morag, Ahern). Admittedly, I speed-read the Adolpho sections-- I have limited brainspace for torture and rape. Other commenters have mentioned the Discworld novels, and I noticed a dark kinship with those as well. I'm not sure I'm going to continue the series (i'm in a long e-book line at the library), but overall I am glad that I read it.


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