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Feminist Killjoy. Badly Behaving Bookliker. Writer and reader of all things speculative. 

Currently reading

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Michelle Hodkin
Diablo III: Storm of Light
Nate Kenyon
Progress: 133/341 pages
William Gibson
A Taste of Blood Wine
Freda Warrington
Progress: 380/501 pages
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
The Enemy (The Enemy #1)
Charlie Higson
The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern
Ann Aguirre
Marked - Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast Pretty much everything I could say about this book has already been said. Regardless, I'm going to say it anyway. Haters to the left.Look, YA paranormal authors: We have got to talk. I can't take this anymore. I'm so tired of reading about your characters who are "different" or "anomalies" or "freaks" or what have you. I am. It's clear that none of you have the first fragging clue what it means to be an anomaly, because if you did, you wouldn't think it was so glamorous. And don't try to tell me you don't think it's glamorous. All your so-called freaks are really just super speshul Mary Sues with great looks and super powers. Let's take one Zoey Redbird as an example. In Marked, we first meet Zoey when she receives the titular Mark--a blue crescent moon on her forehead that marks her as a fledgling vampire. She immediately gets upset about being a "freak" now and all the "normal" people around her wig out. Of course, within forty pages Zoey becomes the personal chosen of the Goddess of Night, Nyx, and her Mark becomes filled in--something that's not supposed to happen yet. OMG, she's an even bigger freak! Being chosen by a goddess--that is truly abnormal and awful, y'all.Shortly thereafter, she arrives at the House of Night, the "vampire finishing school". There, she finds out that everyone is unearthly gorgeous and incredibly talented, and their Marks all become nifty facial tattoos. In fact, all the most famous, talented people in all everything, ever, are actually vampires! What freaks! What a terrible life to live, getting Marked by a goddess, being swept away from your backstabbing friends and one-dimensional horrible family and taken to a fabulous boarding school where the subjects include things like fencing and horseback riding. How awful, knowing you'll grow up to be breathtakingly beautiful, and unspeakably talented--and, worst of all, those talents will come naturally! You won't even have to work for them! *hand to forehead* The horror, the horror! Feh. Bite me.I'm autistic, and scientifically speaking, I'm abnormal. Truly abnormal. I've been treated like a freak for more than half my life, even by my own family. For as long as I can remember, the people who were supposed to know what autism is told me I lacked empathy and the ability to relate to people. People still have that perception of autism. It's been around me so long that I believed it for years, despite evidence to the contrary. I was never swept away to an awesome boarding school--the most I got was home-schooled when the bullying grew so bad, I was terrified to go into school. I definitely don't have unearthly good looks. I don't have super powers, or even much in the way of special talents. Fine, I have a better memory than neurotypical people, but that's not going to turn me into the next Shakespeare even if I didn't hate iambic pentameter. Being abnormal doesn't work that way, and I'm really fugging sick of YA paranormal authors insisting it does. If you want to convince me that it's so terrible, your heroine gaining psychic powers or becoming a vampire or whatever, give it some downsides. If you can't be arsed to do that, shut the hell up.I guess I'm not surprised by this attitude coming from P.C. (is that supposed to be ironic?) and Kristin Cast, two of the most judgmental, hypocritical people I've ever had the misfortune to encounter. Marked is truly awful, weighed down as it is by stereotypes, generalizations, and judgmental anvilistic nonsense. More over, it's possibly one of the most misogynistic (and really, misanthropic) books I've ever read. And I've read Terry Goodkind, people! I'm not even sure where to begin. The racism? The slut-shaming? The ableism? Let's start with the Casts' rather hypocritical attitude towards religion. Religious indoctrination is wrong, y'all--unless it's the right religion. In Marked we have the People of Faith who are opposed to vampires and if all vampires are as horrible as Zoey, I can't say I blame the ol' PoF. Naturally Zoey's "step-loser" is one of these, because apparently writers these days think the best way to win your protagonist sympathy is to give them an overweening stereotypical horrible religious family. It's not. Zoey loves making observations and comparisons like these:"The People of Faith want to control everything, and part of that control is that everyone has to always believe exactly the same. That's why they want people to think the pentagram is bad."That's kind of lolarious, coming from two women who shove their bigoted opinions into the book every chance they get. There's a bit of a delicious irony, too. You see, vampires are pseudo-Wiccans who worship Nyx. Yes, worship. They're told that they're Nyx's chosen. But only Zoey has proof of this (though that could have been a hallucination she had when she cracked her head open); as far as I can tell, other fledglings simply take it on faith that this is true. Their heads are filled with indoctrination on the glories of the Goddess, and after school they have a pseudo-Wiccan version of a prayer circle. How is this different from being, say, Catholic? I know we're supposed to go "It's a Goddess and all Goddess religions are open-minded and tolerant and TOTES FEMINIST GURL POWAH YAY!" but puh-lease. Bullshit. There's nothing tolerant or open-minded about the Casts' belief system. And if you dare to disagree with them, they might just tell you how retarded you are.Because ableism is one of the Casts' favorite things. Zoe calls Aphrodite "psycho" at least once and also thinks:Huh? I understood she'd forgotten to take her meds, but that was all I understood.Really, P.C.? Really, Kristin? Have you ever seen what happens to a truly mentally ill person when they're off their meds? It's tragic. I have two paranoid schizophrenics on my father's side of the family who become downright creepy and hard to deal with when they stop taking their meds. People with depression can become suicidal while off their meds. I'm writing this thing right now without the ADHD meds that help me concentrate, and it's only by virtue of the fact that my attention span dooooooooeeeeees....evveeeenntuallllyyy....staaaarrrttttt...ittttsss....sllooooowwww....assssss...uppppppp that I've been able to write at all, which is the only thing that keeps me from going STARK RAVING HOMICIDALLY MAD. You two sure do love to run your mouths on topics you know jack shit about, don't you? Long walk, short cliff, please take it.In fact, it seems that ridiculing people with genuine illnesses is just something the Casts adore doing:She wasn't thin like the freak girls who puked and starved themselves into what they thought was Paris Hilton chic.That is so horrible, I can barely find the words. We're talking about serious problems, problems that kill. People who do those things don't think it's hot to look like Paris Hilton--they have an honest-to-goodness distorted vision of themselves. They have real problems. Making fun of them is not cool or funny. It's abhorrent. It's wrong. Then there's the slut-shaming:Of course there are girls who think it's "cool" to give guys head. Uh, they're wrong. Those of us with functioning brains know that it is not cool to be used like that.Girls, never listen to this shit. This is just a steaming pile of horse pucky. There's nothing wrong, stupid, or abnormal about enjoying sex--which means giving and receiving both. The only reason the Casts write such horrible nonsense is because they want to control everything, and part of that control is that everyone has to always believe exactly the same. That's why they want people to believe blowjobs are bad. YES, FUNNY HOW THAT WORKS, ISN'T IT, LADIES? And no, you don't get to call girls hos simply because they're written as bitchy blond stereotypes you don't like them. There's no exceptions here. There is no slut-shaming allowed in feminism. There isn't supposed to be any of this:"Yeah, from some poor kid she caught in her nasty spider web," Erin said. "By that she means the one between her legs," Shaunee explained.*eyetwitch* Stab-stab-stabbity-stab...But perhaps the Casts should be praised for their delicate handling of racial issues:"Thank you for appreciating my blackness," Shaunee said.One was black, with impossibly long hair (must be a really good weave),Shaunee started to puff up like a mocha-colored blowfish.Or not. (You didn't really think I meant that seriously, did you?)Their representation of Native Americans--as stereotypical wise, wooey tribal people--was bad enough, but the way they handled descriptions of POC was downright skeevy. There's an amount of detail and obsession in their descriptions that left my jaw on the floor. Like this:She was obviously mixed and had a gorgeous combination of really pretty, coffee-with-lots-of-cream skin and excellent thick, curly hair, which probably had never had the nerve to nap up on her for an instant, no matter the humidity.First of all...mixed? MIXED!? Is she a goddamn cocktail? Whatever happened to, you know, biracial? Multi-racial? Just...mixed. Seriously, she's a person, not a Peeka Poo. But also...this is the sort of thing that makes me want to go "Nope, I'm a Jew, totally Semitic and also part Native American, totes not white DO NOT GROUP ME WITH THEM PLEASE" because seriously, white people, what is with the obsession with POCs' hair? It's none of your fugging business. We're talking about people, not your goddamned personal petting zoo. It's such a white privilege thing to look at something like this and try to call it anything but racism. Racism isn't just hate; it's ignorance and stereotyping, too. We're supposed to think it's a compliment when the Casts write shit like "excellent thick, curly hair, which probably never had the nerve to nap up on her", but it's not. There's a lack of equality here. Note how you don't get this sort of detail on the things white people's hair does. I mean, just take mine, for example. It loves to do this flippy thing where some of it hangs fine and then in the back it goes *FLIP!* all stupid like. Or sometimes it does this other thing where one side lays flat and the other all wisps out so it kinda looks like one of those bristly roller things in a car wash. No mention of anything like that. Why not? Why single out a stereotypical trait? Honestly, it makes my skin crawl. I would not be the least bit surprised if the Casts like to ask POC questions like "can I touch your hair?" and "but where are you from?". Add in some fatphobia and some ageism, and these two have pretty much covered the entire gamut. I didn't really see classism, but admittedly I only made it through half the book. So I didn't really make it to the part where Zoey gets picked by some super speshul cat and I'm sure she ends up with a super speshul horse and a bunch of other things to suit her Mary Sue snowflakeness. But why the hell would I want to keep following the thoughts of a horrible, judgmental brat any longer? And I don't want to hear anything about how Zoey is supposed to sound like a teenager. Plenty of teenagers are nice, thoughtful human beings. If the teenagers around you sound like Zoey, their parents need to stop teaching them to be fucking sociopaths. I just do not get how people can care so little about other people's feelings. Seriously, ladies, stop and think about what you write next time. This is so wrong. So, so wrong. Why is a book filled with so much--let's call it what it is--hate sitting on the bookshelves? Publishing industry, I feel betrayed. I've put my trust in you for so long. Why must you shove a knife in my back? Oh, the book? How was it otherwise? A mediocre slog fest that was very obviously written to be a money-milking series. About the nicest thing I can say about it is: The pages had words on them. P.S. Do not troll this review. Seriously. I don't want to see any excuses or apologism for this crap. If you try, I will chew you up and spit you out. Do. Not. Push. Me.