May. 10th, 2017

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1. What I just finished reading...

The Witches of Karres by John Schmitz - it was entertaining, better than expected. Didn't rock my world, but I didn't expect it to. Basically what everyone said it was.

Full Review can be found HERE.

There's two sequels available for the remotely curious. They are written by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint and someone named David something or other. Who are apparently well known in the field. I only recognized Mercedes Lackey, who I rather like. She's a sci-fantasy writer. That's a good fit, considering Witches is most definitely sci-fantasy. The sequels are "The Wizard of Karres" and "The Soceress of Karres". I've been flirting with Wizard...it picks up where the last one left off...with the Captain working as a special operative for the Emperess, and escorting an alien and her dog to their home planet, which is being attacked by a naninite plague, which threatens the rest of the universe. He's also being chased as an outlaw to the Empire. (Which I found confusing, but okay). When the ship breaks down and requires repairs, he joins a traveling circus act...(I don't know it sounds rather busy, but then these sorts of books are.)

2. What I'm reading now...

The Duke by Kerrigen Byrme who is an interesting writer. Her focus is on classicism, and how women were treated back in Victorian times. Her novels take place during the mid-to-late 1800s, when Disraeli was Prime Minister of England. This one takes place in and around the April Uprising and the Ottoman Empire.

I've realized something reading romance novels, the historicals seem to like to tackle feminism, classicism and other social issues and often as well if not better than some of the literary writers such as Atwood. (Which is weird. Don't get me wrong, they aren't the wordsmiths that Atwood is..English is a brutal language and not everyone can write precise and at times dense poetic prose. Nor does everyone necessarily want to read languid poetic prose...I like it fine, but it tends to put me to sleep on subways, airplanes and trains or give me a headache. But they are better at character development, plotting, and sometimes getting their point across without hammering you over the head with it. I mean you really only need one attempted rape, after all.) Anyhow, another thing I realized is while the historical romance novels tackle social themes the contemporary romances seem to...how to put this? Reinstate? Reinforce the traditionalist and somewhat elitist class and chauvinistic views? Making me wonder about some of these contemporary romance novelists. In fact my mother stated that in a contemporary romance, if the heroine were to find herself in the heroes room or in a brothel -- he'd rape her. While in the historicals, he doesn't always, or he seduces her. And in today's world that happens too often. (Actually, it's why I stopped doing online dating..).

Sexual violence is a heavy theme in romance novels. Although lately, I haven't seen much of it. Usually, if it's attempted she successfully fights him off. And if it does happen, it's off page.
I've only seen it in contemporary - aka the dreaded New Adult novels in stories written post 2008.
(Note, have not seen it that often in contemporary small town romance novels that Nora Roberts and Lisa Kelypas specialize in.)

plot spoilers or what the book is about up to a certain point... )

It's your basic wounded hero meets tough as nails caring woman trope aka Beauty and the Beast.
While playing around with various socio-political themes in the process. (I'm more interested in social political themes and psychological ones than philosophical for some reason.)

The Amazon reviewers who didn't like the book -- had issues with the romance. Honestly, people are weird about the Beauty and the Beast trope. The don't want the Beast to be well, beastly. What's the point, if he's not beastly? There's no arc.

Also, I find the reviewers a bit scary on both Good Reads and Amazon...or I wonder about them,
for one thing they are insistent on capitalizing the word "Hero" and putting the word "heroine" in lowercase, yet seem oblivious to how incredibly sexist this is. Yes, English tends to be a sexist, masculain language, unlike Latin, but...people, it's not grammatically correct and it's sexist to capitalize one and not the other. I want to kick them. They do it, so they can say "H" and "h" without spelling it out. I got an idea, why not flip it? Heroine and hero. In this book that would be far more accurate. Although hero isn't really gender specific. You can use it for both sexes if you so desire. Sort of similar to fiance or spouse or partner or protagonist. Here, the protagonist is actually the woman, he's sort of secondary. Granted we get both perspectives, but she's given the slant. I finally got fed up and felt the need to tell one of the reviewers this. I doubt it made any difference. I also told my FB page and Twitter. Doubt that did anything either. Crazy society insists on being sexist, not a lot I can do about it. Unfortunately.

The other thing they do that makes me crazy is they...seem to want everything watered down or flattened out. No shades of gray. Black and white, clear cut, simplified. No real plot. Just the guy meets girl and the sex. One reviewer whinged about the mystery aspect. (Granted I could do without a serial killer...there appears to be one in each of the books, so maybe not so much whinging on that score.) It's disconcerting - the whinging about flat characters and desire for a straight up romance, not the serial killer bit.

3. What I'm reading next...

I don't know. Possibly another romance. Could be anything really.

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