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Saturdays in Books

Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.

Currently reading

The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent
Kathryn Morrow, James K. Morrow
Grave Witch - Kalayna Price Better than her Haven books, I was looking forward to seeing the next in this paranormal procedural series. The down on her luck heroine is intelligent and funny and actually has some female friends. There are the standard cliches of the urban fantasy genre, but balanced against a protagonist with a positive attitude towards sex. Sounds, great, right?

Except that it's all a lie. Or do I mean she's an unreliable narrator because her description of her attitude towards sex is so at odds with her behavior in the climactic scene of this otherwise entertaining book.

Setting aside the inability of an otherwise mature adult to use risque terms like clitoris and the fact that this "best sex of her life" is pretty vanilla, the real problem is that this is yet another example where "no" means "yes". She's somewhat incapacitated and repeatedly attempts to halt the progress of their activities, but he knows better and proceeds to fuck her brains out in spite of her objections. I don't care if it's intended to read as seduction. It was as difficult for me to read as any rape scene, and it was completely at odds with the characters as portrayed previously.

And the next day her attitude is, "I made a mistake because this is going to complicate our professional relationship, but boy was that some good nooky."

It was so unnecessary a complication of consent and so off from the tone of the rest of the book that I picked up the sequel anyway. Grave Dance goes to great lengths to illustrate just how fucked up and standard for the romance genre Alex Craft's concept of romance is. That's right, guys, don't listen to anything she says. She wants you to put your hands wherever you want.

Kalayna Price is a talented writer, which makes these books even worse. She has elected to focus her skill on works that make the world a more dangerous place for me to live in.