Marissa: Man, I am beat.
Butch: Me, too. This “your angst, my angst” thing is way tiring, you feel me?
Marissa: Frankly, I’m a little tired of feeling you. You’re all up my skirt with lust ahoy and then in the next chapter, if it’s not about some blonde baby powder monster man, you’re freaking out about your own worth or some shit, so you get drunk and you blow me off.
Butch: Hey, that’s how it’s written.
Marissa: I’m just saying, if I were an actual woman, I’d have kicked your ass to the curb by now with this, “I want you so much my balls are on fire but I’m not worthy of you” routine. You go get drunk off your ass and whine for awhile while I consider my perfect yet lonely life? Boring.
Butch: What can I say? I’m a sensitive man beneath a crusty exterior, both of which are intimidated by your beauty and perfection.
Marissa: Perfection? Please! I’ve never had an orgasm and don’t know what my vagina is for.
Butch: Like I said, that’s how it’s written.
John: *walks in and waves*
Butch: Time for the obligatory appearance of John?
John: *nods and walks out*
Marissa: (growling) Man, this overemphasis on purity is driving me batshit. What is it with the focus being so heavy on the men to the point that us women are merely beautiful repositories for your manful lust?
Butch: Hey, like I said….
Marissa: Yeah, that’s how it’s written. But come ON now. The women in this series are such conduits to male homosocial eroticism it’s as if they aren’t real. Eve Sedgwick would pound her head on her desk if she read these books.
Butch: Male homo-what now?
Marissa: The homoerotic triangle as described by Eve Sedgwick, in which two men use a woman as a conduit to express their homosexual desire. All the women in these books are merely homoerotic conduits instead of fully-fleshed characters.
Butch: I hate to break it to you, but you weren’t there for the other scene we shot today. You were not needed as a conduit. Trust me.
Marissa: Oh, the hell I’m not. I’m the barrier and the conduit and-
Butch: Can you stop making such weird gestures? You’re getting coffee on my suit.
John: *walks in and waves, then walks out*
Marissa: What, you’re not going to name drop your tailor?
Butch: Like I actually know who made my suit?
Marissa: While we’re on the subject, I do not get the forcible mixing of female stereotypes on top of male stereotypes – it makes for very lopsided characterization. The men are exceptionally metrosexual males with uber-violent tendencies, and the women are barely fully written.
Butch: Hey, at least all us giant well-dressed high-end-Scotch-drinking men are told around by a floating glowing chick in a cape.
Marissa: And what IS her damn problem with questioning authority? You can’t ask her a question? What the shit?
Butch: Like I said -
Marissa: Yeah, I know. You didn’t write it.
Marissa: Let me ask you a question.
Butch: Is that allowed?
Marissa: Bite me.
John: *walks in and waves, bursts into silent yelling, then walks out*
Marissa: Nice show of angst, there, John.
Butch: You’d think the Brothers or someone would have a clue that that kid needs more guidance than letting him sleep in his missing adoptive father’s office chair. But no, they let him go on in his own agony and pay more attention to the labels on their shoes.
Marissa: Seriously, Butch. Let me ask you a question.
Marissa: Black jism? Seriously? Black jism? As a male, would you write that?
Butch: Oh, fuck no.
Marissa: I didn’t think so. There are so many potential interpretations of the symbolism of that particular scene.
Butch: Don’t go there.
Marissa: Hell, I have nothing else to do. I show up and stand around looking perfect and give you a complex every other scene. And then I get to have an orgasm but only if you can’t control your raging lust and aren’t drunk off your ass again.
Vishous: Hey, don’t even talk to me about controlling the raging lust.
Butch: Man, did you ever get the short end of the stick.
Vishous: Very funny.
Marissa: Now I’m “feeling” you. You two were more “will they or won’t they” than Butch and I, and we were setup to be together on the back cover copy, for God’s sake.
Butch: True that, true?
Vishous: Double true.
Marissa: Oh, shut up.
Butch: I gotta say, Marissa does have a point. I don’t get it – in one scene I totally get that you dig me, and I let you know that I understand, and then you get all close and I grab your ass and am freaked out by “the vibe” to the point I won’t think about it.
Vishous: I think that was meant to leave something to the reader’s imagination.
Marissa: Yeah, imagination. Imagining them tossing the book at the wall.
Vishous: I feel that.
Marissa: Oh, shut up. And take your boots off the table.
Vishous: “Shitkickers,” ma’am. They’re “shitkickers.”
Marissa: Yeah, that’s real bad ass coming from a man whose name reads way too easily as “viscous.”
Butch: Viscous? You mean like black jism?
Vishous: Shut up both of you.
Rhage: What up, yo.
Marissa: Hey there. You’re totally an accessory character in the book but you have the best line in the whole damn novel.
Rhage: What can I say? I’ve got the best extra “h” name in the book, so I get the funny funny.
Vishous: “Bus exhaust.” Now that was some funny shit right there.
Butch: Yeah. Lucky Bhastarhd.
The short review? This book went around in a damn circle sixteen times, and I finished it solely so I could find out what happened to everyone BUT the main characters. I couldn’t have given less of a shit about Butch and Marissa, and I had to wade through 300+ pages of anghsty crahp before I could find out any progression of character for John, Vishous, and the rest of them.
And also, the villain? WAY too easy to kick the shit out of the villain. They are crafty and everywhere, but it’s amazing how easily they get the can of whoopass opened on their powdery behinds, and how utterly unscary they are, because so much time is spent WITH the villains and their amazing disorganization that they seem more like pale slapstick mimes more than actual menaces. I don’t give a shit about Mr. X. He’s less malevolent and more whiny with every page. The freaking Scribe Virgin is more unsettling than the Lessers, and she’s supposedly part of the forces of good.
But what really twists my knickers is the violation of rules: spoilers ahoy, ya’ll.
So Butch is allegedly part vampire, only he never went through the change at the appropriate time. But because his father was likely or hinted to be a vampire which, according to the laws of the created universe in which this book operates, should have caused him to at least have some transitional indications but didn’t, the Brothers can still force him over to their side through a very strange ritual.
What the crap was that? It’s so fudgy it’s like cheating on the rules.
And that’s how I felt after I finished the latest morsel of vampire crack: cheated. And cranky. Sorry. Crahnky. The books are still eminently readable, but the almost campy, addictive prose is less enjoyable when the story suffers through the lead characters and is only interesting due to the ancillary folks. Of course, I’m told all hell breaks loose in the end of the next one, so I have to decide whether to read it or just leave the series at this book.