Chapter 16:

Before you ask, I’ll answer: there are about sixty-three pages before we reach the end of this book. Sixty-three pages left, and there’s been no sign of the antagonist, nor what he wants beyond “I want to rule the world!” Nor has he come on stage.

Well. In our last section Romilly took the birds to spy on the EVIL KEENG, and they’re waiting for the main body of the REEL KEENG’s army to arrive. Fair enough. We get some filler on Romlly being able to reach the stupid horse she’s named Sunstar even at this distance, and we get even more whining:

And I have no friend, no lover, I am alone, alone as any monk in his solitary cell in the ice caves of Nevarsin…and wondered what she was thinking about, for even now her mind was filled with the awareness of the great stallion racing in the sun, and Carolin with him, riding… (Pg. 697)

About the only thing that might save this stupid stretch of boredom was if that stupid horse suddenly got frisky and it got passed on to Romilly, who then proceeded to hump a mare. But then, that’s just my disgusting mind and terrible loathing of Romilly speaking. Once the two pages of filler are done, who should arrive but the REEL KEENG! Of course, the first person he goes to see is Romilly, because she’s that special, and again, lavishly praises her for her efforts in scouting out the EVIL KEENG’s armies. Then we get this:

Carolin said, looking at them sadly, “still, I swore to protect my people, even if I must protect them from the Hastur kin who are unmindful of that oath. I wish you couold know how little I want Rakhal’s throne, or how gladly I would cede it to him if only he would treat my people as a king must, respecting them and protecting them…” {pg. 698-699)

UH, BUT HE HASN’T DONE ANYTHING WRONG. Yes, really. He hasn’t. Everything we’ve seen EVIL KEENG and his minions do, from taking away people’s homes to the nuclear bombing to napalm bombing has been in retaliation to the REEL KEENG doing shit. As I said, it’s a Galbatorix situation. Maybe if the REEL KEENG ceded now, everything would be just peachy keen. We’re only told that he’s this evil, unjust ruler, and that’s only be the most biased sources possible. We were in Hali, and the people there seemed fed and content. Goddamn, at least even in the shittiest fantasy the peasants are complaining about taxes, and there’s none of that whining here. NOT EVEN TAXES.

How…why…this book makes my brain hurt. So Romilly, notices Sunstar, and goes to meet the bugger, and of course he loves her. Why? Because we’ve been told all along that she’s had a wonderful relationship with this horse, not that we’ve ever seen it developed or anything, but apparantly the GREAT and MIGHTY MZB seems to feel that if she tells us something it’s as good as true.

“Indeed, I think he is missing you,” Carolin said, and she went to Sunstar, where Carolin had flung his reins around a rail when he dismounted, and flung her arms around the horse.

You are a king’s mount but still you are mine, she said, not in words, and felt Sunstar in her mind, reaching out, mine, love, together, sunlight/sunstar/ always together in the world… (Pg. 699)

I think there’s enough cheese to go around, and oh look, it’s hippie trash flavour. Great for chewing up and spitting out again, although not so much for swallowing. That’s barely over when Ruyven goes up and asks her what’s going on:

“What ails you, Romy? Are you sick?”

She said brusquely, “no,” and went to the birds. (Pg. 699)

Way to be an asshole to someone who was only concerned for you. Oh well, we all know that SHE NEEDS NO MAN to care for her, and is strong and independent and mature, although having exhibited none of these things, but of course since she wears pants and the great MZB tells us she is then she is, innit?

Anyways, she buggers around and manages to eavesdrop on Maura, Ranald and Orain. They’re making small talk, and it’s rather pointless save rather ugly quote:

Ranald said, “I am willing to try. And perhaps Mistress Romilly would be willing to school me. Though like all Swordswomen she is arrogant and harsh of tongue—” and Maura’s merry laughter, saying he was not used to Women who did not regard him, a Ridenow lord, as a special creation for their delight.

“Oh, come, Maura, I am not all that much of a womaniser, but if women were made by the Goddess Evanda for the delight of men, why should I refuse the Lady of Light her due by failing to worship Her in her creation, the loveliness of women?” (Pg. 700)

Urk. Ugh. Fine. So it’s some time later, and Romilly is approached by Ranald, for he wants to help with the birds, too. Her reaction?

She did not like the way he looked at her. It reminded her all too much of Dom Garris, or even Rory, as if he had physically fingered her young breasts with rude hands; she was painfully aware of his look—I have never felt this way before—and of the open desire in it. But he had done nothing, said nothing, how could she make any objection to it? She drew her cloak about her as if she was cold, and gestured him toward the birds. (Pg. 700)

Before she can lambast him, though, he apologises profusely for even daring to look at her the wrong way. More blahs, more filler, Maura comments how this place is a wasteland now because of war but Romilly can only think of how beautiful the fields are with the grasses and flowers now that the evil earth-raping humans have gone from the area, blah blah…

Oh, and did I mention that stupid horse gets horny, and as a result she does as well?

There were no more words, but Sunstar, and Romilly with him, sensed an outflow, an outpouring of emotion that made him restless, made him prance until Carolin chided him with a tug on the reins, and in Romilly’s mind were flooding images of sleek flanks and satiny bodies, of swift running in moonlight, which made her rub her head as if she were feverish, with unfamiliar sensations flooding her whole body, so that she retreated abruptly into herself, away from the great stallion’s unfamiliar emotions and touch.

What has come over me, that i am so filled with emotion, that I laugh and cry without a word spoken of a touch? (Pg 703)

I shall not ask, and it’s frankly better if I don’t get an answer at all. Anyways, Ruyven tells her they’re camping for the night, and we get another instance of her being Just That Special to get away with insubordination:

It was Orain who brought her the word, riding through the mass of men and horses and equipment flowing along the road, calling out, “where are you off to, Romilly? The vai dom has requested you to attend him!”

“I know,” said Romilly, and went on toward the king, leaving Orain staring and surprised behind her. (Pg 703-704)

I don’t know. I really don’t know. How is it possible to hate this little stuck-up bitch any more? Oh, wait, I can. Just wait a little while longer. We learn that the REEL KEENG wants the magicians here to cast an illusion about the army so they’re invisibibibible. Fair enough. What’s not fair is that Maura brings up the matter of Romilly’s magic again, that she should really get it properly trained because it might be dangerous to herself and those around her.

Romilly’s response?

She said, even more stiffly, “The people of MacAran have been animal trainers, working with birds and horses and dogs, since time unknown; and not all of them have been supervised by the Towers either.” A trace of the mountain accent crept back in her speech, as if the echo of her father’s voice, saying, “the Hali’imyn would have it that a man’s own mind must be ruled over by their leronyn and their Towers!” (Pg. 704)

Why, does she get a bitchslap for her impudence? Does the REEL KING chide her for whining at someone far more experienced and trained than her? No, instead Maura grovels and kowtows to her, happily allowing Romilly to escape the logical consequences of her actions yet again. But noooo. The bitch’s still not appeased:

It annoyed Romilly—Maura was not so much older than she was herself, why did she think she was needed to straighten out Romilly’s laran?

I was left on my own with it, and now when I need it no longer they are eager to offer help! I was not offered help when my father would have sold me to Dom Garris, and there was none to help me when I would have been raped by Rory, or when I made an idiot of myself forcing my way into Orain’s bed. I have won these battles alone and unhelped, what makes them think I need their damned condescension now? (Pg. 705)

What. The. Fuck.

I mean, really, what the fuck. None of these events had anything to do with her magic, and the were absolutely no magicians around, or even if they were, what could they have done? Why is she blaming the magicians for her lot in life? Does she imagine they should have personally rushed to her aid every time she was in trouble, with all their powers? The magicians of the world dropping everything for a sixteen-year-old? I mean, what the fuck? This is the greatest entitlement complex I have ever seen, and she not only gets away with it scot free, but the reader is expected to not only empathise, but side with this whiny shit of a bitch?

How the hell did this woman not just get published, but her works are considered classics of the genre? How? The? Fuck? It makes no sense, even if we consider the reading trends of the 1970s.

I’ll sum up the next five pages, because they’re mostly filler. Romilly is invited to join the Sisters in their mess hall, but refuses? Why? Because she’s “too weary and raw-edged for the chatter, the nose and giggling of the young women of the Sisterhood.” So what does she do? Oh, join the men, of course. Because she’s just that special and the men have more fun, although I’m not sure how lots of drinking and singing somehow automatically equates to more fun, but it’s more proof that the evvvvil men are witholding fun from women, and that heterosexual women are too dumb and stupid to come up with anything fun on their own and the only way to have fun is do it like men. We get some songs, and since I’m not good at poetry or songs I’ll reserve judgement.

Anyways, Romilly strikes a conversation with Maura’s cousin, and gets pretty drunk in the process. After the fun and games are over, Ranald takes her to his tent and we get this rather nauseating…THING that reminds me of the worst of Touched by Venom:

Sunstar, too, seemed flooded with the restlessness of the four moons and their light…now she was linked deep in rapport with the stallion…this was not new to her, she had sensed this before, in begone summers, but never with the full strength of her awakened laran, her suddenly wakeful body…the scent of the grass, the flooding of life through her veins till she was all one great aching tension…sweet scents with a tang of what seemed to shared and doubled senses a tang of musk and summer flowers and something she did not even recognize, so deeply was it part of herself, profoundly sexual, sweeping away barriers of thought and understanding…at one and the same time she was one with the great stallion in rut, and she was Romilly, frightened, fighting to break out of the rapport which she hadm before this, shared so unthinking, it was too much for her now, she could not contain it, she was bursting with the pressure of the raw, animal sexuality under the stimulating light of the moons…she felt her own body twisting and turning as she fought to escape, hardly knowing what it was she dreaded, but if it should happen she ws terrified, she would not bear it she would be drawn in forever and never get back to her own body what body she had no idea it was too much unendurable…PASSION, TERROR, RUT…NO, NO…(Pg. 710-711)

So when she comes to her senses she’s fucked Ranald. Whee. At least McCaffrey was nice enough to skim it over when her dragon riders had sex. Here?

Lenka Pelakova is not amused.

But of course it’s all right, because she’s the one who wanted it:

She kissed him thankfully, astonished and delighted. It had happened so naturally, it now seemed so sweet and right to here. A random thought, as she floated off into sleep, touched her mind at the edge of the laughter.

It would never have been like this with Dom Garris! I was perfectly right not to marry him. (Pg. 712)

Uh, animalistic lust versus animalistic lust. I fail to see the difference here. Oh wait, that’s right. One is a caricature designed to serve Romilly’s purposes in the plot, and the other is a caricature designed to serve Romilly’s purposes in the plot…wait, that’s not it either. Oh, wait, one has MAJEEK, and the other doesn’t. Oh, and one is hot and sexy, while the other one is a fat fuck with clammy hands. Oh, and this one is sanctioned by Romilly, while the other isn’t.

Ultimate moral arbitrator, remember? Be still my vomit, as we end this chapter.

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  1. Danielle on 8 April 2010, 16:35 said:

    It would never have been like this with Dom Garris! I was perfectly right not to marry him.

    Would you STOP telling me about Dom Garris, for the love of all that is good and decent? Seriously, Romy, you’re like that stupid girl who spends an entire date talking about her ex! HOW DO YOU EVEN MANAGE TO ATTRACT ANYONE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX TO YOU??? HOW????

  2. Snow White Queen on 8 April 2010, 18:09 said:

    I thought Mists of Avalon by the same author was pretty good, but maybe I just didn’t get what was going on…

  3. Charlotte on 8 April 2010, 21:21 said:

    What amazes me is that you are most of the way through the book and we really haven’t seen much of a plot yet. I don’t know how you’ve managed to get through this thing.

  4. LucyWannabe on 9 April 2010, 00:51 said:

    UGH. I…I really don’t know what to first focus on that I dislike. I think what stands out is how often she’s ignoring/putting down/getting mad at the person who has more experience in magic.

    Maybe, you little brat, she knows what she’s talking about because oh, I don’t know…MAURA ACTUALLY WENT TO A SCHOOL THAT TEACHES THIS STUFF?!


  5. dragonarya on 9 April 2010, 09:27 said:

    Oh god, that really is like Touched by Venom! brain cramp
    I read the sporks a little while ago; someone really needs to invent brain bleach/bleeprin. Let’s see… a memory suppressor plus painkiller…

  6. Anonymous45 on 9 April 2010, 13:56 said:

    This book is an allegory about the Orange/Tulip/Pink etc revolutions in former Soviet states.

    It hasn’t been discovered yet, but these “good” guys are sponsored by some very powerful state to overthrow their country’s legitmate ruler and install a puppet state so their country becomes a vassal to the powerful state under the guise of promoting happiness and prosperity.

    This book is propaganda for the people living in the powerful state so they don’t object the injustice. The sponsorship is covered up, the legitimate “evil” order has done nothing wrong but it does not support the powerful state’s agenda, so they are painted as evil despite lack of evidence, and the rebels are heroes.

  7. falconempress on 10 April 2010, 01:48 said:

    I need brain bleach. NOW.

  8. Nate Winchester on 12 April 2010, 12:34 said:

    …and horse sex.

    No… oh Jabootu no…

    Way to be an asshole to someone who was only concerned for you. Oh well, we all know that SHE NEEDS NO MAN to care for her, and is strong and independent and mature, although having exhibited none of these things, but of course since she wears pants and the great MZB tells us she is then she is, innit?

    But… wait she just said:
    “And I have no friend, no lover, I am alone, alone as any monk in his solitary cell in the ice caves of Nevarsin”

    I have no sympathy for a “character” suffering from something that’s their own fault.

    She did not like the way he looked at her.

    My mad detective skills are starting to tingle… I think I know why you don’t have a friend or lover…

    I shall not ask, and it’s frankly better if I don’t get an answer at all.

    Yep, all her “connecting” with animals is turning Romilly into a furry.

    We learn that the REEL KEENG wants the magicians here to cast an illusion about the army so they’re invisibibibible.

    Well that’s just stupid. Unless the magic masks ALL signs, the enemy would still be able to see the army coming and that’s not even mentioning how the army might “trip over itself”: in the process. It would be a far better plan to make say… every 3rd soldier invisible so your enemy underestimates the army size, makes tactical blunders, etc etc.

    Because she’s just that special and the men have more fun

    Um… is it really a good idea for a nubile, pretty young girl (and you know that as a Mary Sue she is) to spend time among a bunch of soldiers that have not only been alone and on the road for several weeks but are also about to go into a battle where they’re more likely to die? I don’t want to blame the victim or anything but c’mon! Don’t make yourself a victim in the first place.

    As for the [shudder] rest, is it really that time of year for mares to be in heat?

  9. fffan on 12 April 2010, 23:53 said:

    I’m just impressed that you’re not smashing your head in a sidewalk to forget what you’ve just read.

  10. lookingforme on 14 April 2010, 15:52 said:

    Wait…is Lenka wearing a pair of earphones around her neck?

    I really like the drawing by the way! Although I do have to question your sanity—I can sometimes BARELY make it through the excerpts you post! How did you make it through the whole book??

  11. Chant on 14 April 2010, 20:14 said:

    Mists of Avalon was a lot better than this, although it did get soapboxy at times. At least the feminism was part of the whole focus of the book, and not just thrown in at apparently random intervals.

  12. lccorp2 on 15 April 2010, 13:16 said:

    I read Mists of Avalon, or least tried to.

    It’s an equally vomitous mess that only sold because it was FEMINIST! In addition to the problems of this book, we get religious bigotry thrown into the mix.

  13. Deborah on 13 January 2011, 18:26 said:

    Mares go into heat around once a month.
    But ewww. Just ewwww. That seems to be the only appropriate response to that.