delphipsmith: (GrampaMunster)
Forget the candy and costumes -- give me vintage horror movies! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

TCM is doing a marathon today through Monday. We just finished watching "The Blob" (1958) and now "Village of the Damned" (1960) is on, squeee!!! Also on the schedule, among others: House of Wax, Cat People, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, To the Devil a Daughter, The Mummy, Black Sabbath... I can hardly contain my glee :) I may have to call in sick to work on Monday lol

Saturday lineup
Sunday lineup
Monday lineup
delphipsmith: (BA beta)
Normally when I go to a conference there are at least one or two sessions where I skive off to do something else -- take a walking tour of whatever city we're in, have a nice long lunch and sit in the sun, whatever. Not this one. For every slot there were multiple sessions I wanted to go to; if only I could have cloned myself! This is super long, so I've put the session summaries behind cuts.

So, 8am Thursday I jumped right into "Gender and Sexuality Politics in U.S. Television Culture" with three excellent papers. The first one, "Queered Telefeminism and Female Friendships," among other things showed clips from a very funny episode of Designing Women in which Suzanne encounters an old beauty pageant colleague/competitor who announces she's "come out." At first Suzanne doesn't get it ("Well ah do think forty is a little old to be a debutante, but ever'one deserves a pahty" lol!) but then she assumes the friend must be in love with her. Later she and the friend are in a sauna and Suzanne says, "Ah'm sorry, we just cain't be anythin' more than friends" at which point an older woman who has been listening to their conversation leaves in a huff, and Suzanne leans out the door to shout, "Y'all have a lot more problems then lesbians in your sauna!!" *snerk* The second paper looked at masculinity in Buffy, and raised the interesting point that traditional "macho" masculinity is more often than not portrayed negatively in the series. Examples given include Adam is hyper-strong but constructed, unnatural; Riley's excessive strength and macho abilities come from a drug; Warren is a brilliant engineer but also a misogynistic murderer; Caleb represents classic evangelical viewpoint, women are meant to be dominated. Buffy and Willow, on the other hand, have natural in-born power. The third paper, "The Cinderella Scientist: A critical reading of The Big Bang Theory and Women in Science," really made me think: the presenter reviewed the episode where Leonard is tasked with speaking to a class of high school girls about women in science and pointed out that although the alleged mission is encouraging women in science, the actual women in science are off at Disneyland getting dressed up/made up as princesses, the men ultimately fail at their task and yet they are rewarded (Howard gets to role play as Prince Charming, Leonard gets all hot over Penny in her princess dress, and Amy is lying on the sofa being Snow White and waiting -- in vain, of course -- for Sheldon to kiss her awake. This didn't make me like the show any less, but it did make me think about the degree to which it truly shows women as equals in STEM fields.

Next, a Stephen King session with three papers drawing on his latest novel, Doctor Sleep. Since I'd recently finished reading it, this one caught my interest. The first argued that Dr. Sleep and Joyland, which were written basically during the same time period, could be read as companion texts -- that is, having read one gives you a richer reading experience of the other. King of course is notorious for interlocking people, phrases, ideas, etc. across his entire body of work. The second paper, "Filing/Defiling in Stephen King," explored the extended metaphor of files/memory, and was the most interesting for me as an archivist. At the start of The Shining, the man who's interviewing Jack Torrance for the caretaker position has all these files on him; the Overlook sucks Jack in by pushing its files at him -- the scrapbooks, the boxes of clippings in the basement (like a virus?); in Dreamcatcher Jonesy hides information from the alien possessing him by visualizing his mind as a room of file cabinets and hiding information by misfiling things or putting them behind the cabinets; in Dr. Sleep Abra and Dan share "files" mentally (including the "meme" of a cartoon pedophile that they modify and send back and forth) and Abra visualizes her mind as a room of file cabinets in order to entrap Rose the Hat. It was quite interesting, made me think of Caryn Radick's excellent paper on an archival reading of Dracula. The third paper was about teacher/student relationships in King, specifically Danny/Halloran in The Shining (though of course there's also his father's relationship with his students), and then Danny/Abra and to a certain extent Rose/the girl she turns in Dr. Sleep.

Next session: "Fans Crossing: Cross-Textual, Cross-Media, Cross-Fandom." The first paper was my favorite, about how frustrated viewers of Angel were that Fred and Wesley never had a chance to get together, and then Joss cast them as Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. The larger point was about creators whose body of work functions as a unified whole that's greater than the sum of its parts, something called (if I wrote it down correctly) "hyper-diegesis." Hyper-diegetic casting, then, is where one character gets to do something as another character, through the medium of the actor playing them both. Like Fred and Wesley, who (sort of) ended up together as Beatrice and Benedick, because Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof played both parts. Then there was one about Walking Dead and how it keeps the fans going through "transmedia storytelling" -- that is, through tv, video games, comic books, etc., so there really is no "off season." The last session was particularly interesting to me as a writer of fanfic: it explored what makes a crossover fic work. Essentially the presenter's argument was that crossovers work when they are able to inhabit a larger universe in which the "strange" elements of both worlds can coexist and neither breaks or conflicts with the other. So for example, a Harry Potter/Twilight crossover in which Lupin grows up in the werewolf community in Forks is perfectly reasonable. She referred to these as "second degree imaginary worlds" which I thought was kind of cool. This is why I love Discworld/Harry Potter crossovers -- all those witches and wizards seem perfectly compatible :)

I was really tempted by the Gothic Classic film session (Dracula, The Haunting, I Walked with a Zombie, Jane Eyre) but instead fell prey to my love of Star Trek and Star Wars. Among other things, I learned that every single one of the Star Wars movies follows the 17 stages of the classic monomyth, that Kirk=Dionysos and Spock=Apollo, and that the Enterprise may be a representation of the Divine Feminine. Yes, really. One interesting snippet of argument is that in Jungian terms one could view Kirk and Spock as each other's "shadow self" which may explain why they're the original and most enduring slash couple: because we perceive them as two halves of a whole.

The last session of the day was maybe my favorite (though it's hard to pick): The Borders of Fandom, Female Desire in Fandom. The first paper was about fan edits like The Phantom Edit which re-cut Episode II to remove all trace of Jar-Jar Binks :D He drew a parallel between this and Hollywood's now-familiar habit of releasing alternate cuts, extended cuts, director's cuts, etc. suggesting that the latter was an outgrowth of the former, and listing some of the informal rules that the fan-edit community has evolved in an attempt to respect copyright. The second paper, "Fake Geek Girls": Who Called the Fandom Police?" was brilliant; it started with Tony Harris' rant against cosplay chicks, then talked about how badly Twilight fans were treated at the 2009 Comic-Con, and questioned the definition of a "real" fan. Does it depend on real-life participation, knowledge of the source material, breadth or depth of engagement? Ultimately (she argued), questioning the authenticity of female fans arises from an assumption of male heterosexuality: "Women do this to get attention from men because." Very interesting and provocative. The last paper was on Johnlock erotica so it was just plain fun :D However, she also made the salient point that good erotica relies on satisfaction for the characters, not just for the reader.

Along the way I also learned an excellent quote from Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant; we have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."

Whew, OK, that was fun! If anybody wants to know more about any of the sessions, let me know. For now, I'm off to bed so I can get up at 6am to catch a 7am train ::cries::
delphipsmith: (weeping angel)
The AccursedThe New York Times said, "Some novels are almost impossible to review, either because they’re deeply ambiguous or because they contain big surprises the reviewer doesn’t wish to give away."

I'm not so sure about the surprises -- other than one particular thing near the end, it wasn't too difficult to see what was coming, although some of the events were decorated with surprising details. However, there's no question about the ambiguity. (Which strikes me as a rather oxymoronic thing to say, but there you go.) Even after the last page, one still isn't quite sure what happened and what only seemed to have happened.

I have a love/hate relationship with Oates. I've read very few of her books -- more of her short stories -- because almost every one I've read has left me deeply uneasy. I read "Where are you going, where have you been" five years ago, and just remembering it still creeps me out to this day. Obviously this is the mark of a skilled writer, but I don't generally choose my books for the purpose of psychically scarring myself. In addition, she has a tendency to focus on the dark side, and as a result it's often difficult to like any of the characters in her novels. They're just not very nice people, many of them.

This book has many of the elements I love, though, so I thought I'd give it a shot. First and foremost, it's a purported history, replete with excerpts from letters, diaries (including coded ones!), newspaper articles, transcribed eyewitness accounts, and a boatload of historical detail intermixed with straight narrative. Oates does an excellent job creating the very different voices of the writers of these various "primary sources" -- I particularly enjoyed the semi-coherent ramblings of the neurotic Adelaide Burr, who refers to herself as "Puss," reads Madame Blavatsky in secret, and has some serious issues with sex. The narrator himself, one M. W. van Dyck, is great fun, an unreliable raconteur prone to digress into irrelevancies (the history of corsets, the minutiae of Princeton politics) at the drop of a hat. Like all too many writers, he clearly wanted to jam every single bit of his research into his book; in fact, he spends several paragraphs listing all the things he had to leave out.

Second, the story is intricately woven into actual history through the use of real people (Upton Sinclair, Woodrow Wilson, Grover Cleveland, Jack London, various faculty at Princeton University), places (Princeton University, New York City) and events of the times (Socialists, anarchists, etc.). None of them are particularly pleasant people, but they are real.

Third, it's got solid Victorian gothic chops: a demon bridegroom, huge grand homes, a beautiful innocent young girl, a vicar with a secret, a competition with the devil (or possibly just a minor demon, it's hard to say), an exotic and mysterious European nobleman, murder, suicide, madness and more. All that and a surprisingly high body count. (Like the House of Usher, the doomed Slades don't seem to have much of a future, although that too is ambiguous.)

On the down side, most of the characters aren't very likable and the supernatural parts end up playing second fiddle to the real villains: the upper classes, who can't be bothered to speak out against racism, prejudice, poverty, hideous working conditions, the second-class treatment of women, and other societal ills (although the narrator himself doesn't seem to even notice this, which is kind of amusing).

And it's very, very long.

So be patient, Constant Reader, and expect to enjoy the journey as much as -- perhaps more than -- the destination.
delphipsmith: (VampiresKiss)
The New York Times recently ran a feature piece on Justin Cronin's The Passage (which I read and liked VERY much, except for the last page where I suddenly found out IT WAS ONLY BOOK 1). Cronin started out as an author of what many people would probably call literary fiction (e.g., Mary and O'Neil, also very good).

Then he wrote a behemoth of a vampire novel (oh, and two sequels) and sold it for a gazillion bucks, so of course people started saying he'd sold out. But really, what is this artificial distinction between literary fiction and genre fiction? There are tremendously talented and literate authors writing horror, science fiction, fantasy; there are appalling hacks who still get billed and sold as lit fi. Isn't what matters that it's a great story well told?

From the article:

the difference between a literary novel and a genre-oriented one is not usually of much consequence to readers — nor is it particularly apparent to most writers, who tend to see the same blank page no matter what kind of book they sit down to work on. “You write how you write,” Cronin told me. “If I were a calculating careerist, I would not be a novelist.” When I contacted Colson Whitehead, the MacArthur-genius-award-winning author who last year released “Zone One,” a literary novel about a zombie takeover of Manhattan — my message to him included the words “literary” and “genre” — he replied politely that he’d “rather shoot myself in the face” than have another discussion about the difference between one category of literature and another.

On a related (i.e., zombie) note, I'm on Letter 8 of Ora et Labora et Vampires and am quite enjoying it.
delphipsmith: (VampiresKiss)
I very nearly gave up on this, due to fear of anticipated witch/vampire paranormal-romance cheesiness, and had it not been for the luscious descriptions of Duke Humfrey's reading room at the Bodleian, old manuscripts, food and wine, I might have bailed early on. But perseverance was rewarded: the author came through in terms of plot and I'm glad I stuck with it, because it turned out to be quite good. Some of the romance is, I freely admit, indeed a bit cheesy -- the male lead really needs to stop growling and purring -- and after the horror that was Twilight I have very little patience for the "I want you desperately but we cannot have sex now, we must wait until it's PERFECT" nonsense, but in the end these were minor quibbles in light of the intriguing plot. A plot, I might add, which manages to combine witches, vampires, demons, alchemy, secret crusader societies, and just about every magical power known to witch-kind. Not to mention some supremely good descriptions of wine (she said, smacking her lips).

The main character's irritating Mary Sue-wimp-ness ("No no no, I don't want to be a witch, I don't want to be magic" -- what are you, NUTS, woman??!??) does at last get explained in relatively credible terms. I suspect that in book 2 (forthcoming) she'll be a much stronger person, since there are some strong female characters, the best being Matthew's mother Ysabeau; when she faces down her other son, Baldwin, it's quite a scene. The Bishop House turns out to be a pretty strong character itself; I love the way it creates new bedrooms and spits out useful items as needed.

The intertwining of alchemy and genetics, magic and evolution, past and present are engrossing, and a nice change from the fluff that makes up most vampire/witch/demon fiction in these degenerate days. I'm looking forward to Book 2.
delphipsmith: (bookgasm)
Having finished the freelance consulting work which absorbed (sucked dry?) most of my free time for the past six months, I've fallen back into reading with a vengeance. Thus:

Caleb's Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks. Brooks just gets better and better. I started out with People of the Book and was a convert almost immediately; Year of Wonders confirmed it and by the time I got to March I'd become an evangelist. Her writing is truly luminous -- spare but every word well-chosen, and she evokes a time and place better than almost anyone I've ever read. As with People of the Book, she's taken a small historical snippet and built an intensely believable story around it. Her fiction is more real than most people's history.

Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century, with everything from big-game hunters going after triceratopses to unresolvable paradoxes to an old man visiting 1950 in an attempt to find a nice Jewish boy for his daughter. Great fun, if a bit uneven (some are better than others). The Le Guin at the end was, as she always is for me, the star of the show.

All four Tiffany Aching books from Terry Pratchett. All of his books make me laugh; the best ones also make me cry. These did. His witches are the most practical, hard-headed, loving, smart, wonderful women I've ever encountered, whether they're practicing "persickology" or avoiding "the cackle", and the Nac Mac Feegles are the best anti-fairies you'll ever meet.

Dracula, My Love, a huge disappointment. Thin, boring, uneven. Skip it. If you've read Fred Saberhagen's The Dracula Tapes, you've read a far far better version of this already. The author tries to turn Mina into a modern woman but doesn't succeed very well -- instead of thinking for herself she's like a weathervane, swinging around to believe whoever is telling her tales at the moment, so it comes across as more of a slightly discordant medley than a coherent tune. In fact, Bram Stoker's Mina is in some ways a more consistent and stronger character than this one. There's a completely irrelevant sub-plot about Mina finding her father and mother, which doesn't even make Mina a more interesting character since it's a very cliche Victorian solution. The book was a bit of a snooze in places because James had to recount in all the events of the original book in order to tell Mina's version of them; apparently she didn't want to assume that anyone had actually read the original, which to my mind is a major flaw (what's wrong with demanding your readers come to a book with a little context??). Finally, the ending, while not bad in and of itself, was entirely wrong for the story thus far. It would have been a tolerable ending for a different version of the story, but for me it didn't fit this one well at all.

So there. Right now I'm working on A Discovery of Witches, which I was excited about until I found out it was only #1 of a trilogy. Why must everyone do trilogies? Why??? I blame it all on Allen and Unwin.
delphipsmith: (why a spoon?)
My reading in December outstripped my desire/spare time/attention span/dedication to writing about it, so herewith a very brief summary of the last of 2009 to get us up to speed:

It Could Happen Here (Judson) - prediction of collapse of the US due to gross economic inequity. Cites things like the French Revolution and the Great Depression as evidence that excessive economic disparity in a country leads to instability and therefore quite possibly to revolution.

Book of Live Dolls (Gates) - children's book; all the dolls in a village come to life and they and their "mommies" have adventures. OK, it's from the 1950s and it's hokey as hell, but I was sick and wanted mental baby food. This one, perhaps obviously, was a re-read of a childhood favorite; I can't think why I like it so much since I never played with dolls, but it's sweet in a daffy kind of way. (There are NO BOYS in it at all, apart from the main little girl's father!)

Day Watch (Lukyanenko) - second in the supernatural series translated from Russian. The books aren't exactly sequels in that the main characters aren't the same throughout but rather the focus of each story shifts from one character or set of characters to another; a better description would be a series of interlocking short stories or novellas. Fabulously complex, original, and engrossing (pretty much the polar opposite of the preceding book, now that I come to think about it).

The Left Hand of Darkness (LeGuin) - Hugo AND Nebula winner, a double header. Exploration (sort of) of gender and what happens when there isn't any as we define it. A groundbreaker in its day but it's a bit of a slog to read now; one wants less politics and more sociology.

Time of the Hunter's Moon (Holt) - Victoria Holt's gothic romances are one of my guilty pleasures, crammed with young pretty governesses, lonely moors, huge old manors with dark hallways and bloody histories, mysterious noblemen with suspiciously-deceased first wives, strange old women who drop elliptical hints, secrets and lies and (of course) rakes who Just Haven't Met The Right Woman. I'm embarrassed to admit how much I love them. (Reread)

Modern Magic (Alcott) - Continuing the gothic tradition, we have (again) mysterious governesses, previously unknown love children, cross-dressing, drugs, and death squads from India. Includes such immortal lines as
" 'Heaven bless hashish if its dreams end like this.' " These are no doubt the same stories that were "the blessing of the Marches in the way of groceries and gowns" and are great fun, not only for themselves but also because it's so easy to picture Jo scribbling them in her garret.

Total books read in 2009: 99, about 70% new and 30% rereads.*

Whew. Caught up and ready to start 2010. Ooh, and on the writing front, have not one not two but THREE ideas for short stories. AND another writer who I very much respect has suggested I sub one of my pieces (with some minor polishing) to a pro magazine. w00t!!

(...51 days...)

* That does not count the 437 times I read "The Berenstain Bears' Picnic" to my 4-1/2 year old nephew. I think I have it memorized. "Mother Bear, put your apron away -- we are going to go on a picnic today!!!" Every time we got to the scene near the end where Poppa Bear is flipping out and waving his arms The Nephew would say, "Wait, I have to show this page to daddy, it's his favorite." Heh heh heh.
delphipsmith: (newHP)
Squeeee! [livejournal.com profile] wicked_visions has done a new set of anti-Twilight icons. Go. See. Giggle.

* Because of his comment on J.K. Rowling vs. Stephenie Meyer (at end of 2d para). Hahahahaaaa!
delphipsmith: (VampiresKiss)
A couple of days ago I finished Night Watch. Two thumbs very high up for this highly original vampires-and-other-magical-beings story from Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] anna_bird for providing the book, in exchange for which I sent her a small package of anarchy and probably got her on Dick Cheney's watch list, because you just KNOW he opens people's mail. But I digress.)

Night Watch is one of the best things I've read in a long time. Its approach to both the battle between good and evil and the relationship between magical beings and regular humans is unusual, to say the least; there's a kind of armed truce between good and evil, vampires get a set number of licenses for human victims (literally a hunting license) and neither side seems to have much respect for regular people, though the Night Watch (those who watch the night -- that is, the good guys) are very clear on the fact that their prime directive is to protect said regular folks. There's an established system of trading favors -- "If you let me go I'll give you the right to a third-level intervention of your choice" sort of thing.

One of the most original aspects of the book is the Twilight, a sort of submarine reality that one can "drop into" thereby becoming invisible in the regular world. This dropping into Twilight is not without risks -- if you're not strong enough, the Twilight will sap your energy and will and you end up roaming it as a sad little ectoplasm. Your state of mind the first time you enter the Twilight has a lot to do with whether you end up working for the Day Watch (the bad guys) or the Night Watch (the good guys); if you've just had a fight with your father, say, and are feeling all angry and cruel and vengeful, it kind of imprints on you when you drop into the Twilight and pushes you towards the Day Watch.

However, Dark magicians can heal people and Light magicians can kill, so the good/evil dichotomy isn't a pure one; free will and choice are central to both sides. The difference is in the purpose and intent. At one point one of the new Night Watch members, Svetlana, is quizzing Anton on how she'll know what to do, what best serves the Light, whether an apparently good action will have bad repercussions.

"Imagine you're walking along the street and you see a grownup beating a child, right there in front of you. What would you do?"

"If I had any margin left for intervention," I said, "I'd perform a remoralization. Naturally."

"And you'd be absolutely certain that was the right thing to do?...What if the child deserved to be punished?...What if the punishment would have saved it...and now it will grow up to be a murderer and a thief?...You'd be certain you were right? Where's the boundary line?"

"The point is that the Dark Ones never ask questions like these...[and] ordinary humans have it a million times easier...they can be good and bad, it all depends on the moment, on their surroundings, on the book they read yesterday, on the steak they had for dinner. That's why they're so easy to control; even the most malicious villain can easily be turned to the Light, and the kindest and most noble of men can be nudged towards the darkness. But we have made a choice."

"I've made it too, Anton...then why don't I understand where the boundary is and what's the difference between me and some witch who attends black masses? Why am I still asking these questions?"

"You'll never stop asking them...It will never stop, never. If you wanted to be free of painful questions, you chose the wrong side...You'll never stop asking yourself if every step you make is the right one."

I love these kind of ethical dilemmas. You can't learn a thing by observing someone who has no choice, or who doesn't care about any alternatives other than "whatever benefits ME." But you can learn a huge amount from watching how someone who cares very much about something beyond himself chooses among equally bad (or equally attractive) alternatives.

And the end of the book was excellent -- did not fizzle out. Though I wonder where he could possible go with the three sequels. After all, you can only have so many major apocalypses (apocalypsi?) before stunting your readers' fear for the characters...
delphipsmith: (TwiBuf)
Bwahahahaaaaa! Buffy/Twilight mashup (with a tiny bit of Cedric). Hilarious and much better than the silly books.

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delphipsmith: (BuffyVlad)
Just finished rereading Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian -- another world I hate to leave. I would catalog Dracula's library in a heartbeat -- all those rare volumes and manuscripts make me salivate -- and I desperately want to visit the Radcliffe Camera to find out if they really do have a substantial vampire collection. Also want to see Constantinople. I didn't like Helen so much this time through, though; some of her actions are incomprehensible and she's not an entirely sympathetic character. Had forgotten how eerily wonderful the very last scene is.

Joy! Just discovered Kostova has another book out: The Swan Thieves. Like Dracula, my to-read list goes on and on and on...
delphipsmith: (NoSparkle)
Finished The Strain. Very creepy, very visual scenes, as you'd expect from the director of Pan's Labyrinth, but at some point halfway through I realized that the creepiest scene of all -- the opening one, with the dead airplane -- was a) completely unworkable for at least four different reasons and b) required stupid-on-cue from at least three different people. That annoyed me, though not enough to stop me being up until 3 am tearing through it to see how many people end up D-E-D.

Minor spoiler involving dogs )

I liked the Russian rat-catcher, and the old Romanian dude; very impressive arsenal, especially the UV mines. Buffy could have used those. Am also pleased that the sun does not make these vamps sparkle, it just makes them Crispy Critters. Nor are they decayed nobility with an interest in art, literature, music, or introspection, unless you count examining the inside of other people's arteries. That, they're super-interested in. Repeatedly. And violently. It's kind of like I imagine the Volturi might have been in their younger and less-inhibited days.

I do think it was nothing but a marketing ploy to make it a trilogy, though. So far seems like it could easily have been tightened up and published as a single book.
delphipsmith: (BuffyVlad)
Just finished No Blood Spilled by Les Daniels. Good news: Don Sebastian Villanueva is a way cool new (to me) vamp character that (a) is not sparkly and (b) is not involved in a love triangle with a werewolf (beg pardon, all you wolf porn fans). Bad news: Daniels only wrote five Don Sebastian books. Smeg on you, Daniels.
delphipsmith: (VampiresKiss)
Just added five more books to my to-read list, bringing the unholy total to 88. I think the worst day of my life was the day I realized I would never live long enough to read all the books I wanted to. If anyone knows a sympathetic vampire (or one susceptible to bribery), send him my way and I'll thank you forever. Literally.
delphipsmith: (George)
Edward's obsessive and controlling behavior is starting to seriously vex me, and all the back-and-forth and bargaining over Bella's choice is wearying.  Bella needs to kick him in the butt and tell him to lighten the heck up.  Felt v. bad for Jacob but then he acted like a prat and practically tried to date-rape her (she let him off WAY too easily on that).  Sad to see Bella give in to everything everyone else wants (marriage, the big huge wedding, etc etc) rather than sticking to her guns.  Edward is basically remaking her into this nice little early-1900s-girl that (presumably) he always wanted.  And still no sex!!  She and Edward are so conventional they're very nearly boring, even with the sparkly skin and the blood.  Still no substantive discussion of souls or heaven/hell etc and Eddie Baby's concern re: possible damnation seems to have just faded away.   Curious. 

On the other hand, Rosalie's backstory was pretty heartbreaking and made me understand her attitude towards Bella a bit better, and the growing alliance between the shape-shifters and the vampires is intriguing.  I predict Jacob's going to imprint on SOMEBODY in the next book, they can't stop talking about it.

The VOLTURI!!!! were nowhere to be seen but you know they're lurking.  I assume they will be back with a vengeance in the last book.
delphipsmith: (books)
Some questions:

1)  Why do all the shape-shifting native American kids have Bible names?  Rachel, Leah, Jacob, Seth, etc.  Very strange, no internal support for it.

2)  Could you beat me over the head a few more times with the Romeo and Juliet parallel?  'Cause I don't think I quite got it.

3)  Alice's fortune-telling skill is spot on every single time it needs to be and then -- surprise, surprise -- it's wrong at the perfect time to further the plot.  Color me surprised.

4)  Why is Edward so hot on the idea of getting married?  There's no internal rationale for him being so freaking conservative.   Even if he was born in 1902.  I mean, the guy eats mountain lions for pete's sake.  Then he changes his mind, then Bella changes HER mind.  Argh. Still waaaaaay too much angst from Eddie Baby.

5)  THE VOLTURI !!!  Seriously the best and scariest creatures encountered thus far and why isn't there more about them???  Freaky psychotic things.  (OK, actually they're the second scariest.  The first scariest is the human woman working for them who knows exactly what's going on and helps them anyway.  Think about that drain in the middle of the floor.  Brrrrr.)

And by the way, the Volturi are supposed to never eat the locals.  So this horde of people that come in as the Cullens are leaving are...what?  A lost tour bus?  Catered snacks?  Odd.  Though it certainly amped up the creep factor (see #5).  Dracula would have been proud of these guys.

Still waiting for the sex with the icy cold boyfriend.  Maybe Bella should practice with a popsicle.

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