So, I don’t think I’ve posted one like this here, but basically, I’ll be having a conversation with myself, because I get bored and need to talk to someone. There’s me, and there’s “Myself” — who will be playing the “nice” part of me, and… asking questions, and making sure I don’t go on and on about unrelated topics. (There’s My Other Self, but asleep, thank god.) This review isn’t even what you call a review. Don’t expect anything professional, or even something that makes sense.
Myself: This doesn’t even have 5 star reviews from all your friends – or the rest of Goodreads.
Me: That’s usually a good thing. When a book has mixed reviews, it’s… good, or not bad, or decent. When a book has 5 stars all over, it’s… 95% of the time, bad. And all the books that have mostly negative reviews are actually pretty bad – believe me on this. Well, I suppose maybe you shouldn’t, since I don’t read many books that people tell me are bad. It’s also possible that someone just gave some book a negative rating because they didn’t like the author, or something mentioned in the book–
The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa. Click on cover for more details.
Myself: Okay, whatever, shut up now. This is about Iron King. And what’s with your face?
Me: Right. Well… my face…
Myself: Is it good or bad? The book?
Me: Uhm… okay, so The Raven Boys and Iron King both had high, low, and meh ratings…
Myself: What the fuck is a meh rating?
Me: Like, meh! I’m sure people understand me. Both books also have disappearing fathers. The Raven Boys I liked–
Myself: This is about IRON KING.
Me: Right, right. Okay, but Iron King?
Me: Oh my god.
Myself: Oh my god?
Me: What the fuck?
Myself: Iron King?
Myself: Yes… to put it very simply, it was bad. Really bad. From what I read of it, anyways.
Myself: Wait, are you saying you didn’t read the WHOLE BOOK?
Myself: How dare you?
Me: Shut up. I do what I want. Besides, I got to page 131, that’s more than enough.
Myself: But that means you missed everything. You have no right to judge this book. You have no right to rate this book. You have no right to REVIEW THIS—
Me: Shut up, I said. I’ve read enough of it, and I think it’s pretty bad. I didn’t even meet the love interest and I thought it was bad, so if this guy-who-changes-everything-for-the-girl comes along, I’m 95% sure it only gets worse. That’s what everyone told me too, so no thanks. I’m not reading anymore of it.
Myself: Well, you sure missed out–
Myself: Well, you better get yourself ready for anyone who thinks you missed out–
Myself: Well, you better explain properly–
Myself: I’m only saying what you want me to say, goddammit, STOP THAT.
Myself: Bad in what way?
Me: I don’t really know, you see. I don’t know how to explain it, and I don’t know where to start.
Myself: You useless annoying piece of—
Me: Be nice.
Myself: I’m only saying what you want me to say.
Me: Ah, yes. Right. So we have this character named Meghan Chase. She is poor, and her father disappeared when she was ten–
Me: What? Really? That makes it even funnier–
Myself: You think parents disappearing is funny?
Me: No, I mean, in the context of the book and with this character and her father – just never mind. Okay. So, six. Meghan has no friends except for this Robbie guy, and no one cares about her at school, or at home, because she has this younger half brother and this step dad, who is like… not paying attention half the time, and this younger half brother sees like monsters and talks to this plush toy named Floppy – which made me think, OHMYGOD PANDORA HEARTS!
Myself: You really suck at this.
Me: Shut up. Anyways, the writing is bad.
Myself: Oh, come on, there’s a lot of good stuff on faeries and there’s good descriptions and–
Me: Okay, all right. Some of the writing was like, meh. And okay. So I guess then, the writing is not bad in a way where it’s like, ugh, you don’t know how to do words! But more like, you’re not trying to do words to the best of your ability, and it only makes it worse because you have this poor excuse of a main character.
Myself: What even.
Me: It’s not the kind of writing that needs editing, but the kind of writing that needs for you to sit back and try to imagine yourself in this character’s place as the story takes place. You’ll notice if you do that, that this character really, really makes no sense, and that it also makes the story kind of shit. I get very irritated when there’s a good idea, there’s a good story, but it is ruined by a useless character, and because that useless character made it impossible for the story to work.
Myself: This isn’t making you sound smart. You’re not actually making sense, you know.
Me: Okay. Okay. Examples. First of all, let’s talk about her thoughts. This is in first person. First person meaning we’re very, very close to her. VERY CLOSE. Like, me and you right now. So right in her head. Now take a look at this:
“Countless stories, songs, and poems have been written about this wonderful age, when a girl finds true love and the stars shine for her and the handsome prince carries her off into the sunset … I didn’t think it would be that way for me.”
I’ll ignore this passage – actually no wait, can I talk about how annoying it is to read about that bit KNOWING that this is a love story where a guy would come and sweep her away into the sunset? Like, honestly, don’t do that, okay? But anyway, notice that she says she doesn’t think it would happen for her. Then on the next page, we get this:
“While other girls spend hours in front of their closets crying, “What should I wear?” my drawers basically hold three things: clothes from Goodwill, hand me downs, and overalls.
I wish we weren’t so poor. I know pig farming isn’t the most glamorous of jobs … [she goes on here] … I glared at my scanty wardrobe in disgust. Oh, well, I guess Scott will have to be wowed with my natural grace and charm, if I don’t make an idiot of myself in front of him.”
Myself: Why are you italicizing that?
Me: EXACTLY THE PROBLEM HERE.
Myself: I’m only saying what you want me to say, stop acting like–
Me: But why do we suddenly break away from her first person narration so we can get those thoughts? You don’t need to do that. I know it’s you thinking here. I even wondered for a bit if it was another character influencing her thoughts – like that would be pretty awesome, you know?
Myself: You can easily ignore that though–
Me: Oh, please. My job is not to ignore the useless bits in the book. I, as a reader, should feel like the story is flowing properly and these little things INTERRUPT me. That’s never good for a book – if you don’t need it there, don’t fucking put it in there.
Myself: Remember, we said to be nice–
Me: Go to hell! That shit with her thoughts italicized happens a few times, but there’s a lot of other ridiculous bits. Okay, so first chapter, after she gets dressed and what not – oh by the way, did I tell you? She goes on about this girl at her school who is “inflate a boob” — like, yeah Meghan, that’s gonna make people like you! Anyways, the kitchen. She comes down to the kitchen, and she tells us about her stepfather and little half brother Ewan or something–
Me: And she like describes what the two of them are doing and then there’s this: “Where’s Mom?” I asked as a I entered the kitchen. I IMAGINED YOU IN THE KITCHEN THIS ENTIRE TIME BECAUSE YOU TOLD US WHERE YOUR STEPFATHER WAS SITTING, AND WHAT ETHAN WAS DOING! Why are you going into the kitchen now? This, again, is INTERRUPTION. NOT GOOD. Like just some random action inserted with dialogue isn’t going to make it good – it isn’t going to make us think that you have such ~good writing~ because it’s USELESS. Fucking pisses me off more than anything in the world – you know who does shit like this with their writing? DO YOU?
Me: What? Oh my god… Maybe I do? Someone should check that for me—but CLARE DOES THIS. ALKFJKDHGKHJAF
Myself: Oh, here it comes. Remember, people only understand that on Tumblr. You must explain yourself.
Me: LKJFAHFOIAHROIFJK I DO NOT LIKE CLARE’S WRITING KJFAHLGFIUKJB
Myself: Everyone knows that. But what else, I remember something about a person scaring the brother?
Me: Yes, there’s that too – but wait! Remember I said she’s poor, right? She comes into the kitchen, complains about what her mom got and didn’t get for her to eat, and then she like nibbles on a bagel and throws it in the trash, with a SATISFIED SMIRK. Honestly? Really? What the fucking hell, why would you do that? What is this character? Then when she’s leaving, her little brother is like, hey Meghan there’s something in my room. And she’s like, ugh kids are soooo stupid! I’ll go check but ugh kiiiids! So she goes there, and she sees someone looking at her from inside the closet, then she’s like, ughhhhh kiiiids! Now I’m seeing things because stuuupid kiiids!
Myself: That would scare me.
Me: Yeah, and I’d be pretty suspicious too. I mean, I’m not the nicest person to my siblings, but if something happened to them, or they said they were scared, well whatever is in that closet hurting them better get itself ready—I’ll burn it if I have to. But she’s just like, ughhh I’m late to school! Nobody cares about my birthdaaaay! My life suuuuucks! Then we see her best friend Robbie, who calls her princess all the time. And she’s like, don’t call me that oh my god don’t call me thaaaat!
Myself: But that’s good foreshadowing because she turns out to be the daughter of – oh wait, sorry. Spoilers.
Me: AHAHAHAHAHAHAH. SPOILERS? THAT’S ON THE BACK OF THE FUCKING BOOK. I knew she was the daughter of some Faery King, and I knew that’s why Robbie called her a princess, and that’s why he was around – to protect her or keep her away or something like that. And I knew that every weird thing going on was the result of this faery stuff, but she’d SEE it happen, and then be like, oh, time to go back to sleep. She overhears Robbie and some nurse talking about this faery stuff and her, like she hears THE WHOLE FUCKING CONVERSATION – ALL OF IT – she’s just says, oh, whatever.
Like, hey, hey, just a little helpful hint: if you’re going to have your character not understand something even after hearing it all, or telling us that they forget or something, AT LEAST give us some of the conversation, not ALL of it. Make her doze off or something. Show us that she’s confused – and not just fucking tell us, because SHE HEARD THAT SHIT. I READ HER HEARING THAT SHIT. Then she’s like, OMG, what I heard before! OMG.
Like, you remember that now? What the hell?
Myself: But it must’ve been the faery–
Me: OH NONO, DON’T YOU EVEN. I thought that too! I thought there might be something going on with her memory and her behaviour that was affected by all that weird faery stuff, or that there was something traumatic that happened to her in the past, maybe with her father? Maybe with her mother? Maybe with some faery thing – like the one in her brother’s closet? (This is what happens when you read Pandora Hearts.) But nope, she’s just being a useless, annoying, RUDE character with no personality, no proper thoughts of her own – she just does things, and things happen to her, but she’s not believable and she doesn’t feel real.
Myself: You’ve said that about every single one of Clare’s characters.
Me: I KNOOOW! *screeches*
Myself: This is getting long – time to end–
Me: NOT YET. I’ll skip the part with her in the school and that popular football team dude – I thought it was there to tell us how special and different and oh-the-main-character-doesn’t-fit-in Meghan was – completely unnecessary, but I haven’t read the whole book so I don’t know. But she comes home, okay, after that weird stuff happened at school, and her mom IS ON THE FLOOR BLEEDING! What does she do? She shakes HER INJURED MOTHER A LOT, thinks about phoning the ambulance, doesn’t do it, then her mom gets up! The mom is like, oh it’s fine, I’m totally fine! Then her husband comes and he’s like FUCK YOU’RE NOT WE’RE GOING TO HOSPITAL! So they both go off, and then Meghan’s like, siiighh, my liiife is weeeird my birthday I’m saaad. Then her brother is acting like a fucking monster – HE STARTS DEVOURING PIZZA WITHOUT CHEWING OR ANYTHING – and Meghan is still like, ughhh kids so stuuuupid!
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS UP WITH THIS GIRL?
Her brother attacks her leg, okay – he BITES HER AND SHE STARTS BLEEDING! LIKE A LOT! She says it herself! She says that Ethan “attacked her like a wild dog” but when Robbie comes, and he tells her that wasn’t her brother, she’s like, ohmygd! What do you mean! Don’t say mean things! Waaah! Leave my brother alone!
Myself: I bet you’re making her sound 1000x more annoying than she actually is in the book.
Me: No no no, only exaggerating by 0.0005x, I promise. She drinks anything that is given to her, it looks weird, it smells weird, she drinks it anyway. Her friend Robbie always acts like he’s hiding a billion things, and she’s like, ah well, it’s Robbie! She ADMITS that it’s weird, but when he tells her something, she’s like NOOOOo YOU’RE NOT THE ROBBIE I KNOW! Except, she herself says – she ACTUALLY ADMITS IT TO HERSELF ALL THE TIME BEFORE — that she doesn’t know him! WHAT THE FUCKING HELL?
Myself: Okay, I think we should really stop now – everyone gets it, you didn’t like it–
Me: I AM NOT DONE YET. Robbie goes on to tell her that her brother and he himself is not human, and then she starts screaming that he’s lying and all of that – and then she goes into her brother’s room, and then she comes back out, and then she’s screaming again, and then she’s going on about how unbelievable it is and how everyone is lying, and then she decides to go to faeryland or whatever, and SHE COMPLETELY FORGETS HER BROTHER! ONLY WHEN WE NEED THE CHARACTER TO BE LOST, ONLY THEN, DOES SHE REMEMBER. Oh, is that shiny thing my brother? I must go after him! Oh fuck, that wasn’t my brother! Robbiiie help! Then Puck helps of course, and then something happens, and Puck/Robbie and her are separated, and then she’s like, THAT LIAR HE LEFT ME WAAAH I’M ALONE I AM ALONE IN FAERYLAND WHAT DO I DO NO ONE CARES ABOUT ME WAAH – Meghan Chase, why the fuck are you here? To find your brother. FIND YOUR BROTHER. I hate, hate, hate, HATE characters like these in YA – her little 4 year old brother is better than her, more considerate, and more mature. And then the best part is, THE BEST FUCKING PART is, when she gets taken to that Faery Court or whatever, and she whines about people not helping her there too, and then the King is like, “Meghan Chase you be ma daughtaaaaar *thunder* I did things with your mothaaa *thunder* all sorts of thiiiings because i caaaan *thunder* and now you be my daughtaaaaar!” And of course, she goes NOOOO YOU LIE MY MOM LOVES MY DADDY WHO DISAPPEARED INTO THE POND WHEN I WAS LITTLE YOU DON’T LOVE MY MOMMY GO AWAY! This is supposed to be one of those HOLY FUCKING SHIT moments in the book, you know, where it’s like, SURPRISE! BET YOU COULDN’T GUESS THAT, HEY?
Myself: You said it was on the back of the book.
Me: EXAFUCKINGACTLY. *screeches*
Me: That’s no way to write a story, and if you wanted all the important shit to be in faeryland, why not START the book in faeryland? Why not skip all that useless stuff in the beginning and Robbie going, PRINCESS MY PRINCESS, and why not just — HEY I KNOW! MAYBE YOU SHOULD TELL US SHE iS THE DAUGHTER OF THE FUCKING KING ON THE BACK OF THE BOOK! WHAT A BRILLIANT IDEA! WHO THE FUCK THOUGHT OF THIS AND WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE PUBLISHING–
Myself: Okay, all right. Review is over. This was 1/5 stars and meet us next time maybe–
Me: I AM NOT DONE YET!
Myself: YES YOU ARE – GILBEEEERT!
Me: YOU DID NOT JUST TELL ME THAT IT’S JUST A BOOK — Oh hi! Omg Baby Gil! Cutie, look at you!
Myself: We’re done here. Apologies on behalf of Me. Sometimes, it’s just… not good to be in my head. Good thing that other self never woke up. You don’t want that one in here, trust me.