Oh ye gods. Just die already.

Lucasfilm, not content with letting people just quietly erase the sequel trilogy from their memories, has decided to dig its own hole just a tiny bit deeper. Of its own accord! No economic pressure is forcing them to write and release these stupid books! In fact it’s the exact opposite: they’ve recently been forced to re-release books in the maligned and discarded Expanded Universe instead of their own, main-cannon series. 

And yet they keep doing it.

So, what is the source of my bemused fan-rage this time?

Kristin Baver’s Skywalker: A Family at War is….

….well…

See, turns out that when Rey Force-healed Kylo in the movie, she also removed his Dark Side brainwashing.

She cured him from the Dark Side. Oh, oh, oh, and healed his scar. (What a weird detail. Chicks dig gnarly scars on males because they tend to indicate said male has been in badass fights. In Kylo’s case, the scar is all he had going for him so why…ohhh.)

Man.

If only, I DON’T KNOW, THE ACTUAL CHOSEN ONE OF PROPHESY AND HIS ACTUAL SON OR DAUGHTER HAD BEEN ABLE TO MANIFEST SOME SUCH ABILITY, RIGHT? AND VADER ACTUALLY HAD MASSIVE PHYSICAL INJURIES THAT COULD HAVE USED MAGICAL HEALING TOUCH. Sheesh.

See, I’d say these people need to shut up and go away…but they’re going to go somewhere else and destroy something else if they do. 

We need to bring back tar and feathers…

Jim Butcher is on thin ice, whether he knows it or not

If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.

When a fan of a book series decides to publically take offense, in a forum comprised of other fans, at a single line depicting a character’s thoughts, the chumming has already begun. And this is just the one place that I know about. Undoubtedly there are other cesspits where the discussion is proceeding likewise. I predict that he’s going to get avalanched if he so much as sticks a toe out of line whenever the next blowup happens. He’s too big of a public figure–a known figure–to allow him to not bend the knee.

Reading through the rest of the thread is kind of eerie. There’s one (1) call for sanity; there’s a lot more casting around for other topics to be offended at. Once upon a time, I would have said, for other topics to mock. (remembering being able to spork terrible and even semi-terrible novels? Those things were vicious, but I don’t recall anyone getting cancelled because of them). The most notable character of melanin being an honest-to-possibly-God Paladin, that’s something to be offended by. Police being depicted as mostly well-intentioned and hard-working at the street level, with a generous sprinkling of rotten bad apples and incompetent leadership? Very much not Current Year-acceptable.

The line in question is from Side Jobs. Murphy’s monologue reflects:

“Stop arresting Marcone’s most profitable pimps.” Instead, we get a long speech about racial and socioeconomic profiling. We get screams from political action committees.

The slightly longer quote is (yeah, I went and dug out my copy to transcribe it):

THE POLICE KNOW where Marcone can be reached. Finding him doesn’t do diddly to let us nail him. The fact that he has his fingers in so many pies means that not only do we have to work against Marcone and his shadowy empire, but we have our own superiors and politicians breathing down our necks as well. Oh, they never say anything directly, like, “Stop arresting Marcone’s most profitable pimps.” Instead, we get a long speech about racial and socioeconomic profiling. We get screams from political action committees. We get vicious editorial pieces in the newspapers and on TV.

We mostly stay quiet and keep plugging away at our jobs. Experience has taught us that hardly anyone ever cares what we think or have to say. They demand answers, but they don’t want to listen.

Or Harry’s bird sanctuary speech from Cold Days. 

“Uh,” I said, feeling somewhat off balance. “What do I think of gay guys?”

“Yes.”

“Boink and let boink, more or less.”

Enough to hang a man for?

You decide.

Sorta Busy watchlist & state of the author

Whatever. WordPress.
bloody hell wordpress why do you hate letting me insert pictures so much??

– Wolves (2014) – starring Jason Momoa and Lucas Till, and a couple other character actors. Was going to do a write-up on this one, because although it’s a low-budget people in furry masks going RRRRAAAAA in the woods movie, it was also surprisingly well-thought out, coherent, well-acted, and character-based. But it’s been a couple of weeks and it increasingly seems not worth the effort.

– Green Fire (1954) – starring Stewart Grainger and Grace Kelly. It was completely skippable and not very interesting.

– Reprisal (2018) – Frank Grillo and Bruce Willis. I wandered off about fifteen minutes in and never wandered back.

Readlist: I’ve got The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors by James D. Hornswoggler or something and Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky on the kitchen table, where they have sat since I got back from the library last week. I’ve been re-reading Pratchett to wind down in the evenings.

Work notes:

– If I never have to hear “on account of Covid,” or ” ’cause of the Covid” again, I will die happy.

– Stop telling me how trustworthy you are. It makes me suspicious.

– There’s nothing quite like a nice, lukewarm gas station coffee at three p.m.

– If you ask me how I like the job, don’t be offended when I say the best thing about it is meeting nice dogs.

Dialogue tree

“Noted.”
“Is that a question?”
“So I can have an accurate, impartial record of what I’m actually looking at.”
“Because it’s noisy in here and I’m gonna ask you a question outside.”
“You’ll have a chance to ask me questions in a little bit. Right now I’m trying to focus.”
“Because your dogs/cats/kittens/puppies/zebras are cute.”
“Are you asking why I’m taking a picture, or are you asking what the rule is?”
“I’m sorry, I have a hearing disorder. I don’t hear very well when people are shouting at me.”

WandaVision S01E06 – All-New Halloween Spooktacular

So. In the first couple of episodes, our heroes on the outside (you know, the non-white male, the non-male white, and the non-white, non-male leads) had asked Wanda who had mercilessly trapped her in an idyllic suburban home, married to her true love, surrounded by generous neighbors, faced with low-stakes conflicts, and amply provided for. Later episodes revealed that Wanda was doing it to herself and is in fact terrorizing and mind-controlling said neighborhood with a glowy red fist.

I, however, am going back to my original prediction: someone else is behind it (probably Agnes). Here’s why I think it. During the incompetently-written staff meeting in the previous episode, one line stood out prominently. It was supposed to: it was clear, direct, and to the point. Director Hayward (a white male) referred to Wanda as “the principle victimizer,” “not the victim.” And by this line, the show writers have tipped their hand. Someone whom the show has coded as “bad, untrustworthy,”–a middle-aged white male who is not particularly physically attractive and occupies a position of authority–has identified someone whom we are primed to sympathize with as “not a victim.”

You see, in modern media, being a victim is a good thing.

Wanda cannot be a victimizer, because that is (usually, unless you’re targeting a conservative woman) a bad thing. Wanda must be a victim in this scenario because this is the only way she can remain a hero. A protagonist. A good guy. Someone with whom the audience can sympathize. Why can’t a protagonist–a hero, even–fail, fall, and, in the course of a story, do terrible things? Because failure to live up to a moral or ethical standard is not allowed. What are standards, anyway? Regret for past deeds is not allowed, because active protagonists aren’t allowed. Redemption is not allowed.

After all, that would just be blaming the victim–wouldn’t it?

Plus, as our Previously On points out, the Mind-Controlled-Guy never used the named “Wanda,” when telling Vision about being mind controlled. He just said “she”, “her.” So, yeah, at this point my money’s on Agnes, or even! Agnes’ never-actually-seen husband Ralph, upon whom strong suspicion is falling that he’s Mephisto or some such.

ANYHOW, so that’s my thoughts as of the end of the Previously On.

So the opening credits are filmed home-video style by one of the twins. I’m going to guess this is the 90s-sitcom homage (90s TV is a blank spot to me, because I didn’t watch it as a kid, but then so are the oughts and teens). My main question is, what is Agnes doing in their house going through their fridge?

After credits, the twins helpfully let us know that it’s Halloween, and Halloween means candy. One of them is dressed up as I’m guessing Dr. Strange, while the other one is dressed as “the cool twin.” Hah. Uncle Pietro, meanwhile, is snoring on the couch (“It’s four in the afternoon and I’m afraid he’s a vampire.” Hehhhhh) until he isn’t and between the three of them the boys make enough noise to bring Mama downstairs in her costume.

“Woah Mom, are you Old Red Riding Hood?” Pffft. Pietro also mocks the costume. The twins are also directly addressing the camera periodically.

Vision makes a very fast exit to guard the neighborhood trees against toilet-paper (that sounds SO wrong)–completely shutting Wanda down when she starts to protest that this is not how it’s suppos…ed…to…go…

Uncle Pietro and the non-lame twin dress up as…Wolverine? They have plans to use up the rest of the hair gel, that’s all I know. See, the sitcom parts of this show are funny! Especially when they’re interwoven with more serious, plot-relevant bits, such as Wanda’s mom-exasperation slash slow realization that she’s not in complete control of the plot anymore.

Unfortunately, we now switch back to the Real World (TM), where our white male authority figure is being berated for his decision-making inability by our non-white female and mocked by the white female. Hah. It’s unprofessional of him, but he does get one zinger in when he asks them which one is the sassy best friend.

Anyhow, he’s in Team Take Out The Threat, and while his thinking is one-dimensional, it is also largely correct given the data they have. Monica points out, however, that his thinking is one-dimensional. And, and, okay. What the hell kind of leader is this? No, what the hell? Seriously, THE LEADERSHIP WAS BETTER THAN THIS AT THE TIGER SANCTUARY WHERE IT WAS COMPRISED WASHED OUT EX-MILITARY AND MENTALLY ILL CAT LADIES….because at least they would explain to you why they were or weren’t doing something. That explaination was generally either, “we have orders not to,” “we don’t have orders to,” or, “we don’t have money.” And, occasionally, “because the tigers don’t like it.”

And thus, Monica concludes that her group of righteous (nonwhite+male) heroes have been sidelined for a reason. Fortunately, they do have at least one male on the team, because having Monica take out all their guards by herself would have been awkward. After stuffing their S.W.O.R.D. coworkers into a shipping container, they head off.

Back at the trick or treat, (“UNLEASH HELL, DEMONSPAWN!”….yeah, okay, I’m going to say Caroline Furlong called it) Wanda has reached the point of wondering why her brother looks different now? And has no accent?

But then it turns out (as Herb-slash-Frankenstein’s-Monster explains), there’s been a sudden rash of candy theft, jack-o-lantern smashing, and malicious and wanton silly-stringing that the neighborhood watch needs to investigate. Only….Vision isn’t on duty right then. Herb asks if Wanda wants him to do something, or change something, or…no? Okay, great. 

In fact, Vision wandering down a different street, watching some woman who is trying and failing to hang up her Halloween decorations, while silently crying.

We then have a commercial about how you should not trust sharks who deliver magic yogurt cups to you when you’re starving on a desert island and have no food.

Pietro explains why he’s there: to cause trouble and give her grief–it’s what she wanted. Isn’t it?. Why-why? He doesn’t know that….all he knows is he heard her calling and knew she needed him. On the one hand, aw.

So on the outside, our (non…look, you get the idea. If you haven’t, I’ll repeat it slowly. The people who are not middle-aged, Caucasian males holding positions of authority in government agencies, people who are sympathetic to our protagonists, and people who, and this is important, know that watching television is a very, very vital step to solving the world’s problems), sneak into one of the command tents so they can watch the WandaVision broadcast on TV.

Miss Doctor Lewis (wasn’t she an astrophysicist? I distinctly remember we had a whole scene where she was snooty to some other people who were just engineers or something) is also an expert hacker suddenly. Turns out Hayward has been able to look through the barrier for a while. He’s tracking Vision and his immediate surroundings. Turns out, people further from the center of town aren’t moving very much/don’t get very much processing power applied to them.

Vision, faced with this same realization, resumes his own form and takes off for an overhead view. He spots Agnes, dressed as a witch, in a car at the border. She claims to have gotten lost and Vision decides to free her. She immediately recognizes him as Vision, one of the Avengers….is he here to help? He confirms that he is Vision, but doesn’t remember the Avengers, and then she starts shouting that it’s because he’s dead. Dead. DEAD. Yeah, helpful.

Vision tells her that he’s trying to get outside and get in touch with forces who can help them but Agnes tells him that’s impossible. Wanda won’t let it happen, won’t even let them think about the outside. Okay, that is a blow to my theory but not an impossible one, because then Agnes starts cackling in a rather witchy fashion. Vision un-frees her and then strides off towards the outskirts of town.

Meanwhile. Monica (you know the drill), is about to get her ride back into the hex.–if you recall, the twenty-ton movable fallout shelter someone she just happened to know just happens to be able to deliver. Miss Doctor Lewis, however, tells her that the Hex has rewritten her at the molecular level and is continuing to do so. (THAT IS SOOOOOooooooOOOOOOO lame compared to getting your powers during a gunfight with space drug smugglers! Damn.)

Monica heroically declares that she’s Going To Help Wanda! Darcy decides to stay in the warm and safe place and continue hacking. Hayward still has something big hidden, because of course he does. It’s probably the hidden master file of the Trump Tapes.

Back in the straw maze, Pietro a) references hell again, b) asks Wanda where all the kids running around have been for the past few episodes, c) complements her on handling the ethics of her fantasy scenario just about as well as is possible. People get jobs! Couples stay together! New haircuts! But then he asks her: how did you do this?…you can tell me, I’m not your husband.

Wanda doesn’t know or can’t remember….and has a quick flash to Pietro as a corpse. She doesn’t want to think about this….or someone else doesn’t want her to.

Back at the base, our astrophycisist continues hacking into the director’s eyes-only files. He, meanwhile, has just told his people to move out, so….

Vision is at the barrier and forces his way painfully through. And collapses. Part of him flies back into the field, but the rest of him seems to be straight-up dissolving.

Inside, the twin dressed as Dr. Strange is sensing something’s off. They run to Mom.

Outside, somehow, Darcy is the only person who thinks that they should be helping the guy who just crawled out of hell-on-Earth (the SUBURBS, amiright?), and gets handcuffed to a Jeep for her pains. And if you’re thinking that being handcuffed to something large and immobile sounds like an overkill when there are plenty of soldiers around who can do the “arr, this one’s a feisty one” upper-arm grab just fine, well, just remember everything happens for a reason.

Inside, Pietro runs his mouth a little bit too much and Wanda punches him through the town square. Wanda freezes the simulation for more processing power and then, hm, looks like she expands the borders to bring Vision back in. (And Darcy, who as we recall, was handcuffed to a car, and most of the military camp, which gets transformed into a circus. Pwah.) Director Hayward, being the arrant coward that he is, runs for it and escapes. A woman in the back seat does glare at him, however.

One simple trick (tell me if you knew it already)

question-mark-faceSo a little while ago I reviewed The Dark Archive by Genevieve Cogman, a book that finally allowed me to put my finger on why, as a whole, the series failed (because the worldbuilding’s poor, the characterization is nonexistent, the dialogue is stultifying, and because there is, foremost and overall, a critical lack of creative imagination.) But this book bothered me and it kept niggling at my brain looking for a solution.

[We pause here to say FU WordPress for deleting half of my post.]

It’s really quite easy to make a cliched plot with a predictable storyline and half-assed worldbuilding nonetheless be gripping and readable, and the trick lies in three things: by making the 1) characters 2) interact with this plot in 3) understandable, predictable, realistic, or characteristic fashion. See any number of romance novels, but more particularly, see Beauty by Robin McKinley, or see the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. Neither of these have anything particularly unexpected going on in the plot department. Beauty is literally a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (with horses). But because Beauty/Honor is someone we care about and the Beast promptly becomes one as well, their story becomes important. The Kate Daniels books never have anything spectacular going on in the plot department, but because Kate herself

To break that down a bit more: 1) you have to have characters such that the audience cares what happens to them and is invested in seeing what they are going to do. 2) Your characters have to have enough self-determination and agency that they not mere paper dolls moved around by the authorial whims of the plot dictates. They have to be able to decide to do things, and these things should have an effect on what happens next. 3) Their decisions should be made for relatable, sympathetic, or merely just understandable reasons.

This doesn’t mean that everybody has to be likable, or that everyone has to have their backstory spelled out in detail. It does mean that the author needs to know what their reasons are for doing what they do. But how? People are hard! I don’t know why they do things?!

That’s where the one simple trick comes in. Ready?


stretch-reaching-hand

Figure out what your character wants. I’ve seen this described as “what does your character want to do with their glass of water.”–everybody wants something. Frodo wants to dump his glass of water into a volcano. Aragorn wants to marry his glass of water and has to be crowned King in order to do so. (Golly, this metaphor is a bit unwieldy, isn’t it?) Beauty wants to save her family. Kate Daniels wants to make money and bone Curran. Wanda wants to be happy with her lover, Vision. Luke wants to rescue his father.

But that’s only step one. Step two is (are you ready?): figure out what personality trait (not plot point –those are external factors. We’re going for internal factors here) is going to help or hinder them from accomplishing it. One of my characters, Morgan, wants freedom from her strictured upbringing. A trait that might help her achieve this is: that she’s stubborn and finishes what she starts. A personality trait that is going to hinder this is that: she’s selfish. Her self-centeredness causes her to make a series of decisions which ultimately leads to negative, long-term consequences. Here’s another: Cade wants to protect his clan/family. He’s a cunning warrior. But he dislikes people and therefore it is hard for him to gain allies or trust them. His clan loses ground. Here’s another. Corinnius wants to overthrow the corrupt hierarchy that governs his world. He’s idealistic and hopeful. But he’s internalized rules of the society that he would destroy and fears to take the necessary steps. He doesn’t move forward with what he wants to do; he half-asses everything else that he does do, because his heart is not in it and he doubts and sometimes hates himself.


Back to The Dark Archive. Fixing Irene and Kai is a hopeless proposition. They’ve had seven books and they’re both still paper puppets. But some of the new characters might still be salvaged. In text, Shan Yuan is Kai’s older brother and bullies him; he ignores and bullies Catherine, the Fae trainee, as well. He’s critical, unhelpful, and envious. Now, there is a reason provided–that he wants Kai’s position as Dragon-Library-Fae liaison–but it really isn’t enough because it exists in a vacuum of personality that makes it seem that Shan Yuan’s only purpose in story or out of it is to be a bully who makes life harder for all other characters. (A trope I particularly detest.)

Here’s how to fix it. Shan Yuan is critical of his younger brother because: he feels a sense of superiority and proprietorship over Kai, whom he (thinks of himself as) has raised. Shan Yuan wants the job because: he feels deserves it more than his little brother. Shan Yuan wants the results that the power and prestige will get him. Now, everyone wants power and prestige for its own sake, but why not do something unexpected instead? What if Shan Yuan wants kids and has no chance of being assigned a wife until he has gained more importance and a higher position, such as being the liaison between dragons and chaos. What if Shan Yuan isn’t a warrior or a courtier?–just someone who likes teaching people and explaining things. 

The character trait that would or ought to prevent him is: that he’s not patient or tolerant or mature enough to be trusted with children. –as per his interactions with Catherine, a teenaged Fae. His initial inability to recognize her as “kid” rather than “Fae scum” could, over the course of the book, be corrected. That’s what we call “character development” and it’s highly regarded.

So, anyhow, to sum up: have characters want things and maybe not be able to get them.

 

Apparently the BBC’s The Watch series has dropped

The changes are….puzzling. According to redditors at the link:

Vetinari. Now a Victorian matron who may be a vampire.

Cheery. Now a non binary actor, fully out. No beard or coming out as a female dwarf plot.

Angua. Now shorter than any of the dwarf actors and a monster style Werewolf.

Dibbler. Now a wheelchair bound female drug dealer.

Keel. Man who is definitely not time traveling Vimes.

Vimes. Is now a captain jack sparrow expy

Wonse. Now a cleaning woman with Lu-Tzes lines.

Sibyl. Now an arse kicking vigilante.

The mended drum. Now a boring punk theme bar that you might find in Camden.

Ankh Morpork. Not a city, but a collection of warehouses and rejected market scenes from mad max.

I mean, what *can* you say?

I don’t drink but I have a feeling this would be a great place to start.

Seriously?

Review: The Dark Archive – Genevieve Cogman

9781529000603
Irene is not a great heroine, Grauniad.

This book was physically painful to read.  

I’ve read all the Invisible Library books so far. I’ve been patiently waiting for them to Get Good. I’ve been waiting for Cogman’s editor to get better at it. I really, really, want to like these books! They’re about people who love books and would walk to the ends of a different Earth to acquire them….right?

They haven’t, she hasn’t, and the dirty secret is that they aren’t

I’ve already written at length how Cogman a) can’t write action, b) struggles with characterization, c) has far too much dialogue. (GOD, you don’t know how much I am not exaggerating with the dialogue. There are maybe two pages in this book which are not comprised of people talking to each other); Cogman demonstrates a positive genius for taking large-scale action setpieces and then disposing of them in a couple of paragraphs; and nobody has a discernable personality. She’s even shuffled the one character who does have a distinct personality offstage for the duration of the book! What the hell, Gen? 

c) is even more of a problem than usual here, because there are two new major characters: Librarian-trainee-hopeful Catherine, and dragon prince Shan Yuan. And the thing is, for BOTH of them, the building blocks were right there. Shan Yuan is a collection of vaguely arrogant and moderately unhelpful actions. He does things and it’s for his own reasons which are annoying and sometimes harmful to the protagonists. That’s actually good, and he’s actually fairly consistent. Problem is, once he’s been set up, a little bit of time was needed to set up why he does the things he does (not, dear God, by talking about it): that is, OTHER than “to be annoying to the protagonists;” and maybe show that he has a reason and the reason is, his personality is that of an arrogant, prejudiced dragon prince who is used to doing this his own way and has no respect for his younger brother’s/the human way of doing things. 


But the really fatal problems with this series, which I finally put my finger on in this book is:

It’s not clever. It’s not imaginative. And it’s not literary. 

This series is supposedly about people who go to different worlds–from the fantastic to the technological–for books. This series started out as straight-up fanfiction, which allowed the author to slip known worlds, characters, and settings in and do fun, off-the-cuff, funny, clever things with them. This by all rights, should have continued when the books actually got published. The process is simple: file the serial numbers off the world, change the names and a few details of the characters you’re stealing borrowing reimagining, give setting and people a few twists–you know, the sort you’d have liked to see in the originals–and write a fun charming story in a world that is almost recognizable but different in a clever and fitting way.

It can be done, it can be done legally, and it can get published, believe me. There’s the Rachel Griffin books by L. Jagi Lamplighter, which riff off of everyone from Narnia to Battlestar Galactica. There’s the Mageworlds series by Debra Doyle, which is Star Wars sequels with the serial numbers filed off and very satisfying they were to read indeed. There are countless opportunities for cameos not only of literary but also historical figures to pop up!

Cogman doesn’t do this. She doesn’t use varied worlds, fresh new settings. Everything is set in a smoggy but weirdly feminist-friendly but still tea-guzzling but racially tolerant but fucking steampunk pseudo-Victorian England. With goggles. Oh God, there are actual goggles in this book and they do nothing except irritate me. And here’s the thing. Cogman doesn’t even use the really easy and helpful cheat of adapting genuine literary characters to her own ends–which would solve her problem of not being able to write people with actual personalities. You don’t need to invent what you can steal! 

At their core, these books were written by someone entirely lacking in imagination. I’d be nasty and say “in familiarity with the fantasy genre,” but that’s an unwonted personal attack. 

But. The real problem. 

The REAL problem is. 

For a series focused on Librarians. Who go to great lengths to acquire new books. Who fetishize books. Who have plot-relevant reasons for wanting to keep books, read books, and acquire knowledge.

No one ever seems to have read a book in their life.

New character Catherine is a teenager who has grown up isolated and lived primarily through reading stories. She wants to be a librarian: you know, one of those ladies who tells you about new authors and helps you find them and discusses them with you and wears glasses on a string. We know this: because she says as much to Irene. Not because she talks about books incessantly. Not because she’s ever got her nose in a book. Not because she’s entirely bored with the “someone’s trying to assassinate us” plot and keeps trying to wander off and buy books. And definitely not because she changes her mind at the end and decides that being a spy-book-thief type Librarian is much better.

At one point Kai mentions Irene always has a book in her nightstand. Irene never mentions anything she’s read in a book; never refers to book-learned knowledge; never thinks about book plots that are similar to this one; never wonders how a favorite hero or heroine would  handle the situation….throughout this entire series…once. The closest she’s ever come to it is complaining that action heroines are generally taller than her own 5’9 (….you moronic bitch) and follows up by whining that it’s hard to kick people (in the shins, presumably) while wearing full skirts. 

I’m legitimately angry at this point. I could write better stories about Librarian Spies, the Library of Babel, dragons, Fae, debauched ambassadors, bookworm trainees, the Language of Truth, super-powered, vengeful bodiless spirits. Maybe I freaking will.


And after all that, is there anything to say about the plot? What plot? Well….I could talk about what there is of plot, but I’d just lose my temper at how stupidly drawn-out this series is. It’s book 7. Irene has just finally found out that the villain whom she has faced in every single book and easily defeated each time is her

(dUn DuN duN)

(DuN dUn DuN)

(dUn DuN duN dUn DuN dUn)

….father.

As if it wasn’t bloody fucking obvious in book 1 and serially reinforced in each book after that. 

And then there’s an epilogue with a fucking mysterious hooded council of mysteriousness that runs the Library except the final line of the book implies that the Library actually runs itself and WHY DID WE SPEND SEVEN BOOKS RUNNING AROUND VICTORIAN STEAMPUNK GOGGLED LONDON, NOT RIFFING OFF OF OTHER BETTER STORIES, IF YOU HAD MAYBE TWO BOOKS’ AND I’M BEING GENEROUS THERE WORTH OF ORIGINAL PLOT YOU COULD HAVE JUST WRITTEN ABOUT INSTEAD?

What the fuck, Genevieve?