30. Deathless – Catherynne M. Valente
This was my kind of romance. The torturous, horrible kind where you inevitably end up at the siege of Leningrad eating wallpaper paste because you’re starving to death – emotionally. In the case of this novel-length fairy tale, the wallpaper paste eating was literal and I did feel strangely about how the situation was resolved. Very strangely. Anyway, Valente is a major creator of pretty sentences, which typically I do not like. However, in this case I didn’t notice them as much. Maybe it was the fairy tale cadence, maybe I was just really excited about the tiny proletariat organizing, maybe it was because I pictured Koschei the Deathless as Luke Evans (thankfully with different hair than he received as Bard, damnit, Peter Jackson, let someone have decent hair without CGI besides Thorin), and maybe it was because it was so damn dark…and I am really used to being put through the ringer in any and all relationships (which is not good and I’m working on it, and, don’t ever tell me not to speak, I don’t follow orders like that so I would not have done well in so many places in this story). I do not understand why anyone would like Ivan though. I mean, really, Ivan? He was like a paper cut out of a person, like those standees of Robert Pattinson that Twilight fans have been known to take with them to film screenings, likeable because he doesn’t say anything. I guess I should be searching for the right standee…for me. But I really don’t want to.
Murderface turns away from the pretty sentences. She was a “no bullshit” kind of pig; unfortunately, not a “deathless” kind of pig.
12. Soulmate – L.J. Smith
I did not know of the Night World series, or any other L.J. Smith series, actually, until I found a bunch of Night World books in the detritus of a closing book store’s YA section in 2014. I was looking for 1970s, 80s, and 90s YA as I usually am and the 1990s editions of the series have the most amazing covers. They’re paintings (of course, like I’d really be attracted to photography-based covers in YA…so 2000s…) of the main female characters (sometimes with special guests) surrounded by flowers and weird monster and demon faces and one face that really looks like wolf form attacking Lucy in the rain-Gary Oldman-Dracula from Bram Stoker’s Dracula and ravens and black cats and this one has a candlestick and they are bizarre and awesome pieces of book coverage. I know that this one was published in 1997, when I was a freshmen in high school and had moved on to reading Interview with the Vampire and Silence of the Lambs, but if I had known about this series when I was a teen I would have totally loved it. The female characters are well drawn and considering these are always romances, they’re feisty enough to not drive me nuts with their romantic angst (they’re certainly not swooners or “rape me and I’m yours” types) and I know I would have totally related to them –minus opportunity- when I was younger.
Soulmate concerns a romance throughout the ages, kind of like what Gary Oldman-Dracula is trying to imprint upon Winona Ryder-Mina in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and by the way, I dug that movie quite a bit when I saw it as a teenager (surprise surprise); you know, “I have crossed oceans of time to find you” and all that other shit vampires say to not look like pedophiles to high school girls who don’t recognize them for the creepers that they are. Anyway, Hannah aka vampire dude’s soulmate, current body edition, is seeing a psychiatrist and it brings up repressed memories of her other lives with said vampire, and how said vampire murdered everyone she knew when they first met (and her) and it’s an interesting path to reconciliation. I know that the soulmate concept has a bigger part to play in the Night World, but I don’t have the whole series and I haven’t read all the ones I do have yet, so I have no idea where it’s going. Hopefully not a sad, couple filled kegger. Maybe Thunderdome for couples. I do know that I shelved the re-published, multiple books to one volume, covers featuring bland black and white photographs of random, staring girls versions of these books when I worked at the public library and I was not even remotely intrigued to read them. That was a shitty re-design, people. A shitty re-design. Those lonely, staring girls do not say “I have charisma and well constructed female characters inside.” They say “You will be alone forever inside the black void.” I, like, already know that.
Thaddeus knows Pickles is not his soulmate, that would be Pammy, but they still enjoyed each other’s company without dramatic protestations and no prehistoric villages had to be slaughtered.
1. “Seventh Wave” – Devin Townsend
2. “Satellite” – TV on the Radio
3. “Freya” – The Sword
4. “Sweet Leaf” – Black Sabbath
5. “Schyssta Logner” – Witchcraft
6. “Night City” – The Sword
7. “All Black” – Hanni El Khatib
8. “Long Time Coming” – Droids Attack
9. “Mouths of Madness” – Orchid
10. “Moonchild” – Fields of the Nephilim
11. “Satan/Dance You Fukr” – Zydepunks
12. “Bruane Brenn”- Kvelertak
13. “High Road” – Mastodon