Of 50 Shades of Beating My Head Against a Wall and Colin Firth with a bulletproof umbrella

Hello fair readers! I have not abandoned you! I have merely found this obnoxious thing called life getting in the way. ūüėČ

Happy Valentine’s Day and not so happy 50 Shades of Grey release day. As the reviews roll in, everyone comes to the same conclusion. The movie blows and not in the fun way.¬†The New Yorker¬†concluded that all Mr. Grey wants is a pony. From the other side of the pond,¬†The Guardian offers probably the most entertaining review. Warning – do not consume a beverage during reading. It will come out your nose.¬†The Aussies also had their take and the only reason it got 2 stars instead of 1 was because one of the critics liked the soundtrack. Finally, and the coup de grace, is the stars themselves didn’t like it. Spoiler alert – Jamie Dornan admitted to taking a shower after he got home before he would hug his wife and daughter. Yeah.

However, it will still make millions of dollars because women, apparently, don’t understand the difference between abuse and romance. As a survivor, after I’m done with the satirical reviews and synopses, found it incredibly disconcerting. I had forgotten that he flat out rapes her in one scene. How is that okay?! Clue – it ain’t. Their relationship literally hits on every single indication of an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. Romance, ladies and gents, is buying your partner a gift *because you want to*, not to manipulate them into doing something they’ve previously stated they aren’t comfortable with. Romance is busting out the bubble bath with candles and rose petals if that’s their thing. It’s not mine and probably not most dudes’ things, but I don’t judge. If he wants rose petals and candles, more power to him. Abuse is doing something nice for someone else with the intent that they’ll “return the favor” regardless of their feelings on said reciprocation. Romance is doing something for your partner WITHOUT the expectation of something in return whether it’s fixing a leaky faucet or really awesome oral sex.

Naturally, I’m coming from the perspective of a straight female. The story also does men a disservice. Boys, that’s not how you treat your lady. If she says no, she means no. If she says she needs space, respect it. Be the dude who actually listens. Stalking her is not romantic. It’ll just get you a restraining order. I know most men are NOT this creepy cad, but it bears saying. Intimidation techniques should be left to the battlefield, not the bedroom.

Last fall when I was working DragonCon, there was a BDSM panel where people who were in the lifestyle talked about what it’s like, how to become part of it, etc. They flat out refused to address 50 Shades of Grey. Just because you may have been abused previously doesn’t automatically mean you become part of the lifestyle. People with standard histories can be just as into it as those who had abuse in their pasts. Ironically, BDSM relationships are some of the most sane because everyone has to know going in what’s going to happen before they start the scene AND agree to what is proposed. Depending on how hardcore it is, it could result in serious injury. One of the men spoke up saying that he had injured a partner and he felt guilty about it for weeks. There’s a level of communication that doesn’t exist in a lot of “normal” relationships. Pro tip: Whether or not your sex life involves whips and chains, talk first.

For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, you’ve already heard this. For everyone who buys a ticket to this steaming turd of abuse glorifying, they should be required to donate twice the ticket price to a group which assists rape survivors and victims of domestic violence.

You can also just go see Kingsman. It involves Colin Firth using a bulletproof umbrella. ¬†Samuel L. Jackson does an excellent job as a riff on a traditional Bond villain. Boy and I got to see an advance screening and it’s SO GOOD. Run, don’t walk to support well hidden weapons and an evil tech genius.¬†It’s all the soul bleach you’ll need.

XOXO!

Of dead circus performers and overly sappy heroines: Review of “The Immortal Circus” by A. R. Kahler

I thought I’d mix things up a bit & review the latest book I finished. Be warned – there will probably be spoilers.

The premise had a lot of promise as a murder mystery nestled into a supernatural circus. It didn’t live up to that promise.

The heroine, Vivienne, joins this circus for an unknown reason. Her memory has somehow been erased & she can’t remember exactly why she joined in the first place. It’s narrated in first person present. Personally, I find that a rather irritable tense to read. It’s a challenging tense to work with & I’ve yet to find an author who could do it well. A. R. Kahler is no exception. Vivienne reminded me way too much of Ana from 50 Shades of Grey. I’m sure part of it was the tense because 50 Shades is also written in FPP. Vivienne also couldn’t shut up about how hot the male lead was (is?). Add some whips & chains and we’ve got the supernatural sibling of 50 Shades. Ew.

After 2 chapters, we’ve heard about how sexy Kingston is at least a dozen times. Yes, we get it. Now shut up and give us something vaguely resembling a plot. Take my hand if we be friends and I shalt not giveth thee a plot. ¬†Kahler plucked Mab & Oberon from A Midsummer Night’s Dream & plopped them down almost wholesale as the leaders of warring “courts”. Mab is the leader of the Winter Court and Oberon is the leader of the Summer Court even though he never appears in the book. Of the whole cast, I felt like Mab had the most development. That was probably because Shakespeare had done most of the heavy lifting to begin with. There are about half a dozen other named characters, but the most development they’re given are their positions in the circus. Even Vivienne, Kingston, and Melody (Kingston’s lovely assistant) aren’t developed enough to care about. Kahler is a relatively new author & it shows. If he’d spent more time building each character & less time on Vivienne wondering how she can get some Kingston action, it would have elevated the book at least one level. I can’t help but compare it to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. She was also a debut author with a similar theme. Even though the ending was a deus ex machina (love that term!), it was forgivable because the rest of the book was that good. Her setting was absolutely spellbinding. His was good, but not nearly as good as hers.

The Immortal Circus was the kind of book I had to force myself to finish. It was a hair under 250 pages which was do-able for me. If it had run 300+ pages, I would have put it down never to pick it up again. After I finished the book, I discovered it was released as a serial for Kindle. That explained the jarring endings for each chapter. It felt like someone trying to learn how to drive a manual transmission car on a hill. Always wear your seatbelt, kiddies. This wasn’t a “stay up way past my bedtime to read another chapter” book. This was a “throw it in my purse & half read it during my lunch break” kind of book. It’s a shame because it could have been so much more. I was left with no desire to read the next two. Guess the show will go on without me.

Final Rating (out of 5): 2.5

XOXO!