Recently read

Finished in February:

Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier.  I have mixed feelings about this book.  The subject matter is fascinating and I liked Frazier’s writing style generally.  But I felt like he never really figured out what he wanted the book to be:  travelogue, social commentary, history?  To the extent that it tried to be all of those things, it failed.  But I enjoyed it enough that I’ve downloaded samples of Midnight in Siberia and To the Edge of the World: The Story of the Trans-Siberian Express, the World’s Greatest Railroad.

Just read:  Patricia Briggs’ Dead Heat.  This book was a C- book at best, and it seriously pissed me off.  Why the C-?  Because the plot was thin and the new characters were not particularly well-drawn.  And to pad what was essentially a very, very brief mystery with little or no suspense or tension, Briggs wasted pages on horses, the horse community, showing, blah blah blah.  The horse minutia contributed almost nothing to the story.

What really pissed me off was Anna’s approach to Charles and his desire to not have children.  She basically patronized him and whined, verging on what felt to me like battering with her desire to have kids.  At one point she actually says in the narrative that she’s going to weed out all of his objections to having children and persuade him that he’s wrong.  [There is no “wrong” to wanting or not wanting children; just because you want children does not mean others’ desires to not have children is wrong.]  It read (to me, YMMV) as putting her desires above his legitimate objections and failing to respect what he wanted when it was inconvenient for her or inconsistent with what she wanted.

Also:  if their roles had been reversed and Charles pressured her to have a child she did not want or to be childless when she wanted children, reviewers everywhere would be talking about this.  But no.  Radio silence as far as I can tell.  The Dear Author review merely says that Charles isn’t immediately on board with having kids.  That is an understatement at the very least.

Between this and the slut-shaming in the last Mercy book, I am done.



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6 responses to “Recently read

  1. Oh, that is disappointing to hear about the Briggs. I had liked that series. What you describe is one of my buttons.

    • No one else is talking about it. Everyone else seems to say, oh, she was forced to become a werewolf and her ability to have kids was taken from her and she’s a nurturer, so this is completely normal (and thus fair and appropriate?).


      This bit really is what irritated me. Maybe I read too much into it? But I also didn’t like the way it was framed. Defeated, as this was adversarial with only one possible winner. And also profoundly spoiled: all about what she wanted and deserved and cavalierly dismissive of what he wanted.

      She was a long way from defeated. His arguments that any child of his would be a target were unassailable…. She could not argue that point, but she did not feel as though that necessitated refusing to have a child.

      His other stated objection, that there was no current possibility for them to conceive, was more open to argument. She didn’t want to argue with him, shouldn’t have to argue with him. She’d thought that he’d been willing to listen to the possibilities.

      The key, she thought, was to pick through her husband’s complicated and mostly unspoken issues with children or with his own children or being a father. She didn’t know exactly where his absolute refusal was finding its power. When she found something real, she’d work at the knot of his resistance until she had it unraveled. Then she would go back to the next tangle and do the same thing.

      Her brother didn’t call her Anna the Relentless for nothing.

      She needed a loose end, and so far she hadn’t been able to find it…. Two months of effort has resulting in nothing except the tension in Charles’s arm as they walked through the safety zone of the sidewalk.

    • rosario001

      Exactly the same here. I was considering picking this one up, given the almost-universal rave reviews, but that’s just one of my no-go areas.

  2. Keishon

    Thanks for mentioning that plot point because that would have annoyed me, too. Such a shame. I followed the series up till the first hardcover. Like Rosario said, the praise has been pretty much universal.

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