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Mortal Heart (LaFevers) [Nov. 10th, 2014|08:44 am]
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3/5. Third book of a trilogy of Assassin Nuns, Literal Daughters of the God of Death. The first third was rather boring. It mostly consisted of the main character, Annith, repeating several variations of "Abbess, I don't wanna be Seer for the assassin nuns! I wanna be an assassin! I really don't wanna be Seer!" Every chapter, we'd check in again and she would still be angry at the Abbess and still wouldn't want to be Seer. Finally, she ran away (...and this took her so much of the book why?) and met up with Love Interest Balthazaar. The fact that he is the Love Interest is not really a spoiler, given that as soon as he shows up it is clear: he is described as "breathtakingly handsome in a dark, almost broken way. He wears his hair long, and his jaw and nose are strong and sharp, as if chiseled of the finest marble by a master stonemason." Uh. Okay, guess we're in a Harlequin romance, who knew?

The second third was fun -- lots of action and intrigue, and we got to see Ismae and Sybella, the heroines of the first two books, which was nice. Except I would constantly get slammed out of the story every time anyone mentioned "Rennes" or "Quimper" because all the characters acted like twenty-first-century Americans instead of medieval Bretons. Whyyyyy was this book not written in vague fantasy-world where I could be somewhat impressed at it vaguely following history instead of frustrated all the time? Ahem. Anyhow. This is a pet peeve of mine. Also, Annith continued to get sucked in to the Abbess' emotional manipulation and it was never really clear why she didn't just break off with her like Ismae and Sybella did.

And then I read the last third.

It started off promisingly, with a Big Plot Twist Reveal about Annith's parentage not being the God of Death after all. And then... it turned out that Breathtakingly Handsome Marble Balthazaar, the one that Annith has been boinking, is the God of Death. The one that a) she has super-devoutly worshiped her whole life and b) thought was her father until a day or so previously. Now that I typed that, I will step back and admire the economy that the plot twist also served to make this not actually incest, but still: WHAT. ew. If that weren't bad enough, Balthazaar then started reminiscing about how he first met her as a little girl (a memory Annith cited in an early chapter that is one of her most precious memories):

One day, this [five-year-old] soul cried out in terror, and she was so open to me that I heard her... And so I went to her, and being with her eased the loneliness in my soul that lying with all those other women had not.

To be clear, "being with her" is a nonsexual referent, but STILL. JUST NO. The fact that it is not exactly pedo ("In the world of spirit," he says later, "where I often reside, a soul... is utterly removed from such things as age"... this does not make me feel any better! Perhaps because I do not believe it in the slightest! I have a kid who is almost five, and I claim five-year-old souls are distinct from twenty-year-old souls!) does not make it NOT SKEEVY AS ALL HECK that he is boinking her now. Also even if he is not her father, he is the father of all her friends.

The thing is, it was kind of a cool plot twist! Which turns out to be relevant to the political plot! (Which also kind of is shoehorned in, but that was minor compared to my problems with this :) ) And with callbacks to a scene that we know has been resonant for the character since the beginning of the book! I kinda see what she was trying to do, but the way she actually did it did not work for me at all.