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January 25th, 2017

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10:58 pm - Beautiful Creatures -- 10.09: Gathering Days Part Two
Cara: Look here for Part One!

HG: They enter the dining room, which is lit by tiny black votive candles, and there are black beads dangling from the chandelier. There’s also an enormous wreath made of black feathers, and I wonder why there is so much black involved. This is basically Canadian Thanksgiving, except it’s not in Canada, so why is there so much black? That feels more like it would be seen on Halloween, honestly.

Cara: True. I mean, Halloween was also originally a ‘yay! Harvest time!’ holiday, but now we associate it with darkness, and horror, and spookiness, etc etc. So, is Gathering Days suppose to be like Caster Thanksgiving? Or Caster Halloween? The big feast makes it come across as the former, but the decor like the latter. Ethan even says that Lena comes out with a big tray carrying fruit not from South Carolina which means… not a whole lot. I mean, there’s a lot of fruit native (or at least, commonly grown) to the U.S. that wouldn’t be grown in South Carolina, but even then, there are a LOT of fruits grown in South Carolina. So… what freaking fruits is he talking about? Fuck it, Lena just brought out Durian, because I’m spiteful.

HG: Remind me again what a durian is? It’s infamous, isn’t it?

Cara: It’s famous for smelling like dead, rotting flesh. Or at least having a horrible smell. But, apparently it tastes good. So I’ve heard.

HG: Ethan tells us that Lena is wearing fitted black floor-length jacket along with her Converse, and he says she looks even more beautiful than she did the last time he came over for dinner, which is a bit funny since he made no mention of that way back when. He also tells us that his mind feels cloudy, like he’s half asleep. He takes in a deep breath and smells only Ridley, describing her scent something musky mixed in with something sweet, like syrup bubbling on a stove. Lena finally sees them, as if she’s seen a ghost, but Ethan can’t tell if it’s because she’s seeing Ridley, or Ridley and Ethan standing arm in arm.

Cara: Well, in comparison to how the rest of the family reacting, I’m going with the former. I’m pretty sure Lena know what Ridley’s powers are, so seeing you there wouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. You would have to be pretty callous to go and say ‘my not-boyfriend who I have a crush on but won’t admit to has arrived at my house during a holiday dinner with my very attractive cousin who has mind-raping abilities OMG HE’S CHEATING ON ME’.

HG: Ridley greets her, and advances a fews steps, dragging Ethan with her. She asks if Lena’s going to give her a kiss. The tray Lena’s holding decides to drop from her hands and crash to the floor, and she asks what Ridley (or perhaps Ethan as well?) is doing there. Ridley says she came to see her favorite cousin, and refers to Ethan as her date. Ethan finds his voice long enough to say he’s not her date, and Ridley pulls a cigarette out. Macon’s voice tells her not to smoke, and the cigarette, right after being lit, goes out. Ridley laughs, flicks it into a bowl that looks like it has mashed potatoes in it, and says Macon was always a stickler about the rules, emphasizing the word “rules.”

Cara: I… don’t see a problem with that. When I finally get my own place, the first rule is going to be ‘Don’t fucking smoke in my house’. I’m a severe asthmatic and cigarette smoke is my biggest trigger. It could literally kill me. Also, most people don’t like people smoking in their house because it’s freaking impossible to get cigarette smoke out of walls and furniture. And, who cares if Macon is a stickler for rules, IT’S HIS FUCKING HOUSE. God, Ridley would have made an excellent villain. Right now, I’m just annoyed because I know she’s not suppose to be a bad guy.

HG: I think we just need to get past the rough patches with her, is all. Patience, Cara. Then we’ll get to why we both like her so much.

Cara: It’s really her backstory that makes her not that bad of a character and it will eventually really color everything she does, but, her backstory hasn’t been revealed yet, so right now it’s just annoying.

Macon and Ridley stare each other down and he eventually relents and magically pulls out a chair (... in front… of a mortal…) and asks them to have a seat. Um… Macon… why don’t you just fucking kick her out? Obviously everyone is uncomfortable with her being here. Tell her to leave, and if she doesn’t use your magic to force her out. It’s obvious you aren’t nervous about using magic around Ethan, so force her out! Yes, your little explanation later explains how she gets in but it doesn’t explain why you aren’t making her leave now. Force her out and leave Ethan behind with you. BAM, she can’t get back in. This isn’t that hard to figure out and you don’t have to have the most awkward Thanksgiving/Halloween proxy holiday ever.

You know, there is being polite and then there is just making yourself miserable for no reason.

Macon asks Lena to tell Kitchen two more are joining them (WHAT THE FUCK IS KITCHEN?) and Lena, reasonably, says Ridley can’t stay. Macon assures her that nothing can harm her at Ravenwood, Lena gets pissed, and Ridley smugly asks if he’s so sure about that. Guys, I know it’s a big joke about families being miserable with each other during the holidays but come on, it’s not that true.

Macon ignores her and says dinner is ready and says Kitchen doesn’t like serving cold food. For fuck sakes, it shouldn’t be this hard to figure out if he is referring to actual people or not. Why can’t Ethan just peek into the kitchen and go, ‘Hm, yes, there are people in there’ or ‘Oh shit, wtf, no one is in there’. Worst. POV. Character. EVER.

Everyone comes in and we get introduced to two more characters (fuuuuucccckkkk…..), namely, a gray haired man who is Mr. Wate’s age… whatever age that is. Ethan, you realize your dad could be anywhere from his 30’s and up, so that doesn’t mean much, right? My MC is sixteen and her dad is thirty-nine, which is not all that old by most standards, especially for a man (Yes, he had her young, shut up). The other character is apparently another Ridley clone, only more prim and proper. Seriously? Why do both sisters look just like Ridley and not like, say, their mom? Actually, we didn’t get all that much of a description of Aunt Del, their mother. Do all the sisters take after their mom? Or their dad? He didn’t really get a description either other than wearing older period clothing. Why is Ethan comparing both of them to Ridley? It’s just… odd.

The other clone sister is Annabel, no wait, it’s Reece. So, Julia, Annabel, and Ryan who are now Ridley, Reece, and Ryan. Did the two older ones want to have the same first letter as their younger sister? Or did the authors forget that Ridley and Reece are not their birth names?

Ethan even lampshades this by saying Who doesn’t know their own sister’s name? A sister who had her sibling recently change her name? A sister hadn’t seen her family in probably a few years? I mean, everyone was fumbling with Ridley’s name and Ethan never thought that was odd, so why isn’t she getting a pass? Plus, in all honesty, it more sounded like Ridley was being sarcastic or spiteful than legitimately forgetting Reece’s name, unlike when Del or Ryan called Ridley by her birth name.

HG Interesting how all three are typically considered “masculine” names. I am all for it, personally, it just sort of jumps out at me, like how they all start with an “r”. Is this a Caster thing? Changing names like this?

Cara: I’m not sure. I kind of got the feeling, during later parts of the book that the Claiming was a sort of Duchannes family curse, so it doesn’t happen to other Casters. IF there are other Casters. So, I don’t know how prevalent the whole name changing thing is.

You make a good point. It is suspicious that they would go from traditionally feminine names (Julia and Annabel) to traditionally masculine names (Ridley and Reece). But, we already know this book isn’t too kind to women, so I don’t see the point in harping on the names. I already have enough to bitch about.

HG: Reece smiles and speaks slowly, Ethan saying it’s like she’s choosing her words very carefully, and repeats the same question everyone else has been asking: why is Ridley here? She also mentions that she thought Ridley had other plans like fighting Samus, to which Ridley replies that, well, plans change Reece says that so do families, before she reaches out to wave a hand in front of Ridley’s face. Ethan somehow expects either Ridley to disappear, or for him to, but neither happens. Ridley, however, does flinch and look away from Reece. Reece stares at her like she’s a mirror, and asks why it is she can only see her when she looks in Ridley’s eyes *cough*Big Bad*cough*, and Ridley tells her she’s babbling. Reece closes her eyes and concentrates (how does Ethan know when he’s supposed to be our first person narrator?), and Ridley continues to squirm around. Suddenly, Ridley’s face changes into that of another woman, one whom Ethan believes is familiar somehow, but he can’t remember why.

Cara: *deadpan* Surprise, the big bad is female.

It is a good question to ask why the hell Ridley is here. Okay, I think we can all figure out she is on some scoping mission for some other person. Though, I don’t know, I feel like this is a bit cheap because now the sense of Ridley’s motives and loyalties are laid bare. It doesn’t feel like a red herring or even just a dead herring. It’s like now, thanks to Reece, we know Ridley isn’t here of her own accord and is also a minion of someone else. The mystery and Ridley’s air of suspicious is now. It worked before since there was just animosity between everyone, but we didn’t know why. Then we get the ‘why’ so quickly, I’m kind of left frustrated.

I don’t know if that makes sense, since I’m kind of blabbing. I just don’t like how Reece revealed Ridley’s motivations so quickly. Which she did, no matter how much we don’t know who the ‘her’ refers to.

HG: Not only that, but once more, Casters using their magic in front of the mortal. We now have a glimpse of what Reece can do, and that isn’t the end of it, either. See, after Macon claps a hand on Ridley’s shoulder, which causes Ridley to wince and Ethan to feel a jolt of pain (nicely done, Macon, hurting the sixteen year old with magic), and basically tells everyone that Ridley is “invited,” and thus, orders everyone to take a seat. Following this, we meet two more Casters; Ridley’s father Barclay, and her brother, Larkin. Barclay, at the least, steps forward to greet Ethan, but stops when he sees Ridley is touching him. Larkin… Well, he turns his arm into a snake that flicks its tongue at Ethan, and his eyes are yellow and slitted, like a snake.


So, yeah. More magic in front of the human, mixed in with symbolism and stupidity.

Cara: All these people are morons. They don’t know Ethan from a hole in the wall. How do they know he won’t go running back to town and blab they are Casters (or… do whatever they think humans will do thus why they are hidden).

I think anyone who has read any sporking or chapter by chapter review of City of Bones will already know what I’m going to get into. If these Casters are so lax about how they act in front of a human, then why doesn’t all of Gatlin know they know magic? They find Macon weird because he’s a recluse, not because there is a long standing rumor that he and his family can do weird ass shit, like mind control and fucking illusions. It would be an easy set up: Everyone in town has heard of Macon Ravenwood and his witchy family. They can change the interior of their house in the span of hours. They can make people do whatever they want. People have seen weird animals on the premise that disappear before their eyes. Hell, add some embellishments where they kidnap children who go too close to their house and use them in some ritual that sucks out their soul, so they can keep using magic. It would explain why Ethan would be so nervous going near the Manor. So, by the time Lena arrives and everyone finds out she’s Macon’s niece, well shit, she’s a witch too! Who knows what freaky spell she can do? Even the window incident would make more sense, since that thought would already be planted in everyone’s head, despite the more logical and reasonable answer being right there. Sounds dickish, but people do like to jump to the conclusion that entertains them most. Happens with paranormal and ghost stuff all the time. It would make more sense that people would flip out since ‘OMG, LENA IS A WITCH AND JUST BROKE THE WINDOW’. Then, with the parents? Yeah, sure, they don’t believe in the witch rumors anymore but Ravenwoods/Duchannes are always trouble, didn’t you hear about that one niece of Macon’s who got institutionalized when she was sixteen because she just went crazy (Re: Ridley). Oh dear, yes! What if that happened to Lena? She’s moved around a lot, you know, and has always been a loner and you know how those loner kids are. We should get her away from our poor children.

It would even make sense that the Big Bad is stoking those fears. Right now, their fear comes out of nowhere because the rumors regarding Macon are kind of weak. Whoo, he’s a recluse, so what? He hasn’t harmed anyone in town so there is no reason to fear him. But if he was rumored for being a soul stealing ritualistic witch dude who already has a ‘crazy’ family member? Well, shit, I would barely have to lift a pinky finger.

Going back to TKAM, if everyone remembers, the reason everyone was afraid of Boo Radley was because of the rumor that he killed one of his parents (I think his dad? Can’t remember). That makes him scary in the eyes of Scout and Jeb because, damn, if he could kill his parent, then what can he do to one of us? But Macon? Dude has done jack shit to scare the townspeople. He sits in his house doing nothing (okay, not nothing but no one attributes what he does do to him so… it’s besides the point) so he’s at worst a weirdo people ignore or at best someone everyone hasn’t realized is still alive.

HG: *claps* Now THAT is the kind of book I would enjoy reading, for serious. It would be far more realistic in terms of why they react this way towards Macon and Lena, and it would make Ethan’s reactions a bit more realistic, too. And if Ethan were to be characterized the way Cara mentioned above, then this would be a hundred times more enjoyable as a story. The motives would make sense, the villain would be badass yet sympathetic, Ethan would be a genuinely good protagonist, and we could see through his lens much, much easier. But that isn’t what we got, as per usual. Instead, we got the opposite in practically every way.

Back to the story. Macon says that Kitchen has prepared a great meal, and everyone sits down. Ridley forces Ethan to sit down beside her, and he tries to make eye contact with her, but Lena’s eyes are zeroed in on Ridley. He is swift to note the fury in her eyes, and hopes they aren’t directed at him. Dude, do you really have that low of an opinion to think she would be furious at you when you’ve done nothing wrong (well, besides letting Ridley in and all that, but that’s coming shortly). Must you make everything about you, Ethan? (Don’t answer that.)

Ethan mentions how there is a ton of food, even more then when he was last here, and talks about some of them, like a large stuffed bird resting on peacock feathers and seahorse-shaped candies. No one eats, though, except for Ridley, who says she loves the sugar horses as she pops two in her mouth. Aunt Del coughs, but says nothing as she pours herself some black wine, apparently. Can wine be black? I honestly don’t know. I’ve never tasted it before.

Ridley asks Lena if she has any plans for her birthday, before digging her fingers into gravy and licking them suggestively. Okay, look, I get the intent, but authors, you are hammering the fact she’s a Bad Girl into our heads and it’s ridiculous. You showed it already, leave it alone, please.

Macon says (or warns, because apparently Eragon somehow weaseled its way into this story at some point) that Lena’s birthday will not be discussed. Ridley, who Ethan says is enjoying the tension, asks why, and Lena tells her she doesn’t need to worry about her birthday, because she’s not invited. Ridley laughs and says she certainly should, since it’s a very important birthday, and Lena’s hair begins to curl and uncurl itself as if there is wind in the room. Macon tells Ridley that’s enough and sounds like he’s losing patience, using the same tone he used when Ethan took the locket out of his pocket. Ridley asks why he’s taking Lena’s side, and says that she spent as much time with him as Lena did. She asks when Lena became his favorite, and for a moment, she sounds hurt. See, this right here is what could be used to show that Ridley has sympathetic qualities to her. Were the narration less bland, were the tension better written, and were Ethan not friggin’ here (or a better narrator), we could see this sultry, clearly devious woman showing flickers of brokenness, to show readers there is more under the surface.

Macon says it has nothing to do with favorites, and that she has been Claimed, so it’s out of his hands. Ethan finally returns to us by wondering what Claimed means, and he notes that the suffocating air around him is getting thicker. He wonders if he’s mishearing things, and I wonder why he’s even here when the scene would be much stronger without him. Granted, it could work with him here, but Ethan is far too lethargic in his reactions and narrations. It’s like Bella was a lot of the time, truth be told.


Cara: I guess the problem is that Ethan is more coming across like a cameraman in a movie. He’s just sitting there describing the scene and the interactions around him, but not interacting himself or anyone interacting with him. He may as well be a ghost. Which, if this is third person, would be a bit more acceptable (probably more if it was omniscient rather than limited) and I’m sure I’ve lapsed into doing this a few times. But, I write exclusively in third person, not first. I get he is suppose to be under some sort of spell, but the spell hasn’t stopped him from thinking. He could still mentally analyze the situation and if you didn’t want your character’s thoughts muddling up a scene, then don’t write in first person.

HG: Ridley says that they are the same, apparently pleading with him. Ethan, however, likens it to a spoiled child, and I’m going to slam him with this:


You just told us she sounded hurt, yet then you tell us she sounds like a spoiled child. I could be wrong, but in my opinion, you can’t have both in this scenario, Ethan. As it stands, it just makes you sound like you’re judging her for pleading with Macon. Not only that, but a spoiled child? Coming from you, the King of Whining? You whine about Gatlin all the time, and damn near everything else, too, for that matter. You whine about your dad, about Amma, about the basketball team, about Link, and even about Lena. So forgive me if I don’t take your word for it that Ridley has somehow warped into a petulant child stamping her foot on the ground because her Uncle is being mean to her. Just as the Casters don’t know you all that well, you don’t know them. You hardly know much about Lena besides a few likes and interests, all you know about Macon is superstitious gossip from the town, and you met the others seconds ago. You don’t know Ridley, either, other than the fact she’s hot and clearly not wanted here. You don’t know why. You don’t know what the history is between her and the others. You have no room to judge someone you just met, even someone who is acting the way Ridley is.

I mean, I could be wrong. What do you think, Cara?

Cara: No, you are spot on. We all already know Ethan is a massive hypocrite, so this isn’t surprising. Yes, Ridley has forced her presence into this situation where no one wants her. From their discussion, you can tell she has been forced into estrangement against her will and probably abandoned by her family. She has to resort to trickery just to be able to see her parents, sisters, brother, cousin, and uncle. Now, she comes back and sees her cousin in the same position she was in, as her uncle’s ‘favorite’, and more than likely feels really jealous that Lena has taken a pedestal she use to be on while she has been kicked out of the family, especially since the estrangement wasn’t because of anything she did. This is a volatile situation where Ethan doesn’t know the backstory or even the history or personality of all the players. He is, for all intents and purposes, a stranger at the window looking in on a family dinner.

But sure, let's infantilize the only female character who has shown any sort of sexuality (by choice) and has shown power over the male lead while she’s showing any sort of emotional vulnerability. Yeah, we totally need more of that. So much more. /sarcasm.

HG: I hate that trope. I hate it so much.

The table starts to shake. Ethan can hear rain outside. Lena grips the table so hard her knuckles turn white, and she says they are not the same, apparently enough to make Ridley’s body stiffen. She asks if Lena thinks she’s better than her, then says she doesn’t even know her real name and that she doesn't realize her relationship is doomed. She tells her to wait until she’s Claimed to find out how things really work. She laughs, a sinister, yet pained laugh, and says that she has no idea if they’re the same or not, and that in a few months, she could end up in the same boat as her.

Cara: In Ridley’s defense… she’s right. Yeah, it’s being framed that she’s just being a big meanie and evul and all that jazz, but Lena, Ridley is right. The Claiming is random, you dolt. You have no idea what side you will go until it happens. Ridley is being theatrical about it, but that doesn’t mean her information is automatically incorrect.

HG: You know, when the Claiming thing is explained, I have a few words. Nothing major, just a sort of… wishful what if scenario. At any rate.

Lena looks at Ethan with a panicked expression, and the table continues to shake, causing the plates to hit one another. There’s lightning outside, and the rain is pouring down even harder, apparently like tears in the window, before telling Ridley to shut up.

Rain like tears in the window? Really?


Ridley tells Lena that she should tell Ethan about what’s going on. Doesn’t Ethan deserve to know if she’s Light or Dark, and that she has no choice in the matter? Lena responds by leaping to her feet and telling Ridley to shut up again. Ridley, however, is relaxed once more, enjoying herself as Ethan puts it. She says to tell Ethan how they lived together like sisters, and that she was exactly like Lena a year ago.

Cara: Ooookay? This exposition is kind of heavy handed and over the top. Like, I get everyone is super emotional, but god damn, nice way to smack us with the plot of the god damn book. 29% into the story.

Yeah, guys? Say ‘hi’ to the plot while it barrels in. Yes, Lena’s Claiming—and how to stop it—is actually the freaking main plot of the book. This is what Lena and Ethan will be doing for the rest of the book, aside from romance shit and locket shit (which, yeah, ties into the main plot, but I’ll explain in my final thoughts why the locket isn’t a good introduction to the plot). This is our story. This is our driving force. This is what we will be doing for the next twenty or so chapters. No wonder this book is almost 150,000 words long, it took us like 42,000 word just to get to the MAIN PLOT.

Also, Ethan has turned into a ghost again. He should really get that checked.

HG: Macon stands up, his pale face seeming whiter than normal. Funny, that reminds me of a certain line about a specific pale-skinned character somehow turning even whiter…


And he says that if Ridley doesn’t shut it, he’s going to Cast her out of the house. And it is here that I am annoyed by the random capitalization of random words. I get that Caster is their race/species name, fine, but now I’m seeing way too many randomly capitalized words, and most of them have been in this chapter. Claiming, Light, Dark, now just singular Cast? Not to mention Kelting is capitalized. I know that sometimes authors want to put emphasis on certain words to make them more dramatic or special, whatever. And in bursts, or for specific terms, I am willing to let it slide, because it doesn’t bother me. I understand the intent, and I don’t stop reading to say, “Hey, why is this like this” or anything like that. But it’s very noticeable in this chapter because there are so many different words being capitalized, and, to me personally, it kind of jumps out at me.

Cara: I agree. I get they are trying to establish Caster specific words but as HG said, it’s just a lot all at once without any explanation. Okay, I can understand why Claiming and Light and Dark are all nouns (Light and Dark are capitalized in my own book) but… why is cast capitalized? Like, what is the difference between Casting someone out and casting someone out (which is the context here)? Okay, I get that it’s implied that Macon would use magic but the definition—forcing someone out against their will—is still the same, although the method is different. So, I argue at least that word shouldn’t be capitalized. Same with Bound, which for the same reason is also capitalized.

Continuing on with Ghost Ethan narrating a family fight on Thanksgiving, where we fall into a big ol’ plot hole. Macon says no Dark Caster can enter Ravenwood by themselves. Which, Ridley says, well, she didn’t come in on her own, she was invited in. By Ethan. Because Southern Hospitality or something or other. The next two paragraphs are just all about how Ridley is so scary and monstrous even though she hasn’t been monstrous at all since we met her, or shown any capability of doing evil stuff, other than mind controlling Ethan.

*takes in deep breath and pinches bridge of nose* All right, so Ridley got around Macon’s protections by getting Ethan to invite her into the house. I’m sure everyone can see the glaring problem with that, but just allow me to scream it for you:


He has not nor has ever lived there. He is not related to anyone in the house. He isn’t even Lena’s FRIEND, no less her significant other. That would be like if my aunt (who I have a bad relationship with) waltz into my house with my friend from college and said ‘Oh, well, your friend invited me into the house, so I’m allowed to be here and you are just a big meanie jerk if you kick me out!’ NO. It’s Macon’s house and Ethan doesn’t get to be a loophole. Who the fuck cares whether he’s from Gatlin? He doesn’t have the right to allow other people into his house, magically possessed or not.

And, what the fuck, Macon. If we assume she’s not bluffing, that is a MASSIVELY HUGE HOLE IN YOUR SECURITY. Any dangerous Dark Caster can waltz up to Ethan, or any person in town if Ridley’s hint is right, and they can just invite this potentially evil person into your house. What is the goddamn point in binding (or Binding?) the house if that loophole is in place? Oh, yeah, they can’t walk in by themselves but who the fuck cares if they can just grab a random off the street and say ‘hey, can you walk up to this house, open the door, and invite me in? Thanks!’ which would be made easier if they have mind raping powers like Ridley does. What do you think, HG?

HG: I agree wholeheartedly that this is a very large flaw in Macon’s logic, and it makes me wonder if the authors needed it to exist in order for this little scenario to work. The answer: of course they didn’t, but for some reason, they thought they needed to use it. Was it meant to be some sort of, I don’t know, callback to the old vampire myth about being unable to enter a person’s house without being invited in? That’s what it makes me think of, honestly, only a whole lot dumber. I don’t buy the “Southern hospitality” angle, truth be told, because in terms of the story and on what’s going on, it doesn’t make any logical sense. Why would they make it so that someone like Ridley could get inside only if invited in? Oh. Wait. I think I know why. Because we’re going to be getting a scene just like that in a bit, only Ethan is going to be the one answering the door. I feel as though this whole thing exists solely so that Ethan, our Hero, learns something useful later on and that’s… it. It doesn’t serve any other purpose than to make Macon look dumb, to make Ridley look smart, and to give Ethan knowledge for later on.

Look, I’m no expert, and I would never claim to be, but I feel as though they could have done this without making the characters look stupid. Surely, if they could come up with the Caster lore and history and so on, they could create a scene in which Ridley was able to manipulate Ethan to get inside the house? Hell, I’d even accept them removing the line of dialogue altogether. It doesn’t need to be there!

Cara: Actually, I know a way to fix this and it’s actually a stupidly easy fix: Have Ethan already at the Gathering Day. Don’t have Ridley seek him out. Lena invited him, because friendship and he already knows she and her family are Casters, so he is already there and learning about the rest of the family and their abilities and shit. THEN, Ridley comes to the door, Ethan hears the doorbell (probably because they are just mingling instead of sitting down and eating) and BAM, Ridley mind controls him into letting her in. Hey, she intended to get Ryan or maybe her Dad but the puny human will do because he is already in the house. Then, everyone goes OMGWTFBBQ11!!?1?!1?1

There, it’s not a loophole, Macon just didn’t think to tell Ethan to not answer the goddamn door because who would expect your evil niece to show up on your doorstep out of nowhere? It’s not stupid because she didn’t get Ethan off the street, he was already a guest in the house. Or, hell, make Ryan be the one who gets tricked, not Ethan. She’s just a young kid and this is her older sister. Children aren’t the most forward thinkers.

Yeah, it’s maybe not the best patch I’ve come up with but at least we don’t have the GLARING LOOPHOLE.

HG: You know, it makes me wish you wrote this book. You would’ve done the idea justice. Heck, most of us probably could have.

Cara: I’m pretty good at worldbuilding and thinking of various possibilities for things. I’ll admit to that.

So, the house starts to shake or as Californians call it, Wednesday. It would be Tuesday but Tuesday is drought day. It’s all the normal possession stuff we have all seen in those YouTube videos: flickering lights, banging shutters, swinging chandeliers, louds sounds that remind Ethan of the time he almost ran Lena and fucking killed her. Ah, how romantic.

Ridley tightens her grip on Ethan (so, her power is touch based? Ha! My villain would pwn you) and he tries to wiggle away. Though, he can’t move and he starts feeling so cold his arm goes numb. Fun fact: Paresthesia (the tingling numbing sensation) isn’t about cutting off blood flow to a limb or digit, it’s about cutting off the communication in your nerves.

Lena screams for Ethan and Del stomps her foot on the ground and a wave runs through the floorboards. Um...okay? See, this is also why my idea is better since we would have already established everyone’s special abilities, so we wouldn’t be looking at Aunt Del going ‘Um, okay? What was the point in that?’

The cold sensation spreads across Ethan’s body, freezing all his muscles including the ones in his throat. He’s paralyzed, unable to speak, and losing the ability to breath. Don’t get excited, he’s not going to die. And we still have to listen to his internal monologue.

Del tells Ridley she should have stayed away and there isn’t anything the family could do for her now. Macon says a lot can happen in a year and she’s found [her] place in the Order of Things. ‘Order of Things’ better be an establishment instead of a concept or else that capitalization is stupid. Also, Ridley doesn’t belong there anymore and she needs to GTFO.

Macon appears right in front of her (uh, aren’t they sitting at the table? What is he doing? Standing on all the food?) and Ethan thinks he’s losing track of things and everything spins. Macon yells at her to go and Del scolds her that she needs to behave and leave because Ravenwood is a place of Light Magic, not Dark Magic (*twitch*) and the place will kill her anyway if she stays much longer. Ridley tells her she’s not leaving and no one to make her and Macon interrupt[s] her tantrum and says that isn’t true.

Okay, I have to call another timeout. Let’s look at what is going on:

1) Ridley has been disowned by her family because at her Claiming, she got Dark Magic instead of Light and Ravenwood Manor only allows people with Light Magic in (<— More on this near the end of the book).
2) The Claiming, at least according to Ridley and not opposed by anyone else, is more than likely involuntary. So, Ridley probably didn’t choose Dark Magic. Also, both her mother and sister are Light Casters, so she probably has no idea how to deal or work with Dark Magic.
3) She is clearly angry and jealous because she was a favorite of the family before the Claiming and now is a pariah, all within a year. Also, she sees her beloved cousin who she has lived with for years in the same position she was over a year ago.
4) Everyone is yelling and using magic at her to get her out and aren’t willing to talk to or reason with her. No one is listening to her and all are just upset she is here and ruining their dinner.

But, Ridley is just throwing a tantrum, like a child. She is the one to be viewed as unreasonable here. How dare she waltz back into the house, upset everyone, scare Lena with what could happen to her at her Claiming (because the Claiming is random and Lena won’t know how she gets claimed until after it happens), and then refuse to leave even after two people threaten her with magic. Bad Ridley, why can’t you just accept your lot in life and go crawl in a gutter somewhere and leave your nice Light Caster family alone? Don’t you know you are upsetting them? Selfish bitch.

How is she being unreasonable here? Does no one realized how traumatizing losing your family in one fell swoop is? Literally, one day she had this great big loving family and the next day BAM, family tells her to fuck off and never come back because she got Claimed wrong. They are being complete fucking assholes. Have some sympathy for the poor kid. Yeah, a year is a long time, but that means Ridley is only SEVENTEEN. Can anyone think back to their seventeen year old selves and imagine how you would act if your family dropped you like a hot potato because of something beyond your control? Why can’t Ridley still be a part of the family? Okay, so she can’t come on Ravenwood grounds, but can’t they have fucking dinner at someone else’s house so she can come? I mean, she technically isn’t really doing any harm. Yeah, she’s mind controlling Ethan but no one is giving a shit about that anyway. It’s Macon, Del, and Lena who are causing a scene, not Ridley. Yeah, she threw some jabs at Lena but she probably wouldn’t be as angry if they didn’t fucking abandon her a year ago.

Also, more infantilizing of Ridley AND her being told to remember her place. Because, fuck you, Ridley.

HG: I want to emphasize that Ridley did not choose this. She never wanted to be Claimed by the Dark, and yet, that’s what happened anyways. It doesn’t matter that she and Lena were once super close, and that she was once a good person. It doesn’t matter that she had a brother and two sisters and parents who probably loved her. None of that matters anymore, because she is Dark, and as such, she is a villain in their eyes. This, I would say, is almost as horrible as imprinting in Twilight; something happens that causes someone to completely change in a way that they didn’t see coming, and worst of all, they didn’t have any say in it. They aren’t given an offer when they turn sixteen that allows them to be Light or Dark; it just happens, and they are stuck with it for the rest of their lives. Ridley had no control over what happened to her. For all we know, she has no control over what she has become. Is this even Ridley any more? Is this a hollow shell with the same voice and appearance, but a mind twisted by dark magic, warping her into someone she isn’t? Horrific implications all around, it seems.

Now, I also want to look at this from a different lens, if I may, that being a character lens. We met Ridley at the beginning of this chapter, and at the time, she was being portrayed as a dark, edgy, sexy hot girl who was able to grab the attention of every boy on the basketball team with ease. She then proceeded to manipulate Ethan into coming with her and spilling his most intimate thoughts (save the obvious Plot Related ones, because you can’t have that), and then, she gets him to let her inside. At first, Ridley is able to laugh and mock and jab at her family members. She’s cool, calm, and collected, along with sultry. But then they sit down to eat, and all of a sudden, Ethan is essentially derailing her character. She went from being a creepy, potentially interesting villain to, primarily thanks to Ethan, a whiny, tantrum-throwing half-villain who relies on petulant jabs and smugness to upset the other characters, namely Lena. I don’t think I have ever seen a character derailed so quickly in my life. Even Charlie and Jacob from Twilight took three books before he was fully derailed (okay, Jacob was halfway there at the end of New Moon, but even so).

So not only is this sickening and irritating from the lens that Ridley is a seventeen year old who had no control over what happened to her, yet everyone hates her, but it’s also irritating from a character lens, because she’s lost what threatening presence she had rather quickly. Most of it is due to Ethan’s commentary, since he’s the one saying she’s acting like a spoiled girl and throwing a tantrum, but it also doesn’t help when the narration seems to be making her out to be somewhat hammy in her actions. Granted, this is just my opinion, and it’s possible another person would have a different reading. Just some food for thought, I suppose.

Cara: Oh, I completely agree. I didn’t think about it that way before. I was more concentrating on how Ridley’s backstory is sympathetic and her family are a bunch of dicks. Thanks for pointing that out.

HG: Back to the mess at hand. Ridley says she’s stronger now, and that he can't control her. Macon agrees that she’s stronger, but still not strong enough to take him on. He then says he will do whatever it takes to protect Lena, even if it means hurting her, or worse. So yes, he is very much willing to effectively kill Ridley, who, need I say again, had no control over what happened to her and may not have control over herself anymore as it stands. She may as well not even be a person to him or to the others in that moment if she’s so easily discarded. Ridley asks if he would really do that. She says Ravenwood is a Dark place of power, and has been since Abraham, and that Ravenwood should be theirs, so why is he Binding it to the Light?

Macon says it’s Lena’s home now. Ridley, however, says he belongs with her, followed by an ominous With Her. Ridley stands and drags Ethan to his feet, and now Lena is standing, too. Ethan says it’s like three points of a scary triangle, and while I’m glad it’s not a stupid metaphor… It’s a different kind of stupid metaphor. Anyways, Ridley says she’s not scared of their kind. Macon says that may be so, but she has no power here, not against all of them and a Natural. Ridley cackles at the idea of Lena being a Natural, since she’s seen what a Natural can do. Lena could never be one.

I have to pause, because I have no idea what they’re talking about. Ghost Ethan is just standing there, so he’s not really adding anything to the moment, and they’re talking about Caster things we know nothing about. I know it’ll likely be detailed later, but still, it’s confusing.

Cara: Again, my reordering of events would have solved this. It’s pretty egregious to have this much confusion to terminology. Where was the editor? Why didn’t they tell the authors to fix this? This isn’t like we have Lena as the POV character and we are in this emotionally charged scene so stopping the narrative to explain stuff would ruin the tension. We have Ethan, who knows jack shit, and he’s not going ‘wtf is everyone talking about?’

Actually, hold on. HG, why isn’t Ethan trying to Kelt with Lena? Or, why isn’t he wondering why Lena isn’t trying to Kelt with him? This would be a good time to Kelt and maybe keep him informed on what is going on!

HG: Um, you know, that’s a good question. They have Kelted each other even when they were standing next to one another, when there was no reason to Kelt. Yet now, the one time when, hey, it would be useful, neither of them bother with it. It’s almost like they sort of conveniently forgot they could do that? I don’t get it. Did the authors do this intentionally to ramp up the tension/drama of the scene? Did they just forget about it? I can’t believe that would be the answer, so apparently they thought it was a good idea, when obviously, it’s a logical fail on their part.

Cara: I could accept that Ridley is somehow blocking their Kelt connection if Ethan was going ‘WTFOMGBBQ why can I telepathically talk with Lena?’ but as it stands, it just makes me question the point, story wise, is to have Kelting. It’s not like the scene would be easily solve if Lena and Ethan just communicated, it wouldn’t break Ridley’s spell. It would just be a good way to give the readers information. Just, ARGH.

HG: Agreed. Someone, I don’t know who, says a Cataclyst and a Natural aren’t the same, followed by Ridley (I think?) saying a Cataclyst is a Natural gone dark. I have no idea what either of these things are or what they mean, and it’s very jarring for me as a reader. This is one of the many moments where I wish Lena WAS the protagonist, because at least then, she would know these things. Ethan even agrees, as he has no idea what these people are talking about and says he’s in over his head. Oi. This book makes my brain hurt sometimes.

Cara: Okay, I’m going to do what the book never does and actually explain what a fucking Natural is. Serious, this is the third time I’ve read this book and I still don’t understand what they are. So, I looked it up on the Caster Wiki. This is what it says:

“Natural is a term for a Caster who has magnified or superior powers compared to regular Casters. They are able to do many things, but in the grand scheme of it all no one knows exactly what their powers fully are nor the extent of them. A Natural can usually control the elements and the weather, [...]. The opposite of a Natural is a Cataclyst. Not much is said as to which of the two is stronger, but in the Caster world, a Natural is considered the strongest of all of the Casters; virtually omnipotent.”

The Caster Chronicles Wiki

So, basically, Naturals are super Casters. They are God-like beings who have the abilities to control nearly everything and no one knows what their limits are. And Lena is one of them. How… overly powerful yet frustratingly vague.

HG: Why am I not surprised?

All of a sudden, Ethan’s body seizes up, and he knows he’s blacking out and that he’s probably going to die. He says it feels like all the life has been sucked out from him, and he can hear the sound of thunder, followed by lightning crashing into a tree branch outside the window. Maybe? It’s weirdly worded. Oh, and he says there’s a storm right overhead.

You know, for a guy who is apparently dying, I am not getting any fear from him. He seems oddly… relaxed? Robotic? One of those, or both. He doesn’t seem to care. I mean, besides the fact we know he isn’t because he’s our point of view character. Blah.

Cara: I think my protagonist got more emotional over her headaches.

Ridley says Lena isn’t worth protecting and they won’t know if she’s a Natural until her birthday, though she doubts Lena is one anyway. Harsh, Rid, I know you (reasonably) hate your family and all but your cousin is still a minor. Then, she says they shouldn’t let Lena’s innocence and sweetness fool them into thinking she will be claimed by the Light, since Ridley was the same way prior to her claiming and look how she turned out. Also, she says based on Ethan’s info from his earlier blabbering, she might go Dark because of the lightning storms and terrorizing the high school.

Okay, student’s stupid responses aside, but I don’t see how the window incident is her ‘terrorizing the school’. She didn’t do it on purpose, she did it because she got emotional because the girls were bullying her. The girl is fifteen, teenagers aren’t known to have the strongest grasp over their emotions. It would be like saying a kid who punched another kid after weeks of bullying and then saying that kid is some monster. Plus, it was one incident! And an easily explainable one at that! The storms? Yeah, pretty obvious that Lena is controlling them but there is no negative consequences coming out of that. It’s not like Gatlin is in danger of flooding or fires from the constant storms. I don’t know if South Carolina can handle constant storms, but where I live, a month of on and off storms wouldn’t be that bad. Ridley, come on, we sympathize with you but you need to up your evil game if you want to convince us you are a worthy minor antagonist.

HG: The wind starts getting stronger, and despite somehow blacking out, Ethan can see the rage in Lena’s eyes and continues to narrate without any emotion. Oh, and another window shatters, too. Lena tells Ridley for a third time to shut up, and that she has no idea what she’s talking about. Rain begins pouring down in the dining room, wind follows, and plates and everything start going all over the place. No one moves. Which actually reminds me… There are other characters present. Aunt Del, Larkin, Barclay, Reece, Ryan. They’re all there, they didn’t just get up and leave, and yet they have vanished. I almost forgot they were supposed to be in this scene, and I honestly think I would have otherwise.

Ridley turns to Macon and tells him he’s always given Lena too much credit. Ethan says he wanted to break free from Ridley’s grip, to drag her and throw her out the house himself, but he can’t budge. Weren’t you blacking out moments ago? Is it just me, or is the narration super jumbled all of a sudden, Cara?

Cara: I’m annoyed that Ethan keeps repeating that he can’t move. I got it the first five times, and the fact you circumstance hasn’t changed, I can easily infer you are still unable to move. Still doesn’t excuse your cameraman like narration.

But, yes, I agree. The narration seems… off. I can’t put my finger on it. Kind of wish we had someone who was good at editing here. I’ve always had a feeling something was off about the writing but I could never figure it out.

HG: Windows start shattering, and glass is flying everywhere. Furniture is banging against the walls. Ethan describes it as a tornado inside the house, and everything is crazy, and Boo Radley screams somehow, and Ridley’s grip starts to loosen. I know I’m not the best at writing action scenes, but I feel like… Well, it’s not terrible or anything, but I don’t get any tension or emotion. I don’t feel anything as I read it besides kind of bored, truth be told. I’ve said that already, but I feel like it needs to be repeated; when you write action scenes, regardless of whether or not it’s in first or third or even second person, I honestly believe you need to put emotion into it. Without that, without any sort of suddenness, or fear, or anything, it just sounds like a laundry list description, sort of like this. That’s just how I see it, anyways.

Cara: I’ve been told I’m pretty good at writing action scenes and you are right: this comes across as a list of things happening instead of an action scene. Windows break here. Rain pelts there. There is no use of the senses. Ethan is blacking out but he can still clearly describe everything going on. The sentences themselves are too long and detailed instead of quick and choppy. Can’t Ethan feel the electricity in the air, making his skin prickle? Can’t he smell the rain? Why isn’t the room spinning and why can’t he feel any weakness in his limbs as his brain goes ‘fuck this, I’m out’? I’ve nearly blacked out before (and maybe actually blacked out, but that might have been because the nurses and doctors knocked me out) and you definitely get this sense where your brain is taking in sensory information, but it’s not processing it. Your body feels are rubbery and your head spins. Even today, I can clearly recall where my near blackout happened and I can mentally recall it but if you asked me to vocally describe it, I would have trouble. It’s like there is some block.

HG: Ethan’s legs begin to buckle, and as he finally loses consciousness, all at once, he feels the wind and a surge of power that rips his arm away from Ridley and throws her out of the house. He collapses, and hears Lena tell Ridley to get away from her boyfriend, calling her a witch, and Ethan repeats the line, wondering if that’s what he is. He tries to smile, but can’t, because he’s out, and this chapter is DONE.

Jaysus. That was… That was something.

Cara: I’ll repeat what I said at the beginning: this book is a shitshow. I swear we spent more time fixing the chapter than actually properly analyzing it.

HG: That’s because, in the long run of things, there wasn’t a whole lot to analyze in this chapter. Yes, we were introduced to Ridley, we saw more of the Caster characters, and the plot FINALLY decided to grace us with its presence. But did anything of note really happen besides those things? Honestly, I don’t think so. I look at this chapter, at the sheer amount of problems you pointed out, the few I pointed out, and the illogic, and the everything else going on, and I can’t really say, in my personal opinion, that this chapter really served its purpose. We learned a few things and met a few people, but we’re left with more questions and a whole lot of boggling at everything else going on. The only thing that was analyzed on my part was the derailment that Ridley went through from the beginning of the chapter to almost the end.

But, for now, we can take a breather. And perhaps next time, we can drag someone, I mean, uh, invite someone else to join us. What do you think, Cara? Shall we spread the misery?

Cara: We would need to make sure the door locks.

We will see you all next time, folks! Bye!



(28 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 15th, 2017 01:40 am (UTC)
I think my protagonist got more emotional over her headaches.

I think my protagonist Holly got emotional over watching a lamp fall to the ground on its own, only to wake up and see that the lamp wasn't broken and no evidence of the lamp ever hitting the ground. And that was just in the prologue.

. Then, she says they shouldn’t let Lena’s innocence and sweetness fool them into thinking she will be claimed by the Light, since Ridley was the same way prior to her claiming and look how she turned out.

So, did The Riddler actually admit that she was putting up a sweet, innocent facade before she went Dark?

Aunt Del, Larkin, Barclay, Reece, Ryan. They’re all there, they didn’t just get up and leave, and yet they have vanished.

I can picture them sitting at the table, casually eating as if there's no argument going on. Or maybe they're eating and enjoying the show.
I actually feel bad for the Riddler to be honest. No one wants her because she's "evil" and all. Really. She was speaking the true about what would happen to Lena and everyone is getting all up in arms over it because Riddler is hurting Precious Lena's feelings.

I could get getting upset over going either Light or Dark, since going Dark means that your entire family shuns you, so Lena saw what happened when Riddler got shunned and the panic and worry over possibly going Dark and going Light means family loves you and all, but you have to shun your close cousin and all.
[User Picture]
Date:February 15th, 2017 11:54 am (UTC)
I think you should have big words about the Claiming, because it's so damn horrible. It's one of those things where the authors clearly thought it'd be cool and intense, but in reality, they got a plot device riddled with unfortunate implications that turns women into objects with no free will - not to mention how the 'dark' ones get characterised as stereotypically 'bad' women. It's awful and I hate it.

"...which is not all that old by most standards, especially for a man." Eh? Please tell me you didn't imply that men and women age differently and that it's more okay for a dude to be older. Because that would make me a sad kitten, and I hate sad kittens. I'm sure I misunderstood, though.

This book is terrible, and I'm glad the film adaptation tanked as badly as it did.
[User Picture]
Date:February 16th, 2017 05:01 am (UTC)
I think you should have big words about the Claiming, because it's so damn horrible.

It is and we do.

Please tell me you didn't imply that men and women age differently and that it's more okay for a dude to be older.

Oh no, we meant how old someone appears, not how old they actually are.

This book is terrible, and I'm glad the film adaptation tanked as badly as it did.

Me too.
[User Picture]
Date:February 15th, 2017 02:01 pm (UTC)
My headcannon is that Kitchen is some sort of magical construct similar to the ones from the Abhorsen trilogy
[User Picture]
Date:February 15th, 2017 08:43 pm (UTC)
Not sure what the Abhorsen trilogy is, but I kind of feel the same way you do. We never find out who Kitchen is, or what Kitchen is, so I feel like they're less of a living person and more of a... thing. But I don't know if we ever get an answer.
[User Picture]
Date:February 15th, 2017 11:04 pm (UTC)
It's a series by Garth Nix about a family that basically hunts down necromancers and the undead. Their ancestral house is full of magical servants that do the housekeeping and stuff.
[User Picture]
Date:February 16th, 2017 12:25 am (UTC)
I remember those! The 'sendings' were a bit like magical robots that only really do the things they were 'programmed' to do. Like the bath sending who kept scrubbing Sabriel even when she didn't want it to.
Macon's words just made me think of a kitchen that somehow cooks food on its own.
Everyone's attitude towards Ridley is just giving me Inheritance Cycle flashbacks, where Eragon doesn't even seem to care that Murtagh isn't doing evil of his own free will.

[User Picture]
Date:February 15th, 2017 05:29 pm (UTC)
/Ridley asks Lena if she has any plans for her birthday, before digging her fingers into gravy and licking them suggestively. Okay, look, I get the intent, but authors, you are hammering the fact she’s a Bad Girl into our heads and it’s ridiculous./

I'm surprised that she didn't then start pulling down her neckline to show off her cleavage.

/But sure, let's infantilize the only female character who has shown any sort of sexuality (by choice) and has shown power over the male lead while she’s showing any sort of emotional vulnerability./

Ridley? Meet Victoria and Jane, two villainous female characters from "Twilight" who have authority over men and who are eventually derailed into whining, shrill, and petulant children who throw tantrums like two-year-olds.

/Doesn’t Ethan deserve to know if she’s Light or Dark/

Ridley is right. If Lena wants Ethan to be her boyfriend or her friend, then he does need to know this.

/And he says that if Ridley doesn’t shut it, he’s going to Cast her out of the house./

And he couldn't have done that before because...?

/He doesn’t have the right to allow other people into his house, magically possessed or not./

Does it even count as an invitation if the person making it is hypnotized or possessed? Do the words matter more than the intention?

/he Claiming is random and Lena won’t know how she gets claimed until after it happens), and then refuse to leave even after two people threaten her with magic. Bad Ridley, why can’t you just accept your lot in life and go crawl in a gutter somewhere and leave your nice Light Caster family alone?/

And now Ridley can go have drinks with Leah, who had the nerve to be unhappy that her fiance dumped her for her cousin whose face he slashed, instead of just brainlessly going along with it like the rest of her misogynistic, hive-mind pack.

/she has no control over what she has become. Is this even Ridley any more?/

Either she was a flirtatious 'bad girl' before and that's why she was destined to become a Dark Caster or the Claiming turned her into that because nothing says evil like a flirtatious girl who smokes and sucks lollipops. Either way, it's ridiculous.
[User Picture]
Date:February 15th, 2017 08:58 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised that she didn't then start pulling down her neckline to show off her cleavage.

She might as well have. She's doing everything else to create the 'Sexy' Bad Girl trope, and of course it's being hammered how evil she is because of it. *rolls eyes*

Ridley? Meet Victoria and Jane, two villainous female characters from "Twilight" who have authority over men and who are eventually derailed into whining, shrill, and petulant children who throw tantrums like two-year-olds.

Seriously though. She goes from being cool and collected to a whiny brat to sympathetic back to petulant so quickly, it's liable to give you whiplash. The authors seriously couldn't decide what route they wanted to take with Ridley, and that continues to show as the book goes on when she pops up again.

And he couldn't have done that before because...?

Because then we wouldn't get all this 'delicious' drama, silly.

Ridley is right. If Lena wants Ethan to be her boyfriend or her friend, then he does need to know this.

A rare moment for Ridley.

Either she was a flirtatious 'bad girl' before and that's why she was destined to become a Dark Caster or the Claiming turned her into that because nothing says evil like a flirtatious girl who smokes and sucks lollipops. Either way, it's ridiculous.

Pretty much.
[User Picture]
Date:February 16th, 2017 05:09 am (UTC)
I'm surprised that she didn't then start pulling down her neckline to show off her cleavage.

Well, this is a YA novel. She needs to be sexualized but not that sexualized. Still got to keep it PG.

Ridley is right. If Lena wants Ethan to be her boyfriend or her friend, then he does need to know this.

She knows he's going to butt his nose into this situation anyway so they may as well cough it up.

And he couldn't have done that before because...?

Cause...reasons? Yeah, reasons.

Does it even count as an invitation if the person making it is hypnotized or possessed? Do the words matter more than the intention?

That's why we are confused. It seems like a pretty big loophole especially when you are dealing with beings who can use magic. Like, what Dark evil Caster is going to just waltz up to the house and walk right in, the get Casted out, and then just be like 'WELP, GUESS I HAVE NOTHING AT MY DISPOSAL IN ORDER TO GET INTO THIS HOUSE. NOPE. I HAVE BEEN BLOCKED.'

Either she was a flirtatious 'bad girl' before and that's why she was destined to become a Dark Caster or the Claiming turned her into that because nothing says evil like a flirtatious girl who smokes and sucks lollipops. Either way, it's ridiculous.

I don't think Ridley was suppose to be flirtatious prior to her Claiming. Boys flocked towards her, yes, but I think she ignored them until the Claiming and getting kicked from the family.
[User Picture]
Date:February 16th, 2017 02:25 pm (UTC)
/what Dark evil Caster is going to just waltz up to the house and walk right in, the get Casted out, and then just be like 'WELP, GUESS I HAVE NOTHING AT MY DISPOSAL IN ORDER TO GET INTO THIS HOUSE. NOPE. I HAVE BEEN BLOCKED.'/

In the TV show, "Jackie Chan Adventures," a demon tries to enter a home that's been warded and gets zapped. Having overheard that he needs an invitation to get in, he promptly disguises himself and befriends one of the main characters. She willingly invites him inside (not knowing who he really is), so I don't know if he still would've been able to enter if he'd hypnotized her.

/I don't think Ridley was suppose to be flirtatious prior to her Claiming. Boys flocked towards her, yes, but I think she ignored them until the Claiming/

Oh, great. Yeah, this totally doesn't make the Claiming look lame. "Ha, ha, this girl is destined for darkness! Whatever goodness that was in her shall be drained and she shall be warped beyond all recognition into the most wicked, diabolical Caster: one who sucks lollipops and reciprocates when boys flock to her instead of ignoring them! Fear the evil!"
[User Picture]
Date:February 15th, 2017 06:07 pm (UTC)
I'm getting this feeling that this book is gonna miss an opportunity to do a "light is not good" and "dark is not evil" story.
[User Picture]
Date:February 15th, 2017 08:41 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this is NOT the kind of story to do that kind of thing, which is weird because of Macon, and we'll get into that in the future. But otherwise, Light is Good, and Dark is Evil, and that's that. The whole thing about Lena and her Claiming is that it's supposed to be her choice or something, but even so, Dark Casters are treated as villains and act like villains, so it's... weird. It's a lot of missed opportunities, for sure.
[User Picture]
Date:February 16th, 2017 05:09 am (UTC)

Yeah, it's not.
[User Picture]
Date:February 16th, 2017 05:02 pm (UTC)
Yep, foregone conclusion. Doubt Ridely's even gonna be a remotely sympathetic antagonist either.

Though now I've gotten into my head that Ridley is now aware she's stuck in a YA novel and is now trolling everyone with all the cliches.
[User Picture]
Date:February 16th, 2017 10:36 pm (UTC)
Ridley is... I dunno. She's sympathetic when you REALLY think about it, like Leah, but the problem is, she's used as an antagonistic force of sorts, and because of that, we're stuck with her shifting personality and only glimmers of the potential she possesses as a character, villain or otherwise.

Date:February 15th, 2017 06:40 pm (UTC)
I have to admit, these sporkings have been good inspiration for me. Both hearing about other people's ideas and stories ( as well as about people actually getting off their butts to write) and seeing the horrible things in Paranormal Romance that I want to avoid / discuss in my Twilight/Paranormal Romance Response book that I'm toying with.

Like the slutty "foil" that perpetuates the Virgin-Whore complex these stories seem to have. I knew I wanted to have sort of Not-Lauren character who was actually threatening to the heroine (as opposed to Lauren, who does nothing except occasionally say something mildly bitchy, but is still labeled as evil by Bella) with some Cullen's flaunting of wealth in a relatively poor area. This culminates in her taking the Deal with the Devil Lichification ritual and joining the villain's team. While I hadn't gone too much into detail about her sex life (it's a very rough idea) the fact that my Heroine happens to be ace could lead to problematic implications is overly sexualized, at least if not handled carefully. So thank you! Great job by the way!
[User Picture]
Date:February 15th, 2017 08:48 pm (UTC)
I have to admit, these sporkings have been good inspiration for me. Both hearing about other people's ideas and stories ( as well as about people actually getting off their butts to write) and seeing the horrible things in Paranormal Romance that I want to avoid / discuss in my Twilight/Paranormal Romance Response book that I'm toying with.

Thanks, I'm glad it's inspiring you. :) Mervin's Twilight spork served as a good guideline for me when I was writing my vampire story, both in the characters and in the romance element between my two lead ladies, because I saw how NOT to do romance and how NOT to make my vampire protagonists. I used her spork as a definite set of rules that I was always thinking of whenever I wrote a scene or dialogue or anything like that, and it was a blessing for sure. Now I feel a bit more comfortable that my major characters aren't jerks. Flawed, sure, but not racists or sexists or hypocrites. So if Cara and I can do the same, we're happy to help. ^^

Keep it up! :)
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Date:February 16th, 2017 05:10 am (UTC)
Yay! I like inspiring people! :D I like your idea, though.
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Date:February 16th, 2017 02:37 pm (UTC)
You two have no idea how much I needed a good laugh right now. My grandmother suffered a massive stroke on Valentine's Day. We were all told there was no hope of recovery. Yesterday she was taken off Life Support and transferred to Hospice.

I really don't have any comment besides Ethan is an ass, I feel bad for Ridley, and for some reason I'm picturing Macon and everyone else watching the argument while eating popcorn.
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Date:February 16th, 2017 02:53 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry!
[User Picture]
Date:February 16th, 2017 03:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It's hard on everyone, especially since it was so sudden.

Edited at 2017-02-16 05:19 pm (UTC)
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Date:February 17th, 2017 10:18 pm (UTC)
<3 I'm sorry. You take your time, Rangu.
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Date:February 17th, 2017 04:47 am (UTC)
Sure something happened! Ethan 'officially' became Lena's boyfriend! That's totally relevant to the plot! *rolls eyes*

I watched this scene on Youtube. It's so frigging stupid, I was laughing the whole time because the effects and acting was so bad. (Also the actor for Ethan looks like he's in his late twenties. WTF?) And I'll save it for later, but the fact that they don't really explain what 'going dark' means makes the Light Casters look like real dicks to Ridley. I get the impression that it's because Dark Casters have 'evil' abilities, but to roughly quote Albus Dumbledore "it's not our abilities that determine who we are, it's our choices". Soooooo... *double middle finger to the Suethors*

Dunno how good I'm at writing action (so far I've only written one bus crash for the protagonist to escape from) but when I was reading through this book, I couldn't understand what the hell was happening in that scene, hence why I watched a clip. Not a good thing if your readers are confused as hell.

Ah...the cliche blackout to end chapter. That's not overdone at all. And why's Ethan blacked out again?
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Date:February 17th, 2017 10:21 pm (UTC)
I get the impression that it's because Dark Casters have 'evil' abilities

I get that too. It's probably the best explanation of what the difference between and Light and Dark Caster is.

And why's Ethan blacked out again?

Uh, Ridley's powers overwhelmed him? I actually have no idea.
[User Picture]
Date:February 17th, 2017 11:44 pm (UTC)
"evil abilities" huh? I'm kinda cringing already that it's gonna be really over simplified.
I'm also gonna quote Prof. Dumbledore like catnomadic did. I think it is entirely possible to take a magic user who has an ability that would normally be seen as "evil" or "questionable" but they aren't evil themselves or the context is such that at least dabbling in the dark abilites can seen as understandable.

For example, if you were a magic user and in your community it was commonly accepted that necromancy was extremely dangerous. Then another magic user you knew lost a family member and then they started dabbling in necromancy. Would you call that evil or desperate?

And is the "claiming" basically some cosmic force flips a coin and that's that? Do any past choices factor in? Like it doesn't set it in stone but may make you more likely to be claimed by one side than the other? Like maybe Ridely could be both really confused and angry at winding up dark side and she has no clue how it happened?

And for the sake of my sanity...I'm just gonna imagine instead Light=defesnive and Dark=Offensive like in Final Fantasy. Besides, Black Mages get some pretty cool robes and a pointy hat!
[User Picture]
Date:February 18th, 2017 01:12 pm (UTC)
I've already mentioned this before, but I thought I'd repeat it: There's a stray quotation mark at the ends of your links that breaks them. Since this is a regular thing, maybe you should look it over when you embed links and see if you can fix it.
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Date:February 18th, 2017 05:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that. Sorry!

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