Ask Amy, 13 September 2014:Dear Amy: When we were dating, my wife was the sweetest woman in the world. She didn’t make a move without asking me. We had a few kids. She stayed home and raised them while I worked. The kids grew up and went off on their own. The wife got a part-time job to keep herself busy. Then she got promoted. Now she works full time, goes to business lunches and dinners, meetings and training sessions. She comes home, cooks and cleans. She doesn’t ask me what I’d like for dinner but makes whatever she feels like. Our plan was for me to retire when I turned 62 (she’s 57), buy an RV and travel the country. Well, we bought the RV, but she can only go on weekend trips. Vacations are saved for when the kids come home. She traded in the car I bought her to tote the kids around for a sports car that I can barely fit in. Now she’s talking about getting a smaller house because she doesn’t have time to clean “a big empty house.” I keep telling her we will have grandkids one day and she will be glad we have all the space. She’s changed so much in 37 years that I don’t even recognize her, and I’m afraid one day I will wake up to a “for sale” sign in my front yard. How do I convince her she is just going through “the change” and in a few years she will be back to normal again? — Mystified Mike
Dear Mystified Mike,
Boy howdy, the ole’ ball and chain sure has pulled a fast one on you! Time was nice ladies like ole’ wifey knew their place. (Slightly behind you but never out of sight, holding a dishrag.)
But here you are today, seeing your wife bring in an income and cook and clean your home while you pine away for an RV you can’t use unless she’s in it—I mean, it’s not like it’s going to clean itself during a trip to Flagstaff, is it?
When you married your wife, she had a lifetime obligation to stay the same person she was on your wedding day. That’s what long-term partnership is about: wives graciously taking orders from their husbands for their entire lives, until they drop dead on the ironing board. You understand this, but your wife clearly doesn’t—and for that, you can definitely blame menopause, the only possible cause of your wife’s desire to be an independent human being with her own interests.
Nothing besides a totally natural hormonal change could possibly have compelled her to seek out new occupations and hobbies after the make-up of her life shifted away from the daily tasks involved in raising your children for you—certainly not the prospect of living under the thumb of a man who takes offense to the purchase of a sports car for the rest of her god-forsaken days.
What, are you supposed to cook dinner? Mop a floor? Have an open and honest discussion with your wife about household purchases and meal planning? No man should ever deign to engage in such offensive activities with his helpmeet. Nevertheless, you may have to gently suggest to her that she’s getting a little uppity these days, and has she talked to her doctor about her bizarre and offensive interest in acting like an autonomous human?
After all, your dinner is at stake.
She initially said “no” when I asked for a photo, but another old woman walked by, and began speaking passionately in Ukrainian. Apparently convinced by the words of the passerby, the woman shrugged, and posed for the picture. After everything was finished, I asked my translator: “What did that other woman say?”
"She said: ‘You must not refuse a photo, because you must represent the women of your land. Now go to eternity!’"
"Now go to eternity!"
This is the most underwhelming book ever. Let’s break down the blurb (taken from LKH’s website):
Merry Gentry, ex–private detective, now full-time princess, knew she was descended from fertility goddesses, but when she learned she was about to have triplets, she began to understand what that might mean.
How can she not know what it means already? It means she’s super-fertile. It’s not a fucking mystery.
Infertility has plagued the high ranks of faerie for centuries. Now nobles of both courts of faerie are coming to court Merry and her men, at their home in exile in the Western Lands of Los Angeles, because they will do anything to have babies of their own.
Except we don’t see any of that. We see Trancer and Fenella in one scene in one boring chapter, where Rhys pretty much just tells them they want to have babies, and that’s it.
Taranis, King of Light and Illusion, is a more dangerous problem. He tried to seduce Merry and, failing that, raped her. He’s using the human courts to sue for visitation rights, claiming that one of the babies is his. And though Merry knows she was already pregnant when he took her, she can’t prove it.
Yes she can, she can have a DNA test. Oh, wait, she does! Except it’s totally irrelevant to the plot because we never see her get the results and by the end of the book the babies have manifested enough power for it to be clear who the fathers are on that basis alone.
To save herself and her babies from Taranis she will use the most dangerous powers in all of faerie: a god of death, a warrior known as the Darkness, the Killing Frost, and a king of nightmares.
And use them she does! To…do…uh…they…talk about maybe killing Taranis a lot? And they hold hands and cry a lot? And talk about who loves Merry the most a lot? That’s it, that’s really all the do. I hope Taranis’s greatest weakness is being talked about behind his back.
They are her lovers, and her dearest loves, and they will face down the might of the high courts of faerie—
No they won’t. I mean, unless you count having snippy conversations with Andais via a magic mirror as “facing down the might of faerie.” Or wringing their hands uselessly after Taranis invades one of Merry’s dreams.
while trying to keep the war from spreading to innocent humans in Los Angeles, who are in danger of becoming collateral damage.
WTF? Nothing like this even comes close to happening! The bulk of the action in this book is Merry wandering around Maeve’s mansion in a perpetual shower of rose petals. Unless the humans of Los Angeles all have deathly-bad hayfever, I think they can cope.
You know what happens in this book? People cry and people talk and people lay around in hospital. Sholto’s assassination isn’t even mentioned in the epilogue. It should have been a moment of intense drama, but instead it was executed so shoddily I didn’t even realise it had happened until Merry mentioned the bullet wound.
Taranis is a big threat? He shows up in a couple of Merry’s dreams, fails to bespell her because of True Love or the goddess or whatever, and then is dethroned and imprisoned off-page without ever physically appearing in the story. We’re told in a throwaway paragraph in the last chapter that Aishling is king of the Seelie now and yay, everyone is rejoicing.
Sholto has been avenged, but there’s no mention made of whether Merry is still Queen of the Sluagh or not.
A new sithen has manifested somewhere in downtown LA, but that’s not important.
And the bulk of the book is made up of repetition. People’s appearances, people’s clothes, people’s hair, people’s sexual preferences, people’s psychological insecurities. People sit around telling each other things they already know and then they repeat it back to each other just in case someone in the room was spontaneously struck deaf.
In short, nothing happens in this book and I cannot believe anyone thought this was an acceptable piece of work from a bestselling author, especially after five years of waiting.
I like reading the Raven Cycle because I’ve never gotten over my thing for Arthurian mythology.