|Book not read in 2017 - Incest Vampires are Boring
||[Jun. 4th, 2017|11:03 pm]
Darkness I by Tanith Lee|
Back when I started reviewing every book I read in a year, I tried to review the books that I hadn't read. After all, if I only reviewed the books that I could get through then that would be a biased sample and it would look like I loved everything. Of course, that thinking is flawed for several reasons. First, I read enough graphic novels that I hate to put in my crabby mean reviews, but also when I put a book down I don't want to deal with it. I want to forget it. And does anyone care if I just stopped reading or if I skipped over 50-100 pages hoping that things would pick up only to realize that nope, the thing is still boring?
The return to writing about a book that I didn't finish requires something special and that special occasion is when the book is written by one of my favorite writers, the writer that I push on other people, the fantasy writer's writer (like most of my writer friends love her and my non-writer friends have no clue). I actually thought that I was over being disappointed in the writers I loved in college. It's not like I'm ever going to re-read Tom Robbins or Starhawk. I pretty much figured that most of the writers that I still liked from college were still going to be great.
I still like Tanith Lee but the more I read her, the less patient I am with her meandering plots and her sociopath protagonists. Every Tanith Lee hero (with maybe a couple exceptions) is a cold-hearted fucker cut off from humanity with an inability to feel empathy. You know how Marion Zimmer Bradley got outed as a pedophile and many of her readers were not shocked because they had spent years being creeped out by her pedophilia (and we are still shocked that Piers Anthony isn't in jail)? Well, if anyone finds dead bodies on Tanith Lee's property, it won't be shocking.
But more than the lack of empathy with the characters, Darkness I, meanders all over the place. It's actually a surprise that she can write cold-hearted bastards who don't care about anyone with any interest. But this series is like the worst of the worst. I actually read the first two books in anticipation of this book because it was on my pre-determined book shelf, only I found that they were pretty bad. The first one was one that I loved in college but my enthusiasm for emotionally withdrawn incest vampire stories had faded. The second book in the Blood Opera series started out better as horror as the murdering incest vampire from the previous book was going into homes and then killing everyone. But she didn't kill the cats so it's all good. Then it falls apart when she gets roped into the family and a subplot about a father of one of the vampire groupies takes over and you just know that she's going to kill him.
So this book gives us the protagonist from the first book (the woman who gave birth to the incest vampire murderer) this time with a different daughter and a lover who is a transwoman who is the father/mother of the new vampire daughter (confused about how to talk about transgendered people who haven't made the physical transition. So is Tanith Lee). And for a few chapters it seems to be building a nice creepy atmosphere and then the whole fucking thing explodes. Lee keeps adding new characters and new situations. There are children who keep getting kidnapped and their parents are mocked for them missing. There is some bullshit about Egypt and the family going back to the Pharaohs but having Biblical names like Lilith and Cain.
It all just gets tedious, but more than tedious, it's confusing. Instead of expanding her incest vampire universe, Lee is just adding confusing to confusion with one set of boring characters to replace the set of boring characters. One character gets chained to a bed and addicted to heroin, but other ones just get written off as if even Lee knows that they are boring.
I am actually angry that I read 200 pages before skipping to the end. And then when I skipped to the end, all the children that were getting kidnapped because of some reincarnation bullshit get killed. And then Rachaela finds her lover and they live happily ever after.
I really hope this doesn't mean that I soured on Tanith Lee. I do get sick of her if I read too much. But this is the first time I hated one of her books.