Subject: Oh dear Glod, I just saw Chapter 19… *incoherent screaming* (nm)
Posted on: 2023-04-25 03:41:57 UTC
Subject: Oh dear Glod, I just saw Chapter 19… *incoherent screaming* (nm)
Bad romance novel sporking time! by
on 2023-04-23 06:46:46 UTC
On the topic of fan projects: some of you folks might remember my genre fiction blog, where I review obscure books, share stuff from my own book collection, and as of late, post snarky recaps of bad action movies and books. One project I started last year for that blog was a recap of quite possibly the worst romance novel I have ever read (and if you're active in the Discord, you know it's practically a meme there that I keep finding the most batpoop insane books by accident, so this is a claim I don't make lightly). What's it about? Well, it's about a 19th century British spy named Anemone Carstairs (SERIOUSLY) falling for a creepy, toxic and actually physically abusive jerk while performing some of the worst (and funniest) spying I have ever seen. I sporked the whole thing with Discord friends some years ago and had the time of my life, but it was seriously due for a reread and blog review, so I figured, what the heck - I might as well dissect it chapter by chapter. As of right now, I'm fourteen chapters in out of twenty-six, and I thought I would link to the published recaps here, since this is a community that likes bad writing. :P
Major warnings I can remember: physical abuse, dubious consent, some hilaribad (consensual) NSFW in chapter 14, some BL2, mentions of fire, a mention of needles in chapter 11, strong language, and me repeatedly losing my temper at the genuinely offensive parts of the book (that mostly happens between chapters six and ten, since after that the characters fall in luuuurve and so the abuse stops). I did my best to tone down the worst parts and excise as much as I could without sacrificing plot details, but I needed to discuss them, so take care. You can access this recap and more here, but for ease of navigation, I'll link to my book sporking chapters in this post, too.
- Chapter 1: The Dance of Seven Red Flags
- Chapter 2: Dear God, Get the Mace
- Chapter 3: Quelle Surprise & Chapter 4: Thanks, I Hate It
- Chapter 5: Stupidity Agents
- Chapter 6: Super Mega Spying & Chapter 7: A Devastating Common Sense Injury
- Chapter 8: I Have Such a Headache
- Chapter 9: My Poor Two Eyes
- Chapter 10: Thinking With the Downstairs Brain
- Chapter 11: Go Kiss a Cement Mixer
- Chapter 12: And Then I Laughed Very Hard
- Chapter 13: Spies! Blurting Out Information Randomly!
- Chapter 14: Whirl and Dip and Spin and Splinter
Enjoy, hopefully, and if you did check out any of these chapters, please let me know what you think! I work hard on these recaps, and if I have the knowledge that I managed to make even just one person smile a little with my snark, it'll be enough to keep me going.
Quick update! by
on 2023-04-27 07:15:07 UTC
I am now on chapter 22 out of 26, and the sporking of chapter 23 should happen sometime today. I told myself I would finish recapping this book by the end of April so I can focus on other projects and IRL stuff next month, and the next few chapters should be done until April 30 one way or the other so I can give my final thoughts post that day (which I can promise will be very long and ranting). I'm sticking to the end-of-the-month deadline as a personal milestone, but I am very eager to recap more, since this is a bit of a passion project and it seems to be well-received, both in this community and with my friends (that's not me polishing my ego, feedback on my writing is what keeps me going).
That means the journey is ending soon, but a big thank you to everyone who chose to join me for it!
on 2023-04-23 17:24:17 UTC
I read the spork of the first chapter and darn, it is entertaining. Calling Anemone Carstairs (AHAHAHA) something different every time was A+, and I'm definitely gonna read more of the spork after writing this.
The breaking of period conventions is hurting me already. And taking your kid along on a spying mission? Seriously?
Thank you kindly! by
on 2023-04-23 19:32:23 UTC
Very happy to hear that you had fun with the first chapter, since I was mostly still trying to find the tone of the recap there. Unfortunately (or happily enough) the utter lack of accuracy and the absolute spying incompetence are... let's just say you barely got a taste of what's to come. :P I'm on chapter 16 right now, and I have had. Words to say. About the espionage in this thing. I do have a few moments in the sporking where I got angry to the point of not being able to snark, but I did my best to at least deliver some analysis where my jokes failed me, and once the spork gets past the bad bad, there's a lot of funny bad to enjoy. So I hope you'll continue having fun if/when you check out more chapters of my recap. Thank you for taking a look!
Now that I've read the other reviews… by
on 2023-04-24 00:39:49 UTC
Jeebus dancing on an Oreo, that purple prose is hilarious. You know it's bad when it makes you think of washing machines of all things.
As for the icky things about the romance… ugh. The male lead makes Sweeney Todd look like an eligible bachelor. Why do romance authors insist on making their relationships more toxic than cyanide? Stop. Romanticizing. Abuse! But I digress.
These reviews have been very entertaining, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more of them.
on 2023-04-24 06:40:56 UTC
That's me reacting to you saying you're looking forward to more. :P Because the last third of the book is a sight and a half. I know I've been hinting a lot at weird stuff involving the Spider, but when I say nothing could have prepared me for how that plotline is resolved.
As for the romance: yeah. I know dominant love interests and the occasional dubious consenty bit aren't unusual in bodice-rippers, but this thing made my hair stand on end (or made me laugh very hard) with most of what happens between the main characters. And you haven't even seen the moment in this book that honest-to-god freaked me out on my first read yet. But we'll get there. I plan on writing an actual serious analysis of the themes and implications of the leads' dynamic when we get to the end, but until then we have more very bad spying and hilarious prose to get through. So thanks for joining us on this journey!
Oh dear Glod, I just saw Chapter 19… *incoherent screaming* (nm) by
on 2023-04-25 03:41:57 UTC
It's okay that he's a monster if he's MY monster. by
on 2023-04-25 14:59:25 UTC
So yeah, I just got caught up and I second the screaming.
I guess this is a variation on the sort of thing I mention in the title, except that with "my monster" there's a process of "taming" him and proving that he's misunderstood and just needed love the whole time. The heroine can feel safe knowing that she's the one special person who got through the rough exterior to the ooey-gooey center—but if anyone ever dared mess with her, that person would be dead before you could say "sic 'em."
I GET that. It doesn't work in real life, but I get it as a fantasy.
I don't get this. What redeeming qualities has Burke ever shown to make Amahnamahna think there's something worth bringing out of him? What has he ever done to prove that he's a) capable of love, or b) inclined to treat someone close to him better than he treats everyone else? What happens when the lust wears off and they're forced to deal with each other while not under the influence of hormones?
Oculus, nice work! I look forward to further horrilarious spying in the next parts. ^_^
Yeah, I agree with you very much. by
on 2023-04-25 15:43:12 UTC
I understand the whole "I can change him, mama!" thing - I don't find it very healthy or a good mindset to have IRL, but as you said too, I get the appeal of the fantasy. Hell, I just wrote an on-purpose toxic romance myself with an actual sad ending, so I can't say I don't get the appeal of that, either. The problem with this book is twofold: first that this behavior is portrayed as acceptable, and second that Burke... doesn't really change once he and Ampersand fall in lust with each other. If anything, he gets worse because you've seen how quickly he turns against her the second she dares to step out of his line of sight, and how utterly terrifying his reaction is when she makes him angrier. I simply don't have the energy to go into every single detail in this book that strikes me as wrong so I glossed over certain parts (like him grabbing Sea Urchin hard enough to hurt as he demands an explanation for why she left the ship without telling him), but once I'm done snarking at the chapters, I definitely plan to have a more in-depth discussion about accidentally vs. deliberately toxic romance and why I find this book so unnerving beyond the ridiculous parts.
I'm glad you're enjoying the hilarible spying, though! Stay tuned for more SUPER MEGA SPIES because the next chapter's recap should be happening soon. Thank you for checking out my project! :)
Yep. That's truly the Chapter 19 recap mood. by
on 2023-04-25 07:10:37 UTC
Don't worry, though, things are about to get very silly again now that... hecking THAT is out of the way. But yeah, I mentioned to you earlier that this moment honestly freaked me out on my first read - now you see why. If it's any consolation, the reveal of who the Spider is and what's going to happen at De Vauban's ball are so gloriously nonsensical that it almost makes up for the book inflicting chapter 19 on us... almost.
"Going someplace, my pet?" by
on 2023-04-25 07:46:01 UTC
When was this book published? Because I swear, that must be some permutation of "Are you lost, baby girl?"
1986, according to Goodreads. by
on 2023-04-25 07:53:21 UTC
So, no. Creeps are simply abundant in this genre. Much to my dismay.
About the actual content of the chapter, by
on 2023-04-25 09:20:37 UTC
It's decidedly bad and the hero indeed deserves a slap across the face, but in all honesty I didn't feel as enraged as you and Thunder do, mainly because I've seen worse (points at that awful "daimyo's granddaughter" fic again).
I'll take your word for that, but. by
on 2023-04-25 10:01:46 UTC
With respect - so in other words, this is not me snapping at you, just to be clear - I don't feel that a different work that may or may not be worse than this (again, I'll take your word but I don't know which fic you mean) is very relevant to the discussion of the context of the story and the character dynamic that this godawful chapter is presented in. Or, if you want a broader discussion, to the worrying trends I've seen in professionally published Western romance novels marketed to straight women.
I'm sure that was a fascinating discussion (and again, I mean that without a trace of sarcasm), but I feel like this is a very different beast.
And across the Pacific too by
on 2023-04-25 08:35:28 UTC
Ever heard of the manga Hot Gimmick? Imma just link to its TV Tropes article here for a nice overview.