Closer to Home: Book One of Herald Spy by Mercedes Lackey.
Before I say this, I want to review the following: I have with only moderate irony liked these books. They were cracky and I took a very weird pleasure in reading them and reviewing them. I mean, keep that as the baseline here.
I finished the last in roughly four hours, and this is not only not fun, it's embarrassing, uncomfortable, and shitty in all ways and seriously, I don't believe Mercedes Lackey wrote this. At all.
Over one third of the book is a fucking earnest honest to God rewrite of Romeo and Juliet, complete with the fucking shitty Nurse, and I don't mean in the remix/deconstruction/parody level or even someone who understand what stories are or how words work. This is a rewrite in which a fourteen year old girl, Violetta (Juliet) is slut shamed for daydreaming and called a female dog bitch by her dad and Brand (Romeo) magically teh last few pages becomes a psychopath who tries to kill a miniature dog.
I want to repeat this--Brand, who until this point was kind of a careless Romeo-esque--tried to kill a tiny dog because he's actually evil and was actually plotting all this time to marry Violetta and kill all of both their families. Because reasons.
This is horrible, earnest, honest to god This Is How It Should Have Happened Let This Teach You a Lesson About Being Romantic and Violetta--fourteen, people, she acts like a little girl who likes to read romantic poetry--is fucked over and lectured by everyone, but that's okay because Amily is going to empower her or something and teach her fighting skills.
This is a bad, bad, terribly written book period, with a bad, bad, bad plotline and I don't know what I read but I hate it. There is nothing--and I do mean nothing--that makes this worth reading and I wish I hadn't; this is actually causing me issues with Valdemar and I unironically love all things Valdemar. That was uncomfortable as shit just to read, and thinking about it is gross. Whoever ghostwrote this should never be allowed near a keyboard ever.
Dude, even Todd McCaffrey's butchering of Pern didn't bother me this much. Shitty horrific sure, but it didn't cause active nausea.
I don't think I've loathed a book like this before quite so much. I feel betrayed. The person who wrote about Kerowyn and Talia and Tarma and even the later icky Elspeth is not the person who wrote this.
I need a drink. I actually want to see if I can forget this one.
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