I promised [profile] bookelfe I would read this. Thanks! I think.

[profile] bookelfe reviewed a remarkable book, Pigs Don’t Fly, in which a rather unlikable heroine goes on a quest with six companions to make the mystical seven: a blind amnesiac knight, a horse princess, a cockney mutt, a Turtle of Love, a farm boy named Dickon, and The Wimperling, a winged pig who flies by farting. I am not making this up. I commend you to her hilarious review before you read mine, since this review is of the sequel, which she challenged me to read. Especially since I am about to spoil the end of Pigs Don’t Fly, since it motivates the entire action of this book.

Pigs Don’t Fly ends with Summer, the heroine, kissing her beloved pet flying farting pig. Poof! He turns into a dragon! Poof! He turns into a man! In a somewhat confusing scene, they have sex. Poof! He turns into a dragon!

He is a dragon who was under an enchantment which made him look like a pig. But since Summer kissed him three times as a pig, though he is now a dragon again, he is also now cursed to periodically turn into a man. He explains all this, then flies off to China, ditching Summer.

Master of Many Treasures picks up with Summer stalking her dragon-pig-not-boyfriend across the world. Occasionally she finds it necessary to justify herself to the reader:

But why fall in love with a dragon? Because I had loved the pig and the dragon wasn’t a dragon all the time.

Summer. Summer. You do not make falling in love with a dragon more acceptable by protesting that you actually fell in love with a pig!

But mostly, she doesn’t think about her dragon-pig not-boyfriend much at all. She’s too busy wandering around collecting plot coupons as she travels around, having basically everyone she meets see through her "boy" disguise and periodically conversing ethnically stereotyped characters speaking in comic dialect. This book is over-burdened with comic dialect. Her own companions include Growch the cockney mutt, a slave boy speaking an unknown language and broken English otherwise, and a developmentally disabled dancing bear. (Yes, really.)

Thankfully, three of Summer’s obligatory six companions do not speak in dialect: Ky-Lin, a magical Chinese stone chimera which she gets literally handed to her for no actual reason other than that the plot requires her to have it, Dickon, and the teeny dragon egg with which Summer was unknowingly impregnated.

Yes. She is pregnant with an egg. She keeps feeling sick in a pregnancy-signalling manner, but thinks that she can’t possibly be pregnant because it’s been a year since she had sex that one time. There are flashbacks to her sexcapade with the dragon-pig-dude, which are written in a manner probably meant to convey that it was all very unexpected and confusing, but really make it sound like the entire thing lasted about fifteen seconds. Which is entirely possible, all things considered.

With the help of Ky-Lin, Summer lays the egg through her belly button. I think. The scene is really vague. It’s possible that she lays it through some other orifice, but it’s then stuck into her belly button. It ends up stuck to her belly button, anyway.

Ky-Lin then helpfully explains that dragons are “bisexual.” He defines this as meaning that they are both male and female, and can fertilize themselves, so… I forget why this was relevant.

I don’t know why an egg that does not speak, telepathically communicate, or hatch counts as a companion, but it does. Mystic seven!

Ky-Lin spouts a lot of Buddhist philosophy which, based on its accuracy, I surmise was gleaned from the author vaguely remembering what she’d read in the Religions of the World chapter of some textbook when she was twelve. That being said, he does not speak in comic dialect and is the only character with any intelligence or common sense, so I cut him a lot of slack.

I barely remember Dickon from the first book, other than as a generic farm boy. In this book, he seems to be running for most unlikable character ever. He spends the entire book stalking Summer because he thinks she’s on a quest for treasure. He steals her stuff, drugs her, insults her and her companions, flees in a cowardly fashion whenever they’re endangered, and drinks all their water when they’re lost in the desert.

They have the same unbelievably annoying interaction something like six times in the book: Dickon shows up and harasses, vaguely threatens, robs, and/or leeches on Summer. She has an extremely bad feeling about him (I wonder why!) but even though she’s not afraid of him and she has a premonition that he will do something horrible, she always feels unable to tell him to get lost. He proceeds to harass, vaguely threaten, rob, and/or leech on Summer until he somehow gets ditched. She proceeds without him, until he turns up again, and the process repeats.

Summer is one of the stupidest protagonists I have ever encountered. Whenever someone acts suspicious or threatening, she assumes they can't possibly have bad intentions, and is amazed when they do. Whenever a clearly friendly person warns her of something, she is suspicious and ignores them. My very favorite instance of this was when Ky-Lin is leading her through a marsh full of quicksand and rotting corpses, and says, "The left path will dump you in quicksand. Take the right path."

Summer: "I'm tired of people bossing me!"

Summer: [Takes left path.]

Summer: [Is dumped into rotting corpse-filled quicksand.]

And then the true WTF begins. Even more WTF than the belly-button dragon egg.



They get stuck in a dark tunnel. For no reason but dickishness, Dickon throws the lantern at Ky-Lin, destroying their only light source and apparently killing him. Summer mourns. But does not kick Dickon out of her life. Ky-Lin later reappears, having been only mostly dead, and does not comment on Dickon having nearly murdered him. This is never remarked on ever, by the way.

Dickon then gropes Summer, and when she ignores that he tries to rape. When she stops him, he foams at the mouth (literally), raves maniacally, and says he was only on the trip to stalk her. She STILL does absolutely nothing to get rid of him, though not out of fear or, really, for any reason.

She finally meets up with her dragon-pig-not-boyfriend, who explains to her that SOME dragons are both male and female, but he is ALL MALE. Summer is very relieved to hear it.

Summer. Summer. You are in love with a dragon-pig-dude who impregnated you with an egg, then dumped you and went to China. You first fell in love with him when he was your flying, farting, pet pig. I don’t think being “bisexual” should be the dealbreaker here.

There is a whole sequence of overly convoluted shenanigans where he must present various objects to the dragon council to make them allow her to live with him on the unpredictable occasions when he randomly turns into a human. Finally it looks like it’s going to happen.

AND THEN!

It randomly cuts to some monk transcribing the ravings of Dickon, who is now dying of syphilis, possibly contracted from the evil wife in Mary Brown’s Playing the Jack, in some monastery a number of years later. He explains that since idiot Summer never got rid of him, he followed her and her dragon-pig boyfriend to the dragon council, where he threatened their precious egg to force the dragons to give him treasure.

The idiot dragon council decided that Summer and her dragon-pig boyfriend were in on this, and tried to burn them to death. Dickon escaped unscathed and with the egg (not very competent dragons!) but Summer and dragon-pig boyfriend were horribly burned and flew away. Dickon dies.

AND THEN!

It randomly cuts to the island where Summer and her dragon-pig boyfriend landed at, and says that there are two legends on the island. In one, Summer was burned to a crisp and he sadly buried her. In the other, she recovered and lived until she died of natural causes. The end!



This all seems even more WTF than it would anyway because there has been no set-up that would make any of this make sense, thematically or any other way. The entire book is Summer's first person POV, except for the two epilogues.

I don't think I've ever read a book which was improved by two epilogues.

I think there’s a third book that explains what happened to the egg. I’ll pass.

Here There Be Dragonnes (Pigs Don't Fly omnibus). This is an omnibus which contains The Unlikely Ones, which has some problems but which I actually like. It's a very similar story to Pigs Don't Fly: girl who thinks she's ugly due to manipulation by an older woman guardian goes on a quest with one man and five animals, and discovers that she was beautiful all along. The difference is that it's written as a dreamy, poetic fairy-tale, and parts of it are quite beautiful and moving. Other parts show a witch having sex with a broomstick, in a short but understandably memorable scene. One of the heroes is a unicorn who is in love with an enchanted prince, so the human/mythical animal theme is also there. It's done a lot better and less ridiculously in The Unlikely Ones.
skygiants: Koizumi Kyoko from Twentieth Century Boys making her signature SHOCKED AND HORRIFIED face (wtf is this)

From: [personal profile] skygiants


WAIT. WHO IS DICKON. I swear that Dickon did not actually exist in the first book, I am almost positive! I would have remembered and been extra traumatized due to lingering Secret Garden associations!

Other questions: WHY IS DICKON, and WHY IS ANYTHING. Oh, Summer. Summer. Most consistent terrible decision-making in fantasy literature. At least she didn't let any of her companions get date-raped this time around?

Thank you for reading this so I did not have to.
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (fakir you freak)

From: [personal profile] skygiants


Oh, maybe. Hmmm. Her seventh companion was definitely not Dickon, though, it was the mildly pointless sad broken-winged pigeon.

Yeah, but she didn't think "gosh, how am I going to get out of this mildly awkward situation -- I know, I guess I'll let Ky-Lin get murdered by flying lantern!"

Also, you should know that I clicked hopefully on your "I laid an egg!" tag and was very disappointed to find no other entries.

From: [personal profile] tool_of_satan


It'll come in handy if you ever read any of the John Carter books.
sholio: (Books)

From: [personal profile] sholio


I read "Pigs Don't Fly" awhile back and was so horrified by its awfulness that I felt guilty returning it to the used bookstore because then I'd be inflicting the horror on some other hapless customer like myself. I'm intrigued to discover that the sequel might actually be worse. On the other hand, now I know how the duology ends! (I'd gotten a general idea from someone else's review - [profile] bookelfe maybe? - that it was spectacularly confusing and vague, but it's good to have details, because I WAS morbidly curious.)
brownbetty: (Default)

From: [personal profile] brownbetty


I just googled Joel Rosenberg to see if he was the guy I remembered who in about book six is like "It's totally normal to be sexually attracted to your adopted daughter, right?" and then several books later is engaging in a campaign of terrorism proudly borrowed from the Viet Cong.

Pretty sure he is!
minnaway: (Default)

From: [personal profile] minnaway


How about that.

I'm loving the tags on this entry, btw.
londonkds: (BLOOD AND TITTIES FOR LORD CHIBNALL!!! ()

From: [personal profile] londonkds


You know, I have a nasty thought that might justify why Summer was relieved to find the dragon was all male. Because if he had been a hermaphrodite who could self-fertilise, it might be that Summer made no genetic contribution to the egg and he implanted it into her as part of some nasty parasitic Alien-style life cycle.
brownbetty: (Default)

From: [personal profile] brownbetty


I actually thought that was where the "bi-sexual" dragon egg thing was going!

From: [personal profile] indywind


"You do not make falling in love with a dragon more acceptable by protesting that you actually fell in love with a pig!"

This is probably a broadly-applicable life-lesson aphorism. Just usually not quite so literal.
metaphortunate: (Default)

From: [personal profile] metaphortunate


It is hard to believe that the sequel is somehow even WORSE...and yet.

From: [identity profile] wordsofastory.livejournal.com


I loved Pigs Don't Fly when I first read it (in my defense, I was about 9), but didn't realize there was a sequel. When I finally heard about this book and got a copy, I was well past the imprinting-on-terrible-literature age, and was disappointed and confused.

I somehow still have the opening sentence of Pigs Don't Fly memorized: "My mother was the village whore and I loved her very much." It was also the first time I'd seen the word whore in print, leading me to ask my mom, "What's a hoo-ray?" That was an awkward conversation.
ext_14419: the mouse that wants Arthur's brain (Default)

From: [identity profile] derien.livejournal.com


Funny you should review this book. Just a day or two ago we started bringing our books back from storage, realized again that we had too many, and Eor started holding up book after book asking me if I wanted to keep or dispose of it. This was one of them, and I remembered liking the first book okay but not liking this one as much. All I could specifically say was, "I didn't like the end," but I wasn't sure if I should get rid of it. I think you've convinced me it's going to the library. I just dump all the books I hate into the library's night return bin and let them deal with them. It's evil of me, I know, but I assume they'll sell them and some poor fool will buy them and thereby support the library.

From: [identity profile] marzipan-pig.livejournal.com


I want a dragon-pig-man-not-bf!

No eggs pls though.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com


Wow. What, um, age group is this aimed at? It's--I mean, is it for adults to be amused and laugh at (?) Or precocious middle-graders? Or ... high schoolers? Or is it just its own unique thing?

Summer really does seem uh MAZE ingly stupid.

From: [identity profile] frilled-shark.livejournal.com


I'm curious too. The farting pig and lol-so-random wackiness seem geared to a middle-school audience, but the dragon sex suggests high school.
ext_87252: http://www.janetchui.net (mystic)

From: [identity profile] marrael.livejournal.com


This was hugely amusing to read. I can't help thinking it may have been trollfic that had the luck of being published.

From: [identity profile] jinian.livejournal.com


possibly contracted from the evil wife in Mary Brown’s Playing the Jack

Clearly!

From: [identity profile] slithytove.livejournal.com


This is an awesome and hilarious review. More like this, please!
.

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