Mea culpa: "To yard sale" is real slang meaning "to fall down." However, it comes from skiing/snowboarding, when a violent fall scatters your equipment like junk spread out on a lawn for a yard sale. Very witty and intuitively clear in that context! The context in Ward's book was a guy who was stumbling around his apartment either naked or in pajamas, I forget which. Nothing would have scattered had he keeled over.

Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 4) is the one with the human cop hero and the sad virgin vampire heroine. I actually liked the heroine, Marissa. The hero, Butch, was a total jackass. You could not have come up with a better example of how "alpha male" traits taken to extremes are actually asshole traits.

Butch had one of the stupidest conflicts I've ever come across in a romance novel. He's human and if his vampire girlfriend drinks his blood, he'll DIE. So she drinks from a vampire friend instead, which is how vampires normally feed. Butch is jealous because feeding has sexual overtones, and demands that she drink from him instead, even though it will KILL HIM. He gets so demanding about it and furious at her drinking from someone other than him that his poor girlfriend, who doesn't want to KILL HIM, starts starving herself!

So he would rather DIE by forcing the woman he supposedly loves to KILL HIM, thus leaving her alone, heartbroken, and horribly guilty, than have her perform a mildly sexual act with a friend that she needs to do TO LIVE.

Admittedly, this is called out as stupid in the book. But it's also portrayed that it's totally natural for Butch, a MANLY MANLY MAN, to prefer death to having his girlfriend have a relationship with another man which she has no choice over and does not regard as sexual (though Butch does.)

There was a nicely effective bit of body horror when Butch is infected with eevil and his come turns black. YIKES.

Bad medicine: Do not cram stuff into people's mouths if they're having a seizure!

Quote chosen by randomly opening book: "I threatened the king's life to ahvenge your honor!"

Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3) was my favorite. The hero of this one, Zsadist-- just pause to admire that-- is not an asshole. He's a physically and emotionally scarred survivor of kidnapping and repeated rape, who thinks he's too damaged to be anything but a killer and has some serious hang-ups about sex. Within the completely over the top context of the book, I have to say that this was handled pretty realistically and sensitively. And also milked for maximum angst. The heroine, Bella, is sexually assertive and mostly rescues herself. Very nice!

Zsadist's twin brother, Phury-- just pause to admire that-- has possibly the all-time best "how I lost my leg" story. Incidentally, a number of the male vampires are disabled, sometimes with magical compensation but often not. I liked this aspect of the series.

Bad medicine: If you've been injected with a drug, vomiting won't "get it out of your system." It's in your bloodstream, not your stomach.

Quote chosen by randomly opening book: Before Zsadist left, he took one last look at the fish tank. The food was almost gone now, snipped off the surface by little gaping mouths, mouths that came at it from the underside. (I like this, actually. Zsadist is feeling triggered and unsettled and not consciously noticing it, but everything around him has taken on a slightly sinister tinge.)

In Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 5), we learn that Vishous-- just pause to admire that-- is canonically bisexual and has a crush on Butch. Sadly, this is the book about his romance with a woman, Jane, a doctor who gets kidnapped to tend Vishous' wounds. The romance made no sense in this one. Vishous is traumatized by early noncon same-sex encounters so now he can only have sex by dominating women in completely consensual BDSM settings, and he and Jane have sweet banter and then he repeatedly dubcons her but it's OK because she consented, sort of, and then he subs for her in penance for... something. What? It also turns out that he knows how to resurrect the dead, which may have been set up in previous books but seemed out of the blue in this one. Bonus WTF "happy ending."

Bad medicine: You STILL don't stuff things in people's mouths if they have a seizure!

Quote chosen by randomly opening book: Butch's jaw dropped and he pulled a bobble.
rachelmanija: (Princess Bride: Let me sum up)
( Aug. 15th, 2014 01:58 pm)
I will do an actual write up shortly, but first I had to quote this. The context is that the character is having trouble walking.

It seemed like at any moment his knees were going to take a vacation and he was going to yard sale like an idiot. - J. R. Ward, Lover Unbound.

I can tell from context that "yard sale" means "fall down."

...How in the world does "yard sale" get to mean "fall down?"

This made me think of how difficult it is to invent slang. Actual slang tends to have properties which makes it more-or-less comprehensible:

People use words and phrases in a natural context, so you can usually figure them out from that context.

Slang is usually not isolated, but part of a whole slang culture, from Valley-speak to doge. If you know some of the slang from that culture, you know its rules and can use them to figure out new-to-you slang. For instance, all the "bad = good" slang. If you know that law, you can figure out that someone being enthusiastic about something while calling it "trash" probably means that "trash = good."

Slang usually has some sort of internal logic - words that don't make sense to people don't get repeated, while the ones that make sense to lots of people get used and thus become common coin. It's not totally random. If you've been exposed to the "bad = good" slang culture, you might be able to get "puketastic = good" to catch on. But fetch will never happen.

One author can't replicate the wisdom of crowds. So they need to have a good ear and make good use of context. Ward is generally pretty good at context - it was obvious what "yard sale" meant - but not so much on the ear.

Anyway, reading her books reminded me of one of the worst failures of context for invented slang I've ever encountered, the only movie I've ever walked out on, Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead. I saw it with a friend in an advance screening. It's a gangster movie full of totally incomprehensible invented slang. The point at which we walked out went something like this:

Gangster 1 bursts into a solemn meeting of gangsters.

Gangster 1: Guys, guys! Capelli bought a boat drink!!!

This is obviously deeply meaningful to the gangsters.

Gangsters: Mmm, ahhh. That changes everything.

Me, Friend: [WTF looks.]

Gangster 2: And we all know what this means, right?

Gangsters: [Nod.]

Friend (whispers): I don't know what this means!

Me (whispers): He got whacked?

Friend (whispers): He ratted them out to the feds?

Me (whispers): He came out of the closet?

Friend (whispers): He moved to Miami?

Gangster 3: Yeah. We gotta tarantula.

Friend (whispers): Let's go get boat drinks.

We left.

(Actual reviews to come!)

ETA: I looked up "boat drinks" in that movie. When you go to Heaven, you lounge on a boat drinking, so boat drinks = dead. However, I may have misremembered the actual slang in that context, because "buckwheat" = "killed horribly." So the dialogue I remember might have actually been "Capelli's buckwheat."

I leave it to you, my imaginative readers, to figure out why buckwheat means killed horribly. A derivation of "pushing up daisies," minus the "pushing up" part that makes it make sense?
I bring you the greatest action sequence ever written. V is Vishous, the manly vampire. "Lessers" are baby powder scented vampire-slayers.

V popped out a holler as he flipped face-first onto the ground, but he shut out the pain. Using his bad ankle and his arms as leverage, he pushed himself off the asphalt, brought his free leg up to his chest and hammered it back, catching the motherfucker in the knee and shattering his joint. The lesser flamingoed, his leg bending in the absolute wrong way as he fell on V's back.

The two of them clinched up hard-core, their forearms and biceps straining as they rolled around and ended up next to the slaughtered civilian. When V was bitten in the ear, his shit really got cranked out. Tearing himself free of the lesser's teeth, he fisted the bastard's frontal lobe...


Lover Unbound, J. R. Ward

When I was adding up the inspirations for this remarkable series, I forgot to mention Raymond Chandler. Or, more likely, Chandler's hilariously terrible imitators chronicled in Bill Pronzini's account of horrible pulp detective novels, Gun in Cheek. (She swayed towards me, a sob swelling in her perky pretty-pretties. - The immortal Robert Leslie Bellam.) Ward's books are absolutely full of phrases like "the lesser flamingoed."

I also have to pull out this for admiration: The ledge was four feet high and ran around the building like the lip of a serving tray. The top of it was a three-foot-wide shelf just begging to be leaped off of, with the thirty feet of thin air on the other side the perfect breezy prelude to death's hard fuck.
Sometimes I worry that I am a jaded reader who has lost the capacity to be boggled by a book. Then something like Lover Revealed comes along, and I realize that no, I can TOTALLY still be boggled. I am sincerely amazed that this series was published by a traditional publisher. Not because it’s terrible. (It is, sort of, but it definitely has its virtues as well.) But because it’s so utterly cracktastic and bizarre.

How do I even describe the whacked-out id-fest that is this book…?

It’s about a brotherhood of ginormously muscular vampires. Like these guys: http://www.kinseyinstitutegallery.com/data/photos/189_1r2002_29_32.jpg. (NOT WORKSAFE.) A lot of scenes in the book would look basically like that if drawn, in fact.

They are manly, manly, manly vampires. Who do man things. They are possessive and alpha. Manly! Muscular! Into brand names! When they bond, their sweat smells like Old Spice. And they wear very, very expensive brand-name clothes. And use manly slang.

Best of all, they have manly, manly names. ACTUAL NAMES: Vishous. Phury. Rhage. Rehvenge. Xhex (the lone manly female vampire. I presume this is pronounced Sex.) Tehrror. Hhurt. Tohrture. Ahgony. Zsadist.

ZSADIST.

They spend their time male-bonding, fucking, angsting, ogling each other’s beautiful yet manly bodies (and faces, and clothes, and hair), and hunting vampire-killers who are wusses who smell like baby powder. You’d think their manly, manly, manliness would be shown to better effect if they had opponents who weren’t ludicrously overmatched.

The worldbuilding consists of the letter h. A truly cool vampire does not avenge a loved one's death - he ahvenges it. They don't have contests like mere mortals - they have cohntehsts. And only a plebe would go into seclusion when she could experience the far more special sehclusion. And so forth. An especially manly man is phearsom.

This book has more homoeroticism than many novels I’ve read in which men were fucking each other on-page. The Brotherhood vampires are constantly touching each other, sprawled naked on a bed with each other, discussing each other's sex loves, popping giant boners around each other, and admiring each other’s swelling muscles.

Except for two of them (who get a canon romance later, good for you, J. R. Ward), they are canonically straight. Straight, I tell you! These are heterosexual romances. In theory. Here is an actual excerpt from Butch’s totally heterosexual POV.

"My flesh," he whispered.

He seemed to hesitate before turning to Butch. Then he pivoted and their eyes met. As candlelight flickered over V’s hard face and got caught in his diamond irises, Butch felt his breath get tight: At that moment, his roommate looked as powerful as a god… and maybe even as beautiful.

Vishous stepped in close and slid his hand from Butch’s shoulder to the back of his neck. “Your flesh,” V breathed. Then he paused, as if asking for something.

Without thinking, Butch tilted his chin up, aware that he was offering himself, aware that he… oh, fuck. He stopped his thoughts, completely weirded out by the vibe that had sprung up from God only knew where.

In slow motion Vishous’s dark head dropped down and there was a silken brush as his goatee moved against Butch’s throat.

With delicious precision, V’s fangs pressed against the vein that ran up from Butch’s heart, then slowly, inexorably, punched through skin. Their chests merged.

Butch closed his eyes and absorbed the feel of it all, the warmth of their bodies so close, the way V’s hair felt soft on his jaw, the slide of a powerful male arm as it slipped around his waist. On their own accord, Butch’s hands left the pegs and came to rest on V’s hips, squeezing that hard flesh, bringing them together from head to foot. A tremor went through one of them. Or maybe… shit, it was more like they both shuddered.


This is part of a climactic initiation scene in which all of the Black Dagger Brotherhood fondle and then punch Butch, then tell him to turn around and face the wall. Honest to God, I had to go back and re-read several paragraphs to figure out what Ward meant to have going on next if it wasn’t a gangbang. It sounded exactly like a slightly euphemistic description of an orgy.

My best guess on how the Black Dagger Brotherhood came to be is that the author took as her inspirations Tom of Finland, gangsta rap videos circa MTV, and the Gucci men’s wear catalogue, then smoked a giant doobie and wrote a vampire novel.

The result is completely rhidiculous, yet strangely rheadable. I read the whole thing in a day and am now halfway through Lover Awakened, the bhook about Zsadist. Send help. And an h-remover.

Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 4)
.

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags