Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden’s lover-until she was attacked by his enemies, leaving her torn between her own humanity and the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Susan then disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it.
Now Arianna Ortega, Duchess of the Red Court, has discovered a secret Susan has long kept, and she plans to use it-against Harry. To prevail this time, he may have no choice but to embrace the raging fury of his own untapped dark power. Because Harry’s not fighting to save the world…
He’s fighting to save his child.
“His own untapped dark power”? Really? Who wrote this synopsis? Who wrote this book? Who reads this shit, illiterate chimpanzees?
Dreck like this is why I rarely read books by white dudes anymore, by the way.
18” Blasting Rod
My blasting rod was hanging from its tie on the inside of my coat, a stick of oak about eighteen inches long and a bit thicker than my thumb. The ridges of the runes and sigils carved into it felt comfortably familiar under the fingers of my right hand as I drew it out.
Jim Butcher has a deep-seated, burning obsession with Hairy Dickden’s “blasting rod,” one which I’ve been told has been running through all the installments of the series.
It wasn’t until then that I noticed that while my brain had been calmly paddling down the stream of logic, the raging cauldron in my belly had overflowed, and I was walking with smooth, swift strides down a hallway, my staff in my left hand, my blasting rod in my right, and the runes and carvings of both were blazing with carmine light.
One phallic symbol isn’t enough, he needs two–one for each hand! This, my friends, is textbook overcompensation. “Carmine light” is just risible.
The man once wrote: Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger. Tolkien had that one mostly right.
I stepped forward, let the door bang closed, and snarled, “Fuck subtle.”
The gurgle-hissing from around the corner ahead stopped at a confused intersection of speech that needed no translation: Huh?
I lifted the blasting rod, aimed it at the corner ahead of me, and poured my rage, my will, and my power into it as I snarled, “Fuego!”
I dropped the shield almost before he was done rebounding, leveled the blasting rod with a flick of my wrist, and ripped the vampire in half with a word and a beam of silver fire.
Is this a Harry Potter/World of Darkness crossover fanfic, by any chance? Have we discovered the true secret origins of The Dresden Files, EL James style?
That whole “Fuck subtle” and “LOOK AT HOW BADASS I AM” is the sound of a hundred fanboys who wish they could grow up to be like this. A teenage boy’s power fantasy. By a man-child, for other man-children.
I slid to a stop on the rapidly moistening floor, lifted the rod, and cut loose with another blast.
No fucking comment.
Hawt Bangin’ Chicks
my apprentice, Molly, had come in while I was sleeping and was profaning breakfast in my tiny kitchen.
She wore a simple outfit—jeans and a black T-shirt that read, in very small white letters, IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU’D BETTER HAVE BOUGHT ME DINNER. Her golden hair was longer—she’d been letting it grow—and hung down to her shoulder blades in back. She’d colored it near the tips with green that darkened to blue as it went down.
I’m not sure if Molly was “bangin’,” or “slammin’,” or “hawt,” since the cultural catchphrase cycles every couple of minutes. But if you picked a word meant to be a term of praise and adoration for the beauty of a young woman, it was probably applicable. For me, the effect was somewhat spoiled, because I’d known her since she was a skinny kid somewhere between the ages of training wheels and training bra, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t have an academic appreciation for her looks. When she paid any attention, men fell all over her.
The only way Jim Butcher could’ve written this without his own skin crawling off would be… well, if this is how he views women in real life. That extra touch of him having known her since she was a child makes it that much creepier. And that t-shirt? So classy. Yes, it’s something worn by a character. A fictional character written by Jim Butcher. He chooses to write her wearing that. This isn’t an independent woman making a clothing choice on her own. Just saying that in case anyone wants to start treating either her or Harry Dresden as real people who lead independent lives which have nothing to do with Butcher’s views or opinions–in case, so to speak, anyone wants to be a giant galloping dolt making a tried and tired argument of no merit whatsoever. Now go eat shit, “devil’s advocates.”
I turned to help Susan out and felt my mouth drop open a little.
Her outfit was . . . um, freaking hot.
The golden headdress was the first thing I noticed. It was decorated with feathers, with jade carved with sigils and symbols like those I had seen on the stone table, and with flickering gems of arctic green and blue. For a second, I thought her vampire nature had begun to rise again, because her face was covered in what I mistook for tattoos. A second glance showed me that they were some kind of precisely drawn design, sort of like henna markings, but far more primitive and savage-looking in appearance. They were also done in a variety of colors of black and deep, dark red. The designs around her dark brown eyes made them stand out sharply.
Under that, she wore a shift of some material that looked like simple, soft buckskin, split on the sides for ease of movement, and her feet were wrapped in shoes made of similar material, also decorated with feathers. The moccasins and shift both were pure white, and made a sharp contrast against the dark richness of her skin, and displayed the smooth, tight muscles of her arms and legs tremendously well.
A belt of white leather had an empty holster for a handgun on one of her hips, with a frog for hanging a scabbard upon it on the other. And over all of that, she wore a mantled cloak of feathers, not too terribly unlike the ones we had seen in Nevada—but the colors were all in the rich, cool tones of the Winter Court: glacial blue, deep sea green, and twilight purple.
She looked at me and said, “I’m waiting for you to say something about a Vegas showgirl.”
It took me a moment to reconnect my mouth to my brain. “You look amazing,” I said.
Her smile was slow and hot, with her dark eyes on mine.
Remember: Susan is a Latina woman. Do I have to spell out why it’s iffy to put her in some kind of “sexy jungle woman” outfit to start with, and double down with the racism by describing the face-paint as “primitive, savage-looking”? Do I? Are you that fucking stupid? Do you have a brain, Jim Butcher? Do you have brains, Jim Butcher fans?
Plus, the writing here is remarkably shit. “Her outfit was, um, freaking hot”–that’s the kind of writing that makes neckbeards jeer at Stephenie Meyer and EL James. Remarkably, no jeering occurs here from that front. Are they under the impression this is somehow literary gold, beyond reproach? Who caved their skulls in? I thought #killallmen wasn’t on yet, are we moving ahead of schedule?
[Arianna] was gorgeous. I don’t mean “cutest girl at the club” gorgeous. I mean that she looked like a literal goddess. The details almost didn’t matter. Tall. Dark hair. Skin like milk, like polished ivory. Eyes as blue as the twilight sky. She wore a gown of red silk, with a neckline that plunged gorgeously. Jewels touched her throat, her ears. Her hair was piled up on her head, occasional loose ringlets falling out. Hers was a beauty so pure that it was nearly painful to behold—Athena heading out on a Friday night.
It took me a good five or six seconds of staring to realize that there was something beneath that beauty that I did not like at all. Her loveliness itself, I realized, was a weapon—such creatures as she had driven men literally insane with desire and obsession. More to the point, I knew that her beauty was only skin-deep. I knew what lurked beneath.
Now, now this is special. It combines the martyred nerd’s frantic desperation to be noticed by the gorgeous “popular girl,” but since she’ll never so much as glance at him he transforms her–in his head–into a raging bitchslutwhore. That beauty, why, it’s only “skin-deep” masking her feminine evil, her disgusting sexual drive. Notice how a woman having a sex drive is immediately villified siren-style, a succubus who’ll “drive men insane” because it’s the woman’s fault, not that the men in question have no self-control. This is misogynistic bullshit spewed from the keyboard of a misogynistic shitstain. If you are from /r/mensrights though, this will read just right. Bitch. Bitchy bitch bitch.
“Harry,” Anastasia said, turning to me. “What you did today was dangerous.”
“I could take the bitch,” I growled.
“There’s no way for us to know how old Arianna is,” she contradicted, “because humanity hasn’t had a written language for that long. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
I pushed my empty glass away with my fingers and said, “I could take the prehistoric bitch.” I looked around the room for a moment and said, “What is this place?”
As you know, Harry, beautiful women who aren’t sexually interested in you are bitches. Bitch! Prehistoric bitch! And “she contradicted”? Really? Who wrote this? Who reads this? Who edited this? Illiterate fungi?
“Maybe you know the monsters, Martin,” Murphy said quietly. “But I know the guy who stops them. And if they don’t return the girl, we’ll make them regret it.” She nodded at me and said, “Let’s go. We can watch Dresden kill the bitch.”
I found myself smiling. Murphy was good people.
Women who call women Harry hates a bitch–the best of all women.
I dropped the wiseacre attitude. The growing force of my anger burned it away. “Taking my kid isn’t impersonal,” I said. “It’s a Kevorkianesque cry for help.”
“Such moral outrage. Yet you are as guilty as I. Did you not slay Paolo’s child, Bianca?”
“Bianca was trying to kill me at the time,” I said. “Maggie is an innocent. She couldn’t possibly hurt you.”
“Then you should have considered that before you insulted me by murdering my grandchild,” she hissed, her voice suddenly tight and cold. “I am patient, wizard. More patient than you could imagine. And I have looked forward to this day, when the consequences of your arrogance shall fall upon both you and all who love you.”
The threat lit a fire in my brain, and I thought the anger was going to tear its way free of my chest and go after her without me.
“Bitch,” I spat. “Come get some.”
Bitch! The only way to insult women Jim Butcher knows.
“Harry!” she said desperately. “Harry! You can’t!”
I turned my face away from her and kept walking.
“Harry, please!” she all but screamed. “This won’t help Maggie!”
It took me a few seconds to work out how to stop walking. I did it, and took a slow breath.
Molly leaned her forehead against my shoulder, panting, her voice shaking. She still held on tight. “Please. You can’t. You can’t go in there like this. They’ll kill you.” I heard her swallow down a mouthful of terror. “If we have to do it this way . . . at least let me veil you.”
From central casting: Hysterical Clinging Female #65.
Susan looked back at me, her eyes streaming her last tears. “Harry, help me,” she whispered. “Save her. Please.”
Everything in me screamed no. That this was not fair. That I should not have to do this. That no one should ever have to do this.
But . . . I had no choice.
I found myself picking Susan up with one hand. The little girl was curled into a ball with her eyes closed, and there was no time. I pushed her from the altar as gently as I could and let her fall to the floor, where she might be a little safer from the wild energies surging through the temple.
I put Susan on the altar and said, “She’ll be safe. I promise.”
She nodded at me, her body jerking and twisting in convulsions, forcing moans of pain from her lips. She looked terrified, but she nodded.
I put my left hand over her eyes.
I pressed my mouth to hers, swiftly, gently, tasting the blood, and her tears, and mine.
I saw her lips form the word, “Maggie . . .”
And I . . .
I used the knife.
I saved a child.
I won a war.
God forgive me.
This is amazing. Susan is fridged–specifically Dickden himself kills her. But do you know what really matters? Harry’s manpain.
He nodded. “Joking about it. Good. You will need that sense of humor.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because she is cold, Dresden. She knows wicked secrets Time himself has forgotten. And if she chose you to be her Knight, she has a plan for you.” He nodded slowly. “Laugh whenever you can. Keeps you from killing yourself when things are bad. That and vodka.”
“That some kind of Russian saying?” I asked.
“Have you seen traditional folk dances?” Sanya asked. “Imagine them being done by someone with a bottle of vodka in them. Laughter abounds, and you survive another day.” He shrugged. “Or break your neck. Either way, it is pain management.”
“Da,” he said. Then he reached into his pocket and produced a metal flask. He sipped from it, and offered it to me. “Here.”
Ah, the American way of coding foreignness–by having ‘em foreigners speak weird, stilted English with no contractions. And, being Russian, of course vodka is a Thing. Then we’ve got that random “da,” that being one of the two-three Russian words Anglophones know (the others being “nyet” and “tovarish”).
“Nah. They’re jerks, but they’re not incompetent jerks. No one around here is going to get away with mental buggery for a while.”
“Buggery?” Molly asked.
“Hey, we’re in the United Kingdom. When in Rome.”
You know, buggery. Very English. Remember JM Frey and her “innit”? Americans. Is there a nationality more embarrassing?
There’s an overlap between former fans of Laurell K Hamilton and current fans of Jim Butcher. Often ex-LKH fans will cite, among other things, the misogyny and racism in Anita Blake as the cause (when they aren’t citing “too much repetitive porn”), but that raises the question–what about the misogyny and racism in The Dresden Files? It can’t be the writing, because let’s face it, Jim Butcher is no greater crafter of prose than LKH. It can’t be the creativity; there’s less of that in a Jim Butcher book than there is in a game of Minesweeper, and in fact a game of Minesweeper contains more imagination than everything Butcher’s shat out put together, more competence in coding it, and more literary merit in the numbers that show you how many bombs there are surrounding a given square. Jim Butcher peddles offensive, misogynistic, juvenile power fantasies. LKH peddles more or less the same. Both are hacks of no great merit; arguably certain bits of Anita Blake are better written than “um, freaking hot” or “my blasting rod… moistening floor.”
I’m forced, then, to draw a conclusion that ex-LKH fans who now swear by Jim Butcher are illiterate maggots. Or, well, anyone who swears by rather than at Jim Butcher period. It truly takes an absence of critical thought, a total unfamiliarity with erudite things such as “vaguely decent writing” to profess undying love and fandom for Jim Butcher. And to have read all of the installments without once pausing to consider that it might just be crap of the lowest, most worthless order–well, that takes excessive alcohol, maybe? The kind of amount that murders all brain cells until there’s nothing left but sloshing and intellectually empty fanturd spew. You poke one of them a bit, and out that comes. And, no, uncritical Jim Butcher fans really, really don’t have some sort of literary high ground over uncritical readers of Twilight or Fifty Shades of Gray. Seriously. Stop pretending. You aren’t more educated. You aren’t morally or intellectually superior. You’re as much a lover of excrement as the ones who lap up Meyer and James.
There’s no reason for an intelligent, slightly well-read person over the mental age of twelve to like Jim Butcher. Sorry.