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20 September 2010 @ 04:35 am
Changes By Jim Butcher  


Title: Changes by Jim Butcher
Pages: 448 pages
Rating: -100 for morality
Genre: Urban fantasy

Let me start this off with a caveat--I love The Dresden Files series, both bookverse and TV-verse. I find the women strong and compelling; I love the snarkiness of the hero; I love the fact that not only does he get called on his chauvinistic behavior but that his sexism comes back to bite him more than once; the sheer insanity of some of the climaxes; the clichéd monsters that Butcher actually manages to make threatening. I've enjoyed the series, and while I wouldn't recommend that anyone start with the first few books (any more than a Discworld fan would recommend that you start with The Color of Magic or The Light Fantastic) I do feel that the series gets better as it goes along.

And until this latest book was published, I would have stuck by that.

This book is the one that jumped the shark. In fact, given the series' theme, I'd say it jumped Cthulhu.

Changes starts with Susan Rodriguez--Harry Dresden's ex-girlfriend, half-turned Red Court vampire and, since the half-transformation, guerrilla fighter in an organization dedicated to fighting vampires--calling up Harry with some bad news--the Red Court has kidnapped their eight-year-old daughter, Maggie. Oh, you mean Susan never told Harry that they have a kid before? Oops.

Harry goes nuts at this news. And I will allow for the fact that women and children being in danger are a huge Berserk Button of his. Yes, Harry lost his mother at birth and his father when he was six, while his mentor and adopted father tried to use mind control on him at sixteen to turn him into a puppet before siccing an Eldritch Abomination on him, and as a result, he has HUGE issues with the importance of family. Yes, he has a tendency to take impossible risks to save people. Yes. All of this is true.

But Harry jumps to a stance that makes no sense to me. And if you can't buy this, the rest of the book doesn't really work. He hangs up the phone...and he starts reacting as if he has known and loved and treasured this little girl from the day of her conception.

Keep in mind--he knows that she's physically female, that her biological mother gave her name of Margaret Angelina, that she grew up south of the border and she was adopted. That's it. He knows nothing else. He does not know ANYTHING about her as a person. He doesn't know her last name. He doesn't know what country she grew up in.

Harry doesn't stop to consider any of this. Knowledge of blood relationship establishes insta-parental love. That's all it takes, as far as Harry's concerned. I guess he's never heard of biological parents abusing and killing their children. That, or they don't know that the kids are really related to them.

And no one ever calls him on this throughout the entire book. No one ever says, "Harry, calm down. I can understand being worried about the kid, I can understand wanting to save the kid--BUT YOU DON'T KNOW HER. You've never MET her. She's not waiting for her daddy to come and save her from the monsters, because you aren't her daddy! You're a SPERM DONOR! Her adopted parents--the only parents she's ever known--were murdered by vampires. She doesn't know you from a bag of hay! And you wouldn't know her if you passed her on the street! Calm. Down!"

Nope. Everyone reacts as if as feeling that he has a deep and loving relationship with a child he's never met, spoken to, or known existed is perfectly normal, and just how every parent would behave. The fact that Harry has never filled the social or emotional role of father for Maggie is simply ignored. Instead, his attempts to save Maggie are presented as parental in nature--and never mind that he tries to save people in every goddamned book.

That's bad enough. But okay. I could try to spin this as Harry's irrationality on the subject of family.

Then there's a fire in Harry's apartment building, and Harry breaks his back. He's completely paralyzed. Good news: he's a wizard, so his body is already working to repair the injury completely. Bad news: it's going to take about fifty years before his back is healed. By this time Harry knows that the kid is going to be sacrificed within about 72 hours, so not only does he not want to wait around in a paralyzed body for half a century, he really can't afford to.

So he starts making offers to various supernatural entities--his loyalty in exchange for his health and the freedom to go find and save his daughter.

The first entity to be offered one Harry Dresden, slightly battered, is the Archangel Uriel. He says no, he's not allowed to make that kind of a deal. The second is Mab, Queen of the Winter Court of Faerie. (Think "Unseelie Court." Yeah. The lady is not nice.) She has been offering Harry the job of Winter Knight since Book 4, so this didn't surprise me one bit. What did surprise me was Harry's response to Mab's "What if I say no to your offer?"

For Harry tells her, point blank, that if she says no, he'll just turn to the Denarians.

The Knights of the Blackened Denarius, or the Denarians for short, are a group of fallen angels who inhabit willing and very, very psychotic human hosts. They have come incredibly close to destroying the world several times in the series; they've been trying to get Harry to work for them since the fifth book. They are evil beyond the telling of it.

But what makes this truly horrible is that in their last appearance, the Denarians kidnapped and tortured a little girl who happens to be the repository for all recorded human knowledge.

Let me repeat that. To save a little girl who has been kidnapped and is being tortured, Harry is willing to become someone who would kidnap and torture another little girl.

This was the point at which I stopped reading for a couple of days. I was sickened by this.

Why? Because Harry has clung to his old-fashioned, quixotic moral code for the entire series, despite lethal danger, mental anguish and physical torture. Harry has always been the guy who will do the right thing, no matter what the cost to himself.

And he just threw that moral code away. It doesn't matter that he didn't make the deal with the devil. What matters is that he was willing to. Because the Harry Dresden I cared about never would have done that.

Butcher lost me right there.

But I kept on plugging. Maybe Butcher would find a way of fixing this. Just maybe.

It didn't get better. There was one bright shining moment where Harry finally reached Maggie (at a Mayan temple, no less!), expecting her face to light up with relief. Instead, Maggie took one look at this stranger dressed, I swear, in a suit of enchanted armor...and started screaming her head off. This was Harry's first clue that maybe this was not going to be the flawless parent-child relationship he'd imagined.

I have to say something here about Susan's outfit for the rescue mission. Like Harry's suit of armor, she had a special outfit. Unlike the armor, however, it was not designed for battle. In one sense it was practical, for yes, Susan needed to be able to infiltrate the ranks of Red Court; yes, the King of the Red Court fancied himself a Mayan god so he demanded that his followers dress up like Mayan warriors and priestesses.

But putting a dark-skinned woman in the skimpy attire of a jungle priestess? It was very much like those 1940s movies with words like "bwana" in the title, where the white men are the action heroes and the women, whether white or POCs, are fanservice.

Oh, and Susan doesn't even get to pick or suggest her outfit; Harry's red-haired, pale-skinned faerie godmother, the Leanansidhe, does so. Granted, Lea also picks Harry's armor...but there's a reference to her playing dress-up with Susan as if she were a doll.

And then, finally, there's Susan's death.

Here's the situation: a spell has been cast so that the death of the youngest in a bloodline will cause the death of all in the bloodline if the youngest dies before midnight. The widow of a vampire Harry dueled with back in the fifth book wants to kill Maggie so that everyone in Maggie's bloodline will die. She doesn't give a damn about Harry; Harry is collateral damage. She's trying to assassinate Harry's grandfather--who just happened to drop a satellite on her husband and his entire household of minions for trying to kill Harry. By killing the man with the bloodline spell, she also kills off every possible younger relative before they can even think of vengeance. Give the lady credit for being genre savvy.

And where did the Red Court get the information on where Maggie was? From Susan's superior and frequent field partner, Martin, who not only betrayed Maggie but set up their entire organization to be butchered in return for full vampirism. Harry sees that Susan isn't grasping who betrayed Maggie and--knowing that she's under a ton of stress and that she can barely control her blood thirst as it is--tells her that Martin is the traitor.

Susan goes for his throat. Literally. And she drains him dry.

Which means that Susan is no longer a half-vampire. She is now a full vampire. The youngest of the bloodline.

Now, if Susan had ever said--just in a sentence or two--that she would do anything, even sacrifice her humanity, to save her little girl (and unlike Harry, she knows Maggie personally, albeit as "a family friend"), or if Susan and Harry had ever discussed--again, just for a sentence or two--what they would want the other to do if one of them was turned, I would have less trouble accepting this. Susan would have made a conscious and, dare I say, heroic choice to sacrifice herself.

But that isn't what happens. First, Martin manipulates Susan--it even says so in the text--and then Harry deliberately pushes her over the edge, knowing what the results will be. Susan never has any agency at all.

And make no mistake, this is not a choice of hers. For we see her kneeling on the ground--knowing that she is transforming permanently into a monster and that she cannot stop it--and staring at her hands in horror.

And then Harry tells her that if she wants their daughter to live, she has to die.

She can't take the sacrificial knife, though. Alien hand syndrome. Her hands have transformed; they're no longer under her control.

Again, it's a moment when she could have shown agency. She could have nodded and said, "Put the dagger there," and rolled over and picked it up with her teeth, at least trying to stab herself with it. She wouldn't have had to succeed. Just one moment of unconquerable courage that showed that while her body is changing, her spirit is still determined to protect her child and destroy the vampires who turned her.

But she doesn't. She simply kneels there and begs Harry to kill her, because she can't do it herself.

And, after thinking that Martin intended this all along (which I highly doubt; Martin is capable of Xanatos Gambits, but he would have had no way of knowing that Harry would be insane enough to make a deal with Queen Mab, thus enabling Lea to dress Susan like a Mayan, thus allowing Susan to be anywhere in Maggie's vicinity on the day of the sacrifice), Harry kills Susan.

A woman who, please note, has been described in canon multiple times as Harry's true love.

Until the text said that she was dead, I honestly thought that he'd find a third way out of this that would save both Susan and Maggie. I thought that at least he would try, because Harry is notorious for that. Not this time. The expedient thing to do was to kill the woman he supposedly loved more than life itself...so he killed her. No hesitation. No doubts.

In fact, the very opposite of the emotional, passionate, fierce defender of innocents that Harry has been up till now.

It all felt consummately wrong...as if I'd blundered into an Evil Goateed Universe.

I am beginning to wonder if Butcher is a Joe Quesada fan.

The book is not bad in every respect; it is suspenseful and action-packed and complex. But it was failtastic at consistent characterization, at canon continuity, at presentation of an existing moral code and at granting the female protagonist any agency at all.

It probably says something that when I put the book down, I left it where it lay and did not open it again...not even to check canon for fanfic. I do not want to incorporate this coprolith into a fictional universe that I love.

I'm still reading the fanfic, because the fans are still writing about impractical, emotional, idealistic Harry. But at this point, I doubt whether I'll read the next book in the series, Ghost Story, or any of the books that follow. Butcher is no longer writing about Harry Dresden. He is writing about a delusional, manipulative, vicious dark wizard...and one book with him was more than enough.
 
 
Current Mood: angryangry
 
 
 
megazvermegazver on September 20th, 2010 08:39 am (UTC)
Eh.
ambermoon on September 20th, 2010 09:01 am (UTC)
I'm still formulating my opinion on the book, and I understand where you're coming from, but I have to disagree with you.

I didn't find Harry's reaction to learning of the child irrational at all. Parenthood is a very big deal to a lot of people - the mere concept, whether they know the child or not. I mean, you don't know a baby's personality when s/he is born, but most parents are already devoted and will do anything to protect him or her. As I understand it, even if someone learns of a child years later they often react the same way.

As for the other girl, Harry didn't know that's what would happen to her, and as I recall the possibility didn't really occur to him. Perhaps he should have thought of it, but he wasn't thinking overly clearly in this book, and he didn't deliberately sacrifice another child.

Susan's death is more murky. I don't think he should have kept the knowledge from her, she had as much right to it as he did, but it was still manipulation because he knew what she would do and he knew the stakes.

Overall the book isn't a shining example of ethics, but I didn't feel it was untrue to the character. Rather, everyone has different choices open, different influences at the time of those choices, and this was always a path Harry could have taken, was at times poised to take, so now we can just hope he can walk the line and keep what he'd previously made of his life.
Gehayigehayi on September 20th, 2010 09:22 am (UTC)
I mean, you don't know a baby's personality when s/he is born, but most parents are already devoted and will do anything to protect him or her.

Yes, but most of them are aware that they're going to have a child and have nine months to get used to the idea. Then, too, many of them want the child.

I think what makes me deeply uncomfortable with this book is that I've been in Maggie's position. My parents were divorced and separated before I was even born. I saw my father three times in my entire life: once when I was four, once when I was eight, and once when I graduated from college. He was very decent about child support checks, I'll give him that. But I was always very unnerved by his insistence on trying to "maintain a relationship" when, as far as I was concerned, we didn't HAVE a relationship. I still had to be nice and amiable, though, and try to say the right things, especially after my mother died--because, as my closest blood relative, it would have been fairly easy for him to demand custody. The custody case over me dragged on for about three-and-a-half years. The judge was not comfortable with my father conceding that someone else should raise his child, and kept pushing "the importance of a parent-child relationship." And never mind that my father was never in a position of discipline or authority over me at all.

So I look at Harry and see my father, with expectations of a relationship that we didn't have. And I had to behave in a friendly way toward a stranger that I didn't know. I found it incredibly creepy.

I would have been perfectly happy if he had just sent the checks and left me alone. Because before I turned eighteen, I never spoke to him without wondering if he was going to change his mind, swoop in and take me away from everything I knew.

Goodbye My Boy: Han Sologoodbyemyboy on September 20th, 2010 01:38 pm (UTC)
I didn't find Harry's reaction to learning of the child irrational at all. Parenthood is a very big deal to a lot of people - the mere concept, whether they know the child or not. I mean, you don't know a baby's personality when s/he is born, but most parents are already devoted and will do anything to protect him or her. As I understand it, even if someone learns of a child years later they often react the same way.

Agreed. I mean, what exactly is the complaint here? "Man, it's so unrealistic when parents care about their children"?
Gehayi: joanneannoyed (silver_sunn101)gehayi on September 20th, 2010 01:56 pm (UTC)
If Harry had had anything to do with Maggie up till that point--if he and Susan had raised her, if they'd had joint custody, if he'd seen her on weekends or summers or holidays--fine. Under those circumstances, I wouldn't have any problem. Because Harry would have spent time and effort on Maggie. He would have gotten to know her. She would have been a part of his life, and he would have been a part of hers.

But that's not the situation. HE ISN'T A PARENT. He didn't raise her; he hasn't cared for her; he isn't in any way a part of her life. Two minutes before Susan called, he didn't know the kid existed. He isn't a father, save in the biological sense of the word. And yet Harry hears that Maggie exists, and BAM! Instant and passionate devotion, to the point where he throws away his moral code and his entire personality.
Goodbye My Boygoodbyemyboy on September 20th, 2010 01:58 pm (UTC)
How exactly would you expect him to behave?
Gehayigehayi on September 20th, 2010 02:13 pm (UTC)
*sigh*

Is there any point in my answering? I do have an answer, but it's quite clear that you and I are never going to agree on this. I don't expect you to be converted to my position, and I know that you will never convince me to see this book as you do.

So I must question whether there is any point to our continuing to discuss the book. Can we just concede that you like the book and I don't and let it go at that?
Goodbye My Boygoodbyemyboy on September 20th, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC)
That was a genuine question. I'm not interested in convincing you to like the book and I'm not particularly interested in outlining what I liked and disliked and why, but I am genuinely confused about what exactly your complaint is here and would like to better understand it.
Gehayigehayi on September 20th, 2010 02:49 pm (UTC)
My Complaint
I thought that I stated the problems quite clearly in the review. I quote:

[The book] was failtastic at consistent characterization, at canon continuity, at presentation of an existing moral code and at granting the female protagonist any agency at all.

It is not likely that you will agree with this assessment, since you have already indicated that you find Harry both morally ambiguous in the series and IC in this book. I see him, in the series so far, as a fundamentally decent man who has made some really lousy choices and is still paying for them, and I feel that his insta-love for a child who is no more than a name to him and his abandonment of his moral code were hopelessly out of character. I also loathe the fact that Susan was manipulated throughout by both Martin and Harry rather than getting to make a conscious choice about her transformation and death. I mentioned in the review several ways that could have been handled better.

Fundamentally, I don't believe the premise of the story. I don't believe that just hearing the name of a kid is enough to inspire deathless devotion. I don't believe that Harry is any more desperate in going up against the Red Court than he's been in a dozen or so similar situations. And I don't believe that Harry would throw himself away like this. I always felt that Harry had integrity. The man in this book doesn't--at least in my eyes.

I can't make it any clearer than this. I don't expect you to agree, but those are my major problems with the book.
Goodbye My Boygoodbyemyboy on September 20th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)
Re: My Complaint
I agree with your point about Susan, but you completely ignored my question re: how would you expect a person in general/Harry in particular to react when presented with the fact that they have a child they never met who is about to die, other than trying to save her?
Gehayigehayi on September 20th, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC)
how would you expect a person in general/Harry in particular to react when presented with the fact that they have a child they never met who is about to die, other than trying to save her?

I said in my review:

I can understand being worried about the kid, I can understand wanting to save the kid.

But:

...he tries to save people in every goddamned book.

So:

I do not have any objection to Harry trying to save the child. I EXPECT Harry to try to save her, because Harry tries to save people in every single book.

Since Harry worries about people in every single book, I have no problem with his being worried about the kid, either. Especially as, as I also said in the review, women and children in danger are a Berserk Button for him.

What I object to is:

1) the book's presumption that all that it takes to create deep and passionate parental love is knowledge that the child exists.

I could see Harry being extra worried. I could see him being nervous about being a father and wondering how things would work out afterwards, assuming there was an afterwards.

But:

2) Harry didn't react as if--assuming they both survived--he was at the start of a possible relationship with his daughter.

He behaved as if the relationship already existed and had for eight years--as if Maggie was someone he knew, had raised and adored and who had been stolen out from under his nose.

I object very strongly to Harry not only jumping to this conclusion at the start of the novel, but to his clinging to this notion for the remainder of the book.

3) Trying to make sense of Harry's reaction doesn't work for me.

For example, I think that in many ways, Harry ends up projecting his own issues onto Maggie, reacting as if she's his orphaned six-year-old self and he's his own father, coming to save wee Harry from danger. And based on what few references to his father that there have been in the series, I can see Harry trying to do for Maggie what he thinks/wishes that Malcolm could have done for him.

The problem with this theory--and it does make sense to me that Harry would love the idea of being a heroic parent--is that Harry's reactions of "She's my daughter, I love her more than life and I will damn myself to save her" are never presented as neurotic and based in childhood trauma, but as perfectly reasonable and exactly how any parent would react.

4) I object to the fact that no one else in the story, no matter how snarky and no matter how canonically uninterested in having kids, ever finds Harry's reaction to be a trifle extreme.

No one ever calls him on it.

No one ever reminds him that while he may be worried about the kid, and he should certainly save her...he doesn't actually know her. No one ever points out that Maggie is a stranger who happens to be related to him by blood. Not unlike his brother when they first met--and he certainly wasn't overwhelmed with fraternal feelings when he first learned that.

5) I am not, in any way, a fan of love at first sight. I don't see love as instantaneous. I see it like being a professional dancer; with practice, you can make it look beautiful and effortless, but it takes a great deal of time, effort and hard work. You have to want it more than anything, yeah--but then you have to put the work in. And it doesn't happen in a vacuum.

Harry's passionate and insane devotion to his daughter happens in a vacuum. There is no basis for it; it just appears. Why? Because she's connected to him by blood. Based on what I've read of abusive parents and siblings and family feuds, not to mention personal experience with numerous hateful relatives, this is not a credible basis for Harry's instant love.

So--how would I expect Harry to react to a kid being in danger? Worry. Panic. Rage. Determination to kick vampiric ass. Blaming himself for her being in danger. Wondering what the kid is like. Being furious that her parents were murdered. Hoping that he'll get to know her when this is all over. Wondering if she'll have magic when she gets older. Wishing he could comfort her and tell her it would all be okay.
Nadia Louiseintertribal on September 20th, 2010 09:21 am (UTC)
I read some other review of the Dresden books that convinced me I would hate the main character and the retrograde sexism, so... this doesn't really surprise me.
Gehayi: remusWTF (copperbadge)gehayi on September 20th, 2010 09:27 am (UTC)
Well, the first book was very sexist, but since it was trying to be a magical version of 1940s film noir, that didn't surprise me. Over time, Harry got called on sexism a LOT, mostly by the women of the series. And his insistence on being unable to treat a woman less than courteously even when she was an enemy came back to bite him.

I would have said until this book that Harry was learning. That he was becoming more aware of his own sexism and why it was unacceptable.

And then...we got this.
almightyspaz on September 20th, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC)
I thought I was the only one who thought this about the book. I loved the ending, but I hate when writers throw in kids needlessly. Butcher could've easily had Susan in trouble and Harry had to save her, and just add the kid at the end. Like, he fails to save Susan and instead finds about the kid that way.
Gehayigehayi on September 20th, 2010 01:31 pm (UTC)
I hate when writers throw in kids needlessly. Butcher could've easily had Susan in trouble and Harry had to save her, and just add the kid at the end. Like, he fails to save Susan and instead finds about the kid that way.

Yes! That would have made more sense, really, since Susan was a character since the first book. She was established. The audience was invested in the character. We cared about her.

And Harry getting saddled with the everyday reality of a traumatized eight-year-old girl that he doesn't know and can't even talk to because they don't speak the same language could have been one hell of a contrast to his expectations, issues and fantasies about family. Especially if Butcher had let the audience learn to care for Margaret Angelina, and had allowed the parent-child relationship grow over several books.
Goodbye My Boy: Ahsoka Tanogoodbyemyboy on September 20th, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC)
Why? Because Harry has clung to his old-fashioned, quixotic moral code for the entire series, despite lethal danger, mental anguish and physical torture. Harry has always been the guy who will do the right thing, no matter what the cost to himself.

And he just threw that moral code away.


I thought this was kind of the whole point.
Gehayi: joanneannoyed (silver_sunn101)gehayi on September 20th, 2010 01:39 pm (UTC)
Other than the fact that Harry was suddenly completely out of character, I don't see a point.
Goodbye My Boy: Ahsoka Tanogoodbyemyboy on September 20th, 2010 01:47 pm (UTC)
The point is that he had morals and is desperate enough to set them aside. We can argue about whether or not that's good character development, but it's not like the author was just like, "hey, let's ignore everything Harry Dresden has done so far for shits and giggles."
Gehayi: good God (mscongeniality)gehayi on September 20th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC)
It's not like the author was just like, "hey, let's ignore everything Harry Dresden has done so far for shits and giggles."

To my mind, that's EXACTLY what Butcher did.

Goodbye My Boy: Ahsoka Tanogoodbyemyboy on September 20th, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC)
I really don't see how you're getting that. Harry's been much more of a morally ambiguous character than you want to give him credit for, first of all, and second his actions in Changes only make sense from the perspective of "I'm doing this because I'm desperate." Sorry, but it sounds like what you're saying is "I'm upset because Harry hasn't stayed exactly the same throughout the entire series," which is a pretty weak complaint.
Raoul Dukejustincognito on September 28th, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Harry's definitely got a rigid set of morals, but he's also shown a willingness to cast them aside if things get desperate. At the end of Dead Beat, he basically says to the person who's been pulling his strings, "The next time you come after me and mine, I don't care if I have to make a deal with the devil in order to beat you into a fine paste. I'm doing it."
The Woman in Purple: cat sailboatrainbow_goddess on September 20th, 2010 02:52 pm (UTC)
Just FYI, I started reading the Discworld series at The Colour of Magic. Then I went on to The Light Fantastic. I enjoyed both of them and they kept me reading the series to this day.
Youjiyoujik33 on September 28th, 2010 04:02 am (UTC)
I've read about 15? Discworld books and the first two remain my favorites. So that comment actually really baffled me.
holyschistholyschist on December 24th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
I have noticed a big split between Discworld fans who love those (often Discworld fans who love Rincewind) and those who don't. I would not have kept reading if I had started there, and I know a fair number of people who started there and didn't keep reading. The only Rincewind book I like is The Last Continent.

So I tend to give people a run-down of the main groups, and recommend either a Witches or Watch book. Does that probably lose some potential fans who would have loved Rincewind? Yeah. But I don't think there's any perfect entry point for the series that will get all potential fans.
take it shake it: [aph] ukrainepalereverie on September 26th, 2010 10:46 am (UTC)
I get what you mean about the super-dad Harry thing. At first I chalked it up to his love for Susan-of course he'd go crazy to protect her kid! But the BS ending kinda cancels that :/ and it really felt like a betrayal to Susan, turning her into the mommy who will die for her child. Such a crappy old trope I hated seeing her stuffed into it.

At least the very ending was weird enough to make me doubt whether he wasn't under mind control or something.
Gehayi: what the hell? (ravemasta)gehayi on September 26th, 2010 11:29 am (UTC)
Yeah, Susan got stuffed into a refrigerator--and completely against her will, too. It was a horrible way for their story to end. And it calls the entire "true love" thing into question, because you don't manipulate the person you allegedly love more than life itself into becoming something they regard with horror and revulsion. That's not love. Love doesn't use people when they become expedient.

At least the very ending was weird enough to make me doubt whether he wasn't under mind control or something.

I know what you mean. I'd been thinking for the entire book that he'd had some kind of psychotic break.
redbrunja: glee | keep me hanging onredbrunja on September 28th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
I completely understand where you're coming from with this. Especially the part about Harry acting like he has a relationship with the girl when he doesn't. Which makes sense to me given his past and personality, but SOMEONE should have sat that boy down and went 'wait a minute.'

Also, I blushingly admit that I completely missed the fail with Susan being dressed like a jungle princess.
Allie: MST3Kcyranothe2nd on September 29th, 2010 01:09 am (UTC)
I've been meaning to pick up this series for a while now. You said you wouldn't recommend starting at the beginning of the series. Which book would you recommend I read first?