BLACKWOOD FARM CHAPTER 19
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
CHAPTER 19

"By the time we reached Mayfair Medical, I was a gibbering idiot in a bloody nightshirt"

He repeatedly tells them that the intruder was in the house, that Goblin had broken the glass and saved his life, and he can tell they think he's crazy. "They" here is Clem, Big Ramona, and Aunt Queen, though since I'm pretty sure AQ knows Goblin is real, it's just Clem and Big Ramona who probably think he's nuts. I just realized that since the cast is divided between the white family and the black staff, it pretty much makes it so only the white people get to have special ghost senses whereas the black people are all boring mundane sorts. Sort of the reverse of the "Magical Negro" trope, and the idea of black people as more connected to the supernatural/spiritual, and yet, somehow not better. Because, rather similiar to the lack of black vampires in Anita Blake, the trope is only inverted in order to exclude black people from the most interesting and privileged status within the story. Black people get to be magical and mystical when helping a white protagonist, but when the powers go to the white people, the black people have to be boring normies who can't understand. This isn't helped much when more white people get added to the cast, since those people (Lestat, Mona, etc.) are all magical types too.

Quinn is put on a gurney and taken to the ER. He has a lot of scratches and bruises and a headache from being slammed against the wall. Goblin is very concerned for Quinn and does not like what is happening, but Quinn tells him not to do anything or he'll make it worse.
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BLACKWOOD FARM, CHAPTER 18
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
This one is pretty short, so no cut!

BLACKWOOD FARM, CHAPTER 18

It's the middle of the night. Quinn is in and out of sleep, and Rebecca tells him how Manfred bought these antique wicker chairs in the attic for her. But then "she was trying to talk of other things, things I must do, how justice would be achieved, and I was arguing with her" and then he wakes up.

He wakes up because "suddenly, I was wrenched out of the bed and dragged across the floor!"

Whoever this is drags him to the bathroom and lifts him off his feet and smacks him up against the wall. It's a tall mane with large dark eyes and "hair cleanly brushed back from his high rounded temples." He accuses Quinn of burning his books, so I guess we know who this is. His breath is warm but odorless and this is just mentioned in passing but I find it a really good detailing for hinting there's something supernatural about this person.

Instead of feeling afraid, Quinn is angry, and yells at the guy about being a trespasser and how dare you come into my very room!

As with looking at Jasmine's figure when bemoaning he might be mad, the fact that Quinn is describing the man's outfit (open white shirt with white cuffs and a black coat, if you wanted to know) and how his mouth is "very finely shaped, with thick but perfectly sculpted lips" very, very much detracts from the mood of the scene. Rice's strength has always been elegantly phrased descriptions of sensuous details in both objects and people, but she has a placement problem. This is a tense scene with two people angry at each other, one of which is probably very dangerous and could hurt the hero, and there's no, like, sexual tension or anything going on, so this kind of detail, especially from a first-person perspective, really hurts the tone and that disrupts the entire mood for the reader. We go from being tense to going "why do you care about THAT??" It being first-person also makes Quinn look like a foolish jackass for being focused on outfits and lips at a time like this. And while Rice does sometimes use that with the vampires to play up how their senses are so enhanced that they kinda go a little nuts with noticing everything, that's not the case here and not what I think she was going for.

This is a small thing, but I think it's important from the perspective of what works and doesn't in writing, and why that is. Because something that would be great description in another scene is absolutely wrong for this one. It's not just about how things are written, but where they're put in a story.

Quinn struggles against him, the stranger tells him to never go near the island again or touch what is his, Quinn once more says he's a trespasser and tells him to bring it to court. The stranger says "Don't you realize I could kill you?" and asks why Quinn does such foolish things, "what's so precious to you?"

To which Quinn replies "What's rightfully mine!"

So, when Quinn was burning the property of someone just in principal of them being a squatter on his property, it was gross and spiteful to me, especially since it was pretty clear he'd be doing this even if the person was just a poor homeless person like most squatters instead of a mysterious likely-supernatural likely-murderer, but when the person is actually in his house and threatening him, and Quinn is still so stubborn and defiant in his IT'S MINE, it actually gets kind of admirable in a weird way. I remember really enjoying the part in The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett where the protagonist, a little girl who is likely a witch, defeats the Big Bad through the force of her own selfishness. Not the Big Bad, but her own. The Big Bad took HER brother, and she doesn't like her brother but he is HERS and how DARE anyone touch or take what is HERS. And Pratchett explicitly refers to this in the narration as selfishness, but it's not painted as good or bad, just powerful. And I actually really ENJOYED this. I absolutely loved that not only did the heroine have this trait seldom associated with heroes (heroes are typically emphasized as UNselfish) but that Pratchett found a way to turn it into a weapon rather than a flaw. It was really clever. I think something cool could be done with Quinn in that regard, that he is such a brat he actually will scream in the faces of monsters if those monsters come near what's HIS HIS HIS

...though in Quinn's case, I also would not mind seeing him pay the consequences for that. Actually, that would make for a good story, him dealing with those consequences and how that changes him. And as much as I rag on Rice, I actually do think that's a possibility. She is not talentless, not by a longshot, I would not give a shit about going through this book if she were just plain bad, and she's very capable of making and writing engaging characters. In fact, I would say that characters are really what she does, more than she does stories. Much of the Vampire Chronicles are really just biographies. This book is pretty unique in the degree of plot it has, and that it's a plot that spans the whole novel thus far rather than just a part of it.

The guy releases Quinn and says "I won't kill you. I don't want you dead. I have a theory about you." But he says he will kill him if he goes near the island again, and instructs Quinn to keep everyone away from the island forever, or he'll drag him back into the swamp and kill him the same way Rebecca died.

Then the mirror shatters, Goblin comes up behind the man and chokes him and tries to cut him with a piece of glass. The stranger pushes away the glass "rather easily" and tries to attack Quinn again, but Goblin continues to pummel him and hurl glass at him. Quinn thinks this is a good time to tell us that the man has very long black hair in a slender ponytail and sharply squared shoulders. The intense fight between Goblin and the stranger, who is baffled by what Goblin is, continues. Quinn just does nothing except tell us that when the lights come on, he can see the man more fully and that he has a beautiful face and "satin" hair and perfect skin and a very fine suit. The guy keeps going WHAT IS THIS THING and Quinn is like FUCK YOU, GET OUT.

Well, no, actually Quinn says he won't tell him because he's in HIS house just like how he's on HIS property when he reads his books on the island, and he can see what's attacking the guy but the guy obviously can't. And I'm back to finding Quinn an insufferable brat for the books thing. Oh my god, a man read books on my private island that I wasn't using, this is THE VERY WORST THING!

The man slips out, and everyone in the house wakes up and comes to see Quinn embracing Goblin, who, of course, to them is nothing but thin air.

As a note, last chapter Aunt Queen said that the Shed Men would all be standing guard to keep this stranger from getting in the house again, which means that whoever or whatever he is, he slipped in past them somehow, adding the mystery.

BLACKWOOD FARM CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
Well guys, I'm back. A friend of mine told me they really wanted to know what happened next, and since I've since read ahead to Chapter 23, I decided to get my butt in gear and oblige. Hopefully I'll have the energy and drive to summarize the successive chapters too!

BLACKWOOD FARM, CHAPTER 17
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(no subject)
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
so I have no energy for a proper spork but I picked up Blackwood Farm again last night

while they're out investigating the island, Quinn tells Jasmine to "be my chocolate candy" and they have sex in Pops bed when they get home


he's sure to note that he knows there's no men in her life and "she lived like a nun" while her sister Lolly "had three husbands" WELL DID LOLLY FUCK ANY OF THEM IN HER RECENTLY DEAD GRANDFATHER'S BED QUINN WHAT THE FUCK

Blackwood Farm, Chapter Sixteen
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
BLACKWOOD FARM, CHAPTER 16

Quinn describes the two sets of gates that are at Blackwood Farm, and he mentions that Pops planted a pair of "great oaks" by one in memory of Sweetheart. This may be a dumb question, but how long would it take for a pair of great oaks to become, well, great? I always looked at big oaks and thought they must take centuries to get like that, but I don't know much at all about trees. Not a criticism, just a question.

Quinn says that he later found out from the Shed Men that when Pops went out to plant flowers (at least I assume that is what "multicolored impatiens" means) they thought that he seemed "confused and strangely unconcerned about the goings-on at Sugar Devil Island. One side of his face had not looked right, and they had gone to check on him."

Sounds to me like he was having a stroke? Something up with the face means a stroke, right? But do strokes take that long? Wow, I don't know much about strokes either.

Patsy went out to talk to Pops about money, telling the Shed Men on the way that she hated to have to ask for it and it wasn't fair and man, I get it Patsy. Poor kid wants to do what she loves and be independent from her parents but she can't do both. She clearly doesn't want anything to do with this family, especially not Pops, but I guess she really wants to sing, and she needs money for that. Unpleasant as we're meant to find her, I feel for her, as I've said before.

Anyway, she "came screaming back, having already called for emergency help on her car phone" and the Shed Men run over there to find Pops on the ground dead. The whole family go with him to the hospital but it's too late. Aunt Queen orders an autopsy, but isn't able to bring herself to manage the funeral arrangements, so Quinn does.

This is probably the first time I admire Quinn. He's 18 right now, if I remember right, and while that might legally be an adult in the US, I can tell you right now I would not have been capable of doing this at all. And while I've got it very easy, I'm still not as sheltered and babied as Quinn is. So good on Quinn for stepping up for this and getting through it, and not even complaining in the narrative about it.

I love flawed characters, but when a character has been as infuriating as Quinn as thus far, I'm actually glad for them to do something right.
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Blackwood Farm, Chapter Fifteen
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
( You are about to view content that may only be appropriate for adults. )

Blackwood Farm: Chapter 14
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
Here's Dorian
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y74/rodentfanatic/2016%20Rodents/Dori2_zpsbzgnvf1g.jpg
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http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y74/rodentfanatic/2016%20Rodents/Dori3_zpshgkggiu7.jpg


Amethyst
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y74/rodentfanatic/2016%20Rodents/Ame1_zpswcpi886v.jpg

Darcy
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http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y74/rodentfanatic/2016%20Rodents/Dar1_zpst3nxesia.jpg

Dodger
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y74/rodentfanatic/2016%20Rodents/Dod2_zpsycqbjeod.jpg
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y74/rodentfanatic/2016%20Rodents/Dod1_zpseqeth01e.jpg

1 month old mice babies: Lydia (the most black), Priscilla (the most white), Junia (white belt)
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y74/rodentfanatic/2016%20Rodents/Mice1_zpsca98tjxn.jpg

Lydia
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y74/rodentfanatic/2016%20Rodents/Lydia2_zpsclbaiziv.jpg

MAC THE EVIL ONE
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http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y74/rodentfanatic/2016%20Rodents/Mac2_zpsz3robplb.jpg
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Blackwood Farm: Chapter 14Collapse )

Blackwood Farm: Chapter 13
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
I'm working twice as many hours at work now, but somehow I got a hankering to return to Blackwood Farm nonetheless today, and do a quick summary. Not so snarky, but then, there wasn't much to snark in this particuliar chapter.

More importantly, I have new rats! I wanted to get rats from someone who needed to rehome them, or get them from a rescue, but nothing came up, so I broke down and bought three boys from the pet store this Saturday.

On Sunday, I got a message from a friend on Facebook saying they knew someone who needed to rehome their rat.

SERIOUSLY

THE DAY AFTER

I said yes, of course. And it's a girl so she'll need a friend, she can't live with the boys! So it'll be five rats. Five rats and...an unknown number of mice, because the store only sells male small animals to avoid accidental breeding, and while I was talking to the salesgirl (who also liked rats!) I was like oh that mouse is so pretty and she was like yeah the gold and I was like I love mice but ugh the boys stink so bad

and she said they got a girl by mistake and she’s in the back and of course she was super pregnant but she’s had her babies and they’re almost ready to be weaned so if I come back on Friday I can have her plus any females in the litter FUCK YES

And I don't remember if I got him before or after my last update so, just in case you didn't know...after Boz passed, I got Mac, a hamster of the same breed who is EVEN ANGRIER OMFG

Blackwood Farm: Chapter 13Collapse )

BLACKWOOD FARM, CHAPTER ELEVEN
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
I'm reading a spork of The Black Jewels series and I noticed it has something in common with both the Vampire Chronicles and Anita Blake: Only powerful characters matter, and all the good characters are also the most powerful.

Quinn might be an exception, being a very young vampire (but the vampire who turned him was very old, so he might be very powerful, which is the case with Lestat, but there's no indication yet in the book just what level Quinn's at) but other than him, all the vampires that are protagonists and matter enough to have books about them in the series are the most powerful ones. Lestat, Marius, Pandora, Armand...I'm not sure about Louis, granted, and he was her FIRST viewpoint character, but all the others who are of any account are all on the top-tier, hence why Akasha spared them in Queen of the Damned when she wiped out all or nearly all other vampires in the world. Lesser vampires are supposed to be the majority in theory, yet are rarely mentioned, usually only appearing either to be killed (Baby Jenks at the hands of Akasha, for instance) or made inferior by comparison with the powerful vampires Anne Rice favors, like a brief mention of Pandora having hooked up with a vampire named Arjan but should totally be with Marius. Arjan is Indian, which brings me to another point---besides Akasha (who is evil, btw), all the most powerful vampires are white. I should note that there are evil powerful vampires (the most notable being Akasha) but while not all powerful vampires are evil, all good vampires do seem to be powerful. No good character is ever weak.

Likewise with Anita Blake, not all powerful people are evil, but all 'good' people are powerful. Everybody in the harem is a leader, granted power from being in a triumvirate, or granted power from being Anita's Animal Servant, and of course Anita herself is the biggest power of all. Even characters whose weakness is actively fetishized are super-powerful through her. It's like LKH gets off on the weakness of others, but finds weakness too distasteful and gross to possibly exist in a character worth writing about, so she finds a way to have it both ways.

And now from what I'm being told about the Black Jewels series, the same applies. If you're good, you must be powerful. And it's an unearned power, much like most of Anita's abilities and titles.

There is something very, very skeevy and gross here going on. Not to mention it makes for a really shitty story if the good guys are the most powerful, you know?

This might be my last spork, I'm just done with this book, but...

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BLACKWOOD FARM, CHAPTER TEN
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
I think this is gonna be my last lengthy update/spork on Blackwood Farm. It's just too boring and lengthy and I don't have the time I used to. Plus, while it is distasteful in many ways, it's just not FUNNY like Anita Blake was. AB crossed the line into absurdity on a very regular basis in ways Rice just doesn't, and it makes for extra slow going. My future sporks will probably be much shorter summaries. But all the same, please enjoy this critical recount of...

BLACKWOOD FARM, CHAPTER TEN
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