BLACKWOOD FARM CHAPTER 25
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
This chapter begins on page 351. This story ends on page 626. Meaning, I'm a little more than halfway through the book, and while I would not say nothing has happened, I think it's dragging it's feet. I feel like more should have happened by now. One of the reviews on the back says that Quinn's story is "like a curiosity shop, filled with lovely things" and I think that's accurate---there's a lot of beauty in her prose and descriptions, and certainly some interesting ideas, but it's not a STORY. Well, that's not right. There is a story, but it takes a backseat to the "curiosity shop" aspect. Admittedly, I do think a focus on aesthetic over story can be done well but, as I've only said about a dozen times, that doesn't so much work when it's "guy telling a story to another guy" and also Rice clearly WANTS there to be a story---the ghosts, Goblin, the mysterious stranger on the island, and so on. I can tell she is TRYING to move the plot along but she gets incredibly bogged down in boring stuff. That's the real problem, not the beautiful stuff but the BORING stuff. I think I could tolerate the pace a lot better if the diversions were at least more engaging. Especially because she's so TALENTED at beautiful decadent Gothic descriptions. I truly think if she changed the framing device and focused on her strengths over her weaknesses, there might be less substance to the story but it would be a more enjoyable read. It wouldn't be some great novel, but Gothic novels were never meant to be "great" they were meant to be sensationalist and romantic and bizarre and focused far more on emotion and scenery than on making sense and SHE'S SUPER GOOD AT THAT. I realize that sort of sounds like an insult with that last part, but still.

And there is a good deal of that in Blackwood Farm. It's not like the whole thing is bad. A lot of it is not. I just feel like it's not as good as it COULD be. Basically, one more reason she should go back to using an editor.

But yeah, I feel like the story is really NOT progressing at a decent pace, it's the middle of the book and the stage is still being set.

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BLACKWOOD FARM CHAPTER 24
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
BLACKWOOD FARM CHAPTER 24

They got to the cottages and have very good sex "like little jungle animals." Afterwards while they cuddle, she says that she "wanted to put my mouth on it" and "Come, let me wash you in the bathroom and I'll do it"

I guess Quinn thinks that's degrading or something, because he tells us "I protested gallantly. I required no such sacrificial adoration!"

Mona tells Quinn that she WANTS to do it "and I was led like a slave into the tiled bath where she performed the arousing ablutions" and then they go back to bed and she blows him and "then I died when I came."

Oh good, is the book over? Or is this when he becomes a vampire?

Neither, it was figurative. Pity. Aside from the cringey phrases here (sacrificial adoration, arousing ablutions) it's not bad. I wasn't aroused by it, but there was nothing obnoxious or ridiculous either, nor was it stupidly drawn out. It's definitely better than any LKH sex scene I recall, but that's not a high bar.

...could do without the slave bit there. I know she means like a Roman slave, but still. It's sort of mega-cringe coming from the guy with the happy slave staff.

She asks if no one has ever done that before, and he says no one has, and I wonder if he's telling the truth. Jasmine, Rebecca, and Goblin never did it? Come to think of it, as many issues as I have with Quinn and Jasmine on Quinn's end, I feel like I should also note I'm a little weirded out on Jasmine's end too because he's a barely-legal boy she's known since he was a baby. But I'll save that for another time.

He asks if they can sleep cuddled up together, and there's some description of that, of the moist heat from her boobs and groin and the cool air conditioner and stuff. Mona tells him he's a beautiful boy "and your ghost is here and he's watching us." Quinn tells Goblin to go away or he won't speak to him for a long time. Quinn asks Mona if she can see him, she says he's gone.

Then she starts talking about how "I am Ophelia once again. I am floating in the water, with only 'nettles, daisies, and long purples' to hold me up, and I will never sink to 'muddy death'. You can't imagine how it is with me."

Apparently consistently comparing herself to Ophelia, namely Ophelia's corpse/death scene, is a thing with Mona, and as someone who is a mentally ill oft-suicidal woman I really find this super gross, since she seems to be completely romanticizing this already grossly culturally romanticized thing. Like nothing turns me off faster then "The Ophelia" trope in media as is, so an apparently neurotypical woman (I can't find anything online about Mona being suicidal or insane in any way, unless you count super sexual and incestuous as mental illness) gushing about identifying herself with a woman famous for being ~oh so pretty~ WHILE KILLING HERSELF is super gross to me. Like, can we not? The Victorians were shitty for it, and it's shitty now. Stop. Maybe I'm overreacting and this will get better but it's making my hackles raise now for aforementioned personal reasons.

Also, what the fuck does it have to do with anything? Quinn asks this, though in a way that seems to encourage the fantasy:

"How so? I see you borne along forever, vital, precious, oh so sweet---" and then he starts getting tired, and Mona tells him to go on and sleep, that men sleep when it's over while women want to talk sometimes, then starts yammering more stuff about being Ophelia. She then says "they won't find me till tonight, and maybe not even then. I tip these hotels pretty high, I think I may have won them over."

Rather than asking what I want to know--who "they" are that won't find her--Quinn asks if she means she's done this before.

Mona: "Tarquinn, I have a huge family. And one time it was my goal to be intimate with every one of my cousins. I succeeded with more than I can count without the aid of a computer. Of course it wasn't always in a hotel. It was more often in the cemetery at night---"

Quinn: "The cemetery! You're serious?"

THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE CONCERNED ABOUT?! Like okay, fucking in a cemetery is kinda weird, but SHE JUST SAID SHE FUCKED HER FAMILY MEMBERS!

Mona says her life isn't normal, that "Mayfairs don't seek for a normal life" but her life is abnormal even for a Mayfair. She adds that her goal of cousin-fucking has been over for some time but she did fuck her cousin Pierce here, but "it doesn't matter, Tarquinn, it's all new with you, that's what matters. And I was never Ophelia with Pierce. I'm going to marry Pierce but I'll never be Ophelia."

Oh, so Pierce doesn't make you feel like a woman who kills herself tragically? Wow, clearly it's a loveless relationship.

Quinn responds that "you have to marry me"

Yeah, he says "have to"

No comment needed

He says his life isn't normal either and they're clearly meant for each other, that she has no idea. She says yes she does, that Father Kevin told her how his ghost goes everywhere he does and he grew up with adults and has never known other children. She adds that though Kevin is a gossip, he's a good priest, because she almost got him into bed but "he proved to be immovable" Well good for him, not sleeping with his cousin who is also only fifteen by the way, I flipped ahead and she mentions this in a few chapters or so. So who knows how young she was when she came on to him.

Quinn asks "Did he warn you off me? Did he tell you I was crazy?" and Mona says it's the other way around, that "they're out to protect you from me. 'Course, they do keep me under lock and key."

Well, I'm not normally one for controlling women's sexualities, but if I had an underage female relative who was so unusually sexually active so as to be obsessed with seducing her relatives, I would assume she was suffering some sort of psychological thing, probably stemming from sexual abuse, and try to keep her under close eye too because she might not be in the right mind to be making these decisions, and because a teenage girl running off to have sex with someone she literally met yesterday could get seriously hurt by some pervert. I'm trying to decide if that sounds victim blaming, like I'm saying girls get hurt by perverts because they're promiscuous, but that's NOT what I mean, what I mean is like...there are bad people out there who will try to pick up young girls, and if I were Mona's family, I would be doubtful if she was capable of realizing when she's in danger from these dudes. Hell, plenty of girls might not realize that even if they DON'T have any kind of psychological issues going on. That's WHY a lot of these monsters prey on teens.

Mona says she is "considered to be a raving slut" so it could be the scenario that I just posited, or it could also be that her family does consider her to be just that. That's not something I agree with, but it's how a lot of people would see her.

She adds that this is why she was at the door so fast, that "I had to see you before they did. And I'm not the only witch in the family."

Quinn asks what she means by witch, she asks hasn't he heard of "us" to which he seems to take to mean the Mayfair family in general, to which he responds he's only heard good things, like about Father Kevin or about Dr. Rowan of Mayfair Medical. Mona says that Father Kevin came to the South because "we needed him. Oh, there's so much I wish I could tell you, but I can't." She says when she saw Quinn talking with Quinn, she felt God had answered her prayers by sending her "someone with secrets! Only now I realize it doesn't change things with me. It can't. Because I can't tell you everything."

She starts to cry, Quinn begs her not to and tells her she can confide in him, she says she believes him and "I'm not sure Ophelia actually cries in the play, does she?"

Hey Mona, if you're going to proclaim yourself a famous character from a play, maybe you should actually see the play she's from?

"Maybe crying is what keeps people from going mad," she continues, "It's just that there are things that can't be told, and there are things nobody can do anything about."

I really would like to know what Mona would think is something that can't be told, given she's happy to admit to being obsessively incestuous. The Mayfairs already seem quite a bit more interesting than the Blackwoods, if only by being more apparently twisted. I mean, I guess that's not fair, Patsy and Aunt Queen are interesting, and Manfred murdering Rebecca is obviously interesting, as is just what's going on out there in his Hermitage, but a huge family of incestuous witches with secrets they can't even tell to people who know they're incestuous witches is a pretty big hook for a reader. Especially after sitting through so much of Quinn's boring narration.

Quinn says that "it's always been my way to tell" and how he embraced Goblin and never kept him a secret, and adds there's a ghost that haunts him and a mysterious stranger who beat him up and "I know I'm going to marry you, Mona. I know it. I know it's my destiny."

I keep going "wtf this is ridiculous" every time Quinn says something like that, but then I remember Quinn's very...peculiar upbringing and I'm like, you know, that makes sense.

Mona replies that won't happen, they can have a little while and talk to each other and "be with each other like this, but we can't really be together"

Quinn asks why, thinking that if he loses her he will always regret it, and believes Goblin knows it too, and that's why Goblin went away with no argument, and thinks about the damage Goblin could do if he wanted.

Quinn urges her to come live at Blackwood manor, saying she can stay with him in his room or in Pops' room, which he assures her Pops didn't die in, and says Jasmine can gets her some clothes and toiletries and things at Wal-Mart to tide her over.

...Wal-Mart? That's...not a name I would expect one of Rice's richie-rich types to drop.

Mona says "God, you're as mad as one of us. I thought we Mayfairs were the only ones who did things like that."

Quinn says no one in the house will bother her, just his 79 year old Aunt Queen might have "sage advice" (I feel like she might have more than that for Mona, given her earlier reaction) and that his private tutor Nash is a "perfect gentleman".

Mona says "So you don't have to go to school either. Cool!"

WHOA A TEENAGER THAT SOUNDS LIKE SHE COULD BE A TEENAGER FOR A SINGLE SENTENCE?!

So Quinn phones Jasmine and tells her Mona wears a petite everything "and away we went" and he realizes when he gets behind the wheel that he's been awake thirty six hours.


....yeah, that's a great time to drive a car. Mona must agree because she says to let her drive and Quinn agrees and he thinks about how she drives in a really SEXY way and "that somebody so delectable could drive" because I guess normally hot people can't drive or something, and he says to Goblin, "I love her, old boy, you understand, don't you?"

Goblin is looking at him with a "cold, contemptuous" expression from the backseat and tells him, "Yes, and I very much enjoyed her too, Tarquinn."

Has Goblin ever called Quinn by his full name before? Not that I can recall.

Quinn is angry, he wanted to choke him" and says "You're lying you bastard!" and "You think you can sneak inside me!" but Mona confirms, "as she pushed the car past eighty five miles per hour" that "Oh he was there. I could feel him."

I like the idea of every chapter ending with Mona saying something shocking and blunt while in a car.

BLACKWOOD FARM CHAPTER 23
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
BLACKWOOD FARM CHAPTER 23

Quinn is shocked when he returns to Blackwood Farm to see the restoration done on the white wicker furniture from the attic so it's now just like it was in his dream with Rebecca. Quinn thinks about how Mona will understand, as will “that kindly man” Stirling Oliver and “Nash, who seemed as great and kind as a teacher could be.” I'm not totally sure what he's talking about in terms of understanding but in any case, when Quinn walks in, Nash has his luggage by the door and is leaving. He tells Quinn that he can't stay and that he has to talk to Aunt Queen before he talks to Quinn.

Naturally, as would be the case for anyone who has known a man for an entire day, Quinn is “devastated” and asks if this is about their talk last night, if Nash thinks he's insane, but Nash says that's not the case. He repeats he has to leave and to speak to “Miss Queen” alone but promises he won't leave without telling Quinn.

Quinn “let them go to the front parlor together” and then goes to the kitchen for lunch where “Jasmine was just telling Big Ramona that they were rich.” Quinn thinks about how they were always rich, “they just didn't want to leave Blackwood Manor, everybody knew.”

Reminder that the all-black staff just really fucking LOVES working for the rich white people, they really do, they love it so much that even though they're totally rich they just don't want to leave said family or said family's property ever even though they definitely absolutely have the means to. They just really love it that much!

...seriously guys I cannot stress the level of creepy this is if you know anything about the “happy slave” narrative and how many Southern white people still do cling to it. Like Rice making them rich enough they COULD leave is what shows to me she's really bending over backwards to make sure the reader knows just how much they super love working for even richer white people and living in a bungalow with their hand-me-downs.

When he goes to the parlor, Aunt Queen explains “Nash is under the impression that you'll be disturbed in time by the fact that he hasn't so much chosen a bachelor's life as been rather predisposed to it.”

To which Quinn replies by asking if this means Nash is gay. Despite the fact this is exactly what Aunt Queen was saying, she is “shocked” because, I guess, maybe she didn't realize Quinn knew what that was? Or she just doesn't approve of saying something that bluntly, which is indeed what I would expect from a rich old sassy Southern lady.

Nash says yes, that's it. And then Quinn says this: “I knew that last night. Oh, don't worry that you gave it away with some obvious gesture or mannerism. You didn't. I just sensed it because I'm probably that way myself; at least, I'm bisexual, I have no doubt of that.”

Nash is in “stunned silence” but Aunt Queen gives a “low pleasant laugh” and says “Oh my precocious one. You never fail to charm me. Bisexual it is, how Byronic and charming. Doesn't that double one's chances for love? I'm so delighted.”

I

um

You know what I have no idea how to respond this or exactly what I even think of it so I'll just leave it here as is without comment.

I guess Nash must feel the same way because he just keeps staring and Quinn decides that Nash must be resigning not because he's gay but because "of what he'd seen in me and what I'd told him about my own predilections!" Because everything is about Quinn, I guess. Admittedly, I do think Quinn is right but I think it might be more that Nash is attracted to Quinn and, being a good responsible adult who isn't as keen on boning teenagers as most Rice characters, wants to remove any possibility of something bad happening.

Quinn, ever tactful, tells Nash he's "got to stay" and "let's take a vow that nothing erotic will ever pass between us."

So basically, Nash says he's gay, and Quinn responds by saying "well let's just promise never to bone"

I know I just said that it is likely indeed the case that Nash is attracted to Quinn, but this is still staggeringly embarrassing for a number of reasons and I dearly wish Nash had responded with something like "oh don't flatter yourself you little rich twit I like bears"

Aunt Queen agrees that this is a "potent argument" on Quinn's part, that there are lots of gay people all over the countries who are "fine teachers" and that "the matter is settled"

I notice both Quinn and AQ here both aren't just ASKING Nash to stay; Quinn is TELLING him he has "got to stay" and AQ is acting as if he's already agreed. I like to think this is a deliberate way to show they're both people used to getting what they want and just being surrounded by servants rather than those who can easily refuse them.

Also did I not predict LAST CHAPTER that this EXACTLY would be Nash's big dark secret? DIDN'T I?? Speaking of which if this is indeed the big dark secret it's REALLY CRAPPY STORYTELLING on Rice's part to reveal it the very next chapter and have no fallout whatsoever, especially in a goddamned dramatic mystery story like this.

Quinn shakes Nash's hand for some reason and Nash gives a "softly murmured statement that he would stay" and Quinn runs upstairs to get three hundred dollars from his drawer, make sure he's in his best suit with the Versace tie, and then as he goes back downstairs he feels something pull at him. But it's not Goblin "so much as it was a feeling or a mass of feelings" and he feels like Rebecca is with him for a minute. She probably is, as we get this line in italics:

"Little redheaded bitch...black bitch!"

Huh. How would Rebecca know about Mona? Maybe she could hear Quinn telling Nash about her last night. Wouldn't it be something if she was just his misogynistic subconscious though?

Quinn is sure she's waiting for him to fall asleep so she can talk to him, and in italics we get:

"A life for my life. A death for my death."

Shit, Rebecca is getting serious! Quinn thinks so too as he says, "Murderous ghost, get away from me!"

Then randomly thinks about the fact the wicker is refurbished again.

He takes Sweetheart's Mercedes 450 sedan and goes to Mona's address with a bouquet. There's a paragraph about her grand house but it's well-done so it's enjoyable, in Rice's typical good Gothic Romantic prose, without being irritating.

Mona answers and we are reminded she's a green-eyed redhead. And a "naturally rouged mouth" he wants to kiss and a white shirt and tight white pants and white sandals that show her red-painted toenails he also wants to kiss. He starts by "covering her mouth with mine" and "grabbing for her tiny wrists" but she breaks away and says they have to leave quick, which they do. She tells him to go to The LaFrreniere Cottages, that she called them this morning. Quinn asks how she knew he'd come, she explains "I'm a witch" and that's how she knew when he left his home and that Goblin is in the car with them now even though Quinn can't even see him at the moment, and that she wanted him to come. Quinn says she put a spell on him (not sure if he's serious) and he hasn't slept since he last saw her and "Only lawyers and wills have kept me from you, tales of infidelity and orphan children and roaming in ghostly furniture and forging alliances as strong as I intend to forge with you."

....Mona understandably responds "God you've got some vocabulary. Or maybe it's your delivery." Then she declares that it's meant he should come to her because "I'm Ophelia always, floating in the flowery stream. I need your rushing poetry. Can you drive if I unzip your pants?"

HAHAH DAMN MONA

Quinn wisely says that's not a good idea, and then adds he thinks this might all be a hallucination. She says it's not and asks if he has any condoms. Quinn quickly becomes frantic about how they have to get condoms, to which Mona responds,

"No we don't. I have tons of them in my purse."

AND THAT'S THE LAST LINE

Man, I actually like Mona? She's funny. I mean, when I remember all I've read about her adventures prior to this book she is a really concerning, disturbing character to me, as I said in her introduction, but if I had absolutely no foreknowledge of her, this would be HILARIOUS to me and it actually still is when I read it before I remember WHY she's so frankly sexual.

BLACKWOOD FARM CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
So I realize there's some hubub going on about the new LJ terms and to be honest I don't totally understand them exactly? I read that LGBT-related content could start being censored. I'll probably keep posting sporks for now if they're still allowed though.

BLACKWOOD FARM CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
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Mona Mayfair, Anne Rice creepiness, & BLACKWOOD FARM CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
Before I start this summary/spork, I want to talk about the character it introduces: Mona Mayfair. I have read The Witching Hour, which is the first Mayfair witches book, but I have not read the subsequent ones. Thus, I have never actually read anything with Mona in it before. However, I know of her from TV Tropes and Wikis. I am going to put this under a cut for discussion of pedophilia, incest, and victim-blaming, specifically the idea that children who dress or behave in certain ways not only can consent to sex with adults, but WANT to and are the aggressors if anything.

Incest and pseudo-incest and symbolic incest and so on have been a trope in the Gothic genre since its creation. Writing about incest, or pedophilia, or any number of horrible things is not something I have a problem with. If anything, I think it's actually important to write about them, because the unspeakableness surrounding these things doesn't do any favors the real-life victims who are too afraid to speak up as is. But, as with everything, it all depends on how it is handled.

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Blackwood Farm, Chapter 20
blue mouse
a_sporking_rat
And I'm back for another random update!

BLACKWOOD FARM, CHAPTER TWENTY

The laptop computer does not arrive for three days, at which point it is brought by his new tutor Nash Penfield, though Quinn has declined to actually meet him until "more favorable circumstances"

In those three days, Quinn has a ton of tests done and the conclusion is he's a-okay.

"In between my long journeys down the beautifully painted passageways of the hospital labryinth I told the full story of the violent night to everyone who wanted to hear it."

I feel like this means he walked around the place yammering at anyone unfortunate enough to make eye contact with him.

Quinn tells Dr. Winn about Goblin, who "listened quietly and thoughtfully" and "there was something deeply reserved about him" and he is "delicate" with all his "remarks". One of these remarks is to ask Quinn if he'd like to see "a small select panel of psychiatrist."

Quinn says no. Then he tells us that Aunt Queen changes his mind. Then he talks about her wearing sack dresses and cloche hats. Then he goes back to how she changed his mind by saying if he doesn't, "we'll stand accused of simple negligence. Think it over, Quinn. We could both be accused."

...I'm confused. Firstly, Quinn's not a minor, so I'm not sure how AQ could be accused of neglect, even if she was his legal guardian. Secondly, how would QUINN be accused of neglect?

AQ says they have to go home and "get back to life the way we want it to be." Quinn asks "How's that Aunt Queen?" and says if they go off on one of her "exotic junkets" then there will be no Blackwood Farm when they return. I have genuinely no idea how he got "let's go on an exotic trip!" from AQ saying that. Also, what, will the staff just blow Blackwood Farm up if they leave? Wait, actually, that's not a bad idea...

Quinn tells AQ how he doesn't want to meet Nash here, she agrees, and adds that she's very sure that Jasmine is flirting with Nash right now and "something's come over Jasmine. And it's high time if you ask me" and says how Jasmine is "prancing about" in some fancy clothes she gave her a few years ago and how she never used to wear the "truly fine things" that Aunt Queen gave her (maybe she doesn't want them, AQ?) and "I think Jasmine sees her destiny."

Quinn asks what that is, AQ says "To run Blackwood Manor in our absence."

Ah yes, that's Jasmine's destiny, to wear your hand-me-downs and run your home for you without pay. What else could her life possibly be about? She surely doesn't have one outside of you guys! Anne Rice is so progressive, man.

"I mean, Jasmine has languished in domestic service all her life, and she's sharp and well-spoken and can certainly take on the responsibility for a portion of the profit."

Ah, yes, well-spoken, the ultimate backhanded compliment of white people to black people. At least that makes sense coming from an old well-mannered white Southern lady though, just, I don't think we're supposed to see it as symptomatic of her being that.

Quinn says he didn't think they made a profit because Pops always said "operated at a loss" and Aunt Queen says "Oh, Pops was pessimistic, bless his soul, and of course he was right"

...if he's just stating the facts, that's not pessimistic? Also if you operate at a loss, then what profits will Jasmine be getting? You're saying "she'll get some of the profits" when there are no profits. You're basically trying to foist all the boring, annoying parts of living in a big fancy manor off on the unpaid domestic worker who doesn't even live in it but in the fucking bungalow out back. I did not dislike Aunt Queen till this moment and I really hope even Rice isn't oblivious to see the problem here.

AQ says that "when Pop's will is read, everything will be easier". Quinn asks when that will be, and is told that since Patsy got home two days ago, they can do it the day after tomorrow.

Quinn tells us that a "Technicolor Goblin" was in his dreams recently and I have no idea what he's talking about, then goes back to what AQ is actually talking about, telling us how the idea of Jasmine running the manor excites him and "It was perfect for Jasmine. Aunt Queen understood Jasmine as no one else did, not even Jasmine."

...wow.

Ok, the idea of someone understanding someone else better than they do themselves is not AUTOMATICALLY racist because the former is white and the latter is black, but in the very gross, condescending, exploitative dynamic that the white characters have with the black characters in this book, it is. In another book, this would not have made me bat an eye. I might find it sweet. In this book, it makes me wanna scream.

"Suddenly, and with surprising verse, I wanted to escape this place. If Jasmine was going to resist her 'destiny', I wanted a chance to talk with her."

EAT A THOUSAND DICKS, QUINN

JASMINE CAN DO WHAT SHE DAMN WELL WANTS YOU CONTROLLING PIECE OF SHIT

NEITHER YOU NOR YOUR GREAT GREAT GREAT AUNT GETS TO DECIDE WHAT HER "DESTINY" IS FOR HER YOU ASSHOLES

ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU'VE DECIDED IT'S RUNNING YOUR SHIT FOR YOU WITH NO GODDAMN PAY

He also wants to get back because he wants to see her all dressed up in that Chanel suit Aunt Queen mentioned and "in my fiendish eighteen-year-old heart, I wanted a second shot at Jasmine"

I want to cut him some slack for acknowledging his treatment of her as "fiendish" but I feel like it's meant tongue-in-cheek here.

He tells Aunt Queen he will see the panel of doctors but wants to do it in his own clothes, specifically his Armani, the handmade shirts she sent him from Europe, his lucky Versace tie, and his Johnston & Murphy shoes.

...I feel like Rice really enjoyed getting to rattle off those brand names. He also says Goblin likes those clothes too and always gets excited when Quinn dresses up for an event at home.

AQ says she'll arrange for it and asks if Goblin will be at the meeting, Quinn says of course he will and that he can't always control him anyway and that Goblin has put up with " a great deal of contemptuous dismissal"

AQ says "I suppose so" and Quinn notices her yet again staring at the spot where Goblin is. And there is an "amazing" development with Goblin in that he's NOT wearing the same thing Quinn is, he's wearing jeans and flannel from home. "But it was the ever-shifting expressions on his face which most frightened me" and the "frigid quality to him" as well as a "despairing look" despite the fact Quinn himself feels safe here and tells us how staff and family and so on have all been visiting and bringing him sweets and things.

Quinn now has the laptop and tells AQ he needs to work now and she should go to dinner. She asks what he's going to do, he says he and Goblin talk with it. AQ goes "Oh my darling Quinn!" with "confusion and anxiety" to which Quinn replies that Goblin saved his life. AQ asks what would happen if he just stopped interacting with Goblin altogether. She also suggests simply destroying the Hermitage house on the island and dismantling the mausoleum. Quinn says to this "You're shocking me. You're hurting me!"

oh my god Quinn

He says he's been inspired by the desk and marble chair and wants to do the Hermitage floor in marble and he knows AQ is upset by Pops dying but "I want that place, don't you see, and it belongs to us, not this interloper!"

Goblin is staring intently at AQ, who just says "Alright, my precious dear" to Quinn (GAG ME) and goes to the super fancy Grand Luminere afe on the super fancy hospital rooftop because this is the fanciest hospital in the world I guess.

Goblin is wearing Quin''s Versace tie and "It looked positively flaunting." Quinn speaks with him on the computer and asks why Goblin hasn't talked to him even though Quinn gave him credit for saving him by telling everyone he did it. Goblin responds that "I like being angry"

Good for you, Goblin.

But Quinn says that's wrong and how "the man who hurt me was angry" and how the man did "bad things" and Goblin tells Quinn to use bigger words, that he knows all the words Quinn knows and that "when I was angry it was for you" Goblin says they're trying to take him from Quinn, to divide him. Quinn says he's loyal to Goblin and loves him and they can't be parted, but if Goblin is violent and angry then Quinn can't love him. Goblin retorts that it's alright if he's violent and angry if it's to help Quinn, which is a very good point. There's a time and a place for everything, and that includes getting pissed and fighting back to save a loved one. Quinn is impressed by the sophistication of Goblin's phrasing, and agrees with him.

Goblin says "you make me laugh" then pushes the laptop off Quinn's lap and kisses him and grabs him and says in a "slow, masculine" tone that "You're afraid of me now."

and we're back to weird ghost rape

Quinn asks Goblin if Goblin wants him to be afraid of him, and tells him he can't love him if he's afraid of him, that he'll hate him. Goblin kisses him again and puts his hand between Quinn's legs. Quinn tells him "Not here" and "Be patient." which means apparently Quinn doesn't object in general so much as just the time and place and I don't even know how to feel about that.

Goblin says that he knows Quinn wants it because he feels what Quinn does and "it was over within seconds"

well


there's that then


Quinn asks Goblin after about the stranger, who was he, Goblin says he doesn't know, but that he does know lots more than Quinn thinks he does. Quinn tells him to go away so he can think, Goblin says Quinn can't command him like he thinks but that he'll do it because he loves Quinn. Quinn asks him not to frighten him anymore (I'd personally like for him NOT TO RAPE HIM ANYMORE) and Goblin says he doesn't want to but that "they" want to change Quinn so Quinn won't hear or see him anymore. Quinn tells him that's not possible, repeats his wish to be alone right now, and asks Goblin where he goes when he's not with him. Goblin doesn't answer, Quinn asks again, no answer, Quinn feels him leave and then he makes the Sign of the Cross. He wonders what to do, and wishes for someone to tell him. I understand that feel. He thinks about the stranger too, and what if he came back. And how "if I went to sleep, I'd dream of Rebecca"

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

?

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