Saturday, June 2, 2012

In Which I Force Things Back To Normal With A Lame Book Review...

Current Mood : Improving steadily

Often, all you need is a good night’s sleep, and everything at least seems a little better. Didn’t get that either, but things seem brighter just the same. Beloved Hubby and I were less stilted and awkward around each other by nightfall, and we kept talking while people came by to see Starlight and other things we’d listed, which helped. Starlight’s still here and so is Beloved and Dearest Son, so my world’s OK.

We rented Special Ops 4, one of the rare reality-based shoot-‘em-ups for the Wii, mostly because a little harmless violence is sometimes precisely what’s necessary. Only problem is, it wouldn’t load. Then our old games wouldn’t load either. Well, crud. Eventually we got the Lego Indiana Jones game to boot up, and my guys played that while I finally cracked Monster High 4: Back and Deader Than Ever open.

All the slight, undernourished hopes I had for that last book in the series – all three of them -  deteriorated in the first scene of the first page, a loving tribute to Abercrombie and Fitch, their fine aloof staff and their skills in dressing a nude invisible man, and the splendor and beauty of their dressing lounges. Of the first four scenes in the book, two take place in shopping arenas, and as in the first tome, brand-name dropping is fast and fierce. You’d think a book series created to sell dolls might manage to drop in a reference to TRU, but nope. The only unnamed retail outlets were hippie chicks selling crappy buttons from mall kiosks. Everything else was about what you’d see in an upscale mall. It’s so cute how the author seems to think upscale only malls still exist and that they welcome roving herds of teenagers… Frankie lovingly describes the retail scene before her as an ‘all-you-can-afford buffet’. And it gets worse.

Frankie has decided that she’d rather be a mall rat than someone who makes a difference in monster acceptance, the ‘romance’ between DracuLaura and Clawd is as awkward as a newborn colt with none of the endearing qualities, Cleo is so over-the-top ‘worship my Divine butt’ awful I started to hate her again, Lagoona Blue is as name-happy as the rest of ‘em (until a personification of a name brand pulls out a joey-skin wallet, at least), and about all Clawdeen does is screw up her sewing, pull foam earplugs out of her ears, and brush her fur. Ghoulia makes a brief three appearances, mostly to moan in the background. I still haven’t figured out the significance of sudden new character Irish Emmy – is ‘Irish’ her first name ? Or do they call her whole name every time she’s mentioned ? – who’s described as Lagoona’s normie best friend. All she does is repeat what Lagoona says with a different Australian slang term.

There’s a contest that makes no sense except to provide the world’s worst puns (T’eau Dally shoe company ?) and motivate DLaura to write the world’s worst business letter (complete with several smiley faces) to create the Monster High school that bears zero resemblance to the one shown in webisodes or imagined anywhere else. There are also some bizarre sexual references involving birds and worms, bolts and nuts, and male/female plugs and how they fit into each other that don’t sit well with the rest of the book at all. Only one of those lame jokes is from the adult who hits on every jailbait female character in the book. The rest are from main-character Frankie. Oh, yes, and Melody the Siren gets to sing in bars (she’s 16), skip school, and fail tests, and not only gets away with it, but at book’s end, goes on a tour with her band all summer with only two guys who are both kinda-sorta her boyfriends as chaperones. And her parents – evidently the other all-girl band members don’t have families – are perfectly fine with it.

Oh, and the evidence of true love is completely subverting yourself and all you are for the one you love. Not many can do so, but those who can should. Thank Everything it’s one of the guys who has to do so to retain his relationship, and not one of our lead female characters !

Don’t get me wrong, I like fantasy. But that was ridiculous. I think my favorite part was DLaura’s musings about writing :

     Her dark eyes scanned the words on her computer screen. The thing with writing was that it was never done. Sentences can always be better. Words more lyrical. Grammar more good.

With writing like that, no wonder there are no consequences for anybody in this book. If the author can get away with penning something so awful, and actually got paid to do it, being underage in a bar and burning down the school is darn near small potatoes.

What’s possibly the funniest part of this stupidity is that there’s another MH book series coming up. It’s going to be more like those thin paperback chapter books you buy for your kids from Scholastic leaflets, pitched at younger readers. The cover image was just released, and it looks like it focuses on new girls Rochelle Goyle, Venus McFlytrap, and Robecca Steam as they deal with the older set. Twenny bucks says it’s more intelligent than this pile was. It has to be. For one, the grammar is probably more good.

I’d avoided reading this because I kinda suspected it’d be this bad. Her first MH book was a disaster, and the next two weren’t masterpieces either. But I also had a Kool-Aid spill that stained part of the bottom edge. I felt so guilty about damaging a library book, I could barely look at it after the stain dried. Now I can’t help but think that my accident enhanced the whole book. At least the red wave is something interesting on some of the pages !  

Anyway, I’d had a nap earlier and couldn’t sleep last night. At 2am, Friday suddenly started barking and howling, perhaps reacting to how bad that book stank up the air. He woke the whole house up, except for me. Beloved couldn’t get back to sleep, so he gave Special Ops another try and this time it worked. We had crackers and cream cheese in bed, and I fell asleep to the sounds of machine gun fire and crackly radio transmissions. I love my life…

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh. Dorrie, let's write our own MH book series. If this is our competition, we'd smoke them like a hat on Heath Burns' head.