Bad and/or Weird Books I’ve Been Reading

Not long ago, I mentioned how I’d been reading Clan of the Cave Bear and then suddenly the second-hand book market got flooded with hardcover copies of several of Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children books. In the middle of Clan and loving the hell out of it, I picked up several of the sequels for a couple bucks a piece.

Well, I’m about 2/3s of the way through Valley of the Horses, and I’m a little blah about the direction it’s been going. The first half of the book is like two different books that have been spliced together. The first book is the actual sequel to Clan of the Cave Bear in which Ayla finds herself struggling to live in exile, adapting to life along, and winning over awesome animal companions. The second book, whose chapters are interspersed with the first, is rather awkwardly written and fairly explicit caveman erotica. The inevitable conclusion is going to be when Ayla and the new protagonist finally meet up and Ayla’s loneliness and isolation is cured by the new male protagonist’s giant caveman dong.*

I plan on finishing it, because I really hate not finishing books I’m in the middle of, but I don’t know if I’m going to read any of the other sequels.

Now, one book that I don’t think i can finish is Godhunter. It was one of several free books I downloaded from Drive-Thru Fiction months ago. Of the books I downloaded, the one of the only ones I was able to read all the way through was Thieves at Heart. I wanted to like Thieves at Heart, and at times I really did enjoy it, but it took some really bizarre turns, and I doubt I’ll ever get around to finishing the series. It sells itself as a fantasy take on Oliver Twist, only Oliver in this is a half-elf girl and the Fagin character has on his one ward and is not so entirely characterized in terms of his Jewishness. It had some nice slice of life, life of a petty thief and shill stuff that might give you some interesting game ideas, but the later portion of the book gives a pretty strong focus to the protagonist’s puberty, upon the reaching of which she goes into full-on sex-fiend mode. While it’s nowhere near as explicit as Valley of the Horses, it was not particularly pleasant. When I grabbed Godhunter, I didn’t know that it was an “erotic thriller” though despite that, it is generally less explicit than either Thieves at Heart or Valley of the Horses. It is laughably bad, though laughable badness can only carry one so far through a book before the boredom sets in. Godhunter is a tongue-in-cheek-but-not-parody-unless-Poe’s-Law story of a woman who kills gods who are actually ancient-evil-atlanteans-who-have-deceived-mankind-but-not-all-of-them-are-evil-some-want-to-save-mankind-from-the-evil-ones. The protagonist ends up having a rocky relationship with Thor, who, honest-to-god, is written in such a way that I can’t imagine him being anything other than Aquaman from Batman: Brave and the Bold. Seriously, imagine this guy as the male love interest in a smutty romance novel:

Like I said, the “oh, god, this is so bad it’s funny” humor only got me so far, and I don’t think I can force myself to finish this trainwreck. I can totally understand why people are so apprehensive of self-published ebooks, especially free ones. The ones I’ve read so far have been pretty iffy. Except Ava Delany. Thirst was okay, I guess, but I don’t think I’m going to read any of the others in the series.

I think I’m going to turn to non-fiction for a book or two once I’m done with Valley of the Horses. I’ve got a bio of Tallyrand that’s just screaming to be read.

*:like serious, it’s an important character development point how big this dude’s dong is, and he’s kind of mopey that none of the cavewomen he meets on his adventure are able to take all of it.

Alfheim non-update, current and future reading

Alfheim was postponed this week, due to the absence of two players. My guess is despite the lousy weather, wrist-band night at the state fair may have taken priority.

So, a handful of us got together and threw down at some Wii U Smash Bros and Mario Kart. I miss gamecube controllers. The movements on the Wii control stick was kind of, well… sticky? I refuse to believe that I was just that rusty! As for Mario Kart, I’ve always sucked on tracks where I can fall off the edge, and I always do, without fail. Goblin/halfling/ranger’s girlfriend wiped the floor with fighter and me using Dry Bones.  I managed to eke out a close second place overall in one of the piddly cups, but she took 1st every other cup we ran.

Anyway, I was given a chance to ask my players about my game in a slightly more casual setting, as we were doing other things. I was happy to find that most of the players seem to be really enjoying it; one seemed a bit dismayed that I was considering wrapping up soon (“we just really were getting into the swing of things, the meat!”), and my player for whom this is his first table-top experience ever told me privately that he has been absolutely loving the game, and his friend who invited him to our group has confirmed that he has been digging it and talking about it regularly. So that has definitely helped with my ‘DM fatigue’. What it doesn’t change, though, is that I want to play as a player in someone else’s game and that my situation makes it next to impossible to game multiple nights a week. Maybe I can change that situation, but it’ll be kind of painful. We’ll see.

One thing I may have overestimated was how quickly the party would level up. I want my group to be around level 5-6 by the time I decide for the scheduled story climax to occur, but that will involve clearing out at least one more big dungeon before I run Deathcrypt of Khaldun (or Caelden, as it will be in this case) followed by a showdown with the vampiric elven king.

Speaking of Vampires, I’ve just about finished Children of Lubrochius. It’s a bit slower than Drasmyr, but it’s a slow burn into the bigger 4 book story, whereas Drasmyr could (sort of) stand alone. I’m calling it now that Gaelan is probably the reincarnate of Morgulan. Which has some interesting implications regarding Zarina the Black’s role in the great war 1000 years ago…

Until Sceptre of Morgulan comes out, I’ll probably be reading the several sequels to Clan of the Cavebear. Not sure what happened, but my town’s second-hand marked came to be flooded with Jean Auel books, and I managed to snag several of the hardcovers (with the dust jackets in tact, even!) while I was still mid-way through Clan.