Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Thoughts on C. Coulter

I've had Catherine Coulter's entire medieval Song series in the TBR for a very long time. The books in the series are: Warrior's Song (originally published as Chandra), Fire Song, Earth Song, Secret Song, Rosehaven and Penwyth Curse. This is an older series & is thus much closer to the 'bodice ripper' style more prevalent fifteen to twenty & more years ago. I tried to read Warrior's Song and it turned into a DNF, reasons listed HERE.

Yesterday I tried to read Fire Song. To my shock & dismay, FS weds a rape victim for book one to her rapist. The remainder of the book is spent with him accusing her of lies, betrayal & affairs alternating with passionate sex. She meanwhile seems to spend much of her time trying to 'earn' his love. Her inferiority complex & desperation is so deep it amazes me.

The plot twist that forces Kassia's marriage to her rapsit is too convenient. Kassia accepts his previous rape of her & forgives Graelam, without expressing any deeper emotions or having repurcussions. How unrealistic & ridiculous! Kassia even goes so far as to try & emulate the woman who witnessed & caused Kassia's rape (although Chandra regrets what is done). To try & get Graelam to love her, of course.

As to Graelam, emotions such as respect, consideration, trust & compassion as they might relate to women, do not exist. He treats his destrier with more consideration than he does his wife. Not only that, he believes characters with motivations to hurt him or hurt his wife or hurt his overlord before he will believe his wife.

What really galled me most, in the end, Kassia has fled to her father's fortress. Graelam shows up to bring her home. While giving him the ritual guest's bath, they make wild passionate love. She left him because she thought he had no feelings for her. One more look at his mighty 'sword' & Kassia suddenly believes Graelam loves her. All is now forgiven. He apologizes in two paragraphs, spread over the last fifteen pages of the book- not including the Epilogue.

Lovely. To say I find this infuriating & insufficient & a put down of Kassia is only a small part of how much I dislike this book. That a rape victim would fall in love with her attacker is hard enough to accept. That she does so with no further emotional or sexual problems is beyond the pale. The reader doesn't even get to see the 'hero' (I'd rather say he's the villain) grovel & beg & apologize & cringe & crawl.



Tara Marie said...

The reader doesn't even get to see the 'hero' (I'd rather say he's the villain) grovel & beg & apologize & cringe & crawl.

Well, actually he does, it comes incredibly late in the book, when he's gone from Wolfeton he realizes he's been a pig and plans to tell her he's sorry, but has to track her down to her father's keep in Brittany. It's probably too little too late. I like the scenes at the Duke's fortress because, the Duke gently takes him to task and he does feel guilty and remorseful, probably not enough, but heck these are bodice rippers, when was this originally released, 1986+/-.

I agree--he's a pig and a villian, I hated Chandra, but this one worked for me with the rest of the series because you see his character evolve, which I think is the interesting part of this series. In Chandra he is the villian, by the end of this book CC is trying to redeem him, by the last book, he's a pussy cat.

I haven't read these in years and to be honest, I don't think I have any interest in doing so, now I'd probably consider it a wallbanger too.

Bookwormom said...

I read those parts too. For me his grudging admission to the duke & to her isn't enough. You are right, however, that it was all part of the course for books of that era.

I've started the next one (Earth Song) though & enjoy it much better.