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Old 05-09-2011, 11:08 PM   #9308
ATDrake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BearMountainBooks View Post
While being an asshat may actually *be* a mental illness […]
I think they label that as "Borderline Personality Disorder" in the DSM-IV these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BearMountainBooks View Post
So I guess I get what you're saying. It's okay for a guy to steal/kill/manipulate in a book because he has PERSONAL MOTIVATION/PERSONAL GAIN--without using the excuse of: He's mental or he wouldn't have done these crimes.
I'd apply that to real life, too. There are plenty of severely unscrupulous and criminally selfish/negligent persons who feel that their own desires trump the welfare or even continued existence of someone else, without having anything at all diagnosably "wrong" with them that might be treatable with therapy or medication.

Besides the willingness to act on criminal levels of selfishness, that is, which I guess might fall under some form of sociopathy.

Anyway, Jacqueline Kirby has a very pithy quote for the occasion:

Quote:
The brilliant, insane murderers are in books. In real life people kill for practical reasons.
In the meantime, finished Roberta Gellis's historical romance The Dragon and the Rose, which was supposed to be about Henry Tudor and Elizabeth of York's slowly getting together, but in the end turned out to be much, much more about Henry's rapid and determined climb to power.

I think it turned out more enjoyable that way, because one thing that reading the historical idea of romance has made me appreciate is the modern-day notion of the involved parties' ability to walk away from relationships where one partner is treating the other badly for whatever reasons of arguably justifiable paranoid delusional persecution complex, even if they end up sticking around out of Twu Wuv.

Yeah, I know they eventually grow to become very fond of each other and live happily ever after until the heroine dies in childbirth 18 years later, according to the author's historical note in the end.

But there's only so much "cool and calculating hero afraid to show affection for fear his bride is part of a family plot and treats her with condescension and disdain while still shamelessly using her to get whatever he wants until she wins him over by suppressing everything about herself to please him and casting off her pernicious family influences to cleave to him alone" I can take before I get the urge to yell "If he's that determined to keep turning his back on you, go ahead and stab him, stab him in it like he deserves!"

I would probably not make a good royal advisor.

In all, not a bad book, but some rather frustrating portions that kind of bog down the interesting bits, imho. Maybe actual romance readers would actually love this one.

Mild recommend for historical interest if you're interested in the period; it does have a rather nice short author's note on the actual historical basis of stuff in the back and is competently written, even if I think there's too much emphasis on the self-sacrificing nobility and incredible capability of Tudor's mother Margaret Beaufort whose only fault seems to be ambition for her son whom she helps in any way possible, and the cupidity and avarice of Elizabeth's mother also Elizabeth Woodville, who's portrayed as greedy and incompetent and a bad mother, to boot.

They were both likely scheming schemers who schemed a lot and one of them happened to be better at it/luckier in that decisive final round of scheming.

Also finished Elizabeth Peters's The Murders of Richard III, 2nd in the Jacqueline Kirby mystery series which incidentally provides the above quote and provides a partial flipside to Henry Tudor's climb to power, which of course set him up against Richard III.

Now this is more like it: a historical re-enactment society's period in-character costume party (complete with in-character bickering), a classic English countryside murder-at-the-manor weekend and the mockery thereof, a bunch of slowly revealed secret identities and fake-out not-quite-fatal pranks which make you wonder which ones are going to end up in really real death, and the thorough skewering of a lot of faux-Christie cliché tropes. Awesomeness.

I think I liked this even more than Die For Love, which expertly spoofed a genre pro/fan convention, because this played even more into Stuff I Love to Read About and Don't Get To Nearly Often Enough.

Highly recommended for sheer entertainment value and unusual plot dénouement (I'd tell you more about what made this a rare but enjoyable read, trope-wise, but that would spoiler you for it).

Bonus entertainment if you also happen to like lively historical debates (okay, watching people squabble) regarding long-dead English kings who may or may not have been set up by their enemies for their lingering notorious reputations.
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