Day Shift by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
FULL STOP!!! BACKUP AND GET OUT!!!
I am truly disappointed with this book. I had a lot of hopes, up through the first 75% of it. Then Ms. Harris decided to just go in a direction that is just too misogynistic, non-consenting and gross. Especially in this day and age.
It bothered me enough that I just stopped right there and said “nope” and tossed the book. Even if what was brought up in the book at that point didn’t actually happen, it was too late for me to even consider it passable. Don’t read any further if you don’t want spoilers, I won’t go too far in depth, but I have to cover a couple of points specifically.
I will talk about the good parts first. The relationships from the first book are developed more, with a bit of drama between Fiji and Bobo, and Quin showing up wanting to date Fiji. It is all typical “Sookie Stackhouse” drama but slower.
The buildup of the demon and the crossroads was slow but still interesting. Meeting Sylvester Ravenwing was actually pretty cool. I didn’t get to know him too well but what I read I liked.
Then we get to the way that they must perform a ritual to stop the demon. I felt I was reading a book written by a teenage boy by the end of this. Evidently a virgin witch must have sex publicly on the crossroads, the blood of her virginity being lost needs to be splashed on the ground to stop the demon from rising at the EXACT moment he is coming through.
Jesus Christ, really? We are going to go with a sexist trope that exalts virginity and on the other hand makes it a commodity? Sex with a virgin woman is a commodity that shouldn’t be used like a spell component. The aspect I disliked even more was the fact that Fiji really isn’t ok with this, meaning this isn’t something she would want to do. The story was reading with all sorts of non-consent and outdated ideas. It was enough to make me just stop there.
It is hard for me to really enumerate how much this kind of trope bothers me. There is no empowerment of Fiji, no choice on her part, and if she decided later that it was ok makes it even worse. It gives into the idea that you can wear someone down and its ok.
There was even less self-direction given to Fiji as it wasn’t even her that discovered she had to do this. A white vampire male decreed it from what he read. I realize this book was written before the #metoo thing, and maybe people don’t think of it as a bad trope, but consent is always required, and there was no consent on her part before it was decided it was done.
There is a lot of great fiction that empowers women and other minorities. This white-washed story doesn’t do any of that, and for that it is shut down.
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