I have a confession: sometimes I get a little trigger-happy on Netgalley. We all do it, don’t we? It’s far too easy to find ourselves overwhelmed with the amount of easily accessible arcs. The minute one looks even remotely up your alley all you have to do is click ‘request’ and you usually don’t even think twice. Then when your request gets approved you feel obliged to read it, even though in your slightly sobered-up mind you know now that there’s no way you’re going to actually enjoy this book; a suspicion that is immediately confirmed when the opening paragraph of said book makes you immediately aware that it’s going to fail the Bechdel test something chronic.
“So unfair. My parents decided to limit my computer time again,” Cora griped and rolled her eyes into the webcam. “But as usual, my best friend Raine has my back, so here I am with the next ‘Hottie of the Week’. Before I can give you his stats, I need a break, so I’ll be back in a few.”
Welcome to the shit-fest.
Runes is about – surprise, surprise – an American teenage girl called
Mary Sue Raine who is perfection incarnate. Even the book’s fucking villain describes her as such:
“I can see why any guy might find you irresistible. You have a timeless beauty. You’re graceful, smart, loyal, funny…”
Seriously? Who monologues about their foe’s beauty just before a not-so-epic climax? I guess that just goes to show how utterly amazeballs Raine is: you cannot kill her until you have marvelled at her sheer beauty and intellect.
So Raine is a perfectly normal girl. She has a perfectly normal stereotypical boy-crazy BFF who is incapable of talking to her about anything other than where each and every male they encounter places on the hotness scale. And, in perfectly normal fashion, every guy Raine meets wants to kiss and cuddle her.
Enter the love triangle OR the main driving force of the entire novel. Who will she chose: all around ‘nice guy’, boy next door, childhood pal Eirik or hot-as-hell, misogynist, possessive, agressive, may-be-a-vampire-with-a-silly-name Torin?
Take your time. It’s a tough question. I’ll wait.
It continues to baffle and downright offend me that so many authors continue to write Mary Sue Special Snowflake heroines who fall in love with the kind of guy I would actually punch if I ever met them in real life. Not that it would ever happen mind you, some of these YA love interests can never exist, because that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Adolescent wish-fulfillment and unrealistic expectations in men equates to: 100% gorgeous, exists only to love the heroine, protective as hell, totally open about his feelings, chases her as if his life depends on it (which quite often it does). Oh yeah and he’s usually an angel/werewolf/vampire or some shit. And he spouts shit like this:
“You take my break away, Freckles. You always have, but in that dress…I want to claim you and to Hel with the consequences.“
Tell me, dear reader. Is that a bold and sexy proclomation of
ownership love? Are women supposed to dream that a man will someday say that to them? It doesn’t at all make it creepy that at this part in the book Torin has ambushed her in a changing room and she’s actually going out with Eirik at this point, does it? No way in hell. I mean, shit son, this guy is romantic as hell.
I cannot believe this sells. I am losing my faith in humanity here, why does shit like this get published, or even get put on paper in the first place? It honestly reads like Ednah Walters read Twilight, decided she liked the idea of making as much money as Stephanie Meyer did, and wrote the exact same thing with a few little details changed. The worst part is, she is not the first and in no way will she be the last to do so.
Was there even a plot to Runes? Not really, it was 50% love-triangle-boy-drama-bullshit, 5% pop-culture references, 15% boring school-girl nonsense, 10% proof of research or lack thereof (it’s Richard the Lionheart, not ‘Richard the Lionhearted’, you complete twonk), and I guess 20% was plot-related. And it’s not even good: Torin is a Valkerie, everyone ends up knowing about it and/or being one themselves, Raine completely gets on board with the existence of magic and mythological creatures immediately because of course she does.
There’s really nothing more to the plot than that. And there’s really nothing more to my review now. I have lost the will to even function. This book and I cannot co-exist in the same universe. It’s wrong. I just. I can’t.