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[personal profile] zelda_queen
ZeldaQueen: After our opening chapter of fucking nothing at all, we open with Shannon berating herself for being creeped out. So yeah, this chapter is just directly continuing from the first. I see PC Cast plays as fast and loose with chapter breaks as James Patterson does.

Chapter 2

Shannon gets in line and dear folks, please get ready for some of the pettiest bashing I've seen yet. I don't know if PC had a bad time at an auction before she wrote this book or it's supposed to show that Real Life people suck compared to Magical Fantasy People or something, but every person here is horrible in Shannon's (and the book's) eyes. Every. Single. One.

We start off with Shannon trying to make small talk with the woman she's standing next to in line. She instantly pegs the woman as, “
the matron”, despite the fact that she has, as far as we know, said or done anything to warrant being called that. This is where a little lead-in would help. If Shannon said something like, “I stepped in line behind a plump, matronly-looking woman”, we'd at least have some indication of why why she's calling her that! But it's okay, because much like Zoey Redbird, Shannon seems to have the innate ability to peg people at first glance. Shannon says to this woman how she ought to have pulled back her hair given how hot the day is, and the woman agrees while “her eyes slid from my already frizzing and sweaty hair, down past my white silk tank top, which slid just over the waist of my very hip (and short) khaki Gap skirt, to my long (and very bare) legs.

You know, because matronly-types are incredibly judgmental about that sort of thing. I guess Shannon was right about her.

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 8

The woman concludes her staring Shannon over by saying, “
Ugf”, which Shannon describes as “a sound like a hen expelling an egg”. You know, I haven't been around a chicken laying an egg in my entire life, and even I can't hear how “ugf” sounds like a chicken sound.

For some reason (probably an excuse to bash more people), Shannon decides to try making small talk with the guy behind her. This fellow is described charmingly and simply as “
the receding hairline”. Anyone who knows how PC Cast writes can probably tell how likable he's going to be. I mean, it's not like receding hairlines are something people have no control over and can be very sensitive about! Nope! Your hair starts going, it's an easy indicator that you're a jackass.

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 9

Because, as we'll be seeing in our House of Night review, that series also uses things like, fatness, acne, drool, and hair loss as quick indicators that a person is Not Good.

This guy, who Shannon continuously refers to as “
the hairline”, is also fidgety and sweaty, which is supposed to make us not like him. I mean, it's not like it's summer in the south, which can be brutal. Nope! He's just gross. Anyway, Shannon says that she thinks there'll be some interesting things for sale, and he starts going on about a few Depression-era glass pieces he heard would be sold. He starts prattling on to her about this, and I get the sense that we're supposed to be rolling our eyes at this guy, because jeez, doesn't he know that his hobbies are boring? I mean, isn't glasswork just super-dull and something only losers are into? And what the hell, how dare someone serious about collecting artpieces come to an auction and try to talk about their hobbies to a person who starts that very topic of conversation?

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 10

Seeing as Miss Zoey Redbird had a tendency to decide that some things were just stupid or boring and anyone who was into it were losers.

So yeah, seeing as it wasn't obvious enough that we're suppose to hate this guy, his “
squinty little eyes” start very obviously staring at her boobs.

DoctoRolleyes

ZeldaQueen: Yes, this is the standard harlequin “all men are horrible except for the love interest” trope, but this is also the depressingly popular “all men from our world/human men are disgusting pigs, but not the men from this other world/nonhuman men (especially the love interest)”. I'm not even exaggerating that, incidentally. Shannon pretty much outright says it later.

Shannon sets about trying to ignore this guy, and tells us that the woman in front of her is staring at this guy staring at her. What, is the woman supposed to be so matronly and conservative that the very sight of a man drooling over a hot lady is shocking to her? The man, meanwhile, leans way in close and starts telling Shannon how he's “
in the middle of editing a wonderfully informative coffee table book on the origins of Depression Era art and how to distinguish the difference between authentic pieces and facsimiles”. Yes, PC, we get it. He's a sexist, boring asshole. Can you move your story along here? These people serve no purpose to the plot!

Well, things don't move forward so much as creep at a zombie-like pace. As the woman ahead of Shannon starts “
pinning her auction number to her Depression Era bosom”...

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 11

The man continues talking to Shannon, emphasizing how pretty he thinks she is while offering to give her advice on what to bid on stuff so she doesn't get taken advantage of (really, that's how he puts it). He also has a sweaty upper lip and stained armpits, in case anyone was wondering. I guess PC figured she was being too subtle about how obnoxious he was.

It's finally Shannon's turn, and the person at the sign-in table (who is essentially a disembodied voice incidentally. While I don't want to know this person's backstory, I'd rather hear about whether it's a man or woman speaking, at the very least. It'd be better than bashing the people in line) asks for Shannon's name. She helpfully informs us that the guy behind her is eagerly listening to hear what it is, and what the fuck is up with this guy? It's one thing to have a garden-variety creepy guy perving on a hot woman. It's quite another to throw in him obsessively trying to figure out her name. Yes, I'm sure it happens, but this has nothing to do with the story! This guy will be done and GONE by the time Shannon leaves the auction, so is this all really necessary?!?

(And no, having him be an example of how slimy Most Men Are to compare him to the love interest later does not constitute “really necessary”.)

We get needlessly detailed instructions on how the auction works, which Shannon points out are standard so I have no clue why PC didn't just skim over this part. She gets her number and “
fled before Hairline turned into a sticky booger”. I have to ask, does that sort of thing usually get uttered by anyone over the age of five? Because I wasn't under the impression it did.

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 12

It does remind me all too much of Zoey saying things like, “You almost scared the pee out of me!” I suppose that counts.

We then get an incredibly out of place and wanky bit of description.

I will never understand why short men are attracted to me. I’m not an Amazon, but in flat feet I stand five foot seven, and I love high heels so I’m rarely in flat feet. My height aside, I am definitely not a small woman. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not big. I work out like a fiend, but I always seem to carry around about five to ten pounds more than I wish I did. I’m not the lean, lanky, anorexic type that’s so 'in' today—I’m the voluptuous, chesty, hippy, leggy type. And I feel ridiculous around small men; I always imagine that I could probably beat them up, which makes me totally disinterested in anything else coming up. Give me a man the size of John Wayne and I melt like a Popsicle in a warm mouth. Unfortunately, my love life is as dead as the Duke.

ZeldaQueen: ...What the actual fuck?


  • Thank you for that, PC. It's nice to know that your self insert is fashionably tall but not enough so that it causes weight issues or makes her clumsy or inconveniences her. What next? Are we going to also hear how she's thin enough to be anorexic but also has massive boobs?

  • Speaking of which, what a lovely dig at the fashion industry. “I'm not all anorexic, like society thinks is popular today!” That's great. Want to also tell us how you feel about pot and blowjobs? Actually, maybe this is why she seems so tall – she's up on her soap box.

  • I realize that there are people who prefer partners of a certain height, but who the hell thinks they don't like dating smaller men because they feel like they can beat them up? That's damned creepy! And if you don't think so, imagine a man saying, even in jest, “I don't like dating women smaller than me because I feel like I could beat them up”. Not so amusing, is it? It also makes Shannon look shallow as hell, since apparently a guy could be the wittiest, most charming guy ever, but if he's too short for her taste, she'll be uninterested.

  • Guys, this is foreshadowing for the love interest of this book. Yes, he's much taller than her. If you don't know why that is... uh, you'll find out soon enough.

  • I will admit that were Shannon not being so infuriating, I'd appreciate a protagonist who actually is curvy and not stick-thin and who works out (although we won't be seeing any of that in the book). As it is, she reminds me of Danisha, one of the most obnoxious Sues I've ever seen and who, what are the odds, is also a thirty-something schoolteacher who tries to be Hip With The Kids, is actually incredibly annoying, and ends up in a position of wealth and power with her Dream Man in a fantasy world.

  • Yes, PC Cast Shannon thinks John Wayne is the hottest thing ever. I know she's not alone in that opinion, but she sees fit to remind us about it at every given opportunity. When she isn't telling us how hot she finds John Wayne, she's telling us what other fictional characters or actors she finds hot. You'd think she'd have time to occasionally think about other things, but apparently not. Thus, we get another count.

MY OWN LITTLE FANTASY: 1

For every time Shannon stops the story to remind us again about how much she would love to soak in a hot tub with Batman or get a massage from John Wayne or whatever.

Also...

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 14

One point for the story reminding me uncannily of My Immortal, which The House of Night series did on a regular basis and one for halting the story to rail about the Evils of Anorexia (which is a serious topic and I don't mean to dismiss, but is being handled with all the grace of a marching band falling off the Eiffel Tower).

So! After that Big Lipped Alligator Musing, we get a description of the landscape. The auction is taking place in a garden, around a statue of a naked nymph (natch). We're also told that, “
Billy Joe Bobs and Bubba Bo Bobs were clustered in groups amidst the equipment, obviously in a feeding frenzy. Carried on the wind, I could overhear the Oklahoma melodies of 'y’all' and 'yup.' One of them had a piece of straw stuck in a gap between his front teeth.” You know, given that PC lives in Oklahoma, you'd think she'd stop writing the residents there as being a bunch of hicks. I guess it's just the self inserts of her and her daughter who don't fit in there.

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 15

We're told how everything is grouped (with Shannon making fun of the receding hairline guy for running to the table of lamps and crystal things), and Shannon decides to head for the art table. There, we find out that apparently the previous owner just happened to only collect mythology-themed artwork. Yes, I know people do that, but given how PC and Shannon both are obsessed with mythology, I just see COINCIDENCE flashing in neon lights.

We then get a moment that is so condescending, it's stunning. Shannon notes an item for sale, “
a wonderful fullcolor print of a huge fiery dragon roaring flame at a blond [sic] female warrior on a plunging white horse. She was deflecting the fire with a shield and brandishing a sword. I couldn’t make out the artist’s name, but the title painted on the bottom of the print read, Stamp Out Forest Fires”. Given how detailed that is, I have to wonder if PC actually saw something like that before. I can't find anything like that on Google Image, but it could just be something obscure.

Anyway, Shannon finds this thing to be so “
hilarious” that she turns to point it out to a random woman standing next to her. This woman, who we have never met before and know zippo – and I well and truly mean zippo – about, is dubbed on the spot by Shannon as “the Garage Sale Queen”. Why? I don't fucking know! Shannon's just apparently so damned judgmental, she doesn't even bothering privately nicknaming people after things she can actual observe about them!

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 16

Anywho, the woman is less amused by the print than Shannon is, and just says that she thinks it's “
kinda strange”. It sounds to me like it'd be a novelty item at best, but okay. The woman's probably a little off-put that someone just started randomly gushing over that print to her. But because this is Shannon's opinion and the woman disagrees with it, the woman is written as being utterly obnoxious and speaking with a “nasally twang”. Right. People are disgusting and obnoxious when they disagree with the Sue. Where have we seen that before?

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 17

Well, one person making a polite if somewhat negative comment on that print just rains on Shannon's parade. She starts splitting splitting hairs about how she considers it “
not normal, versus simply strange”. Jesus Christ, it's a print made for a quick laugh, not a piece of surrealist art! The woman, who I'd like to think is tired of Shannon's bullshit, gives her “sheepy, duh looks” and heads off for the household items section.

Oh, wasn't that just fucking grand? You know, people can get freaked out by strangers striking up conversations with them and putting them on the spot. But no, this woman's clearly just a small-minded idiot! Actually, given how it's specified that it's a female knight in the picture, I get the sense that the woman is supposed to think it's strange because, well, women knights? How absurd! She's just going to go back to being sheepy and checkout the household items and not challenge gender roles. Clearly most of the plebian masses simply can't wrap their heads around such nonsense! Shannon is the only one here enlightened and open-minded enough to appreciate a lady knight!

Yeah, from me and everyone else a fan of Princess Sapphire, Princess Violet, Yuri Ishtar, and Brienne of Tarth? Suck it.

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 18

That just reeked of House of Night's heavy-handed “society is a bunch of sheeple and only the Sue protagonists are smart enough to see past it!” preaching.

So, yeah. Shannon writes down a reminder to bid on that and hopes that she's the only one to like it so she can afford it. She then looks around a bit more and pauses at the sculpture section, and we get more pointlessness as she notices the sculptures are primarily naked Greek men and promptly turns into Homer Simpson.

I paused and gave each the respectful, proper attention they seemed to deserve, while trying not to ogle as I read the identification and lot tags: Lot #17 Statuette of Zeus, Thunderbolt at the Ready (very nude—actually naked, and he looked very, um, ready).
“Sorry, sweetie. Can’t take you home—too kinky.” I tweaked his thunderbolt.

Lot #18, Statuette of Hellenistic Ruler, possibly Demetrios I of Syria. Demetrios was a large, muscular, naked man. Very large.

“Oh, baby, wish you were Galatea and I was your enamored sculptor.” I patted his cheeks and giggled, while I looked around to make sure I wasn’t causing a stir.

Lot #19, Statuette of Etruscan Warrior. Too skinny for my tastes— only two things stuck out about the statuette: his weapon, and, um, his
weapon.

“Bye-bye, boys. It’s just so…well…hard to leave you.” I chortled at my own pun and moved to the next table, which was filled with about half a dozen large vases.


AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 22

One for each statue and one for that scene overall, because that was fucking POINTLESS! And seriously, that sounds like something Zoey would say. It sounded immature as shit when she did it, I might add! If the teenager can't pull it off, the adult woman really can't!

So, after that up there, we actually get something relevant. I know, big shocker! She notices a vase that suddenly makes her forget about the world around her, to the point where she doesn't notice that she bumped into some nameless dude (who, amazingly does not get treated to a condescending nickname). She wanders over to the vase, wondering why she's so obsessed with it, and takes a look at the tag. Thus, we find out that it's a reproduction, “
Celtic vase, original stood over graves in Scottish cemetery—Scene in color represents supplications being made to the High Priestess of Epona, Celtic Horse Goddess.”.

In case you guys were wondering, incidentally, Celtic mythology is going to be to this series as Native American and Greek mythology is to House of Night.

Shannon continues staring at the thing, telling us how hot and bothered she is over it, and I swear that if it wasn't an inanimate object, I'd think it was the love interest. That's how she's going on about it. She gives us a rundown on how it looks, which is completely irrelevant except for the design on the side.

it was the scene painted into the pottery, stretching from one side all the way around. The background color was black, which made the scene seem to jump out with the other colors all highlighted in golds and creams. A woman reclined on some type of cushioned lounge chair. Her back was to the viewer, so all that could be seen of her was the curve of her waist, one outstretched arm with which she motioned regally to the supplicants on their knees before her and the cascade of her hair.

'It’s like my hair.' I didn’t realize I had spoken aloud until I heard the words. But her hair was like mine, only longer. The same redgold, the same wavy semi-curls that never wanted to stay put.


ZeldaQueen: Mm, really? Okay, guys. That pot, letting you know right now, is a replica of an urn made in honor of the Celtic horse goddess, Epona. Just for funsies, I Googled some images of pottery of Epona. Here's what came up. Take a gander. I'll give you a moment.

*pauses, glances at watch*

You good? Now, you may have noticed a few things. Some particularly notable somethings, in fact.

First of all, the woman had reddish hair? The pot had a black background and gold and cream highlights? That's pretty strange, considering that the depictions of Epona that showed up on Google are all scuplted without colors and all in the same earthenware style!!!

Now, I suppose it's possible PC meant to suggest that the pot was actually based on one from ancient Rome, since the Romans adopted Epona as one of their deities. Even if that's the case though, it still fails massively! This is what ancient Roman pottery looked like. Sure there's color, but not that much! The figures on it are only one color, so Shannon's insistence that the figure has her own hair color doesn't make much sense. Not to mention, looking at the pottery, the Roman examples mostly depict figures in profile. The Celtic ones, meanwhile, either depict figures in profile or staring straight ahead. I...really see nothing with figures that have their backs to the viewers.

Shannon pokes the urn and is surprised that it's really hot to the touch. I'm not sure why this is surprising, since they're outdoors and it's supposed to be boiling hot, but whatever. Mysterious thing is mysterious. At this point, who should make an unwanted appearance but the balding fellow from before! Yes, Shannon continues to identify him purely by his receding hairline. He asks her if she's into pottery and tells her about his own interests in it, all while we're told that he's squinting and licking his lips. At this point, I'm surprised PC doesn't just write him crawling around all hunched over, Gollum-style.

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 23

ZeldaQueen: Shannon explains that she's mostly into Greco-Roman art, as is the norm for characters written by PC Cast. The guy – who is more or less making the same small talk Shannon was making with that woman earlier over the picture – reaches out his
sweaty hands and, “in a jumpy, cockroach-like movement”, picks up the vase. Shannon, for some reason, is on the lookout for him to do something weird, “but he just kept on being his normal, nerdy self”.

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 26

(Shannon) “Nerds are, like, ewwww!”

What makes this frigging hilarious is that despite PC and Kristin later trying to make Zoey easy to relate to by insisting she was a nerd, not only does Zoey's attitude mirror Shannon's up there, but as folks have pointed out, Zoey herself does nothing actually nerdy. Here, however, despite PC's best efforts to write this guy as a complete and utter loser, he comes across as more of an authentic proud geek than Zoey ever was. At the very least, he seems genuinely knowledgeable about his interests and tries to connect to other people about them.

Shannon asks if he notices anything odd about the vase. We get it beat into our heads that this guy is sweaty and wiping his face off -

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 27

And he tells Shannon that it's a very good reproduction but he sees nothing unusual about it. She tells him that it's because it felt unusually hot when she poked it not long before. He responds to this by leaning in until Shannon says it's like he's trying to shove his face into her breasts (do you even think I'm kidding at this point) and suggesting that what she felt came from, “
[her] own generous body heat”. And apparently is “almost salivating” as he says this.

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 30

Yes, PC, we get it. He's a Man and is not your Ideal Man, and thus is little more than a slavering dog crossed with a Neanderthal.

Shannon decides that the best way to respond to this is to pretend she has a yeast infection, which causes him to run for the hills. She mentally goes on about how men always run away at the first sign of feminine medical problems. Dude, I'd run away if another woman started telling me about a yeast infection! TMI is TMI!

She turns her attention back to the pot, where of course it must be noted that it's now slightly smudged because that guy touched it and he's sweaty and gross.

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 31

She starts examining the priestess, and that word is capitalized for no reason.

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 32

I swear, if the word “magikal” shows up, I'm having a fit. She starts noting all the details on the priestess's pose and all the jewelry she's wearing, and this really doesn't sound like Celtic pottery. She then notes the priestess's hand, and... uh...

[I]t wasn’t a tattoo or a jewel that decorated the back side of her hand. It was a scar. A scar from a third-degree burn. I knew because my right hand was “decorated” with the exact mark.

ZeldaQueen: I have to wonder, why did whoever painted the pot feel it necessary to include such a minute detail? Unless a certain physical feature is notably attributed to a subject, I doubt an artist would include it. Especially since it's being painted on a pot that doesn't exactly seem large. Just look at the figures on the potterly I linked to. In most cases, you can hardly even make out the hands!

Aaaaaand, that's it. Really. That's where the chapter ends. Don't you just love the pacing here?




HAVE I MENTIONED I'M A TEACHER - 7
AS THE RED BIRD FLIES - 32
MY OWN LITTLE FANTASY - 1


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