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04 November 2009 @ 02:08 am
Serious rec: Blood and Brimstone  
Last week I gave a quick drive-by rec for Blood and Brimstone at hd_career_fair . I said I would write a longer one over the weekend, as I had not read the story since it was an unfinished draft. Now, those of you who know me probably thought: 'Well, she is a dreadful slacker, and she was off gallivanting with the Goths and the baby shower folk, of course she was going to be tardy ...'

But in fact, I did open up the story on the weekend. And then I had the most appalling dilemma. Because on the one hand, I wanted to do nothing but sit and read it until I was done, and then sit and read it again. But on the other hand, it is only 42,000 words long and once they're read, they're read and that whole first-read passion is spent. So I stopped myself, and walked away. And then I came back, and went away, and came back ... until I was too greedy and guzzled the last section in a rush.

It is so good. It is so good that I want to shake the writer and make him or her stop working and just write. (I do know the author, but for those of you guessing, that won't help much as I think I know somewhere around half the authors for this fest).

As I mentioned last time, it is set in Ginn Hale's Wicked Gentlemen world, but this is not required reading. I've not read WG at all, and yet had no problems understanding what was happening *. Harry Potter is a lowly ranked Inquisitor who is sent to discuss distasteful rumours with the wealthy Malfoy family. It should be another banal commission in a career of drudgery and mild oppression, but instead, it is the step that shifts his life from ordered if tedious, to revolutionary and endangered.

Set in a world where Prodigals, the fallen angels created in the image of God, are both free to walk the earth and kept in their 'place' by a vengeful and Inquisitory church, Blood and Brimstone can be read as an analogy for the Spanish Inquisition, or the appalling treatment of underclasses in today's wealthy nations, or the viciousness of a Ministry that sends Dolores Umbridge into a school of children. As I say, WG is not required reading (though I am sure it adds yet more richness), but neither is Harry Potter -- this story is strong enough to stand as a unit by itself. However, for those who love the Potterverse, the characters retain integrity and are used in fascinating ways to illuminate canonical issues through their new settings.

It's awfully late and my brain did melt around lunchtime today, so this is not the coherent and erudite review this story deserves. It is, however, a heartfelt recommendation that if you are doing anything less urgent than giving birth, you make time in your schedule this week to read it. I do not think that it is possible you will feel your time misspent.


* I am now in the frustrating position of not knowing if I want to read WG, because I feel it will add layers to my appreciation of B&B, or not read it because I cannot imagine loving it as much. I'll probably read it on the basis that nice authors deserve royalties ;-)

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Potteresque Irepotteresque_ire on November 3rd, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
I'm going through this very slowly, trying to understand every word (the language takes time for me—my English level still sucks) and savoring every detail.

So good! And it takes care of the issues that I've found with WG (I read it—IMHO, this story is superior, and not by a small margin. Sorry Ms Hale. Although, of course, having the Potter folks get LOADS of cookie points ;) ). I'm planning to write a long review for this story too when I'm done—if not as good (you write AWESOME reviews), as sincere as this one I hope.

I've made my guess of the author on the fest—my instinct has been screaming so much on this one that I can't ignore it. People are going to think I'm crazy if I'm wrong, but oh well. I think most people think I'm crazy anyways! :D
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 3rd, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
I looked at your guess, and leaving aside issues of rightness and wrongness, thought that it was actually a very clever one!

There is currently the most ENORMOUS huntsman spider in my bathroom running across the ceiling and down the walls. He is very active and agitated, so I can't catch him, I don't want to kill him, but I don't want to have a shower and possibly accidentally drown him or have him drop on my head. Thus this comment is brought to you by me on the sofa in a towel waiting to go back into the bathroom after the spider has had a chance to hide. Good grief!
Potteresque Irepotteresque_ire on November 3rd, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
EEEEEEEEE!!! Enormous huntsman spider???? I'm okay with Daddy Long Legs, but anything with body size > rice grain size I'm going to run away! *Apparates*

(And so ... you're in a towel when you write me this? Mmmm. Sound sexy. Are you seducing me from half a globe away?)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 3rd, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
Writing to you gave Spidey enough time to hide himself somewhere in the bathroom, so I was able to go off and shower (DESPERATELY NEEDED after today) and now have on the world's least sexy jammies, sorry.

Huntsmen are actually very sweet, but they panic a bit when caught in the open. We have a simple arrangement with the spiders here: they do not freak me out or land on me, I do not kill them. The few poisonous ones are dealt with more harshly ;-)
Potteresque Irepotteresque_ire on November 3rd, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, right, the very hot weather! :( It has been ... balmy this past summer for the most time. Great, but unusual. Whoever thinks global warming is a joke ... is a joke.

Spiders are all right. I don't like them scaring me, but I don't see them as terrible creatures either :). Rats I'm almost okay with, given I see them so often here. Cockroaches, on the other hand .... the fat, flying ones. ICK.

I need to visit Australia and New Zealand one day. Never been there. Actually, I want to travel everywhere. See the world. Learn lots. Get lost somewhere. Buy overpriced items. Meet someone cute. :)))))
(Anonymous) on November 3rd, 2009 08:26 pm (UTC)
I saw your guess.

May I say :D
Potteresque Irepotteresque_ire on November 4th, 2009 06:43 am (UTC)
And THIS response, I must say, is very Calanthe ;). Smiley face. Hmm. :DDDDDD
*iz very intrigued and having a ton of fun guessing!*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 4th, 2009 06:58 am (UTC)
You know, I once convinced Mic that Cal had stolen my lj login and was impersonating me simply by using smileys ... Of course, I had eaten a lot of chocolate that day ...
Potteresque Irepotteresque_ire on November 4th, 2009 07:05 am (UTC)
I'm having deeeeep thoughts about repairing right now when I really should be rushing my work project ...

Everyone has their style of responding. Mmm, Cal's smileys are often on their own separate line. Impersonation is an artform *nods*.

Hee hee, whoever Anonymous is, I feel she's someone who's all right with my crazy ways and I can send her my ♥ and huggles!!! :) And Smiley Faces!! And I'm talking and acting like a 11 year old!!!!!!!!! :DDDD (<---have too much icecream and is on a giddy sugar high)

blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 4th, 2009 07:07 am (UTC)
Rush your work project! The repairing can usually wait ;-)

And yes, s/he is a kind soul who understands these things!
Potteresque Irepotteresque_ire on November 4th, 2009 07:11 am (UTC)
Nooooooo! Me want to procrastinate! *eats more icecream*
*goes repair data ... sigh*
Vaysh Swiftstormvaysh on November 3rd, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
*adores* I love your rec so much (having only seen bits and glances of B&B, I can't wait for the week-end to finally, finally savour it all).

It is so good. It is so good that I want to shake the writer and make him or her stop working and just write.
Yes, and yes, and yes!

blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 3rd, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
By crikey it's good! (Imagine me saying that while holding a crocodile ...)

And now I know exactly what is next on my list! (After a good sleep ...)
Pureblood Princessraitala on November 3rd, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
And now I know exactly what is next on my list! (After a good sleep ...)

What? Finding a crocodile to hold?
calanthe_fics on November 3rd, 2009 08:28 pm (UTC)
Your answer was so, so class. Can you answer all my responses from now on? You do it loads better than me.
Pureblood Princessraitala on November 3rd, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
heh, the finely weighted smack-down so that the truly dim will not notice it and be offended, while the just-having-a-dim-moment, redeemable, will feel suitably boobish and strive to do better next time :D Plus it was great to have a reminder how very, very much that fic kicks arse. Why aren't you writing full-time again?
calanthe_fics on November 3rd, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
Alas, my brain is mush these days. Lack of sleep = lack of ideas. Maybe sometime soon that will change.

Thanks for the encouragement though!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 4th, 2009 07:00 am (UTC)
Naps, Cal! Naps are the answer!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 4th, 2009 06:59 am (UTC)
I've held one! It was really little, of course. Sadly, they don't get on well with the cats ...

I was referring to another fic, but I also need to go and check out a stack of art. ARGH! NEED MORE HOURS IN DAY! (And I have just realised that I will be leaving here in four and a half weeks and have not organised anything beyond a pick-up at the airport. Oh dear ...)
Ali: stonehengealicambs on November 3rd, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
I have been pretty impressed with the quality of some of the stories that have come from this fest. This fic and 'Drink Up Thy Zider: A South Hams Pomona' are just superb and totally different.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 4th, 2009 07:01 am (UTC)
YES! They were two of my absolute faves: both very strong in their constructions of wholly different worlds and not afraid to take a style that might put some readers off and just go for it in sheer artistic glory. I am still reading through, I may be some time ...
Admiral of Strange Shipsnoeon on November 3rd, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
The fic is absolutely astounding. I heartily support shaking the author and encouraging him/her just to write. Amazing.

I have read WG and I loved it. It was also far too short for such a brilliant world. Ginn Hale is working on a sequel, which is very good news. But Blood and Brimstone? Wow.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 4th, 2009 07:03 am (UTC)
I tried to buy WG today, not luck at all. I'll add it next time I am shopping online. And I will happily indulge in a spot of shaking on your behalf!
(Anonymous) on November 3rd, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
&hearts lots and lots.

I'm thrilled you liked it - as with many of the commenters, yours is an opinion I value a great deal.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 4th, 2009 07:02 am (UTC)
Because I use big words!

And you love me for my glorious hair, I know ...
trichinopoly ash: sirius: quality fanficaldehyde on November 4th, 2009 05:48 am (UTC)
aahhh a ton of my fave writers [including YOU] have now recced this fic so i must read it asap. i am looking forward to it.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 4th, 2009 07:03 am (UTC)
You should! It's like buying a really good book, except shorter and free. (Hugs you for luck, too)