Due to her being hunted by various forces, Wlodek decide the best thing to do with Lissa is get her out of the way for a while. Thankfully mysterious Griffin has an idea
Send her to an entirely new world where she can use her great powers to solve a whole load of easily-fixed-by-violence problems in a not-very-alien-society
Meanwhile Wlodek & co try to continue the hunt against Xenides while simultaneously making terrible decisions.
So I pick up the next book in this vampire series and….
Ok that was unexpected. I admit to having reservations, but I’m not adverse to genre mash-up even if I’ve rarely actually seen it do well and if, after three books in this series, I’m not confident that this series would be the one to do it well. And, alas, I was surprisingly right.
So, Lissa ends up going to another world and meeting a range of new species and it is done so incredibly lazily that was just quite depressing. Lissa is moved to this new world through woo-woo. That woo-woo also comes with convenient understand-any-language woo-woo to avoid any kind of culture shock
Of which there is absolutely none. The world is called Refizan, the people are Refizani and may or may not be human. If they’re not they look entirely like humans. And by humans I mean white western humans (there’s an Asian-appearing-alien-who-looks-human-because-LAZY who is apparently clearly not from this planet because he’s not white). Their culture seems to be a vaguely western parallel. Their buildings, cities, market place, food, manufactured products, modes of travel, news dissemination, media – none of it is presented as any different from what Lissa had experienced in the US and London. There was no real description of the world to make it seem any different from a generic western city. Flying over the city as mist, Lissa can pick out buildings like shops and hospitals and religious buildings. Their government is a fairly generic democracy which, like anything el
Honestly, you could replace “Refizan” with “Ohio” and not really make any real difference to the story. An alien world that is completely unrecognisable from a western nation populated by people who are indistinguishable from white westerners with all language and transports difficulties being resolved by woo-woo is some of the laziest damn aliens I’ve ever seen – and that includes every film and TV show that decided a little bit of heavy make up would be sufficient to depict an alien species. Though we did have a giant blue dude. Who was giant. And blue. That’s kind of it.
Even on the supernatural side, the world has its own vampire circle which is basically a direct parallel to Wlodek and his people on Earth. Except lazier
Why lazier? Because to make this lazy plot glide along with minimal difficulty there is no real conflict. And one of the sources of no conflict is Gabron, head of the Refizan vampire council who basically nods and smiles to everything Lissa says because she is the Specilist Person Ever, Praise be Her Sueness and, like so many others, he found her super hot and wants to have sex with her. Despite being a complete stranger and alien, Lissa is trusted, her every suspicion and suggestion is quickly followed up. Including when she declares various prominent vampires to be super evil and deserving of imprisonment. Effectively this turns the vampires into Lissa’s personal army.
Yet the laziness continues! Because this book is AMAZINGLY lazily written. The next item of laziness is Lissa’s powers. Her super shiny Mary Sue powers that make her super-duper dangerous even if she is only 5 years a vampire and able to kill just about anything she comes across with zero conflict at all because she is just that special. Her powers are completely unprecedented and completely eclipse everything any other vampire has ever been able to achieve. On top of being able to kill anything around her with minimal effort, she also has the useful ability of being able to smell evil
Yes we’re introduced to dimension hopping light and dark elves to try and justify this, but it comes down to being able to “smell evil”. With this infallible evil detector she kills bad guys with her super killy powers. No, really, she uses this detect evil power with such lack of subtlety that a 10 year old playing a Paladin in a D&D game would disapprove.
There is no nuance in Lissa’s powers and also no nuance in the bad guys – the Solar Red priests. This is a foreign religion coming to this planet and is regarded with suspicion and worry and accused of human sacrifice. Of course this is an excellent way to examine suspicion of the outsider, how foreign faiths can be demonised, how the rituals we’re familiar with are comforting while foreign ritual seems barbaric even though, objectively, both make as little real sense and seem a little weird and it could be a great way to examine how the persecution of minority religions happens
HAH! No. Solar Red priests are evil. They rape, torture and murder with impunity. In fact that’s all they do. The entire point of this religion is to be pure evil – I can’t even imagine this religion having holy texts. They regularly kidnap and torture people for funsies, they’re brutal for the sheer sake of brutality. They are caricatures of evil. There’s no attempt at nuance here, let alone any attempt to depict HOW this religion has gained so many adherents. I mean, what do you do, hand out religious tracts about the joys of torturing children?
They’re super-duper evil because they’re being controlled by super-duper-evil aliens. Again, that pretty much sums up what they are. Evil for the sake of evilness