Friends only, for several very good reasons that mostly have to do with Being A Real Person On The Internet. Leave a comment if you want to be friends and we'll see. If you're just here for fic, it's not here, watch my writing comm instead.
(I know I was going to do Hades and Persephone, but I've been reading up on the Cadmus myth so much lately that it's monopolized my brain. So here.)
Once upon a time, an unsuspecting lad by the Cadmus was sent out to search for his sister, with an admonition from his father not to return until he had. (Being that his brothers had received the same message, this was awkward and unfair, as they only had the one sister.)
But Cadmus was the smart one, and after some questionable marriage detours and general frolicking about, he took himself off to Delphi to have a chat with the Oracle there.
But Oracles, especially the Oracle at Delphi, have a funny way of going 'Oh, sorry, what did you ask? No, screw that. Your entire life story is about to change. Follow this cow.'
So like, I've mentioned this mythical Cut and Run series a few times, but always glossed over it because I wanted to make a big giant post about how awesome it is and just a throwaway wouldn't do it justice.
But whatever, I have a hundred feelings to get down, so let's talk about one particular aspect of these books.
It was 4am, I was supposed to be up early the next day, but where was I? Curled up in the corner of the couch with Jezzi's kindle pressed to my face, tiny little reading light the only source of illumination, my hands and heart shaking as I devoured word after word, sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph. If it had at that moment been a choice of putting the book down or death - I would choose death.
Now see, I like a good murder mystery, but less for the 'woo scary' aspect than the psychological motives and pieces inherent in it. I'm really not a fan of horror movies, of titillating fear - in my opinion, the scariest things are concepts, not sounds and noises and gore. So maybe someone else would not find these particular murders interesting. Maybe. But I was absolutely bone-chilled. Reasons being:
01 - Sane killer. Sane killers scare the everloving out of me, because at least insanity is predictably unpredictable. Mental imbalance is recognizable and oddly understandable, as it's both easier to stomach the idea of a mentally unhinged person to be more capable of killing, but also because it makes it easier to predict what they'll do next. But a sane killer? A smart killer? Someone who has a specific goal but fuck knows what it is because what sane person would do this? Why? Fuck.
02 - The excellently written, palpable aura of 'anything can happen' that permeates the story. The main characters take a serious beating, including and right up to the very end, until you actually find your jaw hitting the floor because 'oh my god this killer is one step ahead of them and they just keep getting hurt worse and worse and oh my god'
03 - Inside job. Inside jobs are always terrifying because who the fuck do you trust? I feel like the only reason the two mains are able to trust each other is because they're fucking. Which, you know, that aspect of their relationship is important and integral to the plot, which I love, but that's not the topic of discussion, so anyway.
04 - Obscure references that are actually obscure. I consider myself an avid reader, a learned person, a literary person, and yet it took me well over half the book AND a hint from a friend to see the pattern. Which... was right about when the characters did. Shit. It was excellently and brilliantly subtle, which made it all the more effing creepy.
05 - [Let's talk about the end, I'm not going to spoil any concrete facts but I will talk about the setup of the ending, so there's that.]Let me set the scene. Agent A and Agent B have chosen to trust the one person they absolutely shouldn't trust, of course. They've been in a bad car accident so Agent A has an arm in a sling and a bottle of painkillers, which he's been resisting taking because he has substance abuse problems, but he hurts like fuck so he takes them. Agent B is agoraphobic. Agent B gets bricked into a wall while A thinks he's safe with the killer. Agent A finds two dead bodies of comrades and finally realizes who the fuck is behind this shit - and who he let his partner go with, his partner that he's basically in love with. So we've got Agent A drugged out of his mind, injured everywhere, surrounded by dead bodies, with his partner bricked into a wall. There's a machine jamming cell phone signals and there's no way he can make it across the room, let alone drive.
This is the point where I was at 4am. Terrified. Absolutely bloody terrified. It's like - you know the good guys are gonna win in a deep seated sort of way, but a: you don't know if that includes making it out alive and b: HOW THE FUCK WILL IT HAPPEN. HOW. HOW IS EVERYONE NOT ALREADY DEAD.
I basically stopped breathing. That's a thing I do when I'm reading sometimes, which is Not Good, but I can't help it, I just get full of FEELS and it's way more suspenseful than a supposedly 'suspenseful' movie.
06 - And I'm not going to tell you how it ends, either. Suffice to say I stared at the wall dragging in shaky gulpfuls of air because MY MIND WAS BLOWN OUT OF MY HEAD. I suppose you'll have to read it yourself.
Cut and Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux, people. Read it for the bone-chilling murders, stay for the gay porn. Wait... maybe that's the other way around.
→ Percy Jackson and the Olympians is My Life. I've never had an OTP before Percy and Nico took permanent residence in my brain and now I've written so much for them that my name is practically synonymous with the pairing. I cannot love them more.
→ I frequently make references to 'The Balcony Scene', and probably most PJO fans who are not crazy think that I am. (Which is very true! But I have a method behind my madness.) So let's talk about this mythical Balcony Scene.
Okay, so it's not actually a balcony. It's a fire escape, and there's two demigods on it - two boys who, in the past two books, have had a surprisingly tumultuous and complicated relationship for a kids' series.
[Spoilers for Titan's Curse and Battle of the Labyrinth that you should read anyway.]Nico and Bianca, in the category of neglected children, are very close. Nico especially clings to his older sister... and she dies in the process of saving Percy's life. Nico blames Percy. Percy refuses to take offense, believing strongly in the goodness of Nico's heart. Nico takes him to the Underworld; Hades throws Percy in jail, Percy is furious and thinks he's been betrayed, Nico breaks him out and swears he didn't know and he just wanted to help. Percy calls him 'zombie dude' and everything's okay.
So it's Percy's birthday, and he goes out onto his fire escape, and suddenly, Nico appears. They talk about plot-related things, because Nico does this thing where he basically goes behind the scenes to orchestrate saving the world while Percy is the hero in the spotlight. So he's talking about what they need to do, very serious and businesslike, when... Nico looks over and sees a piece of blue birthday cake that Percy had brought in. To his bedroom. From the party outside.
"Is that blue birthday cake?"
He literally stops mid-sentence, I believe even mid-word when he sees that cake. It's - somewhere under all these walls Nico has put up, he's still this deprived child who lost a mother and sister and kind of a father, too, since Hades basically used him to get at Percy. His childhood was ripped away from him and he'll never really grow past that, but there's this piece of cake, and the world is ending but at his heart he's this lost little boy begging for something normal.
And Percy sees that in him, and he invites him inside. Says, essentially, come into my life and let me give you the love and reassurance you need, and then we can talk about saving the world. He's putting Nico before the world, and Nico is putting Percy before the world, and it's one of the simplest expressions of kindness I've ever read.
The first time I read it, though, I didn't quite read all this into it. I think I was still sobbing my eyes out over Calypso's plant and Poseidon picking favorites and the whole happy Jackson family birthday party thing. But after. When I went back to it. When I basically converted myself to shipping Percy/Nico with a hypothetical 'what if' fic. Then I realized how important and monumental this scene was, and I also realized, with a squeak of fangirly glee, that FIRE ESCAPE IS CLOSE ENOUGH TO A BALCONY RIGHT? Because any pairing that has a balcony scene, especially with flowers? LEGIT.
I have feelings about that scene. They are totally legit analytical feelings and have nothing to do at all with the fact that this is the first physical description of Nico's sexy new appearance, including his HAIR BEING LONG, which most people seem to forget about. Collarbone, people. It's grown out to his collarbone, and I choose to believe he hasn't cut it since, so it's quite long by the time he dons his toga.
Warning: These will not be entirely factual (though really, that word and mythology have some serious bad chemistry going on) but, rather, told in a humorous and/or meaningful way. I'm telling the myths as I see them; as I interpret the spirit of them. And, occasionally, the 'trololol subtext' interpretation. Just so you know.
saw this from etacanis and I'm so doing it. Going to use this post as an archival/planning post, and there will also be the tag!
So, you (should) know by now that I have a tag calls 'books give me too many feelings' - and while a lot of time I express those feelings as A:SLKJF, I am really going to take this blogging challenge as an opportunity to expand on said feelings and get into why I have these reactions to books and how the movement of fictional characters in prose is so wonderful. So.
In addition, these posts will be public for now, possibly locked at a later date but until then, feel free to share them.