SPOILERS PROBABLY EVERYWHERE
New day, new book, new bottle. Only one today, because I wanted plenty of time to get over it before I went to the Baptist singles’ small group in the evening. I actually got about seventy-five percent of the way through the second book just on one bottle. Quite an improvement on the first book.
The tensions between Satanists and Christians (the other religionists have supposedly joined with the Christians, but it’s not like we ever see them) have escalated to somewhere between aggravated rioting and outright civil war. Burning, beating, bombing, and murdering on both sides. The kicker is that it seems like quite a bit of this on the Christian side is motivated by the Lust-lady disguising herself as an angel [drink!] and/or the Virgin Mary.
Yay for some nuance, I suppose, but I have a sneaking suspicion that all this is leading up to is Calvinism because total depravity.
Oh, and we have a come-to-Jesus call right the first chapter, right the fuck outta nowhere, but at least Carver is self-aware enough as a Christian author that the response this would evoke from a nonbeliever like Patric is a wat?
To back up and summarize, Patric was pulled out of the underground tunnels by a bunch of secret Christian…commandos or something, led by this dude named Claude, who fought in Jerusalem and blahblah. They want to use him to stir up shit against the Satanists. He’s not so happy with this, but it’s not like they give him a choice.
Bonus, turns out Claude’s daughter, Christine, had been banged by Patric in a “consecration” during a rebellious phase that she had instantly regretted [drink!]. So Claude would not be opposed to murdering the shit outta Patric.
Honestly, the “rebellion” trope in Christianity mostly looks like a cop-out to me, a refusal to engage with the problems that young people might have with the church. And the parts about sex really emphasize how much Carver did not think out hedonist mentality, because he takes the Madonna-whore dichotomy and the valuing of virginity for granted as universal (spoilers: they’re not). Also monogamy. Seriously, why would manslut Patric here get bent out of shape over his fiancée’s baby not being his, when the very concept of hedonism implies that monogamy was the first thing chucked out the window? (Also, I’m still puzzled why they have a baby in the first place. You don’t even have to have a prescription for birth control in France to get it. But whatever, plot must be prodded onward.)
New in this book is Tourec’s replacement Crusader, Julian, who is less Scar-like and more…….Puritan-like. I dunno if that’s the word I want. Julian’s a bit of a puzzle—more straight-up kookoo, really, but it took me awhile to get a grasp on his variety of kookoo. He hates the “coward” Christians who don’t want to fight nearly as much as the Satanists, and he wants to purge them from the ranks as well. I kinda want to give Carver a cookie for his reversal of the Crusader trope, but making the Crusader a bad guy is an established trope of its own already, even if it’s rarely, if ever, deployed in Christian fiction. Half a cookie?
So Julian goes around blowing up shit and stirring up shit, and the Satanic council are planning to establish him as New Pope in order to build up Christianity again so they can infiltrate it and make it deliciously evil from the inside [drink!]. I don’t think it’s really a cookie moment for the Satanic council to disregard organized Satanism in favor of fucking up Christianity from the inside, because that is already a Thing.
And Patric makes his escape from the Christian commandos with Christine when their hideout is discovered. Claude forgives Patric before he presumably dies [drink!], but I like how Christine is still majorly conflicted about Patric and what Patric did to her. And Patric feels guilty, but it seems like a weird kind of guilty to me when Carver bases it on the Madonna-whore stuff that has more traction in Christianity than hedonism.
Satanic tropes: 27
Run-of-the-mill Christian tropes: 15, but the individual tropes are more major in this one than in the first.
Sexist, racist, -ist: 3, which are mostly sexist stuff like Patric calling Natasha a slut in his head (anger isn’t really enough to wave it away for me) and some minor infantilization of female characters. Also, the descriptor “exotic” is used to describe Christine’s beauty, and I’m gonna hafta ping that one as mildly racist because for all intents and purposes, “exotic” just means “nonwhite.”
But that pales in comparison to the worst piece of bullshit I have yet beheld in these books. Carver wants us to believe that a highly skilled assassin prefers a Glock. They’re in Europe, there’s a fine selection of European gun manufacturers to pick from, and this author picks an American piece of ugly, stamped-metal crap. I take solace in the hope that this transgression was merely in ignorance.