Title: Iron Shadows
Author: Steven Barnes
This is, hands-down, the worst book I have ever read. The prose is awful. The plot is awful. The issues are treated in offensive and gross ways. The pacing sucks. I'm trying to think of something nice to say. ...wait for it. Nope.
This is how bad this book was: my roommate was suffering from severe motivational issues. She was feeling depressed and it was hard to get stuff done. Oh, but I found a way to get her to do anything. I just needed to start reading my book aloud. And I'd hear shrieks of how evil I was... as she was going off to do what she was supposed to.
Originally, I was reading the book aloud because misery loves company. When I say this book has purple prose, I am not kidding. And we're not just talking about over-flowery descriptions. Sometimes, it's a severe wtf moment. This guy doesn't need to just put down his thesaurus. He needs to pick up a fucking dictionary!
People do not walk in a "moist fashion." A young girl escaping is not a "trouper" unless she is putting on an act. A 747 is not an "iron bird." Whose legs have "golden contours" when they're vacuuming? Here. Try this:
She was in her early thirties, with an oval face framed by a cascade of small soft blonde ringlets. Her habit of peering out from behind them sometimes made her resemble a mischievous child peeking through a fence. Presently concealed beneath a powder pink jump suit, her broad shoulders and narrow waist rivaled those of a National-class rock climber or competition swimmer. Neither of these were her discipline of choice. Her taut frame seemed knitted of pure energy, forever on the skittish edge of unraveling. Her birth certificate read Portia Musette Juvell. Since her mother's death a decade before, she rarely answered to anything but Cat, and invariably signed or spelled her first name "Porsche."The bolding is not my own. There's random bolding strewn throughout the book nonsensically. Sometimes right next to italics with no meaning.
Oh, and if you have triggers? Just don't read this book. I don't know what your triggers are, but I can promise you they're covered somewhere in here.
If I were going to summarize this book... Well, let's try.
Women are hateful and full of the need for revenge. They use sex to get what they want, but also to destroy men. Asia and Africa are magical places, unlike Europe. Martial arts! PTSD means you're broken and only magic can heal you. People who have been paralyzed for most of their life will do anything if only you could heal them. Gender essentialism is awesome! Something about tigers hunting together. Incest is complicated.
Oh, and then there was the scene where a yarn bomb tentacle monster anally rapes a man.
You know, can you just trust me? Just trust me. Don't read this. I promise you'll be better off not trying. Please. Listen to my words.