Ahoy me mateys! Grab your grog! Here is book 3, the conclusion, of the third installment of the 3 Bells trilogy showcase.
the talon of the hawk (Jeffe Kennedy)
So it’s time to Abandon Ship in a 3 Bells trilogy showcase. A first for this blog. This novel was the third book of the series and it started out okay even though the plot was kind of slow. I liked the character of Ursula and the book introduced a love interest in Harlan, a mercenary. I mean it was blatantly obvious that they were going to get together. Their banter in the beginning was silly but fun. I was at least interested in how they eventually would solve their differences and move forward. I also loved that Dafne continues her appearance in the story. I wouldn’t mind a full story of Dafne’s early life frankly. The sorceress added in was a bit boring as a plot device but I was willing to see how it turned out.
However I reached the half-way point in my kindle version and had to stop reading. The story dealt with rape and incest and just made my stomach unhappy. I knew I wasn’t going to like this part of the story because of the hints earlier in the book but was surprised at the intensity of displeasure it brought. I mean it irked me so much that I was done.
Spoiler and more ranting behind the cut.
I mean, I thought the sorceress bit was very unnecessary as King Uorsin was crazy enough on his own. But seriously, for Ursula to have to have sex/rape as a 12 year old at the hands of her father was just plain horrible. Uorsin was a terrible enough person in physically punching his daughter in the face and treating her like crap that he didn’t need to have rapist thrown in to make him an unpalatable creature that had to be removed from the throne. Ursula was struggling with ideas of loyalty of turning against him when THAT is in her past? I mean really, had she been in that situation, she should have NO guilt about it.
I am just plain tired of rape being used as a plot point to show the badness of the bad guy. Why couldn’t Ursula just struggling with feelings of insecurity like she did in the other two books? Why couldn’t she just realize that the lack of stable management of Twelve Kingdoms was enough to have to change and reevaluate her position on her father? Why couldn’t her father just be further going down the spiral of madness and paranoia that he seemed to be doing anyway? Or that he always treats all people with contempt and anger being enough for a change in the ruling status quo?
Why do books need to include rape at all as a plot device? I am not saying that rape cannot be used as a plot point. But it is a serious issue. I am NOT saying that the author made light of the situation with the character of Ursula. But it was NOT necessary to the plot. She had already set up the story in a way that the rape and trauma could have been removed and the plot would have not suffered for it at all. It would have potentially made the book one I wanted to finish.
One of the authors whose books I enjoy, John Scalzi, had a rather thoughtful piece on this issue called “A Useful Moment from a Mentor” which discusses why he doesn’t include rape scenes in his novels.
Scalzi’s blog also comments on another blog post by Robert Jackson Bennett entitled “Why are you writing a rape scene?” and its followup post “Three things which shaped how I think about writing about sexual abuse” which were also very worthy of thoughtful reading.
The rape description in this book ruined the novel for me and also the trilogy in a major way. So overall my recommendation is to skip all three and find your romance elsewhere.
Now the tradition of the 3 Bells Trilogy is to end with a song to celebrate another successful showcase. Because this post deals with issues that make me unhappy and are serious, I am skipping the song because it makes me feel wrong to be celebrating this series . . .
Normally I would post a summary of the novel here. But as this is the conclusion disturbed me and I have spoilers listed here, I am going to leave it at that . . .
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