5/31/17
THE THIEF
by
Megan Whalen Turner

Megan Whalen Turner has just released her book  Thick as Thieves, seven years after the last instalment of the Queen's Thief series. I have yet to read it (I shall do my best to remember to review it) but there are four other books to review while I wait. 

I'm going to try to steer clear of major spoilers, but I'm not very good at that, so tread carefully.  In the plot section, I have let loose what I believe to be a spoiler. 

If you don't want to read a long review: I liked it (unusual for me) and you should read it. The Queen's Thief is a series, but each book stands alone and does not leave you on an annoying cliffhanger. 


I'm feeling lazy, so I'm going to steal the blurb from the back of the book. 

"I can steal anything."
After Gen's bragging lands him in the king's prison, the chances of escape look slim. Then the king's scholar, that magus, needs the thief's skill for a seemingly impossible task – to steal a hidden treasure from another land. 
To the magus, Gen is just a tool. But gen is a trickster and a survivor with a plan of his own. 

First off, a YA book that isn't about a teenage girl is already promising. 

Setting

The book is technically fantasy, but very realistic fantasy. The place itself is made up, but with strong grecian influence. Turner's world building is impressive, and I quite like the mythology she made up for her world. Rather than just throwing about obscure sounding names, and vaguely referencing other countries, she provided different cultures with their own unique beliefs and interpretations of things. She wrote the stories of the gods, complete with different versions for people with different backgrounds. Instead of a bizarre and unlikely system of government, she went for something practical that actually made sense, and added to the historical feel of the book. I'm quite fond of it. I like my fantasy well thought out, full of background and history, practical, and VERY realistic. That doesn't mean there can't be elves and goblins, but they need to be realistic elves and goblins (ahem TOLKIEN). 

Plot

The plot is a simple plot, with complex sub-plots. Or rather, it is a simple plot, made complex by the characters. Everyone has hidden backstory and motives, and it messes with things. A plot twist is thrown in at the end, which I have heard people object to, but I rather like it myself. Allow me to explain, while trying not to spoil anything. The book is written in first person, from the POV of Gen, and he is hiding something from the reader. If you don't think that someone in first person is allowed to hide things from you, you may not like this book as much. I don't really care, as long as it is handled well. If you look back through the book, you were being told, all along. Certain things were never said outright, but it doesn't look as though Gen is deliberately hiding them. I like that, and it is actually pretty realistic. If someone was looking at the world through your thoughts, how often would they hear your name? I have run into the problem, when writing first person, of introducing my character's name and age, because it is weird if your character says things like "I, Reniseb, walked into the room. How fun to be 15." So if you have a book where none of the other characters know the person's name and origins, it is actually unlikely that you would find out, without forced exposition. 


Characters

Gen: I'm very fond of Gen. Like myself, he is small, grumpy, and sarcastic. (Although he doesn't like horses. Tsk tsk. I adore horses). He is very talented and clever, and kind of annoying (in a good way?). He is very childlike in a lot of ways, but also mature beyond his years. His arc, in this book, is excellent, and his character matches his backstory. I have read books where a character doesn't make any sense, given the backstory provided. For example, Someone who has had a life full of people being kind and loving, having major trust issues. A person's past shapes their present self, and if the two don't fit together, the character ends up rather weak and confusing. 

Magus: I have mixed feelings about the magus. In this first book, I like him, but in the next two, I feel like his character isn't exactly consistent. I dunno. I guess I like him. 

Sophos: To be honest, I really didn't like Sophos when I first read this book. In fact, I disliked him. He was too clueless and annoying. But during my first re-read, he grew on me. He is very young, after all, and had a rather sheltered upbringing, so it makes sense that he would be the way he is. Just give him a chance, readers. I think you will end up liking him. 

Everybody Else: All of the characters were complex, well-developed, realistic, and interesting. Particularly Pol and Ambiades. 

Objectionable Content

I can't really think of any, off the top of my head. With different gods, cultures, and languages, you end up with cursing that doesn't really have any connotations in our society. 

In Conclusion 

I'm quite fond of this book. It was well written, had good characters, good setting, and a good plot. It's a pretty short book, and does not take long to read. Engaging throughout. I really liked the way Turner integrated her mythological stories into the book (they also have bearing on the actual plot, which is cool). They were not at all forced. When people are camping in the middle of nowhere, what else are they going to do around the fire but tell stories? I would certainly recommend this to anyone who likes mythology and historical fiction, or thief-y mystery type things. 
 The Author
You can find my other reviews at: writeornotwrite.blogspot.com/reviews


5/24/17
~ RENISEB ~
Beautiful People: Parental Edition


I wanted to do Amenhotep III or Tiye, because they are my main characters, but Amenhotep's parenting is too weird to fit these questions, and Tiye's mom and dad are just plain strange. So Reniseb it is. (I may do this again with Tseskos, because I have been wanting to really delve into her childhood, but haven't gotten around to it yet). 



Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?
Her relationship with her father was fantastic. She was his pet, and he was her hero. Unfortunately, he is now dead. His position was sort of filled by her brother, but that is another story. Now her relationship with her mother is more complicated. Overall, it isn't great. Reni's mother had a boy for a first child, and that was all she wanted. A husband who loved her, and a son to dote upon, who could support them in their old age, and carry on the family line. Then a daughter showed up. Reniseb's mother does care about her, in an absent sort of way. After the death of Reni's father, her mother grew more absent, and completely ignored her. She barely speaks to her. Reniseb does not like her mother, is hurt by her apparent apathy, and is generally selfish, arrogant and obnoxious. 



Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence, and how has it affected their life?
As I said, Reniseb did know her father, but not for very long. She knew her mother, in the sense that she has always lived with her, but there has never been any kind of closeness between them. She copes with the absence of her father by setting her brother up on a pedestal, and making him fill the role of friend, brother, and father all at the same time. Naturally, this young man (while VERY mature for his age) isn't quite up to that, and fails her pretty often, though he tries his best to be everything she wants. One of the main ways this has affected Reniseb, is to make her long for some sort of strong, heroic male figure in her life, preferably a romantic one. Hence falling in love with Ukani, because he "rescues" her. 

How did their parents meet?
Ah. Well. It isn't really romantic. It was an arranged marriage, and they happened to fall in love. They met when they were kids, were friendly acquaintances, were married as teenagers, and ended up happy. 

How would they feel if they were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?
Reniseb would consider that that made her a selfish fortune-hunter. Which she is, in a way. So.... Reni, you aren't turning out like your mom, but you are turning out to be what you THINK your mother is. 
From Reniseb's point of view, her mother selfishly married for money, dragging Reni away from everything that she loved. The reality is that her mother gave up her home and life with her beloved son, to marry a man she didn't like, so that her children would have a better chance of success in the world. Yahmose wouldn't have to support a mother and sister, and Reniseb would have a step-father with money (increasing her chances of good marriage). 

What were your character’s parents doing when they were your character’s age?
Falling in love while trying to figure out how to parent a son. 

Is there something they adamantly disagree on?
The parents, or the parents and the child? Well, Reni's mum and dad disagree on the value of a daughter. Reni's mother considers her an unnecessary addition to the family, who serves no purpose (sort of true, in a way). Reni's father considers her an adorable treasure. I don't know that Reniseb and her mom have had the chance to adamantly disagree on anything. They never fight. Her mother doesn't really care enough to fight. She ignores Reniseb. If she says no to something, she doesn't enforce it, and it is up to Yahmose to keep an eye on Reniseb. They disagree on moving Reniseb from her brother's house, to the home of her mother's new husband. That is the only thing Reni's mom has ever forced her to do.  

What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?
I'm starting to realize that Reni was perhaps not the best choice for this beautiful people. Um. Since Reni's mom didn't really raise her, let us say one of the things Yahmose found difficult. It is worth noting that Reniseb never really took the time to consider that Yahmose had also lost his father, and his best friend. Yahmose always struggled with bringing her up the way his father would have wanted, while also not making an enemy of her. He felt sorry for her, and wanted her to be happy, and was far too indulgent as a result of this. He was never able to deal with her obstinate nature, because he always ended up caving out of pity. 

What’s their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?
While her father was still alive, Reni's mother cared for her more. Not because she cared about Reni, but because she loved whatever her husband loved. Reniseb clings to her only happy memory of her mother, which was a day spent with both parents, and no Yahmose (he was off with friends). Her father was out of work that day, and the three of them spent the entire day wandering around the city, enjoying time together. Oh, most vivid, not happiest. Well, her most vivid memories of her mother would always be the most recent ones. 
Now her FATHER, on the other hand... tis rather sad actually. The thing she remembers MOST clearly is the only time she ever fought with her father. She doesn't remember what it was about (something stupid, she hated being told no, even if it was something she didn't really care about), she just remembers yelling at him, and his face being sad and disappointed. 

What was your character like as a baby/toddler?
As long as things were going her way, she was very sweet and kind-hearted. She was always willing to share, as long as she wasn't told she HAD to. She sang to herself, and investigated every nook and crannie she could find. She often hid in obscure corners (or boxes, if they were big enough) and had the household constantly worried that she would wander out into the streets and get lost. 

Why and how did the parents choose your character’s name?

Reniseb was the name of Reni's deceased paternal grandmother. Her mother didn't really care what she was named, so her father did the honors. 

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5/3/17
Old friends

I think the worst thing about not writing for a long time is that you get out of touch with your book. You have to reacquaint yourself with your timelines, your plot, and your research, and just hope that you still like how it all looks. 

There is a moment of fear when you first sit down to write after a long absence, and you don't know what to do. You look at your last sentence, and realize that you have no idea what is going on, and you feel like the worst parent/writer in the world. 

Worry, because what if this isn't your book anymore. What if you don't like it. What if you no longer love these characters. What if you were away so long because the book just hasn't got your interest anymore. What if you can't just keep writing.

It's like seeing someone who you used to be good friends with, before you grew apart and stopped talking. It's slightly awkward, and you realize that you remembered them as something different from what they are now. They surprise you with all the ways they have been changing, while you were half asleep or staring at a wall. 

Reading back through everything you have written so far, cringing and smiling, and every now and then forgetting that this was your own work. 

And relief, because yes, this is still yours. Yes, you still belong with this book. You still love these characters. And the greatest part of all, you realize, reading through it almost with the eye of a stranger, that it isn't that bad. There are typos, and errors, and things that you are going to change. Cringy moments (so many) and parts that make you wonder if you can ever write anything well. 

But overall, as you were reading, it felt like a book. A book that you would read. And when it stopped, you weren't bored or disgusted. You wanted more. You wanted to finish the story. 

So you start to write, oh so slowly. Stopping so often to go check something. Re-learn things you once knew by heart. Re-read all the random historical information you had gathered, and remember that you love it. 

Write in a frenzy for a couple days, and slowly peter off. But this time, you aren't stopping because you are beginning to be too busy. You're stopping because school is almost over. You need to finish it, and finish fast. Because you have a book to write. 

And for some reason, you feel that this time you won't lose touch again. And who knows. Maybe you will. Maybe you won't. Maybe this is just another summer of writing, followed by a year of guilty forgetfulness and the feeling of failure. 

But this draft is different. This is the only draft you have ever liked. This is the only draft that has felt like your book. Something you needed to write, and not some pathetic attempt at "writing" for the sake of saying you did. This is the only draft that you loved so much you couldn't bear the thought of ever giving it up. 

So maybe, just maybe, this time will be different. 

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5/1/17
Lexicon by Max Barry

First off, I do not recommend this book. There are some books where I am so fond of the writing/characters/story etc., that I am willing to sit through some profanity and immorality. But there were really no redeeming qualities in this case. It was a page turner, to be sure, but not in the "oh my I don't ever want to stop reading this" way. More of a "GAH IT'S ALMOST OVER SO CLOSE HAVE TO FINISH PLEASE END PLEASE END" kind of way. 

Spoilers ahead.
Now then, this is really just a rant, so it's very confusing and I have tried to sort of break it up but I don't know how well it worked. So um....don't waste your time on this book, it is terrible and lame. Its author did write a book called "syrup" so I had low expectations going in. I think perhaps a second read would better explain something, but I'm unwiling to endure it again.


PREMISE AND PROBLEMS THEREIN



An unusual school teaches it's students to use words to manipulate the minds of others. Emily Ruff is earning her bread with card tricks in the street, when she is recruited by the school. The graduates of this school take the names of dead poets. The headmistress is Charlotte Brontë, the man in charge of everything: Yeats. "Emily becomes the school's most talented prodigy, until she makes a catastrophic mistake: She falls in love."

Will Parke is kidnapped from an airport bathroom, by two men claiming he is 'the key to a secret war'. 

The premise is quite interesting, and that was what made me want to read it. When you say a word to someone, it triggers a neurological reaction in their mind. They translate it into meaning or memories or something and it effects a change, however slight, in them. The idea of this book (I think) is that you could highjack that, if you said the right words. At the school you learn how to quickly discover a person's 'segment' (a very specific personality type) and use the correct words to manipulate that person. Intriguing. 

Unfortunately, all of the parts I would have found interesting were just cut out of the book and replaced with sex, cursing, and profanity. Boring, to say the least. 
The initial idea that had attracted me (the power of words), turned out to be handled weakly and not given much time in the spotlight. Emily starts at the school having no idea what is going on, and you think that you will learn with her. But no. It just skips ahead to her understanding everything and all you get is "everything works just because". 

All of the explanations are weak and incomplete. 

The Broken Hill catastrophe: 
Towards the end of the book, you learn that the organization that runs the school was in posession of a bareword, and was testing it on people. The bareword is a piece of wood with a word written on it that makes anyone who sees it susceptible to command (there are so many things about it that don't make sense). Yeats compromises Emily/Virginia W to make her steal the bareword, go to Broken Hill, write the words "kill everyone" on a piece of paper, and stick it on the bareword. The people who saw it started to kill other people. People came to fight and help, and ALSO saw the word, and started killing people. That is the mysterious Broken Hill thing, that is spoken of throughout the book.

Inconsistencies and Foolishness: 
Wil/Harry is supposed to be immune to language manipulation, but somehow Emily comes up with the words to control him. There are a number of problems with the whole language thing but here are my main ones: 

  • You learn that you can discover someone's segment with a few simple questions (which is already weak and stupid, as far as I am concerned). But nothing is ever said about how this works. What sort of answers point to what. Then later in the book, Emily figures out someone's segment without saying a word to them (she does this multiple times). 
  • It says somewhere in the book that it is easier to resist compromise (being controlled by words) in a learned language. The only way this makes sense, is if the words have no power if there is no meaning in your mind that corresponds to them. In a language you knew nothing of, there would be no way to control you. Yet the words that are used to control the people are nonsense. They are written in the book, and they are gibberish. So there would be no meaning associated with them in anyone's head, and they would have no power. It would have been cool if they had connected the powerful words with some ancient language. Perhaps "the first language' or something like that, but it is gibberish. 
  • Emily teaches herself 'words' by saying syllables of nonsense to people to see if they react. That way she pieces together words on her own, without being taught. When she is trying to compromise the supposedly immune Wil/Harry to save his life (and make hime forget her), she just does that, and comes up with the words to control him. You have to use different words for different segments of people. So you could say that Wil/Harry is a segment that no one has ever discovered words for. BUT the bareword was able to control ALL segments, so that argument falls through, since it didn't work on Wil. Either way, this is stupid. 
  • Emily/Woolf goes through an elaborate process to make a copy of the bareword. She can't look at it all together (but if parts of spoken words work, so should parts of the bareword) so she takes pictures, and somehow manages to piece it together without ever looking at it all at once. A few things.... someone had to carve that word in the first place, and so someone way back when, had all that power and we just don't talk about it. If it is really just the markings themselves, and copies work just as well as copies of an actual word would, how is it that the 'organization' never even TRIED to make a copy? They have had this for a bit, and been testing it on people. Surely they would have thought of this.
  • Yeats makes Emily/Woolf release the word in Broken Hill as a test, I believe, or something like that. He wants to see it at work. He is crazy. But other than that, his character is never given any purpose or drive. He had already been testing on people, he knew what the bareword would do, and he could have had world domination by now if he'd wanted it. I found him to be unsatisfactory. The sort of villain who has no motivation, and the only explanation given for them is "they're evil, they're the bad guys, that's why". WEAK!
  • At the end there is a random memo thingy that is, I believe, a weak attempt to explain random things, but it is just digging itself in farther. It says that bilingual people have increased resistance to compromise. "We've theorized that when the brain is keyed into one language, words from another are more likely to be first-stage filtered as nonsense syllables-not actually processed as words, i.e., carriers of meaning". So "vartix velkor mannik wissick" is NOT likely to be processed as nonsense? There is also a scene where someone is being compromised in arabic, and the words are written in arabic. So each language has it's own random nonsense words. It's a wonder that babies are accidentally compromising people all the time. 
  • Ignoring all the problems with how the language thing works, and accepting that it JUST DOES, how on earth is anyone immune to it? There is no explanation for that, it is stupid, turns out to only be true when convenient, and is dumb. 
  • The memo also says "we believe a bareword belongs to a fundamental language of the human mind–the tongue in which the human animal speaks to itself at the basest level. The machine language." This SORT of holds up, but I'm not convinced. I don't know much about how the body works, but I'm pretty sure it communicates with itself using something more akin to electricity. Hence all the sci-fi in which people are mind controlled using something that plugs into their brain and messes with synapses or some such weirdness. The idea that hearing things could cause your brain to translate and react in a certain way was a cool premise that I was interested in. But if you see scratches on wood that correspond to no letters or words or anything like that, it would be received as an image, not a word. 
  • ALSO, if the bareword is a fundamental language of all humanity, having nothing to do with personality, language, upbringing or ANYTHING but the fact that they are a human animal, how is Wil/Harry immune to it? Is he not human? Turns out he actually CAN be controlled with regular 'words' by Emily, so that makes the bareword immunity even more ridiculous. 
  • When someone dies, anyone they have compromised is apparently free from their orders. This makes no sense. To compromise someone, you say the right words, and they are in your control. Whenever you want, supposedly, you can tell them what to do. You have highjacked their brain, it now believes that it wants what you want. But there is no upkeep required. You don't have to re-compromise the person every day. There is no connection between your minds that keeps them on track. So why would they be free if you died? The highjack is finished. It's too late. It's like saying that if you shoot someone in the head, they will be totally fine once you are dead. 



STORYTELLING/WRITING AND LACK THEREOF


Predictability: 
I'm not sure if this book was trying to be mysterious or not. Because if it was, it failed miserably. I figured out almost at once that the two different storylines were also in different times. 

So there is the story of Emily Ruff; her mentor, Eliot; and the love of her life, Harry. 
Then there is Wil Parke, his mysterious kidnapper Tom, and their powerful enemy, Virginia Woolf.

Tom is Eliot, and the whole Emily thing takes place BEFORE the Wil story. I thought that it was so obvious, it must have been intentionally so, but it's hard to be sure. 

Eliot, would of course be TS Eliot, so I was just looking for the only person whose name began with a T. Brontë is mentioned in the very beginning, so the minute I saw someone named Charlotte, I knew who that was. 
Wil Parke is, of course, Harry. This was a conclusion I came to because I didn't think the book had it in it to have very many developed characters. So I was looking around in the Emily storyline to see who Wil Parke could be, and when I saw Harry I thought "oh that's him". 
The way the book was being "oooooo so mysterious" about Virginia Woolf, had me convinced that she and Emily Ruff were the same person, almost at once. The fact that Yeats was the real bad guy took a little longer to figure out, but I never actually believed that it was Virginia/Emily. 

The only thing that really had me mildly interested was the Broken Hill catastrophe. You find out early on that Wil is the only survivor of Broken Hill. Eliot wants to find out how, and hopes to learn from him what happened at Broken Hill, and use him to retrieve the bareword. I actually had no idea what had happened until I was told. 

Timeline weirdness: So. Most of the book is okay in terms of time. Emily and Wil are intercut, but Emily is pre-catastrophe and Wil is post. Then there are some flashbacks, which are very confusing, but whatever. 
And then, towards the end, it just goes all over the place. Emily has reached the point right before everyone in Broken Hill dies, and then suddenly there are other POVs introduced, and their time settings are ambiguous and then there is Eliot doing things in the Emily timeline while in the Wil timeline, he is having flashbacks to the Emily timeline. I had no idea when anything was happening. Looking back through it, I think that Mr. Barry was also confused about the timelines. 

MORE plot holes and unexplained stupidness: 
The flow of the book was choppy, had plenty of plot holes, and random unexplained scenes that seemed to serve no purpose. 


  • It begins with Wil waking up to discover that there is a needle in his eye, and Eliot is doing something to him. Then suddenly he is in an airport, getting off a plane to go to his girlfriend, but his eye still hurts. He is then kidnapped by Eliot (again?). The first scene is NEVER explained. How was Wil captured the first time? How did he then escape, to get off a plane and have no memory of the event? What was the point of sticking a needle in his eye (if you are probing someone's brain, that is not the way to do it). And then for no particular reason, Eliot can mysteriously read his mind. 
  • It is near-impossible that NO ONE but Wil/Harry survived Broken Hill. If you are on the edge of town with your family, and people start killing everyone, maybe dad goes to try and help, but his family is told to get in the car and leave. Plenty of people died who HADN'T seen the kill order, so they were in the same position as Wil/Harry, who had seen it but not been affected by it. There is no reason why he should have been the only one to make it out. 
  • We also learn that Emily/Virginia Woolf saw a reflection of the bareword, and so while it didn't completely take over her brain, she has a kill order in her head, and a need to obey it. She focuses this on killing Yeats. He takes control of her (in an incredibly stupid scene), and the idea is that if he dies, she will have nowhere to focus her 'kill everyone' order and won't be able to control herself. So at the end of the book, when she is reunited with Wil/Harry, she tells him she loves him, and then compromises him (remember, she learned how earlier) and tells him to kill her, because with Yeats dead, she is too dangerous. Cut to them being together, she isn't dead, and isn't trying to kill anyone. No explanation. Nothing. 
  • Yeats realizes that Eliot isn't really on his side, but doesn't compromise him. He thinks Eliot powerful and useful, but lets him go. Why?
  • At some point, Eliot decides that Wil/Harry really doesn't remember who he is and says "She made you forget".  Which doesn't make sense, because Eliot still firmly believed that Wil was immune, and that was the main reason he wanted him. So if he thought that Wil could be made to forget, why would he keep him?


There were many many many more things like this.


CHARACTERS



Emily Ruff/Virginia Woolf: 
In my opinion, this book would have been MUCH better if Emily HAD turned out bad. Because for the brief moment between figuring out who she was, and coming to the conclusion that she wasn't actually a villain, I thought to myself "oh wow, I'm really interested to see her journey from good to villain." But the route that was taken was "everything bad she ever did was because Yeats was controlling her (having used the power of words, which is a power that leaves you wondering "why doesn't Yeats have EVERYONE under his control, he only has to talk to them once and they are good to go?). So Emily seemed liked she was going to have a cool character arc, and ended up with nothing. 

Tom/Eliot:
This guy was definitely the most developed and believable character. I almost liked him. His journey, from 'stickler for the rules' to 'people are going to die I have to do something' was interesting. His feelings about Emily, who he had grown to care about (as a daughter, nothing weird), and how he dealt with that while believing that she had turned. I did not, however, like him enough to care when he died.

Harry Wilson/Wil Park: 
So, I get that Wil has forgotten who he was. He doesn't know that he is Wil, he doesn't know that he was in love with Emily. But his entire personality is completely different from that of Harry. Which is odd, considering that they are the same person. I sort of liked Harry, and I didn't like Wil at all. And his relationship with Emily was weird, because he knew nothing about her, she couldn't reveal her actual self to him, lied to him a lot, and somehow they had a healthy-ish relationship for a long time? And then later, as Wil, when he remembers loving Emily, he just doesn't seem to care that she lied to him and isn't really the person he thought she was....oh yeah, and killed an entire town. Against her wil (har har) but I feel like that would be a little hard to get over.

The Villain: 
As I said, he is just sort of there. Has no backstory, motivation, compelling traits...anything. I didn't even hate him, I mostly just forgot about him, and when he was mentioned I was completely indifferent. With a good villain, I am anxious for them to be stopped, put in jail, killed etc. But I just didn't care. There was no feeling of triumph when Emily broke free from his control. No 'oh no' went through my mind when he first compromised her. There was no sense of foreboding when I realized that he was going to do something. I didn't think "oh he is so creepy", though I guess maybe he was. 

Everyone else:
Everyone else felt like a random stick figure or plot device, I don't recall any other people in this book.  


OBJECTIONABLE CONTENT 

The entire book. 
F*** is used basically every page. The entire book was riddled with gratuitous immorality, profanity, blasphemy, cursing, stupidity, plot holes, senselessness, bad writing, lame characters, un-compelling backstory. It is also a quick read, because there is such a lack of actual content and a poorly executed plot. 

I believe I made a couple terrible puns out of the silly spelling of Wil's name. It was kind of irresistible.
Also what about Cecilia? It seemed as though Wil actually loved her (or maybe he was compromised as immunity only counts half of the time). She is my favourite character.

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