10 years ago, I was just beginning to learn how to use a computer. I joined a forum of a brand I loved at the time (supposedly a safe area for young people to hang out online, but, er, let’s just say it was educational), exchanged emails with some people, and started using MSN Messenger. This was when I first started talking to Adi.
Adi Boten was just one of the many people I met through this forum, but for some reason, she’s the only one whose story I remember from those days. I say “her” but don’t remember entirely what gender she/he was. However, considering the forum we both frequented had an eye-straining background colour of #FF66FF (later a more subdued #663399), I shall presume Adi was a girl.
I don’t fully remember what Adi was short for, if anything. I have a strong feeling her name was Adelle, as the name “Adelle,” exact spelling, keeps popping into my head. Then again, it could have been something completely different. I will never know.
Here’s what I remember of her. Adi was either in her late teens or early twenties. She was Israeli and in university, training to be a doctor (I think). She was just like my other friends in that we’d discuss friends and family, TV shows, music, and gossip about celebrities. But there was a difference. I started talking to her just as the 2003 Gaza-Israel conflict kicked off, and she just so happened to be living in an area where lots of fighting was going on – obviously, she told me the exact area, but I’ve forgotten since then. She’d occasionally tell me about the deaths, bombings, and how she felt about the situations. Checking up on good old Wikipedia today, her accounts match up perfectly to the times she mentioned them to me. Of course, she could have been repeating a story on the news, but these were very specific things that I can still recall even to this day.
She, my first, best internet friend, gave me a firsthand account of history as it was happening, a firsthand account of the Gaza-Israel conflict from the eyes of a young person.
I lost my computer and internet connection some time after I first started talking to her. It was to be expected; my Windows 95 machine lasted longer than I ever could have hoped. When I finally got a new computer and internet access again a year later, all my MSN Messenger contacts and all the email addresses of my friends from that forum were inexplicably deleted from my Hotmail account. Back then, I guess MSN were really strict on purging due to inactivity. That, or they had really shitty databases at the time, because now, MSN forgets nothing. I just logged into an email account I hadn’t been on since 2008, and everything was still there, ready and waiting should I ever decide to come back.
Anyway, all my sent and received emails and all my contacts were gone. And, to top it all off, so was my forum. I think the people who ran it finally saw that it wasn’t the safe haven for kids they’d originally planned it to be, and replaced it with some weird treasure hunt type thing aimed at attracting even younger kids that wasn’t popular at all. Shortly afterwards, probably through lack of merchandise sales, the brand failed and the entire website was pulled offline. After all, the forum was the sole reason I continued to bug my family into buying these products, long after I lost interest in the designs they were selling.
But I digress. The closure of my forum happened before I got back online, so what hurts me the most is that I never got the chance to say goodbye to any of the people I’d met through there, Adi especially. I’ve always had an excellent memory when it comes to website addresses and emails, so I attempted to add her email address and a bunch of others I remembered at the time back to MSN, but to no avail. Emails bounced, and many of the accounts were either inactive and had stopped IMing completely.
All these years later, the email I still know off by heart, firstname.lastname@example.org, no longer exists. Emails sent to it bounce permanently, and I’m left wondering why. I want to know if she ever finished her studies, where she’s living now, or whether she’s settled down and had a family. All the little mysteries in life.
I like to think she’d be impressed at how much I’ve changed over the years – after all, if a fully grown person can put up with and (actually like conversing with) your annoying self when you’re a kid, then they’re probably worth having around when you mature and aren’t so annoying.
I know there’s a chance that she might not have been real, or even if her name was actually Adi Boten. I will never know how much of what she told me was true or whether my brain has filled in the gaps over the years, or whether it was a story the person behind her was making up as they went along.
Nevertheless, I will remember her forever.
It’s been 10 years now. If you ever talked to Adi through email@example.com, are a friend of Adi, or on the off-chance you ARE Adi (SQUEE!), please contact me. I’d love to hear from you, whether it’s sharing memories of our mutual friend, telling me that my memory’s whack and she can’t have told me any of these things, or simply just a hello and an update on what she’s doing now. For me, the time I knew her is like a story that’s only been half told, and I’d like some sort of ending, and closure if you will.
Hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Since I read Chapter 2, I’ve been to Myanmar and back, completely lost access to a decent internet connection, and started attempting to learn Thai properly this time. To be honest, I’ve been putting off writing about this chapter for a while now, because flicking through it a couple of weeks ago left me with a feeling of NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NEVER PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME READ THIS NOOOOOOOOO… You get the point.
And also because my Kindle app expired, and I can’t actually load the update or WordPress with my 10KB/s internet connection (damn my Thai ISP).
So, I’m currently in a SRS BSNS workplace, stealing their Wi-Fi, making futile attempts to hide what I’m reading on my massive laptop screen because, well, let’s just say I’d rather be caught reading 50 Shades of Grey in public. Oh, the things I do for bad literature.
We leave Rammi and Tavon and whoever else is important to this story for a while, and get to meet someone who is obviously the bad guy of this story. His name is (Master) Alrick, LOLZ, and Chapter 3 begins with him sexually harassing some poor girl called Janna, who wisely runs away before this Alrick guy coerces her into sleeping with him. But Alrick’s not disappointed for long, as some other girl called Celeste that he’s already taken up the ass walks in immediately after and tells him she wants to be fucked. Alrick starts fantasising.
Desire slammed into Alrick like a fist. He’d fuck Celeste’s virgin cunt and then ream Janna’s virgin ass! His cock bucked like a wild thing and his balls burned for release.
Um. No. Just… No! I do not want to imagine dicks bucking like anything, let alone as if they had minds of their own, completely separate from their owners!
But as we’re not even past the first page yet, it soon becomes clear that Ms. (Mrs?) Ross is playing a game of “How Much Can You Gross Out Rammi in a Book Chapter?” In this universe, these Veil Keeper girls have “mystic shields,” that protect their virginity. How? By zapping every dick that gets close to their private parts. Yes, these girls walk around with fucking tasers strapped to their genitals.
The mystic shield reinforced a Veil Keeper’s hymen during the first two years of training. Through trial and error, Alrick had discovered what he could and could not do with these mystically guarded virgins. Generally their clits were unaffected, but occasionally the shield was powerful enough to protect even that delightful little nub.
It gets worse. This Celeste girl walks in to tell Alrick that she’s passed her final exam, so her mystic shield has been deactivated, and he can penetrate her at last, which leads to the following passage:
If she were lying about her mystic shield, he’d whip her. He’d ventured too near her core three weeks before and her shield engaged. The blisters on his cock had finally healed—it was not an experience he cared to repeat.
Parting her folds with one hand, he eased his middle finger into her cunt. Tight, hot, wet. No stinging pain, no searing intensity.
There is nothing that can accurately describe my reaction upon reading “the blisters on his cock had finally healed.” The mental imagery… DO NOT WANT DO NOT WANT DO NOT WANT TO READ THIS EVER EVER AGAIN. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. JUST NOPE.
But of course, since we’re only a few pages in now, every sentence appears to be more horrifying than the last one. They’re interrupted by another guy called Brodi, and instead of doing what any normal couple in the throes of passion would do when caught, i.e. cover up, Alrick asks Brodi to join them, like he’s inviting him for high tea at Buckingham Palace instead of asking him to start a threesome.
I honestly have no words to accurately describe how terrible everything is from this moment on, so I’m just going to pull a bunch of quotes from the book and you can read them while I go and throw up in the nearest corner.
“You will pleasure Brodi with your mouth until I tell you to stop.”
“But, Master Alrick—”
“You will do as I say or we both leave. Make your decision now.”
Are you fucking kidding me?
With his fingers still wet from her pussy, Alrick impaled her ass. She cried out and he chuckled, closing his mouth around her swollen clit. Her anal passage squeezed him so hard he feared she’d bruise his fingers.
Brodi pulled out of her mouth, his cock gleaming in the candlelight. Alrick felt his own cock jerk at the sight.
He coated his cock with her cream and pressed against her entrance. “You’re very wet, but you’re also tight. This may sting a little.” Grasping her hips, he thrust to the hilt in one forceful lunge. She screamed, back arching off the altar. Alrick stiffened, afraid he’d hurt her badly, then felt the deep pulsations ripple around his cock.
And, we end on one last piece of bullshit for you, courtesy of Aubrey Ross here.
If he hadn’t felt her hymen tear, he would have doubted her virginity.
EDIT: JUST REALISED I’M MISSING A MASSIVE CHUNK OF THIS CHAPTER. CHECK BACK IN A COUPLE OF DAYS FOR MORE CRAP.
After the thrilling non-cliffhanger of Chapter 1 where Rammi threatens to end his life but we know she won’t really because his name’s in the blurb and she’s going to fall in love with him and live happily ever after, it is finally time for us to meet this mysterious hero, Tavon. This is a good thing, because I’m really starting to want to tase fictional Rammi where it hurts.
Everyone at the moment thinks Tavon is a murderer as he’s accused of killing two people called Kayrin and Larot, but because this is romance and erotica with a guaranteed happy ending, we know he isn’t really.
I should really stop stalling by writing long paragraphs of text, but I’m just trying to put off my impending doom for as long as I can…
Chapter 2 opens on Tavon on Dimension 939-3, Earth, teaching future Life Keepers how to drive. How… Twee. Or rather, he’s showing off that he can drive and they can’t yet. Maybe it makes him feel more masculine?
“Driving lessons will have to wait until you’ve mastered some of the rudimentary skills of being a Life Keeper.”
How… Condescending. In this world they can make clothes and traps and other stuff appear out of fairy dust that comes from their palms (called “iede,” for some reason). I THINK THEY CAN HANDLE CARS.
He’s waiting for some Veil Keeper to fetch them and take them back home, so he clearly doesn’t know at this moment that he’s wanted for murder, or I bet he’d be running for the hills right now.
Blah blah blah, some argument with a trainee called Maling that I don’t care about enough to write about, blah, then Tavon senses that someone is watching them. No prizes for guessing who.
And so, after a scene where everyone throws their iede fairy dust into the air, the inevitable “guy is struck by woman’s beauty” moment happens, and I’m already bored.
The Shadow Keeper ended up on her hands and knees. Despite the Shadow Keeper’s short, spiky hair, the sleek black leather garments revealed lushly feminine curves.
My Bob Dylan-obsessed English teacher would have had a field day with this quote. The submissive position, the leather uniform associated with BDSM, the fact that the relationship between these two characters at the moment revolves around one trying to gain control over the other… Someone needs to srsly write an academic essay on this for their English course. MAKE IT HAPPEN.
Of course, it seems “Rammi” wouldn’t be “Rammi” without a case of the “too soons.” By that, I mean inappropriate thoughts of people when first meeting them. Thankfully, Rammi’s nipples haven’t hardened yet, but Tavon is already mentally fucking Rammi. Hey, you win some, you lose some.
Tavon crouched before the struggling Shadow Keeper. His hands itched to explore every swell and hollow outlined so temptingly by her uniform. Her raised her head and felt surrounded by her liquid-silver gaze.
OH, COME ON. The people in this world really need to seek medical help about keeping it in their pants, and not having instant sexual fantasies about a person you’re meeting for the first time.
As for “liquid-silver gaze,” I am thoroughly sick of the “liquid [insert precious metal here to describe a normal colour] eyes” trope. I will tase the next person I personally know to use some variation of “liquid-silver gaze” or “liquid topaz eyes” (blerg, Twilight) in their writing.
All in all, this wasn’t such a bad chapter – all that’s happened is that Tavon’s finally met fictional Rammi, my poor literary counterpart.
Maybe it’s because there’s minimal dialogue, which Aubrey Ross seems to be extremely poor at, maybe it’s because the plot’s actually moved forward in this chapter, or maybe it’s just because everything she writes from now is gold dust compared to the horrifying prologue.
Also, it might interest you to note that I’ve just started Chapter 3, and it’s full of such mindfuckery (not in a good way) that I might have to retract my previous statement about nothing being as bad as the prologue. However, my thoughts on it are going to have to wait until I get back from Myanmar at the end of this week – yes, I need a holiday to recover from this bullshit.
After the “HOLY FUCK WHAT AM I READING???!!!” prologue of yesterday, I’ve recovered enough to begin tackling Chapter 1. And, this time, I won’t be alone, because I have some exciting news for you all! Because Chapter 1 in its entirety forms the publicly available excerpt online, you can read it at the same time as me! Lucky you!
…I know, you can feel my sarcasm, can’t you? Anyway, I’ve put this off for long enough, so, without further ado, it’s time for us to read Chapter 1.
The timeline has moved forward 15 years from the event of the prologue, and Rammi (who shares my hair colour, goddammit) is now a Death Keeper. I hope this means she kills people for a living, but I’m not going to be surprised if the reality is much more disappointing. She’s in a very boring meeting about something, involving a ton of characters arguing and whose names I’m not going to even bother trying to remember. Then, just as shit starts to get real, this sentence appears in the middle of the page:
A stunningly beautiful woman, the High Priestess had always made Rammi uncomfortable. Beauty as a whole held no appeal for Rammi.
She dealt in reality, justice and death.
What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Is fictional Rammi butt-ugly? Do the beautiful people in this world not care about reality, justice, or DEATH? Why is this random collection of words supposed to mean anything?
It soon becomes apparent that Tilden Delmont, the Death Master, Rammi’s boss and presumably the father of the hero we haven’t met yet, Tavon, is mad. Why is Tilden Delmont mad, if anyone still cares?
He’s mad because his son, Tavon, is accused of murdering some couple with weird names, Kayrin and Larot, who are, in all likelihood, related to one of the people arguing in this meeting.
Fictional Rammi, of course, is assigned to retrieve Tavon from wherever he is – after all, this forms the basis of the entire plot of the book – which again leads to some more hilarious attempts at writing.
“How much force is acceptable if I must subdue him? Search and destroy is more my style.”
It may be just the after-effects of having to suffer through 50 Shades of Grey, but that just hints at foreshadowing of an abusive relationship where the male has all the control…
I DUNNO. Why am I even trying to analyse the wet dreams of some surburban housewife, anyway? Basically, Rammi’s dialogue sucks monkey balls.
After mentally fapping over the High Priestess’s beauty again, she complains that she’s an assassin (yay, so she does get to kill people!), and makes more terrible dialogue that is meant to serve as some sort of vaguely thrilling cliffhanger for us. It fails.
She spoke the words for him. “I will learn what drove him to murder. Then I will end his life.”
And thus concludes Chapter 1. Not as horrible as the prologue, I must admit, but that’s probably because she didn’t get fucking raped this time.
Subscribe to the RSS feed so you know when I read Chapter 2, which immediately begins with the words “Master Tavon,” so we know the plot’s getting serious. Well, as serious as it can get before the inevitable sexytimes happen.
I must admit, it’s my fault that my expectations of this book haven’t started off very high. I’m starting to read this straight after finishing Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed by E. L. James. I’ve had enough of fictional sex scenes to last me a lifetime, yet I’m still reading this book. BECAUSE SOMEONE PAID FOR IT, GODDAMMIT.
My limited Google research into “Rammi” has shown me that this is the fifth book in a series all about some mysterious supernatural world where’s there’s some shit about Light Keepers and Death Keepers and Shadow Keepers, none of which I know anything about. I’m just thankful there aren’t any vampires involved.
After I ignore the following reader advisory (because I am not reading four potentially terrible books to get to this one), let’s begin!
Reader Advisory: While the romance between Tavon and Rammi is a standalone story, the background story is best enjoyed when the books in this series are read in sequential order.
Hah, you wish.
This is where we meet the mysterious Rammi Severn. JSYK, I’m so happy her last name bears no similarity to mine, or I would have flipped some serious shit and/or have been too grossed out to continue. She’s floating about in water for some reason, and seems to have the power of making her clothes appear and disappear at will because of “iede,” some word the author thought was magical-sounding. I will admit, that power’s pretty cool.
After that though, shit starts to get freaky. The slightest mention of male company has caused, and I quote, the following reaction:
Her nipples hardened against the sheer fabric of her underdress.
All because some guy called Gaverel has said “Did you miss me?” to her. I don’t know what weird world that that Rammi lives in, but this Rammi, i.e. me, would think it was a cause for concern if her nipples hardened every time her boyfriend said hi to her.
Anyway, Gaverel is butthurt because Tavon, the guy mentioned in the blurb and the obvious hero of the book that we have yet to meet, got given the Life Keeper job instead of him. Much is made of the fact that Tavon is the Death Master’s son and that Rammi is the Shadow Keeper’s sister, even though I still have no idea what any of these are. Because Gaverel’s so butthurt, he wants sex!
BUT… In this world apparently they need some liquid (Solid? Gas? Pretend I care) called “Pim Noctar” given to them by the elders to turn them into bonded mates… FOR LIFE. Without this mysterious”Pim Noctar,” it’s not going to be a ‘true bonding.’ This sounds more like two dogs getting it on rather than actual people, but ah well.
Despite all of this, Rammi is eventually coerced into sexytimes with this:
His cock rose long and proud from its golden nest of hair, his heavy balls promising virility.
Rammi, as your real-life counterpart, NO. Just… No.
Of course, predictably, the second she starts to show some restraint and common sense and realise that she doesn’t have to have sex when she doesn’t want to, she gets beaten down. Literally.
To sum up: RAMMI GETS FUCKING RAPED BY HER BOYFRIEND BECAUSE HE’S BUTTHURT ABOUT NOT GETTING A JOB.
After being raped, she finally fights back, doing something with the powers she supposedly has that causes Gaverel to collapse and almost die (good, the arsehole deserves it). The one good thing in this entire prologue, I reckon.
But of course, she doesn’t kill him fully, and because of what she’s done she has to become a Death Keeper. CONSEQUENCES WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.
So, from what I’ve read of this so far, fictional Rammi gets aroused way too quickly at even the hint of male company hinting she’s desperate for sex, attempts to kill guys that rape her (don’t mess with this chick), and is being punished for self-defence. This whole scene plays out like an author’s warning that premarital sex is bad and you deserve to be punished for partaking in it. Sigh. It’s only the prologue, and already there’s way too much misogynistic, privileged crap.
I hate this already.
Join me next time as I delve into Chapter 1 and wonder why I thought reading this was a good idea in the first place.