Born of Shadows | Sherrilyn Kenyon
Born of Shadows
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: The League #4
Tags: Space romance! Space smugglers! Warrior Princess! Spartan type society. Surprise royalty! Disguise! Running from the law. Have to spend the night in a hovel
Okay, so first of all, I can never remember the right version of this woman’s name. I keep on wanting to call her Kerrilyn Sherilyn. Kenyon Shenyon. Something like that.
Also, what is. Up. With. These. Women.
I’ve been trying to come up with a name to call the women Kenyon writes, and I think I’ve settled on Renn Faire Paper. Because these women are not just flimsy and two dimensional like regular paper. Noo, these are a cut above that.
These ladies are, no matter the archetype of species, paper that one might purchase at a Renn Faire, dyed pink with bits of flowers in the pulp, which is so poorly hand pressed that if the paper gets even the tiniest bit wet, the entire thing dissolves in your hands. A pink, perfumed, pulpy mess.
Is Sherrilyn Kenyon actually a woman? Does she know what it’s like? These weepy, fragile, clingy children spout maxims that are the space alien equivalent of “Men! Am I right, ladies?”
Yeah, wink at the camera, because your boyfriend is a benign chauvinist.
If you’ve noticed, this is the fourth book I’ve read, and it’s only now that I’m spouting such vitrol.
The difference? She’s an effing warrior princess from an effing matriarchal society.
Our heroine is the daughter of the queen of a Spartan-like militia obsessed alien society that treats men as property and raises women as warriors their entire lives. And yet she cries, and clings, and does the space equivalent of putting her hands on her hips and saying “men!” in mock outrage.
Okay. Hold up. I need to unpack this.
Spartan-like militia obsessed monarchy.
Because remember how well that worked out for the Spartans…
Just listen to these dumbass rules:
- Becoming queen is passed down the line, but you can also challenge to battle at any time to overtake the throne.
- If you are challenged or challenge, you must kill or be killed. The rest is disgrace.
- Men are kept as “consorts” or… idk, go somewhere? There was some talk of training camps, though that makes no sense because
- No man can be king, unless he defeats the queen in battle, in which case they can rule as equals.
- Oh, and by the way, no emotions other than anger! Or attachments! Because women hate both of those things!
This race of alien type things are apparently human (humanoid?), so if you apply the human biology, men naturally gain muscle faster than women, so they have brute strength cornered, yet they still combat train the men? And no man has won a battle?
Also, how many of your ruling class are you losing by the stupid challenge kill rule, not to mention combat and training injuries?
Matriarchal society where men are property.
Every time I hear “matriarchal society” my ears perk up. I am so hopeful that this one, this time, will be truly interesting, truly stepping out of our own patriarchal biases.
I know I shouldn’t, but I hope! I hope!
Alas, one does not meet a well thought out matriarchal society in space romance paperbacks.
I mean, men as property…?
And why is it always matriarchal + militia? Is that the only women can rule, if they are some Amazon knockoff?
Frankly, the Wonder Woman movie did it better (and they didn’t even do it that well).
We start heading into dystopian territory when their matriarchal society is just a hyper-masculine (performative) society with the sexes flipped.
Grrr! We only do war! Grrr! We hate feelings! Rawrrr! No sincere attachments! Argargarg! Every woman for herself! *rumble rumble snarl snarl*
(that’s what hypermasculinity sounds like in my head)
Not surprisingly, our girl doesn’t like this matriarchal society. With the hero, she finds REAL attachment, REAL love, REAL men! [enter wolf whistle]
Blerrrrrrrrrgh. WHY is this woman written this way? Why is her planet written this way? This is not a rhetorical question. You, person, who is reading this: imagine you write a character that lives her entire life in an Amazon-meets-Sparta-meets-Dystopian-Saga Society where women rule, and are trained from birth to be big strong kickass angry women. How would you write her?
Would you write her as a naive pampered princess full of self-doubt and tearful emotions, just waiting for a man to show her how to love?
Oh, you would?
This is awkward.
Long story short, KICKASSERY WAS NOT ACHIEVED. She was pretty much exactly like the other pampered frilly bitches from the other books.
And here is the silver lining!
BIRTH CONTROL DOES EXIST IN THIS WORLD. HOORAY TO SPACE ROMANCE PROFILACTICS!
Oh man, I should not be this excited about it.
Somewhere in between Exposition Via Snooping (Kenyon’s common mode of backstory) and Exposition Via Photos and Video of Past Events and People (don’tcha love how she just lays it out for you?), WhatsHerName found quote unquote “alien profilactics.”
Please give those two words to the creators of Rick and Morty. I would LOVE to see what they do with them.
However, it was not very exciting in this book. They were just mentioned as an aside to show how much of a man-whore our hero is.
Uh, cuz being prepared is bad, I guess.
Maybe Kenyon was just worried we would be preoccupied with the possibility of alien-herpes.
True to the series, they of course do not use any protection of the kind.
Surprise of all surprises, the epilogue ends with a baby announcement.
I just ranted a bunch on this.
I was going to continue with the series, but the above evidence shows I may not be into it. I will be taking a break from Kenyon for a bit. To perhaps return… never? We shall see.