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Steelwhisper

Steelwhisper

SPOILER ALERT!

Great Writing, Problematic Characters

The Last Rebellion - Lisa Henry
Read in September, 2013


The first thing to say is that at the time I felt very sorry for Jo *Smut-Dickted* that her prompt hadn't been filled. So learning that Lisa took that prompt, and wrote her the story she wanted, is quite fabulous!

The next thing I have to state is that this story is very well-written, hits the points asked for in the prompt at an inordinately high degree and is well-constructed. Going by Jo's reaction to it, it's pretty much exactly what she wanted.

Still, I can't rate this. If I want to stay true to myself, it would end up with a much lower rating than this deserves as wish fulfillment, as a well-written story and as a freebie. Can't do that. Now let me explain why ;). No it wasn't the rape or the torture at all.

Within moments of starting to read this I disliked Rho so much I was gnashing my teeth. It didn't get better either, I never came to like him, I did not respect him, at times I wished he'd die already, so it would be over and done with. Yes, that's really not the reaction to have towards a torture victim!

I do know of course why my reaction was what it was. I'd already noticed this in the prompt, but when put into writing it became exactly the thing I can't abide: bullshit masculine "values" straight from the American masculine box. I can't say how much I loathe the mindless, useless, idiotic macho stance as displayed by Rho without getting too far into lavatory language. To me there is nothing heroic or admirable in the way he behaved. It's simply a sign of his distinct stupidity and lack of self-awareness, as well as a complete absence of solid values or intelligent reactions.

As a result I disliked him, couldn't latch onto why Miller was fascinated and attracted, and was rather unmoved by the story itself. This, I need to state again, has nothing to do with the writing, or plot. It's just that I can't admire someone like that, or even just like him or empathise with him.

 

I found Miller the easier of the two characters to relate to. He's an apparatchik almost straight out of the text-book, endowed with enough cold-blooded sadism to be most useful to any totalitarian society. You know the sort: they tortured political prisoners in the cellars of the Lubyanka, and managed concentration camps like Dachau or Auschwitz, being all good citizens.

 

The story itself did nothing for me, I'm afraid. I didn't consider it erotic, it didn't tickle any of my kinks, the non-con was far too mechanical and repetitive to reach me, and turning someone against their will needs to be accompanied by emotions to move me. And again, I was far too exasperated by Rho and his lack of logic and consequence to attach myself to the victim. Miller got what he wanted and that was that.

However, I'm really happy that Jo finally got her story!