Several years ago there was public outcry against Karen Marie Moning when she rehired a registered sex offender to narrate the role of Barrons in the audiobook version of the (then) latest installment of her Fever series.
I too was disgusted, but I didn’t understand the shock a lot of her long-term fans were demonstrating . . . How is it surprising that someone who would subject her adolescent heroine to the sexual advances of centuries-old men (for lack of a better term) would also employ a man who behaves similarly in real life? #notsurprised
I’m referring to the events of Iced, of course, the first installment of the Dani spinoff, and while the specifics are unknown to me—when I heard the rumblings, I refused to read it—the consensus was clear: the interactions were inappropriate.
Oh, some readers were more bothered than others, but even the readers who weren’t offended used the speculative nature of the series as grounds for leniency.
And that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and if they’re not bothered, they’re not bothered. *does not judge*
BUT. As far as I’m concerned: NOT fine.
You: Y you beat this dead horse?
Me: B/c that horse is apparently not dead.
I was feeling graphic novel-y a week or so ago, so I logged into my NetGalley account and checked out the Read Now options (b/c unless they’re DC or Marvel, pretty much all the graphic novels are Read Now).
At first glance, The Scarecrow Princess by Federico Rossi Edrig appeared to be one of the most promising. It was recommended for fans of Coraline and Over the Garden Wall, and I’ve always been drawn to myths about crows, so I downloaded it immediately.
It did not go well.
Meet our charming heroine, Morrigan:
You: What a brat!
Me: I know, right?
But she’s only fourteen, and we all had our moments at that age, didn’t we? Still, just b/c I can identify the developmental stage doesn’t mean I want a heroine who embodies it.
You: How can you be sure she’s fourteen?
Me: B/c she’s clearly identified as such.
SO. No room for misinterpretation. Which made it all the more upsetting when this happened about halfway through:
That these kinds of comments are made to an underage child by an adult are upsetting enough, but what really chaps my hide is that THE AUTHOR KNOWS EXACTLY HOW INAPPROPRIATE HE’S BEING.
Look at her reactions. These aren’t off-hand comments written by some socially awkward middle-aged man who doesn’t understand the implications of his villain’s overture, HE KNOWS.
One can only hope that the knowledge has been extrapolated, but as I’ve already pointed out, art. Imitates. Life.
And hey, now that we’ve got the sexual harassment of a minor on the table, what’s a little underage drinking?
I repeat: this graphic novel was recommended for fans of Neil Gaiman’s CORALINE, a children’s book, the recommended age level being 10+.
That’s not even the worst of it.
In the final conflict, fourteen-year-old Morrigan is stripped of all of her clothing (i.e. completely nude), in the presence of Bad Guy-the-Pervert, who is ALSO NAKED.
And no, I’m not posting the screenshots of that (though I do have them), b/c it feels like it’s a hop, skip, and jump away from child pornography, which is a FELONY.
When I finished reading THE SCARECROW PRINCESS, I went back to NetGalley to skim the reviews already posted, but I was baffled to discover that not one of the other nineteen listed reviewers raised any concerns.
I take that back, there was one mention: a LIBRARIAN said that she felt the nudity was gratuitous, but she still gave it four stars, b/c the color palette was evocative of autumn which “feels appropriate at the moment.”
*bangs head against wall*
How is this acceptable? How?
What about you? Do these things turn you into a RAGE beast as well? What are your RAGE buttons?
Yeah, I agree. This is so not okay. And this is a book for children? Just no. I have a couple of rage buttons, this being one of them. Any form of rape or threat of rape bring another. That’s why I couldn’t forgive the male lead of first grave on the right.
It’s been too long since I read FGotR, so I don’t remember what you’re referencing, but I never read book 2, so . . .
When the male romantic lead first met the main character he threatened to rape her if she didn’t leave him alone. She knew he didn’t mean it but that doesn’t make it okay.
Molly Mortensen recently posted…Hello world!
I got this one to review!! 🙁 I now feel that just with your pictures and what you have said about it that I will not like it. Although I use the term “creative juices” all the the time so that doesn’t bother me, but some of that other stuff does! 🙁 I can’t believe others don’t feel the same way, sad world we live in.
Stormi Johnson recently posted…Book Review: Archangel’s Viper by Nalini Singh
Yeah, I went ahead and edited that part out. It detracted from the real issue, and as you pointed out, it’s a personal peeve.
As for reviewing it yourself . . . Some things deserve a hard pass . . . Your call.
Wtf…are you sure all those reviews were not by friends? I mean I would at least expect one other person to be appalled…or are people just weird
blodeuedd recently posted…Audio Review: Will’s true wish – Grace Burrowes
I didn’t think of the friend angle. That’s a possibility. But sadly, so is people are weird.
I love the Fever series but tuned out the moment I felt the story was done (when Dani’s story took over). At that point I’d written off the series and moved on to other things. Not because of what went on in her book but because the snippet of her character I’d read in the “original” series was more than enough for me. I had no desire to be stuck in her head for hundreds of pages. So, I had no clue about the audiobook narrator controversy. As for this graphic novel, I’ve seen some pretty cringe worthy things in manga before and I feel like this follows their lead. I don’t know why the author felt the need to write her as a 14 yr old girl though. That’s rather disturbing. :\
Kristin (Book Sniffers Anonymous) recently posted…Review: Sheet Pan Suppers Vegetarian by Raquel Pelzel
When ICED came out, it wasn’t a priority for me b/c Carmel’s series, but yeah, Dani’s voice was also a contributing factor. If it’d still been Mac’s story, I’d’ve read it on release day, or begged the eARC from Carmel, but Dani . . .? Not so much.
Which I’ve been grateful for ever since. Want nothing to do with that.
I had similarly raised eyebrows the other night when I read this one (I also got the ARC). There was a lot to like and then it got creepy out of nowhere. It left me feeling squicked out and disappointed. While I will ever cry out in defense of female sexuality, thus a teen girl was masturbating would have been worthy of no more than a shrug in a novel, but this was both in a visual format and commented on by some creepy old … thing/guy. It was very icky. I’m curious though what a non-American would make of the nude bits though, I always find our hangups about nudity=sexual skew differently with Europeans which might explain some of the passive nudity.
I don’t have an issue with female sexuality either, my problem is with an adult making an underage boy/girl/trans/whatever uncomfortable by referencing that sexuality inappropriately. Same goes for the nudity. Given our culture, the nudity in what is meant to be a book for children would be a little weird regardless. BUT. By itself it’s not offensive. Cumulatively, however . . .