Gillian Key: The Hateread – Key to Conspiracy, Chapter 16

Aleksei turns into a dragon again to carry Gillian back home, basically just to prove he can.

Gillian was entranced and not the least bit worried. Trocar was right. She did feel safe with Aleksei. Safe with a Vampire. How far had her standards fallen?

That’s an excellent question! Here’s your answer.

cliffgif

Though it’s definitely because he’s an abusive prick rather than because he’s a vampire, but at least she’s onto something.

I wonder how big he is at this point. Is he regular dragon size? The narrative doesn’t really say.

They arrive back at Rachlav Central, and strangely no one is all that concerned that Puff the Magic Vampire is flying in with Gillian. Tanis just tells him he shouldn’t have turned into a dragon where everyone can see him “Because now everyone will want a dragon.”

puff the magic dragon

Like…as a pet? Does he mean everyone will want to be a dragon? I don’t get it.

Everyone is licking Aleksei’s asshole about his “elevation in status,” but he wants to talk to Gillian. He says “Good evening” to everyone and she protests because, “Hello? Hammer Horror Films? B-movies? Bela Lugosi? Dracula?”

what the fuck am I reading?

Another stupid obscure reference to pop culture that could have been explained a couple chapters back when Gillian and Jenna were rolling their eyes at the other vampire saying the same thing. This shit is so disjointed I don’t even know what the hell anymore.

Aleksei picks her up, again, and runs up to the bedroom before “tossing her unceremoniously onto the bed.” This is what I picture, minus the smiles at the end.

girl bouncing off bed

Who the fuck does that to someone they’re ostensibly in love with? If this is the tone for the sex that’s certainly about to occur, I’m not sure I’m on board.

Oh, but of course it is. We have dancing tongues

dancing tongues and text that says, "Every day I'm shufflin'"

And Aleksei has suddenly developed the ability to light candles with a wave of his hand. In contrast to the narrative’s clumsy efforts to make Gillian seem more like a person and give her limitations, Aleksei is quickly leveling up into Grandmaster Gary Stu territory.

NSFW below because sex.

So she’s going to blow him. His dick apparently has a “velvet tip” because he’s fancy like that. “Aleksei thought he would explode when her mouth closed over him.” Are we going to see more hot jets?

willy wonka scene with cream spilling over everyone

Also, is he circumcised? It sure seems like it, even though 400 years ago in Europe he would have zero reason to be unless he were Jewish. But why should I expect any sort of attention to detail at this point?

lower your expectations

Scenes like this make me wonder two things: 1) how some of my characters would describe sex acts, especially the prudish ones, and 2) if I could write a scene like this just for the hell of it and manage to make it as ridiculous as these. I don’t know if I could match the majesty of some of these descriptions.

Aleksei can’t take it because she’s blowing him too good and he “drag[s] her up his body, trying not to be brutal.” I don’t know, that sounds pretty brutal. Like, did he grab her by the neck, or what?

So there’s more fucking, lots of velvet and canals. The only time it is appropriate to describe the vagina as a canal is when someone is giving birth. He wants to bite her and she decides to let him. Apparently Aleksei thinks this means they’re going to exchange blood and that this is Serious Yo. As he’s telling her this, “he [is] struggling not to roll her under him and plunge into her furiously as he felt fresh wetness bathe him.”

man singing "can you feel the love tonight" in the shower

Yum.

Anyway, he at least has the grace to tell her this is a commitment, which of course makes her freeze up. She asks if he can just take her blood, and he basically laughs at her and talks her into it. I’m sure this would be a more romantic scene in a different context. God knows in my future books there will be blood bonds and whatnot. I love that shit. But I am still completely unconvinced that Aleksei is even someone you’d want to spend the weekend with, much less the rest of your life. And now she’s going to bind herself to him permanently?

road sign that says "don't do it"

Apparently his tongue is made of rough velvet, which makes me think of how a cat’s tongue is barbed. One of my cats likes to lick ears, and a rough tongue sounds like the least sexy thing I can think of at the moment.

What follows is pretty decent description of sex and blood exchange. If you’ve ever read another vampire novel, you’ve probably read this scene, so it’s nothing extraordinary, but nothing that makes me giggle or gag for like three whole pages.

She says she thinks she loves him but he isn’t sure, and he laughs at her again. The narrative, which I assume is in his voice now (though it may well be the author trying to insist despite her having zero reason to) that she actually does love him and she’s just too scared to admit it. Seriously, what an overconfident dickbag. Could it be that she is actually not sure, either because you’re a complete twatwaffle or because she has commitment issues or for some other reason? No, of course not. You know her better. You fucker.

god, I hate you

She falls asleep, but he’s still horny. This angelic soul decides not to wake her up to fuck her again. Isn’t he such a nice guy? For whatever reason, he decides to leave rather than spend the night/day/whatever with her.

Gillian wakes up sore the next day, which is a pleasant surprise considering it’s not often you read about the aftermath of a hard dicking from Sex Behemoth Puff the Magic Vampire. Aleksei swings by and wants her to take her pants off again because his saliva has healing properties. Okay, that’s…actually kind of clever and sexy.

So they go down to meet Trocar, who asks if they’re ready to go. Wait…go where? Only now is there a vague paragraph of what they intend to do. I guess Aleksei is meeting some of his people and Trocar wants to “diffuse the dampening fields.” I’m confused…I thought the wards that were keeping Aleksei’s power locked up were already gone? If not, what the fuck is a dampening field? Who even knows.

Now Gillian and Trocar are…back in Dante’s castle?

am i the only one around here who doesn't know what the fuck is going on?

Oh, JOY, Dante shows up and wants to apologize to Gillian for raping her. He swears he’s never done it before and he’s Really Really Sorry and I think I might be physically ill just reading this shit. It seems Trocar has done something to him…? I don’t know what, but now he wants to make it right. Which she agrees to. Oh sweet Christ.

I honestly don’t know what to say about this. My personal philosophy is not one of revenge, and I don’t believe that many people deserve to be locked up forever based on their crimes. But as a victim of sexual assault, myself, I have a very hard time saying yeah, she should totally give him a chance to redeem himself. There is no “making it right” when it comes to rape or murder. He obviously had violent intentions toward her from the first time they met. It’s not something that just happened. Shit was premeditated, repeated, and happened over a period of time. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced his stupid rocks should have been dropped in the bottom of a lake.

Please do not tell me he is going to be redeemed and will become a fucking hero later on or something.

on a scale from one to even, i can't

I don’t know why this is happening.

THEY’RE STILL TALKING.

Oh my god.

Oh MY GOD.

Dante claims he was being controlled when he raped her.

animation of a person having a freakout and knocking a computer off the desk

NO GRYPHON DO NOT FUCKING PULL THIS FUCKING SHIT

Oh, and Gillian claims there was a “violation of [Dante’s] confidentiality” when Aleksei came in and that it’s her fault. IT’S HER FAULT BECAUSE SHE TOLD SOMEONE HE RAPED HER.

IT’S.

HER.

FAULT?

She has ZERO fault in this. NONE. Absolutely NONE. What confidentiality does this motherfucker have about the rape he committed against her? What fucking provider-patient privilege does someone have when a violent act takes place against the provider? I’m no expert, but it seems like common fucking sense that Dante shattered that privilege all on his own.

gollum yelling

We’re 92% of the way through this book. Thank god. My heart can’t take this.

Remember that thing where just when the book tries to kill me with a rage heart attack, it takes a swift turn into ridiculous and stupid?

road sign saying "hairpin turn 4000 feet ahead"

Grace, the other ghost, wanders in and instantly wants Dante’s ghost dick. This is also SUPER gross in its way, but I’m worn out from rage and all I can do is roll my eyes.

I’m so confused. Gillian is letting them have “Ghost peer therapy” all of a sudden despite the fact that Dante is an admitted rapist and Grace is enchanted with him or what the fuck ever. Every time I think Gillian could not possibly be a worse therapist, she proves me wrong. She has a paragraphs-long thought train about how he’s a narcissist and he’s looking at Grace “as if he’d devour her.”

THEN WHY DON’T YOU FUCKING STOP HIM?? Why are you letting him “make things right” at all? IS THIS REAL LIFE?

Grace asks to be released from the body she’s inhabiting and wants to stay with Dante.

i may vomit

Seriously though. Gillian is letting this woman stay with the man who raped her. She is as reprehensible a slimeball as Aleksei. This is not only unbelievably irresponsible, it’s fucking criminal. She even has the gall to admire Grace’s looks in her true form as a spirit and remarks on how she has nice tits what the fuck. Dante and Grace go off together, and Gillian talks to the owner of the mansion about letting Dante have group therapy sessions there.

!!!!

A rapist hosting group therapy sessions. WHAT IS THIS SHIT

In a summarized phone conversation, which really ought to have been written out, Helmut gives Gillian a pass for the alleged breach of confidentiality because Dante fucking raped her. Good man, Helmut. At least you have some goddamn sense. After a paragraph of drivel about Dante and Grace needing a new therapist, the chapter limps to a close.

Takeaways

The theme in Key to Conflict was that the conflict was generated by Gillian doing absolutely ridiculously stupid shit and the vampires being foam-at-the-mouth sexist. The theme of this book seems to be a scene that’s halfway decent immediately followed by a scene that’s some heinous mix of ridiculous and infuriating. Oh boy, I sure can’t wait to read that third one. I’m going to have to start keeping chewable aspirin next to my desk when I review this shit.

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