Gillian Key: The Hateread – Key to Conspiracy, Chapter 17

93% of the way through the book. What do you want to bet it’s going to end right in the middle of a plot point?

Dr. Evil making air quotes around the word "plot"

It’s a safe bet.

Gillian and Trocar go off to investigate the dampening field, whatever the fuck that is. I’m starting to wonder if it has something to do with Gillian’s personal humidity index from the first book. Just a whole field of wet pussy. That’s an attractive thought, isn’t it?

Gillian brings her gun “just for shits and grins,” though that seems more like a wise move than a whim. It just goes to show you that any time Gillian does something intelligent, it’s completely without thought or by accident. Then there’s a few weird paragraphs that seem to serve to emphasize that Gillian, as a human, is completely inferior to Trocar’s elfliness.

They stumble across part of the dampening field, which was apparently done by “several lesser magic users,” which I assume rules out Dracula as the perpetrator. What the actual fuck IS this thing?a man looking confused and text that says "I have no idea what's going on"

The scene also bounces between Trocar’s POV and Gillian’s, sometimes sentence to sentence, so I can only assume the author has abandoned the idea of third-person POV and has just gone full omniscient. One thing I will give this scene is that it contains some halfway decent forward momentum and description. They can both tell something is up and go to investigate.

Then they’re accosted by goblins. How fun, another species we’ve never seen before that’s introduced as an afterthought. And…wow, you guys. Gillian actually tries diplomacy. Diplomacy. That doesn’t involve knives or guns. And she’s actually polite! Who are you and what have you done with our Gillian?

a movie style poster for invasion of the pod peopleThe goblins want to know what they’re doing lurking around. Gillian can’t come up with a response because, as history has shown us, she’s an inept liar. This has always seemed really concerning to me considering she is/used to be Special Forces, but I think we can make an educated guess that there’s an extremely low bar for competency in Special Forces operators in this world.

Trocar steps in and basically says they’re out in the middle of the woods to fuck, but he says it in the creepiest way possible: “I think the reason should be obvious to such connoisseurs of Human delicacies.” Did he really have to refer to her like she’s a slab of fois gras? I liked him all right for about 30 seconds, but he’s doing his damndest to paint himself as just as big a dickbag as every other penis-wielding sentient being in this world. The goblins know they’re lying and start grabbing their crotches (????), which is apparently a signal to attack.

Trocar acquits himself well with his various s00per assassin weapons, and Gillian apparently fights with her gun. In the pitch-dark. Ah, there’s our Gillian. Welcome back from Pod People Land. She doesn’t hit anyone she doesn’t mean to hit, of course.

plot armor

What follows is a short but actually halfway decent fight scene that’s interrupted when the werewolf pack comes in and saves the day. Because of course we can’t have a fight scene that Gillian actually wins without any help. I’m increasingly convinced that everyone but Gillian is the protagonist in these books. It’s like an extended volleyball game and she’s the ball. She’s just a fuckable prop, and everything else is either abusing her or saving her.

So after the needless deus ex lupus machina, Gillian and Trocar go to Aleksei’s meeting with the Fey. There are some general exclamations as they show up, and Trocar tells them they’ve been investigating the dampening field. There’s a weird exchange between one of them, who Gillian calls the Purple Prince, and Trocar. Purple’s response to this announcement is to say, “And how might we have prevented this, Grael?” I had to read this several times to make sure I wasn’t somehow missing something. Maybe this is a reasonable response, but not knowing fuck all about the dampening field, I don’t know what “this” is or what needed to be prevented.

Aleksei tells them to STFU, and Purple asks whether they want war with the Twilight Court. What? This whole conversation is like talking to a Tea Party member, just half-baked nonsensical accusations that are only tangentially related to anything that’s going on.

“Hey, maybe we shouldn’t cut Medicare funding–“


“…what? Dude, no, Medicare doesn’t have anything to do with–“


There are apparently some brownies (the Fey kind, not the kind you eat a whole pan of accidentally on purpose) there, which the other Fey don’t appreciate. Gillian preaches at them all about cooperation, etc. etc. Apparently the pod people have reclaimed her. She talks about stopping evil and one of the Fey asks her how evil is defined. Apparently this is now a Philosophy 101 class? Philosophy 101 with the Tea Party. Sounds exciting.

I’m pretty fucking bored right now. Here’s the short version.

teal deer (tl;dr)

All the Fey sign the so-called Osiris Doctrine, that thing from a couple chapters back that Helmut said could start a war, but it probably won’t because these books have absolutely no follow-through. Just like the last book, entirely new characters show up. Apparently Purple Prince is actually a prince and his name is Finian. New dude is named Dalton.

After the whole business with the doctrine is concluded, Gillian and Aleksei go back to Rachlav Central. Aleksei has a new name for her, angelina. When she falls asleep, he reflects on how awesomely awesome she is and how she’s conflicted between her “nurturing side and her confrontational side.”

Gillian wasn’t domesticated; she was restrained for the moment by her own volition. When he left her, she was muttering in her sleep–growling orders to someone or something.

And…on that weird note…the book is over.


If Gillian wrote a book, this is exactly how it would be, unplanned and poorly executed while trying to explain and justify itself every step of the way. I’m more and more convinced that this was all written in one long narrative and someone chopped them up into books blindfolded with a machete. Do all of them end in such random, nonsensical fashions? The main action has been over for a few chapters. At least, I think so, because I’m still not sure what the main action was even supposed to be.

Rather than closing the book there, we have to squeeze in some unrelated forward motion in the last couple of chapters that should really be in the next book. I can only assume that this is some kind of attempt to draw the reader in for the next book. Oddly, it’s effective if only because now I’m frustrated and kind if pissed that the story has been cut short and I want to keep reading because I think, this time, maybe this time, the book will actually carry through a plot to its conclusion.

a picture of a beach with text that says "dream on, dreamer"

Fine, I’ll fucking shell out the eight bucks for the next book. You got me, Talia Gryphon. You got me.


Expect radio silence from me for the next few days. The new Dragon Age DLC releases tomorrow, and complete silence will descend over our household while we play, only to be punctuated by shrieks of dismay as Bioware inevitably fucks us over. I don’t plan to surface until I’ve had enough of that beautiful abuse.


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