Gillian Key: The Hateread – Key to Redemption, Chapter 2-3

Chapter 2

Despite feeling insulted by Aleksei’s accusation of prostitution, Gillian insists that she has “tremendous compassion” for prostitutes. She has compassion for them but doesn’t want to be put in the same box. “There was a world of difference between what they did and what she would be required to perform as a licensed sex therapist.”

woman flipping the camera off enthusiastically

You self-righteous asshole.

This is everything that’s wrong with how people treat sex work. It reminds me of a scene in an episode of Dexter where Debra is talking to her sex worker contacts and says something about being a fucking whore. One of them says, “What’s wrong with being a fucking whore?”

Fucking nothing, that’s what. Pitying sex workers, which is essentially what’s going on here, is not different from vilifying them.

We’re given a treatise about how legit the “Miller-Jackson Center for Intimacy” is, just to make absolutely sure that we know this form of sex therapy is totally on the up-and-up and is nothing whatsoever like prostitution. Finally, in a perfect case of the pot calling the kettle an asshole, Tanis goes to talk to Aleksei about his behavior. He belts Aleksei, too, which I actually find kind of funny. Now apparently Tanis is the Defender of Gillian’s Professional Credibility, and he’s suddenly turned into a reasonable person to boot. He calls Aleksei out for his bullshit in a way that is completely opposite from his previous characterization. Remember when Aleksei was the flaccid but more reasonable one and Tanis was the temperamental asshole to match Gillian’s temperamental asshole?

Dear Talia Gryphon:

i want clarity specificity and consistency and i want it now

I know. Too much to ask.

Aleksei realizes the error of his ways, and Tanis flounces away. I can see this going two ways: 1) Aleksei apologizes and the situation is never brought up again, or 2) he’s going to sulk and keep Gillian at a distance for the rest of the book because he is a fucking hideous man child who can’t handle his guilt over his shitty behavior.

Meanwhile, Gillian is chatting with elves, who apparently call themselves the First People.

a bear holding its paws up and text saying "how about no"

Is this some skeezy appropriative bullshit about First Nations, or is it just more tone-deafness? I’m guessing it’s the latter, but that doesn’t make me feel any better. To add to this, “They were warm, open, very wise, but retained a freshness and purity about them…” Maybe I’m looking too much into it, but it stinks of some noble savage crap.

After speaking to her noble savage friends, Gillian decides she doesn’t want to sleep in the same bed with Aleksei, so she…goes outside? Wha?

First of all, from what we’ve seen, Aleksei hasn’t spent a single night with her. Second, I thought vampires had to sleep in the ground. Third, if the first two aren’t true for some reason, isn’t Rachlav Central a giant fucking manor house? Surely there’s a spare bedroom or a couch she could crash on? Instead, she wanders out to spend the night cuddling with Trocar in the elf camp. Who even knows.

Trocar is Really Mad at Aleksei, by the way, because he’s So Loyal to Gillian.

And…uh. That’s it for that chapter, I guess.

Chapter 3

Helmut shows up with Gillian’s new clients the next night. Aleksei rolls in to greet them because he has to interfere with everything. After being a passive-aggressive dick, he wanders away and Gillian meets her clients. One of them is Samuel Frank, whose voice is “deep and thick with a hollow fluid sound.” How is a voice both thick and hollow?

Oh. Oh, you guys. It’s Frankenstein’s monster.

woman wearing an "are you fucking kidding me" expression

Gryphon recounts the events of Frankenstein with what we’ll call some poetic license. Now, Frankenstein is one of my favorite books, and I find it personally insulting to have it used in such a manner, especially because the monster’s name is Samuel Frank, for fuck’s sake. He apparently needs treatment for depression and body dysmorphia, which is pretty accurate, but given that Gillian is the worst therapist in the world, I’m sure these things will be treated with the same gentleness and sensitivity you’d use to clean off your grill after you burned your steak on it.

The other client is…you guessed it…Bullwinkle, who’s actually a fey under a “polymorph spell.” Oh boy, this one sounds even more exciting.

Finally, there’s this guy–

phantom of the opera

–er, Erik Perrin Talbot Garnier, who “prefers to be known as ‘Perrin Garnier’ and addressed as ‘Perrin,‘” according Helmut’s unnecessarily complicated explanation. He looks basically exactly like the Rachlavs, which is to say he’s a hulking sex behemoth with long hair and a poet’s shirt, and he’s gorgeous and “purely beautiful.” Does she ever get attractiveness fatigue? I mean, does she look at average dudes now and throw up because they seem so fugly in comparison, or does the astonishing beauty of every penis-wielding creature in this world get boring?

Gillian wonders why someone this gorgeous needs a sex therapist, because apparently attractive people have no sexual problems. As a side note, she has one more client who’s apparently super private. This could be of no possible significance, could it? I’m betting it’s Dracula in surprise.

Perrin’s emotions seem to be expressed by his cape, which “flutter[ed] gently, almost docilely, as if he were afraid to make any wrong moves and risk her disapproval.” I lol’ed. Is the damn cape a separate character or something?

Did my American readers ever watch Eureeka’s Castle when they were little? This reminds me of Magellan the Dragon and his tail:

Apparently Perrin gives off mad sex vibes, and of course he’s creepily turned on by her: “hard, hot, pulsing, aching-for-release aroused.”

a little girl freaked out by an overflowing coke bottle

She also wants the D real bad, though no mention of her personal humidity index this time. She thinks “Dear, sweet, timid, inhibited Perrin was one lapsed ethical moment away from being a sexual predator.” Wait, what? Because he’s sexy, he’s verging on being a sexual predator? This is the other side of the spectrum of the abhorrent sexual politics in these books. Men, especially sexy men, are inherently sexually dangerous, and if they don’t watch themselves really carefully, they’ll turn into rape goblins. Fucking GROSS.

Apparently he’s part Sidhe, whatever the fuck that means, but there’s something else and he’s hesitant to tell her. We’re told more about Gillian’s amazeballs empathy for no particular reason, because these are totally facts we should be finding out in the third book rather than the first, and then Perrin decides to tell her his family history. He’s the product of a gargoyle raping a fairy, who then abandoned him. He was raised by “gypsy players,” because why not add in some racial stereotyping, who made him perform for money. He hates himself because nobody ever wanted him.

He keeps on like this for a while because he feels safe with her, which I can only attribute to her amazeballs empathy, which has apparently improved quite a bit because I can’t imagine anyone feeling safe with her. He goes on to retell The Phantom of the Opera, and eventually she realizes that story was “true.” I fail to see how this situation requires sex therapy, but I’m sure we’ll find a reason. Oh, and apparently he’s suicidal too, because the situation wouldn’t be complete if there wasn’t an ultimatum on her head: fuck me or I’m dead.

Charming.

End of chapter.

Takeaways

I see we’re back to blatant pop culture wanking and boring talky scenes with no redeeming values. Is it too much to ask for cultural references that aren’t part of the western canon? OF COURSE IT IS.

This chapter:

a woman looking unimpressed and rolling her eyes

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