Friday, August 4, 2006

Where's My Gun?

OK, now this is a bad book. Colossally bad. As in, I lost brain cells and might never recover bad. Seriously, it makes me want to go back and reread Her One And Only (see below) because even with it's faults it reads like a damn Pulitzer Prize winner in comparison.

The Blonde Geisha by Jina Bacarr is a debut novel. This makes me feel a little bad since I'm going to roast it over the coals - but truly it is that horrifying. Seriously. I would not lie to you. Here it goes:

It's 1892 Japan and the heroine's father is an American banker investing in the railroads. Problem is he has pissed off the wrong man. Namely the Prince. Oopsie. He plans to toss his daughter in a nunnery and take off - but his plans are thwarted and instead he leaves daughter dearest at a teahouse run by his mistress geisha. This is dandy for the heroine since she fantasizes about being a beautiful geisha and falling in lurve.


Three years later Daddy is gone with nary a word. Heroine is a maiko (an apprentice geisha) and is so frustrated. I mean, who knew the geisha have so many rules and old-fashioned traditions! And she wants some lovin' like yesterday people! So she whines a lot. And giggles a lot. And basically acts like a 13-year-old.


Anyway she attracts the attention of The Bad Guy who wants to deflower her then kill her. But then the hero appears - a handsome American sent to rescue her. But she won't go away with him when she has the chance because 1) she's an idiot and 2) she wants to become a geisha, it's like her dream!

OK, like that isn't bad enough - the writing is worse. Remember the dialogue from the old Speed Racer cartoons? This is well below that. And the purple prose? Oh. My. God. Here is a sampling: moon grotto, Buddha-seed, jade stalk, mushroom (yeah, mushroom), golden peach and flower heart. Oh and you can't just read the word penis. It's always "honorable penis."

Please shoot me now and put me out of my misery.

Still not ready to stop reading about the horror? The ending features a fire, a switcheroo and the hero and villain fighting while speaking horrible dialogue like "You will die, but not in glory! Disgrace will be your shroud." Oh and the minor detail that we never find out if the heroine's father is alive or dead.

I'm having a hard time even thinking about starting another book after this one. Luckily the next read on tap is a mystery. God I hope it cleanses the pallet. It's either that or bleach. Final Grade: A big, fat F.


sybil said...

How does a penis become honorable?

Monica said...

Oh and you can't just read the word penis. It's always "honorable penis."

You gotta be kidding! I must admit you've intrigued me about this book. Maybe it's so bad it will become a camp classic like that movie Showgirls.

Suisan said...

Speed Racer Dialogue!

You kill me.

My husband named our first dog Spridle, and we were constantly talking in Speed Racer dialogue when we took him for a run.

"Go, Speed Racer! You can beat Racer X!"

Wendy said...

Sybil: I wondered the same thing. I mean, I thought the whole point of th penis is that it wasn't honorable?

Monica: Oh Lordy, I wish I were making it all up. It's really that horrible. And I don't see it gaining any camp factor. Why? Because it's so deadly serious - which just adds to it's awfulness. I'd love to see someone like Mrs. Giggles take a crack at it - but she just got back to reviewing romance and I don't want to scare her off!

Suisan: In my forthcoming TRR review I make reference to Trixie calling the Mach 5 :D

Amie Stuart said...

OMFG I just ordered this!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOO

Wendy said...


Seriously, when you get it, I encourage you to skim through bits of it. If only to assure yourself that I was right :D

SandyW said...

Living in a house full of otaku (fans of Japanese popular culture), my first thought is that this sounded like an interesting book. Then I visited the author’s web-site and there was this lyrical praise of the movie ‘Memoirs of a Geisha.’ That did not fill me with a great deal of confidence, as I had gotten the impression that the movie was much more Hollywood than Kyoto. I’m still thinking this isn’t worth the trade paperback price for me.

Harlequinized erotica has been a mixed bag so far.

Amie Stuart said...

Stay's not here yet but I'll definitely let you know what I think.