December 6, 2012

Valley Of Fear (Unicorns Of Balinor, #3) by Mary Stanton

Valley Of Fear (Unicorns Of Balinor, #3)Valley Of Fear by Mary Stanton

My rating: ★★☆☆☆

Well, here it is. The Balinor installment I’ve been dreading. Maybe six months, maybe a year ago, I started rereading this series. Then I got to page thirty-five of this mess… and started reading the most ludicrous, baffling, and infuriating pro-pseudo-vegetarianism paragraph I’ve ever come across.

There are a lot of reasons for becoming a vegetarian or a vegan. Maybe you have a moral issues with eating meat. That’s great. Maybe you, like me, have moral issues with the meat industry. Or hunting in general. Or, again like me, farming in general. Maybe you have an allergy or have some other physical need for a specialized diet. That’s, in a sense, even more valid of a reason to cut meat/animal products from one’s diet. I will always respect a person’s dietary choices. But I will not respect you if your reasoning is moronic. And holy shit, this passage was the stupidest thing I’ve ever read.

And the funniest part of this is that it isn’t even genuine vegetarianism being screeched about here. I don’t even know what to make of it. Apparently, in Balinor, there’s no goddamn such thing as a carnivore. Just herbivores and—wait for it—insectivores. I’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s just think about the first nonsense for a second.

Holy no. You cannot impose your personal morals on a motherfucking wolf! I don’t care if it talks to you or if it does the freakin’ hula. Wolves, lions, all these carnivores this book has screeching about how eating meat is TOTES EVIL, GUYS! and “NOT [acceptable] HERE IN BALINOR!”… What do you think happens if they don’t eat meat? All together now, class:

They die!

Yeah. They die. But then again, what am I talking about? These things talk. So they’re obviously not lions, wolves, rabbits, etc. They apparently have the completely, 100% human larynxes, tongues, nasal structure, etc. required to speak English. That’s one fucked up wolf, there. So maybe these mindbogglingly non-wolf/lion/etc creatures don’t need meat to survive. But then they’re not wolves/lions/etc, so please stop calling them that. Seriously.

But this brings me to what’s even more infuriating. Carnivores? TOTES EVIL. Insectivores? Nah, that’s cool, bro.

Wait, what? I’m sorry, what? Did I miss a memo or something? You know, the one about how insects are acceptable for consumption, but a chicken deserves to be the top predator of its particular food web? Why are chickens, rabbits, cows, etc. more deserving of, you know, not being eaten than insects (and I’ll just assume you’re include arachnids in there)? Is it because insects aren’t cute? That’s cool. So can I eat the ugly dogs? No? Oh, then maybe it’s because the insects aren’t as “intelligent” as some of the “higher” life forms? So can I eat people with IQs under 100? No? Huh. Odd.

Exaggerated examples? Yes. Do they demonstrate my point? Also yes. I am genuinely confused about the reasoning here. And I’m not—I am not—trying to say that any animal “deserves” in any way to be eaten. Really, I’m saying exactly the opposite: I consider every life—human, bunny, lion, turtle, spider, tree—to be equal. (If you want to put a religious spin on that—I don’t as I’m an antitheist—that would be: all life is sacred.) So I’m positively baffled when another person starts drawing arbitrary lines and categories pointing out which forms of life are “better” than others, and which can be consumed with a clear conscience. I just don’t get it.

But whatever. If you want to pick and choose who’s special and who’s not, that’s your thing. I just don’t want to read about it in my children’s fantasy novel. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

…And then we get to page fifty five. Wherein the TOTES EVIL snake appears. The snake creeps out of the trees, speaking like thissssss, to seduce the other animals into eating meat and losing their voices forever! *le gasp* Disgusting Biblical symbolism for the win! The snake is specifically referred to as “evil” before he even does anything. He just looks “evil”. In other words, every animal is equal, except for insects and the ones with “evil” eyes. I… okay. Sure. It’s not like I don’t get it. Snakes are evil because Garden of Eden, and fruits from Trees of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and naked people, and yadda yadda yadda. All I have to say to that:

“NOT HERE IN BALINOR!”

(See? I can do it, too.) And for added fun, the snake turns out to be Kylie’s shifted form. So… I guess this makes Kylie an allegorical Lilith, with Entia playing Lucifer? Wow, reading these as an adult is an odd experience.

So… here’s hoping the next one won’t be so obnoxious?

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