Opus 63 in Three Parts: Hop, Joker and High.
Trixie: We are banging these out (no pun intended) in a single review and finishing this crazy ride that has been the Chaos Series. Kitty may or may not ever speak to me again. I may or may not ever speak to myself again.
- C’mon, Baby, Light My Fire
Kitty: Fire Inside, like Kristen Ashley’s other novels, features a lack of interpersonal communication on every level, a deep-seated conviction that all problems can be fixed by sex, and the usual lack of complete sentences. The length is a bit more manageable now that a publishing house is involved, but other than that I don’t really have a lot to say about it.
Oh, and this screenshot of my Kindle app pretty much summarizes the whole collection of her books.
Trixie: But don’t you see? It all makes sense now! Men know stuff but women aren’t willing to dig deep, so sex. If a man wants to fuck you it means he gets you. Or wants you to shut up. Or he just wants to get laid. Or all of the above.
Kitty: I guess it just bothers me too much that some women fantasize and/or yearn to be treated like the women in these books are treated. We all deserve better treatment, even fictional characters.
Trixie: KA does this bait-and-switch thing where, on the surface, it seems like the Big Bad Biker Dude is an asshole troglodyte but really, he has DEEP FEELINGS. We know this because of all the sex. Every. Fucking. Problem. is resolved with a good ol’ dicking. So, you see, the moral of the story is that you know your man cares – regardless of whatever else he does – because cock. Validation through sex is hardly new, Kitty.
Can we talk about how the women are always referred to and described as “cute”? Or how every time one of the wimmins is pissy, the man in question grins, like it’s just oh, so freaking adorbs?
Kitty: I’m not saying it’s new, I just want better. For everyone. Also, the “cute” thing drives me up the wall. If “Babe. Stop with the cute.” is used once, it’s used more times than I can count in each novel. Every one. And it’s almost always used when the heroine has a legitimate reason to be raging. HER BOOKS ARE ALL THE SAME. Can we please stop reading them now?
Trixie: Legions of women are eating this shit up. There are oodles of 4 and 5 star reviews, testimonials/reviews declaring the genius that is Kristen Ashley and this woman cranks books out faster than I crank out swear words.
I don’t want to be all judgy and I honestly don’t care what someone finds entertaining, be it superheroes, vampires, murder mysteries or Alphacock. This stuff just doesn’t do it for me. I keep blurting out, “Wut?” and “Oh PLEASE – that’s just, not, no”. I find it amusing because it takes itself so seriously, which, in turn, makes it less about entertainment and more about projection or perceived wish fulfillment and then it stops being amusing. But perhaps we are overdoing it by trying to deconstruct fluff. Kind of like that friend we all have who insists on listing all of the chemicals and harmful additives in the Twinkie you are inhaling. I prefer cupcakes, but same principle.
Kitty: I wonder if it’s the rather-explicit-for-mainstream-romance sex scenes that women find appealing?
Trixie: Huh… Maybe. Since these dudes are all “BIKER TOUGH GUYS, GRUNT”, there’s the accepted excuse/pass for the somewhat coarser bedroom/counter/up-against-a-wall talk.
But we digress. Book 2 is about Lanie (who was kidnapped in Book 1 by the Russian Mafia, because of course she was) and Hop. They hook up, intending it to be a one-night thing – some kind of PTSD Sexual Healing therapy for Lanie; look, I DON’T KNOW – and then feelings happen and for some random reason they spend most of the book hiding their affair from everyone but their lurve prevails and the end.
- I’m a Joker, I’m a Smoker
Trixie: If I had to pick a favorite (or one that didn’t make me want to smack my head against my iPad) it would be Ride Steady, the third installment in the Chaos series. Unfortunately, it has a major trigger for me (child abuse) and I cannot convey how much I hate reading stories where it’s inferred, detailed, or otherwise used as a plot device. That’s not to say it wasn’t used effectively here, I just shy the hell away from the topic because I simply can’t deal.
This one is where I think Kitty will agree with me on the shift from the previous KA books. Everyone is still grunting and having mind-blowing sex all the time, but the characters were, I don’t know… decent? Like, other than the named villain, I didn’t want to punch anybody in the face.
Kitty: I agree with Trixie on this one – it’s definitely the least objectionable/most enjoyable of the series. Ride Steady features a lead couple in Carson and Carissa that I think everyone can relate to: he’s the high school loner who’s wicked smart, gorgeous, and obviously troubled.
She’s the genuinely nice girl that for some reason hangs out with the in crowd and dates the captain of the football team (who is obviously a douche). Everyone loves her. In other words, she’s not Claire.
When Carson has one final blow out with his abusive father, he packs up to leave town, but he runs into Carissa on his way out of Dodge. She tries to ask him out, he misses the cues, and both of their lives follow the darkest timeline for a while after that.
Carissa winds up marrying the damn football captain. You know, this guy.
The guy who kicks her out after he finishes law school and refuses to pay child support for their infant son. The guy who arbitrarily decided to wean the kid off breast milk because it was to inconvenient to have to wait for her to pump and deliver when he was with his dad.
Anyway, Carson eventually finds a good life for himself with the Chaos MC and earns himself the nickname Joker. He rescues Carissa and her baby on the side of the interstate after they have a flat tire. He recognizes her instantly, she thinks he’s familiar but can’t place him because of the extreme change in his appearance. He introduces himself as Joker, neglecting to inform her of who he really is and of course this causes shenanigans later on.
It’s utterly predictable, but somehow this couple is just more relatable and enjoyable to spend several hours reading about.
III. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
(Except one made up of a lie by omission)
Trixie: Walk Through Fire had me going for a bit. There was this whole ~mystery~ thing that caused our star couple, High and Whatsherface, to break up two decades ago. It left him bitter and pissy, and her a neurotic shell of a woman.
Wait a minute: that’s the plot from New Moon.
Kitty: yet another KA situation where if people would just communicate, a whole Lotta angst would be saved. And, subplots in addition to the New Moon one that were so apparent it was ridiculous.
One thing that I DID like about this one was that High’s ex (and the mother of his kids) was not a heinous bitch, and was in fact willing to co-parent with High and Whatsherface. ALSO, WHATSHERFACE SPENDS $2400 ON KITTENS BECAUSE THEY MATCH HER SHEETS. I shit you not. I just can’t even process that.
Trixie: In conclusion, the Chaos series happened. We can’t undo that fact. Let’s all just try to move on and find some solace in Blonde Jesus: