What’s particularly frustrating is that I’m finally seeing glimpses of why so many people are out of their minds for this series, but every time I see those glimpses, something so utterly nonsensical or wrong pops up and ruins everything. Also, she still isn’t a great writer. So much unnecessary description (we don’t need to know where all characters are at all times when in a room). So much using of names all the time constantly. And there was still dialogue that I had to read multiple times to understand not only what the characters were saying and what they meant, but what they were responding to. Still no evidence of an ability to research. (Neil would not have been able to be identified by his fingerprints unless he had previously been in the system, which he would absolutely not have been. Does the author think there is a database of everyone’s fingerprints sitting someone in Washington, D.C. or something?) I still felt somewhat like an alien spying on an alien culture. But it was better this time around, maybe just because I do have some basis for the characters now so I’m not constantly confused.
What really gets me is two things. First, I know I mentioned how irritating Andrew and his mysterious mental condition and medicine situation is in my review of book one, but it’s a hundred times worse here because a significant part of the plot, the backbone of the book, is contingent on this utterly wrong understanding of mental health and behavioral medications. Nothing about that entire plotline makes any fucking sense at all. If a court action mandated a person be on drugs to control psychotic impulses, those drugs would not make him “high” or cause him to be manic. I did some research on this before I came here to rip on this, because I wanted to be justified in my righteous anger, but medications that treat psychosis and conditions where the person acts erratically (like bipolar, or schizophrenia) are not uppers! At all! And they do not make you high! In fact, the opposite. Common complaints from people on those medications is that it slows you down, and can make you foggy. They do not make you have a permanent manic smile and SPOILERS laugh while you are being raped END SPOILERS. The only medication that might even conceivably cause Andrew’s behavior would be the stimulants given to people with ADHD, or similar conditions, but Andrew does not have ADHD, and those medications also do not make you high, they are designed to make you functional and productive.
Secondly, she continues to have characters refer to Andrew as being “high” while on his medication, which is never the case. People are not high when on prescribed medication for psychosis or other mental illnesses! They are not sober when off the meds. They are just off the fucking meds. And for fuck’s sake, you do not send someone to rehab to get them off prescribed medication! What the actual hell. You just taper them off the dosage to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms. Dear God, please tell me this fictional rehab didn’t make poor Andrew go cold turkey off his medication. And what’s really dumb is that he did have substance abuse issues, so the author could have just sent him to rehab for that! But nope, explicitly, they are sending him there to get him off prescribed court-ordered medication.
Also, it was so incredibly frustrating to actually start caring about these characters and their emotional growth, only for them to be stuck in the most melodramatic, unrealistic plotlines. Everything with the Ravens storyline and Riko is cartoon character black and white villain territory, which is boring and irritating at the same time. I wish all this mafia shit was gone entirely, and the Ravens were scaled back to be something other than a cult who lives in their stadium, with walls and sheets and towels and carpeting all in black or whatever (??), where it’s totally okay for Riko to SPOILERS think he can own not one or two but three human beings, literally torture them physically, blackmail them, commit murder and conspire to have someone raped (??????), and tattoo them to mark his territory END SPOILERS, and literally no one does anything.
Ughhh, going to start the next book now.
[2.5 stars, rounding up because there was some improvement over last book