Two More Colours Than A Rainbow
(book assigned by Beau Dashington)
Editor’s note: We continue Monsters Month for Halloween… For some reason in November. Not sure why. We fucked up.
We pretty much missed Monster Month here at the PSBC but will carry onward with ‘The Sea Hag’, maybe not quite a terrifying monster name but make no mistake, this thing is scary. Crammed full of incoherent clichés and nonsensical plot resolutions my jaw certainly dropped in horror a couple of times.
‘The Sea Hag’ is the story of prince Dennis who lives in the beautiful crystal palace of Emath. His father, Hale, was in a treacherous storm years before but the Sea Hag decided to make a deal with him and spare his life– his first born in exchange for his life and a kingdom. Hale didn’t have a son, or a wife for that matter, but he said sure. So the Sea Hag build an entire kingdom for him, complete with a translucent palace made of fucking crystal. Never mind privacy or fortification, who cares if your stronghold would shatter every time some locals shit stains would play stick ball or something, no no, he doesn’t have a choice. Fucking crystal. Drake decided to describe the beauty of his creation for his readers thusly
“The palace walls carried light the way a wick carried lamp-oil”
… Not what the engineers of the original Crystal Palace of 1851 had envisioned I’m sure.
Anyway, part of the deal was everyone who comes there obeys Hale, but he’s a good guy so takes a wife and is a good ruler all in all. When it’s time to pay the piper Sea Hag, he says no, and the Sea Hag gives him more time. Then his time is up again and the same thing happens.
The kid grows up a bit and learns about all of this using some dead wizard’s crystal ball his friend shows him how to use. Oh, his friend, Chester, is some ancient egg shaped robot with eight tentacles created before man ever settled on this planet. There are no other robots like him, he’s insanely powerful and intelligent (so much so it seems he can literally predict the future by calculation like some mechanical octopus’ version of Laplace’s Demon), but no one ever questions this kid and his robot nor tries to kidnap it.
Dennis talks to his uncle and decides to run away into the jungle to save his father from having to sacrifice him. His uncle is a drunk described as
“a big man but soft, a moon-shaped head above a pear-shaped body, and at the moment his pale fingers had the look of uncooked sausages.”
Admiral Fartmore was kind enough to draw this bizarre picture of a man.
The socks are a bit of a stretch for a fantasy novel, but it’s pretty spot on otherwise.
The land is supposedly occupied by lizard people but we only ever meet three of them… in one of Dennis’ dreams. Instead he gets to a city full of humans who live complacent lives where everything is provided for them, so long as they sacrifice people to some monsters every so often. The people send Dennis off to watch some cows graze but really they sent him to be sacrificed. Dennis fights off the monster and kills it then goes back to the town all bitter because he fell in love with the princess and she let him go off to his death. But Dennis is a petulant turd, rests up, and the next day goes back out again. And another monster bigger than the first comes after him, again he fights it off and kills it. He goes back to the town rests and the next day goes out again this time facing the mother of the two monsters and he then kills that monster.
Now here’s where the story gets really interesting. Back at the town a huge monstrous creature appears and selects a person to be sacrificed to it and that person can’t refuse. And in all of Drake‘s foreshadowing no one would have guessed that the creature would have chosen the princess whom Dennis is now fully in love with. Crazy, right? So the princess goes down and Dennis jumps through some magic mirror and fights it, hacking off one of it’s three heads. They go back and that night the creature appears again saying it’s not dead and it wants its sacrifice. So they go down again and Dennis hacks off the second of three heads. That night the creature is pissed and wants its sacrifice. The kid just can’t get a break, Dennis has fought consecutive monster after monster, day after day, five days in a row now like some medieval Street Fighter video game. But a hero must do his duty to save a princess. Now if she was a common folk than fuck fighting some crazy three headed monster thing, bitch be on her own. Anyway, Dennis goes down and kills the monster.
But what about the Sea Hag. Oh, she didn’t forget her human prize. She shows up in some water and grabs Dennis dragging him down, teleporting him back to the sea of Emath. The princess gets all upset and cries but thankfully Chester the egg-shaped deus ex machina machine tells her the Sea Hag just likes pretty things and that if she collects all her jewellery she can probably barter for Dennis’ life. Yup, the entire plot could have been circumvented from the get go if Chester just told the king that he has to just give the Sea Hag some pretty jewels. Jewels which would have been from the kingdom the Sea Hag herself created from nothing.
The Sea Hag takes the jewels but also the princess, Dennis finds out and goes to fight the Sea Hag. He does and kills it. Oh and back at Emath his father lost control and some pansy wizard dude took control and Dennis goes back home and kicks his ass too. As you can tell I’m getting sick of writing about this kid fighting all these creatures and things. And I was more than exhausted reading about it.
Now there were a bunch of smaller elements to the book such as magical equipment which had no consistent reasoning but Chester knew about them all, an old dead wizard that was kept alive by spit roasting him over a fire, a king’s champion who was a cowardly twat, two useless dragons, and magic puppet monsters who fought with psychological games.
But the true gems of this book were Drake‘s brilliant use of colour to describe his world. There’s red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, and grey. But just as Bob Ross is not constrained by the individual colours to paint scenic mountains and happy little bushes, neither is Drake restricted by these mere nine choices. He simply combines them to create newly imagined colours. Here is a list of a few found throughout the book.
One line which really struck a chord with me was
Facts were facts; what they meant was in the hands of time or the gods.
And time has answered the fact that this book is a Piece Of Shit™.