Baker, Kage: (08) The Sons of Heaven (spoilers)

This post contains BOOK-DESTROYING SPOILERS for The Sons of Heaven. The non-spoiler post is here.

Chapter 7, of course, would be where Mendoza says “I can’t honestly say he raped me” and I mentally howled, “Oh, that’s okay, I’ll say it for you!”

And then giving birth to and raising your two once—and future—lovers . . . ! I just can’t even cope with that, I’m sorry, I really can’t.

Not only that, but suddenly pregnancy is the key to keeping immortals from going bad? I mean, it’s framed as “parenting skills,” but through “kids of their own,” via pregnancy and childbirth—as though adopted kids aren’t, and don’t give the opportunity to develop parenting skills?

Again, as an adopted kid and as someone 39 weeks pregnant, I spit on the whole idea of raising pregnancy to some mythic level of magical wonderfulness. I mean, seriously.

So, you know, what with wincing away from everything to do with Mendoza, Edward, Alec, and Nicholas, I really can’t form an opinion of their deus ex machina (or whatever the plural is, I never took Latin) ending. It’s nice that there was no war and no slaughter and that the deities are benevolent and hands-off, but . . . whatever.

Of the side-stories, I liked Victor’s best, well, found it most fitting, anyway. I was glad that Lewis contributes to his own rescue, and gets rescued by a woman (even if she then gets arbitrarily paired off). I see no point whatsoever in Hearst’s late addition to the series. I found the brief appearance and disappearance of the Company AI to be . . . brief. Just to give Nicholas a chance to wrestle with something God-like? Again: whatever.

Yeah, that’s all I got. Oh well: on to the new Temeraire book!


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  1. OK, we agree on pretty much everything. I can’t believe that a series that started so well finished so badly. And your reactions are pretty much exactly what I expected. (I didn’t disagree with Konrad’s prediction; I just didn’t think it very polite of him to express it to you before you read the last book.)
    Things I personally hated the most:
    1. The objectification of Mendoza. Actually, that’s probably the top 3 things. I had exactly the same reaction to Mendoza’s rape-denial, plus throwing the book (library copy, shame on me) across the room.
    2. The magic telepathic idiot-geek-savant-pixies. In hindsight, I think that’s where the series jumped the shark. That, or the UFO.
    3. The glaring inconsistency between how allegedly indestructible the immortals are, and how easily destroyed they are. Was it really that hard to get the idea of dropping them into volcanos, or subducting trenches? If the material of their braincases is impervious to any known heat and acids and such, how exactly do they machine it?
    That’ll do for a start. I really enjoyed the first 3 or 4 novels. There were occasional moments in the later ones; I thought the aggressive vegetarianism of the future was an inspired bit of extrapolation. The last couple of books read like an elaborate practical joke on the reader, though.

  2. You know, I was willing to roll with the not-aliens (imagine my surprise when they turned out to be one of the least over-the-top elements of the series!). And I thought the time-travel field in the skull was a neat bit of handwavium around the problem of killing immortals.
    But Mendoza plus a literal deus ex machina ending? Sorry, no.
    Perhaps the worst part of this is now I’m really highly reluctant to read the forthcoming prequel to _Anvil_, which I had been looking forward to.
    (Okay, second worst. First worst is that our fetal nickname is FutureBaby, and at present all our silly jokes about FutureBaby are giving me flashbacks of the NO BAD WRONG of Mendoza’s pregnancy.)

  3. Here I schal biginnen a rym

    Hi there. I’ve seen your journal around for a while, and this post inspired me to comment.
    I do actually like Sons of Heaven — except that I have to stick my fingers in my ears and sing, “La la la, I’m not listening,” whenever the narrative turns back to Mendoza and her peculiar family. If I ignore that plotline entirely, I can enjoy Lewis reciting “The Highwayman” to Princess Tiara Parakeet and Victor taking his long-delayed and dramatic revenge to the tune of the Discworld Symphony. (Of course, only about a third of the book remains once you ignore the Holy Incestuous Trinity Plus Mary plot, alas.)
    ~Rymenhild @ LJ

  4. Rymenhild: alas indeed, because I can and do enjoy those things, but the OH KAGE BAKER NO of the main bits just keeps distracting me and wrecks the book for me overall. It’s really too bad.

  5. I personally stopped at Children of the Company and decided to read prequel to Anvil instead.
    *All* of the issues you’ve brought up here are every bit as prevalent in House of the Stag. The first third of the book is full of cruelty and death, and then just when it looks like things are looking up bhe ureb encrf zhygvcyr tveyf va gur urebvar’f pbzzhavgl, riraghnyyl xvqanccvat naq encvat ure. Ncneg sebz ‘vawherq cevqr’, fur qrpvqrf guvf zrnaf fur fubhyq zneel uvz. Ur fnlf ‘vs ur’q xabj jub fur jnf’ ur jbhyqa’g unir encrq ure gbb. Naq orpnhfr fur cebzvfrf abg gb rfpncr, fur’f nyybjrq gb unir jvaqbjf va ure ebbzf.
    I…am stunned. And unlikely to pick up another Kage Baker.

    I was afraid of that, because of what we knew from _Anvil_.
    La la la la I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear you because I love _Anvil_ so much and just take _House_ off my to-read list.
    Thanks for the warning.

  7. And to top that off, she was in the middle of a literally life-and-death mission, which just isn’t as important as clearing his tub drains after what he’s done.
    I loved Anvil and Sky Coyote…I’m not sure what caused Baker to go her Dark Place, but I wish she’d stop doing this to her characters.

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