Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for May 31st, 2012

Just Reviewed Celine Kiernan’s “The Poison Throne” at SBR . . .

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. . . and folks, I couldn’t be more disappointed if I tried.

Look.  Celine Kiernan can obviously write.  Parts of THE POISON THRONE were diverting, absorbing, interesting, etc., despite the fact that I saw all the weaknesses in sharp relief — the lack of plot organization.  The overabundance of deus ex machina plot devices (if you don’t know what a deus ex machina is, it basically means that the author felt it needed to happen, so she forced it to happen rather than let it flow out of the plot naturally).  The lack of sense being shown by most of the participants . . . and the fact that the King, Jonathan, of a kingdom that’s never named, is now the biggest bully the world has apparently ever seen, even though when Wynter was young (she’s now the ripe, old age of fifteen), King Jon was a good and gracious ruler.

None of that makes any sense, nor does the tame romance between carpenter’s apprentice Wynter and the Heir’s best friend, Christopher, considering that Wynter is young and virginal while Christopher is older, lusty, and has had his two middle fingers torn out for no reason.  (There’s a whole lot of things that happen in THE POISON THRONE for no reason other than that the author wants it that way, which is why I mentioned deus ex machina plot devices.)

This is the first book I’ve ever given a D-plus at Shiny Book Review, and in some ways I hated to do so as it’s obvious that Ms. Kiernan can write.  But my goodness!  This book is an epic failure when it comes to young adult reads, because it shows that Wynter, herself, is unable to positively affect the outcome no matter what she does, even though she is a young woman of gifts, intelligence, and talents above the average.

Here’s the link to the review:

Hope you find it useful.

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm

WI Recall News: Bill Clinton Will Visit Wisconsin Tomorrow

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Earlier today, the Washington Post reported that former President Bill Clinton will visit Wisconsin on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett in the Wisconsin Gubernatorial Recall race.   Here’s a few words from Bill Clinton’s statement as quoted by the Post:

“Folks in Wisconsin have been on the front lines of fighting for working, middle-class families across America for more than 16 months,” the former president said in a statement. “I’m coming to Wisconsin to help Tom and the extraordinary grassroots volunteers on the ground.”

Now, why is this happening at this late date?  It’s because voter turnout must be high from Democrats and Independents if Wisconsin truly does wish to recall Governor Scott Walker (R).  The Republicans know it; the Democrats know it.  And what everyone knows, but very few polls have pointed out, is this: Independents, in general, do not like Scott Walker very much.  And what living Democratic President fired up Independents along with Ds?  You guessed it — Bill Clinton.

Note that Bill Clinton, in the past, was not in favor of recalls; he went to California to prevent the recall of then-Governor Gray Davis in 2003, as did several other prominent Ds with national standing (such as John Edwards, then a Presidential candidate).  So for him to come here on behalf of Barrett most likely means that Clinton believes the recall of Walker is the right thing to do (in addition to the realpolitik of it all, which is that Clinton, a former D Governor from Arkansas, certainly wants more D Governors).

This visit by the former President should help boost turnout, but more importantly, it will boost optimism that the recall of Walker can and will succeed because Clinton has an excellent record when it comes to helping embattled Ds.  As The Hill reports tonight:

Clinton’s entrance into the race could disrupt what had seemed like a likely victory for Walker, however. The former president has posted an impressive record in 2012 endorsements to date, helping Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.) and Pennsylvania attorney general candidate Kathleen Kane both win their Democratic primaries after trailing early on. Clinton also helped Maryland businessman John Delaney to a unlikely primary win in April.

So, will Clinton be able to help Barrett also?  My best guess is that yes, Clinton’s visit will make a positive difference on behalf of Barrett, Lieutenant Governor candidate Mahlon Mitchell, and the four D candidates for state Senator, including my own candidate in District 21, former Sen. John Lehman.

But with all the will in the world — and Clinton does have a tremendous will — this race still comes down to turnout, which is what I expect Clinton to say tomorrow during his visit as he’s no fool.  Clinton’s visit will be a boost to Barrett, Mitchell, Lehman and all of the other D candidates for state Senate, but Wisconsin’s voters must go out and vote.

As I’ve said before, my intentions are clear and have been so from the beginning.  Scott Walker deserves to be recalled.  So does his Lt. Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch.  So does my sitting state Senator, Van Wanggaard (R-Racine).  Which is why I will be voting to recall all of them on June 5, 2012 — and while I would do so without a visit from Clinton, it’s nice to know that Clinton hasn’t forgotten Wisconsin or how hard we’ve been fighting here for the past year and a half ever since Walker “dropped the bomb” and started his “divide and conquer” tactics.