Play by Play

Play by Play: The Angel Wore Fangs—Sandra Hill [pt 1]

This is the first (and possibly only; we’ll see how it goes) play by play, where I read a book and record my reactions to it. This was inspired by the Tumblr post of the back copy of The Angel Wore Fangs by Sandra Hill.

I promised Facebook that if someone found the name of the book and if I could get it for less than $5, I would record my reactions to it. So thanks, Danielle.

I have no idea what format this is going to take. We’re going to discover that together.

Chapter 1: La Chic Sardine Pastry Menu

I actually have no idea what any of these things are. What even is gâteau? Or ganache. Or dacquoise à la Framoise? Why are we starting with a menu? Are sardines actually involved in any of this or does this mean something different in French? Are we in France?

Starting my “sinful/sinfully” tally now, on page 1: 1

We’ve met Andrea Stewart. She’s a chef for La Chic Sardine. I’m picturing Monica Geller talking about ISIS.

Update: We are not in France. We’re in Philadelphia, which is “as far removed from ISIS as, well, the Liberty Bell.” I’m sure blogging this much about ISIS is going to get me on some sort of watch list, if I’m not already, but I feel like you can make arguments that ISIS isn’t actually that far removed from the Liberty Bell.

Okay, Andrea’s stepmother is a little bit racist. She called a burqa “some kind of robe that covers her from head to toe with only her eyes peaking out” (which raises the question of how exactly she knows that’s Andrea’s sister, but maybe we’ll get to that), then we have “Thank God I’m not an A-rab.” (Hyphenation the book’s, not mine.)

Andrea’s nickname is Andy. I bet she’s one of those tough don’t-need-to-be-swept-off-my-feet-no-sir women. She’s got a masculine nickname. She ain’t no feminine girl.

How did Celie get her first tattoo at 13? That’s… actually illegal, I’m pretty sure. (Update: Unless a guardian accompanied her to get her tramp stamp of Winnie the Pooh giving the finger, it is.)

Celie (the sister)

  • Average height
  • Curves out the wazoo
  • Hair any color under the rainbow, from bright purple to an actual rainbow (who is her stylist?
  • Styled short, long, or half long/half short (what?)
  • Shaved head
  • Adventurous, looking for thrills, zip lined off a cliff
  • Slut Boys have been chasing her since she was 10
  • 19
  • Always traveling somewhere
  • Has joined multiple cults/harmless modern-day hippies who smoke weed

Andrea

  • Genetically thin
  • Rarely gained an ounce
  • Same long, blonde ponytail since she was a teenager. (It suited her and her work)
  • Doesn’t like roller coasters
  • Andrea (almost 30) has had two real relationships (nothing wrong with that, girl)
  • Ambitious workaholic with dreams of opening an upscale pastry shop. In Philadelphia.

Racist stepmom #2: “Remember, I told you about her boyfriend. He’s an A-rab or a Mexican, or something. Maybe Egyptian. They all look alike.”

Racist stepmom #3: “And he had this dish towel thingee on his head.”

Conclusion 1: Celie went to a ranch in Montana that is run by a “Muslim church. Circle of Light.” Ranch has ties to ISIS, because if I’m going to recruit people for ISIS, I’m definitely going to go to a ranch in Montana.

Conclusion 2: Stepmom Darla is a racist. This is maybe supposed to come off as funny. I’m mostly horrified that this made it through the publishing process. Not all racists need to have story arcs, and I hate Darla so I hope she goes away, but… maybe we should give her a story arc because holy shit this is not okay.

Conclusion 3: Andrea is cultured. Celie is a slut and obviously deserves these bad things happening to her. (What is the sarcasm font, again?)

Chapter 2: Breakfast in Transylvania (Pennsylvania)

If these are the puns we’re getting, I’m not holding out a lot of hope.

Why do all of these start with menus, then an epigraph? I’m going to start recording these. Maybe they’re important.

Ch 1 epigraph: Sister, where art thou?

Ch 2 epigraph: Home, Sweet Home… or, rather, Home, Sweet Castle…

This isn’t promising.

Oh, here’s Cnut.

Quick aside, from Behind the Name:
PRONOUNCED: KNOOT (English), KNYOOT (English) [details]
Meaning & History
Variant of KNUT.

Knut, on BtN: “Derived from Old Norse knútr meaning ‘knot’. Knut was a Danish prince who defeated Æðelræd II, king of England, in the early 11th century and became the ruler of Denmark, Norway and England.”

Not the best introductory paragraph in the history of introductory paragraphs, but here we go: “In the early morning hours of July 9, Cnut was riding his Harley [of course he has a Harley] up the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The black and chrome Road King, a recent purchase, was a modest model, but it had so many bells and whistles, it could do everything but fly a jet plane. He loved it. In fact, he’d named it Hugo.” Tbh, this is earning my respect. I’d name a motorcycle Hugo. Hugo is a good name.

Spit take number 1: “Most important, the motorcycle could accommodate his size, thanks to some tweaks. His height, that was, at six foot four. Cnut was no longer big in other regards—” WAIT WHAT “—hadn’t been for a long, long time. A careful diet and a rigid exercise routine kept him at a lean, mean two-twenty-five.” Oh. Okay.

Hyphenation question: Why didn’t we hyphenate six foot four when we hyphenated two-twenty-five. Editors? Weigh in?

Apparently Cnut has weight issues. I mean, it’s good that we’re seeing that body issues aren’t only a female thing, but this seems like a weird place to introduce them.

Vampire update: Cnut does not a) sparkle in the sun or b) need to avoid the sun. He does need to avoid traffic, but I can support him in that. Traffic is the worst.

“Cnut stretched and wondered if he should pull over at the next rest stop.” Hang on, Cnut is stretching while riding a motorcycle? This seems unsafe, sir.

Burst out laughing in public moment 1 (And I did actually start laughing in public): “Cnut ran his tongue over his own set of fangs [good thing he’s not running his tongue over other people’s fangs while driving a motorcycle], which were retracted at the moment. Otherwise, they’d probably have dead bugs on them, like windshields. [Just how big are his fangs?] Fat and buggy, that’s all he needed! Truly, one thousand, one hundred and sixty-six years, and he still wasn’t used to the things. Like a cock, they sometimes had a mind of their own. Popping out with the least provocation.

Unrelated to burst out laughing in public moment 1, I direct you to CMS rule 9.2: Chicago’s general rule—zero through one hundred.

In nontechnical contexts, Chicago advises spelling out whole numbers from zero through one hundred and certain round multiples of those numbers. Most of the rest of this chapter deals with the exceptions to this rule and special cases. For hyphens used with spelled-out numbers, see 7.85, section 1. For some additional considerations, consult the index, under numbers. For numerals in direct discourse, see 13.42. For an alternative rule, see 9.3.

Cnut isn’t vain, except about his weight, his teeth, and his tricked-out motorcycle. Not buying it.

Okay, lore time! Vangel headquarters are in a rundown castle built by a lumber baron a century ago in a city named Transylvania. Michael is an angel. (The Michael? I think he probably has better things to do than wrangle Viking vampires). Cnut keeps referring to everyone as Vikings, which makes me wonder if all the vampires are Vikings, all the Vikings are vampires, or if these are Viking vampires.

“…the wolfish teeth did embarrass him, on occasion. Which was probably the point, from Michael’s perspective, since he’d never been particularly fond of Vikings to begin with, and his affection had failed to grow over the years due to their irksome ways, irksome to an angel leastways.”

Michael… has something to do with vampire teeth? I’m confused. Also, who says “leastways”?

Cnut’s effects consist of: a black cloak (left at home, not sure if he’s joking yet or actually owns a black cloak), an ample supply of specially treated knives (treated with what? garlic? wolfsbane? hemlock?), a switchblade sword (like the one Sulu had in the 2009 Trek movie?), a pistol, “the like,” and a leather jacket.

More lore! Lupicires. Werewolf vampires? We have vampire angels and werewolf vampires? I’m just guessing. I assume we’ll meet them in due time. The king of the Lucipires is Jasper, who is also a fallen angel. Wait, Lucipires like Lucifer? So… fallen angel vampires? I’m very confused.

Editing aside: If Lucipires is capitalized, shouldn’t vangel also be capitalized? Or if vangel isn’t capitalized, shouldn’t Lucipire also be not capitalized? Unless it’s a play on Lucifer’s name, in which case… I don’t know. Be consistent.

More lore (?): VIK. I don’t know what it stands for, but Cnut and his brothers are part of it, with more than 500 others.

Vampire lore: These vampires also do not have a problem with garlic. Cnut likes garlic pesto, also he likes the Food Network. He gloms it. Really? Glom? We’re gonna use that word?

“Cnut tortured himself watching Bobby Flay barbecue ribs (pun intended) or Ina Garten whip up a crème brûlée (another pun intended.” How… how are these puns? Because the first pun is on the guy’s name and the second is on the verb. These are terrible puns. Pun better. Pun with consistency.

Oh Jesus. Women are already gaping at him. “Then again, it might be the Ragnar Lothbrok hairstyle he’d adopted the last year or so, worn by that character in that History Channel show The Vikings during the first few seasons.”

So…

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Not sure if he has the tattoos. Will reassess in the future.

It’s not vanity. (He’s not vain, see above.) It’s efficiency.

Oh Jesus, Lizzie Borden is a vangel. Oh, Jesus, the women vangels are cooking.

Cnut seriously has a problem with food. You can have more than two strips of bacon. If this whole book is gonna be about his food problem, I’m going to be seriously irritated. There are times and places to deal with things like this, but I’m not sure a book about vampire angels, ISIS, and ranches are it.

Misogyny alert number, like, three by this point: “And who do you think you’re fooling in that nun garb? Everyone knows you’re more slut than saint.” Not cool, Cnut. If you wanna get laid by modern day women, you probably shouldn’t call them sluts. You probably shouldn’t call anybody a slut.

One of Cnut’s brothers is a Navy SEAL. Do these vampires have any weaknesses? I can’t imagine the military leaves a lot of space for snacking on blood.

These powerful, badass vampire angels call their evil halves “Lucies.” So naming conventions could be rethought.

Okay, now I understand. Michael thought Cnut was too fat last go-round (or on a previous go-round), so he’s under orders to not eat bacon, or something. And the SEAL is in the SEALs ’cause he was lazy.

VIK is the name of the brothers in charge of this castle. Except there are seven of them, and there are none whose name starts with K. There is a Vikar and Ivak though.

“My wife, Alex, is a writer, as you know.” Yes, maid-and-butler us, please. “She wants to write a children’s book about a naughty Viking angel.” …I’m not sure that’s a children’s book.

Trond (the SEAL) has a wife who is in WEALS, Women on Earth, Air, Land, and Sea, and I’m like 99% sure the author just made up an entire division of the army. What. Someone tell me if this is a real thing.

Michael wants a website for archangels. Wtf, I love Michael. Michael and Gabriel are legit my favorites, and Michael is a whiny little toad. I am not impressed. You are the leader of the Army of God, and you want a website.

Cnut has just been ordered to destroy ISIS. Literally just like that. “Destroy it.” Direct quote. Michael. You are the leader of the Army of God. “Destroy it” is not a tactical order. “Destroy it” is not how you take down something like ISIS. They probably didn’t point you at Satan and go “Destroy it.” (Cnut is their security expert, apparently. Not the Navy SEAL. The one who eats too much bacon.)

I’m gonna have a lot of problems with Michael. I hope he goes away soon.

“Is ISIS not the greatest threat, equal only to the Nazi Holocaust or the evil Roman Empire?” WHAT. I’m sorry, what?!

Oh. Oh. Oh holy shit. “Mass murders. Beheadings. Rapes. All in the name of some distorted religious belief. The Lord weeps at the atrocities.”

I’m not gonna touch this with a ten-foot pole but… how racist is this book gonna be? Are we saying ISIS is the distorted religious belief, because that’s okay, but we’re not specifying this. This could be Muslims and ISIS, and I’m really not okay with this.

“There is a modern expression that applies here, Cnut. Nibbling away like ducks.” That’s an expression? I’ve never heard this in my life.

“Vikings appreciated a good jest.” I’m sure some Vikings appreciated a good jest. I’m also sure that some Vikings thought the previous six lines of duck puns were dumb.

Conclusion 1: Consistency is important in writing. Either Michael talks like an archangel with the thees and thous or he talks like a normal human being with the yous. Please pick one and stick with it. Consistency is also important in punning.

Conclusion 2: This entire book is going to be about food and I’m outraged, because it’s not even good food.

Conclusion 3: I was expecting Fabio. I did not get Fabio.

Conclusion 4: I care too much about Michael to be subjected to this Michael. I’m not even Christian and I’m outraged at Michael.

Sub-Conclusion 4: There has been a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment and I’m not thrilled with this.

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