What I’m NOT Reading: Torrodil

Jesus Christ. Okay, here’s the book description:

Consigned at birth to society’s scrapheap, the closest Anna Gray has gotten to adventure is an outbreak of Black Pox. But when the enemy lays waste to her village, Anna unleashes a terrible power – one that teems beneath her skin, inviting her to tear apart the earth itself.

Now Anna has to trade her home for jungle heat and desert sand, tracking down the women who share her elemental gift. They call themselves the Daeva. A bunch of manphobic glamazons. And what they lack in social graces they make up for in raw power, tapping into the wild cosmic energy known as the Aether.

Battling through a hostile world with a team of six companions, Anna must rely on the very gift that has damned her. Yet to invite in the Aether is to risk one’s humanity…and the lives of everyone Anna loves.

I… really should’ve turned back at “manphobic glamazons” but figured hey, maybe it’s funny?

Bad choice, Maria. Bad choice!

Here’s where I wanted to stop reading:

‘Yes, I know, Miss Munslow, but –‘


‘Mz,’ corrected Anna. The term was a newfangled form of address some female scholar had invested in the city. It signified a lady was married but could live perfectly well without her husband’s income. Anna didn’t really see the point of inventing words.

That’s 1% in. But I figured, hey, what the hell? I LOVE elemental magic stories. They’re kind of my FAVORITE THING. So I keep on.

Mary Munslow’s treasure could not be called upon. It was felt on the tongue, tasted in the bus, and gone with the gulp, with evidence of its existence lingering on the waist and in the grease stain…

We’re 2% in, y’all, and have already started with the fat, belligerent feminist references. FINE, OKAY, it’s like that huh? Whatever. I keep reading. Now, here’s where it gradually became untolerable.

‘Crud,’ bawled Anna. Too loudly. Mary can hear a chocolate sprinkle hit the grount at fifty metres.

:twitch: Leaving aside the fatphobia, let’s look at the definition of  “bawl.”

bawled past participle, past tense of bawl (Verb)

  1. Shout or call out noisily and unrestrainedly: ““Move!” bawled the drill sergeant”; “lustily bawling out the hymns”.
  2. Weep or cry noisily.

So… If Anna’s bawling, she’s already being loud. THAT’S THE DEFINITION OF THE WORD. So how is she — and by extension, the reader — surprised Munslow heard her?

Also, holy tense mashup, Batman! Throughout, the tense in-text shifts from present to past pretty indiscriminately. WTF? This is what editors are for.



  1. says

    So, if Anna understands what the new word means (she’s wrong, but anyway) and that no other word has the same meaning as this one, how can she say she doesn’t see the point of inventing new words? That’s like saying you don’t understand why people keep inventing new words to describe all the new stuff they’re inventing – “whatchamacallit” and “thingamajig” were good enough in your day. Sounds like the author just wanted to get a dig in and didn’t think the ramifications through.

  2. John Magnum says

    If she thinks the word is pointless, why is she insisting on being addressed as Mz? Surely if she thinks the new construction is dumb and pointless, she wouldn’t demand its use.

  3. Casey says

    Azzy: Was the author trying to be funny?

    I know I laughed at “Man-Phobic Glamazons”** but I don’t think they did it on purpose.
    (**sounds like a great name for a band :D)

  4. eldritchMortician says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Yup. Or “deva,” which I thought was a Sanskirt word for a male diety… like “devi” is the female?

    I didn’t *see* anything about them being only male, though admittedly I only really skimmed, but either way it doesn’t seem to be something that would be used in a complimentary sense.

    Also, the writing is just plain awkward. I’d have a hard time reading it even if it wasn’t insulting. >.<

  5. eldritchMortician says


    Ah I forgot the Vampire clan, it’s been a while since I played XD

    Sadly awkward writing does not always make for bad reviews. Just look at the reviews of Twilight that don’t mention the criminal overuse of the word ‘perfect’. lol but maybe I’m just a snob…

  6. JT says

    This is…OMG. As an aspiring writer, the fact that stuff like this gets published make me both hopeful and despairing.

  7. says

    JT, LMAO! It’s like, do they prefer bad writing, and therefore you should write badly? Or does it merely devalue your accomplishment when you get published and see your book next to a doorknob of a book like that?

  8. eldritchMortician says


    Yeah. :/ On the one hand it gives me hope to get published, since I *know* I’m better than this.

    On the other hand . . . I worry that bad writing is what they look for, or something :p

  9. Patrick McGraw says

    Or maybe because they’ll publish such bad writing, good writing will confuse them and get rejected.

  10. Patrick McGraw says

    I’m actually rather… impressed by the anti-Ms. rant. It takes being seriously out of touch to still be complaining about second-wave feminism issues that have become part of the popular culture for decades. I’m reminded of how Limbaugh and company keep referring to Sandra Fluke as a “co-ed” because they seem think it’s shocking and new that a woman would be allowed to attend the same college as men.

  11. Patrick McGraw says

    Related to the above, when I first ran into the term “co-ed” as a child in the late 80s, I was confused and thought that maybe the writer meant the women in question was part of a student exchange program or something. I suppose it’s a sign of my era and upbringing (i.e., my invisible privilege) that I didn’t understand why a female college students might be referred to by terms other than “college student.”

  12. Joe Z says

    For a second, I was intrigued at the idea of elemental magic users calling themselves Daeva. I wondered how much the author knew about Indo-Iranian religions and if the Daeva of this book were inspired by the Zoroastrian or the Vedic traditions.

    Then I read the next sentence. Oy vey.

    There are so many fails piling on top of one another in this book. But I think the line that really boils my blood is, “Mary can hear a chocolate sprinkle hit the grount at fifty metres.” The fat-phobia just doesn’t let up, does it?

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