The Twelfth EnchantmentThe Twelfth Enchantment by David Liss
My rating: 3/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne Star

lemme crank this out before the hurricane steals all my power!

elizabeth already took care of all the austen allusions in this book—which is good of her, because i sure didn’t get any of them. austen ladies—someday i will understand you, i promise! but i am here to mostly focus on the byron stuff, cuz that’s what i do.

i always thought that david liss was a veryserious author, and the men (almost exclusively men) asking for his books always looked veryserious, so this rather lightweight tale of magic and fairies set against the backdrop of the luddite revolt was unexpected. there was so much more rhapsodizing over male beauty and descriptions of dresses than i was expecting. it’s kind of a ditzy story. if i had to hear one more time how “beautiful” byron was…the only thing i can think is that david liss heard about this paranormal romance craze, several years too late, and wanted in. so he read that twilight book, have you heard of it??, and thought that in order to write a successful PR, you had to use the word “beautiful” a certain number of times on every page, so the book could be turned into a drinking game if necessary.

i’m not sure why he decided that byron would be a good fit in his novel about spells and witchery, and after reading it, i’m not convinced that this was byron. this was just some dude with the same name. yes, byron gave a speech supporting the luddites. no, byron was not in the practice of kidnapping girls in order to have at them. this is the second book to attribute such a deed to him. byron’s legacy is not that he was a criminal, but that his lachrymose beauty was so seductive that he could engage in a lot of very consensual intercourse, oftentimes initiated by the women. so what’s with all the kidnapping, i ask you, david liss and stephanie barron??

and boof—even a facility for magic could not make this protagonist interesting to me. despite all her supposed power, she remains pretty wide-eyed and small-goaled. i like my witches fierce and grand. but no matter. it’s a cute little story, but i began to have little patience with the magic and the half-baked protagonist.

(and the less said about mrs. emmett, the better…)

this is not the kind of thing i have a timeline-memory for, but i’m not entirely certain that byron’s menagerie was pre-childe harold. i don’t know for sure, but it is more likely that those animals came with the territory of fame-syndrome. the way he is written here, he is more like tucker max. similar situation, but much less articulate than he actually was.

i think i just don’t understand this byron in this book. is liss implying that magic had something to do with his success? because, yes, he became a total celebrity after childe harold, but even though his rise was fast, it was not literally overnight. this is a pre-internet world, after all. my understanding is that the opportunities for carousing and living the rock star lifestyle complete with a full-on menagerie came after the publication of c.h., but here everyone already seems to know all about him and his predilections and his reputation. oh yeah, and that he is “beautiful.” and has black hair. sigh.

but no worries, byron as byron seemed to get dropped pretty quickly, and after that, it was all caricature, no charisma. making lewd comments as he pissed into a chamberpot. i mean, not that he wouldn’t have done that necessarily, but if that’s your most authentic byronic gesture, you gotta try again, really.

why do people think it is cute to involve historical personages in their paranormal romances? to show that they are weightier than the average meyer? to show that research was done? but i am telling you—there is nothing in the doris langley moore book about byron, bewitched, vomiting up a shower of straight pins.

not even in the appendix.

so i read this because elizabeth thought it would be fun to read together even though she REFUSED to read jane and the madness of lord byron with me, which is probably for the best because it was not very good, but the world missed out on a potentially GOLDEN elizabeth rant-review. hélas…

but—elizabeth!! you have the opportunity to make it up to all of us and read jane bites back with me because i have just learned that it is ANOTHER book with both byron and jane austen! AND THEY ARE VAMPIRES

please please please!!

now i gotta go fill up my bathtub with water. or champagne…

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