Jun 24, 2008

This Book is Terrible: Unbridled Fury, TB #62

The other day I remembered that when I was younger I used to review Thoroughbred books on Amazon.com on a semi-regular basis. I imagined them to be impassioned missives to the editors/authors, eloquently expressing my rage at the deteriorating quality of the books and the depredation of my favorite characters (I happened upon Amazon.com around the time Samantha's Journey was published). Laden with nostalgia, I began to read through my old reviews...and they weren't as elegant and inspiring as I thought. But I was inspired as to what book I should review next for this blog...

This cover is perfect. When I say that I mean that is perfectly fits how truly awful the contents that lie beneath it are. Apparently the cover artist gave up on trying to figure out what racing saddles look like and instead choose to attire our beloved equine friend in something that looks like the cheap plastic play saddles that came on the toy horses I bought at the bait shop on summer vacation. I don't really know what to say about the way Melanie is holding the reins except maybe she's too distracted pointing her laser-eyes at Jinx to remember proper equitation. Seriously. I think Jinx is rearing up because Melanie is filled with the fire of Satan and is trying to force his brain to combust using only the power of her pupils. Look at her face. P.S. The horse on this cover is hideous.
Melanie's new horse is named Hi Jinx, and he sure lives up to his name.
Now that Image is injured, Melanie needs to find another horse to race. She hasn't found one she feels really connected to just yet. But all that's about to change.

While visiting Image at Townsend Acres, Melanie meets a gorgeous brown Thoroughbred named Hi Jinx - he looks just like his ancestor, the famous racehorse Seabiscuit! Melanie feels an instant bond with this powerful animal. She and Jazz have been talking about owning a horse together, so why not this one?

But before they even get back to Whitebrook, Hi Jinx starts acting up - big-time! Will Melanie be able to get him to behave before it's too late?
Great! Except Hi(gh) Jinx is never anywhere near Townsend Acres. Anyway, moving on.

Plot: Okay, so here is what I wrote in my Amazon.com review of this book way back in 2005
wow. this book was terrible. melanie's character was terrible. the plot was terrible. the writing was terrible. jinx was terrible.
This constructive criticism has only ripened with age. This book doesn't even deserve the dignified title of "polished turd." It is a full-blown piece of crap that someone dug out of the sewage system and stapled inside a book cover. And no, I will not take that back.

Melanie is all boo-hoo because now that Image is a cripple she doesn't have her own horse to race and train. As we all know, it is impossible for top jockeys to win or even ride in races if they don't have their own special wonder horse wedged up in their butt with them at every second of the day. Poor Melanie is so upset that she can't do anything other than whine, which is understandable for someone in such a terrible condition. Will they ever find a cure?

Luckily for her, Jazz is all gung-ho to invest in another racehorse. Dickerson lays it on thick that Jazz isn't really a lover of horses, but is willing to throw all this money out the window because the horses make Mel happy. This means, for all you blushing young lads and ladies, that Jazz is willing to spend millions of dollars on what to him are stinky, money-eating, poop factories because he enjoys the booty. Basically what I'm saying is Melanie has a golden poontang.

Anywho, Melanie is supposed to be busy stirring up rides because, well, she is a jockey, and a Kentucky Derby winning one at that! But she's too busy thinking about how much she wants a horse, which is obviously more important than doing her job and earning money so that she can keep Brad Townsend's grubby hands off of Image. But it's okay, her poontang power will surely protect Image. Speaking of Brad though, Melanie overhears him talking at a party (where she is supposed to be smoozing for rides) with some other dude about how there's this farm over yonder having a dispersal sale. Better yet, there is a horse related to Seabiscuit! Wowee! Melanie even did a book report on him once, which means she can totally ignore Brad when he intelligently points out that Seabiscuit was not much of a sire. Brad, being a successful horse breeder, clearly knows nothing about bloodlines because he is evil and usually impeccably dressed, so can be ignored. Maybe she should go look at the horse! Wait, no, Melanie and Jazz agreed they would wait until fall to find a new horse. It's in their poontang contract. Except here's the thing people. Melanie's the one with the poontang, therefore she gets to make all the rules. You have to read the fine print.

As per this agreement, Melanie decides to go have a look-see at this farm the next day. Boy, won't Jazz feel emasculated when he finds out! Off she goes, skip-to-my-lou, and sees this horse there that is just great. He is all by himself in a field and all dirty, those cruel, cruel, bankrupt owners. Melanie decides it is a really good idea to climb in the paddock to get all cuddly with him, especially because she knows that this is probably a very bad idea considering he is a strange horse who belongs to someone else. But she can already feel her magical poontang sense tingling about this horse, and just when they're about to make out a groom comes over and yells at her all mean like. Stupid horse abuser, telling her to be careful around a dangerous animal. Then Jinx tries to bite her. What a surprise.

Luckily for us Melanie is into danger and all that (she is dating a Chris Angel look alike named Jazz), and she decides that this colt is the colt for her, Seabiscuit bloodlines at all. It doesn't matter that she sees him in a workout trying to savage all the other horses and exercise riders. That just makes him great. Yay! A fixer upper! So she goes home and calls Jazz in Europe to convince him to buy the horse, reminding him about their poontang contract when he's all, "I don't know Mel, didn't we agree we were going to buy a sane horse this time?" So basically Melanie get the horse.

Things aren't so great though. Jinx tries his hardest to destroy the trailer on the ride to Whitebrook, and he immediately begins to terrorize every single thing on the farm once he arrives at Whitebrook. Everyone else is pretty put-off by Jinx's tendency to bite, kick, and destroy walls (the horse fucking gouges teeth marks into the stall, for fuck's sake), but Mel is beside herself with happiness that this "spirited animal" is hers I mean Jazz's.

Still flush from the honeymoon, Melanie returns to Belmont to actually fucking ride in a race, which she wins of course, before jet-setting back to Whitebrook to make sure the training barn is still standing. She returns to find that no one wants to go near Jinx. He is basically feral, if horses can be feral, in that he tries to savage everything, living and dead, that comes near him. Melanie becomes even more determined. All she needs to do is get inside Jinx's head and he'll be the next Derby winner. I have news for you Melanie: I don't think even your petite self is small enough to fit into one of Jinx's ears. I'm just saying.

Things don't really go so well when Jinx isn't trying to kill things either. When he's on the track he bolts, mostly in an attempt to ram other horses, and when he's in the gate he doesn't break but just stands there. Melanie's pretty frustrated, but it's with everyone else telling her Jinx is a lost cause, not with the fact that her horse is a homicidal maniac. She even gets in two big fights with Jazz, who tells her she's being unrealistic and unreasonable about the possibility of gentling the horse. I know Jazz is supposed to know nothing about horses and be in it only for the poontang, but in this book he comes off as a knowledgeable equestrian. Jinx isn't Sierra or Image. He does things worse than dumping his riders, bolting, or even running the wrong way on a racetrack during a race. He constantly and deliberately tries to kill everything he encounters. A horse like this in the real world would be gelded if not put down. But this is the Thoroughbred series, and the Magic Barbie Rainbow Fairy Dusty is coming, don't worry. It might even come out of Melanie's poontang!

Jinx ends up in the stallion barn, where he apparently makes even The Terminator look like a pussy. Melanie decides that maybe the way to stop Jinx from trying to kill everything is to buy him an animal friend. So, with Kevin's help (who in this book is trying to steal the magical poontang from Jazz) she buys first a goat, who Jinx simply ignores, and then a pony, who Jinx out and out tries to kill. Oops, that didn't work.

Except! Melanie is driving...somewhere...and sees some cruel-hearted bastard push an ugly ass dog out of a car and drive away. Kentucky apparently is full of animal haters. Melanie chases the dog through traffic, but then he jumps in her car, so she takes him home. Then he runs into Jinx's stall. Melanie is understandably terrified that Jinx will murder this dog, but instead Jinx decides they are best friends and even sleeps through the night! Whoopee! This means maybe he will go well on the track. Except that he deliberately attacks Fast Gun during a workout and injures him, causing a bone chip. Ashleigh is pretty pissed, let me tell you.

Melanie goes over to Townsend Acres to graze Image and lick her wounds, where she runs into Brad Townsend. Brad then offers to buy Jinx, giving the very convincing reason that his accountant says he needs to spend more money. I choose to believe that Brad is just making this up and is offering to buy Jinx because he likes to drive Melanie crazy, not because he actually wants to own the horse. There's nothing Brad loves more than making the Whitebrook crew shit their pants. And it works! Melanie goes home to bitch to Ashleigh about Brad's nefarious offer to actually pay her for this would-be serial killer and instead of being appropriately horrified, Ashleigh says Melanie should take the offer, then tells her she has two days to take Jinx off the property. Ladies and gentleman, Ashleigh's balls have dropped. For about two seconds. Anyway.

Melanie is really distraught. This isn't fair, damnit. So she takes the colt out on the track for one last ride. This time when Jinx bolts Melanie doesn't fight him. Instead she lets him run and run and run. She got the idea from Wonder's Champion, which she read the night before. Jinx gets all confused because no one is telling him what to do, so he stops and waits for Melanie to tell him what to do! Problem solved! Jinx is a different horse and can stay at Whitebrook! Even better, Jazz flew in all the way from Europe (he was beginning to doubt if Melanie's poontang really was as wonderful as he originally thought) and happens to catch this monumental turning point, and is convinced that Jinx was a worthy investment. And they all go on to win the Kentucky Derby. Well, not quite. Or something. I dunno. Poontang.

Points of Interest:
  • From Karle Dickerson, who brought you wonderful coffee-shop names such as Soda Jerks and Brewed Attitude, comes a relatively normal name: Clockers Coffee Shop.
  • The way Melanie blathers on and on about her fear that she will never find another horse like Image, you'd think she was trying to get over an old boyfriend.
  • Brad shows up at the barn in a tuxedo. Because he is just that cool. I bet he has Hammer pants, too.
  • These authors, particularly Dickerson, are always having Brad step into a pile of manure after he's said or done something snide. As a grown man who's spent his life around horses and is supposedly obsessed with staying clean, I am pretty sure Brad knows how to watch where he puts his expensively clad feet. I'm just saying.
  • At the party, Lavinia is talking to someone who looks like a mobster. I knew it!
  • In this book, there is a point where Melanie is in a hurry but drives slightly below the speed limit. Does anyone do this? Ever?
  • Melanie knows Jinx is The Horse when she sees him bolt widely down the track at Whitebrook after throwing her. This is because she saw Image do the same thing the day they met, and therefore surely this is a great sign. Because we all know how well that Kentucky Derby thing worked out for Image.
  • Christina and Melanie are always thinking about how much Ashleigh knows about horses and then immediately following that thought with one about how Ashleigh must be wrong in this case. According to this logic Ashleigh, with her vast wisdom, is never right. Ever.
  • Apparently, Kentucky is full of goat farms.
  • Cindy is not Ian's stepdaughter. I'm just saying.
Well friends, this was surely an adventure. Maybe I'm primed to tackle an Allie book next. Who knows what the future holds!


Mara said...

You know, it looks to me that Melanie is confusing riding a horse with driving a bus...or perhaps a tractor trailer.

Also, trying to undercut Brad by having him step in manure? That's like something right out of a very stupid sitcom.

Lei said...

I still snicker at the synopsis. "Gorgeous horse ... looks like famous ancestor Seabiscuit". Hahahahaha!

... so short, stocky, not-pretty with an egg-beater gait. Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

i tried to like Jinx, i really did. but it was just not happening. not at all.