Sleeping Beauties: Part 2, Chapters 12-15

[Sleeping Beauties Content Note: Trans Exclusion and Erasure, Misogyny, Violence Against Women]

Sleeping Beauties Recap: When this book first popped up on my radar, I expressed some concerns about the content on Twitter. This week, I purchased the book and read through it. As I read, I live-tweeted my thoughts on Twitter. This is a compilation and expansion of my tweets. The live-read will be spread out over multiple posts.

Sleeping Beauties, Part Two: I'll Sleep When I'm Dead. Chapter 12-15

(Tweet Link) Part 6 of King & King's Sleeping Beauties.

Terry, who was a drunken bumbler a few pages ago, now sums up the situation with astonishing clarity. Everything he says is correct.

“You don’t have a single medical doctor in there,” Terry said, “and you don’t have any PAs you can call, because I seem to remember that they’re both women and they’ll be in cocoons by now. So, bottom line, you’re not examining her, you’re just holding her—” “Holding onto her,” Frank growled. “—and listening to what she tells you—” “Swallowing it, you mean!” Frank shouted. “Be quiet, Frank.”

Frank abandoned his silver-tongued manipulation that bordered on magical to being an impulsive loose cannon again so Terry can snap at him. Clint, who is supposed to be defending Eve and keeping the men from harming her, tells them she's a dangerous witch-demon. CLINT. I... with only the slightest head-tilt, Frank is the protagonist, Eve is the villain, and Clint is her unwitting Dragon. Was that intended?

His eyes shifted to Frank, and they were the cold ones of the orphan boy who had fought for milkshakes.

This section has been in Frank's POV ("Frank thought") but the milkshakes detail is something only Clint knows. Common first draft problem.

Stop this, he had told her—almost begged her—when she called him on her stolen cell. Let the women go. You’ll have to kill me first, the woman had replied. Which was what Frank intended to do. If it brought the women back? Happy ending. If not? Revenge for taking away the only person in his life who mattered. Either way? Problem solved.

And, again, Frank has every reason to believe killing Eve is the right thing to do: she told him so.

Oh my god, there are pages about this damn bazooka. You know what we still don't know? Whether the women who die in the dream world die in the real world. But this bazooka is important. This right here is latent misogyny, when you don't think to think about the women in your novel because there's a metal penis to stroke.

[TW] They blew up the sheriff's office with the bazooka. The lady dispatcher we spent so much time with burned to death. Fuck.

The Drug Dealers who want to kill their witness in prison have sent a message to Terry and Frank. They know about Eve (how??) and the message is that they're her friends and they'd better stop the assault on the prison or else (why????). This only steels Terry and Frank's resolve to do the thing they were already 100% resolved to do anyway. How pointless.


He had an instinctive grasp of human psychology in general and male psychology in particular. When you told men they oughtn’t to do a thing, that was what they did.

All of these men have helpless, cocooned, flammable women at home. All of these men are here motivated to find a cure. NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM thinks "hmm, maybe we should go put our womenfolk in a non-flammable place"?

We spend a few moments in the POV of the Gay Man, whose backstory is that he is gay. [Note: He will not survive to the end of this novel.]

Eve plans to send Jeanette to stop Elaine, because the choice for women shouldn't be made by one woman. This is HILARIOUS.

“There’s a woman on the other side of that tunnel, and she’s going to close it unless someone stops her. I respect her position, I think it’s perfectly valid, the male species has performed abysmally on this side of the Tree, no amount of grade inflation can alter that conclusion, but everyone deserves a say. One woman, one vote. Elaine Nutting can’t be allowed to make the decision for everyone.”

3.5 billion women are asleep and are going to have their fates decided by the population of Bumblefuck, but ONE woman deciding for everyone is unfair. It wouldn't be right for a Black woman to decide for white women, but for those same white women to decide for all Black women is fine.

D Franklin @D_Libris  ..."the male species"?

Men being a different species explains how the illness can't affect them, I guess.

Clint has his men shoot first, and ruminates on how euphoric it feels to help Eve, and again, this works better for a villain, King.

The first good thing has happened in this book: Angel cuts open the cocoons of the two dead queer ladies and they wake up. Eve tells Angel to do this and also that their "souls are dead", which?????

Wait. What.


What, they're fucking undead now? Wasn't enough to kill the queers, you have to resurrect them as zombies?

They made no reply. They did not appear to be breathing. “You know what-all you’re supposed to do?” Angel asked, less nervous now, but curious. They said nothing. No reflection of any kind stirred in their black eyes. A faint scent of turned, damp earth emanated from the two women. Angel thought (she wished she hadn’t), This is how the dead sweat.

I can't breathe, I literally cannot breathe, fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Eve pleads with Clint to consider a world where men have been rebooted (DOES SHE WANT THEM TO SUCCEED OR NOT?) and he says:

Clint said, “Their essential nature will assert itself in time. Their maleness. One will raise a fist against another. Believe me, Evie. You’re looking at a man who knows.”

This is toxic masculinity: the equation of "maleness" with "raising fists against each other".

War begins, and it's boring. I have a lingering feeling Eve would be more interesting if she weren't clearly supernatural.

Evie was extremely relaxed; as she played with the phone, she floated on her back a couple of centimeters above the cot.

Jeanette, who has been going to a psychiatrist for years, keeps up the stigmatizing mental illness portrayal in this books.

Maybe not personally, but I’m right, aren’t I?” Elaine dumped the last of the kerosene onto some roots and pitched the canister aside. Jeanette thought, you ain’t Elaine Nutting, you’re Elaine Nuts.

My god, there is no subtly allowed here. King actually pauses the narrative to tell us Elaine sounds like Frank to him.

“If no one else has the guts,” Elaine said (with absolutely no awareness of how like her husband she sounded), “then yes. In that case, it’s down to me.”

But here's a crucial difference: Frank wants his daughter back in order to possess her; Elaine wants to protect her daughter from Frank. So if they sound similar, the similarities are superficial. This is what King thinks feminists want. This is what he thinks you want.

“See,” Elaine said, smirking, “that statement alone is enough to tell me you’re foolish. Boys grow up to be men. And it’s men who cause all the trouble. They’re the ones who shed the blood and poison the earth. We are better off here. There are male babies here, yes, but they’re going to be different. We’ll teach them to be different.”

*lays head on desk and weeps*

Elaine flicked the lighter’s switch. Flame wavered from the tip. “I am making an executive decision!” Jeanette pulled her hand from her pocket and hurled a handful of peas at the other woman.

Oh my god. So here is a good example of why you need rules for your magic or the reader will feel cheated. Despite there being a tiger and a snake here, Jeanette realizes they won't help her with Elaine; she's on her own. Okay! We understand that! She throws peas at Elaine, but the lighter drops, fire snakes towards the tree, all is lost--

--the tiger douses the fire with his foot.

The reader feels cheated: we were told the animals wouldn't help.

The tiger rose, lazily, went to the burning root, and planted a paw on it. Smoke rose around the paw, and Jeanette smelled singeing fur, but the tiger remained planted. When it stepped away, the blue flames were gone.


It might have worked, if not for the tiger. Was it supposed to do that, Jeanette wondered, or had it gone beyond its purview? And if that was so, would it be punished? So many questions. So few answers. Never mind.

It might have worked, if not for the tiger. Was it supposed to do that, Jeanette wondered, or had it gone beyond its purview? And if that was so, would it be punished? So many questions. So few answers. Never mind.

Oh my god.

Lila shows up with a gun and shoots Jeanette for holding a gun. Jeanette dies begging Elaine (WHY. WHY HER.) to take care of her son. Jeanette was the only other black woman in this book and was raped on-page. The narrative just killed the rape survivor. I am so sick.

Bazooka. Dynamite. Dead women. Frank seems strangely unconcerned that all this might kill Eve, but I guess he plans to kill her anyway. idk.

This book is stupid.


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