There was a lot to like about this book. This book was silly, whimsical, didn’t take itself too seriously, and had a beautiful setting, heartwarming instalove, and a very cozy family-centered HEA. It’s really just everything that I like about Zoe Chant books.
And don’t get me wrong: I DO like Zoe Chant books. I wouldn’t keep reading them if there wasn’t something there.
Yet there is one aspect of Chant’s books that drives me crazy every single time: the misogyny. It wasn’t too egregious this time (not like in Dancing Bearfoot), so I only took off one star.
But it was still pretty gross.
Chant always has some r/notliketheothergirls shit in her books. But really? We our here implying that conventionally attractive blondes are stupid? Most of us grew out of that in 8th grade when we realized how icky and sexist that is. Most of us realize that constantly putting down other women for being prettier or skinnier, and then implying LOOKS have a direct correlation to intelligence, doesn’t make us look better: it’s just veiled misogyny.
On page 32, Emily ponders that Gabriel must have a girlfriend. The following is a bit of text that Chant wrote into her book on purpose. And freaking criminey, Chant, could you just not? Stop slipping sexism and girl-hate into your books, because it always ruins the wholesome and quirky charm of the books for me.
This isn’t just an issue of the character being a jerk. Because all of Chant’s main characters are identical (not inherently a problem with fluffy books like these). The fact that every single one of Chant’s female leads is catty and bitchy, slut-shaming other women, judging their clothing choices and how much make-up they wear, calling them “vultures” if they flirt with men, and now implying a woman can be hot or smart, but not both: the fact that this is every single one of Chant’s main characters tells me this isn’t a problem of the characters being flawed (and I wouldn’t expect complexity like that in a fluffy book like this anyway-nor does it make any kind of sense without an arc), it is a Chant problem. This is how Chant herself feels about other women. She hates them and likely hates herself too. But if she can put other women down and raise herself up, she alleviates just a tiny bit of that self-hatred just for a moment.
Nearly all of Chant’s leads are “curvy” leading me to believe that Chant herself is overweight. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Be whatever size you want to be. But I want to toss some of my own lived experience out there; the few times in my life I have been friends with heavy women, it did not last very long. The fat women I’ve been friends with constantly judge me, make snide remarks about how much I eat, what I wear, how I interact with men, etc. I am a very skinny person who can eat whatever I want and stay skinny. I’m a butterface, but my body is pretty conventionally attractive. Aside from a couple of black heavy women (because heavy white women seem to be most insecure around thin women), I’ve never had many fat female friends because they are incredibly mean and rude to me and treat me like competition constantly.
To summarize, I’d say there is a correlation between girl on girl hate and insecurity/body issues.
But big women, you gotta sort that out without being damn misogynists. You just have to. If you’re insecure about your weight, that’s a you issue. There are way better things for me to be fucked about than the size of another woman’s waist.
Chant uses her characters to take digs at other women, women who are conventionally attractive and feminine and assertive, I believe because she is insecure in her ability to be any of those things.
I suppose my long-winded rant is over, and for as long as I just carried on, yes, I did give the book 4 stars. This book had one egregious paragraph and that was it. At this point I’m more outraged over the THEME of the misogyny in Chant’s oeuvre, but I judge every book individually, so while I may be heated over this consistent denigrating of other women, this book standing on its own merit wasn’t too bad. (If you want to see Chant at her misogynist best, Dancing Bearfoot is the book to read).
While Chant’s misogyny did rear its ugly head in this book, all of Chant’s best qualities were also showcased. The premise is weird as hell. There’s a cozy, yet quirky tone. The setting is beautiful. I mean, fuck we get some weird ass griffin lore where suddenly griffins can bite people to turn them into griffin shifters, and no, none of the characters knew that until the moment right when they needed to know it to fight off the dragon shifters. It was an ex machina, but since the book doesn’t take itself seriously, you can just sort of go with it and enjoy it.
The sex scenes were okay. To be honest, I never get much out of a Zoe Chant sex scene. I don’t read her books for that. I read for the cutesy romance and the weird premises. The sex scenes are always just sort of eh…I guess they’re fucking now. I can’t imagine ever banging out a lady-fap to a Zoe Chant book. The sex scenes are fine, but nothing to get excited over.
Is everybody ready for some TMI? Because I’m going to give you some.
Something that kind of weirds me out about sex scenes, not just in Chant’s books, but in a lot of other romance novels and eroticas, is how the dude always goes straight for the clit and the woman likes it.
Does my vagina not operate properly? If anybody directly touches the clit, I mean, it’s a lot of sensation. Not good sensation. It feels sort of like trying to pee with a bad UTI. It’s very intense and sharp and literally makes me feel like I have to pee.
Yet all these romance novels, guys just go direct for the clit and jam on it like a doorbell.
Yes, stimulate the clit, but you don’t directly touch the thing. Damn. Press into the spot below it. Gently graze your hand over the clitoral hood and then move on to other spots. Do other women not need the entire exterior of the vagina stimulated? It seems like dudes in romance novels only touch the clit and never the rest of the labia. It’s just super duper weird to me.
I’m told all women are different with what they need sexually. But in romance novels, it’s all a lot of the same.
Is it weird if I say the clit is over-hyped? I’m saying it. The clit is overhyped. Everybody get over the clit. I’m sick of it in romance novels.
Okay, I’m good with that tangent for now.
One of the elements of Zoe Chant’s novels that I can praise is the sweet, sensitive, romantic male leads, and Gabriel was no exception. We got the same “It’s my mate!” instalove that we always get with her books. I am not mad at the instalove. I actually find it really cute and refreshing. Gabriel rescues Emily from a snowstorm and carries her to safety. He is protective, nurturing, sweet, playful, and just everything you could want a man to be.
All in all, this was one of Chant’s books that I enjoyed the most out of all her works I’ve read. The only one I liked even better was “Cute but Prickly.”
‘Ranger Griffin’ was sweet and cozy and all the weird twists with vampire griffins, battling dragons in the sky, and then the appearance of dragon cops?? It was delightful. Perfectly zany, unapologetically weird Zoe Chant book.
Now please please please, Zoe Chant, for the love of god, just stop hating your own gender in your books, stop taking your insecurities out on other women, and your books would be so much more enjoyable.