Sekrit Rools: The Cheysuli Novels of Jennifer Roberson

The following is a parody for humor purposes only: it is not an in-depth analysis. For a definition of “Sekrit Rool” go here

Originally posted in Live Journal Sept. 1, 2006.

I did enjoy these books and another series (The Sandtiger and Del series) by Jennifer Roberson, but there were some attendant problems. Jennifer Roberson seems to have difficulty in portraying a “feminist” character from within the context of the character’s supposed society. Which is to say, her “independent strong minded female” characters tend to sound like stereotypical 60’s era feminists. They also tend to get their feminist opinions disproved within the context of the story, which may be a contributing reason why some fans have assumed in the past that Roberson is a male writer working under a female name. (Well that and the fact that her male characters are…VERY MALE in a way that’s difficult to describe.)1. Homanan language look nothing like Gaelic, Cheysuli language looks nothing like Gaelic, Ilhini language looks nothing like Gaelic…there are characters with vaguely Irish/Celtic type names. And brogues.

2. a. Cheysuli: We must fufill the prophecy, and reunite our bloodlines with the Ilhini! (Even though we’re like mortal enemies and hate each other and stuff.)
b. Ilhini: We must prevent the prophecy from happening because we will be destroyed as a people! (Even though the idea of a kid with super powers is kinda shiny.)

3.a. All female villains will be given sinister sounding names, and/or be easily identifiable to the reader (They will be the ones smiling mysteriously as they seduce the really stupid males.) Sadly, the male characters who get seduced by the vile ilhini seductresses never see a pattern and end up hating ALL females.
b. The grrl-warrior who gets raped however is not allowed to hate males.

4. Hot-button topics like abortion will be dealt with by way of endless lectures about how it’s not the fetus’ fault that grrl-warrior was raped by an Ilhini because Ilhini wanted a half-Cheysuli child he could control–and will be rendered moot when grrl-warrior frets herself into a miscarriage.

5. All proto-feminist characters will be tamed by having teh husbands and teh babies. Or they go insane and jump off towers to their screaming death.

6. Grrl-warrior is a grrl-warrior because she wants to be a boy. She wants to be a boy because she has Mommy Tried to Give My Brothers to the Ilhini but Didn’t Love Me Enough to Kidnap Me Issues.

7. Female characters go bonkers, and are not sympathetic characters. Male characters just become homicidally paranoid, and are sympathetic characters.


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