First, I couldn't find one good, strong female character who wasn't quickly struck down.
Ciani - only had about ten pages before she was turned first: weepy, weak and selfish and finally: corrupted and amoral. She had an Eve feel to her - a woman corrupted by her desire for knowledge - she ate of the tree of knowledge and so fell.
Jenseny - a child, not an actual woman, and too powerful and so had to be sacrificed. Also, Jenseny's mother - weak, delicate, dead.
Hesseth - not human. Also, these strong, practical Rakh females totally pandered to their silly macho males. Their lust (depiction of female in heat, Hesseth's indication that males had one good use) ruled them. And then of course she took on a maternal role and died.
Crazy Sorceress - was crazy. Also, the Undying Prince pointed to her as an example of why he'd never inhabit another female body - they just can't take it. Mentally weak.
Rasya - here we had a good strong woman with interests beyond the maternal - so of course she had to be severely limited in her emotional impact (Damien's musing about how they're good together because they each have more important things) and then torn apart by a mob.
Narilka - aieeeeeee! This one had a chance! She was feminine as all hell and yet sort of was a person with a career and an art and opinions. She even had power - an immunity from the Hunter and the Forest - she could have done great things - and tried to! But instead she had to fall back into being the archetypal fragile victim and be saved by her man.
I *think* she had no choice - none of them did. All the women on this planet have to be weak victims, empty vessels that served their men and children or morally weak women who fell to sin - sins of lust or desire for knowledge. This state of affairs was created by the human psyche, yes? Some kind of interaction with the fae drawn out of deep-rooted human misogyny? (Though I wonder why we didn't see deep divisions based on xenophobia as well - between ethnic groups). Anyway, that's my explanation.
I mean, look at Gerald's psyche, the man has issues with women!
- 900 years of hunting, terrifying and killing the most fragile, beautiful women he could find. Um, there's gotta be a story behind that! And how does Almea fit into it? It's strange that this fetish of his is never addressed - no one questions the naturalness of it. I mean, men fear as badly as women - why not so tasty?
- and then there's his hell. It's not thousands of women bloody and standing there angry at him - it's a grotesque pile of naked bodies - mounds and mounds of bloodied female flesh detached from any intelligence at all grasping and trying to share their agony.
- The Matrias. ::shudder:: There's even a conversation about how unnatural it is for humans to accept a martiarchy as opposed to a patriarchy. And then of course they turn out to be evil mutated aliens. There is supposedly one good, wise, strong woman in a position of authority - the Matriarch. We never get to meet her though and her only effect on the book is releasing big macho Damien into the world.
- As far as I could see all the background women were either dull, emotional mothers, infantile waifs, or buxom greedy sluts. I'm pretty sure those weren't the women from the ship 1300 years before - the fae did that to them, right?
- The mothering-image was always negative from what I could see. It culminated in the alien-thing blindly, mindlessly, endlessly breeding. *That* was a horror image.
Am I wrong? Are women and the feminine treated badly as a rule in these books? Is it a deliberate depiction of the human psyche? (I'm not so sure - but could be.)