Round 1, Match 5: The Perilous Gard vs. The President’s Daughter

Judged by Andree • Find her on Goodreads

This year, I was assigned a pair of books where the major events defining the story are essentially out of the main character’s control, and their circumstances are defined by someone else’s decision.

Which, as an aside, is generally not one of my favourite plot tropes, but both books deal with it well.

In The Perilous Gard, Kate Sutton is essentially exiled to a castle in the middle of nowhere because of a letter her flighty younger sister writes to the queen. The book is set in the 1500s in Tudor England (not generally my favourite time period for historical), and when I say the castle Kate is sent to is isolated, I mean it’s really isolated. As part of her (undeserved) punishment, Kate is confined to the castle and nearby village, there are essentially two people she can really talk to, and secrets abound.

The President’s Daughter is roughly contemporary and (unsurprisingly) tells the story of the President’s daughter. Meg Powers’ mother decides to run for President, and basically turns Meg’s life upside down in the process. After the announcement, everything Meg does is scrutinized; she has to go to campaign events where she has to play the perfect daughter. Then, when her mother is elected, Meg has to go to a new high school while getting used to secret service protection. Plus, she’s left with the sneaking suspicion that people only want to be friends with her because she’s the President’s daughter.

The President’s Daughter is a well-written book. The characterization is really excellent, and I think it does quite a good job of showing multiple points of view on an issue. Meg’s fights with her mother are realistic, and the dynamics between the first family are generally delightful. I particularly enjoy how the first couple’s marriage is depicted.  I also really enjoyed Meg’s banter with her best friend Beth, and her snark with (and at) her mother’s staffers, especially Preston. Preston is a young staffer who ends up working for her father and is definitely my favourite part of this book. The book also goes into Meg’s experiences at her new school, which strike me as being very realistic.

The President’s Daughter is readable, and fun. Meg is a funny narrator, and a realistic, but non-cookie-cutter, high school student (the detail that she deliberately gets A minuses, unless she screws up and gets an A plus was one of my favourites – because that would be exactly what you’d do if you wanted to fly under the radar a little). I think this book really shines in the depiction of Meg, and her frustrations with her mother (though parenthetically parts of that annoyed me a little, because while I think the book does a good job of portraying both points of view, I kept wanting to point out that one of the two of them is an adult, and the other is a sixteen year old girl, so perhaps the same level of maturity should not be expected. I did think that her parents expected a bit much of Meg, given that none of what happened to her was her choice). I enjoyed reading The President’s Daughter right from the start.

Full disclosure: I did not enjoy The Perilous Gard when I started reading it. I was pretty much immediately irritated by the extreme injustice that the main character experiences, all because she isn’t as traditionally likeable and friendly as her younger sister. I also wasn’t sure about the time period (as I said, Tudor is not one of my favourites); I thought the book dragged a bit during the trip to the castle, and then not long afterwards, people get fairy-napped (not super into kidnappings as a rule). The other thing is, there really aren’t too many characters to develop in this book. There is Kate herself, but she’s surrounded by people who won’t talk to her and are keeping secrets, and Christopher, the reclusive younger brother of her guardian (who has gone travelling).

Christopher is stoic and guilt-ridden to the extent that he won’t listen to logic, because he thinks he is responsible for his niece’s death. I admit, I was mildly interested in Christopher. He and Kate argue well.

So basically, the point when I was starting to enjoy the book was the point at which everyone gets fairy-napped.

Annoying, right?

I certainly thought so.

I also genuinely wasn’t sure why Beth had chosen this book to be a battle book, if I’m honest. (Sorry Beth!)

Except then a funny thing happened; this book reminded me of just how much I love fairy stories.

I love fairy stories. I don’t think I’ve read one in years (for unknown reasons), but I read dozens as a teenager (can I blame the Irish heritage? Why not?). This one even comes complete with a harper, which is obviously delightful.

There is a moment in this book, a very distinct moment, when I fell in love with it all at once. And I won’t tell you when it was, because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it is great.

And then the book just kept getting better.

Christopher and Kate have one of the more generally enjoyable dynamics that I have read in some time. He’s all broody and noble, and she’s just complete practicality. Plus, voices were already a thing for me, and they’re important here. I also really enjoyed Kate’s dynamic with the fairies and how she copes. And the ending is absolutely fantastic. You will have to read it yourselves to find out why, and you all should.

So I guess the real moral of the story is that I should just trust Beth.

Because I love this book. I love it a lot. I finished reading it, and all I wanted to do was read it again.

For me, The Perilous Gard built to something amazing, while The President’s Daughter always stayed on sort of an even keel the whole way through. I enjoy The President’s Daughter, I think it’s an interesting look at the American political system. But I don’t love it (and parts of the ending might even annoy me a little, but just a little).

So I am putting The Perilous Gard through to the next round, because while I enjoyed both books, in the end, I only love one of them.

Congratulations to The Perilous Gard, which moves on to Round 2!


54 thoughts on “Round 1, Match 5: The Perilous Gard vs. The President’s Daughter

    1. It really is excellent. I think partly I was just in a bad mood when I was reading it, but also a couple of things that happen near the start are things that can irritate me, which didn’t help my general bad mood.

  1. Ahhh, this is probably the wrong place to start, are you going to read The President’s Daughters sequels? It gets sooooo much better. One of those series where I liked the first book well enough, but it’s the following books that made me fall in loooooooove.

    Also, I hope you still us on GoodReads what the moment that made you fall in love is! 😀 And do you have fairy story recs? I didn’t love this book, but other books have made me come to that, “Wow, I love fairy stories” realization and I want mooooore.

    1. Yeah, I actually agree that The President’s Daughter might be the weakest book of the series, though I think I ultimately prefer it to White House Autumn. The Boston stuff pre-nomination is really interesting, and I think important for Meg’s characterization later.

          1. No, hide your eyes! And then read quickly. (At least–looking as goodreads–as soon as you’re able to get them from somewhere.)

          2. Listen, just so you know, I read book 3 at 1 AM and I regretted not having anyone I could call. Because I was – well, traumatized, just by reading it. It’s a tough read, is what I’m saying! But I think it’s worth it. And you need it to get to the fourth book, which is – definitely the best of the series.

    2. I am undecided. Because I kinda rationally softened my reactions to, well, both books for this review. Also, I have somehow managed to get slightly spoiled for the subject of I believe it is book three. And it does not exactlt fill me with joyous anticipation (the reason why is coincidentally stated in this review). So I really don’t know.

      I may post the book à la Andrée as my review, which should cover it. Which up until now, only Beth had been privy to (her confidentiality requirements force her up to deal with my battle-related flail). I will tell people after battle.

      As for fairy story recs, the problem is that I read a lot of them when I was young and don’t remember them all now. Alas. Off the top of my head, I’d say O.R. Melling and Charles de Lint. I will investigate further tonight.

      1. OH. Of course. That is a valid concern indeed! I think it’s well done, but, yeah. That’s the book 3 plot.

        And thanks!

        1. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t always hate the plot line, but… that combined with my general annoyance at parts of book 1 means I’m not rushing out to read the rest.

          SO, fairy stories. Charles de Lint (have you read de Lint – I don’t remember) does not not do traditional fairy stories a lot of the time. But he does do a lot of variations on the theme. I would generally rec some of the Newford books for some of the variants. Also, Jack of Kinrowan is fun. O.R. Melling wrote “The Chronicles” of Faerie, which are the ones I remember most, though the fourth book was written later and was always a bit disappointing to me (it almost felt rushed). But I really enjoy the first three. I also really liked some of her other standalones, my favourite of which was The SInging Stone, but now I can’t remember if that’s actually fairies, or if it’s just time-travel to bronze age Ireland. I liked the Faery Reel, which is an anthology.

          I know I read more, but I genuinely can’t remember them.

    3. You know, I think the fourth book is better – much better – but I think the first book is SO STRONG! Am I in the minority about that? The moment when Meg’s mother gets the Democratic nomination and everyone goes crazy gives me chills every single time I read it. And “the blazer incident” and the “Coming Soon: Russell James Powers” I JUST LOVE IT.

      1. Hmmmm, I think I wouldn’t have continued reading if it wasn’t strong, BUT, at the same time, I think, if the book didn’t have sequels, it would be one that largely faded from my mind.

        1. That’s so interesting! Do you think that’s a quality thing, or a standalones-fade-more-easily thing? As in, because there was so much more story, it’s harder to forget?

          1. Ahhhh, probably more a stand alones tend to fade thing, though I usually think of it in more of the opposite way, as in I need the extra page time to REALLY fall in love with the characters. So it takes a REALLY EXTRAORDINARY book to overcome that. (Chime, Jellicoe Road, Poisonwood Bible . . .those are the ones on the top of my head.)

      2. Beth, it’s not that I don’t think this book isn’t strong. I just think it’s inconsistent. And I mostly enjoyed it, and found it interesting, but something was always missing. Part of me was wondering if some of it may have been because I’m Canadian, and some of the over-the-top politicizing of the families of politicians just doesn’t happen here Certainly not to the same degree (I seriously had to think about how many children our Prime Minister has – I’m not sure I’m right, and I live in the capitol). But yeah, there were parts of this I really enjoyed, but there were also parts that didn’t work for me, and irritated me a fair bit.

        1. I wondered about the Canadian issue (The Canadian Issue–sounds like an episode of The West Wing or something) when was trying to decide what you’d pick. (I was wrong, btw, but it was a close call.)

          1. I actually think, in the end, it’s less about the Canadian issue, and more about the fact that I found Meg’s parent’s expectations of her quite unreasonable. Her mother is the worst offender, but her father is not blameless. Like, she gets ridiculously little leeway for anything, and given how much scrutiny her life suddenly gets, and the degree to which her adolescence kind of gets thrown under a bus (I mean, sure she gets to have one, but not what I would consider a particularly healthy one), I just found her parents’ reactions absurd. Her mother’s insecurities are understandable, but I did find that the balance was off in how the whole situation was handled, given that Meg is generally a pretty good kid.

            To be honest, I was glad I love The Perilous Gard so much that it became a non-issue for battle purposes. Because had Perilous Gard been less good, I may have felt like I should pick President’s Daughter (which I do think is a better book than some of the other battle books in other parts of the bracket), because it is objectively well-written, but there’s something about it that just doesn’t quite sit right with me, no matter how good parts of it are. Like I said, inconsistent. Parts of it I really like, parts of it not so much.

            Which is something of a shame, because parts of it are delightful.

            1. Okay, now you HAVE to read the rest because I’d LOVE to know what you think of that as the series continues. Which is to say that I totally see where you’re coming from. I think it’s one of those cases where I sympathized a bit with the parents’ and their position, like they thought they had to treat her that way BECAUSE of the intense scrutiny.

              Also maybe some unfair expectations of the oldest kid in general. (I suddenly want a book from Neal’s perspective. I mean, he’s going to grow up with all this being normal.)

              1. I’m not saying I didn’t sympathize with he parents and their position, I just thought it was a bit extreme. To the extent that it felt a bit more like Meg was more aware or at least willing to make allowances for her mother’s position and issues than vice versa (and I would say the same is true of both of her parents). I don’t know. It’s hard to explain it (and it absolutely is tied up in oldest kid syndrome too).

                1. To the extent that it felt a bit more like Meg was more aware or at least willing to make allowances for her mother’s position and issues than vice versa

                  I wonder if this particular point is because we’re in Meg’s head, though? We don’t see her mother making allowances because the only things we know about her mother, we know through Meg.

                  1. If that was the case, I feel like there should have been a way of communicating that to the reader, even if Meg was a bit oblivious. I’m not saying it’s easy, or that her mother didn’t have a good excuse, what with running the country. But even the conversations with her father felt very one-sided to me. I can’t explain it.

                2. To the extent that it felt a bit more like Meg was more aware or at least willing to make allowances for her mother’s position and issues than vice versa (and I would say the same is true of both of her parents). I don’t know. It’s hard to explain it (and it absolutely is tied up in oldest kid syndrome too).

                  I absolutely agree with this, and it’s hard to discuss because it is a question that is addressed to a greater and greater degree throughout the rest of the series. Some of it I can’t talk about for that reason, but to put it really bluntly; I can never fully forgive Meg’s parents for what they do to their kids and how they do it. Not even what they unknowingly do to their family in books 2 and 3, but just the running for president with kids that age. (And to be clear; I would feel exactly the same if it had been Meg’s father who’d become president.)

                  1. I’m curious about the age of kids argument. Because I get it, but at the same time, if people who ran for president didn’t occasionally have young children, you’re looking at a drastically limited candidate pool. You’re basically limited to people who are 50+ or child free candidates. Is that really something to aspire to?

                    And how young is too young? If it had just been Meg, would that have been fine? Meg and Stephen? Do they all need to be in college?

                    1. Well, for one thing, I’m talking about fictional narratives here, rather than saying that actual political figures should follow my expectations! In the book, though, we’re very much encouraged to view Meg’s mother as a parent who has chosen to go for the ultimate political position at this particular time in her family’s life, and that’s the perspective from which I was speaking. Even in the real-life political world, I don’t think it is that drastic a limitation – more presidents seem to choose to wait or don’t reach the point in their careers at which running for president seems timely until they’re 50+ anyway.

                      I’m sure some of my feelings about this come from remembering the horrible time the media gave Chelsea during the Clinton presidency, which wouldn’t have been the case when the book was being written. White does seem pretty clear-eyed about how hard it is, even for an extremely smart, attractive, and eloquent kid like Meg, though, doesn’t she?

                    2. I guess my argument was more do you want to limit the pool to those people, though? I see a lot of complaining about old white men being president online, and if we don’t want people with small children to expose their kids to that, you’re sort of ensuring exactly that. (Or old women. But there aren’t a lot of senior stateswomen in either US political party. The white part is obviously variable too. But you’re pretty much stuck with old.)

                      And yes, White doesn’t run away from the difficulties for the children, which is what I think makes the series work. For me, it’s also not really forgiving of what the parents put their kids through, except in how the kids manage to forgive them for it themselves. Kate Powers is deeply aware of how selfish she’s being by putting her family through this. And I like her the better for it.

                    3. As I said, I don’t want to limit the pool of real politicians in any way. Even in the case of there being two candidates I liked in my party’s primaries, I wouldn’t choose the one who had grown-up or no kids over the one with young kids for that reason alone. But beyond some belief in a candidate’s having some degree of integrity, it’s not as if we’re voting for someone because we think they’re a better parent or less selfish in not having had kids, is it? In the case of this book though, part of my response to it is a reaction to the protagonists’ parent(s), just as it is in most YA books where the parent is around and interacting with the protag.

                      Of course you understand that none of my reply has the slightest hint of despondency, let alone frustration, at the 50+ = not only old, but “OLD. BAD” idea, right? 😉

                    4. I guess at the end of the day I think it’s silly to have a standard for fictional characters you wouldn’t apply to actual human beings. So if you feel strongly that the Powers parents acted against their children’s best interest in pursuing this action when their children were young, you should also be willing to use that as a criteria in making a judgment of a real life potential presidential candidate. Not the only criteria, certainly, but it should be a factor.

                      Hey, I’m closer to 50 than I am farther away from it. I do not think 50 is old. But if you ask the people railing about politicians on tumblr? Yes. It is.

                    5. I guess at the end of the day I think it’s silly to have a standard for fictional characters you wouldn’t apply to actual human beings. So if you feel strongly that the Powers parents acted against their children’s best interest in pursuing this action when their children were young, you should also be willing to use that as a criteria in making a judgment of a real life potential presidential candidate.

                      Whatever you feel about whether I’m being silly or not, I never actually wanted to discuss the character in this book in terms of my criteria for judging real life politicians, because it’s not relevant. As well as that, I don’t think it’s likely to contribute much to keeping this an open and friendly discussion about the Battle books. That said, as a general consideration, I’d agree that setting a standard for fictional characters you wouldn’t apply in real life usually doesn’t make much sense. So, for example, if I said that Marco in Izzy, Willy-Nilly should go to jail for drunk driving but we shouldn’t legislate against drunk driving, it would be highly irrational. If I chose my presidential candidate partly by whether or not I thought they were good parents, from the extremely limited evidence I’d have in virtually every case, that would ALSO be irrational, however.

                      In the case of this book, I’m judging Meg’s parents as parents because that’s how we see them. It’s a huge part of the narrative, as almost everything Meg experiences is a result of her mother’s political career. Even if I were imagining myself a voter given the chance to cast my vote for her or her rival, it couldn’t have any relevance to real life. If I were in that position, I’d know much, much more about her career and platform and much, much less about her family life.

                      For what it’s worth I think that the issue of whether the things that make Kate a virtually perfect president are the same things that make her a much less than perfect parent is increasingly addressed through the series. I think it’s fascinating, but again, it wouldn’t – shouldn’t – lead me to believe I’ve learned something useful about how to judge a candidate’s ability to lead and govern. What it would more likely do is contribute to my already existing feeling that, for all there are no doubt many possible advantages to being the child of a politician, I would hate it for myself or anyone I care about. Which, of course, it can do because White has an amazing ability to engage you sympathetically with all of the characters, even when you don’t like their choices.

                    6. Yeah, I agree with this. I don’t think you want to limit the field that much. I think it IS difficult for the kids, and the media should be less voracious… but I don’t think that’s a reason not to do it. Unless you’re really, really worried about your kids. In which case you probably aren’t called to be a politician/away from home so much anyway?

                    7. I wouldn’t say I’d limit the pool based on the age of a candidate’s children, because I don’t think that’s a factor in a person’s ability to govern, and at the end of the day that’s what I’m casting my vote on. But I don’t have a lot of respect for a candidate, personally, who puts his or her political career ahead of the needs of a six-year-old child (which is what Neal is) and I do consider that “too young.” I sacrificed a lot of things when my kids were that age because they were more important; I don’t see the urgency in Kate Powers’ bid for the presidency that couldn’t wait another four or eight years, except that Meg wouldn’t be a teen if she did. In terms of the story it makes for interesting conflicts, especially since Meg is different as the oldest child than she would be if she were the youngest, and for Meg to be both an oldest child and have siblings to interact with, the boys have to be younger. So no, I’m not arguing for some kind of explicit barrier to entry based on children’s age, but I reserve the right to be critical of the choice the Powers adults made in terms of what it will almost certainly do to Neal.

                  2. I think I’m okay with the running for President thing. What I am less okay with is the parents not making allowancesfor the impact it has on their kids and their frustrations with the situation. Because the way it comes across here a bit (and this will be a slight exaggeration), is that because her mother has insecurities and is doing this super important thing and has a million responsabilities, Meg is not allowed to express her own frustrations.

                    It’s more, if you are going to make a choice like this to run for President, I think you need to also make allowancesfor the impact on your children and their reaction. Which I don’t think Meg’s parents do.

                    1. You’re less judgmental than I am, then! (It’s not hard, sometimes.) I agree that they don’t allow their kids to express their frustration at the impact they experience (“suffer” is the word that came to mind), but that’s part and parcel of making a decision like running for president with young kids in the first place. It’s an extremely rare person who can admit that they’re putting their ambition or dreams way ahead of consideration of the negative consequences for their kids AND then let the kids tell then that they don’t appreciate it. Like you, I’m exaggerating slightly, but I feel that Meg’s parents wanted to do what they wanted to do with full, complete support from their kids, while still believing themselves to be the best of parents.

                    2. And that’s exactly what bugs me. If you decide this is that important to you, I get it. But if you’re smart enough and strong enough and whatever else to be a good President, you should also be a least a little aware of the effects it will have, and that you may have to bend a little in other areas of your life. Which is what is missing for me, the willingness to bend. Although, I haven’t read the other books. It might be addressed there.

                    3. See, I guess I don’t read it as Meg isn’t allowed to express her frustration. I read it as she chooses not to. We spend the entire series in her head and she self-edits CONSTANTLY. It’s simply a character trait, one I might identify particularly strongly, so that’s why it doesn’t bug me. It’s also been awhile since I read these, so I could not be remembering Meg’s reactions as well as you do, since you just read it.

                      I do think there’s not enough discussion overall about what the decision to run for their family. It’s presented to Meg as a done deal, not as something they’re going to discuss as a family, and I think it should have been.

                    4. That makes sense. I do think that Meg rarely expresses her frustration, but when she does, or when she gets angry and snaps, that her parents give her next to no leeway based on circumstances. Especially given she had no input into the decision to change her life.

                      And maybe part of that is POV dependent. Maybe her father is having discussions with her mother where he’s going cut your daughter a bit of slack here, she had no say in this, and we’re all under a lot of pressure. But it didn’t feel like it based on his conversations with Meg. We just saw her father repeatedly telling Meg she needed to reach out and be more understanding, and her mother essentially not dealing with the issue (and not knowing how to deal with the issue). Which fair enough, but this is what I mean when I say it feels unbalanced to me.

                    5. Andree, I do think some of your concerns regarding the mother-daughter relationship and Meg’s feelings are addressed later. You do clearly get to see that dad’s role is intermediary between them, and more, I think you get to see why Kate Powers is so bad at being a mother a lot of them.

                      The other thing that I think is a complicating factor in the personal dynamics (besides oldest child syndrome, which is DEFINITELY a thing), is that these books play hard into the taciturn New Englander WASP thing.

                      But the books are limited by being only from Meg’s POV. You don’t get the fuller picturer you might otherwise, and though I enjoy Meg’s voice a great deal, maybe that’s more of a problem than I’d considered.

                    6. Andree, I do think some of your concerns regarding the mother-daughter relationship and Meg’s feelings are addressed later.

                      I was thinking this, too. They’re not “fixed” (which is realistic!), but I feel like they come to a greater understanding of each other.

                    7. Aaaaand I agree with Andree, too. I guess what I like about this book is that Meg’s mother is so much better a politician than mother – maybe because she spends more time on the former? Or because she’s convinced herself she’s already lost as the latter? – and it’s so much of a reversal that I appreciate it so much. And yeah, it’s hard on the kids. There are absent parents everywhere, though; I think the Presidency is more Meg’s mother’s excuse than the actual reason (though it certainly complicates things); I think she’s be an equally complicated mother if she were a teacher or bus driver or whatever else Meg imagines her as in whatever book that conversation happens.

                    8. I think the Presidency is more Meg’s mother’s excuse than the actual reason (though it certainly complicates things); I think she’s be an equally complicated mother if she were a teacher or bus driver or whatever else Meg imagines her as in whatever book that conversation happens.

                      I LOVE THIS POINT. I think this is entirely true. Meg’s mother would always face the same underlying battle, though the specifics would be different if she weren’t president. Like imagine her being a teacher at Meg’s school–well, Meg would be under scrutiny there, too! A lawyer–it would look bad for me if you got in trouble! Etc.

                    9. Oh, I’m sure that’s true, Beth. I didn’t mean to imply that I thought it was only a result of being President that cause all of the problems. But it certainly exacerbates them. And I did perceive a lack of balance There’s just something about the way it was portrayed that bothered me a fair bit. I’m not saying Kate Powers needs to be a perfect mother, and her flaws definitely contribute to making her an interesting character, I just found parts extremely frustrating to read. I also think it’s one of those things that irritates me more, the more I think about it. Because I don’t meant to imply that I didn’t like the book. I just have one massive frustration with it. The solution might be to just stop thinking about it.

  2. Now you have me intrigued by The Perilous Gard. Huh. Might check out because a book that you started off not liking and then ending up loving is something that has my name all over it. Although I am disappointed you didn’t advance The President’s Daughter. I mean I get the comments so I understand why, I just love that series enormously. Although I will admit I find the 1st book a bit weaker in comparison to the others….

    1. To be honest, I thought I was going to hear far more annoyance about not advancing The President’s Daughter. It may be a function of the fact that it is part of a series.

      The Perilous Gard is well worth a read. You may like it right from the start. I genuinely think I wasn’t in the best mood, but then it won me over utterly and completely, in spite of myself. So I definitely recommend giving it a go.

  3. Your thoughts on The Perilous Gard make me so happy. I love Kate and Christopher so much. I won’t say much more because this book could potentially be coming my way soon.

    Any of you who haven’t should read Pope’s other book, The Sherwood Ring, too!

    Beth, I promise I will still read The President’s Daughter! I have it here in a stack right next to me.

    1. I just love The Perilous Gard a lot. I ordered a pretty copy for my very own. Pretty, pretty book. I was all flaily for at least 24 hours. Possibly 48. I did not know there were was another book! I will have to look into this.

      1. The Sherwood Ring is about a girl who is visited by four ghosts of her family from The Revolutionary War era and they all tell her parts of a story and it all comes together beautifully in the end. Now I don’t generally go for any books with ghosts, but this is just so well done. And it has what is the funniest marriage proposal I’ve ever read.

        1. Whereas I was pretty much sold on the synopsis. I am a fan of GHOSTS. Particularly if they are RIDICULOUS GHOSTS and not malevolent. And these sound far closer to the former than the latter. Basically, I’m cool with ghosts as long as they aren’t involved in some sort of weird love triangle with the living. Actually, doesn’t need to be a triangle. But then, I am generally a fan of the ridiculous, so…

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