I just finished reading the whole series up to and including Chuck and Lisa. I might read the last story in the series later, but I don't feel like reading a new POV right now.
Anyhow, most stories are fairly long and after reading them, I have a lot of thoughts bouncing around in my head. As a disclaimer I should say that I only read about half of Bare Assets.
Obviously I enjoyed the series, I wouldn't have spent I don't know how many hours reading it otherwise. I did like the first few stories about Steve the most. I liked his personality the best and I liked how his growth both personal and monetary was very gradual. He started out doing small jobs and grew a little at a time. Compare that to Chuck, who got 5 women at once, and who got his fortune through a law suit and then threw the money at Ben to invest, I feel like Steve's was the more intersting.
I also like Steve's relationship with his women better. They are truly a family unit, where as Chuck for the most part was kind of a third wheel to his women's lesbian relationship. Chuck did eventually get recognized by some girls as a part of the relationship rather than a spice to their own little unit, and I believe Lisa said in the last story that she thought that she could live alone with Chuck and be happy. But for the most part throughout the series Chuck was considered as a breeder and some male comfort for most of his women. They excluded him from family meetings and decisions that affected him, and many of the women had no plans of staying with Chuck, I think that more than half of Chuck's women left him at some point, and came back later. Chuck really had some problems standing up for himself regarding women.
Steve's relationship didn't have much of these complications really. The only one that did the same is Mercy, and I still think that it's kind of messed up that she's planning to grow old with an other man whenever he's done getting together with men, a man that's had a very very minor role in the series. Kathy also left and came back, but she left because she was afraid for her and her children, not because she went into a relationship with Steve just to use him. I think that any of Steve's women would be happy in a relationship with just Steve, aswell as a one on one relationship with each other. That's what makes their family work so well I think. Because the only one that might stay and be truly happy in a one on one relationship with Chuck is Lisa (and maybe Tina, Gina(?) aswell as the two older ladies), it means that they do not have the same balance as Steve's unit.
Why oh why did Dual Writer use so few names? There are so many Johns, Maggies, Tom's, Tina's etc, aswell as names that are close such as Marie/Maria. Not only is it sometimes confusing to the reader, but it must be confusing to the writer aswell as he's multiple times mixed them up and put a Maria where there should be Marie and things like that. I can't for the life of me figure out why he didn't use mostly unique names. I mean, the main character's name in the last story Money! is called Chuck aswell. I read a couple of chapters of it, and I got confused as once. Is this a new Juanita, or either of the two that already are in the story? Is it a new Connie?
Other than the overuse of same/similar names, my biggest gripe with the series was the crew from Bare Assets. It's got a lot lower score than the other of the long stories, so I don't think that I'm alone of that opinion. Like I said earlier, I didn't finish reading that story so take my opinion with a grain of salt on that one. I just felt like all the gang over there had going for them was sex. Out at the restort - Sex with each other aswell as orgies with friends. At work - Sex with each other, aswell as the secretary. Visit Zena's uncle - Sexual education. The characters were really boring, and I was glad that they were mostly written out of the story after that. I just wish that they were written out entirely. I really didn't like that they got intimate with Chuck and the gang again. Unlike Chuck, Steve and Dewey, Tom and Zena are just friends, not family. They aren't even that close. I don't think Chuck visited them out at the naturist park for years, because he was uncomfortable with the sexuality there, as he said to Mercy I think it was. Chuck agreed with Wanda when she said that Chuck probably was so uncomfortable with what happened at the park because it was with strangers, and not with loved ones. That made sense because he was comfortable sharing with Steve and Dewey, because they were as close as family. Tom and Zena are casual friends who have lunch with Chuck and his office every now and then. And I think that in every scene they showed up in the stories after BA, they were suggesting something sexual, if they weren't already doing anything sexual. Since that was still the only thing they had going for them, it didn't make their characters any more likeable, and that in turn annoyed me any time they got screentime.
Also, what's the deal with Tina making a big production of calling together a family meeting, where they decide that there would be no more women. Tina even singled out someone, I don't remember if it was Frieda or Brandy, and told her to hold it within their family. They all agreed, yet they still sleep with outsider women when they fancy them, and I think it was Tina herself who brought Jane in. Their big agreement was never mentioned again and no one ever said, "wait a minute, we talked about this exact situation and we all agreed that we would stay away from any more women!".
Lastly, I didn't like how Chuck and Lisa started. Chuck has been very adamant throughout the stories that he doesn't want to become a governmet assassin, that he doesn't want to go out to kill people, but he will protect his own with the force necessary. Yet Chuck and Lisa starts out with them doing exactly that, looking up people to kill and they even bring Tina who is lacking any kind of formal training. Yes, Lisa said she's been teaching Tina some, but DW made it very clear throughout the story that Tina was very busy with her doctors training, and I don't belive that Tina had the time nor energy for some kind of Spec-Ops training added onto that. Yet they bring her and try to find people to kill, something that's out of character for Chuck atleast. Their reason? Adrenaline Junkies. It's such a weak reason for Chuck to throw out his philosophy. There are tons of other hobbies for adrenaline junkies that doesn't involve murdering people, bad people or not.
Overall it was a very engaging series and alot of hours worth of entertainment.
I'd give the story a 7/10, except that on this site stories at 7 are usually shit. SOL really just need 4 ratings.
Around 7 and less than 7, it's usually bad. 7-8 is usually alright. 8-8.50 is usually good. And 8.50+ is usually excellent.
So my SOL score rather than a normal 10 scale would be about 8.40, as it was good, but not excellent in my opinion.
I don't really expect anyone to read through all this, but I've binged read the series and need to get my thoughts out of my system, so I figured that the story discussion forum was the right place for it.
If you've come this far, thanks for reading, and have a nice day.