A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Narcissus in Chains’ chapter five


Richard is here and he’s totally hawt.

I think he’s picked Anita from the ground – where JC left her, isn’t that telling – because this scene would be really weird if she was just lying on the floor throughout. They make out and Anita goes into raptures about how Richard is ‘the ultimate male’. Because fuck androgyny. Honestly, LKH missed the best part of the 70s and 80s – when people were exploring what the labels of ‘male’ and ‘female’ meant, and explored gender fluidity.

Richard also dressed from head to toe in black vinyl, with ‘leather and metal studded ‘bracelets’ and a matching collar’. I have no idea why she put bracelet in quotation marks. I own a lot of studded wrist cuffs and dog collars, so I have no idea why she can’t describe them as such. It also has the unintended effect of making it seem that Anita suddenly shouted ‘BRACELETS’ for no reason, as LKH uses quotation marks to denote speech.

JC then appears again, and it is revealed that the two men had a pact to contact each other when Anita decided to go back to their bullshit. Richard wanted to surprise Anita, because otherwise he wouldn’t have gotten a kiss. Because we’re in high school, apparently.

“I have played you fair tonight, ma petite, and yet I am punished, rather than rewarded.” Jean-Claude held out his hand to me. “Shall we begin with a kiss?”

I was suddenly aware that we were standing on the dance floor near the metal framework and the waiting ‘actors’.

You are the least aware literary character ever. How are you just noticing the place where you’ve been stood for two chapters?

As uncomfortable as it was to do what we had to do in public, it was still better than in private.

‘Marrying the marks’ involves metaphysical sex. Why is doing that in front of a room full of strangers better than doing it in private? Anyway, the three of them start making out – well, I say that, but JC and Richard don’t kiss. They have to avoid boy cooties. Anita screams and they collapse on the ground together. Wow, they are the world’s easiest people to get off. JC jumps on Anita to dry hump her. They explode with POWER and Anita passes out.

When she wakes up, the entire room is staring. And applauding.  Asher then reappears to whisper at Richard – ‘Can you hear me, mon ami?’. When did they become friends? Although I guess they have rape in common. Jamil, Shang-Da, and Sylvie then appear to help Anita rescue the wereleopards. Oh, are we actually approaching what might be a plot now? I am surprised!

There are two random vampires, a woman and a man. Jason crawls between their legs and wants to know about the sex – I mean, marks ceremony. Everyone decides to stay on the floor. Jason rubs his head on Anita and talks about her underwear. Everyone agrees that yes, this felt good, but LKH has forgotten that this happened in the middle of a busy club during a rescue mission.

You can’t build tension while everyone is lying around the floor talking about oh, yes, metaphysical sex is very nice.

I also feel really bad for all the shapeshifters who go to NiC because it’s the only place they’re not going to get shot or hurt or enslaved, only to have to watch this nonsense unfold.

Some say that moment during sex when you both have an orgasm your auras drop, you blend energies, yourselves together.

Who said that? You only started talking about auras in this book. Anita, unsurprisingly, didn’t know much about them. Now, unsurprisingly, she’s suddenly a fucking expert on them. Be consistent!

Narcissus then comes in to announced how there will be no show tonight, as they’ve all witnessed a ‘treat’.

The woman, who was still standing to the back of the dance floor in her robe, said, “I can’t compete with that.”

Oh yes, what a show, three people rolling around and dry humping, surely there will never be a better show in the history of the world. Never. Not ever.

[Narcissus] knelt beside us, smoothing his dress down in an automatic and strangely odd gesture that I’d never seen a man make before. Of course, he was the first man I’d ever seen in a dress. There was probably a cause and effect.

That’s actually a rather nuanced way of looking at it. Anita is pretty sheltered and probably has limited experience of those who exist outside of the societal definitions of ‘male’ and ‘female’. And she’s not judging someone negatively.

Narcissus then proves further how much he rocks by insinuating that JC controls the wereleopards – through controlling Anita. This makes JC angry, so he flashes POWER at Narcissus. So, you know, demonstrating how vulnerable JC is when it comes to Anita. Oh, I love Narcissus. Finally, an intelligent and shrewd villain. He asks to speak privately. Not that Anita is paying attention. She’s too busy talking about how wonderful it is that she can touch JC’s and Richard’s skin.

This is a terrible rescue effort.

JC tries to get Anita to, you know, rescue people but she’s too busy thinking about how much she wants to have sex.

You are the worst, Anita.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Narcissus in Chains’ chapter four


There’s an introductory paragraph about how the seedy and gross shapeshifter businesses are not permitted in the main body of the city, while the vampire businesses are allowed in the main city because they’re so wonderful and fabulous. Why even bother to have shapeshifters in the book, if you hate writing about them so much?

Anita wanks about how she’s in an area where other, lesser women would be attacked. But not her. She’s got so much weaponry and so won’t suffer the indignities of lesser women.

Of course, I don’t usually walk around looking like bait.

*sigh*

WHAT YOU WEAR IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR RAPE. FUCK YOU.

Anita then goes on about how you can shield yourself with elements of the universe and how she’s NOT LIKE OTHER WEAK WOMEN, MMMKAY? Then she notices Jason. Oh great, I just love Jason.

He was wearing a sheer silver mesh shirt and a pair of pants that seemed mostly made of the same stuff. Only a thin line of solid silver ran over his groin. The outfit was so eye-catching that it took me a moment to realize just how sheer the cloth was. What I was really seeing wasn’t the silver, but Jason’s skin through a veil of glitter. The outfit, which left precious little to the imagination, ended in calf-high gray boots.

That outfit is going to be just super great when bullets start flying.

He’d been nineteen when we met. Twenty two looked better on him.

How has it been three years since we met him? Anita’s only aged two years. This timeline is more timey wimey than if you passed time through a corkscrew.

They exchange mutual hellos and happy to see yous, before they go into NiC. Well, only after Anita goes on about Jason’s thong.

The music hit me at the door like a giant’s slap.

You already used that simile. Try again.

It surprisingly looks a lot like a night club, but Anita shouldn’t be so surprised, seeing as how she hangs around the leopard’s S&M club of choice. She catches sight of JC, who is dressed from vinyl from head to toe. Nice. It’s just as well vampires don’t sweat.

That heartrending beauty that was masculine but treaded -

‘Trod’. The word you’re looking for is ‘trod’.

- the line between what was male and what was female. Not exactly androgynous, but close to it.

Um, that sounds exactly like androgyny. Just admit you find women attractive as well, and get over your hang up. But, anywho, Anita is struck with instalust over how hawwwwt her abusive boyfriend is. She compares him to a painting by Da Vinci. Lady, if you want to go hump priceless renaissance masterpieces, why not try that out instead? Anita and JC stare at each other, while Jason makes third wheel jokes that are stale. Three men then come up to them.

The shortest of the three was only about five foot seven, and he was wearing more makeup on his pale triangular face than I was. The makeup as well done, but he wasn’t trying to look like a woman.

It’s almost as if – gasp – men can wear make-up just because they want to! What a shocking idea!

This is Narcissus, the owner of the club, and credit where credit’s due, Anita recognises that he* wears what the fuck he wants to wear and doesn’t give a shit about conforming to a society imposed gender identity. The other two guys don’t meet Anita’s ‘badass’ standards.

(*Narcissus is referred to using ‘he/him’ pronouns, so until I am corrected otherwise, I will follow suit)

Narcissus said, “This is Ulysses and Ajax.” Ajax was the blond, and Ulysses was the oh-so brunette.

“Greek myths, nice naming convention,” I said.

Narcissus blinked large dark eyes at me. Either he didn’t think I was funny, or he simply didn’t care.

I didn’t realise making observations are jokes. Narcissus tells Anita to loose her gun – it turns out he can smell it, which is a good use of a shapeshifter ability. He reminds her this is neutral territory, so it’s pretty insulting for her to bring weapons with her. Anita huffs because she can’t be without her precious gun. She insults the idea of a neutral space, but considering how supernaturals act in this world, a neutral space has got to be the only place where you’re not going to get killed. Narcissus senses something of the other about Anita, presuming she is a shapeshifter. He tells her she is unfit to lead the wereleopards if she constantly has to resort to physical violence and weaponry.

oh my gosh i love narcissus he speaks all the sense

Anita admits she’s interviewing potential candidates to run the wereleopards. I have a question – why can’t one of the wereleopards be in charge? Why must they rely on you to wipe their arses for them? She admits to wanting to ‘farm them out’ which…. um, they’re people with their own independent minds. They are not your fucking property.

More back and forth about Anita’s guns, with Narcissus saying how the problem has been dealt with already.

“Nathaniel is one of those bottoms who will ask for more punishment than he can survive. He has no stopping point, no ability to keep himself safe. Do you understand?”

Narcissus’s eyes widened. “Then what was he doing here without a top of his own?”

more sense from narcissus. Although he should be asking why, if Anita and co are his safe keepers while Nathavile gets on his feet, they didn’t do more to prevent this situation. Anita says how it’s poopiehead Elizabeth’s fault because she keeps fighting with Anita. Oh, I wonder why. Narcissus asks for the gun, again, and Anita finally gives in. She is welcomed into the club.

JC then demands that they do the vampire mark right here and now. As he’s an arsehole. They go to a wall and talk about marks. I don’t care. Anita blathers about her shields. I don’t care. They rub faces and Anita tries to argue for helping people but is powerless to stop herself when confronted with JC’s vinyl body. He continues his trend of being a douchebag by saying how this is all really because of her and she’s the one making him to it and blahabalalaahahahafrenchwhining.

Then Asher arrives. Didn’t you rush here to save the wereleopards because they are entirely helpless on their own?

A show is being set up around them, so JC has a go at Anita about how they can’t possibly marry the marks without everyone noticing, how could she be so stupid as to think that, and people are going to be really offended if they do it without warning.

Arse.

Hole.

JC then says how he won’t force her to do anything.

Anita drops her shields and JC’s mind POWERS drop on her like a pile of bricks. He then walks away and Anita slams towards the floor. Luckily, Richard is there to catch her.

I think Narcissus might be the only character I like. In the whole of the book so far.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Narcissus in Chains’ chapter three


Anita panics for a paragraph about how she can’t find JC at any of his businesses and oh no he might have moved onto to stalk and rape another woman. Why does she have to ring around his businesses to find him? Why hadn’t JC got a mobile phone? He’s got a fucking private plane. He can afford to buy a mobile phone! She then complains about her aura and how she needs Richard and JC to fill the holes in it or something.

Jean-Claude’s voice hit me over the phone like a velvet slap.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

i just can’t take shit like that seriously

“It’s been six months…”

“I am aware of that, ma petite.”

He was being condescending. I hated that.

He is nothing BUT condescending and insulting. Why are you in love with him?

Anita takes a while to blurt out that she just wants to know whether NiC is a real club, which JC confirms – while being insulting about Anita’s sexual preferences and the wereleopards. Still, he’s going to go charging on in there to rescue Nathavile and Gregory. Which is something. They sigh over how jaded Anita is. NiC, it is explained, is usually a safezone for all shapeshifters because all shapeshifters are into bondage. Of course.

JC explains that Narcissus, the owner, is… nice? Well, he likes to keep the peace and is trustworthy.

Jean-Claude had his faults, but if he trusted someone, he was usually right.

Oh, I don’t know about that. He trusts you, after all.

JC then wants to know why Anita hasn’t called him, fully transforming into Dottie!verse JC.

“I need to know my people are safe before we start discussing our relationship.”

“Relationship? Is that what we have?”

Do you have a ‘a connection, association, or involvement’? Then yes, fuckwad, you have a relationship. Either way, they’re going to discuss their involvement once JC has a word with Narcissus about the wereleopards. JC does this, and they launch into a full conversation about the holes in their auras which I have little patience for as I have little patience with auras in general.

I guess I’m not a very spiritual person on any level. I also don’t like how this aura stuff is being peddaled now instead of the original explanation for the triforce. If you want it to be about auras, talk about auras when you write it in, not five books later.

plus ick auras

Anyway, they are going to ‘merge the marks’ so their auras are no longer like sieves and they are at no risk of death any more. Anita is not going to tell Richard what is going on because he’s a poophead wimp.

“First, ma petite, what are you wearing?”

“Excuse me?”

“Clothes, ma petite, what clothes are you wearing?”

For the everloving sake of fuck. LKH, if you want Anita to be your little literary Barbie doll, just have her wear whatever. Stop thinking up terrible excuses to have her wear tacky, leathertastic clothes. Just have her wear them. Apparently, Anita has to go as Dominatrix Barbie because everyone might peg her as a cop.

“They begin to mistake you for something that smells of gun and death.”

I don’t see how being in five inch heels will magically mask the fact that she’s Anita Fucking Blake, the famous, well-known, and well photographed killer of shapeshifters and vampires.

JC then drops that Narcissus, a man, is the leader of the werehyenas of St. Louis. That is bullshit. Hyenas live in matriarchal packs, so if you’re trying to sell me the shapeshifters as naturally acting like the animals they become, you’ve just proven that they don’t and all the pack rules they come up with have nothing to do with their instincts or what comes naturally to them, it’s just patriarchal human bullshit.

Nice job breaking your series.

They then talk about how Anita has no mercy and how Anita wants everyone dead and how she’s made a decision to not be a sociopath. Um, pimplesqueeze, if you have a personality disorder, you have that for life. It’s not something that can go away by wishing really hard. If getting rid of mental disorders was that easy, why do you think I still have depression? Because I find it a super awesome way to spend my time?

Anita then blathers on about how sacred she is that she’s going to loose her sense of self by giving in to the whole auras caboodle. Well, maybe if you had a personality to loose, that might be something interesting. But all you are is tits, anger, and guns, so there’s not much to loose.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Narcissus in Chains’ chapter two


Thanks to everyone for their good wishes!

Anita blanks out after the phone conversation, forgetting where she is and what she has been doing. Ronnie pipes up with an intelligent idea – that Anita redial the number that called her, and find out if Narcissus in Chains is a real place, and not just a trap by various villains to get hold of Anita.

Anita does this – phoning back, it appears the call was placed from a phone box outside NiC. Anita ponders how to find out the club is real. I would ask the police, to see if they have any official records of the place – or to phone Irving, and see if he has access to any records. Hell, this is 2002. See if the place is listed online. Instead, Anita decides that JC is clearly the expert here.

If you’re wanting to ask questions about the sexual fringe, Jean-Claude is definitely your guy.

Please. That guy is plain icemilk if ever I saw one.

Ronnie, as a best friend, immediately offers to go with Anita and help her. This makes Anita ANGRY because Ronnie is just a human and she wants to get the icky old police involved. Anita can’t go bursting into a club with a backup who doesn’t enjoy killing every person they come across. That’s why she needs JC. Although, if he does anything bad, Anita is going to kill him.

Ronnie questions whether she could really do it.

I just looked at her, and I know without a mirror that my eyes had grown distant, cold. It’s hard for brown eyes to be cold, but I’d been managing it lately.

I didn’t realise that people with brown eyes were unable to display any other emotion than rapturous joy.

And then Ronnie starts arguing that Anita shouldn’t kill JC? Because killing JC would kill Anita? Eh? And then Anita implies that JC is behind the kidnap? What? Ronnie then says how she doesn’t even understand Anita any more, which should be expanded on further as that’s quite sad, but who cares about Anita’s friends? Her men are the only important thing!

She’d managed to get a tiny prick in one of the hose; the hole was shiny with clear nail polish. She’d carried the polish in her purse for just such emergencies. I’d carried a gun and hadn’t even taken a purse.

Yeah, and how did you pay for dinner, then? Or pay for the cover to get into the night club? I guess Anita forced Ronnie to pay for the both of them. What a shitty friend.

Anita berates Ronnie for ‘having hysterics’ – what hysterics? Ronnie has been more sad than hysterical – and says she has no time to talk about ‘moral philosophy’. lololololool anita having morals. Ronnie says that Anita is cold, and needs a lover who is colder than herself, and storms out.

anita cries because she is SAD. Yeah, sad like a toddler having a tantrum.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Narcissus in Chains’ chapter one


Hey guys a quick announcement: I’m going to be moving house soon, going out to my first place on my own. It’s super scary, and I’m very worried about it all, and updates are probably going to be spotty for a while as I sort out internet etc etc.

If you would like to help the Great Dottie Home Alone Move of 2014, you can support me in a few ways!

  • Marathoning my video reviews will earn me some ad revenue! You don’t even have to watch them that closely – but it will give me a boost.
  • I’ve got copies of the Anita Blake books – Burnt Offerings up to Obsidian Butterfly – that I’m not going to need any more. If you or any other person would like one of these copies, I’ll sell it to you for four pounds (not incl. post and packaging). Why four pounds? Because I’ll sign them and write a 100 word story of your choice inside the cover. Put a bit of good in them.
  • A short story of mine is going to be published soon in an omnibus of YA fiction. I will earn royalties from the e-book, so buying copies will help me.
  • I do have a donate button on the site, if you would like to help.

Don’t worry if you can’t help – I don’t mind. Frankly, running this blog and interacting with my great commenters has been great for my mental health. But if you’d like to help, you are a really great person. Well, you’re great people anyway, because you read this site.

So, onto Narcissus in Chains!

I have heard many many things about this book. Namely, that this is the base breaker. This is what finally cracked the fanbase, with people separating into the trus and the anits. It’s going to be fun to dissect this, although I feel I’m going to get very angry as well. (Will be angry for cash)

What’s the cover like?

TPhoto_00086

I got one of the super duper red bound covers which I think are exclusive to the UK. It’s a really nice cover, considering the ones LKH books normally get. This would inspire me to buy this book, if I didn’t know anything about the series.

The look on my face must have frightened him, because his eyes widened, and I saw something like human fear cross his reptilian face.

If this book doesn’t feature the Space Pope, I will be very disappointed.

I’m Anita Blake and I kill monsters. The last thing I want to think about though when I get home after a night out is work.

omg that is the worst sentence ever

But someone has abducted a wereleopard from the Narcissus in Chains club. It’s a dark world out there with shapeshifter crime and were-creature stuggles. I may not have seen Jean-Claude, the Vampire Master of the City, for six months, but I need his help now, whatever the consequences. Someone is targeting the lycanthropes and we have to save them.

And the were creatures can’t save themselves because? Anyway, basic madlibs Anita Blake blurb that tells us nothing, rinse and repeat.

Let us move onto the chapter itself!

June had come in like its usual hot, sweaty self, but a freak cold front had moved in during the night and the car radio had been full of the record low temperatures.

… wasn’t the last book set in the summer? So are we counting the six months from the end of Blue Moon? But that was in summer as well. WHEN ARE THESE BOOKS. IS ANITA BLAKE A TIME LORD.

oh god no can you imagine her travelling through time?

Ronnie is with Anita, and Ronnie’s panicking about girl things. She turned thirty, you see. Anita must be 25 or 26 by now, so I wonder how she and Ronnie met. I guess it must have been on a job, but knowing would require world building. Ronnie, though, isn’t talking about herself but obsessively going on about Anita’s love life. Ronnie is pro-Richard, and really hates JC.

Yeah, Ronnie seems decent. She recognises him for the rapist pig that he is.

“I used to think I knew what dead was or wasn’t, Ronnie.” I shook my head. “The line isn’t so clear-cut.”

Pro-tip: if you don’t breathe or have a heart beat, you’re probably dead. Anita, your job is to execute people. You should know what consitutes being dead or not.

They blather on about how JC ‘seduced’ Anita (read: manipulated her into sex when she was at her lowest point) and Ronnie calls vampires unethical. Considering the vampires we’ve seen, Ronnie is absolutely right. She goes so far as to call them monsters, which Anita does on a regular basis. But this makes Anita MAD so she stomps off into the night.

hey look Anita couldn’t even be nice to her best friend on said friend’s birthday. What a cow.

Ronnie had wanted us to dress up, so we had. It was her birthday. It wasn’t until after dinner that I’d realized her diabolical scheme. She’d had me wear heels and a nice little black skirt outfit.

Wow what a bitch she wants to spend nice time with her friend.

Ronnie had them go out to a night club, and they went out on the dance floor. Ronnie dances around while Anita stands there being awkward.

There had been one man who had attached himself to me instead of Ronnie. I didn’t understand why. She was a tall leggy blonde, dancing like she was having sex with the music. But he offered me drinks. I don’t drink. He tried to slow dance. I refused. I finally had to be rude. Ronnie told me to dance with him, at least he was human. I told her that birthday guilt only went so far, and she’d used hers up.

I don’t buy that.

  • If men are only sexually attracted to evil tall blonde women, then wouldn’t the human race have evolved to not have those characteristics by this point?
  • oh like hell does Anita think she’s ugly
  • You talk about your friend like that? I don’t talk about friends I’ve fallen out with that way. You talk like you hate her.
  • Fair enough that you didn’t take his drink. Don’t take drinks from strange men in nightclubs. But Ronnie, a detective and a cis woman, will have been helping fend off creepy men from her female friends since she was a teenager. That would have sent a red flag up immediately.
  • Who slow dances in a night club?
  • Anita’s only birthday present to her friend is to be forced into things. You are a bad friend.

Anita talks about her celibacy, but she’s recently reconsidered letting JC and Richard back into her life. She’s even been out and got the pill, which is sensible thinking. Ronnie catches up with her, and Anita realises she’s angry at herself, rather than her friend.

I was wearing two-inch heels, which put me at five five. I get a much better workout when Ronnie and I jog together than she does.

… because being short makes you better at cardiovascular exercise?

Anita is now magically at her home, and her phone is ringing with an emergency instantly as she gets in the door. It’s 2002, why doesn’t she have a mobile phone? In 2002, even I had a mobile phone. And I was ten. Anita picks up and it’s Gregory the wereleopard, reporting that Nathavile is in trouble.

Wereanimals without a dominant to protect them were anyone’s meat, and if someone moved in and slaughtered them, it would sort of be my fault.

Why is that? Animals don’t behave like that. People don’t behave like that. When someone swings at you with, say, a meat cleaver, you don’t sit there and think ‘Well, since I haven’t got a ultimate authority, I am incapable of doing anything, so I better let this guy chop me into little bits and sprinkle me into the English Channel’. So why do wereanimals exist solely in this really poorly done BDSM bullshit?

Anita then goes on about how Nathavile is a ‘true submissive’. Is that really a thing? Because the way Anita goes on about it, it sounds like Nathavile is emotionally broken after a life of abuse – which, well, doesn’t sound as if he has the mindset of a ‘ultimate submissive’. That reads as – even though I think he’s very manipulative – as someone who is emotionally broken and has trouble sustaining control because they’ve had their control violently ripped away from them. LKH, you are fetishing rape and abuse for your silly BDSM nonsense and I don’t like it.

Anita then goes on about how Nathavile is incapable of saying no or telling his Dom when to stop. Uh, so why is he still actively pursuing the lifestyle? Why isn’t he saying, ‘I’m going to take myself away from this scene until I’m strong enough?’ Either he’s intensely traumatised, or he’s doing this all for kicks, to get people invested in his life. I’m not entirely sure myself what to believe about his character. I think he reads more as a liar who manipulates his way into people’s lives. Not because I don’t think abuse victims can pursue his lifestyle choices, but because LKH is unable to write someone as having those experiences. Nathavile reads like JC – a smarmy conman who’s out for what he can get from women.

oh god anita is still monologing

She has been interviewing prospective doms for Nathavile, because he’s too broken to do it himself. Uh, Anita? If he can’t cope in the scene, DON’T ENCOURAGE HIM TO BE IN THE SCENE. She complains about posers, which I find hypocritical because she knows nothing about the BDSM scene either. She also complains about how they all think women are super sluts because Anita has never ever thought that herself. Anita complains about how all the wereleopards are fundamentally useless at doing anything because they’re stupid and Anita is their dominant and they cannot function from minute to minute without her tender loving care.

Anita is essentially their parents. Who wants to have sex with her children. LKH keeps linking sex with children and I don’t like this.

Gregory is then thrown off the phone by ‘Marco’. Marco is from a new gang in town, and they are keeping Nathavile because…. of his wonderful personality? Anita demands to know if Nathavile is dead, and Marco is all, tee hee hee are we negotiating? Am I being camp gay enough? Because we can’t have good LGBT characters! We are all eeeeevvvviiillllll.

Anita wants to talk to Gregory, because clearly, murderous kidnappers are going to let their victim just have a casual chat about what is happening to him. Gregory is in pain and sort of hisses, while Marco titters about how pretty all the boys are and how Anita has to rescue them at the club ‘Narcissus in Chains’.

This chapter was essentially boring monologuing. But nothing too awful so far. Tiger Gray will be starting reviews soon – hopefully! – so I’ll enjoy seeing their take of this.

Dottie Recommends: Rev.


This is absolutely one of my favourite TV shows of all time.

As you are all probably aware of by now, I am quite a committed atheist. I do not ‘do’ religion, except from a historical perspective. I do not naturally accept having a ultimate symbol of authority, so I don’t fit well into a system of faithful hierarchy. However, I grew up in a world shaped by religion – namely, the Anglican Church, which is a really bizarre hodge podge of Protestant and Catholic beliefs. It’s a church which tries to please everybody and, of course, pleases no one very much.

And that’s the major theme of Rev. Rev is about the Reverend Adam Smallbone, who runs a crumbling inner-city church. He runs around trying to please absolutely everyone and never really succeeds. He has a wife, who doesn’t get involved with the church, several devoted parishioners, but not enough to maintain his church, and has to meet the demands of his Archdeacon Robert, who is vaguely rather evil.

And, wonderfully, this is a comedy.

It’s a very black comedy, but it’s routed in really great characters who are very well-developed with good depth. Most of the episodes are a bit like watching a slow car crash, but it never fails to make me laugh. I really love this show – it’s sharp and heartwarming and faceslapping all at the same time. I strongly recommend it, and I really think you should check it out.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Obsidian Butterfly’ epilogue


Hey look someone finally told LKH that a concluding chapter is an epilogue. whoopdedo.

Marks tried to press assault charges, but Bernardo and I said we didn’t know what he was talking about. Doctor Evans said his injuries were inconsistent with being hit by a person.

Oh, you smug little shits. Considering Bernardo will have left a great big round dent in Marks’s skull, I highly doubt a competent doctor would be able to miss that or claim that SOMEHOW he got a cast shaped wound by falling on the floor. But Doctor Evans lives inside Anita’s buttcrack, so they can get away with attempted murder.

Marks was in the doghouse about how he’d handled the case.

Marks was a bigot, that’s true. However, considering how lazy, incompetent, and incapable Anita was of even approaching this case with, Marks did an all right job. Especially considering that the evidence gathered by the police would never have gotten RWH. ESPECIALLY considering that Anita withheld evidence.

Anita and Bernardo get to be in all the press, lording it over everyone about how they solved the crime and were so amazing.

Edward caught a secondary infection from something that had been smeared on the stake. He took a relapse, and I stayed. Donna took turns sitting by his bed. Sitting by Becca’s bed. It got to the point where the little girl cried when I left.

God Anita is so wanking wonderful that a child prefers her over her own mother. Despite Anita hating children and not really interacting with Becca.

Peter won’t tell his mother about what happened, and Anita decides to hide the secret from his mother because duhhhhh Donna’s just a stupid new age bitch who can’t be trusted to fart on her own and certainly can’t look after her own fucking children.

Donna actually rose to the occasion. She was like this incredible pillar of strength for the kids, for Ted, even though he couldn’t hear her talking to him. She never once turned to me in tears. It was like this new person had risen from the ashes of the person I’d first met. It saved me having to hurt her.

You sanctimonious little shit stain. Donna has been through the murder of her husband happening before her eyes. She has two children. She has her own business. She has faced off against a local mob boss who wanted to kill her. Donna has more ‘strength’ than Anita Blake could ever hope, have, or wish for. Strength does not come from torture or rape or physically hurting those who annoy you. ‘Strength’ comes from having the guts to carry on day by day, to never give up, and to never show the world what you’re feeling. It takes ‘strength’ to raise a child, because ‘strength’ is measured in patience, in kindness, in bravery, in determination.

That’s why Anita is a terrible character. I keep reading fans saying how she’s so ‘strong’ but she’s not. She’s a weak bully.

Edward gets better (booooooooooo) and Anita goes home. Edward gets distressed because, oh noes, Anita might have killed Olaf.

WHY IS EVERYONE DEFENDING THE SERIAL RAPIST AND MURDERER

They talk about how Olaf isn’t anyone’s friends – no shit – and how it must be tru wuv between Anita and Olaf. Anita is SAD because Edward was maybe once a good guy. HA. They then talk about how Peter is really Edward’s son, because apparently, LKH hates all mothers as well. Which is weird. Blah blah shitting on Donna bullshit, and then Anita’s saying goodbye to Papa. Papa wants to talk with JC – I hope that involves tearing him to shreds – and then Anita decides to think about her life.

She thinks about how she should talk to her friends, which implies that she has been avoiding them for eight months. Anita Blake is a crappy friend. She thinks about her friends, and then the possibility of getting back in contact with JC and Richard. She can’t choose between them because of wuv.

 

What did I think of Obsidian Butterfly?

This book is considered the highlight of the Anita Blake series. For better or worse, this is the book that will be mentioned in twenty years time when this series is discussed. I don’t think Anita Blake will continue to be relevant in even ten years time – the series is paddling water already – but with such a long series, if it is mentioned, Obsidian Butterfly will be the novel discussed. It is the culmination of LKH’s early work, her ‘good’ period, before the series devolved into a perpetual bonkathon. At it’s core, OB is a detective thriller, with supernatural elements, and does hark back to the early books before the convoluted mess of romance became a bigger and bigger part of the books.

Unfortunately, for me, this is a perfect call back to the first book in the sense that the mystery is entirely incompetent. LKH cannot write a murder mystery. Perhaps that is unfair of me – with good editing, a willingness to take criticism, and knowledge of actual writing technique, she might be able to write a good story. This book is, fundamentally, not a good story. The basic building blocks of all stories are not here. There is no build up, no climax, no resolution. It is a collection of random tangents that have been pressed together by a writer who cannot link scenes to each other. There were interesting elements to the mystery of Red Woman’s Husband – the Aztec vampires, the bodies with traces of obsidian, Nicky Baco, the ideas of revenge and the history of colonialism. But that’s all they are. Elements. They are not used well and the mystery has nothing to do with the evidence collected.

The rot is further evidenced in how little the title character interacts with the mystery. Anita Blake has no interest in solving the mystery. She has to be reminded by suspects that she is supposed to be asking them about the crime. She has to be constantly reminded that she is trying to solve a series of brutal murders! LKH has no interest in Anita solving the mystery because that’s not really what the book is about. At its core, it is about a self insert character running around while being totally amazing and living a wonderful life with no adult consequences or responsibilities. That’d be fine, if it was done well. Wish fulfilment is fine. That’s why romance novels where characters get whisked away to a life of unlimited love and luxury are very popular. I love trashy romance novels, but mostly because they are cheap and flash and don’t take themselves seriously.

But this book is intensely serious. It takes itself so seriously. Which is why I take such offence at the repeated jabs and snipes at women, at racial minorities, at disabled, at single mothers, at Europe – quite famously, it would seem. Because Anita is always right. As this book shows, there are no other views other than those held by Anita. Everything outside of what she considers acceptable is inherently bad. And that’s such a childish view when you’re writing a book. Anita is held up as this perfect paradigm, but it’s so stifling to only be allowed to experience the world through Anita’s blinkered eyes. I want complexities from these characters. I want depth.

A complexity of character can never be achieved while LKH flip flops from event to event, desperate in her quest to make the ZOMG MOST DRAMATIC SCENE EVUR WRITTEN. Drama arises naturally from tension and conflict, two things LKH has serious problems with. She feels the way to make drama is to include ‘shocking’ events, with no thought as to how it impacts the story. Indeed, it often means LKH forgets vital elements of the story in her rush to include an attempted rape or something gory with vampires. This is entirely unnecessary and makes for a disjointed read. Scenes are relegated to non-importance, wasting my time and space within the narrative.

Obsidian Butterfly is a sprawling mess. It is not a story. It is a pile of scenes. I am astounded that this was published. It is a draft, badly needing editing for suitability of content, length, consistency, and basic research. I would be ashamed if my company published this. I would be ashamed if this was put out with my name on the cover. I hated this book, cover to cover.

tldr captain america has no time for this shit

I’ll be posting my next recommendation tomorrow, and I’ll start looking at Narcissus in Chains on either Friday or Sunday, depending on schedule. Tiger Gray might be posting concurrent reviews, which would be an interesting experience – reviews in tandem. Debating opinions is always fun!