A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’ chapter fourteen


I woke to early morning sunlight. It left me blinking and only after I could see through the warm dazzle of it, did I wonder, Where am I? and Why am I on the floor? Why was I naked on the floor? Without turning my head, I saw the chair legs and the little raised area that was my breakfast nook. Okay, I was on the floor of my own kitchen, naked. Why?

The lack of concern, panic, or fear is really telling, isn’t it? It’s because Anita is constantly falling unconscious and waking up in strange places. This is not a good thing. Anyway, Anita magically remembers what happened and then she looks around and, uh oh, Damian is laid out on the floor in the sunlight and this is bad because we might lose his richly nuanced character.

Damian is rolling around and screaming as if he was on fire, but he’s not. Oh, the melodrama. Nathaniel and Anita are trying to stop him screaming but to no avail. He just rolls around on the floor like a fish. He appears to have absolutely no survival instinct.

Then the front door bursts open which fills the kitchen with light because, somehow in this MAGIC HOUSE, the front door is connected to the kitchen.

Like, shouldn’t it be the back door? And you can’t say that the front door is off the kitchen, because I’m fairly sure that Anita’s come in through the front door before and not ended up in the kitchen. Is this a magic house? Is it some sort of home where if you walk in the front door you magically end up in the exact room you want to be in? Or is it that LKH is a lazy writer? YOU DECIDE.

Gregory, one of the wereleopards, comes in. Oh god I can’t remember which one this is, there are too many. Oh right the rapist with a conveniently tragic past to excuse his actions.

That sentence can be applied to literally 99.9% of the male characters in this book series. That is so fucking depressing.

This makes Damian run from the room, at last.

Nathaniel followed him in that faster-than-the-eye-can-see seed that shapeshifters have, and they’d both turned the corner before I got to it.

That has NEVER EVER COME UP IN THE BOOKS BEFORE NOW. How long have shapeshifters had magic running powers? Why has Anita, who has hunted down shapeshifters before now, not ever mentioned this? Why haven’t any shapeshifter killed in the series so far felt the need to use this little skill to get away? How come shapeshifters are subject to laws killing them on sight when they so obviously cannot be killed by human means – if they can just whizz away like Quicksilver?

You’re just making this up as you go along, aren’t you, LKH.

Why should people give a shit about your works when you so clearly couldn’t give a fuck?

In his panic, Damian had run up, not down, up into the part of the house where the vampires rarely went. Up into the part of the house where the drapes were open and the morning light streamed in. Shit.

Why are all your curtains open? Who’s been going around your house opening up the curtains? How do you know the curtains are open?

Also, I guess that Damian might die or something. Oh no. What a tragic thing. How will we ever recover from this great loss.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’ chapter thirteen


Anita decides to embrace the ardeur. Why? I’m not sure. It goes against everything she stands for, everything she holds dear, and everything she has faith in. But LKH wants to write lots and lots of orgies, so fuck characterisation and depth, it’s penis-in-every-orifice time.

Not that LKH would ever write anything so déclassé as that. She has to use artful euphemisms, which suggests a certain reluctance and embarrassment on the subject. If it’s a dick in the mouth, just say what it is.

It’s astounding how much I will have to talk about penises in regards to these books from now on. It’s weird.

Jean-Claude had told me that if I could only stop fighting it wouldn’t be so terrible.

Only that phrasing implies that it’s still bad. Tell me again why JC thought passing this on to Anita was a good idea? And why it shows that he’s a loving and caring boyfriend, not an abusive donkey-butt?

I was okay with Damian’s green coat sliding to the floor, even if it did leave his upper body pale and naked, with the fine muscles gliding under skin the colour of fresh, white sheets.

That’s… like, not sexy. I don’t find sheets sexy.

MMMMMMM HOW HAWT

Anita looks deep into Nathaniel’s eyes, and sees how much he loves her (i.e. how much he loves her money and her fine skin, perfect for tanning). This freaks her out – this sex will mean so much more to him than to her, and she can’t go through with it. She pulls away, clearly and obviously withdrawing her consent.

So, of course, Nathaniel grabs her face and forbids her from pulling away from him.

Anita CLEARLY IS NOT CONSENTING, NATHANIEL. WHAT THE FUCK?

Damian reminds Anita that it’s this, or blood. She still does not want to have sex, saying that it feels ‘wrong’ and for Nathaniel to ‘let go’. He grabs her and kisses her, meaning that now she’s all ardeur-ified and can’t fight back.

Rape.

This is rape.

This is yet another sex scene that is actually rape.

Sigh. Come one, come and defend how ‘progressive’ this series is. I’m dying to hear how it’s so liberating for women.

Anita’s lack of consent is glossed over as everyone starts ripping off everyone else’s clothes. Guess that tuxedo company aren’t getting their tux back.

There was one leg left of my pants, pooled around my ankle. My vest flapped open, and the shirt was in shreds. It was Damian’s hand from behind that grabbed a handful of my panties and pulled, ripping them off my body, leaving me nude from the waist down.

This could be hot but seeing as ANITA DOES NOT CONSENT TO SEX then this is just more violent imagery I could do without in this context. She then stares at the ‘ripeness’ of Nathaniel. I guess he’s ready for slicing up and using in a stew, like a nice ripe marrow or courgette.

Just use the word ‘erection’. There. It’s not a scary word to use.

He seemed thick and heavy with need, as if the lightest touch might make him spill that ripeness out and over me.

I’ve had tomatoes like that before, when they get so overripe that the skins start to burst.

The point I’m making is that when you use vague metaphors that they’re very prone to misinterpretation. Just say that he looks like he’s about to cum on you, for god’s sake.

I started to reach for him, but Damian chose that moment to brush the head of his own ripeness against the back of my body.

I see that Damian’s brought a butternut squash to this vegetable party!

I’d never even seen Damian nude, and now he was about to plunge that nudeness into my body.

… He’s going to climb inside you? STOP HIM!

He rode out from his body, so it was harder to judge length. He seemed carved of ivory and pearl, and where the blood ran close to the surface he blushed pink like the shine inside the seashell, delicate and shining.

… If Damian has a shiny light pink dick, there’s something seriously wrong with him. That’s a clear sign there’s some sort of serious medical problem here!

Nathaniel grabs her front and starts begging. Anita’s mind is full of the lovely image of him just thrusting away through her stomach or some sort of opening anywhere on her body, straight from his mind. He wants to hump open wounds on her body. Lovely. Damian is thinking of his generic angsting because um character or something.

Someone kissed me, hard and fast, forcing my mouth open, pushing his tongue so far in I almost choked, but it brought me back, brought us all back from that lonely room and the sound of the sea on the rocks below.

Could just one of Anita’s men be not rapey? Just once?

Nathaniel drew back enough to say in a harsh whisper, “Happy thoughts, Anita, happy thoughts.” Then his mouth was on mine, tongue, lips, even teeth light against my own lips, so that it was more eating than kissing, but it brought a whimper from my throat, a small helpless sound of pleasure.

Yeah, tack on that pleasure to the end of the paragraph. Hide the fact that it reads like it’s been lifted from some harrowing survivor’s account. My god, how do you fail at writing so much that you are incapable of writing a consensual sex scene?

Damian and Nathaniel grope all over Anita – Anita, who in keeping with the totally rapetastic atmosphere, is just sat there. She is sat there, refusing to interact or be active in the scene, letting them do what they want until it’s all over and she can leave.

DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU’VE WRITTEN, LKH?

eugh

Anita then starts to scream.

argh

If anyone was ever to produce a rape scene bingo sheet (for example, as to point out how badly written they often are, and how overused they are in terms of being part of a female character’s development), this scene would win LKH a cuddly toy of her choice.

I feel awful that I’m trying to keep this amusing. I would like to point out that none of this is amusing to me. I don’t find LKH’s obsession with having Anita raped over and over especially amusing.

Damian flashes back to his non-history and starts to freak out.

Nathaniel screamed, “Noooo!”

*swats with newspaper* You stop doing that.

Anyway, Damian starts to angst about how he has absolutely no good memories, so now Anita has to order him, as his master, to have sex with her. Entirely removing Damian’s consent as well.

Anita, for once, has a moral thought and thinks that this is wrong. Damian starts to guilt trip her because ‘she doesn’t want to do this’. Yeah, she doesn’t. And you’re trying to force her, you rapist shitbag. I hope your dick gets chewed off by a rabid dog. Nathaniel starts to beg her to force Damian because he’s just soooooo sad. Anita gives him a gentle kiss, to try and make him at least feel a little better (just kill him Anita just kill him) so he grabs her and force kisses her to the point that her mouth starts bleeding.

Then Damian’s angst hits them all again.

We screamed, and writhed, and I could not control it.

If you write lines like this with no self-awareness, then you need stop and having an outside source read your work.

Everyone then passes out.

Stop using unconsciousness as a way to end scenes, LKH. It just means that you had literally no other way to stop this. You’re a lazy, lazy hack.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’ chapter twelve


Yos I am back after spending time poking tortoises and hamsters and watching lots of Xena

Xena, who I think LKH was aiming for with Anita. I know that Xena was started after Anita was first published, but think about it – strong independent woman kicking ass, all that? Only that Xena is a well-written character, made by people who knew what the fuck they were doing.

TBH I think one of the biggest influences, no matter what LKH says, was the 1970s Wonder Woman TV show.

Sorry, I’m rambling. I’ve been travelling a lot.

I didn’t remember crossing the room, but I must have, because I was standing in front of him.

THIS IS FIRST PERSON NARRATION. ANITA SHOULD KNOW THAT SHE’S CROSSING THE ROOM BECAUSE WE’RE IN HER FUCKING HEAD.

Anita’s in front of Nathaniel and is ‘close enough to taste his pulse on my tongue like candy’. She’s thinking about cock gobbling again, right? They’re making out and she’s like ‘oh yeah I can feed the ardeur’.

This has only been going on for like three books now. Why is Anita still confused about this? Anita and Nathaniel are snogging away and then Anita’s mind is full of hunting deer.

I came back to the kitchen, on my knees, screaming.

Why can’t Anita have sex without there being some ongoing drama or trauma forcing her into it? For a series lauded for being so erotic and so good for women for openly talking about sex, sex is treated as something incredibly negative. Richard’s hunting and he’s ‘feeding’ so Anita’s head is full of that, and then she reaches out to JC, and he’s feeding on Jason. I have no idea why she’s suddenly reacting to this, considering that the triforce has been in place since, what, book six?

Why do I never have a fucking clue what’s going on in these books when the metaphorical magic starts?

Anita then falls unconscious. Again. Everybody drink!

Anita’s head’s been in Nathaniel’s lap so she starts giving him a blow job. Well, no, nothing that would make you think Anita’s a ‘bad girl’. She just licks the pulse in his thigh. You know, that common erotic thing to do. Oh, no, I think she’s know sucking him off? Maybe??

I pressed my mouth over that quivering heat, kissed the blood just under his skin. Licked the jumping thud of his pulse, just a quick flick of my tongue. It tasted like his skin, sweet and clean, but it also tasted of blood, sweet copper pennies on my tongue.

See, I think that must be talking about Nathaniel’s dick but it seems that Nathaniel’s dick is magic. Just like that his skin has a magical natural smell of vanilla, his dick manages to not be anything at all like any other penis on the planet.

Anita then struggles to not cock gobble. Again. Seriously, why the fuck is she always ready to bite off Nathaniel’s dick?

You’re not Ma-Ma, Anita.

JC then appears in Anita’s head like Obi-Wan, telling her to ‘feed the force ardeur’ before she eats Nathaniel’s penis.

I fought not to bite down, because some part of me knew that if I once tasted blood I would feed. I would feed, and Nathaniel might not survive it.

Why is this a recurring plot point???

Damian then appears to stop the penis feeding frenzy. Nathaniel just thought it was all so amazing and Damian offers himself as food. If JC has told her to feed, then she must, otherwise she’ll devolve into some sort of bloodlust frenzy.

“Why is it different tonight?” It was a child asking someone to explain why the monster under the bed has grown a new and scarier head.

  • Anita, you’ve been dealing with this for three books. You were TOLD and you KNOW that if you don’t feed the ardeur, it goes all fucking violent and shit. Hence the epithet ‘Anita Blake: Cock Gobbler’.
  • It really fucking creeps me out that Anita is consistently described as being like a child and that LKH repeatedly links and evokes images of children when sex is involved.
  • Because the plot says so, Anita.

Damian then just starts licking her because FUCK CONSENT he’s so lonely and empty inside that only plunging his cock inside Anita will cure him of being unhappy.

Yes, because sex is clearly the most important thing in the universe ever.

Sex is fine and all, it’s just not the best thing evurrrrrrrrr. Cake is much more satisfactory. Anyway, it doesn’t matter what Anita wants because Damian’s decided that he’s going to fuck her. She tries to pull away and say she doesn’t want to, but eh, fuck that, a man has decided that he needs sex and it’s Anita’s duty to just submit to what he wants.

His eyes filled with emerald fire, and just like that there was a line of desire carved from my mouth down his fingers, his hand, his arm, his chest, his hips, to the center of his body. I could feel him thick and rich and full of blood.

Is Damian’s dick around his stomach? Because… your pelvis isn’t the centre of your body. WORDS MEAN THINGS. Damian is enjoying this… light petting, and then Nathaniel squishes up against her back, and now all of the ardeur is just pain. Unbearable pain flowing through Anita. Anita starts screaming and Nathaniel and Damian do not stop.

This is a scary idea of what consensual sex is like.

Anita’s head is full of a boring and confusing mess of metaphysical magic. Then she flashes back to the death of her mother. Then her head is full of Nathaniel’s brother being beaten? And that totes evil bitch that changed Damian.

This is all so sexy you guise i can’t believe how hawt it is i might have to take my vest off

Damian and Nathaniel start weeping and bawling about Anita making them remember things, which makes me go WELL YOU SHOULDN’T BE DISGUSTING SEX CRIMINALS THEN, HUH? MAYBE HER MIND PULLED OUT THOSE IMAGES BECAUSE YOU WOULDN’T FUCKING STOP TOUCHING HER WHEN SHE HADN’T CONSENTED TO IT, HUH?

I am not fond of the men in these books. I don’t know whether you’d picked that up or not, my disdain has been rather subtle.

Anywho, this all means that somehow Nathaniel, Damian, and Anita are now a triforce. It happened because… I have no idea. I’m not sure how this happened without conscious effort and how Anita didn’t realise it, considering that it’s happened to her before?

Anita has to think about happy memories for reasons but as her life is an UNENDING PARADE OF UNCOMPARABLE ANGST she just can’t do it. But she starts to think about Nathaniel, how he’s her ‘living comfort object’ and that makes it all okay.

god i hate anita/nathaniel it’s so fucked up on both sides

Anita starts to snog Damian and then she’s like YAY ARDEUR for some reason. Why couldn’t she just feed it from JC’s sexual satisfaction? Why is the ardeur even here? Why did the editors and publishers think this was a good idea?

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’ chapter eleven


The living room was dark as I entered the house.

Well, you’ve been out. So it would be. Anita goes instantly into raptures about how the leopards can see in the dark and therefore they don’t need to turn the lights on. This would be more impressive if, you know, I didn’t need lights to walk around my home at night. Because I know where things are and I can see enough in the dark to get around without  walking into things. Like most people.

She doesn’t want to go into the bedroom, because Nathaniel and Micah are awful fucking people and won’t leave her house. She decides to call JC then decides that would be ‘cowardice’. The phone rings and it’s ‘Teddy’, a cultured werewolf who is also a bodybuilder that we’ve never met before and are likely to never meet again. He’s calling to let Anita know that Gil the werefox is in the hospital. Because she’s obviously the fucking person to call about shapeshifter news? Gil was in a car accident when some dude ran a red light. Gil was seriously injured, and is now handcuffed to the bed and the police are preparing to put him in a ‘safe house’.

Safe houses were really prisons for lycanthropes. They’d been designed originally for new lycanthropes, so you had someplace safe to go during your first few full moons. It was a good idea, since the first few moons could turn into a killing spree, unless you had other shapeshifters to watch over you. The newly furry spent a first full moons with no memory of what they’d done, and very little human int hem while they were in animal form. The safe houses were a good idea in theory, but in practice, once oyu went in, they never let you out. You never had enough control to pass their tests and get out. You were dangerous and would always be dangerous. The ACLU had begun the legal battles on grounds of illegal imprisonment without due process, but so far they were still bad places to be sent.

Oh gods, not this again.

This? Does not work. At all. LKH has been trying to tie the werewolves into some sort of civil rights thing, because too many people use werewolves and vampires as metaphors for those who suffer ongoing prejudice in the modern world.

The problem is that it doesn’t fucking work in the AB universe. People can fight against the prejudices of racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, etc, etc, (and the fact that I have to put an etc is fucking miserable) because there’s no basis to hate people for anything.

But AB werewolves? There’s a huge fucking reason to detain them permanently. They go into a murderous frenzy in the presence of blood. Their pack structure involves murder and rape. They eat their romantic partners alive if they don’t concentrate hard enough during sex.

There is no reason to be prejudiced towards people of different ethnicities, sexual identities, or genders. There is every fucking reason for the government to consider werewolves in this world to be a danger to other people. Because they are. They are uncontrollable murderous rapists, and there’s no reason given in the text why  the US government shouldn’t take an interest in keeping them contained.

Anita also gets cross that the hospital team are wearing ‘full hazardous material gear’ while treating Gil, as LKH is still treating ‘werewolfism’ as a metaphor for the AIDS crisis.

I’d wear a biohazard suit if I had to treat a shapeshifter in the AB universe. You think I’d want to be a unrepentant murder and part of the bullshit pack system?

Teddy then wants Anita to deal with some pack member who’s loosing control in a bar.

OH, AND WEREWOLVES ARE PERFECTLY SAFE, EH? AND WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU CALLING ANITA? WHAT THE FUCK CAN SHE DO? SHOOT HIM?

And then Teddy tuts at Anita for swearing. What the hell? Ugh. She’s got to go because… um, PLOT DEMANDS IT. She suggests that Micah would be better suited, which is fair. He comes into the room and Anita stares blankly at his abs. strong independent woman…. She hands the phone to Micah and he doesn’t want to deal with it.

Even though he’s head of the stupidly named coalition and is therefore responsible for maintaining the ‘respectability’ and safety of the shapeshifters in the city.

“Nathaniel has many fine skills, but this isn’t one of them.”

“You’re not really good at either,” he said, with a smile to soften the harsh truth.

I smiled back, because he was sooo right.

Unless you are writing about teenagers or doing a section with text or IM speech, do not use ‘sooo’ in the body of your narrative. It is childish.

Anyway, this means that Anita now has to deal with the ardeur with Nathaniel. Look at how that worked out. All neat and that.

batman glare

That doesn’t count as smart plotting. If you couldn’t make this happen naturally, then you’re a shit writer.

And then Damian the vampire walks in. Remember him? It’s okay if you don’t, LKH gives a whole page of backstory for him, otherwise you’d never fucking remember who he was. He’s Anita’s vampire servant and is a total non-character. Anita then blathers on about how vampires in the States are ‘more civilised’. Yeah, the stalky, murdery, rapey vampires are just so civilised and follow the law.

Damian must have come straight from work, because though he, like most of the vamps from Europe, almost never wore jeans and tennis shoes, he also didn’t like dressing up as much as Jean-Claude insisted on.

WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT

WHY THE FUCK DOES LKH THINK EVERYONE IN EUROPE GOES AROUND IN FURS AND DIAMONDS ALL THE TIME

I wear jeans and trainers all the shitting time. Whether or not I ‘dress up’ has nothing to fucking to do with the fact that I’m European.

Damian is dressed as a pirate for some reason. He works in a nightclub. Why the shit is he dressed as a pirate? Damian and Anita start talking about flirting and his gemstone eyes and how he can’t have sex with people while he’s working. He then starts whining that he needs his own room in the house because he wants to bring home people to fuck. This is purely to make Anita uncomfortable, as she is not happy with the thought of having strangers in the house. He goes on about how she is his master, and that he wants her to ‘touch me’.

Anita’s hugely uncomfortable with all this and isn’t happy with how he’s acting. He gets in her face about ‘warm, wet, soft bodies’ and how he can’t trust strangers because they might kill him. Anita says how she’s got a crick in her neck from him being so close, so he grabs her and puts her on a kitchen counter, face to face now.

“You have but to tell me stop, and I will stop.”

Hmmmm. Damian freaks out because Anita gives him ‘peaceful eyes’. Well, I’d be pretty upset if someone just handed me a pair of eyeballs. He’s upset because of all this punishment and grabs her so hard he injures Anita. She finally says that he oughta fucking stop and get out her face. He’s angry because, like every other fucking guy in this world, he has some implicit right to stick his undead peener in her vagina.

Nathaniel comes in while Anita’s practically on the verge of crying because of how she treated Damian – not that he physically hurt her, and didn’t give a shit, no, that’s A-FUCKING-OK. Then it’s peanut butter ardeur time.

Something about how being meeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaannnnnnn to Damian means there’s some sort of vague price to be paid.

I have no fucking idea why.

WHY THINGS HAPPEN

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’ chapter ten


Jason walks Anita to her car, because she can’t be left alone for even a solitary second, and Ronnie goes whizzing past in her car. She’s had a serious enough fight with Louis Fane that he’s been left behind and asks for a ride home.

“Can I grab a ride home?” It was Louie Fane, Dr Louis Fane, although his doctorate wasn’t in the biology of humans, but in the biology of bats.

That… was terribly written. You don’t need to reiterate who he is – he was reintroduced in the last chapter – and just say that he’s an expert on bats. You don’t need to qualify the existence of the scientific study of animal biology by showing how it’s connected to humans.

Anita and Jason both say it’s fine (even though it’s Anita’s Jeep and she’ll be driving, so Jason shouldn’t be offering the ride) and Louis says that he wants Anita to ‘talk some sense into [Ronnie]’. Um, right, whatever. Oh, right, and then it seems that Jason has a car and drove here himself? Right, okay, that’s – that’s badly written, whatever. Louis wants a heart-to-heart with Anita, as everything is being made to be about Anita at this wedding.

Louis asked Ronnie to marry him and she said no. That’s why they were fighting.

“Well, last I knew you guys were getting along really well.” Actually, the last time Ronnie had confided in me it had been a conversation that had set us both giggling, because it had been mostly about sex. We’d both overshared, which women do more than men –

STOP WITH YOUR GENDER BULLSHIT

and the sex had been as good between her and Louie as it had been between me and Micah. Which was pretty damned good.

So, Louis lubes up with soap and rapes Ronnie all the time?

Ronnie had this mistaken idea that dating Micah meant I’d dumped Jean-Claude. When she found out it didn’t meant that, she’d not taken it well. She just couldn’t seem to cope with me dating the undead. Picky, picky.

Hang on, you said that you hadn’t spoken to Ronnie in months. In fact, the last time you two interacted was back in Narcissus in Chains – BEFORE MICAH CAME ONTO THE SCENE. So, no, Ronnie shouldn’t know anything about Micah.

Louis says that they’ve been dating two years – really? Really? It’s been two years? TIMELINES ARE WEIRD – and he’s all offended that Ronnie just doesn’t want to marry anyone. He suggested they live together, but she’s not that interested in that either. Anita says she’ll talk to Ronnie for him.

You know, that’s a really cowardly way to discuss this issue. Louis, if you give even a single solitary fuck about Ronnie, YOU WILL talk to her. Don’t let someone else do it for you!

Anita sees that Louis is full of so much pain, like this was a murder or something. Micah comes along because it’s ardeur time. Louis then starts talking about how Ronnie and Anita haven’t spoken since Micah moved in (no, that happened beforehand) and how maybe Ronnie’s just jealous or something.

Yeah. Whatever.

I did the guy thing, and patted him awkwardly on the back.

Yeah, because men are these dense emotionless robots who never understand what you humans call FEEL-INGS.

[Louis] blinked and gave Micah an odd smile, that was almost a sob.

How can a facial expression be a noise?

“How did you talk her into moving in with you?”

Oh, yeah, because Anita is a feeble wimminz and Micah couldn’t talk and make a decision with her like adults. Anita must be pressured and manipulated into everything by men. And she certainly couldn’t take an active role in her love life, and men should just talk over her like she’s a child.

“I moved in with her,” he said, voice very quiet, very even, a careful voice, reserved for frightened children, and overly emotional adults. I’d heard that voice often enough aimed at me.

AND YOU THINK THAT’S NORMAL AND HEALTHY? MICAH TALKS AND DEALS WITH YOU LIKE YOU ARE A CHILD AND YOU JUST ACCEPT IT??????

“And she asked me.”

And let’s not ignore the fact that another manipulative abusive man just forced himself into Anita’s life and demanded she accept it without question.

Anita then relays the news to Jason, once Louis gets in Jason’s car (since when has he had a car? Why does he make Anita drive him around?), then Anita prepares to get in the Jeep but decides to stare at Nathaniel and think about what BDSM means. She’s just realising that seeing as Nathaniel is a submissive, that means he’s actually controlling her.

YES YES THAT’S WHAT HE’S DOING. HE’S CONTROLLING YOU BECAUSE HE’S A MANIPULATIVE ASSHOLE.

She thinks about how sad it is that no one read Nathaniel read bedtime stories and then she forgets about what she just realise as Nathaniel is just TOOO SAD Y’ALL. TOO SAD. She thinks about how Nathaniel suggested they have monster movie nights and how he runs around the house cleaning after her as she’s a disgusting slob who makes him into her slave. He is the princess she rescued, and she is his prince.

Look, the Nathaniel/Anita relationship is utterly unhealthy on each and every conceivable level. They should not be a couple. They just should not.

Marianne, Anita’s psychic helper, then calls Anita. She senses there’s something desperately wrong and starts to do a tarot reading for her.

Of course, Marianne does tarot. She doesn’t do any cool and esoteric ways of telling the future, like using a chicken to eat alphabetised corn. Tarot it is, and luckily, I have a little experience with tarot so we can point out all the potential fail here.

“I’m looking at the Knight of Cups here, that’s usually Nathaniel’s card.” I’d been skeptical, to say the least, when Marianne first got out a deck of cards to do a ‘reading’, but they were eerily accurate, at least in her hands.

Well, she knows you really well and is your emotional advisor, so… she would know what was happening and how you were thinking, making her readings accurate. And she is actually psychic, so you shouldn’t be sceptical at all.

When she’d first started, Nathaniel’s card had been the Page of Cups, a child’s card, or at least a very young person, but of late he’d been promoted. Knight of Cups.

  • Page of Cups – a young person who is sensitive and helpful but you don’t know them very well. At all.
  • Knight of Cups – a person who is a bringer of ideas, opportunities, and offers. He is amiable, intelligent, but easily bored and discouraged. IT ALSO INDICATES FRAUD, FALSE PROMISES, AND TRICKERY. It represents a person who has trouble discerning when and where the truth ends and lies begin.

Um, yeah, you should probably tell Anita that, Marianne.

“King of Wands, Micah is with you, too.”

  • King of Wands – a man who is fun, enthusiastic, passionate, makes you feel good about yourself – but is also reckless and will leave you in the lurch. He is a heartbreaker.

“The devil, temptation. You haven’t fed the ardeur yet.”

  • Nope.
  • NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPE.
  • The Devil card represents a feeling of subjugation and enslavement. It is a card regarding addiction and breaking chains to finally feel free.
  • So, essentially, you’re telling Anita that she needs to break free of the situation and that she feels enslaved by the ardeur – which was forced onto her, and now she needs to ‘feed it’ like an addict.
  • If you think that, just tell her the correct meaning.

“The Priestess, you have a question for me.”

  • No. It means that Anita should trust her gut instinct. Her gut is telling her to not be with Nathaniel, so thanks for clearing that up.

Marianne wants to know whether Anita is doing something ‘silly’ like trying to pick between Micah and Nathaniel. Then she won’t hear anything more because it might ‘influence’ the reading. No shit.

“I put you in the center, Queen of Swords.”

  • Queen of Swords – a mature, intelligent, self-sufficient woman. So not Anita. At all.

“The past is the five of pentagrams, being left out in the cold, not getting your needs met.”

  • The five of pentacles warns against being so wrapped up in one area of your life that you ignore the others and suffer a form of loss in some way. So, Anita being so wrapped up in her adreur sex bullshit that she ignores friends, family, and her job.

“Deity is the six of cups, which can be someone from your past coming back into your life, someone you felt a strong connection with. Future is the Knight of Cups, Nathaniel’s card. The mundane is the four of pentacles, the Miser, holding on to things that no long help your life run smoothly. Now we’ll do the connecting cards.”

  • Six of Cups – living in the past, trying too hard to recreate the past, you will meet someone from your past and gain new experiences from it.
  • Four of pentacles – nice editing fail there – is not a miser? It represents financial security and a warning to not be too obsessed with material possessions.

“Connecting the mundane to the past is the Lover’s card. [OF COURSE IT FUCKING IS] Something happened in your live life that made you afraid of being hurt, or giving up someone, or something. Connecting the past to the deity is the King of Wands, usually Micah’s card, but it could be energy, a male presence in your life. Connecting deity to the future is the two of swords, you have a choice to make, and you think it’s difficult, but if you take off the blindfold, you can see, and you have what you need to do it. Connecting the future to the mundane is the Knight of Wands, another man in your life. You do draw a lot of male energy to you.”

  • Whyyyyyy won’t this stopppp
  • STAHP
  • The Two of Swords describes being stuck in an unpleasant situation, so that fits here.

“Overlaying the Miser is the six of swords, help unseen, or help from a spiritual source. Overlaying the Lover is the four of rods, the marriage card. Overlaying the out in the cold is the ten of pentacles, happy prosperous home. Hmmm. The King of Rods and the six of cups stand on their own, but the two of swords has crossed with the Queen of Wands. Nathaniel’s card is crossed by the Devil, temptation.”

  • Six of swords – moving away from a bad situation.
  • Four of rods – I think you mean four of wands, unless you’re using a mixture of decks, which is a dick move – means taking a break from a hard situation and enjoying life. It is not a marriage card.
  • Ten of pentacles – a happy family life, not home.
  • King of Rods – King of Wands, I’m guessing, because the editor clearly didn’t give a shit – we’ve covered that one.
  • Six of cups – the past.
  • Queen of Wands – an extremely capable woman who has no problems in combining a successful career with a happy home life. Hahhhhhh that’s not Anita, at all.
  • Nathaniel’s card is crossed with feelings of enslavement and a need to break free. hmmmmm.

I’m getting a totally different reading from this deck than Marianne is. What I’m reading is that Anita could be happier in life if she moved on, abandoned all this ardeur bullshit, and left all these assholes behind.

Marianne then reads about the murder and how it will all work out ‘but not without loss’ and it’ll involve someone from the past. Thanks for revealing the plot to us all. She then gives Anita a message from God.

I am serious.

” ‘You know what you need to do. Why are you asking me?’ ”

I licked my suddenly dry lips, and said, “It doesn’t bother you that you just took a message from God for me?”

“Well, it wasn’t from him directly. He just sent it.”

WILL YOU STOP WITH THIS ‘GOD HIMSELF DIRECTLY APPROVES OF ANITA’ BULLSHIT?

Marianne tells Anita to just follow her heart and trust herself (eugh) and then she hangs up so Anita can go into her home.

I got out of the Jeep and hoped I was grown-up enough for this particular choice.

No. You’re not. Because you consistently refuse to behave like a grown woman. Get a clue, dump all these assholes, and move on with your life.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’ chapter nine


The first time I saw when I hit the parking lot wasn’t any of the men, it was Ronnie.

Ah, yes, the sole female character Anita likes – who was made unpleasant and promptly shoved out of the books as soon as poss. She’s having a very intense argument with Louis Fane, her wererat boyfriend.

Ronnie had had problems with me dating a vampire, Jean-Claude in particular, but her main objection seemed to be the vampire part. At a time when I’d needed girl advice and a little sympathy, she’d offered only her outrage, and anger.

JC blackmailed you into dating him, stalked you, put you in danger, forced the vampire mark on you, and then, finally abused you at a time when you were emotionally vulnerable. I don’t think it’s the ‘vampire’ part that Ronnie dislikes.

Anita considers just going along and inserting herself into the argument, because –

Like, there’s no other reason why you would go INSERT YOURSELF INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S ARGUMENT. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST THAT IS REALLY RUDE.

Anita then turns around and heads back to the door leading out of the wedding reception, and all of her boytoys are waiting for her. Even though it was Nathaniel who ran out, and they should be talking to him? Oh yes, Anita am feel uncomfortable when we are not about her.

“Nathaniel says you didn’t want to dance with him,” Micah said.

WHO FUCKING CARES. What does it matter? Who the shit cares????

Anita didn’t want to play ‘kissy-face in front of cops’ because she is twelve years old. This hurts Nathaniel, as this meant Anita only kissed him because she had to, not because she wanted to.

This is supposed to be some gritty dark detective series, not some teen soap opera. I don’t care about the meaning of kisses!

Micah starts giving Anita shit, and she just wants to avoid a fight (so she’s not like that bitch Ronnie ammirite). She points out that the ardeur was rising, so she would have been forced to go out and feed it unwillingly. She would not want to have sex in the parking lot outside her friend’s wedding, which is a far thing to not want, and Nathaniel only accepts this reason under great sufferance.

Anyway, this means that the ardeur will be back later for Ardeur 2: Electric Boogaloo which will be very bad. Nathaniel is guilttripping Anita so badly that she’s obliged to touch him.

I am going to reach through time and space and punch out Nathaniel’s teeth.

Jason then gives Anita shot about how they had sex once and how badly he really needs to have sex with her again or his balls will turn blue and explode or something.

“I love the fact that I can make you blush now,” he said.

I love humiliating you! It makes me tingly all over in a sexual way!

I’d learned in the last few months that Jason used his teasing and laughter as a shield to hide a rather insightful intelligence that was sometimes so perceptive it was painful.

Since when has Jason ever shown the slightest hint of intelligence?

Jason then proceeds to make Anita feel bad for denying Nathaniel a true orgasm through penetrative sex. Because, obvs, Nathaniel is entitled to free access to her vagina.

Look, how Anita treats Nathaniel is disgusting, but NO ONE is entitled to your body as a ‘reward’. That’s not how it works. She has to be Nathaniel’s girlfriend because. BECAUSE. Jason also mentions that he told Nathaniel that Anita prefers a man to make decisions regarding sex for her.

I am going to fire you FROM A CANNON INTO THE SUN JASON.

Anita thinks that Nathaniel should not base his life on her, which is fair.

“[All this] is not a life decision. I meant like a career choice, maybe go back to college.”

“He’s got a job, Anita, and he makes better money as a stripper than most college graduates do.”

Yeah, that’s the point of having life experiences. Capitalism. Just keep on forcing women into things they don’t want to do, Jason. That shows what a great guy you are.

Anita tries to point out that she’s working on feeding on the ardeur from a distance and not require sex, but Jason pooh-poohs this, being the clear expert on the ardeur and everything.

Look, I could continue to tell you what exactly is happening, but it boils down to the same thing: Jason gaslighting Anita into accepting a situation she does not want and does not feel comfortable with. Because he’s a horrible person and a horrible character reflecting horrible opinions.

“Anita, you have two men who live with you. They both love you. They both want you. They both support your career. Between the two of them, they’re like your wife. There are people in this world who would kill to have what you have. And you’d just throw it all away.”

BECAUSE

SHE

DOESN’T

WANT

IT

HOW

HARD

IS

THAT

TO

UNDERSTAND

?

Also apparently LKH only sees relationships as having man/wife, man/object, trousers/skirts analogies. I bet she questions who’s the ‘guy’ in lesbian relationships.

“You needed a wife in that old 1950s sort of way.”

“Doesn’t everybody,” I said.

Yeah, who doesn’t want to be a woman in the 1950s? Who doesn’t want to get treated like shit and being treated as a societal inferior and forced to work 80+ hours a week in the home?

“Please, Anita, go home, and don’t freak. Just go home, and be happy. Be happy, and let everyone around you be happy. Is that so hard?”

Well, when you get gaslit by a friend to turn against what you initially wanted… then surely you can be truly happy!

This was a awful chapter. I’d never treat a friend like this. If this is what friendship and love is supposed to be, then I’m glad to be all wrong.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’ chapter eight


Of course, my good intentions lasted about as long as it took to be escorted onto the dance floor. Then suddenly I was expected to dance.

Oh… no, that thing you volunteered for? That thing you wanted to do and have fun? Why do you hate fun?

No one is as merciless if you give them ammunition, no pun intended, as a bunch of policemen.

Well, that line… is really, really harsh considering how long term events and, uh, enfranchised opinions have recently been brought to attention involving the world’s police forces.

If I dance badly, I’d be teased.

Who gives a shit? It’s a wedding, and most people dance badly. Everyone’s going to have drunk a bit more than they should have, and they’ll be dancing just to have fun.

Have you seen drunk people dance? They don’t dance well! And who cares? Why the fuck are the police going to give a shit?

If I danced well, I’d be teased worse.

WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT YOUR DANCING? WHO GIVES A FUCK?

If they realized I was dancing well with a stripper, the teasing would be endless. If they realized I was dancing badly with a stripper, the jokes would be, well, bad. Either way you cut it, I was so screwed.

NEWSFLASH: NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU ANITA.

It was almost impossible to be awkward with Nathaniel as your partner. Maybe it was his day job, but he knew how to bring out the best in someone on the dance floor.

But don’t most strippers work on their own? (As in, doing a routine on their own.) Why would Nathaniel be able to make Anita look like she can dance? Plus, isn’t stripping a different artform from traditional dancing styles? Anyway, she’s so terrified that she’s actually having to cling bodily to Nathaniel because she’s a Strong Independent Woman. Nathaniel tells her to concentrate on his face then tells her in an awestruck voice YOU’RE REALLY DANCING ANITA YOU’RE DOING IT

Of course, once he pointed out that I’d been dancing, I stopped. It was like walking on water, if you thought about it, you couldn’t do it.

uh… is LKH casually implying that Anita is Jesus? Because Jesus could walk on water. People generally can’t, given that water isn’t that solid, and you just fall through and hit the bottom of the sea and drown.

Unless you mean like, water on the ground. But the same point still stands. Your metaphor makes no sense. And how difficult is it to vaguely sway to the beat of a song? Why must every single thing Anita does be used to make her seem like the MOST AWESOME PERSON EVER LOOK AT HER DO THIS IMPOSSIBLE THING. oh, right, that’s because she’s a sue.

And then she looks at him, he turns away, she is all I FEEL THE RHYTHM OF HIS BODY, and then they start making out. And guess what she has no control of the ardeur WHADDAYAKNOW

I could not fight the ardeur and Nathaniel, not at the same time.

‘Fight’ Nathaniel? What? Oh, is it that trope where a woman is unsure about a kiss, so the man grabs her and forces a kiss on her, then she just melts in his arms because sexual assault is just the most romantic thing everrrr?

I hate that trope.

I saw what he wanted. I felt it. Felt his frustration. Months of being good. Of behaving himself, of not pushing his advantage.

Um, yeah, men should be rewarded for not giving in and just raping everyone around them. Apparently, women should just open their legs and reward all men for the high price of behaving like a reasonable person.

I suddenly felt his body again, even though we’d stood feet apart. He was so hard and firm and aching. Aching, because I’d denied him release. Denied him release for months.

Um, he’s not automatically allowed access to your body. That’s not how it works. If Anita doesn’t want to have sex with him, then Nathaniel has to lump it, because he doesn’t get sex just because he feels that he’s ‘earned it’ or he has a ‘right’ to it.

Anita does address that she’s been treating him like a ‘object’ but… well, Nathaniel’s such a fucking skeeveball, demanding payback for the wonderful fact that he hasn’t raped her yet that I can’t care about his needs. His ‘needs’ because he can’t use his big people words and talk about his feelings with Anita.

He then starts crying because Anita won’t let him just fuck her on the dance floor or something. It seems fake – he’s probably just upset that he hasn’t made her skin into a pair of shoes yet. And then he runs from the room.

This wedding is lasting soooooooooooo long