A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Guilty Pleasures’ chapter forty three


Iris Jensen’s grave marker was smooth, white marble. It was a nearly life-size angel, wings outspread, arms open, welcoming. You could still read the lettering by flashlight [I should bloody well hope so, the gravestone is only twenty years old] : “Beloved daughter. Sadly missed.” The same man who had had the angel carved, who sadly missed her, had been molesting her. She had killed herself to escape him, and he had brought her back. That was why I was out here in the dark, waiting for the Jensens, not him, but her. Even though I knew her mind was gone by now, I wanted Iris Jensen in the ground and at peace.

This reads like the conclusion to an entirely different novel. An interesting novel, but definitely not the one I started. Anyway, I’ve been doing dissertation reading all day and I’m pretty tired, so I’m going to do one of Dottie’s patented bulletpoint lists for y’all today!

righto let’s begin

  • edward doesn’t like this. not one bit. I don’t care.
  • edward doesn’t know that cemeteries have maintenance sheds
  • a ghoul runs up
  • ‘Ghouls are cowards; they don’t attack healthy human beings’
  • Did you do any research for this book?
  • zacahary shows up
  • HE’S THE MURDERER
  • that kinda makes sense – he destroyed the mind of the witness to save himself
  • a half-way competent investigator MIGHT HAVE ALREADY THOUGHT THAT
  • ughhh
  • anyway if you bury an animator you get ghouls (No. Just no) and blah blah blah raising zombies makes ghouls rise or some bullshit like that
  • bullets won’t kill zachary
  • anita distracts the ghouls with chickens she had to put the jensen girl to rest
  • more bullshit about how ghouls are soooooo dumb
  • I could point out that creatures created by white westerners are intelligent, but the creatures of eastern islamic mythology are reduced to the status of animals, when traditionally the stereotypes were reversed i.e. vampires were fat, flesh-eating and dumb, and ghouls were cultured and intelligent
  • YES I JUST PULLED OUT THE RACE CARD
  • what you going to do about it?
  • anita sets the shed on fire with edward and herself in it, but they escape
  • ‘This was the second attempt on my life in as many days. Frankly, I’d rather be shot at’
  • What happened to the Jensen girl?
  • OMG ACTUAL PLOT
  • i don’t think i can’t actually deal with it
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6 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Guilty Pleasures’ chapter forty three

  1. You know, originally I was ok with her portrayal of ghouls not matching the original Arabic lore at all, because ghouls have been reconfigured in so many ways in so many other series, and I figured she needed something to play the part of the ‘Hollywood zombie’ type monster since her zombies aren’t like that but the ghouls are…but now that you’ve brought up how her portrayal (and the portrayal of vampires vs ghouls in many works) of them versus vamps and how that relates to their status as European versus Non-Western lore and how they’ve been practically SWITCHED is…really, really interesting. Especially since Western legends of werewolves and vampires have has a whole in media gotten the treatment of becoming more intelligent, sympathetic, etc., while ghouls and zombies (originally a creature from West African Voodoo) have been taken in the opposite direction. I think you’re on to something here, very much so. Especially since, despite the whole world supposedly being home to supernatural creatures in the ABverse, it’s only Western legends that mainly appear or get any attention (though we do get a naga in one book, and a quetzaoatl in another, though the latter still gets described in European terms as “classed as either a type of gargoyle or dragon”, and I guess the werejaguars count as Aztec too, and we *might* be getting djinn in Skin Trade but I’m not there yet…hope that was wasn’t all to spoilery! But none of these get ANY mention after the book they appear in, while vamps and werewolves and such get whole societies elaborated on throughout the series)

    • It has Unfortunate Implications written all over it. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t do it intentionally, but when you look at how she treats LGBT attitudes as well, it gets a bit uncomfortable…

      • Oh god, I’m a lesbian myself and I just can’t even with the treatment of LGBT characters. There’s a really good essay on everything terrible about it (and some good stuff out there on racefail in her work) that I can link you, if you’re interested and/or aren’t worried about potential character spoilers?

  2. GBLT Characters in Anita Blake
    http://www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2012/09/gblt-characters-in-anita-blake-series.html
    If you scroll down to my very last bullet point in this post, there’s a bit about racefail with all the rats being Hispanic men
    http://lkh-lashouts.livejournal.com/569847.html#comments
    Discussion of racefail and ableism in the comments here
    http://lkh-lashouts.livejournal.com/567541.html#comments
    And for the life of me I can’t find it now, but I swear to god there was an interview where LKH said that she made Anita mixed-race because she herself is 100% white and always saw that as kind of boring and wanted to be more “exotic”. Seriously. Considering that she and Anita are one in the same (same background with the mom dying in the car crash, same deal with the grandma then helping to raise her, they even look so similar that LKH says she’s dyed her hair lighter so people stop commenting on how she looks like Anita, lol) I think this is probably why she just fails at writing a bi-racial protagonist; she herself isn’t bi-racial, and Anita is supposed to be her.

    Oh, and black people can rarely be vampires. The reason given for this is the sickle cell gene, which is admittedly high in African populations…but also in certain white populations, such as Mediterranean ones. Yet they don’t get excluded from being vampires too. And the vampires are the height of cool in these books–they represent the best sex, power, money, and class. So you just kind of have to ask yourself exactly WHY an author would choose to make sure in some way that black people would be virtually banned from that….but not similarly banned from lycanthropy, which is associated with giving in to a more feral side, rough sex (rape rituals, really), etc., all of which are disturbingly close to old stereotypes about black people as animals, as inherently and uncontrollably lascivious, etc. So, they get to be a part of the group that shares these negative connotations with them AND banned from the group that holds a lot of ideas traditionally denied to them (money, status, etc.). That’s just not a nice combination. Like, I don’t know if I can totally believe it’s a coincidence that she managed to hit BOTH these things in such a way.

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