A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Circus of the Damned’ chapter five

Woo! In a great mood after seeing Spamalot today with Mother Smith. Very funny!


Plus I got a Henry VIII puppet. I may start a history show with him as my co-host.

Anita is at the eponymous Circus of the Damned today, which I liked much better when it was in France, hosted by Armand, and was conceived of by Anne Rice. The place is this gaudy, gory carnival of zombies, sex, and blood.

There were a lot of families. Mom, Dad, the kiddies. The children had balloons tied to their wrists and cotton candy smeared on their faces and hands. It smelled like a traveling carnival: corn dogs, the cinnamon smell of funnel cakes, snow cones, sweat.


This is really not an environment parents would ever bring their children too. It is unbelievable that parents would take their children to see animals slaughter and corpses raised. There’s suspension of disbelief, and then there’s so stupid it snaps me out of the narrative.

There was no smell of dirt in the air, but there was something else just as singular. The smell of blood.

What a wholesome family experience.

A guy with cowboy boots steps out of the crowd and tells Anita that JC sent him to get her. They head off to the snake show because… SHUT UP. And oh noes, Stephen of the Cowboy Boots is a shapeshifter because he, uh, has an aura. Or something.

Lycanthropy was a disease, like AIDS.

No. That metaphor will never be acceptable to me. Becoming a werewolf in an accident is in no way comparable to a disease which kills you horribly. Anyway, Anita dislikes Stephen because blah blah blah and she’s quite harsh to him.

“I’m being a gentleman here,” he said.

“I don’t need or want doors opened for me. I’m quite capable, thank you.”

“A feminist, my, my.”

Fuck you Stephen.

They head up into some room and there’s a dancing girl with a snake. Anita criticises the girl for wearing ‘Hollywood’s version of a dancing girl’s outfit’ which makes no real sense to me, as dancing girls in films seem to wear dancing girl outfits. I need to stop trying to find the logic in these books.

Stephen jumps out on Anita because SHUT UP and infuriated by this defiance, Anita calls him ‘fur-face’ which I can only assume must be a horrible racist slur against werewolves. Stephen’s pride is hurt by her knowing what he really is.

A lot of lycanthropes pride themselves on being able to pass for human.

I mean, the fact that they look like humans for twenty four days out the month means that everyone knows what they become.

Stephen gets very upset and it’s all rather dreadful and I don’t feel sorry for anyone involved because they are all unpleasant people. The dancing girl gets out a cobra and they do a dance together. Anita, who did a whole semester of herpetology, says that the cobra has such large fangs that the girl will die of blood loss before the poison kicks in. What an expert. There’s some sort of magic going down but Anita doesn’t approve and walks away as it’s icky and not done by her. She walks off into some dark corridor, hoping to find JC.

Why doesn’t Anita like anything?


15 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Circus of the Damned’ chapter five

  1. I never understood why someone holding a door open for you by a girl or a guy, was a bad thing. Everybody can usually open a door for themselves but, to me, it’s just rude to let the door fall shut in someone’s face…at least if you know that they are right behind you.

    So, can you really win with her? If you hold the door for Anita she gets annoyed. If you left it shut, she’ll most likely be just as pissed. It’s just a door…not a sign of disrespect to the whole history of woman’s liberation and how far they’ve come…at least that’s my thought on the matter πŸ˜‰ I could be wrong.

    • I always thought that opening a door for someone was just polite but I can understand someone saying that they can open the door for themselves – providing that they do it politely, which Anita is incapable of doing. Anita is incapable of these human emotions we call ‘kindness’ and ‘compassion’.

      • I’ve said this at another sporking site, but I really wonder why any of these people in the books even like Anita. She’s a mean, spiteful, horrid, bitchy person. She has zero redeeming qualities. And it’s only the 3rd book. She gets much, MUCH worse as the series goes on. I know that it’s how the author wants it (that everyone loves her), but I have to wonder why she thinks these qualities are so wonderful (especially since Anita is just a stand in for Hamilton).

    • You can’t win with Anita, no.

      The issue with doorholding in itself is more complex than that. It basically was done for a long time when the woman didn’t need it on the basis that women are these frail, delicate creatures that need little shows of courtesy done for them. That’s result in, to this day, men who hold doors NOT because they happened to get there first and thought it would be nice not to let the door shut in the face of the person behind them because they are another human being, but men who will seriously RUSH IN FRONT OF A WOMAN in order to hold the door for her because THEY ARE MEN AND SHE IS A WOMAN DAMMIT. The most annoying to me personally is when I’m a bit of a distance from the door and have to hurry it up so he isn’t stuck there forever holding it waiting for me…even though he put himself in that position. Though I think a close second is the time I held a door for someone and he WOULD NOT GO THROUGH IT until I let him take the door and hold it for me instead.

      There’s also a problem with some men expecting to be thanked excessively and treated as some shining paragon of chivalry for something most people (like my dad and I) do for everyone (whether or not that they have a uterus) and/or guys who only do it for attractive ladies and will let it slam shut in the faces of women that they don’t think is hot (seriously). Then there’s the extra level of classism and racism that got especially tangled up in it where I live (American Deep South) where a rich white lady would totally get this treatment but a black woman or poor white woman NEVER would and again you can see that in the selective process some dudes do in who they hold it for.

      TL;DR: Holding open a door is no problem in itself. But some guys do it for the wrong reasons, and that is.

      • It reminds me of a few weeks ago when I held open a door to let an elderly man go through before me; he turned round to say how grateful he was, as a young woman had never before opened a door for him. Opening a door for someone, removed of implications, can be just a way of being a bit kinder in the world.

        Also I get all weird and shy and let people go in before me for reasons of awkwardness.

  2. “I mean, the fact that they look like humans for twenty four days out the month means that everyone knows what they become.”

    I lol’d. And yeah, I am so NOT OKAY EVER with being a wereanimal equals AIDS in any way,

    • It’s so offensive on so many levels. The only bit where the metaphor sort of works is in the idea of spreading an infection; in Being Human, George’s fears of coming into society and interacting with people whom he might infect works because they never make the direct comparison. It’s implied, so works more subtly than just saying ‘AIDS PREJUDICE’ but the more obvious metaphor they use is anger management issues which is much less offensive. And works better because becoming an animal isn’t that bad a thing in the scheme of things.

      • Not to mention you get a bunch of wicked cool powers/benefits as a wereanimals–enhanced speed, strength, healing, and senses! You do not get an compensation like that for AIDS or even for the anger issues thing, though that option is the better one I’d say.

      • With George, the focus was on his reaction and his development on being reintroduced into society and resolving his issues both before and after he was attacked by Tully (the werewolf that attacked him if you’ve never seen Being Human, which I advise you do for reasons of really well done urban fantasy). It wasn’t society defining him, it was how he was defining his own problem – which is one of the reasons I have such an issue with Anita’s dislike because she doesn’t know shapeshifters and can’t be bothered to relate to them. She uses an offensive analogy because she flat out hates them for no reason. This alien concept we lesser beings call ’empathy’.

  3. I think that it’s also painful for Stephen to have ‘Werewolf’ thrown in his face because its more than priding himself on being able to pass, it’s not having random strangers know you most likely survived a horrific attack (something most of us would like to keep to ourselves and trusted loved ones rather than the snarky, angry women we just met).
    She really does have the sensitivity and subtlety of a rampaging wilder beast lol. Even if he contracted it via a vaccine she has no way of knowing this.
    It also bothers me how very rude she is to every person she meets, I’d honestly not want to have anything to do with her.

    • Even before she turned into a straight-out sociopathic murdering rapist as in the later books, she was always just such an asshole. Not even the funny, likeable kind of asshole that you know you’d hate dealing with but is so fun to watch/read about as an audience (like Dr. House, for instance) but as in just a ‘why should I read/care about this asshole’ type of asshole

  4. “A feminist, my, my.”
    Yes, because in the 90’s, feminists were like unicorns- elusive and special. It was noteworthy and unusual to run into a woman who wanted to open a door for herself!
    Why, I declare it was right after that they started wanting to vote! *le gasp*

    It’s been made clear in these books that LKH still think she’s living in like, the 1970s. Fanny packs, acid wash jeans, people shocked at the idea of a woman wanting a career… time frames, Laurell, they matter!

  5. Why WOULDN’T families want to go to animal slaughter and zombie raisings? Oh, right, you’re British. Where I live they pretty much love the former and would be all over the latter. It’s despicable.

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