A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Lunatic Cafe’ chapter eight


It’s snowy and the body is covered in snow. The sheriff has a go at her some more because that didn’t get old last chapter. She falls over again and is furious at everyone for laughing at her. She never questions how stupid she was, but there you go.

The body is all partially eaten and shit. After noticing that the body has been ripped open, and there are claw marks all over the body, Anita thinks that no blade did this! She’s so clever. The stomach of the body has been removed, potentially eaten. The crime scene is incredibly clean, and there’s very little blood anywhere. Anita thinks this must be because the assailant ate it all but it sounds to me like the body was dumped.

Anita thinks it might have been a dragon – but they’re not native in the US – or a gargoyle – but man eating gargoyles only live in France. Can’t have anything dangerous and interesting that might oppose vampires in America.

Hmmm…. impossible (apparently) crime scene and it’s just been revealed that vampires can fly? I wonder where this is leading! It’s so obvious that it was a shapeshifter hiding in a tree!

I feel I will have a lot of use from this gif.

Anyway, all lycanthropes are shapeshifters, but not all shapeshifters are lycanthropes. It’s some sort of family guardian bullshit, much like the unfortunate Meyer wolves. It doesn’t read as making much sense.

“There are swanmanes.”

Gazuntite?

No, seriously, what is that. I have never heard of that. Although I’m not sure how Anita knows that a shapeshifter did this, and not a werewolf or a really unfortunate human.

hang on

reading on Anita talks about avian weres. is a swanmane a swan werewolf? i really hope not because that’s really stupid.

Anita then has to know why the sheriff thought this was a bear attack. Obviously, on seeing a corpse covered with animal claw marks one ought to automatically assume that a shapeshifter did it. Anything else is just silly. She automatically thinks that the sheriff is trying to hide something.

I have a feeling I’m not going to like this plot.

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6 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Lunatic Cafe’ chapter eight

  1. The swanmanes are indeed swan shifters. LKH probably got the idea from Russian and Slavic folklore about swain maidens, though I have no clue where she got the name.

    I actually like their concept. I’m intrigued by the idea of non-predator shifters (deer, for instance, is something I’ve been wanting to write for awhile) and there is a folklore basis for these. Unfortunately, LKH ruins it by knowing jack all about swans. They’re all (except one, a bad guy, but he’s a little different in his origins than most…) described as helpless, as victims, as anyone’s meat, etc., all by nature because they’re prey animals and every other species of shifter is a predator (yes, rats count–real rats are indeed predators, and big ol’ wererats surely are too) and see them as food to be attacked or exploited (translation: raped and tortured for fun) and of course Anita has to save them because their king can’t do jack because he’s a swan too.

    And I’m like…are you fucking serious? Swans are evil. Swans are mean. Swans are vicious killer rage machines with wings, and they don’t even have the reason/excuse of being predators, THEY JUST HATE EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE. They drown dogs, attack people, and a blow from their wing can break a grown man’s arm at the right angle. And these are regular swans. Imagine wereswans–er, swanmanes, they never get called wereswans in canon–with human minds, human intent, and probably of much larger size (after all, werewolves are the size of ponies, wererats the size of German Shepherds, etc.) THAT’S FUCKING TERRIFYING.

    I have a small group of pals. We RP in the Anitaverse, and our characters include the New York swanmane flock. You don’t want to mess with any of them. They’re the beautiful elegant coldhearted badasses that vampires wish they were, man. AND DRESS BETTER THAN THEM TOO not that this is hard in this series

    • I think I’m not so keen on the idea of wereswans – I am not calling them swanmanes, I just can’t – because with my own ideas on shapechanging between species I don’t know whether I’m ok with mammal to avian changes. Non predatory animals are fine, but … I don’t know. I don’t mean to bash them but I’m not sure if I’m okay with it.

      Oh, you don’t have to tell me how evil swans can be. My family keeps poultry and birds are really nasty when they want to be (I’ve seen them kill whole nests of rats. They’re only chickens. You don’t think they should be able to do that. Or eat the bodies). The idea of them being weak and helpless is laughable – if they were weak and helpless, they wouldn’t bloody exist anymore.

      • ratties ;-;

        If it makes them any more sensible to you, they’re not infected humans like other shifters but seem to be a race unto themselves

      • I always prefer my shapeshifters as being in races. I think my main problem is that I know Hamilton is not going to handle it well – call it authorial bias if you will, because I just know if any other fantasy writer had them they’d be cool. But my knowledge of her writing style makes me think they’re going to be awful.

        The one thing no one suspects about chickens – that they are clever and evil. Loving and sweet with great personalities, but they don’t fuck around.

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