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


I closed the door and realized I had accomplished nothing but pissing Bert off.

NO FUCKING SHIT. WHAT DID YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN WHEN YOU SWORE AND BITCHED AT YOUR BOSS BECAUSE HE DOESN’T DO EXACTLY AS YOU SAY? THAT HE’D ROLL OVER AND LET YOU DO WHATEVER? YOU HAD NO REASON TO BEHAVE AS YOU DID. NO REASON. YOU ARE A RUDE, UNPLEASANT WOMAN.

I’m really fed up of her holier-than-thou attitude at work. I am fed up of Anita Blake’s self-satisfied fucking attitude. I need some Hal.

If you are not watching Being Human UK you are missing out on shirtless press-ups.

Anita finally decides that oh right, she should probably do her job. She goes back to her office and Elvira Drew is waiting politely. She gives her a number and says that she can help.

That wasn’t hard, was it. so why did you throw a temper tantrum.

Anita then welcomes Kaspar Gunderson into her office.

He didn’t move with that dancelike grace that other shapeshifters had. But then swans weren’t particularly graceful on land.

They’re not graceful on land because they’re coming to fuck you up.

Kaspar is here to offer Marcus’s apologies, because Marcus knows how to work as a functioning human being. Anita whines as she’s an adult and a professional. Apparently all the names he gave her to question are his rivals for power because it’s wishful thinking that his rivals are the bad guys. Except not, if the people missing are important to keeping Marcus in charge. Good Lord woman, I’m not an investigator and I’m already doing a better job. Marcus wants to make himself leader of all the shapeshifters, so they can present a challenge to the vampires. Now, if the missing shifters are supporters of Marcus, that’s a very good reason to get rid of them.

Anita doesn’t think about this, as the secretary buzzes the intercom and says that Richard’s on the phone.

I picked up the phone, very aware that Kaspar was sitting there listening. I could have asked him to step outside, but I was getting tired of playing musical clients.

Or you pass on the message that you’ll call him later because you’re at work and you’re not paid to sit on your arse and organise your social life.

mmm hal spam makes the pain go away.

Anita and Richard arrange to have dinner and talk about last night. Kaspar asks if he’s angry and I immediately think this strange man with feathers for eyebrows is amazing. More Kaspar please. Anita asks him for more information about the disappearances and Kaspar says that only Marcus is allowed to answer those questions. Anita bitches about this and Kaspar reminds her that swans are completely helpless and he’ll get fucked up if he disobeys.

Anita needs to remember that actions have consequences.

“Unless you have more information, Kaspar, I have work to do.” It sounded grumpy even to me.

Grumpy even to me.

GRUMPY EVEN TO ME.

Bitch, you’ve spent the entire book doing nothing but whining, complaining and threatening to inflict violence on people. Oh, and throwing tantrums when you’re asked to work. When have you been happy?

Anita then badgers Kaspar about whether turning into a swan is really a family curse. Kaspar says about how fairy tales are really quite brutal and then goes off with eyes full of a pain that is ‘raw enough to cut skin’. What does that even mean? I mean, bacon is raw but flopping it about on my arm is going to do nothing but make my arm smell like raw bacon.

Anita is surprised to learn about how brutal fairy tales are, and promise him to read ‘The Swan Princess’ in the original Norse or something.

The Swan Princess is a 1994 animated film. Swan Lake is based on a combination of Russian folk tales into an original tale. The best guess that historians have ventured as a definite source is either Johann Karl August Musäus’s, “Der geraubte Schleier” (The Stolen Veil) or the Russian folk take “The White Duck”. So, there is no definite fairy tale about people turning into swans, especially not from a Scandinavian source. Of course, this is based on my limited research but it’s definitely more than Hamilton did or does.

And it really pisses me off when people talk about how surprised they are that fairy tales are violent or brutal. It is purely a personal thing, and it bothers me when it crops up in anything, even things I love. I’ve noticed it happens in mainly American works, and I think it’s a cultural thing – I have noticed that stories for children in America are rather more sanitised than they are in Europe.

THINGS DOTTIE LEARNT FROM HER BOOKS OF FAIRY TALES

  • That if you get a witch’s daughter in a tower pregnant, you will be thrown from the tower into a land of thorns where your eyes will be scratched out and you will be forced to wander aimlessly until your pregnant lover heals your eyes with her tears. (Rapunzel)
  • If you are evil and try to kill your stepdaughter, you will be forced to wear red-hot iron shoes and dance until you die. (Snow White)
  • If you and your grandmother are eaten by a wolf, a helpful woodsman will arrive, cut open the wolf and rescue you alive. He will fill the wolf’s belly with rocks and drop him in a well to drown. (Red Riding Hood)
  • You and your brother will push a witch to burn alive in an oven. When you return home, your father will be so overjoyed at your return he’ll murder your evil mother with an axe. (Hansel and Gretel)
  • If you’re a mermaid who gets legs with magic, each step will feel like walking on the red hot blades of knives. And the prince you love will make you dance. (The Little Mermaid)
  • The man you want to marry has actually been killing all his previous wives and lives in a castle strewn with their corpses. When you break in to investigate, he’ll chop off the hand off another conquest and it’ll land in your lap. You’ll marry him, display the evidence, and watch your brothers chop him into pieces so you can get his money and lands. (Mr Fox)
  • You and your true love will be separated by your parents. The true love will die, only to rise from the grave to bring you home. You will die of shock when you discover what has happened and you can now be reunited in death. (The Suffolk Miracle)
  • If you steal porridge, you’ll be eaten. Alive. (Goldilocks and the Three Bears)
  • Fairies will fuck you up in various ways, either by killing you, cursing you, stealing your children, or raping you. (Various)
  • A pissed off fairy will send you asleep for a hundred years. Your true love will find you, but not the thorn in your finger keeping you asleep. He will have sex with you and several children with you while you sleep. It will not be until your seventh child that the thorn is finally dislodged. You have to live with the husband you’ve woken up with. (Sleeping Beauty)
  • If you are mean to your sister and she marries a prince, she will have you killed. (Cinderella, the Princess in Donkey Skin)

So don’t try and sell me that bullshit ‘oh, what? Fairy tales aren’t nice?’. I’ve known they’re not nice since I was told them as a young child. That’s why children like them.

I feel mean for ignoring the Hiddles necessity of a Hiddles spam.

I hope you’re all glad. I had to venture onto the Hiddleston tumblr tag *shudders*

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

  1. I think it’s very much a cultural thing. I didn’t find out fairy tales weren’t nice until I was older and did deliberate research on it, and even still I never heard of Hansel and Gretel’s father killing their mother, or of Goldilocks being eaten! She gets away in every single version I’ve read here. I volunteer at an elementary school library too, and I tend to flip through every classic fairy tale we get just to note what variations crop up. There’s pretty much never any death, and as little unpleasantness as possible. I’ve even seen ones where the troll in the Three Billy Goats Gruff lives through the tale. I had a teacher come in asking for “the original Cinderella” and I was like “Are you sure?” and informed him how the original Cinderella went. He was quite shocked, and decided he did not want the original after all. What he thought the “original” Cinderella was, I don’t know. I think he might have meant the European version, since we also have African, Egyptian, Chinese, and West Indies versions that I’ve seen, but I’m not sure. So yeah, it might be less Anita being dumb and more Anita being an American. Just in this case, of course ;P

    • I love the English versions of Cinderella – Cap O’Rushes and the Donkey Skin Princess. I much prefer them over the French, but I do like the Egyptian and Chinese versions as well.

      I don’t know what is about English children’s literature, but we pretty much go all out on the death, maiming and torture. I guess we’re thought to be tougher? But seriously, all the versions I had pretty much involved the bad people all dying in incredibly horrible ways. Although my favourite one was where a evil sister ended up with a sausage attached to her nose for all eternity as a punishment for not helping a fairy.

  2. Pingback: A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Lunatic Cafe’ chapter sixteen | Bibliotropic.com

  3. All I can think of is how Anne Rice was apparently not so far off the mark when she re-wrote Sleeping Beauty as a porn trilogy….

  4. At a guess, I think Anita/LKH thinks that the Swan Princess was based on a story written by Hans Christian Andersen, who was Danish (and also wrote The Little Mermaid).

    Wait – a bit of wiki-fu reveals several swan maiden stories, and one of them is from Sweeden. Basically your generic “guy sees animal transform into hot woman” story. Still not sure where LKH got “Norse Swan Princess” from, though.

  5. I don’t even know if this is still active but I just wanted to tell you I loved this blog post and couldn’t agree more. I love the Anita Blake series STORY LINES (tired of the sex) and I do enjoy the books generally, but Anita really can be obnoxious as hell. I can’t stand her half the time.

    • My Anita reviews are on hold because I found they made me miserable as heck and I was fed up of reading them. I might pick them up again in the future but thanks for stopping by the blog!

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