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


Anita’s up and about – and magically, Louis is still alive.

If he’d been in human form, I’d have checked his neck wound. I was pretty sure that just touching his blood in animal form wouldn’t give me lycanthropy, but I wasn’t one hundred percent. I had enough problems without turning furry once a month. Besides, if I had to pick an animal, a rat wouldn’t be it.

List time.

  • Why don’t you know whether touching his blood will spread lycanthropy? Seems like the sort of thing you ought to know.
  • Nice to know you won’t consider helping someone horrifically injured because of they happen to have a certain condition.
  • Seriously, don’t you carry rubber gloves?
  • This has unfortunate implications stamped all over it because of Hamilton’s repeated insistence that lycanthropy is like AIDS.
  • ‘Hey, don’t touch people with AIDS, it can jump from person to person, you know!’
  • Why wouldn’t you want to be a rat?
  • Rats are lovely, intelligent, adorable animals. Unlike you, Anita.
  • I wouldn’t mind being a rat.

Anita hears police sirens and considers hiding Louis away in the bushes to avoid him receiving medical attention. Your compassion knows no bounds. Louis then changes to human, a process we are told is ‘spectacular’, but it is not described. The police get closer and Anita opts to run off with Louis’s body into the bushes. You are a wonder of humanity.

I stayed on the sidewalk. I didn’t trust myself in the snow. Besides, even city cops could follow prints in the snow.

I’m tempted to start counting each time Anita shits on the police for no good reason.

Anita runs around with Louis strapped to her back, but it’s all a bit hairy because Gretchen injured her and she doesn’t know whether she can drive. She blathers around and is all ‘oh no he’s naked, what can i do’ and I want to slap her again but it’s becoming a bad habit.

Okay, so I was just a bit disorientated. I hit the light on my sunshade that’s supposed to let you check your makeup, and checked my eyes instead.

The mirror in your Jeep is designed to let you check your makeup? Who made your Jeep, Mattel?

Anita’s driving is a little erratic, seeing as she’s basically blind in one eye and has no depth perception, and she’s worrying that the police might get involved. It would be horrendous if the police got involved, wouldn’t it? They’d get them both medical care, arrest Gretchen for GBH and attempted murder and Anita would be legally allowed to execute her. It’s so good that she’s avoiding the police and phones Richard instead. He says he’ll be there, she should make sure Louis is stable, and that she ought to phone the police.

You’re worming your way back into my affections Richard. I may even say I like you, if you keep this common sense thing up.

Usually, a lycanthrope stayed in animal form for eight or ten hours. Changing back early took a lot of energy. Even if he hadn’t been hurt, Louie would be asleep for the rest of the night. Though sleep was too mild a word for it. You couldn’t wake them from it. It wasn’t a great survival method. Just like sleeping like vampires much. Evolution’s way of helping us puny humans out.

Oh, so you know ALL THIS about lycanthropes all of a sudden? Since when? You know they like a snooze but not whether their blood is contagious? What hell.

Anita leans back and thinks that it’s a shitty thing to be injured, since she used to be protected by JC’s marks. Hang on, how had she looked Gretchen in the eyes without falling under her magical vampire powers without his marks?

Before Bert found me, I’d had a life. I’d gone hiking, camping. I’d been a biology major and thought I’d go on for my master’s and doctorate and study preternatural creatures for the rest of my life. Sort of the preternatural Jane Goodall.

  • I highly doubt you could have gotten a Master’s degree or a PHD. You know nothing.
  • ‘Preternatural Jane Goodall’. So you’re the clever white woman providing an insight on the dumb apes. Right. Got it.

Was it too much to ask for someone who has human? Hell, I knew a lot of women in my age bracket who couldn’t get a date at all. I’d been one of them until Richard.

No, you hadn’t. You went on dates with John Burke sometime before book 3. You’re a liar, Anita.

She tries to keep awake so that she can go tell JC about her engagement like he’s a fucking lord of the land but she’s fighting a concussion. She worries about love and about how inhuman he is. Considering Anita is some kind of human-sized monster impervious to emotion and rationality, I think they’ll be okay. Richard pops up at this point and doesn’t allow himself to touch her.

I loved him, but love isn’t enough. All the fairy tales, the romance novels, the soap operas; they’re all lies. Love does not conquer all.

Hey look, a human-werewolf couple. Sure, Oz and Willow were not destined to be and their break-up was precipitated by a part of Oz’s lycanthropy but … you guys get what I’m trying to say, right? They knew there were problems, but they dealt with them because they loved each other. Well. Before the break-up. And even then, it wasn’t because they fell out of love. You know what I’m getting at. And that I’m thinking of better things than this garbage.

Richard tries to help her up, gets blood on his hand and almost licks it. Anita sees this and whips a knife out instantly. Wow, you really must love him a lot. Stephen the sexist from the last book shows up and Anita bitches at Richard about how he brought someone to help. Christ alive, he’s such a bojo.

Suck my ovaries, everyone. Suck on ’em.

Stephen goes to help Louis – that’s why he’s here after all, he’s not here to listen to their domestic – while Richard confirms to everyone that Anita is in fact dangerous. Anita then gives a speech about how she’s always fighting, struggling to stay alive and keep the people around her alive. While whirling the knife she pulled out on her fiancé around. Richard asks her if this is all a threat. Anita avoids the question. I want to invoke Thor and have some lighting thrown about.

Richard then makes a big deal about how noble, wonderful and brave Anita is for getting Louis to the Jeep even though she has a head injury. Instead of, you know, getting the police. Anita takes all of this with good modesty. Stephen says he’ll take Louis and Richard will take Anita to the hospital. She pulls a very suspicious bitch-fit and insinuates that Stephen is not to be trusted. You’ve got a concussion Anita. Just go to the damn hospital, JC can look after himself. Stephen was privy to this whole conversation but he takes it all in his stride. He promises to try and keep all of this from JC and Marcus, even though he has to answer any direct answers given to him. Stephen, you are officially not as bad as you used to be. Try to keep it up.

Anita admits she’s planning to go tell JC that Richard proposed. Richard asks if she’s even sure about marrying him anymore. I want to throw hammers.

“If the shit hits the fan, this could end up like Hamlet.”

“How like Hamlet?” Stephen asked.

“Everybody dead,” I said.

“Oh,” he said.

“What a thrilling insight,” I said.

Personally Richard, I’d be a bit iffy about the whole ‘she tried to knife you’ thing. But that’s just me. I generally dislike getting sharp, pointy things thrust between my ribs. Richard and Anita have a dull conversation about how he wants to be a white knight for her and how she doesn’t like that. Stephen offers to drive her home. I remind you Anita has a very serious concussion that is impairing her vision. I do not advise going home with a concussion. Go straight to the hospital. Head injuries are not to be taken lightly.

I glanced at him. “What do you do for a living, Stephen?”

He laid a cheek on his forearm and smiled at he. He managed to look winsome and sexy at the same time. “I’m a stripper,” he said.

Of course he was. I wanted to point out that he’d refused to be in a pornographic movie, but he still stripped. But taking your clothes off down to tasteful undies was not the same thing as having sex on screen. Not even close.

When was it brought up that Stephen refused to be in the porn films? Nope, never. Just endless talk of how blonde Stephen is, how blue his eyes are, how like a china doll he is.

Oh, and fuck you Anita. I don’t know where you got your moral high ground to judge strippers and porn stars, but I would like you to explain it for us. Just once. Your reasoning can be religious, stupid, or just plain judgemental, I don’t care. It would give you a scrap of personality or perhaps some insights into your moral and philosophical attitudes, values and beliefs. But that would require character and not a mind solely containing a penguin, mother issues, a jar of rage and one I.O.U slip for complex characterisation and genuine conflict.

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3 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Lunatic Cafe’ chapter twenty two

  1. Rats get no love in this series. When Anita becomes a non-shifting panwere (yes, really) her animals are a wolf and a bunch of big cats. Wolves and big cats are also the only therianthropes whose culture we get an in-depth look at and whose leaders are all the regular lovers of Anita (though she does still bang the other therian leaders in St. Louis once). Hamilton has a very obvious favoritism for them, probably because they are, through the lens of most human biases, the perfect combination of being beautiful and powerful. She can’t be a hyena or a rat or a bear because they’re not PRETTY, but she also can’t be a swan because they’re WEAK.

    Rats, swans, and hyenas also end up pretty much at the bottom of the pyramid once she’s ruling everything (since she becomes queen of each werespecies that she contracts–no, really, she’s just automatically queen tiger/lion/etc even though leadership of those groups is normally something EARNED). Hyenas and rats work for JC as security for Guilty Pleasures and as bodyguards for Anita and the other higher-ups, none of which are rats or hyenas themselves, and the rats take orders from her (even though Rafael is still around) while swans, since they are too ~useless and delicate~ for jobs like that, are now regular blood donors for the vampires of St. Louis.

    She also goes on obnoxiously about the grace of most shapeshifters…but I’ve never heard her wax on about that when it’s not a therian of her preferred type. If LKH ever bothered to do her research (she wrote Narcissus and Chains, which has werehyenas in it, ages ago but only recently did she make a blog post about ‘whoa, I just found out hyenas aren’t canines!’) she’d know that rats have incredible senses of balance, thank you.

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