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


Anita’s gone out to a river bank. She complains. The skin is big. ‘Shouldn’t a skin be smaller than a breadbox, not bigger than a Toyota?’. Anita has never heard of elephants. There. I saved you five hundred words.

There was a dive team waiting on the shore in dry suits, which are bulkier than wet suits and better at keeping you warm in cold water.

I can feel myself getting stupider.

The police ask Anita whether they can go diving, even though they just need to swim across to the rocks than the skin is on, not down to the bottom of the river. And then Anita just hops on over to the skin and now I’m confused as to why they’re diving in the middle of the night in the middle of winter. If they’re going to dredge the bottom, wouldn’t it be safer in the daytime? And now a different police officer has reached the skin and I have no idea what’s going on. You’d think after three books of this bullshit someone would have told Hamilton to make things clearer in her narrative.

“Guess nothing’s going to eat him,” MacAdam said.

“Guess not,” I said. I tried to keep the disappointment out of my voice.

Yeah, try not to be too upset that an innocent man didn’t get his face ripped off.

Two ambulances were sitting up there, too. Since Gaia’s law went into effect three years ago, an ambulance had to be on the scene if there was any chance to remains were humanoid.

… isn’t that the law anyway? That an ambulance is called up when there’s a dead anybody?

There were ambulances being called to take away coyote carcasses, as if they were dead werewolves. The law had gone into effect, but no extra money had been put into the emergency systems across the country. Washington did like to complicate things.

I like making lists.

  1. Why don’t shifters change back into human form when they die? In every myth of humans who become animals, when unconscious, asleep or dead they always change back into human form. I’d like an explanation please.
  2. Why exactly do the American government both acknowledge and not acknowledge the existence of the supernatural? What’s the point in declaring vampires and werewolves exist if you don’t take the proper steps to integrate them into society? Again, I’d like an explanation please.

Everyone has to help Anita from the rocks and then she … jumps around on more rocks? I have no fucking clue what’s going on. At all. The water is cold and wet. She makes jokes with Aikensen. I have no idea who he is. She gets round to the snake skin again.

It wasn’t a sloughed skin. The snake had been skinned. Whether it had been alive when the skinning started was a moot point. It was dead now. Very few creatures can survive being skinned alive.

I’d say it was a moo point – so stupid and insignificant, it’s like a cow’s opinion. And if Anita can walk to the skin, why are there divers?

Anita then says that the skin might have just hooked onto the rocks – it might not have been placed there! Bitch, someone skinned a snake. I don’t think the snake was crawling along and just accidentally skinned itself alive on some rocks. You are a moron.

*slaps Anita* dumbass.

Then the divers all jump in the water because… SHUT UP. And oh no! There’s a creature in the water and it leaps out of the water and attaches itself onto Anita. Yeah, like that’s the safest place in the world.

My gun was in my hand, but I didn’t shoot.

I think you deserve a medal.

“I’m tired of looking down the barrel of your gun, bitch.”

“Ditto,” I said.

What did I miss? I’m glad someone’s calling Anita a bitch but I have no idea what’s going on. I think Anita jumps into the water, monkey creature attacked and ‘we floated by the big rock, swirling in snake skin’ and people start firing at her.

I wish I knew what was happening. This is an awful chapter of an awful book.

But Anita’s got an explanation – it’s just a naga. Great, another mythological serpentine creature for Hamilton to fuck up. And what does this have to do with the plot? He’s been skinned and I fail to see what this has to do with anything.

And on a grammar aside, Hamilton apparently assassinated the humble comma because this chapter has no commas in the right places. It’s awful.

Anyway, everyone’s confused about how to treat this serpent-man because he might bite people or something. Anita is incredibly patronising and wrong about the origins of nagas and then worries about whether immortal creatures can get infections – she’s only an expert in preternatural creatures, damnit! Which is wrong on two counts, cause she’s not an expert and preternatural just means supernatural or beyond normal. So there.

Anita has to go in the ambulance too because she decided to jump into the water like a fucking dumbass. She helpfully tells Dolph that she thinks the skin was the naga’s. No, really? No shit. Does a hen have teeth. Everyone has a go at Aikensen for shooting at Anita. Zerbrowski talks about how a ‘man needs exercise, if you know what I mean, by putting himself in a lady’s lady parts, hurr hurr’ and Anita pretends not to understand what’s going on. Zerbrowski then tells Dolph about Anita’s boyfriend. I see everyone has stopped giving a shit about the man that was skinned alive, the man who was mauled by a bear, and the eight missing werewolves.

Zerbrowski gives Anita a pair of his wife’s jogging bottoms. He then says how she better ‘exercise’ in the nude and not sully the trousers. Anita flips him off and he gleefully tells her that she flashed him by doing so.

I hate all these people. I hate them all. I hate this book and Hamilton’s fucking writing style and the stupid fucking world she couldn’t be bothered to put any effort into.

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

  1. Yes, of course she shows up all those silly men in their suits by hopping over to the skin. Because they would never think of that. And why did they need HER permission to do it anyway?

    Shifters in the Anitaverse do turn back human when they die! It’s stated in a later book! CANON FLUB ALERT.

    I do love her world. Or rather, the idea of it. The execution leaves a lot to be desired, as you know.

    • A world where vampires and humans live together is very interesting; it’s why, even though there are so many problems with the books, I still enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse books. Charlaine Harris just thought about her world better and created good characrers – not the main characters, but there are great ones out there. But Hamilton has to have the whole world bow down to Anita and it does my head in.

    • AND THEN A UNICORN DESCENDED FROM ON HIGH AND SPIRITED THE NAGA AWAY TO A BETTER BOOK.

      I’m betting the naga doesn’t show up again. This whole chapter was the worst kind of filler.

      • Nagas have yet to reappear in the entire series since this book. Ditto for lamia, fae, merfolk, and various werespecies (snake, bear, dog, fox) that will show up or be mentioned in one book and then apparently disappear from the series.

  2. I read somewhere that someone had asked her if Merry Gentry (from her other series) and Anita would ever meet. She said “there are no fae in the Anita Blake universe” – EXCEPT THERE WAS A WHOLE ANITA BOOK ABOUT THEM.

    *facepalm*

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