A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Bloody Bones’ chapter twenty one


Packing makes me sad.

I’m graduating in July and then moving out, so in preparation, my mother is coming to Norwich tomorrow to pick up my extraneous stuff.  Packing all my junk – and I have so much junk it’s unreal – just made it hit home that I’ll be leaving the first home I ever lived in by myself. My first foray into adulthood has ended. University is over. And while I’m studying for another year (and in London, which is cool beyond words), I feel that I have lost my direction and purpose in life. After seventeen years, I have formally left education. I have no idea what to do with my life and that is very unnerving.

In other news, I’m working on a new short story I hope to put up in a few days. ‘The House that Jack Laid’ will be a different from my usual fare, in that it is not supernatural, is being written as a secret present for a friend, and is a homage to a very famous novel. I am warning you now that as part of how the story works is to guess for yourself which book I’m homaging, I would ask you to discuss it (if you choose to) in rot13, so that other readers can discover it for themselves.

I feel pretentious. I need to lower the tone before Anita Blake.

Tits.

Anita is suddenly woken up by a furious knocking at the door. When Anita doesn’t get up quickly enough, the visitor decides to kick at it. It’s Dorcas Bouvier, and she stalks into the room.  She makes past Anita and goes into the bedroom, staring for a little while at the slumbering bodies of JC and Jason. Jason wakes up, makes a sleazy innuendo, and Dorcas loudly proclaims it is not Magnus.

She thought Magnus might be here because she saw Anita with him last night. The phrasing ‘with him’ leads to some confusion, as both women presume that the other one meant that by ‘with him’ they were trying to imply ‘had sex with’.

[Dorcas] sat in one of the chairs, spine very straight, perfect posture. My stepmother, Judith, would have been proud. I leaned on the arm of the couch because I couldn’t sit down with the Browning down my pants. I wasn’t sure how she’d take me being armed, so I didn’t want to show the gun. Some people freeze up around firearms. Go figure.

I know isn’t it a bummer when people are confused as to why you need a gun constantly and carry it around in your hotel room.

Anita asks if she saw it in a vision and Dorcas says that she doesn’t know why Magnus has gone missing, as he didn’t kill those children. She has been told that Anita has gone about saying that Magnus murdered the children, by surprise, surprise, that apparent uber bitch Detective Freemont.

“Don’t believe everything she tells you, especially about me. She doesn’t seem to like me very much.”

For very good reason.

Anita tells Dorcas that the police will shoot Magnus on sight, because FUCK judiciary process, let’s just kill people. Dorcas just wants to get her brother back, admitting she even checked ‘the mound’, and is surprised that Anita doesn’t know anything about ‘the creature’.

Anita is made to promise that she won’t reveal to the police any of the information Dorcas is about to tell her for absolutely no reason. You don’t break a promise to fairies, not without dying a sticky end, so I hope Anita knows this. She doesn’t think much of Dorcas though; the fairy just isn’t scary, presumably because she’s female.

“Did Magnus tell you about our ancestor, Llyn Bouvier?”

“Yeah, he was the first European in this area. He married into the local tribe. Converted them to Christianity. He was also fey.”

This was in the book earlier, but I wanted to repeat it. I can’t help but notice three things about Llyn’s back story:

  1. I highly doubt he was the first European in Missouri, since he apparently arrived in the 1690s.
  2. Isn’t it wonderful that a white guy was able to just marry into the local tribe and convert them. What a wonderful white guy he was to instil his own values on the ignorant indigenous population.
  3. No one is saying anything about how wrong that was.

“He brought another fey with him.”

“A wife?” I asked.

“No, he had captured one of the less intelligent fairies. He imprisoned it in a magically constructed box. It escaped and slaughtered nearly the entire tribe we’re descended from. He finally managed to contain it with the help of an Indian shaman, or priest, but he never regained control of it. The best he could do was to imprison it.”

So Llyn never thought ‘isn’t it a bad idea that I have a creature imprisoned that broke out once before and only went out to kill Native Americans, perhaps I should kill it’? But no. You see, his descendants have to drink the blood of the creature to maintain their magical power, and that trumps preventing the creature imprisoned by your family having the potential to go out and slaughter all the local non-white people.

And people tell me I look too deeply into the racist implications of these books…

The creature imprisoned is a rawhead, also known as a ‘Bloody Bones’. That still does not give me an adequate reason as to why they named their bar that. Anita pshaws it, as rawheads are only ‘a nursery boggle’. They are, but as with all European legends, they have gotten watered down in the transit to America. Rawheads eat children who tell lies. Alive. They then make a seat from their bones to sit upon. Yeah. Simple nursery boggle. No trouble at all.

The rawhead is also about the size of a giant and totally immortal. No trouble at all.

Anita demands for her and Lawrence to see it. Dorcas says no. Anita calls her stubborn. Dorcas agrees to let them see it. They decide to be friends.

“My friends call me Dorrie,” she said. She held out her hand.

“I’m Anita.” I shook her hand. She had a firm grip for a woman. Sexist but true. Most women don’t seem to know how to give a good handshake.

Sigh. What fucking ever Anita. And I notice that since you know seem to respect Dorcas, she’s described as a powerful. Where she had been meek and petty and feminine, now she’s eerie and smart and magical and authoritative – well, she’s still ‘vulnerable’ in comparison to the Great and All Powerful Anita Blake. She tells Anita she can see a cloud of ‘blood, pain, and death’ following her around and Anita is all OHMIGOSHSHOCKING. Yeah, that only describes each and every book.

Dorie leaves and Anita is all ‘hmmm interesting, is the rawhead why Magnus run?’. I’d be thinking ‘hmmm, it sounds like the rawhead is the one running around killing people. He’s even the title of this book I seem to be in!’. Anita shrugs it all off and thinks that it’ll be great that Lawrence can see something magical.

This woman is just the dumbest character in a book of really dumb characters.

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7 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Bloody Bones’ chapter twenty one

  1. Someone told you you read too deep into the very obvious racism of these books? Wow.

    Rawhead & Bloody Bones is actually one of my favorite monsters, both in general and in the AB books. As with the chimeric patchwork zombie though, my love for the concept doesn’t necessarily mean the execution is good (I don’t recall if it is or not). Of course, the version of Rawhead that I learned of first as a kid (and terrified the FUCK out of me!) is the American one, who is not so much watered down from the British version as just a completely different creature by the same name:
    http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/07/raw_head_and_bloody_bones.html

    • Just because something’s a cautionary tale for children, don’t mean it’s not scary or threatening.

      I get a lot of it mainly about how I got so annoyed by ghouls back in book one. But I can’t help but notice how the European creatures are smart, independent, and are basically human, while creatures from non-European traditions lack autonomy, are made to fit in a Christian framework of belief, or are just evil for no reason. That’s too many red flags for me to not start thinking it’s more than unfortunate implications.

      • Really? I…guess I can see that because people will deny a lot if it makes them uncomfy, but honestly my only thought on it was ‘omg how did I never notice that’

  2. All that infodump backstory went by a little fast, so let me make sure I’ve got this right:

    Revered ancestor Llyn the Fae decides to jump ship on the old fairy court. He imprisons and kidnaps another fae to take with him as a renewable, fae magic food source. He intends to keep this sentient (if not very pleasant) being permanently imprisoned as a magical larder for generations to come. Three hundred years and a graveyard full of descendants later the last two Bouviers, who in 10+ generations are now less than 1/2000th fae (unless we’ve got some inbreeding going on here) are still snacking on him.

    And this is better than the teen-molesting serial killer vampire… how?
    Because ‘Nita and Dorrie are totally BFFs now.

    Right. OK, I think I got it.

    See this face? This is my ‘Don’t Antagonize the Crazy Person with the Gun’ face. Anita is very familiar with it, only she sees it as ‘Respectful Admiration Face’. No, wait, I’m female so that would be ‘Jealous Hater Face’.

  3. I’m starting to wonder of Anita constantly shoving her gun down her pants is supposed to be a metaphor. It’s not like it’s that hard to get a holster for you belt, or specialized concealment clothing with little pockets to put it in.

  4. A couple of points there:

    1. If you find it remotely surprising the police of the United States would give unofficial orders to kill a suspect of a hated minority, I wish I lived in Britain. That LKH is entirely correct about.

    2. I hesitate to claim conversion as racism. It implies the Natives weren’t capable of making decisions about their own religious beliefs. Missionary work is often done at the point of a sword or education but this guy just did it by befriending the locals.

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