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



You like good fiction right?

Like science fiction adventure stuff?

Then you should buy my friend Barnaby’s eBook, for four English pounds and seventy five English pence.

It’s dead good.


Anita and her Anita gang all troop inside Serephina’s house which, I swear to God, has doors that close behind people. Like in kid’s horror books. The house is all dusty and mildewy, clearly indicating that no one’s lived there in a long while or someone ate the cleaner. A male vampire called Bruce appears from nowhere.

He was short, slender, with a face too young to be handsome, more pretty. He was so newly dead that his skin still held the tan he’d picked up at the beach, or lake, or some other sun-soaked place. He looked frightfully young to be dead. He had to be eighteen, anything younger and it was illegal, but he still looked delicate and half-finished. Jailbait for ever.

He’s eighteen. He’s not ‘jailbait’ as your bordering-on-fetishing-teenagers paragraph states he is.

“I’m Bruce.” He seemed vaguely embarrassed. Maybe it was the clothes. He was dressed in a pale grey tux complete with tails, and a charcoal grey strip down the outside leg of the pants. His gloves were white and matched what could be seen of his shirt. His vest was a silky grey. His bow tie and cummerbund were a red that matched Ivy’s dress. They looked like they were going to prom.

Why are all the vampires always in some ugly formal wear? Why? If I was undead and immortal, I’d prefer to be comfy in a pair of jogging bottoms and a band t-shirt.

The whole gang move into what appears to be the set for some cheesy gothic horror themed 80s music video so they can all watch Ivy make the moves on JC. She strokes him, saying how wonderfully beautiful he is, how no one has any right to be that beautiful, and wondering whether he fucks as good as he looks. JC’s response is to grab her head.

… I was going to have a video of Khan crushing someone’s skull but the internet has failed me.

Anyway, JC doesn’t skull crush her, he just mind rapes her into going away. Pleasant. Ivy runs from him, but collapses in Bruce’s arms, all power and sense driven from her mind by whatever it is that JC forced in. He’s all smug about using this trip that took centuries of practice when he could have simply said, ‘I am not interested, please stop stroking my mother-of-pearl buttons’.

Ivy recovers quickly and is suitably pissed at JC. She goes into a furious rage which JC defuses by shouting ‘I am the Master of the City!’ which I’m guessing is the equivalent of this –

Ivy, after this show of amazing power, says that everyone’s waiting downstairs having a party. JC waves Ivy ahead first, saying that a lady should always walk before a gentleman, never behind, even though I can’t tell who is supposed to be a ‘gentleman’ in this room.

She smiled, suddenly pleased with herself again. “Then your human lady can walk beside me.”

“I don’t think so,” I said.

She turned innocent brown eyes to me. “Are you not a lady, then?” She stalked towards me with an exaggerated sway of her hips. “Did you bring us someone who is not a lady, Jean-Claude?”

I fall in love with anyone who insults Anita by this point. JC defends Anita, by saying she is a lady. If she’s not a lady, then she’s just a filthy whore worthy for killing. Ivy looks at Anita full in the face and is amazed by how Anita can meet her gaze. Because in the whole of human existence, there’s never been a snowflake quite as speshul as Anita. Ever. Fact.

Anita asks JC for his amazing advice on the situation.

“Defend yourself if they offer violence first. But do not shed the first blood, or strike the first blow. Defend, but do not attack, ma petite. We are playing games tonight, unless you make it more; the stakes are not that high.”

I hope it’s backgammon.

The more practical advice JC gives Anita is to just be patient and control her temper, which is 100% guaranteed to make her do something stupid. Anita calls Ivy a ‘petulant child’ (hey kettle, someone’s on the phone for you. It’s the pot.) and everyone walks down into the basement.

They were the widest stairs I’d ever seen in a basement.

The oddness of some lines strikes me sometimes.

Ivy makes Anita hold her hand so they can skip down the stairs together. Ivy apparently thinks herself some hotshot vampire but she is unable to detect vampire marks and just presumes that Anita is JC’s human servant. Getting to the bottom of the stairs, Ivy wheels Anita around and tries to give her some Ghost Rider penance stare because… Ivy’s angry?  JC reminds Ivy that she can’t hurt her, and Bruce hovers around trying to help. Ivy simply throws Bruce across the room and sends…. heat all over Anita, like a radiator covered in red leather. It smashes some… glass that is around somewhere.

The basement was black. Black walls, black floors, black ceiling. It was like being in a great dark box. Chains hung from the walls, some with what looked like fur on the cuffs. Straps dangled from the ceiling like obscene decorations. There were… devices placed throughout the room. I recognized some of them. A rack, an iron maiden, but most of it was like looking at bondage paraphernalia. You were pretty sure what the point was, but not how it worked. There were always more holes than I could figure out what to do with, and nothing ever seemed to come with instructions.

There was a drain in the floor, and a thin trickle of water ran down it. But I was betting that the drain wasn’t there just for water.

Larry moved down the steps to stand beside me. “Are those what I think they are?”

“Yeah, they’re torture devices.” I forced my hand to make a fist, and another one.

Pretty shitty torture dungeon since iron maidens are entirely fictitious.

And it’s pretty insulting to have this torture dungeon dressed up as a bondage dungeon, with Anita describing it almost entirely as being bondage related. Bondage is not torture – well, properly consented bondage that follows the community rules of SSAC. If you’re really serious about torture, you really don’t need any accoutrements. Just a small cell, some water, maybe a table, a sack of door knobs… if you’re inventive – and I would presume that after a few centuries vampires would be pretty inventive – you don’t need fancy equipment for effective torture.  Just taking a hammer to the fingers and toes works wonders.

Lawrence and Anita talk about how frightening it all is, and not how reminiscent it is again of 80s rock videos. From behind a secret panel door, a well scary male vampire comes out, using his magic to make him look all totes scary.

“That is not Serephina,” [Jean-Claude] said.

No shit.

JC laughs and declares how he’s fortunes fool and all that and I think I’m meant to be impressed but I’m really not.

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

  1. I am of the opinion that that (I hate it when I have to use ‘that that’ in a sentence by the way) Benedict Cumberbatch gif is the greatest gif in the history of gifs. So relevant.

  2. “He’s not ‘jailbait’ as your bordering-on-fetishing-teenagers paragraph states he is.”

    She adds a nineteen year old to her harem when she starts gathering it, and then, recently, a high-schooler. And Merry Gentry, from LKH’s other series, has a fae boyfriend that is physically the size of a twelve year old, constantly emphasized as delicate and compared to a child or doll, has zero body-hair due to being part snake-goblin (but with no other icky serpentine traits, and of course still has long pretty hair on his head!), and wears shirts with cartoon characters (y’know, just like an actual kid) and sleeps on a dog bed near her bed so he can watch the TV and hangs out under her desk at work.

    I wish I were making this up.

    “Because in the whole of human existence, there’s never been a snowflake quite as speshul as Anita. Ever. Fact.”

    In this series, that actually becomes a canon fact. More than it is already. She becomes the first/only of SO MANY THINGS it’s hard to know where to begin (plus, ‘know, spoilers)

    ” Bondage is not torture – well, properly consented bondage that follows the community rules of SSAC.”

    LKH claims to do so much research into real BDSM yet she repeatedly makes this mistake. Including at an official actual bondage club much later in the books.

    • I find the whole ‘if you’re kinky, you like torture!’ trope to be so offensive I find it hard to find words to express my anger and distaste.

      There’s a small part of me that thinks ‘huh, guess you’re more whitebread than you like to claim you are, LKH’.

      Great, I get to add ‘fetish for teenagers’ to the list of complaints I have with these books. Wonderful. Again, coming from a woman who says that writing YA is ‘paedophilic’. Sigh.

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