A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Killing Dance’ chapter twenty one

Circus of the Damned is a combination of traveling carnival, circus, and one of the lower rungs of hell.

The only thing I have a real issue with regarding the Circus is that it’s constantly touted as a safe place to bring children for a night out. A place where men run around half naked in leather is not a place for children.

Anita is annoyed that the police dared to question her for three hours, after she brutally killed a woman in a public bathroom. Well, the police were talked out of charging her on a claim that it was ‘self-defence’ but as I’ve said before, there are limitations to the self-defence laws, especially regarding excessive force. I count gutting a woman like a fish as ‘excessive’. But now she’s met up with Edward, and leave it all behind her.

Jason closed the door behind us. I had missed him earlier at Danse Macabre. I certainly would have remembered the outfit. He was wearing a sleeveless plastic shirt, molded to his body. The pants were half crinkly blue cloth that looked like colored foil, with oval plastic windows, exposing his thigh, calf, and as he turned, one buttock.

Wow. The Circus of the Damned is a perfect place for families. And laytex fetishists.

Jason is giggly and ditzy because that’s apparently his characterisation now, and Edward is actually quite sensible, giving Anita the best advice on how to avoid a headshot. Anita rolls her eyes and is amazed that Edward really truly thinks that someone might dare to kill her.

Anita, there have already been two attempts on your life in as many days. I think it’s time to believe that people want to kill you.

She seems to take Edward’s words to heart as she’s now scared and worried about the prospect of being killed. I would like some more consistency on this please – Anita is flipflopping between flippancy and fear and it’s very annoying and redundant for her to suddenly realise how serious the situation is over and over. And over.

And then the moment is broken by Jason wriggling and flouncing to show off his exposed buttock. He enjoys flirting and says that for a woman who hates flirting, Anita sure has a lot of guys after her. Well, two. And one of them is forcing himself upon her because he is a massive penis. And Anita is a Mary Sue, of course she has guys running around after her!

I am then sad as Jason reveals that he’s given up on college and now lives in the Circus. It sounds like Jason has had all that he enjoyed about himself removed by vampire mindwiping.

Anita is shown into JC’s private suite, which is decorated in black and white and is described in so much detail that I just can’t.

There was one other addition to the room that stopped me in my tracks.  A painting hung above the fireplace. Three people dressed in the style of the 1600s.

‘The style of the 1600s’. The singular style of the seventeenth century. Oh yes, that seventeenth century style that lasted from 1600 to 1699.

Are you talking about this style from 1605?

This style from 1606?

This style from the 1620s?

This style from 1623?

Or maybe the 1630s is what she’s after?

A very lovely look from the late 1630s.

I’ll miss out the Puritan fashions that rose to prominence during the 1640s and 50s as this is a portrait of JC being rich and French and Catholic… which is a shame, as there are some really nice portraits of Puritan fashions.

A nice couple from the 1660s, even if the bloke looks rather like Terry Jones from Monty Python.

The late 1670s seem to favour a larger sleeve.

Men’s fashions do evolve slower than females, but they have arrived at fancy coats and big wigs by the 1670s, remaining similar until the end of the century.

By the end of the century, one can see the beginnings of early Georgian fashion styles for women.


The fashions have changed hugely from decade to decade. You cannot just say ‘the 1600s’ because it’s BS. Fashions and trends change constantly and there is a vast gulf between a stylish couple of the 1620s and a stylish couple of the 1670s. And it’s very historically nitpicky of me, but you’d think she’d describe as being like something – as in ‘like Musketeers’ or, um, English Restoration fashions of the 1660s.

The woman wore white and silver with a square bodice showing quite a bit of décolletage, her brown hair styled in careful ringlets. She held a red rose loosely in one hand. A man stood behind her, tall and slender, with dark gold hair in ringlets over his shoulders. He had a moustache and a Vandyke beard, so dark gold they were almost brown. He wore one of those floppy hats with feathers and was dressed in white and gold. But it was the other man who made me walk towards the painting.

He was seated just behind the woman. He was dressed in black –


– with silver embroidery and a wide lace collar and lace cuffs. He held a floppy black hat with a single white feather and a silver buckle across his lap. Black hair hair fell in ringlets over his shoulders. He was clean shaven, and the artist had managed to capture the sinking blue of his eyes.

‘sinking blue’?

And yeah, JC is essentially dressed as a Musketeer. We’re looking at about the late 1620s and the 1630s, but I’m not sure if the woman should be showing so much cleavage. If she’s married, she probably ought to be more covered up, as one can see from the portrait of Henrietta Maria from the 1630s.

I knew Jean-Claude was centuries old, but I’d never had such obvious proof, never had it shoved in my face. The portrait bothered me for another reason. It made me wonder if Jean-Claude had lied about his age.

Has he even said how old he is? I can’t remember.

Anyway, JC has shown up behind her in another hideous outfit. Today’s shirt is a frilly, lacey, buttoned, crop top. Make of that what you will. He’s actually not bothered about getting in Anita’s pants today but starts asking a lot of questions about Robert’s death. He doesn’t ask that whether it might have had anything to do with the rotting vampire who wants to stop his body rotting and might turn to black magic. Anita thinks that JC clearly didn’t care about Robert as he treated him like crap. Well, he treats you like crap but you know he cares.

JC and Robert had been hanging around together for a century. I think his next lines are more telling as to their true relationship. Not Master and Servant, but Child and Toy.

“Robert was not my friend, but he was mine. Mine to punish, mine to reward, mine to protect.”


JC does promise to look after Monica had her child, which is good of him.

Anita then asks about the painting. The other two are Julianna and Asher, which weirds me out as one of my friends is called Asher and I really don’t want to mix the two up.

I have issues with him being called Asher other than that. Asher is a Hebrew Biblical name. Names inspired by Hebrew versions of the Bible did not come into vogue until the Protestant Revolution, and then, only in Protestant areas. If Asher comes from France (and I don’t know if he does) he would not have that name unless he’s a very out and brave Huguenot from brave and out there Huguenot parents.

Look, the history of names is very important. If you’re ever creating historical vampires, there are a lot of sociological trends you’ve got to take into account.

Anita then accuses JC of being older than the said he was. Hey, which person in the room has the magical power to tell vampire ages? Oh yes, it’s YOU Anita. You should have known he was lying all along.

“The clothing is from the 1600s, around the time of Dumas’s The Three Musketeers.”

What the 1840s? Sorry, I’m being difficult. I get what she’s trying to say, but she’s doing it in the stupidest way.

Anyway, JC is actually a century older  than he said – two hundred and ten – because he has the magic power of hiding his true age so he can move around other vampire masters so he can… I don’t know. He pretended to be a mere hundred years old when he met up with Asher and….

hey wait the maths doesn’t add up

This book was written in 1996. JC is three hundred and ten-ish. That means he was turned in the 1680s. How was he running around like a Musketeer in the 1630s and pretending to be ‘only’ a hundred years old when he wouldn’t have existed?

They say writers can’t do math. It would appear that editors can’t do it either.

Anyway, JC ‘humbled’ himself to save Asher from being tortured by the wicked Church.

“The Church had a theory that vampires could be cured by holy items. They bound Asher with holy items and silver chains. they used holy water on him, drop by drop, trying to save his soul.”

Ok. Which Church? Asher’s name would suggest the Calvinist church, which was the most popular flavour of Protestant thought in France. You have to be specific about these things. And trying to cure a vampire? Yeah, whatever. France, like England, is one of those few countries around the world that don’t have a lot of native vampire lore. And priests would not be trying to save his soul, seeing as 17th century vampires were bloated corpses that wandered around for forty days. They’d kill him for being an abomination against God.

Julianna (which isn’t French. It’s Hungarian. ‘Julienne’ is the French version. Just because it has the ‘anna’ on the end means it’s French) was burnt as a witch. France was a country that did burn witches, but I’m a bit iffy on when. The portrait is in the 1630s, which was the time of the largest French witchcraft trials. However, they began to decline in the 1640s and the craze for finding witches was over. The societal pressures were declining. If the three of them were bumming around Europe for twenty years, then I’m not sure that Julianna would have been considered a witch. Unless the portrait was painted just before she died.

JC was off on a ship to see his mother so couldn’t stop her dying. Not that there was much he could really do. Asher, JC, and Julianna were living in a group and dearly loved each other.

“You mean a ménage a trois?”

No shit Anita.

Asher tried to ask the Grand High Vampire Council if he could kill Anita, in payment for Julianna’s life, but they said no. Huh. He could be a suspect but JC’s doesn’t think it could be so. Because…. SHUT UP WITH YOUR DEMANDS FOR EXPLANATIONS.

Jason has been sat there, being bored.

“You never ask questions?” I asked.

“I’m just his pet. You don’t answer questions for your pet.”

“And that doesn’t bother you?”

And that doesn’t bother you, Anita? It bothers me how JC treats Jason.

Jason smiled. “Why should I care about the painting? The woman’s dead, so I can’t have sex with her. Why should I care?”

I… I have nothing for this little smear.

JC punches him in the face for this. He then says how this proves that Richard is no true man, because he isn’t cruel enough to beat people around the head. I guess this means I could lead a werewolf pack. I’d start by using a tire iron on the characters in this book. JC says that killing people is the best way to rule over people, which is, uh, kinda dumb.

Anita says that she would like to go to sleep. This starts JC gyrating and being all ‘huh huh sexy times for we huh huh’ and oh good god I wish he was dead. Anita is feeling rather tempted and is quite uncomfortable, so JC starts mocking her discomfort.

What a gentlemen he is. I can’t wait until they date.

Anita just asks to go to her room, alone, and unmolested. JC laughs at her and says how her resistance is growing thin. Her resistance to your blackmail and your refusal to take ‘no’ as an answer. But he’s not creepy and rapey because he has eyes that shine in the darkness.

They walk to … JC’s bedroom and Anita talks about staring at his ass.

And he still had the cutest butt I’d ever seen on a dead man.

Shame he’s a massive control freak who abuses people for his own pleasure and profit. BUT HE’S REAL CUTE THOUGH.

Give me a fucking break.

PS I graduated yesterday. I am a Bachelor of the Arts. I am now fully qualified to rant about history.



5 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Killing Dance’ chapter twenty one

  1. Although I am with you on historical fashion, I did give Anita a pass on simply saying somewhere in the 1600’s as most people wouldn’t have any idea what decade it would be. Hell, I have seen tons of people mistake Gregorian and Victorian women’s fashion. No joke. From what I can tell of LKH’s description, the clothes are 1630’s – 1640’s. Of course, this is mostly going off Julianna’s outfit as really all we know about JC’s and Asher’s is they are Musketeer like and have big floppy hats with plumage.

  2. Also, I know I mentioned JC always reminded me of Pete Burns before, but with your mention of gyrating hips, I couldn’t help but think of him even more.

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