A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Killing Dance’ chapter thirty nine


This is it, you guys. The very first LKH actual sex scene in the Anita Blake series. It’s all down here from this point. I have never sporked a sex scene, so it’s a journey for us all. So get ready to shout out ‘SMELL MY CHEESE’ (I will not rest until this is fanon for an Anita sex scene) and roll your eyes.

I’m actually rather excited.

JC pushes Anita into his bedroom and she notices that now he has bright red sheets. Black, white, and red – what an original colour scheme. JC runs off to run her bath, while Anita notices that the chairs are missing. She sits down and thinks how if emotional hurt were a wound, she’d have a massive hole in her and be bleeding to death. JC runs around shirtless and holding his boots. He has washed something and there are no clean towels.

Anita tries to ignore him when she goes into the bathroom, but he says that he has to help her undress. Apparently, Anita is unable to undo a bra strap by herself. A able bodied 24 year old woman has to be helped to undo her bra straps. Whatever. JC strokes her back and enjoys himself, before ushering himself out.

I sat up in the tub and started scrubbing. The soap smelled like gardenia. The shampoos smelled like herbs. Trust Jean-Claude not to buy a name brand from the grocery store.

… because name brands don’t smell like herbs? Do all soaps and shampoos in the US just smell like chemicals? That’s really weird. Most soaps and shampoos, even the cheap as shit off brand stuff, has some sort of plant extract in them to make them smell nice. It’s not something surprising.

Anita scrubs off Richard’s sticky werewolf goo and stares at herself in the mirror, that has not steamed up even though the room is so humid it made Anita and JC’s hair spring up into Monica Geller style hair madness.

I smoothed my thick, black hair from my face. My eyes were enormous and nearly black. My skin so pale, it was almost white.

Just keep reminding us how this Hispanic woman is soooo white, LKH. It really helps.

The mirror is apparently hovering around in mid-air, because when JC knocks on the door to announce he has towels, Anita is still in the bath tub. She pushes bubbles around her breasts so he can’t see anything. Bubbles – impenetrable guards against the male gaze.

“Where do you want the towels? Here?” He started to lay them on the vanity.

“I can’t reach them there,” I said.

An able bodied 24 year old woman cannot stand up in a bathtub, step out of it, and reach towels.

“Here?” He laid them on the top of the stool. He stood there, staring down at me, still wearing nothing but the black jeans. His feet were startingly pale against the black carpet.

“Still too far away.”

ANITA. YOU ARE ABLE OF GETTING OUT THE BATH. YOU HAVE WORKING LEGS. FOR THE EVERLOVING SAKE OF FUCK, IT IS NORMAL TO GET OUT OF THE BATH TO REACH TOWELS.

And who has carpet in a bathroom? It gets stained and mouldy.

He sat down on the edge of the tub, placing the towels on the floor. He stared down at me as if he could will the bubbles away. “Is this close enough?”

“Maybe a little too close,” I said.

Just tell him to get out the room, Anita. Stop playing this arsey little games with the goddamned towels.

JC trails his hand in the water and reminds Anita that they promised no sexual innuendos until she was clean. She’s clean now, which means he can be as rapetastic as he likes. He turns away to give Anita a dramatic look at the whip scars on his back – yeah, ‘whip scars’ whatever, we’ve discussed the problems with this at length – and then straight away turns back to look her in the face.

He wiped his wet fingers across his chest, trailing shining lines of moisture across the flat slickness of the burn scar, down along his belly. His fingers played with the line of dark hair that vanished into his pants.

Please stop playing with your pubes, JC.

Anita gets all of a flutter by watching this, so JC leans over and kisses her.

I gasped and pushed him away. He fell into the tub, going completely under, only his feet sticking out. He landed on my body, and I screamed.

This quote, to me, is the most important part of the entire chapter. Why? Because Anita doesn’t sound like someone up for sexy fun. She sounds like someone in emotional distress who needs time to work things out. She curls herself up around her body and pushes herself as far away from JC. This does not sound like a woman who is ready for anything, other than to spend time evaluating her life.

But no. LKH decided that she must be cured with ‘love’. So we get JC manipulating her into sex to suit his own ends, and not thinking for Anita’s emotional health.

Yeah, I just defended Anita. I honestly think that manipulating someone into having sex is a despicable thing. Especially when they are so against picking up what is being put down.

JC sighs and picks himself out this enormous bathtub, saying ‘oh but i’m such a ladykiller, everyone wants me, why am i so awkward here?’. Newsflash: because she does not want to have sex with you. She pushed you away. She said no. Even if she’s then cursing how beautiful you are. That does not override the fact she clearly SAID NO.

JC does not take ‘no’ for an answer. Why would he? He hasn’t before. He crawls towards her huddled body, forcing his body on hers. She hides her face away, so JC guilt trips Anita into saying that she doesn’t want him to go.

She still doesn’t say she consents to sleep with him though. JC just takes that as a given.

I watched the water bead on his skin, the way he sometimes watched blood on mine; a need too overwhelming to deny, an urge so complete that I didn’t want to say no.

HATE.

HATE.

HATE.

That is a woman feeling pressured into having sex. This is not fun sexy times. This is a straight up rape.

Thanks LKH. You have made your romantic lead an open and unabashed rapist. Congratulations on that.

Anita, now feeling that she must have sex with him, begins licking JC’s stomach. She is described as ‘unsure’ and ‘afraid’ which does not make this scene romantic in the slightest. It only reinforces how awful this is. He says how beautiful she is, so beautiful, as he’s getting what he’s been trying to force her to do since book one. Anita kneads his stomach and does not know what to do. JC strokes her and licks her breasts. She is getting aroused, but arousal is NOT CONSENT and I feel very uncomfortable reading and trying to spork this.

Rapist and victim roll around in the tub some more until this happens. This made me very angry.

“My deepest apologies, ma petite, you have almost undone me.” He sank into the water, leaning against the edge of the tub. “I did not come here to feed, ma petite, I am sorry.”

He stood, water dripping down his body. “I will go, ma petite.” He sighed. “You rob me of my hard-won control. Only you can do that to me, only you.”

Victim blaming and a huge guilt trip wrapped up together in one great big bow. ‘Oh, I didn’t want to assault her, but she was wearing a short skirt. I couldn’t help myself. It’s her fault for wearing something that overpowers my self-control! But she’s so beautiful, I feel really bad about it’.

None of this is Anita’s fault. She said no, JC, and you wouldn’t accept that. You forced her to join in, and now you blame her for your actions.

Anita feels so bad over what she’s done to JC that she kneels at his feet, as if begging for forgiveness from his hard-on. She rubs her face against his crotch and asks that he doesn’t bite her. JC is a smug arsehole. He strips off and is like ‘carved alabaster’. That’s warm and inviting. Stone. So sexy.

Anita remarks that he’s not circumcised (why would he be? He’s a French peasant from some century as the writer is sucky with dates) and they get down to sexy times. I don’t especially want to spork it as oh god it’s rape presented as consensual sex and… because the sex is very vanilla and bland. The only interesting thing is that, oh yeah, ANITA DID NOT CONSENT TO THIS.

Three things are particularly note worthy.

  1. JC gets a condom out and rubs the foil wrapper all over Anita’s face and body. Right. That’s normal. And sane.
  2. They have the rape ‘sex’ and JC immediately rescinds on his word. He bites up Anita’s mouth and drinks her blood. You know, just in case you needed further proof of what an absolute asshat he is.
  3. Anita scratches her own arms until she draws blood. Hmm. I’ve known people do that in high stress situations when they want to take control over their actions because SOMEONE IS MAKING THEM DO SOMETHING THEY DON’T WANT TO DO.

JC commands Anita in what she must do to please him, but it’s all because he loves her. He says that he loves her, and demands that she love him back. She says she loves him, and they have a totes amazing joint orgasm. They talk about how much they ‘love’ each other and how dangerous Anita is.

Then the chapter ends.

I think I can safely say that I absolutely hated this chapter and it made my skin crawl to the point that I wanted to tear off my skin and send it to LKH so she can know what she did wrong.

This really is a game changer in terms of the books. Before this book, I hated Anita for her attitude, but at least she had agency. She never let anyone make her do anything. That was normally a bad thing. Now, she has had control and choice taken away from her for the sake of pleasing a disgusting rapist. The ‘good’ parts of Anita’s character are no more. They have, quite literally, been assaulted away.

This was so unpleasant. At least there’s only six chapters left. Which means that if anyone wants my copy of The Killing Dance, they are welcome to it.

 

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12 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Killing Dance’ chapter thirty nine

  1. I just can’t comment on the rape, so I’m going to instead talk about the thought process I had when I read this scene:
    “Ew, she’s licking up the goop-water from his body? Don’t put that or anything else in your mouth, little lady!”
    “CARPETED FLOORS IN THE BATHROOM?! DON’T PUT YOUR WET PANTS THERE, MOLD IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.”
    In fact, I was so distracted by ‘ew ,mold’ that I didn’t even pick up on the rape overtones, and I’m highly sensitive to that.

    Okay I’m going to comment on one rapey thing
    “You rob me of my hard-won control. Only you can do that to me, only you.”
    I HATE the whole ‘oh, you’re so bad for me’ bull shit excuse. It’s not a compliment, you fucks. Congratulations on having your romantic lead practice negging, LKH.

    • I wish I could have focused on the bathroom mould. I could have written from its perspective and how it gave birth to JC from the mould kingdom.

      Negging is awful. Not only does it steal a term from neopets, but it is a horrible practice. Making a woman feel bad so she will accept your penis is a shitty thing to do.

  2. No, I’ve never encountered any shampoo that didn’t smell nice, usually fruit or flower sort of scent, and I’ve only ever bought from grocery stores and pharmacies.

    In fairness about her not getting out of the tub, it was just made clear she doesn’t want JC seeing her nude, so there’s that.

    The carpet in the bathroom has always baffled me.

    GASTON’S DO NOT WANT FACE HAAHAHAH

    As horrible as she is, Anita does indeed get her agency and choices violated a lot sexually in this series, and it’s not only inexcusable, it’s sure as hell NOT sexy or romantic like LKH seems to think.

    “Thanks LKH. You have made your romantic lead an open and unabashed rapist. Congratulations on that.” And later, Anita will join him (which still does not make what happens here okay, just noting how LKH clearly wants all the more of it in her series)

    …rubbing the condom wrapper on her face. okay. what.

    • mmmm sexy foil wrapper mmmmm

      I read it as Anita being too lazy to get up and get towels when JC leaves the bathroom. Although I was giving him too much credit by believing that he would leave the bathroom when asked, especially considering what happens in this chapter.

      All rape moments will be referred to as ‘smell my cheese’. It makes it more comfortable to talk about. SO SAYETH I.

  3. … … … … … … … … … I… what did I… what… that… it… she… huh… licking the gooey werewolf water from… rubbing condom on face, and… I… huh? Huh? Huh?

  4. This seems to reflect LKH’s views on sex – good girls don’t want it. But at the same time she wants Anita to have lots of it. But Anita is a good girl, so she can’t want it. The result is this awful rapist mess.

  5. “Yeah, I just defended Anita. I honestly think that manipulating someone into having sex is a despicable thing. Especially when they are so against picking up what is being put down.”

    You are going to hate/love Narcissus in Chains. Seriously. It’s two books away, and once you get there, we must compare shower scenes, because she literally had it edited after the first version to make it seem LESS rapey. Because she apparently recognized that Anita was being raped, but it was her twue wuv fowevah doing it, so things got changed up a wee bit.

    It’s like she gets it, and then just immediately backslides into Dumb Dumb Land.

  6. Any knowledge of vampires quickly dilutes all of the consent arguments, in my opinion. A vampire has the ability to bend the will of its observer (s) to succumb to demands of just about any nature. That being said, you seem to believe that JC is not using this power at any point through the series. That despite allowing her to feel fear and distrust and vulnerability, he can choose whether to stifle all that and STILL, either way, control her desire for him, or at least her actions. Lore of many varieties will easily lead to this. You have to stop assuming even for a moment that a vampire is a “good guy” with any intentions that are not his own will. People are cattle, even special ones you could be led to believe that said monster cares for. They are tools at best. She is a very useful one. Aside of this, I see this being perfectly valid for any 50 shades argument, and agree that he’s wrong, twisted and should not be cheered for in any way. What’s missing from the writer (and rightfully so) is any suggestion to the reader of these powers in use. The human can’t maintain enough satisfyable control of themself in his presence to notice his use of power, nor are they likely to be able to fight against it in any way.

    Now, if I push all that aside, what I do see from your review, is a very poorly written and clumsy sex scene, probably showing the audience that the writer mayve should have let go of this series and pursued something else, at least for a while. Not every writer is Danielle Steele, but thankfully, neither is every writer Stephanie Meyer. Their success depends more on their audience, and I’m guessing that by six books in, most readers were just willing to keep going because they need to know how it ends, even if that drags out for 20 more books (Wheel of Time problems, anyone?) beyond that stopping point, where they might just hope to get their groove back and still need money and to meet publisher demands.

    Your review is put together well, lore consideration, though, seems to me to have been entirely left out.

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