A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Killing Dance’ chapter forty three

They kept me tied to be bed, but Gabriel slipped the knives back in the wrist sheaths. He held the big knife that went down along my spine up to the light. I thought he wouldn’t give it back, but in the end, he swept my hair to one side and slipped it into the sheath.

“Don’t cut the ropes until I’m in the shot. I want the cameras to know why you’re scared. Promise not to spoilt it.”

Right, so let me get this straight:

  • The plot for the porn is that Anita will attempt to kill Gabriel while he is in the process of raping her.
  • Gabriel sees no problem with giving Anita weaponry. After she has tried to kill him before.
  • He does not predict that she might try to escape.
  • Conclusion – Gabriel is an idiot, and robs all tension from the scene. When the villain is this stupid, you might as well have pitted a four year old girl against the Hulk. The obviousness of the plot is coming down as hard as the Hulk’s fist.

Gabriel runs off to do… something, and Heidi, the werewolf who is our Scared Woman Who Aids Anita, comes over to prepare her for camera. Why are they even making this porno? Who the hell is going to watch this? If we accept that Anita is this massively famous personality, everyone is going to recognise her murdered corpse get raped on tape. It is a miracle Gabriel has escaped law enforcement this far, but after making this, he’s going to be tracked down and shot within weeks. Heidi whispers a few platitudes but is too afraid to do anything. She runs off.

Most of the rest of the crew walked out. When the director realized they were going to lose too many people to run things, he offered bonuses. Big bonuses, and a few people stayed. The rest left. They didn’t do snuff films. They wouldn’t watch Gabriel kill me, but they wouldn’t stop it, either. Maybe one of them would call the police. It was a nice thought, but I didn’t pin any hopes on it.

  • How big of a crew is involved in Raina and Gabriel’s little torture porn ring? Are they werewolves? Are they humans? How come they can get so many professionals to help them, when every other time the wicked porno plot has been mentioned, it’s been obvious it’s been an amateur affair run by the evil twosome?
  • ‘They didn’t do snuff films’. But they will film rape and torture? They’re okay with that?
  • And yeah, what about the snuff films they’ve already made? Do they suddenly find it unethical because Anita is going to be the ‘star’?
  • Bonuses? How is this little porno ring making any money? It is said unofficially that snuff films can fetch up to $10,000 but that is if they are genuine. There have been no officially recognised snuff porn films made and released. Mainly because it’s stupid to film a murder and then sell the evidence. This is especially stupid in a universe where shapeshifters are hated and treated as lesser beings. If a werewolf or a were-leopard was to buy this film – if they could even find it, because how on earth are they being distributed – then they run a risk of detection and being exposed for what they are. It is possible for a werewolf to be shot on sight and this be considered legal. Why would they have a filmed tape of a murder in their house when they know this could happen? And how would they pay for it? With this crew and a director and having to pay to hide the corpse, this films must cost a fortune. Shapeshifters are all about keeping under the radar. They’re not going to blow a significant proportion of their income on a film which could get them executed. Well, they might, but there can’t be that many stupid rich werewolves in the local area.
  • Nice. Normal people suck.

Anita feels Richard’s POWER and thinks ‘oh right I’ve got to save that guy’. Raina, who has reappeared, tells Gabriel to make Anita scream his name and then kill her. Gabriel is all down for that and begins doing his rapey thing. More rape is just what this book needed.

He was faster than me.

I’m not going to make the joke, but feel free to take this phrase out of context in all the ways that make this scene better. And more befitting of a parody film.

Gabriel and Anita fight, with Anita being POWERed by Richard’s POWER. It’s.. just boring. It’s ungodly boring. Gabriel is rapey. Anita is stupid. I read a sentence and end up with my mind wandering off in all directions. Sometimes I think about whether I should produce a second review series. Sometimes I think about how disgusting it is that my government is launching a cull of badgers rather than work on a vaccine for Bovine TB. Sometimes I think that my character Verity (who I have been meaning to write a story about for the blog) should be paired up with Wolverine because THAT WOULD BE AWESOME cos she can’t die and has an alien inside her head and she could die in a noble tragic sacrifice that ends up saving the world from the evil race of aliens that produced the creature that possesses her body and they all die in a big explosion because it’d destroy their host bodies and the aliens themselves are a kind of gas that can’t survive in the chemistry of our atmosphere –

wait, what was I doing?

Right. Reviewing.

Gabriel is on top of Anita, unbuttoning his jeans. She has managed to lose her knives. Richard’s POWER is floating around her head and it can’t do anything because she can’t be forced to do anything.

I screamed and let Richard do me. Better the monster you know than the monster about to go down on your pants.

Does LKH ever think about what she writes down?

Gabriel rips off like, all of Anita’s clothes as she is apparently now just in her undies. She screams out ‘RICHARD’ and laughs and says that raping her is not easy. I will not say anything to that.

I had two choices. I could bluff and hope I could run, or I can reinstate sex and kill him.

… you could stab him through the fucking face with the FIVE KNIVES you have. Including the one AS LONG AS YOUR ARM. What the hell is going in?

Anita decides to have sex with Gabriel. He now believes that she might kill him, trapping him in the not-trap. They kiss and Anita strokes all his face.

I shoved my thumbs into both eyes, digging, trying to shove my thumbs into his brain and out the other side.

… are you trying to push your thumbs out through the back of his skull? You can’t do that. You just can’t. There are many reasons why that is impossible. You could have also USED ANY OF THE KNIVES YOU HAVE TO STAB HIM IN THE EYE AND ESCAPE THAT WAY.

But no, Gabriel falls backwards with his eyes wedged into the back of his skull, and Anita then decides to stab him in the heart. He’s dead. Raina is surprised and begins running around in ‘those ridiculous high heels’ while Anita finds her guns.

They brought her guns?

Yeah. Just as subtle as this chapter is.

Anita guns down Raina. I like how the camera crew and director are just watching and filming this, not doing or saying anything. Then Edward and Harley come in, as they’ve never done anything useful, ever. Edward slings Anita over a shoulder, practically nude and bloodsplattered. I want to know how he’s going to escape through the streets like this without suspicion.

Oh, no, wait, Anita’s wearing Nikes as well. That makes it better. Now she’s being carried around in a small pair of knickers and a pair of trainers. That’s the sign of a strong independent woman.

This was a bad, messy chapter. This really needed an editor. It cries out for an editor.


11 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Killing Dance’ chapter forty three

  1. The thing that annoys me is, this little side-plot – Gabriel and his snuff films, Raina torturing people on film, Anita almost being raped – adds nothing to the actual plot. Anita could just have been tied up in an abandoned warehouse. Gabriel could have been a cap leader who took advantage of the leopards weaker than him. This is unnecessary! Its only purpose is to put Anita in another situation where she loses control over her own sexual activity – again! And to show that Gabriel and Raina are really, truly evil, honestly! Except this chapter makes them into less of a threat because they’re both so goddamned stupid! This is just awful, awful story telling. It reads like what LKH really wants is to write a really awful rape fanfiction, but she can’t quite bring herself to do it. And now I’m ranting.

    • Rant away. Ranting is good. Ranting lessens the pain.

      The whole subplot was pointless, especially when you consider it as being the resolution of a subplot that’s been going on for three books. An unnecessary plot that made Raina EVIL when she could have just been subverting the pack for her own ends, and not making sex EVIL and porn EVIL and everything EVIL and TO HAVE ANITA RUNNING AROUND IN JUST HER UNDERWEAR AS IF THIS WAS SOME DUMB –

      Damn, now I’ve started ranting. I totally agree with you, and shall stop now before I rant again.

      • I find that I can’t take the villains as seriously when they are shown as completely and totally evil in every single way. It feels like the only way LKH can convince us Anita is the good guy is when the bad guy is a sexually deviant rapist who makes snuff films and enjoys torturing people. I like my villains complex! I want to understand why they do what they do! I am tired of all these villains who are doing things for the evulz. They bore me.
        A wereleopard and a werewolf have the main character tied up. They are about to rape and murder her. She is trying to figure out a way to get her weapons back and escape in time to save her vampire lover and her werewolf fiance. A bounty hunter/assassin is searching for her to save her. How can anyone make this scene this boring?

      • A suspenseful thriller – like this book claims to be – can only if the plot is tightly paced (which it isn’t) and the villains are suitably complex, realistic and dynamic. LKH has never been able to make her villains interesting, and it’s getting worse with every book.

        She made it boring because she dragged it out and made it as confusing as hell. This scene needed editing, rewriting, and then some more editing to just be plain bad.

        I can stand villains who are evil for teh eviluz when they’re handled correctly, and fit into a more sort of campy atmosphere. But a villain has to be complex because it makes the story more fulfilling, especially when most hero archetypes are so painfully dull.

      • Personally, I think a “for the evuls” villain can work, if it looks like they’re enjoying themselves. For example, the Joker in The Dark Knight. He isn’t a criminal because of the money, or power, or any of that – he just wants to cause as much chaos and destruction as possible.

  2. The snuff film thing would make so much more sense if we were told that all the crew were werewolves/leopards. Gabriel and Raina told them that if they helped to film them they wouldn’t have to star in them, and they don’t have much choice because of the weird pack control thing. Gabriel makes them purely for himself, there is never any implication that he distributes them. Some of the wolves can walk out because they see Anita as their Lupa, which gives them enough POWER to resist the commands of Gabriel/Raina.

    Although, Richard just killed Marcus. He is Ulfric. Why the hell are the wolves going along with murdering the Ulfric’s fiance? That kinda contradicts everything we’ve been told about how the pack works. Why does nothing make sense? Why am I trying to make it make sense? Why do none of these villains just shoot Anita in the head while she’s unconscious?

    • Shooting her head while she’s unconscious? Nah, that’s cheating and probably super evil or something.

      You see, I’d have knocked her out and hacked off a few fingers first to make the hostage situation work. Then I’d have killed her.

  3. Speaking of fingers being cut off….

    Wait, that’s next book.

    Tthe problem is, LKH can’t actually write these sorts of things with any kind of subtlety. So we get a messy patchwork of fuckery that serves no purpose except to put Anita in a bad situation again. It’s like reading about cardboard cutouts giving each other papercuts.

      • Scarily enough, she HAD an editor. It was only after I believe the divorce and selling enough books that she managed to weasel out of having one. She pulled an Anne Rice, basically. Post-It notes are her editor.

  4. I suspect this whole scene may be to show what rape (or almost-rape) look like, just to ensure that we all know that what JC did with Anita was totally consensual. Hmm – it may work in LKH’s head, even though it doesn’t in mine.

    Or maybe I’m giving her too much credit for having slightly ambiguous feelings about the recent rapey sex scene.

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