A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Burnt Offerings’ chapter four


My second emergency room in less than two hours. It was a red-letter day even for me.

Yay people I know have been horribly injured!

Alpha or not, Zane was a shapeshifter. They were able to bench-press medium size elephants.

…. wha?

Zane can bench-press 4,000 kilograms? That’s over 8,000 pounds. I think the maximum a normal person can press is around 700 pounds, but my research is not that great. I do not think anything that has human form – and therefore human muscle and skeletal structure, and is subject to the stresses thereof – can possibly be THAT strong. Unless you’re Superman or Wonder Woman, but they are not human so the point is moot. Zane should not be able to bench-press an elephant.

I was not going to arm-wrestle him. Not only would I lose, but he’d probably pull the arm out my socket and eat it. Most lycanthropes liked to try and pass for human. I wasn’t sure Zane sweated little details like that.

NEWSFLASH – shapeshifters are human for twenty eight days of the month. They can pass for human because they are not walking around with a massive sign around their head saying I CHANGE INTO AN ANIMAL JUDGE ME JUDGE ME.

And Zane is a wereLEOPARD. He is not a lycanthrope. He’s a … Pardusthrope.

Anita then goes on and on about guns. Joy. She always carries silver plated bullets because they work on supernatural creatures and humans just as well. I hate to point this out but you shouldn’t be running around shooting plain old humans. That’s not your job and it’s quite illegal.  Then she complains how fairies aren’t bothered by silver and need regular bullets. Even though normal metal doesn’t really work on fairies either. This all leads to Anita putting bullets in her gun because she is going to kill Zane.

I guess this means that Anita Blake is officially above the law now. LKH seems to have written this series specifically to piss me off. People believing that they are allowed to operate outside of the law is a real pet peeve of mine, both in real life and in fiction. The law applies to everyone, no matter how ‘good’ or ‘noble’ the intention, and that includes walking into a hospital and shooting a pardusthrope in the face.

Anita walks inside and immediately finds the hospital in chaos. I would say that they’ve been warned, but Anita seems to think it’s a problem with Nathaniel and Zane.

I flashed my ID at the nurse. “I’m with the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team. Can I help?”

The nurse clutched my arm. “You’re a cop?”

“I’m with the police, yes.” Prevarication at its best. As a civilian attached to a police squad you learn how to do that.

YOU

ARE

NOT

A

POLICE

OFFICER

YOU

ARE

NOT

ALLOWED

TO

ACT

IN

THE

POSITION

OF

A

POLICE

OFFICER

DON’T

MAKE

ME

BRAND

YOU

THE

C

WORD

YOU

DUMB

SHIT

Anita pulls out her gun and pats herself on the back for having safety rounds. Great, this is a real help. Now there’s an insane sociopath running around a hospital with a loaded weapon. She runs through what I think is Accident and Emergency until she runs into Zane. Zane is marching around with Nathaniel in his arms, so Anita does the smart thing and shoots him in the shoulder.

Well done. You might have shot Nathaniel in the head.

Zane drops Nathaniel and carries on walking, so Anita shoots him in the chest for good measure. It apparently leaves ‘a hole the size of a fist’ in his chest. I thought Anita was firing safety rounds? That doesn’t sound very safe to me. Or the wound a handgun could leave, when fired at a target more than five metres away.

While Zane is bleeding and dying on the floor, Anita walks around him and taunts him with the prospect of her shooting him in the head.

TPhoto_00060

i just

what

i don’t know what to say

this is a character i am meant to like? to root for? to sympathise and empathise with? To cry when she’s hurt, to feel elation at her moment of triumph, pride in her accomplishments, and grief in her defeats?

And she is taunting a dying man as he lies bleeding and shattered on the floor, with a malicious glee that is dripping from her words, down the page, and out over anything else Anita says or does

she can never claim to be a ‘good guy’ or to have any moral right. She is no better than any villain.

In fact, she’s worse. Anita’s sexist, racist, and ableist. I can’t think of many villains (in fiction. There are plenty of real life examples) that are all three of those. It’s quite telling that I can sympathise with many villains, but I find Anita to be entirely unrelatable.

Anita threatens Zane until he breaks down crying and promises to leave the wereleopards alone. He cries with… happiness, that Anita has come to look after the wereleopards because he can’t do it?

what

what

Anita realises that she can’t shoot a crying man and thinks that she can’t say ‘no, no, hell no’ to being in charge of the wereleopards. Zane heals himself and curls around Nathaniel’s body, crying about how Anita will keep them safe.

I was in way over my head.

no shit.

and the chapter is over

I’d like to take this moment to point out that this is only page 23. I already want to destroy this book and never have to look at it again.

Is that a new record?

I’m going to play more Lego Harry Potter and feel better.

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17 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Burnt Offerings’ chapter four

  1. The entire Richard v Marcus thing was that if you killed the current leader, you became leader. Did it not occur to Anita at all that other groups would have similar rules? Did her werewolf boyfriend not see fit to enlighten her? She must really work to be this ignorant.

    In a decent book, Anita would be arrested for impersonating a police officer and destroying the emergency room. Actually, in a decent series, Anita would have called her friends in RPIT, said ‘a wereleopard is threatening people in a hospital. I have been contacted by the wereleopard, who is holding another wereleopard hostage’. And they would have said ‘alright Anita, we’ll follow standard procedure. You can come with us, but stay behind the trained professionals and follow orders’. And maybe Zane would have said he would co-operate only if Anita came in alone, and they suited her up with a bullet proof vest and did whatever they normally, and the chapter can proceed from there. But that would mean that a wereleopard threatening an emergency room might become more than a throwaway event, and we can’t have that.

    I think I’m going to write a ‘what should have happened every time Anita does something so incredibly stupid. I predict at least one every third chapter.

  2. Yeah, no on the elephant. It is frequently stated that vamps and therians can bench-press a small car, but that is a far cry from an elephant, even a small one.

    I can’t believe I never caught how eye-rolling her “pass for human” crap is with shifters.

    Ditto. I even find villains not necessarily meant to be sympathetic (comicverse Sebastian Shaw, for instance) to be more sympathetic than Anita. She’s not a morally-grey badass antihero or whatever LKH is going for, she’s just gross. This isn’t the last time she’ll do something like this, as I’m sure you’re not surprised to know.

    One of my pet peeves is how she calls all shifters “lycanthropes”. It isn’t hard to find out about the term therianthrope (it’s linked on the Wiki page for werewolves!) and it is also not hard to take the set pattern that already exists (therianthrope, ailuranthrope, lycanthrope, etc.) in folklore studies and see that basically “Greek name for animal + anthrope” equals science-y sounding name for that shifter, as you did with pardusanthrope.

    • I can buy a vamp and the such bench-pressing a car. But an elephant? Nope, sorry. They are the playthings of Amazons.

      It’s simple laziness when it comes to the therianthrope/lycanthrope thing. She could just call them shapeshifters, the whole lot, and it’d make her look a lot less stupid.

  3. …….. Wait. Wait, wait, wait. I thought the whole point of USING silver bullets was that they stopped the shapeshifters from healing. She blew a hole the size of a fist in his chest, and yet he healed it in seconds. So… what was the point of the silver? It clearly didn’t work. She inflicted a mortal wound on him and he just got up.

    HAMILTON YOU STUPID HACK FOLLOW YOUR OWN DAMN RULES.

      • Sadly, not so much. I’ve read the story behind the Dresden Files. Mr. Butcher kept trying to write High Fantasy, but one of his teachers noticed that he liked stuff like Anita Blake and Buffy, and said he should try to write something like that.

        So he wrote the worst, most trope-laden urban fantasy he could come up with, and thus the glory that is the Dresden Files was born.

  4. Yeah, we’re going to have to disagree here Dottie. The law exists to keep the majority of the population underneath the control of an elite who enjoys hurting the majority and profiting from their misery. I suspect this may have to do with being different sides of the pond, though. Here, the law is routinely arbitrary and directly aimed at destroying the disadvantaged.

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