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


Anita is staring down at Stephen and Nathaniel in hospital beds. That’s not creepy.

Stephen, who is weak and pathetic apparently, tried to attack Zane.

Zane had finally shoved him through a wire-mesh safety window. Like shoving someone through a wire cheese grater. If it had been a human being, they’d be dead.

If I accept that the window frame wouldn’t simply be ripped out by the force of Zane’s elephant lifting biceps, and then to accept the ‘cheese grater hypothesis’, Stephen would be a small pile of red mince. I do not believe that even a shapeshifter can survive that.

The wording in the sentence is also problematic. Not only does LKH refer to Stephen as ‘it’, which is incredibly disrespectful, the use of the word ‘it’ means that the sentence sounds like she is inferring that the window would have been dead if it had been human. This is why authors should use these things called ‘editors’ to catch out mistakes like that.

Nathaniel was in the other bed. His hair was longer that Stephen’s. Waist length, I was betting.

I spy a fetish.

He was pretty rather than handsome, and couldn’t have been much more than five foot six. The hair helped the illusion of femininity. But his shoulders were disproportionately broad, part weightlifting, but part genetics. He had great shoulders, but they belonged on someone about half a foot taller. He had to be eighteen to strip at Guilty Pleasures. His face was slender, jaw too smooth. He might have been eighteen, but he wasn’t much older. Maybe someday he’d grow into the shoulders.

I spy a worrying fetish. Men keep being described as ‘beautiful’ and ‘feminine’ but in ways which infantilises them. All smooth faces and slim bodies and hairlessness.  Very… adolescent. It’s rather disturbing. If you have a fetish and a type, fair enough. But there’s a rather worrying underlining trend that is rather squicky.

Anita boasts about how the hospital are soooo grateful for her and they think she’s a cop still so they’re giving her lots of confidential medical information about Stephen and Nathaniel. No one has asked her for any official ID which is worrying. She flashed her civilian badge and no one has asked any questions like ‘What the hell?’ and ‘Who the fuck do you think you are?’.

Someone had pretty much gutted Nathaniel. I don’t mean just cut open his gut with a knife. I mean opened him up and let his intestines fall onto the floor; they found bits of debris on his intestines. There were signs of severe trauma to other parts of the body. He’d been sexually abused. And yes, a prostitute can be raped. All it takes is saying no.

You’re missing a key point, Anita. Nathaniel was not and is not a prostitute. He is a stripper that was being forcibly pimped by Zane. Being moral about the abuse of sex workers is noble (and rich coming from her, considering her treatment of Wanda in book 2), but it’s doing it in a incredibly stupid way.

Anita thinks that his wounds meant someone knew and prepared for a pardusanthrope.

He was being forced to sleep with people by ANOTHER WERELEOPARD. I THINK A WERELEOPARD WOULD KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH ANOTHER WERELEOPARD. I THINK A WERELEOPARD WOULD PREPARE FOR GETTING ANOTHER WERELEOPARD RAPED.

Have you paid any attention, Anita?

Stephen said Gabriel had been pimping the wereleopards out. I understood why people would want something as exotic as a wereleopard. I knew that sadomasochism existed.

Bully for fucking you.

Stephen did not say Gabriel had been pimping the wereleopards out. He said Zane had been doing it. Gabriel had been pimping them out as well, but Stephen said that Zane was the one responsible.

And, yet again, S&M is brought up in this series as something that involves torture and rape and exploitation. Thanks for that.

Anita stands and thinks about how the wereleopards have no pack structure, and everything will go to shit without her. She casually mentions that real leopards don’t have ‘pack structures’ (or, more accurately, they don’t have packs at all) but that the human side fucks thinks up.

Hey, I thought that shapeshifters weren’t human, Anita. You’re always going on about how they try to be human but they just can’t. Hmmm.

There’s a knock at the door and Anita hides her Browning – which she didn’t bring into the hospital, so I don’t know where she pulled it from – inside a magazine. She presumes that one of Gabriel’s people is waiting outside to kill Nathaniel, even though the hospital is crawling with police. It’s actually Irving, the werewolf journalist we haven’t seen for a few books. He got past the police guard easily, as the guard wandered off to talk to a pretty nurse.

Irving begins to talk about Sylvie being packmaster while Richard is out of town doing his master’s degree (lolwhut) and this means Irving is not interested in the story. This means that as Raina is dead, there is no one to protect the werewolves.

I have no idea what Irving is trying to say.

“That’s the second time you’ve ignored Nathaniel,” I said. “What gives Irving?”

“I told you Sylvie is in charge until Richard gets back in town.”

That does not even begin to answer that question.

It turns out that Sylvie has banned the werewolves helping the wereleopards because of Gabriel and Raina. What happened with Gabriel and Raina is both explained to the reader and to Anita, as if she had no knowledge of what had happened. Irving explains that she is still the pack lupa, as Richard hasn’t chosen another. Even though they’re not dating any more.

This lets Anita think about how sad she is that is not dating Richard and is sleeping with JC.

Good girls do not have premarital sex, especially with the undead.

Don’t let yourself get hung up on some sort of quest to fulfil a patriarchal society’s expectations of what a ‘good girl’ is, Anita. It only makes you self-shame and that gets you nowhere.

Irving wants Anita to pull rank over Sylvie, even though Sylvie is being alpha which outranks lupa. Nice that Richard went swanning off and didn’t bother to settle things in the pack when he left, even though he knew it’d be unstable after the deaths of Marcus and Raina. And yes, swanning off, because I don’t believe he’s suddenly off to do a master’s degree. It’s a cheap excuse to get him out the book.

Irving says that the pack respects Anita as she kills people. They don’t respect Sylvie because she kills people.

I DON’T UNDERSTAND

This is bad because Sylvie clearly wants to be packmaster and this is bad. She will take over power from Richard and this is bad. THIS IS BAD.

I had to emphasize it for everyone as you may get confused like me. I don’t see a problem with Sylvie being packmaster as she will undoubtedly be more competent than Richard, who killed the old packmaster and ran off leaving it in chaos.  Oh, and Richard is depressed so it makes Sylvie even worse.

(not really)

Irving wants Anita to be lupa and potentially kill Sylvie. He then runs off. I don’t like Irving.

Anita then thinks about everything that Irving said, over and over. Over and over. There is nothing that has not already been said. She decides to do something after a page of this, and calls pack members to tell them to ignore Sylvie’s orders and guard Nathaniel and Steven. She’s their lupa after all. For some reason. The first werewolf says she can’t possibly fight Sylvie and win, even though he surely would have seen her kill Raina and that Alfred (Albert?) guy from book 4. And he knows she’s the grand high mighty vampire executioner.

this chapter is so hard to follow

I couldn’t love Richard, but I could kill for him. Killing was the more practical of the two gifts. And lately I’d become very, very practical.

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

  1. The fetish with teenagers becomes more and more squicky. Wait until Peter. And Cynric. Oh my God, Cynric.

    Good girls are allowed to have premarital sex. Good girls do not jump into bed with someone when they are engaged to someone else. But that kind of gets gently pushed aside and never brought up again.

    Sylvie is trying to protect the lycanthropes. The pardusthropes raped and tortured lycanthropes. She does no want the lycanthropes involved with people who raped them. This is the sensible action of a good leader. So of course she needs to die for it.

    Weep now for Sylvie. She had so much potential, and all of it gets ruined in the squickiest possible way. I don’t want to spoil the horrible, disgusting surprise.

  2. I feel like as the series goes on each book makes less and less sense. I don’t even want to know what goes on in book 20.

    • Safety-glass windows have wire mesh encased in the glass. If the window is broken, then the mesh keeps the glass in place and prevents it falling out. You see safety windows in schools and hospitals most often. However, this begs the question of how Zane managed to get Steven through the mesh when it should be impossible to get the glass off the window.

  3. Now as I’m nearing the end of my four years of college and a bachelor’s, the idea of Richard just swanning off to get a master’s is just fantastically impossible to comprehend. When I was younger, I noted the oddity and didn’t think much of it, but now? Like hell he’d just disappear for anything less than two years. And likely wouldn’t have to disappear unless he’s suddenly in a class which requires a trip to the woods.

    ….and he’s a science teacher, if I recall rightly. I definitely doubt he’d have to go anywhere for an extended length of time unless he had to leave for years to go to a distant school for his specific degree.

    And yes. You’ve noticed a worrying trend. It won’t go away.

    • I finding it exceptionally infuriating as I’m about to go study for my Master’s Degree. I can’t believe that he can give up his fulltime job to go and do an MA without it every being mentioned before and with no prior preparation. It’s the sort of thing that would have been mentioned in the last book – like ‘I can’t kill Marcus I have to go study for my Master’s Degree for two years! I can’t be a packmaster while I’m earning this degree, so I can’t kill off the old one just yet’.

      It’s a cheap way to get him out the book.

      • I just started working for my Master’s, and there’s no way Richard could just suddenly be in one. For one, universities have applications. Which usually involve taking tests, writing essays, getting medical forms signed. In short, this takes a lot of work. And all before a deadline months before classes start.

        Yet none of this has been brought up before, despite them dating for months, and being engaged (if only for about five minutes).

        So yeah, this reeks of being a cheap excuse to have Richard not show up. And cause unnecessary drama.

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