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

Anita and JC walk in through the fire entrance, where JC has to pass a complex task to prove that he is the master of the city – he knocks on the door. And then they walk into a fearsome, dark room – a store room with a swinging light bulb. Scary.

A door to the right led into the main part of the Circus, where people were usually riding the Ferris wheel and eating cotton candy.

… why does this Circus, for adults, which has sexualised ‘freak’ shows and shit have things designed to appeal to children? I will never understand the Circus of the Damned. It makes no sense.

Anita asks JC to stop the light bulb swinging and we learn the vital fact that you have to be over six feet to send them swinging. There is something on the left door and it freaks JC out. Liv comes in and brags about how this is the Master of Beasts’ calling card which is bad. I think.

A human skin cut from someone’s back while they were alive is pinned to the door. Now, that’s freaky. The silver nails means it was probably a shapeshifter. JC says that Anita is not allowed to kill those responsible but she swears that she will. Liv suggests that they play a guessing game to work out whose skin it is. That’s a good way to raise tension with a villain, and could be genuinely creepy. But it can’t be. It’s written by LKH who seems to write by smacking a herring against the keyboard and approving of what happens.

“You can’t kill me, Anita. The Traveler will heal me, no matter what you do.”

I shot her in the right kneecap. She fell to the floor, holding the shattered leg, writhing, screaming.

I felt myself smile, most unpleasant. “I hope it hurts, Liv. I hope it hurts like hell.”

There’s the scary villain talk.

Liv says that she cannot be hurt, and that she fed on him while he was tortured.

Her fingers came away stained with blood. She licked them clean, sliding her fingers in and out of her mouth. “Hmm, tasty.”

oh my god how terrible i am truly sickened by that

Is this supposed to be creepy? Because it reads dead and blank. I don’t get any sense of growing tension, or emotion, or anything. It just happens. There is no response or reaction.

Anita proceeds to shoot Liv in the other knee. She’s clearly been taking lessons from some kind of mob boss in proper enforcement of minions. The Traveler then sends POWER and it gives Anita goosebumps. JC says that Liv will be punished and healed slowly as she… SHUT UP STOP ASKING FOR EXPLANATIONS.

Anita and JC leave Liv writhing in agony as they continue skipping on to meet the Vampire Council. The Council might think of some tortures if they take their time, you see.


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

  1. The bad guys are willing to flay people alive for kicks/ to prove a point. Why don’t I piss them off by shooting their minions after only verbal provocation to show how badass I am.

    In Bloody Bones, didn’t Anita technically win a fight by provoking the female Vampire to hit her? Why is this different?

  2. Yeah, even when she has good ideas on ways to make things scary and tense, she just fails hard at the execution. I have trouble with that too…but I’m an utter beginner, working on my first novel ever, which I will probably never even attempt to publish (I don’t expect it to come out great, I just want to learn from it how to make my next try better, and so on…) and she was a published author even before starting this series, so I don’t feel too much empathy.

    One consistent trait of the oft-inconsistent Anita is that she really likes to go out of her way to inflict needless pain on people the second she can find any “justification” (such as “well, she’s a baddie so it’s okay” as seen here). There are some bad traits a hero can have (and I think heroes *should* have bad traits) but this really isn’t one of them.

    • I’m all for heroes having faults and limits and being pushed to said limits. And I really like anti-heroes. But Anita is so far down the scale of anti-heroes that she falls right off. The only reason she’s the hero is because LKH says so.

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