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


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Yeah, sorry about not posting last night – I was only MOVING INTO MY LONDON DIGS TODAY! I’m getting ready to start my MA in a week, so I’m a bit stressed and off my feet. But the reviews continue on!

A noise turned us to the far hallway. I didn’t recognise the man. He was tall, slender, dark-skinned, maybe Hispanic, maybe something exotic.

Please stop using the word exotic in this context. The word has a lot of negative connotations when being applied to race.

He wore nothing but a pair of black satin pants with silver embroidery along the legs.

Hideous.

This guy is dragging along Hannah, Willie McCoy’s squeeze. This is Fernando, and he is nasty. His father is a member of the council, and then he boasts about how he’s going to rape her. Anita watches as Fernando strips her – and calls Hannah ‘feminine’ to say how she won’t even fight back – and he beats her in the back until she bleeds from the mouth. He then pulls her to her knees in front of him. Willie, who is watching this while being possessed, screams for her. Fernando laughs at how much Willie must love Hannah, and beats her in the face.

Nice that LKH made sure he was an exotic Hispanic.

Anita watches all this and does nothing. She thinks about… wereleopards for some reason. Meanwhile, JC reveals that this forced the Traveler out of Willie’s body, and asks Fernando to let Hannah go, as if this was some sort of plan. Fernando twirls his moustache and says, ‘AHAHAHAA no, I’m all geared up for rape now!’

The black leopard dropped to its belly, crawling closer to Willie, to us.

What black leopard? There’s a wereleopard? Since when? I thought JC and Anita were skipping merrily to see the Vampire Council. Since when have there been any wereleopards at the Circus? JC controls and abuses werewolves – he has no interest in leopards.

Fernando says how he absolutely must rape Hannah now, or else he won’t be able to. I notice that Hannah has not been allowed to say or do anything about her impending assault. Anita is not allowed to stop Fernando because his father is the Master of Beasts, and this is bad. She says she’s going to stop it anyway, which is commendable.

Then the Master of Beasts came in.

The vampire in the doorway was Indian, as in from India.

Wow. There needs to be a prize for the stupidest lines in books because this would win a bunch.

The Master of Beasts is called Padma (which is gender and location appropriate, so kudos there) and he just bursts into laughter. If anyone kills Fernando, he’ll kill them. He has given Hannah to Fernando, so she now belongs to her son. Willie rushes to save Hannah, who is allowed her first line of dialogue – pleading with JC to save her. Nothing for her loving boyfriend, just further ego boosting for JC.

Anita shoots at Fernando, and the bullet hits the wall. Anita says she’ll kill Fernando to save Hannah, and she doesn’t care what’ll happen if she does. Wow, Anita is being an anti-hero I can get on board with for once.

Padma backs down, and forces Fernando to not rape Hannah. Fernando is all pouty, until he asks for Anita instead. She calls him ‘rat boy’ so… is he a wererat? Or what? I’m confused. The wereleopard goes for Anita, but it’s Elizabeth the local wereleopard and Padma stops her. Of course it’s Elizabeth, that wereleopard I have heard of and remember well. There’s another wereleopard, and I have no idea what’s going on at all. What is happening? Why can’t LKH tell me what is going on in this chapter?

Padma says that Elizabeth hates Anita, presumably for her efforts in saving Hannah. Oh, no. Elizabeth was romantically involved with Gabriel. That was obviously so important for her character I’m glad it was mentioned before. Except not. This is the first I’ve heard of it. Padma then monologues how he called the wereleopards and Elizabeth asked for his help to kill Anita. He makes Elizabeth change into a human… and I think he’s the one that’s been buying the services of the wereleopards? I can’t tell. Oh, and Padma can’t do anything to Anita as the Traveler is shielding her. For some reason.

Willie and Hannah are just making out in the background. I see she got over the whole ‘beat and rape thing’ unrealistically quickly.

JC then tries chastising Anita, and you can tell it’s serious as he uses her real name. I believe their love is genuine when he refuses to humanise her by using her name.

Someone then talks as the Traveler and oh no it’s JC i think and there’s POWER and Anita screams and it’s all as indecipherable as the rest of this mess.

This was one of the single worst chapters of a published work I have ever read. Not bad in terms of content (and that’s a small margin) but just in how fucking impossible it was to follow. Very poor.

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

  1. CONGRATS ON THE MOVE!

    Seriously, she really needs to stop with “exotic” meaning “not white (and maybe not black?)” That is so wrong for so many reasons….least of all in this particuliar case that someone who is Hispanic should actually be considered *less* exotic (in the sense of foreign) in America than a white person, given most people south of the border have a considerable percentage of Native blood.

    Ah yes, Fernando. Remember how I told you that all the wererats that ever show up, save for two white women, are Hispanic men? Fernando is a male wererat with a Hispanic name.

    …his father is the vampire Padma, an Indian man.

    Now, it’s not that an Indian man could not have a child with a woman of a different race, or choose, for whatever reason to give that child a Spanish name, but I doubt LKH thought about that. I think she was just like OH A WERERAT DUDE. GOTTA GIVE HIM A HISPANIC NAME. And I believe I’ve ranted before about the really terrible connotations of associating rats and Hispanic people.

    Fernando and Padma are also an example that all her information for what Indian people wear as traditional dress comes from I Dream of Jeannie harem outfits (yes, I know that’s a travesty of what is supposed to be Middle Eastern outfits, but she doesn’t seem to make the distinction). When we see Padma in Bullet, for instance, he is wearing harem pants and a sparkly bejweled vest…basically, Disney Aladdin’s costume with some sequins.

    To be fair on the “from India” part, LKH comes from a time when Native American peoples were still more commonly called “Indians” than anything else, and there was a much less substantial population of South Asian people in the US so there weren’t any other “Indians” besides Native Americans to get the term confused with, so to her the distinction still probably needs to be made in order to get it across that he’s not Native American, he is, as I’ve heard it called, “Indian Indian”. It’s a phrasing that I’ve heard before from people, especially folks a generation or so older than me.

    Padma is an alright name, and she surely could have done worse, but I think that Pashupati would have been better.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pashupati
    As with the Traveller, Belle Morte, and Morte D’Amour, it would be a name that alludes to his abilities, rather than what is, in his culture, a really ordinary name

    One of the things I find hardest to get across with my sporking is just how bad her writing style is. It’s easy to snark the content, but the style is just…I feel like the only way to get across how painful it sometimes is is just to copy-paste the whole chapter DX

    • This chapter was just so incoherent. Not just bad, but I had NO idea what was going on. Why was Fernando suddenly a wererat? Why did wereleopards suddenly appear? I get that Padma clearly has a power over shapeshifters, but it could have been made clearer. They just appear and LKH doesn’t seem to want to tell her readers what’s going on. What hoops must I jump through? Must I drink from the cup of Christ? Tell me what I have to do to understand your stories!

  2. Making your characters rapists as a shorthand for evil really annoys me. It’s a lazy, sloppy, nasty plot device.

    So far from the Council we have met Yvette, who does nasty sexual things with corpses, Balthasar who likes having sex with people while they are possessed and incapable of giving consent, Traveller who likes possessing unwilling people to have sex with them, Fernando the rapist, Padma who gives his son women to rape, and Asher who has not yet expressed any inclination towards inappropriate sexual conduct.

    That’s 5 of 6 who are sexually deviant, and 4 of 6 who are straight up rapist, or willing to facilitate rape. Add to this the woman a few books ago who raised zombies as sex toys, the rotting vampires who molested Jason and Raina and Gabriel. CAN WE HAVE A VILLAIN WITH NON-EVIL SEXUAL TASTES PLEASE!!!!

    • The heroes have the same tastes for rape. There is no saving any of these people.

      All of LKH’s plot devices are lazy. That’s how you know it’s a true Hamilton work – other writers would put in more work.

      • Yeah, having your villains be evil because they’re rapists becomes less effective when your heroes do it too.

        All LKH’s characters are lazy. They are only allowed one or two fixed personality traits – at least one of those is whether or not they worship Anita.

      • I read this interview where she boasted of how she creates her characters based off those personality tests on the internet, and I couldn’t believe it. That’s how you create a person? By ticking off little boxes on a quiz? So no real traits, no real story, no real unique selling points, no life history, no real life. It explains a lot.

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