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

Anita and her crew walk up to the Circus and Jamil, the Token Offensive Stereotype, is waiting for them.

He was just shy of six feet, wearing a white tank top almost the twin of the one Richard wore.

Okay, this is a tank top, just so that everyone has got it clear in their heads.

Except that Jamil had cut out the neck, arms –

Like a fucking tank top then.

– and chopped out the middle of the shirt so that his slender waist and cobblestone abs showed.

Or a boob tube then.

Anita then goes in raptures about how the white of the shirt contrasts to the ‘rich’ colour of his skin and his waist length cornrows. Because of course the only black guy has cornrows. And is hostile to them, despite being here as Richard’s bodyguard. You see, the evil council members have allowed Richard and Anita one backup, plus the wereleopards. Except that JC did not tell Anita that, so she hasn’t got any backup for herself.

Oh, wow, that JC really loves you, Anita. I see that in all the ways he has actively taken measures to put you in the most danger possible.

Oh, and JC has forbidden Anita to kill Fernando, and didn’t tell her so.

Anita tells Richard what they all did to Sylvie, and that she’s sworn to kill all them bad guys for her. When the question of Liv is brought up I – fuck it, I’ll quote it.

“Who was the second one?” he asked.

He asked. I answered. “Liv.”

He blinked at me. “She’s a woman.”

“I’m aware of that.”

He just stared at me. “How?”

I raised eyebrows at him. “You really want me to get that technical?”

Richard shook his head. He looked ill.

  • Richard, why don’t you think a woman can rape another woman?
  • And just sit back and think ‘how does that work’
  • I mean, you realise that women have sex with each other, right?
  • So once you have the earth-shattering realisation that sex does not equal penetration, you can understand that a woman can rape another woman.
  • And richard gets angry when he hears that Sylvie has been gang-raped by men. He is physically sickened by the thought of a woman assaulting another woman. While feeling sickened by rape is understandable and common, he doesn’t have that reaction to a MAN raping Sylvie. He is sickened by the idea of a WOMAN doing it. That says something rather awful about Richard’s mindset. Also, that he views one sort of rape as inherently worse than the other, which is a shitty way of looking at it.

Jamil asks why Anita cares about Sylvie seeing as she hated her. Anita goes on this massive talk about how Sylvie is so unbreakable and that she has so much loyalty and strength and all this immensely patronising crap that makes me want to retch as she doesn’t mean it and has continued to make threats against Sylvie’s life.

And isn’t it disrespectful to keep going on and on about Sylvie’s rape and talk about Sylvie as if she is this thing with no emotions that just happened to get raped?

Richard gets a burn on Anita – that she knows nothing of loyalty.

Anita screams in his face about Sylvie’s rape and that the wereleopards have no one to protect them and that Richard has no right to be angry at her.

Well…. he does.

And then Richard apologises by saying that Anita’s so right and that because of him dropping the ball, he is responsible for Sylvie getting raped. This means it’s Anita’s fault really, and she immediately picks up the implication and has a massive go at him for daring to try and make her feel guilty. But nothing would have kept the council away anyway. Because they’re evil.

“They are the council, Richard. The stuff of nightmares. Nightmares don’t care about how strong you are.”

um, why are the council the stuff of nightmares

Look, aside from Padma and the attack on Sylvie, there is nothing to indicate that the Grand High Council are bad. They uphold laws. That is good. They are apparently evil because they want JC to abide by their laws. Laws that he willing buys into by using the system of power and governance that they established and maintain.

Padma is acting outside of the council’s purview. There is nothing to indicate that the council are corrupt and torturous. And it’s a trope that really annoys me in paranormal fiction. The main character and their love interest do something that we are told is against the laws of the paranormal group. The council of the paranormal group steps up and says ‘could you stop? it’s against the law’. This makes them EVIL because they stand in the way of the happiness of our chosen couple.

Newsflash: an organisation standing in the way of want you want does not make them automatically evil. Making laws does not make you evil. And seeing how bad vampires can be, I’d be happy with a group of law makers and enforcers. It stands in the way of the awful shit people do and can do and would do when they had the power of life and death.

So, no, Anita. I don’t think the council are the stuff of my nightmares. I think you are.

Anita unlocks the door and thinks how great it is to cause pain in people.

Yeah, pretty sure that’s my nightmares right there.


7 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Burnt Offerings’ chapter twenty eight

  1. Yeah, you’re right about the Council. Of course then it turns out in this series they really are just mean corrupt evil people that do little in the way of actual law and just run around raping and torturing people for fun all the time, making me wonder how any vampire rules even got laid down at all ever

  2. My understanding of Jamil’s shirt is that he basically cut off the seams. It’s a popular thing, for some ungodly reason. And ugly as hell.

    Actually, I think what she MEANT was that he took a T-shirt and cut it down into a shitty tank top, but because Hamilton can’t write to save anyone’s life, she said it was a tank top…cut down to a tank top.

    Also, I hate people. Just had to get it out there. I live in a hellish world surrounded by assholes. It’s like Anita’s world, except full of Anita Blakes who vote. And then hold up the government when they don’t get what they want, aarrg–

    Honestly, after all of LKH’s issues, when I re-read these books, I was fairly surprised that Anita even knew enough about females and sex to understand how female rape could happen. Since, you know, gay people are icky and stuff, and real women don’t orgasm without a penis involved.

    • Anita is fairly oblivious to all that, but the fact that LKH went so far as to have that conversation – I mean, Christ on a pogo stick, did she have to make herself sound so ignorant and bigoted?

      … I have lots of shirts cut down to tank tops. Sometimes I just don’t sleeves on my shirts. But I don’t think I’d ever cut a shirt down to a boob tube.

      Yep, the world is full of assholes. I second this.

  3. “They are the council, Richard. The stuff of nightmares. ”

    If Anita had a brain, I’d say she was making a pun on the Council being there at the behest of the Queen of Nightmares. Sadly, she was probably trying to be dramatic and ‘wise’.

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