The plane lands on a small airfield in the midst of the Smokey Mountains. Anita doesn’t know the difference between an airfield and an airport (really? really?) and talks about the Lesser Smokey Mountain Trolls which Richard has been studying for four years.
Studying for four years and only it only just became mentionable. *rolls eyes*
Everyone comes off the plane, including the two coffins containing Asher and Damian. I do not like either of them, as they have both been creepy, rapey bastards in past books.
Damian had been a Viking when he was alive, and I don’t mean the football team. He’d been a card-carrying, sword-wielding, marauding raider. One night he’d raided the wrong castle, and she took him.
- Damian is the name of a fourth century Christian saint. I highly doubt a Viking raider would be named after him.
- The vampire who turned him does not deserve a name. She’s female, after all.
- I like the implication that Damian was such a moron, he attempted to raid a castle entirely by himself.
- Castle in the late tenth century? No. While the concept of fortified structures that would evolve into the classical castle had been invented by fracturing Carolingian warlords in the ninth century, LKH clearly means traditional castles. And nope. Not around at that point.
A black guy called Ed comes out to greet them, but he thinks they’re here for Mr Niley.
His skin was the color of coffee, two creams.
He’s African American, LKH. Please don’t describe him to me in terms of coffee.
Jamil then comes in, and I think he’s been calling himself ‘Mr Niley’ or that his actual last name that was never considered important until now.
The enforcers were Sköll and Hati after the wolves that chase the sun and moon in Norse mythology. When they catch them, it will be the end of the world. Tells you something about werewolf society that their enforcers were named after creatures that would bring about the end of everything.
Tells me something about werewolf society that despite humans shifting into wolves being a theme and idea across the folklore of many nations and peoples, they choose to define themselves solely by European terms.
Jamil is an enforcer and is wearing all-white clothing. Anita goes on and on about how much it contrasts with the darkness of his skin and it makes me rather uncomfortable. He’s here as Richard’s bodyguard, and was not doing anything on the night Richard was accused of raping Betty Schaffer.
“Have you talked to her?”
No, Anita, he’s not allowed to. That’s called ‘witness intimidation’ and it’s a crime.
His eyes widened. “She’s already cried rape once on a fine, upstanding white boy. No, I haven’t talked to her.”
OK. LKH is now acknowledging that racism exists, which is good, but is also lumping it with the phrase ‘cried rape’ which has so many negative connotations I don’t even know where to begin with that. Only that it’s victim blaming of the worst sort, and I don’t like it.
I wondered if Jamil had been having trouble with the locals. It seemed likely. He wasn’t just African American. He was tall, handsome, and athletic looking. That alone would have gotten him on the redneck hit parade. The long cornrow hair and the killer fashion sense raised the question that he might violate the last white male bastion of homophobia. I knew that Jamil liked girls, but I was almost willing to be some of the locals hadn’t believed that.
Couldn’t you just try discussing enfranchised racism? Instead of saying ‘rednecks hate pretty people’, ‘rednecks hate gay men’, and ‘rednecks hate fashion’?
I’m guessing that there is going to be a lot of bashing of the locals for being ignorant compared to the enlightened minds of the Anita Blake carnival.
Jamil and Anita talk for a while about how Mr Niley is here doing land exploration, that this rape case is just the victim’s word against Richard and she’s a stinky liar, and that Richard has been sleeping around a lot. Jamil was scared to mention this in case Anita wanted to ‘police Richard’s sex life’. That’s a poor choice of words in this situation.
Richard had been dating Betty Schaffer, but is adamant that they never had sex. Well, that’s the simple way. Here’s how Anita’s mind tries to work it out.
“Did he have sex with the woman who’s made the accusation?”
“If you mean intercourse, no. She’s human,” he said. “Richard doesn’t do humans. He’s afraid they’re too fragile.”
“I thought you just said he’d been sleeping with Ms. Schaffer?”
No. He didn’t. He just said they did not have intercourse. He just said it, you stupid sack of shit.
“Having sex, but not doing the dirty deed.”
I wasn’t a virgin. I knew there were alternatives.
… why do you need to clarify the point by saying how you’re totally having all the sex and know all about it?
“Why alternative methods with humans? Why not just… do it?”
YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHY ANITA
IT WAS ONE OF THE TENSIONS OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH RICHARD
HE TOLD YOU THAT SHAPESHIFTERS ARE AT RISK OF ATTACKING THEIR PARTNERS AND ACCIDENTALLY KILLING THEM DURING SEX
YOU HAVE TOLD THE READER THIS EVERY BOOK SINCE
IT WAS WHY GABRIEL WANTED TO RAPE YOU, SO HE COULD RAPE YOUR DEAD BODY
WHY ARE YOU ACTING IGNORANT NOW AND HAVING JAMIL SPELL IT OUT FOR US
THIS HAS BEEN A PLOT POINT FOR FIVE BOOKS
I AM NOT STUPID
I CAN REMEMBER SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN TALKED ABOUT FOR FIVE BOOKS, FUCKNUT
There had been a point where I’d pretty much begged Richard to stay the night. To have sex with me. He’d said no because it wouldn’t be fair until I saw him change into werewolf form. I needed to be able to accept the whole package. I hadn’t been able to do that once the package bled and writhed all over me. But now I wondered if part of his hesitation had been simply fear of hurting me. Maybe.
I am actually so angry that I want to hurt something. I have never been this angry over a trivial thing such as this. It’s bullshit and lies, and is insulting to the reader. This blatant disregard for canon implies that the author thinks the reader is stupid and cannot remember past the beginning of this book. It was Anita who decided that she needed to see Richard change. Anita knew full well that shapeshifters could do to their partners. And it was Anita who grabbed hold of Richard when he was changing and wouldn’t let go.
This is broken off for a long interlude of the joys of unpacking cases from the plane, and oh, JC is so thoughtful that he’s planned all of Anita’s outfits for her, as that’s not hugely controlling and creepy. Nathaniel is lying on top of a coffin with his shirt off, and this takes two pages to deal with.
Everyone gets into a van, Anita makes a deal about her height and how it means she should sit in the middle (…), and that no one wears seat-belts and it brings back so much *trauma* for her. They’re driving to some cabins, and Cherry drops the bombshell that if Anita gets hurt, everyone in the gang is going to be slaughtered by JC.
Anita is confused – what, everyone is here as her bodyguards? She thought they were here for Richard!
Let me quote from chapter two.
“I know Colin and his people. You need an entourage that is impressive without being too frightening, and yet if the worst happens, they must be able to defend you and themselves. I will pick who goes and who stays.”
YOU KNEW THEY WERE YOUR BODYGUARDS, ANITA
for the love of fuck, you threatened war, and elected to drag the wereleopards and werewolves to keep you safe. This was just two chapters ago! Where’s the editor, to keep a check of shit like this?
The leopards try to argue that Anita is meant to keep them safe, not the other way around, so Jamil tries to tell Anita to keep out the way to avoid getting hurt. This means that she suddenly pulls out a knife and slits his arm open.
This is not how people behave, Anita.
Jamil is understandably annoyed, so Anita whips a gun out, points it at his head, and threatens to kill him.
This is not how normal people behave. This is not cool or heroic. This is pantswettingly sociopathic.
Anita bitches about how easy it is to kill people (still not cool, not ever cool) and Jamil backs down, as Anita outranks him in the pack. Throughout, everyone else was standing around, opening and closing their mouths like goldfish.
A man then comes out of nowhere, and it becomes apparent that they have arrived at where they are staying – the Blue Moon cabins, doyougettit. The guy owns the cabins and is the local packmaster. He was ‘playing human’ but Anita could see he’s a werewolf by the way that when he isn’t a wolf, he looks like a human being.
Anita demands that Jamil strip so that she can clean her knife.
The local packmaster – Verne – approves of how she thinks casual violence is amazing.
“No wonder Richard’s been having a hard time finding a replacement for you. You are a solid, cast-iron, ball-busting bitch.”
No. She’s a monster. Stop supporting her.