A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Blue Moon’ chapter thirty three


… and I’m back. Well, for today at least. Deepest, darkest Lincolnshire is indeed deep and dark, and with limited broadband opportunities. And, you know, depression stuff.  All flippancy aside, this Christmas has been very hard for me. It’s hard to have fun or be jolly when you just feel so miserable.

But lucky I have Anita Blake. Being angry is better than being sad. The plot was: Anita did some stupid things, there was an act of double-rape, and there’s some really dull things about trolls. That’s the overwhelming quality of LKH’s writing – that it’s just dull when you sift through it and get rid of the more furyifying elements. She can’t write mysteries. She just can’t.

The body lay in a small clearing. I knew it was human because they told me it was.

Or because it LOOKS HUMANOID. Werewolves and vampires are still humans at their basest level. They aren’t a separate species as they can breed with regular, boring old humans and produce fertile children. You are not going to mistake a human body for that of a elephant. Well, I wouldn’t. Anita has the mental capacity of a particularly slow witted goldfish.

Anyway, the crime scene is particularly gory one. Although Anita only seems to visit gory crime scenes. It’s sickening I suppose but I never feel an effect from LKH’s writing. It just reads rather blandly.

Trolls didn’t do this. No natural animal did this.

… as opposed to unnatural animals?

I’d borrowed surgical gloves. Someone had offered me heavier plastic gloves to go over. AIDS, you know.

…. what.

What is LKH’s obsession with describing things as being related to AIDS. I guess it might be because she was a young woman during the AIDS crisis, but that isn’t the reason why you wear plastic gloves at a crime scene. It’s generally because you don’t want people to contaminate the crime scene and damage potential evidence. It might also be to prevent CONTAGION FROM LYCANTHROPY. YOU KNOW, THAT DISEASE YOU INSULTINGLY LIKEN TO AIDS? AREN’T CRIME SCENE TECHS WORRIED ABOUT THAT AS WELL? Consistency – it’s just used for baking!

I declined. One, my hands would sweat.

I’m pretty sure that surgical gloves are designed to account for sweating, seeing as it’s not advisable for the gloves to slip off when you’re in the middle of something.

Two, if I had to feel the body for clues, I wouldn’t be able to feel shit.

You’re not wearing skiing gloves Anita.

Three, with three vampire marks on me, I didn’t sweat AIDS anymore. I was free from blood borne disease, or so I’d been told.

Moving aside from the fact that you don’t wear plastic gloves to just protect oneself from contaminants, Anita only thinks she’s safe from blood borne pathogens because someone, a large French someone, told her so. Did she not know this as part of her preternatural science degree? Did she not know this from being an expert in the field? Why is she believing a man who blackmailed her into dating him and is a renowned liar?

Anita gets close to the body after confirming that they’ve video taped it (is that common police practice? To film dead bodies?), she squats by it and notes that something sat down and ate this poor woman while she was alive. So Hannibal Lecter is on the loose then. She decides this is down to pure evil, and begins to look for a circle of protection. She doesn’t find it. There’s too much blood. Anita then resorts to staring at the dead body, angst ridden.

One breast torn completely off. The other deflated like a balloon as if something had eaten the flesh out of the middle, like a kid sucking the jelly out of a donut.

That is a terrible description. I don’t want to think about jam doughnuts when you’re trying to make me picture a grisly crime scene.

It was an unfortunate choice of metaphors, even in my own head.

THEN WHY??

Anita then runs off to be sick. This lets her listen in on how the police are complaining about her being here. She pushes herself up and then sees – DUN DUN DUN – a pentagram on a tree!!!!!! She sees more!!!! It’s a Wiccan circle of protection!!!!!! There was evil here!!!!! Wiccans summoned up a DEMON!!!!!!!

… why is it being used as a ‘symbol of protection’ when it’s used as a symbol of faith for Wicca? And why are you associating Wiccans with devil worship? I don’t think that Wicca, which is a religion, routinely dedicates itself to the summoning of demons.

And then Anita launches into this sickening story about how she helped this schizophrenic woman (who is also described as having ‘multiple personality disorder’ – which one is it then? The two are not interchangeable) who was possessed by a demon because of course mentally ill people are conduits for forces of evil. And of course the land over the sea is full of people who hop around on one giant foot. And of course you can cure illness by bloodletting.

LKH is careful to not say that ‘mentally ill people are possessed by demons’ but it’s structured in such an offensive way. ‘Mental illness can open up a person to demonic possession’. Suck my ovaries, Hamilton. If anyone ever finds themselves in a situation where they want to write about demonic possession, DO NOT USE THE MENTALLY ILL AS HOSTS FOR DEMONS. It ties into too many cruel stereotypes and beliefs that kill people in the modern world in horrible ways.

Didn’t think that aside through, did you Hamilton? Didn’t notice the disgusting stereotype, did you. Not that you would care, Ms ‘I’m going to describe the guy as coming off the olive as if that’s an acceptable means of description’.

The Captain asks her if she’s sure a demon did this. Anita is sure. He then asks if she summoned the demon, which is a perfectly valid question. She gets pissy of course.

“Great, just great. You call me down here. I tell you it’s black magic, and now you’re going to blame me.”

You’re a necromancer. You work professionally in black magic. Anita is stroppy and hurt, but the Captain says that he just had to ask. He doesn’t think she was involved in this murder because he knows Anita murders people with a gun.

Apparently, that’s okay.

He really suspects Anita because – DUN DUN DUN – it’s Betty Schaffer, the woman who accused Richard of rape. Anita seems to feel momentarily bad for Betty, but it’s swamped by her whinging about how she can’t raise the body because the demon took the soul.

… SO I guess it’s just been casually confirmed that the AB universe is a Christian universe with God and demons and things. Well, that’s how I see it. It does not fill me with joy that the heavens literally support Anita in everything she does.

Anyway, Wilkes comes over and says that Anita’s got a phone call she needs to take. He privately asks her if werewolves were responsible. Anita freaks out about how wicked Wilkes is. I remember that the werewolves were running free under the influence of a spell that made them want to rape people and to kill those who stood in their way. Hmmm. I know that a werewolf didn’t kill Betty, but the circumstances do not favour them.

The phone call is from Franklin Niley…

“Wilkes told me that you have spoiled our little plan about blaming those pesky trolls for the death. But it is not too late to blame your lover. How many people will believe his innocence once they find out he is a werewolf?”

… who is another addition in LKH’s hall of flat, boring villains.

mwahahahaha

I get it. HE’S EVIL. AND HAS AN INVISIBLE MOUSTACHE TO TWIRL.

Niley laughs about how everyone will know Richard is a werewolf when he does a blood test. I’d have said they would have worked it out when he turned into a massive man wolf in his cell. Richard will get an automatic death sentence but Anita can prevent this by having a meeting with Niley. He then talks about how much money he has and how he bought out the police force here. They’re hicks you see, and some arsehole throwing money at them is enough to make them EVIL too.

Anita promises to meet with Niley and hands the phone back to Wilkes.

I leaned in close to him and said, “Money doesn’t spend in hell, Wilkes. The devil deals in a different coin.”

You’ll learn soon enough when you meet him, Anita.

The voice that had offered [Wilkes] money to sell out everything he was or might have been. The motive I understood least of all for murder or betrayal was greed. But damned if it wasn’t a popular motive for both.

What is so hard to understand about greed, Anita? Wilkes does not have money, he wants more. That’s pretty simple. Or his daughter wants to go to university and he doesn’t have the money. Or his wife has just been diagnosed with cancer and cooking meth isn’t an option.

So I’m back. Huzzah!

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16 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Blue Moon’ chapter thirty three

  1. How can someone being horribly killed be so boring? And, am I missing something or did the whole demon thing come out of nowhere. Like, hey, this story has too much coherency, let me throw in an agent of hell. Story telling, this is not how you do it.

    As someone who lives in Lincolnshire, I sympathise with the problem of awful Internet connections. And transport connections. And everything else that would make life convenient. I hope your new year goes well!

    • Because, obviously, people trying to defraud the environment agency are in league with the devil.

      I don’t like the fact that it’s basically saying that it’s a strictly Abrahamic universe. Or that it doesn’t lead into questioning the nature of the supernatural in this universe.

      Lincolnshire is just the pits for no good reason. Even Norfolk has better broadband than we do!

      Happy new year!

  2. Welcome back! I has truly missed the blend of stupidity and casual evil that makes Anita so ‘special’.

    Also, I am sorry your holidays were bad; if you ever wanna talk or something, feel free to shoot me an e-mail, okay? I know we are not exactly close buddies, but sometimes venting to a relative stranger is easier. You seem like a nice person, and I hate to see nice people unhappy.

  3. You know, as someone with several mental illnesses I actually don’t mind the idea that mentally ill people might be more susceptible to being taken over by nasty forces. We’re considered a vulnerable population for a reason. Of course this is LKH so I can be sure she’s not putting that idea across in any kind of humanizing way. Being a vulnerable person isn’t the same as being incapable of autonomy or of participating in mainstream society. Her lack of understanding of mental illness and personality disorders is overall offensive because she clearly hasn’t researched any of it. She views people like me as props and objects, not characters in our own right.

  4. I wouldn’t be surprised if vampires are immune to blood-borne diseases, but that doesn’t mean they can’t carry them. I like the idea that JC has had syphilis for centuries and has now infected Anita.

    I may have some issues with some trends of Wiccans (cultural/mythological appropriation, comparing witch hunts to the Holocaust) but I would never write that they summon demons. Way to insult a potentially large chunk of your audience, LKH!

    You know, if this book were written by a better author, Anita would have been arrested right there. She’s a known practitioner of magic, and has motive to want Betty dead. On top of that, she has no real alibi, because I doubt they’d accept “I was running away from a bunch of men trying to rape me because of a magic spell I did.”

    Why is it in these books that once some’s been revealed as a villain, they immediately lose all subtlety? If they’d just stick to their story, Anita would lose all interest in them.

    • MWAHAHAHAA CAN’T YOU TELL I’M EVIL? WHY SHOULD I HIDE HOW EVIL I AM!

      I think it’s really interesting to explore blood born diseases and vampirism, but nope, can’t have that. Vampires are too perfect.

      I think LKH is a Wiccan now. So I find the whole demons thing a bit odd.

  5. I can get behind needing crime scene techs (aka the forensic pathologist) telling you it was human. If, say, the body was so HORRIBLY MANGLED THE BONES WERE ALL OVER THE PLACE AND BITS OF FLESH WERE ALL THAT’S LEFT. But dear GOD there’s an ENTIRE BREAST? That’s hardly difficult. Also, all I can think about that is my book about cannibals that included their recipes and how one said breasts were disgusting because “too fatty” and now I’m wondering if perhaps the demon didn’t use that breast-fat to flavor-up the soul…

    What? YOU MEAN ACROSS THE POND YOU DON’T USE LEECHES ANYMORE?! MADNESS! All my dreams of England are false. (Also my trip there in 2008 but whatever.)

    I can get behind there being multiple gods. Or demons taking souls. Because… demons belong to multiple religions and not just Judeo-Christian. Although the soul-eating is more that than anything. It’d be fascinating if some other soul-eating monster from a different religion took it and Anita was like “OH NOES I CAN’T CALL THEM UP EITHER” but that again requires world-building.

  6. Also, while normally I agree with the whole mentally ill and demonic possession, I think it depends on the mental illness portrayed. I know in The Rite there’s a bit of depression and “loss of faith”/”questioning of faith” that leads to demonic possession. And depression is not as stigmatized with demonic possession as schizophrenia, and would also be… kind of fun to write about AND WAS WELL DONE OKAY ANTHONY HOPKINS DID AN AMAZING JOB.

    Also that was kind of a spoiler oops.

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