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


We used the men’s room.

Tee hee hee! Let’s have Anita strip search in a place where she can be ogled by men and not be able to stop it! Tee hee hee!

Anita is clean of anything Linus objects to, so they head back to the table where coffees have arrived.

We were again in the chairs with out backs to the door. If we’d gotten there first, they’d have used these chairs, so it was hard to bitch.

When I was younger, I went through a period where I used to harm myself by smacking my head against the wall. Reading this just reminds me of how it used to feel. It’s so plodding. LKH has to hand hold us through every single action Anita does. These sentences would read better if:

Walking back after my little ‘tête a tête’ with Linus, I cursed inwardly as I saw our position. The three of us would have to sit with our backs to the door, in the perfect spot for an swift ambush. Niley had arrived extra early, so he could lord over us with this added advantage. Well, I couldn’t blame him. I’d have done the same.

It’s a bit wordy I know, but it’s not so clunky and stupid.

I sipped coffee. It was bitter and had been on the burner too long, but there’s so such thing as undrinkable coffee.

That line just pissed me right off. It’s petty I know, but of course there is such a thing as undrinkable coffee. For a start, all coffee is undrinkable to me as I’m not allowed it. And would you drink mouldy coffee?

Go on, drink it.

Niley opens the ‘friendly chat’ by saying, quite bluntly, that he wants Anita out of town. She tells him that she promised Wilkes she would leave by sundown. Niley smiles, as he knows everything they’ve told Wilkes.

“I don’t think he believes we’re leaving, Richard,” I said.

Get your sticky paws off me, Hamilton. You don’t have to spell it out that Niley doesn’t believe them. He made it quite clear that he knows Anita is a filthy liar.

Anita curses Richard for not ‘playing clever repartee with me’. It’s almost like he doesn’t want to sit and play games with a man who got him arrested on a rape charge (which jeopardises his professional career, as high schools do not want teachers who have been connected to violent crimes) and who also had the woman who made the claim gruesomely murdered. And why does something this serious merit being referred to as a ‘game’?

Niley wants Anita out of town because the spirit world has told Howard that she is a ‘Lady Death’ and will fuck up his plans. OK, so RF cleared up that clairvoyance is using other worldly senses to get information about something. Howard is not a medium. He should not be plumbing the ‘spirit world’ for information.

“Howard uses a Ouija board as well as other gifts.”

Then he’s not a clairvoyant then. He’s a spiritual medium. And I notice that an editor has capitalised ‘Ouija’. That’s because ‘Ouija’ is a copyrighted term owned by the board games company Parker Brothers. Ouija boards do not contact the spirit world. They do not contact the dead. They were designed and are still produced as board games. Yes, yes, they have been associated with the dead since WW1, but they are a board game. The unconscious movements of the players makes the pointer spell out words and it’s hilarious and spooky. Using a game designed by the people who produce Monopoly sort of undercuts the whole darkity darkness just a bit, don’t you think?

Niley says that the spirit world has predicted that if he comes against her, he will die. I’d question why a bunch of dead people are able to tell the future – they couldn’t even predict the future well enough to stop their own deaths, let alone the deaths of others – but that’s why Niley sent all those people to try and kill Anita. He could have phoned the senator’s office and complained about how a vampire executioner had gone rogue in the state, but whatever. Niley then hands the question time over to Anita because….

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How else will we find out what’s going on?

“Why do you want this piece of land?”

[…]

There is a relic on that land somewhere. I need to own the land so I can tear it up and search for the relic.”

“What relic?” I asked.

He smiled. “The lance that pierced Christ’s side.”

*looks around* When did this book suddenly become ‘Boobied Indiana Jones and The Spear of Destiny’?

I stared at him. I stared at him longer. He didn’t seem to be kidding. “That is a myth, Niley.”

Anita, I thought you were a Christian. Honestly, don’t you know your gospels?

‘One of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.’ – John 19:34

It’s only mentioned in the gospel of John, but there are plenty of things that only appear in one of the gospels and are taken as religious fact.
The spear of destiny is a good basis for a book. A favourite series of mine, The Wyrd Museum by Robin Jarvis, uses it as one of the essential components of the trilogy. However, considering the urban gritty gritty darkness of the Anita Blake series, having a relic hunt for a mystical object really comes out of left field – especially considering what has already happened in this book. I call foul, because it doesn’t match the tone or the genre of this book.
“You don’t believe in Christ?”
“Of course I do, but a Roman lance doesn’t last for thousands of years. It was lost long ago.”
hey look it’s a roman lance that supposedly can’t possibly exist
“Do you believe in the Grail?” he asked.
“The Grail is historical fact. It’s been found and lost twice in recorded history. The spear has never been authenticated. It’s passed around like the bones of some saint, but it’s just bait for the gullible.”
You absolute FUCKING IDIOT. That goes both for Anita and Hamilton.
Anita: the Holy Grail HAS NOT EVER AND WILL NOT EVER be regarded as ‘historical fact’. The Holy Grail can be considered as as a metaphor for humanity’s search for religious salvation (you know, how it’s impossible to find in the real world but you find it within yourself, etc) but it originated in a twelfth century French poem telling the story of The Fisher King. Here, it was a processional salver for food, and was inspired by Celtic tales of magical bowls or cauldrons that had special powers. The idea of a magical bowl became a popular narrative tool, and it became attached to romantic tales of King Arthur. The holy bowl was conflated with the Holy Chalice, the vessel used by Jesus at the Last Supper, and other writers took this idea of a holy serving cup associated with Christ and ran with it. It later became the cup that caught Christ’s blood, mainly because late medieval writers really enjoyed puns. You know, sangréal (holy grail) and sang réal (holy blood). Later idiots thought that this had ‘secret meanings’ other than just being people enjoying puns. Anita is confusing the Holy Grail for the Holy Chalice, which was a holy relic kept in Jerusalem. There were four cups that were claimed to be the Holy Chalice, of which two survive. The Holy Grail has never existed and is a myth.
LKH: You wrote Anita as being a Catholic, before she converted and became an Episcopalian. Do you know what the Catholic Church is keen on? SAINTLY RELICS. Anita can be all tuff and cynical, but she would have been brought up in an environment which believed the sanctity of relics and that relics were important. And let’s not even go into the fact that yes, while there are many saintly relics that are not genuine, there are some that are. And they do not get passed around like a really religious game of pass the parcel. Do not write an ex-Catholic character if you do not understand the impact that would make upon a person.
“How did it get to the mountains of Tennessee?”
“The spear was given as a private gift to President James Madison.”
I frowned at him. “I don’t remember that from history class.”
There’s a lot you don’t remember from history class. You’re the moron who thought America was uninhabited in the seventeenth century.
“It is listed among the gifts from a certain Mideastern principality. One spear, Roman. Unfortunately, it was one of the items that went missing after the British burned and sacked Washington, D.C, in 1815.”
And here is where the major fail lies, for you see, there is an ‘official’ Spear of Destiny relic. It’s in the Vatican (of course it’s in the Vatican). It has been held by the Vatican since the sixth century. Before then, it had been in Jerusalem for five centuries. The Vatican does not give out the relics kept in their treasury. They especially do not give out their relics to a country that contained MAINLY PROTESTANTS and was a centre of religious and philosophical radicalism. They do not hand out priceless relics to countries that do not matter diplomatically to the Vatican. They do not hand out relics to RANDOM WORLD LEADERS WHO AREN’T CATHOLICS. This is a really stupid explanation. The only thing I can chalk it up to is ‘America ROCKS and everyone loves America!’ patriotism, and even that doesn’t feel right. Mainly because I AM NEVER GOING TO BELIEVE THAT THE POPE IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY WAS SO ENAMOURED OF A NON RELIGIOUS PRESIDENT TO GIVE AWAY A RELIGIOUS RELIC. NOT JUST ANY RELIGIOUS RELIC, BUT THE SPEAR THAT ACTUALLY PIERCED JESUS’S SIDE. YOU MORON. YOU ABSOLUTE MORON.
Howard has divined (so definitely not a clairvoyant then) that the spear is on the land where the trolls live because…. the British were really mean and hid the spear seven hundred miles away from Washington D.C. To just really piss off James Madison. Who wasn’t religious. And would never have been given such a valuable relic. Anyway, the trolls have got to die because Niley has to dig up everything even though he has a guy working for him who could be able to work out the precise location. The farmer who owned the land put in a provision that the land would become a nature reserve when his son died. Niley straight out asks if Richard would let them buy the land, if they promised to stop disturbing the trolls.
It’s not Richard’s decision. It depends on the legal restrictions on the land imposed by the farmer’s will. It’s not a problem that can be solved by throwing money at it. Niley then appears to run his foot up and down Richard’s leg, which skeeves him out.
“Why did you kill Betty?”
WHY THE FUCK DO YOU THINK HE KILLED BETTY? HAS EVERY SINGLE PLOT POINT HAVE TO BE SPELLED OUT? ARE YOUR READERS STUPID? NO!
Hurrumph.
Anyway, it’s explained for everyone. Again. And then Richard and Anita have an extra special moment where their auras converge and everyone has to ask about how special they are. Anita says that they are leaving town, but Niley says the spirits have warned him that a ‘beast’ will help the ‘Lady Death’. This makes Richard panic and ask how he has found out. Well, seeing as he’s been using the spirit world to track down a ‘relic’, what do you think? And then Niley goes on about how he asked the local vampires to help find the spear and they told him all about the menage a trois of JC, Anita, and Richard, because apparently all the local vampires have to do with their time is talk about friggin’ Anita Blake.
Then Niley threatens Richard.
“I think a tranquillizer dart from a distance for Richard. When he wakes, he will be bound by silver chains on his stomach, naked. I will rape him, and I will enjoy it. Then I will let Linus slit his throat, and Linus will enjoy that.”
But of course, the villain is, yet again, a gay guy who is interested in rape. All Anita Blake villains seem to enjoy rape. Rape, rape, rape, rape, rape. That’s the only threat they have. Rape is horrible but it is also horribly unimaginative thing to have a villain threaten. Oh, and Anita will be given to Linus to kill, as if I haven’t heard that before.
Anita then senses EVIL POWER which Richard banishes with a cunning use of bible quotes. This makes Linus SAD as he apparently was unaware that summoning devils is a bad thing to do. Richard leads Anita and Shang-Da out of there, still quoting from Isaiah as he goes. Anita notices that Niley wants them dead.
This was a really weird chapter. We’ve now been thrown into a traditional treasure hunting narrative, which is… kinda odd, to be honest.
And yes, I did notice that this chapter mentioned a certain ‘John Greene’. The John Greene in this book was a man willing to have a species of rare animal exterminated for cash. Should have thought that one through better, LKH. It’s also a classic trait of Sue authors, naming characters in their works after people they know.
Anyway, I am rewarding myself with a Hal today for blasting the Holy Grail into nonexistence.
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13 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Blue Moon’ chapter thirty five

  1. Good Lord. First off, while coffee is not technically undrinkable to me, most types make me nauseous, so I don’t drink it. Secondly, hello exposition! I didn’t see the Holy Lance thing coming, but that doesn’t make it a good twist. This book has gone from Richard being arrested for rape to the local vampires being evil to rape-tag to people framing trolls for murder to an evil gay guy trying to find a holy relic. This is not a chain of events that makes sense.

    Why are all the gay people bad? And later, straight people are bad as well. Only bisexual men who can worship Anita whilst being comfortable with her army of fucktoys are allowed. I really, really hate her.

    • It’s like LKH couldn’t decide which plot line she wanted to pursue, so shoved them all in. It’s very disjointed.

      Gay people are evil because… I guess she was trying to avoid other stereotypes, or that she doesn’t see how they would otherwise fit into the universe. That’s my guess. I don’t understand why else she would be homophobic.

      • It just seems to be a pointless thing that she decided to throw in there. ‘I’m going to rape you and enjoy it, because I’m evil. Have you got the fact that I’m evil yet? Because I’m really, really evil. If I had a mustache I’d be twirling it, because I’m an evil man who enjoys rape. Because I’m evil. And rape is the evilest thing I could ever do, because I’m not a hero in this series, so I enjoy it. Evilly.’

  2. I am laughing so hard because this reminded me of some bad porn I found years ago: Carolina Jones and the Broken Covenant. It literally was Indiana Jones(‘s daughter) with boobs. Granted, it was still about the Ark, but ahh, can’t stop laughing.

    Although I have to admit, even when I first read the book, I just blandly ignored the entire bit about the lance. Mostly because it was so ridiculous it didn’t even merit a “meh” from me. Because when I think of holy Catholic relics, I think of gifting James Madison one. You know, one of the Founding Fathers who was likely a deist, if barely Proddy. *headdesk*

  3. … I would call all coffee undrinkable. Seriously, no clue what people see in that stuff. Can’t stand it.

    Oh, and EVERYTHING IN THIS CHAPTER MADE ME ANGRY.

    But mostly the coffee thing.

    • I was angry at her bad history, but her complete genre shift just made me more bewildered than furious. I’m not sure if that’s an improvement.

      Oh no wait I remember Richard sanctimoniously spouting off bible quotes while LKH magically ignored the quote about the spear of destiny. GODDAMN IT

      • The sudden random genre shift enraged me as a writer. It is a big no-no; melding genres is fine, but you have to foreshadow it somewhat, work it into the narrative. If you wanna combine a hardboiled crime story with a rollicking treasure hunt, you can. BUT DON’T DO IT HALFWAY THROUGH THE BOOK. Integrate that shit early on, dammit.

        And of course, all the gay people in the series being rapists offends me as a person, but expressing the depths of my rage on THAT would take me outside the character limit on the posts.

      • There are like only ten chapters left, so I have no idea where it’s going. Or if that vampire bad guy will turn up again.

        If you do not like Anita sexually, then you are evil. Or a woman. Who are also evil.

  4. To counteract the stupid, here’s a clever writer (who is also British) addressing the meaning of “necromancy”:

    “Strictly, necromancy was the telling of the future by summoning up the spirits of the dead and asking them searching questions. This, Cabal believed, was a singularly poor way of finding out anything. The dead were moderately strong on history, weak on current events, and entirely useless for discerning what was to come. They were, after all, dead.”

    Also, a bit of wiki fu informs me that there are or have been at least four items identified as the Holy Lance (or Holy Spear, or Spear of Destiny, or whatever): one in the Vatican, one in Vienna, one in Armenia, and one found in Antioch during the Crusades. And the one that looks the most familiar (like the prop from Constantine and Hellboy) is based the one in Vienna – probably because its easier to connect it to Hitler that way.

    But yeah, sudden awkward genre shift is sudden and awkward. BAD WRITER! BAD!

    • I LOVE JOHANNES CABAL HE IS MY NEXT RECOMMENDATION

      I decided to focus on the one held by the Vatican, simply because it has the longest recorded ‘provenance’. Not that that matters when it comes to saintly relics.

      • Oh, I love him. And as bad as he is, he’s never needlessly cruel. And he’s also hilarious.

        Also, that sucks that you can’t drink coffee. I practically depend on the stuff. Still, I only drink it two ways – hot, or frozen. Cold coffee is nasty.

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