A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Obsidian Butterfly’ chapter four

The car belonged to Ted, even though Edward was driving it.

That would be because TED IS EDWARD. They’re not two separate people! How is this concept difficult for you to understand?

The car, which is a Hummer, is dirty and Anita complains about this. Edward boasts of how much it cost, and then Anita realises that it is new. She asks why is it dirty.

Oh, I don’t know, because it’s a fucking all purpose vehicle! Like your Jeep! Because Edward, like you, goes to kill things out in the countryside! Why are simple concepts so difficult for Anita to understand? She is so stupid. Why is she so stupid? Why does she complain about everything? Why can’t she understand anything? What kind of a person thinks that this type of dialogue is intelligent and witty and perceptive?

Watching an episode of Hannibal would blow LKH’s mind.

Plus, I really hate people who act all snooty because they’ve got some massive off-road vehicle that costs the gross income of several families. Small, three door Fords are actually ideal for driving off road, if you know what you’re doing. People with off-road cars like Edward often don’t know how to handle a car and get in trouble. I see it all the time.

Anita and Edward talk about gun laws. She is only allowed to carry a concealed weapon with a permit, but does not have to have a permit if she wears her gun openly. It makes sense to me – if someone has a gun worn openly, well, then I can tell that they have a gun, opposed as to if they have it hidden – but Anita pretty much deems it stupid.

I started sliding out of the jacket. You can wriggle out of almost anything while remaining seatbelted in a car. Since I always wear a seatbelt, I’d still had a lot of practice.

Take a point on Sue bingo: authors praising a character for competence in a perfectly ordinary task.

Edward says that Anita will probably be stopped by the police at some point, and that she is forbidden from taking a gun into a bar (which makes perfect sense. Guns and alcohol do not mix). Anita ignores this and asks what the local mountains are called. They are ‘Sangre del Christo’ – the blood of Christ – and is spelt ‘Sangre de Cristo’. Bad author. Research is your friend.

This leads into another monologue about how wonderful The Great and All Powerful Anita Blake is.

“How long has Ted lived out here?”

“Almost four years,” he said.

“And you don’t know why the mountains are named Sangre del Christo? Do you have no curiosity?”

Well, they’re not called that. They are called Sangre de Cristo. They’re called that because they look red at sunrise and sunset.

“What if this monster that we’re hunting is some kind of local bugaboo? Knowing why the mountains are named what they’re named may mean nothing, or it may have to do with a legend, a story, a hint about some great blood bath in the past. There are very localized monsters, Edward, things that only come above ground every century or so like really long-lived cicadas.”

“Cicadas?” he asked.

“Yeah, cicadas. The immature form stays in the ground until every thirteen or seven or whatever their cycle is years, they climb out, molt, and become adults. They’re the insects that make all that noise in the summertime.”

“Whatever did those people wasn’t a giant cicada, Anita.”

‘Killed those people’. ‘Abducted those people’. Would it kill you to be specific?

“That’s not the point, Edward. My point is that there are types of living creatures that stay hidden, almost totally hidden, for years , then resurface. Monsters are still part of the natural world. Preternatural biology is still biology. So maybe old myths and legends would give us a clue.”

Let me kick that soapbox out from under your feet, Anita. Here’s my question:

  • Why didn’t YOU do some research into the local area before you left?

Don’t get snitty at Edward and act all high and mighty about something you never do.

Edward says they’re going to that latest crime scene, which is in Albuquerque (I really hate spelling that it’s so awkward), after they drop off somewhere and visit the people he’s working with. She jokes with him about it, and he takes it very badly because his work is SRS BZNS. His back-up are both assassins and bounty hunters like him. One’s called Bernardo and the other Olaf. The conversation then descends into ‘you’re picking on me!’ ‘you’re so touchy’ ‘why aren’t you telling me everything’ ‘oh my god you’ve told other people everything about me’ ‘let’s discuss your love life’.

then anita begins badgering edward about donna and says the very worst thing.

“Donna’s old enough to make her own mistakes, but when you screw her, you’re screwing her kids, too.”


You could have just said that Edward should not be involved in their lives, that he is negatively impacting on them and that they have no choice about it. But no. Anita has to phrase it in a sexual context because that is all she can think about. And now she’s made me think of Edward as molesting children. Great. Thanks for that.

Edward then refuses to tell Anita about Bernardo and Olaf, presumably so she can’t accuse him of sleeping with them as well.

The car pulls up at the local hospital – they’ve come here to see the survivors that are recuperating. Anita screams at Edward for not telling her that there were people still alive. Edward just ignores her. Anita sits and sulks until she remembers that she said she would help.

She doesn’t think once about how she would like to help the people who have been murdered or the people who have been abducted. That would be thinking of someone other than herself, you see.


14 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Obsidian Butterfly’ chapter four

  1. “What if this monster that we’re hunting is some kind of local bugaboo? Knowing why the mountains are named what they’re named may mean nothing, or it may have to do with a legend, a story, a hint about some great blood bath in the past. There are very localized monsters, Edward, things that only come above ground every century or so like really long-lived cicadas.”

    YET ANOTHER AWESOME POTENTIAL THING WASTED IN THE ABVERSE. I mean yeah that was kind of the deal with Bloody Bones but I would really like more focus on the monsters that aren’t vampires and werebeasts but like MONSTERS you know?

    • The series does need more diversity of monsters. Like my madlibs thing with the cover – each book has been about some kind of serial killer, with zombies or vampires being involved, aside from Bloody Bones. It’s just so fucking repetitive.

  2. I really dislike the (hopefully unintentional) pedophilia implication. But I also dislike the idea that this is only wrong because they’re having sex. If he was getting involved in her life and the life of the kids as Ted the Friendly Neighbour, driving them the ballet or football or whatever,, and not having sex with Donna, it would still be a relationship based on deceit. Not rape, but still awful.

    • I’m fairly sure it’s unintentional, but there are a million better ways to phrase it.

      If Edward and Donna had a purely emotional relationship, it would still be awful on the children. He would still be invested in their lives, and the deception is still damaging.

      • Exactly! But no, it’s only evil because he’s having sex with someone who isn’t Anita.

        Personally I would have phrased it something along the lines of ‘it’s not just Donna’s life you’re involved in now. What you do affects the kids as well.’

        And I love (read hate) that she doesn’t even seem to consider that she might have some sort of obligation to inform Donna.

      • That is perfect phrasing that does not make me think of people molesting children.

        Like Anita thinks another human being has a right to be more important than her for five seconds.

  3. Ted is actually Edwards good twin. They are working together to destroy Anita before her Mary-Sue powers of plot convenience become too great for them to overcome!

    • So, what, they’re doing something like [*spoilers*] Christian Bale in The Prestige where they’re splitting the same life?[*end spoilers*]

      I’d go more with Ted as his alternate-personality. Less finicky that way.

    • Oh, oh, that’s so perfect. If there’s no objection, I’m putting this on my list of crackfics to write.

  4. Yes, Anita, you don’t actually need a concealed-carry permit if the weapon isn’t concealed. However, you still need a licence for the gun, which I’m not sure you have. In fact, I’m not entirely sure why you’re carrying a gun at the moment, because you shouldn’t have had one on you when you boarded the plane. What, is a gun your version of a safety blanket or something?

    Also, does LKH not understand that bounty hunters are only peripherally involved in law enforcement? At best, they go after people who have jumped bail or missed their court date. All of which comes *after* an arrest has been made.

    • Yeah, I have no idea how ‘Ted’ is involved with the case. He’s not a detective. He’s not a policeman. His job involves rounding up meth addicts who’ve stolen people’s bins.

      • This is why this world needs professional monster hunters.

        Oh wait, those already exist – those special divisions of the police. Why aren’t they handling this?

        Wait, they can’t find their own asses with both hands and a map. Just like all the other cops in this universe.

      • Because RPIT is an embarrassing division to be in, it’s a punishment for hot headed loose canons! Because being in a specialised squad which would be made glamorous and heroic by the news is such a punishment.

        I have this mental picture of RPIT officers being a bit like FI drivers in the seventies, where the news are obsessed with their relationship with danger and stuff.

        But that would be interesting. And they would be more important than Anita.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s