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


Saint Lucia Hospital was big and one of the few buildings of any size in Albuquerque that I’d seen that didn’t have a southwest theme to it.

Um. If it’s a building in the southwest, then it doesn’t have a ‘southwest theme’ to it. It is built in a southwestern style. Because it’s in the southwest.

It was just big and blocky, a generic hospital. Maybe they didn’t expect the tourists to see the hospital. Lucky tourists.

Communities don’t have culture just in the hopes of appealing to tourists. New Mexico has ‘southwestern’ style because IT IS IN THE SOUTHWEST AND IT IS A BLEND OF SPANISH, MEXICAN, AND EUROPEAN CULTURES AND BECAUSE IT IS HOT AND BECAUSE IT HAS SPECIFIC RESOURCES THAT DETERMINE BUILDING STYLES.

Anita Blake: a woman who doesn’t understand why things have to be different.

Edward and Anita go into the hospital, work their way to a closed-off corridor, where Edward greets the police officer preventing entry. The police officer doesn’t say, ‘hi bounty hunter who is not a police officer and therefore has no place or purpose in these events’.

The uniform looked past Edward to me. He looked young, but his eyes were cool and gray, cop eyes.

Why do you keep using that phrase. Stop using that phrase. I hate that phrase.

Anita interprets his look not as ‘Who is this person and why is she here?’ but as ‘she isn’t squirming – she must be a fellow member of the police!’. She has passed the ‘not-squirming’ inspection, and can now face the inquiry of the lieutenant. This displeases Edward, who thinks that he should be allowed to swan into a locked ward and bring whatever random stranger he wants to stare at the maimed bodies of victims. But Anita gots this.

“I’m a girl and technically a civilian. A lot of cops don’t trust me to do the job.”

“I vouched for you.”

“Gee, Ed… Ted, I guess your opinion doesn’t carry as much weight as you thought it did.”

  • Why the fuck would the police care if you are a cis woman?
  • There are other women in the police you know.
  • Anita isn’t this magical bringer of vagina goodness.
  • Yes, you are a civilian with no authority here. I can’t believe you’ve managed to notice this after the past eight books
  • they don’t trust you to do police work because YOU ARE NOT A POLICE OFFICER
  • Edward is just some random bounty hunter – why the fuck should they care about his opinion?

Anita thinks that Edward has a ‘mask face’ but I have no idea why because he’s not saying or doing anything. Then the lieutenant comes in and Anita rejoices at the chance to shit all over people again.

The man in the doorway was short, not many inches above me, maybe five foot six at best. I wondered if their police force didn’t have a height requirement.

They got rid of height requirements for the American police a while ago. I even looked up the requirements for police officers in New Mexico. It does not mention a requirement for height, only that candidates be physically fit. LKH, get with the times, stop using outdated information.

He was tanned a nice soft gold, as if it were as dark a tan as his pale skin was capable of. First Donna, now the lieutenant. Didn’t anyone sweat skin cancer here?

  • He lives in a desert. He’s going to get suntanned, even while taking good care of his skin.
  • I have never seen a human being with gold skin.
  • It’s nice to see that Anita doesn’t even consider the possibility that the lieutenant might be Hispanic, or have a Mexican heritage like her.
  • EVERYONE IS WHITE EVEN WHEN THEY’RE NOT

He looked at me with green-gold eyes, the color of new spring leaves. They were beautiful eyes with long golden lashes and softened his face to an almost feminine appearance. Only the masculine jut of the jaw saved him from being one of those men who is beautiful instead of handsome. The jaw both ruined his face and saved it from perfection.

Men can only look good if they look like women. But if you are a woman, you are bad. What is ‘feminine’ can only be considered acceptable if it is presented as being masculine.

That’s a pretty textbook example of misogyny. LKH, why do you hate women? What have have women done to hurt you so badly?

Plus, his eyes sound fucking ridiculous.

Lieutenant Marks does not approve of Anita. He says he doesn’t like ‘civilians messing in my case’ which is fair enough, but that would be a reasonable point of conflict so he has to be made into the worst strawman villain.

“I don’t need shit from some fucking zombie queen.”

Ah, he was prejudiced.

Ah, he’s a terrible strawman because LKH can’t create any realistic tension or points of contention. Because she writes like a child.

“Who got your panties in a twist, Marks?”

He frowned. “What?”

“Do I remind you of your ex-wife?”

“I’m married to my only wife.” He sounded indignant.

Possibly because you decided to be as offensive and insulting as you could be instead of behaving like an adult. You could have said ‘I’m sorry that you think that I am not suited to working on this case. Ted has vouched for me, but would you like to speak to the officers I regularly work for in St. Louis?’. But no. You had to insult him.

Marks admits that he doesn’t like black magic, which makes Anita retort that ‘I don’t do black magic, Marks’ although she raises the dead which is black magic and has always been classified as black magic because it’s messing around with dead bodies which is hardly qualified as ‘white’ which deals with healing and more positive aspects of the natural cycle. It also ignores the religious and cultural aura around animation in the AB universe where it is often denounced as black magic by various churches and religious groups. Apparently, characters are not allowed to have their own independent opinions that differ from the herd. All must be pod people!

Anita declares herself to be a good Christian girl (LOL) and that she’s not evil.

“The state of my immortal soul is between God and myself Lieutenant Marks. Judge not lest ye be judged yourself. Or do you skip that part and just keep the parts you like?”

Here is a very long article detailing all the Biblical verses which forbid the use of necromancy and magic that raises the dead.

Here’s one that details the eternal fate in hell for necromancers;

Revelation 21:8 – But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

And I just like this one.

Leviticus 19:31 – Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I [am] the LORD your God.

So, yeah, who is the bigger hypocrite in this, Anita?

Also, I think God looks down on those who presume to speak for Him in a sanctimonious manner. I think that’s the meaning behind ‘judge not lest ye be judged’. Lordy, who lets themselves be schooled on Bible quotes by an atheist?

Anita then accuses everyone of being spooked by the victims and screams about how everyone is scared but not her. Marks says ‘You think you’re so fucking tough?’ because Scary Sues are always the ones who only make any sense in stories like this. Anita takes this as a chance to go into the locked ward, demands Edward tell her what’s going on, and proclaims him a bastard.

Maybe it’s all a set up to murder her.

I hope so.

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

  1. Even when people are insulting her, they have to complement her. I notice that she’s a ‘zombie queen’ not a zombie bitch or a zombie whore or anything derogatory. And I bet that he comes round to worshiping Anita. He’s too pretty not to.

    Why aren’t there technical definitions of black magic? Magic and necromancy are established parts of this universe. It would make the world seem so much richer if Anita had said ‘black magic is defined by law as magic that causes harm to someone else. Calling my necromancy black magic means you are accusing me of using human sacrifice in my work. In which case I will report you for harassment’. Or something. Something to show that this is all part of the universe, Goddamnit.

    • There can’t be anything derogatory said about Anita. Then you might start thinking of how she’s a dreadful person.

      Technical definitions? You calling for LKH to think about her world building? GET THEE HENCE.

  2. “It was just big and blocky, a generic hospital. Maybe they didn’t expect the tourists to see the hospital. Lucky tourists.”

    … What does that even mean? What possible thought could Anita be trying to convey? That the hospital should have been built to match the rest of the town? IT’S A HOSPITAL – IT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO ATTRACT TOURISTS.

    “It’s nice to see that Anita doesn’t even consider the possibility that the lieutenant might be Hispanic, or have a Mexican heritage like her.”

    You mean her almost non-existent heritage, the purposes of which are to A) make Anita “exotic”, or B) serve as a source of angst?

    “Anita declares herself to be a good Christian girl (LOL) and that she’s not evil.”

    And here we go again:

    That will never get old.

    • Bender’s comments will never get old or redundant in this series.

      Don’t you go to tourist hotspots to check out the local hospitals? Dying people just make a trip for me!

      There’s a chapter coming up where she goes to a Mexican restaurant. It’s where LKH’s desire for the exotic really clashes with her blinding ignorance.

  3. Did…did she expect the hospital to be THEMED? Like, because it is New Mexico, she thought it would be done up for a Cinco de Mayo celebration with pinatas hung in the surgical ward?

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