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


Anita goes back into the locked ward to ‘impress’ herself, but it doesn’t really do much, seeing as she’s not a police officer and hasn’t got a flying fuck of a clue what she’s doing.

I either impressed Doctor Evans, or he needed a restorative cup of tea because he invited me back to the doctors and nurses lounge.

I’m starting to think Doctor Evans’s phone number is 0800 DOCTORB with the b standing for ‘bargain’.

There’s no such thing as truly undrinkable coffee, but I hoped the tea was better for Evans’ sake.

Hmmm. I think that Evans might not miss out the added s on a plural because you pronounce it ‘Evans-es’ and generally if you pronounce it like that you do add an s after the pluralising apostrophe. It’s why it’s ‘Jess’s’ and not ‘Jess”, and why Louis gets an apostrophe. I’m not sure though, my grammar is not the greatest.

Though I doubted it. The coffee came out of a can, and the tea was from little bags with strings on them.

…. you mean…. tea bags.

Do you not have tea bags in America?

Is it normal for a woman of Anita’s age to be confused by the concept of a TEA BAG?

I thought tea bags were an America invention. Why is she bitching about the idea of tea bags? They’re nice things. They let you make tea easily, without faffing around with loose leaf tea. And seeing as Anita does not drink tea, I doubt she is an aficionado who makes tea with loose leaves.

Why do you hate tea bags, Anita Blake? Did they lead to the death of your mother somehow?

There’s only so much you can hope for from prepackaged tea and coffee.

Unless you are going out and picking tea leaves or coffee beans by yourself, ALL your tea and coffee is prepackaged.

Anita fusses about adding cream and sugar to her coffee, as if those aren’t prepackaged, but are actually dispensed from some magical cream-and-sugar producing cow in the lounge. Also, I find the idea of putting cream in coffee really weird.

If Edward had nerves, you couldn’t tell it as he leaned against the wall, drinking his coffee black. He’d scorned sugar and cream, tough he-man that he was. He winced as he sipped, and I don’t think it was the scalding liquid. His lip was swelling from where I’d kicked him. It made me feel better. Childish but true.

Why did you kick him? Can you try and explain why you communicate in violence?

Anita sits down and describes the lounge in excruciating detail for half a page. I don’t know why. Evans then asks for Anita’s questions about the case. She wants to know why the majority have survived.

“Then how did all but six of them survive?” I asked.

That’s crap. Twelve people have died, ten are missing. The missing are probably dead, so that means all but six of them died. She is then clever enough to work out that the people who weren’t pulled into bits are the ones that are alive.

I bet she was that kid that ate yellow snow after she was told to avoid it.

The group try to decide on the survivors being ‘tough sons of bitches’ but Anita wants to know why the skinned ones just aren’t dead.

“How did all six of them survive, Doctor? Not why this six, but why all of them?”

Evans nodded. “I see what you mean. How could all of them have survived it?”

I nodded. “Exactly. Some of them should have died, but they didn’t.”

“Whoever skinned them is an expert,” Marks said. “He knew how to keep them alive.”

“No,” Edward said. “No matter how good you are at torture, you can’t keep everybody alive. Even if you do exactly the same thing to each of them, some people die and some people live. You’re not always sure why some make it, and some don’t.”

Um… are we forgetting the TWELVE DEAD PEOPLE AND THE TEN MISSING PEOPLE WHO I PRESUME ARE DEAD. That sounds like some people dying and some people living. Everyone forgets this, so that Anita can drop the bomb that it must be magic that is keeping these people alive. This makes Marks have a paper towel throwing fit and splutter about evil and black magic.

“Saving a soul is more important than solving crime,” he said.

Of course, Anita’s detractors can only spout strawman arguments otherwise they start to look too reasonable. LKH learnt her lesson from Detective Freemont and the good ship Freetie.

Marks makes some vague comments about Anita being a devil, and Evans pretty much just starts jacking off to how tuff and amazing Anita is and how there must be something more to her than being tuff because Marks seems to be afraid for some reason. It’s almost like she can magically control the dead or something, which is a terrifying prospect. He then talks about EVILS.

“I do not know if I will ever see the devil, but I have seen true evil, and if there is no devil behind it, still it is evil.”

Don’t worry, I’m sure Evans will say anything when he’s climaxing.

He then says that his wife is a witch, and that he has seen magic sometimes. His wife is in another country, because he is scared for her. Anita praises him for thinking with his heart and not his head, and Edward says she should take her own advice.

To be fair to Anita, neither of her relationships at this point were made with any kind of consideration as to what she might actually want. So she couldn’t think with any part of her body about them.

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

  1. I think Edward goes round and hands out scripts to people before he introduces Anita to them.

    Evans: Why do I have to be her fanboy? I wanted to be the bigoted strawman.
    Edward: Because you’ll only be here for one scene, and you’re a doctor. Doctors are good people.
    Marks: ‘Saving souls is more important than solving crime’? Really? Why the fuck would I become a policeman if I believed that?
    Edward: You can’t be subtle with Anita. And she needs someone to argue with at crime scenes so she looks tough. Don’t worry, by the end you’ll be dead, forgotten or a fanboy.
    Marks: But couldn’t I have some actual reasons to dislike her? Like her general incompetence?
    Edward; No. If you had real arguments, Anita might have to face uncomfortable truths about herself. Now, does everyone remember their roles? I’m about to go pick Anita up from the airport.

  2. I’m sorry, but if you find the idea of cream in coffee weird, I would never suggest, on any potential trips to the US, that you wander into a coffee shop. Actually, never get coffee here at all. I’ve watched people at the gas station lay on the creamer into their cups to the point where I’m pretty sure it’s 90% cream 10% coffee. It’s hilarious. And vaguely disgusting. I’ve joked with my boss that the solid cream brick they must have at the bottom of the cup must be their end-of-drink treat, like fruit on the bottom yogurt.

    Also, yes: there are tea snobs. It’s getting to be a very big thing in this country, and I admit, if I try to drink tea, I tend to use loose leaf. But I also have a nice tea stranger/easily drained mug that makes it simple to do.

    • bleurgghhhh cream is what you put on scones, and trifle, and cakes, and pies, not what you put in drinks!

      Unless it’s a cream liqueur, that is.

      I was more concerned that Anita didn’t know what a teabag is. That’s just weird.

      • To be fair, it’s usually “creamer (in both powder and pourable form)” and not always actual cream-from-a-cow. But here in ‘Murica, it’s cream in coffee. And also a racial description, as you may have noticed. -_-

        I think LKH is just terrible at writing Anita’s snobbery: she’s trying to act all elitist and “there’s tea in little bags. Tea does not come in bags. That is not tea” and instead she just sounds confused. Then again, this is the woman who apparently triggered herself a panic attack yesterday because she wrote some crazy shit for the newest Merry book, and then her husband happened to touch her shoulder the same way Merry was touched, or something. Kind of messed up, frankly.

      • She could just say ‘i prefer tea in loose leaves; it tasted better. Hey, call me a snob, but that’s just my taste’.

        I saw that. I… came close to posting how offended I was, before realising I would be drowned by troos. I guess LKH saw that ‘trigger warnings’ were a thing, and decided to jump on the latest cool train. I wouldn’t normally be so angry about it, but it hit a real personal nerve.

      • Well, according to her, it was both disturbing, and a “confirmation that I’m doing my job right. The book consumes me,” and that was the icing on the cake. I’ve dealt with my problems pretty well, but I know exactly how things can remind you of what’s happened to you, and to see her suggest she’s such an awesome writer because she faked herself into a triggering moment…just aauugh.

      • Your idea of “cream” is not what we normally call “cream” in the U.S. “Cream” is a far more liquid substance here, the consistency of milk. Otherwise we call it whipped cream, except if it’s in a cream pie, in which case it is usually spelled “creme” anyway.

        Putting cream in coffee is normal here, though not so de rigeur that taking coffee without it is a big deal. We do not usually use huge amounts, but a teaspoonful or two. I would not drink coffee without a little cream or milk in it, as the thought is disgusting.

        As for LKH not knowing what teabags are — her vocabulary is ridiculously bad. That’s all there is to it.

      • But you CAN get liquid cream here. Whipped cream is a completely different thing!

        Sorry, I can’t reconcile the idea of cream in tea with how it’s different in the US. I just find it weird.

        You can make your character sound tuff if you give the vaguest description of a teabag to make her sound all erudite. Writer bizns.

      • You know how we can be: we have one word for five different things. “Cream” can stand for the creamer you put in your coffee, liquid heavy cream that can be whipped into whipping cream, half and half…..

    • I recall that there a few points were Anita’s coffee snobbery rears it’s head and she talks about how she prefers to use ‘real’ cream in her coffee. I have since been under the impressin she uses the whipping type cream. Or possibly ice cream.

  3. Well, I find an awful lot of things about English culture “weird” too. We have different countries with different assumptions and different languages. One is not better than the other.

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