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

Anita and Edward continue to read the files on the mutilations.

Reading about paperwork isn’t interesting. They just discuss how each of the victims felt a compulsion to go out and do something on the night they were attacked, which is interesting. But then Anita just goes on about how she doesn’t understand how Donna can’t see how cold and mean Edward is, and it’s just more ‘oh donna is so stupid lolz’ and I want to smack my head on a table.

Anita thinks that the compulsion was some sort of latent psychic abilities, even though it sounds like some force is instilling the idea in the victim’s heads. And then she talks about mental illnesses again. Oh joy. It wasn’t offensive the first time.

“I’m saying that psychic ability can masquerade as mental illness. –

In a world where psychic abilities have been known about and openly accepted for centuries, doctors would not consistently confuse mental illness with psychic abilities. Mental illnesses are many and complex, and being able to hear voices is not synonymous with mental illness.

I know ghost hunters that hear the voices of the dead like whispers in their ears, one of the classic symptoms of psycophernia.


Psychophrenia, not ‘psyco-hernia’, is paranoid psychophrenia and used to be called paranoid schizophrenia. ‘Hearing voices’ is not necessarily a symptom. A symptom of serious paranoid psychophrenia can be auditory hallucinations, but one of those things people forget about the whole ‘hearing voices thing’ is that people are mostly aware of the fact that the voices are not real or are abnormal. You know that the voices aren’t real and you fight them because you know it’s not right. You’ll fight it until you start to see the evidence of your delusions in the world around you, and it stops being abnormal.

If you are hearing the voices of dead people, then it’s going to be obvious to EVERYONE that you are not having hallucinations. Because you live in a world where that is AN ACCEPTED THING FOR PEOPLE TO DO.

Empaths, people who draw impressions from other people, can be depressed because they’re surrounded by depressed people, and they don’t know how to shield themselves.

For a start, that can happen with people in the actual world, and as someone with depression, I would argue that’s not how it works. For me, my depression is rooted inside my internal voice, which is highly critical and attacks me. Just having sad emotions inside you doesn’t give you depression, not without the process that begins it and perpetuates it.

plus empaths what are you a child that’s stupid

Really strong clairvoyants can spread their lives getting visions from everything they touch, unable to turn it off, again seeing things that aren’t there. Psycophernia.

Psychophrenia. And are they excessively paranoid? No? Then they can never be perceived as having that particular mental illness. Hallucinations are a symptom of several different illnesses, so don’t just keep throwing out that one misspelled word that does not mean what you think it means.

Demonic possession can mask itself as multiple personality.

In a world with demonic possession, why would a doctor ever confuse the two? Especially seeing as it would be obvious if YOU WERE BEING USED AS A MEATSUIT BY A FUCKING DEMON!

I could give you examples for the next hour matching mental illness with different types of power.”

Yeah, fucking right. This argument makes no sense. And borders on offensive. ‘oh mental illness doesn’t exist, it’s just psychic powers’ fuck that.

Anita and Edward then talk about how stooooopid the police are for a page and then Anita suggests that people felt compulsions to leave because of ghosts. This is stupid. If you think a supernatural force is doing the mutilations, why can’t you stretch your mind to think ‘oh, it’s bringing victims to it’? She gets to that eventually, after talking about witchcraft and backtracking that bullshit she said in Blue Moon by saying that there are both good and bad witches.

Edward talks about devils and demonologists and Anita poo-poos it.

“Let’s just say I’m tired of running into them without knowing that much about them.”

You have met one. And you sort of caused it to go running around and killing people. She then goes on an angst monologue about how many dark and evil things she has seen. The pair of them talk about whether it all has a supernatural cause. Then Olaf comes in, fresh from his raping spree, and they make jokes at him. He asks why she’s even here and it gets even more stupid.

“The Greeks believe that once there were no male and no female, that all souls were one. Then the souls were torn apart, male and female. The Greeks thought that when you found the other half of your soul, your soul mate, that it would be your perfect lover. But I think if you find your other half, you would be too much alike to be lovers, but you would still be soul mates. […] She is like a piece of my soul, Olaf.”



Olaf stared down at him. “You cannot mean to say that this girl, die Zimtzicke of a girl is better than Bernardo or me.”

“That’s exactly what I mean.”

Die Zimtzicke meant a quarrelsome or bitchy woman. Couldn’t really argue with that one.

I can. Because ‘die zimtzicke’ means ‘the dimwit’. It might be an accurate statement, but it’s not the one you think it is. And why did LKH say ‘the dimwit’? She understands that other languages use the word ‘the’ and don’t use it in front of words where it isn’t needed as in English?


Anita declares she is tired, and Olaf calls her a coward for not wanting to look at the police photographs. She just says nyah nyah, I’m a woman, I don’t feel the need to have pissing contests.


Edward then tells Anita that she gets to sleep in the room next to Olaf’s tonight, and that she’ll have to take precautions to not get violently raped in her sleep. Surely, Anita and Edward are soul mates, he cares about her so much. They then talk about how Anita isn’t like most women who get ‘mushy’ when they talk about soul mates and that they’re going to sneak Anita into the club of the Aztec vampire, which is massively insulting to her political position and will get them killed, and Anita puts a chair under her doorknob to keep Olaf out which I don’t think will work.

She then talks about her guns for two pages. Two very tedious pages.

My god, this was a very long and boring chapter.


3 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Obsidian Butterfly’ chapter twenty one

  1. The ‘mental illness vs psychic powers’ thing could be interesting. I remember one series where people who were possessed by demons often developed mental illness because the demon enjoyed screwing with their brain. It could be that the part of the brain that dealt with psychic powers was also one that was linked to mental illness. Or if in the past there had been confusion when neither psychic powers nor mental illness was understood. Or if there was some huge social stigma attached to either psychic abilities or mental illness, so patients or doctors would try to twist the symptoms to fit one or the other. That would mean that a person might insist he was bipolar rather than being influenced by other people’s emotions, so paperwork would show he was mentally ill rather than psychic. Conversely, a person might believe they had psychic powers rather than mental illness. Both of those scenarios could have genuine impacts on the police, and thus the story. Rather than the rather unfortunate ‘mental illness isn’t real’ or ‘mental illness is caused by outside forces’ vibes that I’m getting.

  2. Hi! I know this entry is about a year old by now, but I only got around reading it now and I would like to talk about something shortly. As much crap as LKH writes, her use of “die Zimtzicke” is actually, in contrast to what you may think, correct. Zimtzicke does mean exactly what she explained – a bitchy, nagging person. Actually, it’s just a variation of “Zicke”, which means exactly the same, at least in this context. Don’t ask me why we also add some cinnamon to it sometimes though. Her use of an article before is also kind of correct, because what that part meant was “that bitch of a girl” (as weird as it sounds in English) and in German you would use a definite article in place of the indefinite one English uses: “die Zimtzicke von einem Mädel”. So, if that German guy code-mixes, something like “die Zimtzicke of a girl” is actually a logical and correctly translated phrase.

    • Thanks for the correction – I don’t speak German, so I can only nitpick based on what I assume, and that’s often wrong! To be fair, I’m sporking the works of an author who’s frequently wrong, so I tend to take a negative view anyway 😛

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