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


This might be the very first chapter I’ve ever had to split up because it’s almost forty pages. I’m guessing from this point I’ll probably have to start splitting up chapters often. Bleugh. Why aren’t these chapters in good, spork sized chunks?

Anita pegs Obsidian Butterfly as a tourist trap which is bad for undefined reasons.

The building was done in faux-Aztec temple. Or for all I knew real Aztec temple.

Did your mother used to beat your head into a wall? How come you are this stupid? It cannot possibly be an actual Aztec temple. The Aztecs did not live in New Mexico. And you couldn’t turn an actual Aztec temple into a nightclub. There are many reasons why that would not work.

The place is covered in red neon, which makes it sound as tacky as hell. Well, more than it already did. It sounds like a novelty restaurant in a zoo. Anita notices that everyone else seems to be in couples, and that she’s the only woman with a group of guys, which means that LKH has obviously never been in a nightclub. Most people go out to nightclubs with their friends (and or a partner). Three guys and a girl isn’t going to be noticeable in a nightclub. Not when most people go in gender gangs.

[Edward] walked to he head of line where a large, broad-shouldered man of very Indian –

Native American.

– descent stood bare-chested, wearing what looked like a skirt but probably wasn’t –

I repeat my question: did your mother used to beat your head into a wall?

– and a heavy faux-gold collar that covered most of his shoulders like a mantle. He was wearing a crown covered in macaw feathers and other smaller feathers that I couldn’t identify.

The outfit of the bouncer doesn’t seem very authentic, aside from the headdress of bird feathers. To me, it sounds more like…

Well, as long as they’re both brown people.

Plus, you’re all arseholes for jumping to the front of the queue.

Edward explains they’re part of Professor Dallas’s party. Now, most of the bouncers I know would say ‘Go to the end of the queue mate, you should have arrived with her’. The bouncer asks for their names and ID, and Anita openly panics about not having her ID. I’m sure we’ve all done the ‘shit I haven’t got any ID on me’ dance, and the bouncer ought to recognise it. He definitely should be suspicious when Edward makes a big deal about pulling out Anita’s missing ID from his pocket.

It was a New Mexico license with an address that I didn’t know. But it was my picture, and it said Anita Lee. The height, weight, and the rest were accurate, just the name and address were wrong.

Thank you for explaining to me that it is, in fact, a fake ID, Milhouse.

The four of them are let inside, going into a room full of curtains and incense that magically isn’t a fire hazard. They are checked for weapons, and a man with feathers in his hair seems to like Bernardo. Bernardo has a gun hidden in the bulge of his trousers, something I don’t think possible because I’m not sure how many blokes have square penises.

Inside the club itself, the room has been made into a mock temple setting, with the tables being stone altars. That I find confusing. Why is a nightclub full of tables? Where is the room for the dancefloor? There’s a ‘stage’ area which makes me think this is another stupid strip club and that makes me… I’m just so pissed of vampires running strip clubs. Unless you made it a vampire running an incredibly sleazy and grimy place. Like…

like Titty Twister in From Dusk till Dawn.

Oh, I know NOW why this book is Aztec themed. You HACK. YOU ABSOLUTE HACK. YOU SAW THIS FILM, THOUGHT THE THEME WAS COOL, AND STOLE IT FOR YOUR BOOK.

HHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK.

It was as if someone had sliced off the top of a pyramid temple and transported it here to this night club, in a city so far removed from the lush jungles where the building began that the stones themselves must be lonely.

Now, there is a jungle in Mexico. However, the Aztec themselves were not a people who tended to live in jungles. That would be many other central American and South American tribes.

HACK.

A waitress in a qipao – for some reason – takes them to Professor Dallas’s table. She’s short and dressed exactly as a hack would imagine a professor to look like. Everyone sits down and a man in another stereotypically pre-Columbian Mexican outfit comes onto the stage. He puts MAGIC POWER on everyone. Everyone apart from Anita, because she’s special.

The man on stage (‘king or high priest’ oh give me a break) says that it’s a special month and they need a chosen one. Anita works out that the guy is a human servant, and a pretty powerful one at that.

Most vamps, where they can, do tricks with their voices. The words themselves hold the key. They say beautiful, and you see beauty. They say terror, and you feel afraid.

That was more effective when Terry Pratchett did it in Lords and Ladies.

The man on stage announces that they have seen some guy as the god Tezcathpoca and now they will see him as a man. Then some guy wearing a g-string comes on stage and is… sexy? I dunno. This show sounds pretty boring. But seeing as everyone is entranced by MAGIC they automatically think it’s wonderful.

I’d be really sad as a vampire if people couldn’t like my talents for what they were without the influence of magic. What’s the point of doing anything, if no one can truly appreciate it?

And then it’s announced that the man-god in a g-string needs a bride and men in animal skins come out to get women to come on stage.

A man passed within touching distance of our table, and I saw the black rosettes that decorate the golden skin more closely, and it wasn’t a leopard. I was spending a lot of time with St. Louis’ wereleopards.

Well, it can’t be a leopard skin seeing as leopards are Eurasian. You’re such a moron.

She talks about sex and describes the skin some more for about a page before realising that duh, it’s jaguar fur.

god you’re so stupid

Anita then realises that they’re all werejaguars DUN DUN DUN. This is based on the fact that they are wearing jaguar skins otherwise ‘the costumes were like the ultimate false advertising’.

YOU’RE A FUCKING NECROMANCER YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO TELL

Of course, Anita gets picked out instantly. She refuses, but the weak argument of ‘you have long hair’ is enough to win her around. Um, aren’t you supposed to be incognito so the incredibly powerful vampire doesn’t realise you’re here?

I was a tourist. A tourist would go.

I wouldn’t go. I don’t like being dragged onto stage to perform in front of people if I haven’t chosen to do so.

Anita stands with the women on stage, next to a fat one who is probably going to be the butt of some sort of cruel joke. The other women, who are all giggling, then stroke the body of the man in the g-string, despite that being illegal and not allowed in this sort of act. Anita and Ramona refuse to do this. The priest mindrapes Ramona into complying.

It was illegal to force anyone to do anything against their will by use of magic.

That’s funny, because that’s what your boyfriend does every night. Anita then says how much it doesn’t bother her that her boyfriend enjoys raping the minds of women for fun and profit because she is a horrible person and an appalling character that should never have been published.

The man-god is having his private parts groped by the mindraped women – not fat old Ramona, who has to stand on the side of the stage, having her mind forcefully controlled. Anita wades on in to pull the man off the women and then pulls on a woman’s arm to cause her enough pain to make her let go. She inflicts enough pain on this innocent woman to make her scream.

If you care so much about this, why don’t you stop the priest who is mindraping everyone?

I spoke low, but my voice carried. The stage had great acoustics. “My turn.”

…. and we’ll leave the rest of the crazy tomorrow. I think that’s enough for now. I have a feeling it’s going to get even worse.

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

  1. Is there just some unspoken law in this universe that all politically powerful vampires must run really sleazy strip-clubs? I really don’t get it, and it’s not exactly conducive to them integrating with human society. Where are the vampire bankers, restaurant owners, lawyers (actually, scratch that – a vampire lawyer would be a terrible idea), or other, non-skeevy jobs? I mean, the only reason I can see that so many vampires would run these kinds of businesses is if they’re trying to be secretive.

    And oh, god, Hamilton did rip-off From Dusk ’til Dawn, didn’t she? I like that movie – it’s sleazy and gory and completely without pretension. Plus, they kill all those vampires at the end with a disco ball. And as little sense as the big reveal at the end might make, given everything else that happened, it doesn’t matter.

    “It was illegal to force anyone to do anything against their will by use of magic.”

    And yet no one ever seems to get punished for this shit. Ever. You’d think that, as the big bad vampire killer, Anita would say something when this kind of thing is happening right in front of her. But nope, since it doesn’t effect her, it doesn’t matter. Guess all those other women are just “weak” for not having any of the protections Anita gets from being supernatural herself. Why am I supposed to feel any sympathy for the vampires if they’re constantly mind-raping people for no good reason?

    • Yup, that last paragraph of your comment pretty much summed up why Anita is disgusting.

      I am fed up of vampires working around strip clubs and being obsessed with sex. Where are the vampires who run late night model train shops?

      • I get that Anita probably doesn’t deal with the everyday vampires on a regular basis, but establishing that many, if not most vampires have “normal” jobs would go a long way towards making this setting work better. I mean, how many evening and night-shift positions could easily be filled by vampires?

        That would also open up a whole slew of consequences for the recently-turned – the strain on families when suddenly one parent can’t participate in daytime activities; having to completely rework a work schedule to accommodate being nocturnal; would vampires get preference for night-time positions over non-vampires? These are questions that deserve consideration!

        But no, instead we get vampires being “sexy”. Because that’s what’s really important.

      • The “Anno Dracula” series does a bang-up job of showing exactly those problems. Probably why I love it so much. A good chunk of the cast are just ordinary people who end up as vampires, and from book one, you see how life changes when lots of the population turns nocturnal.

        But we can’t expect LKH to do these things, oh no. There was bits of it in her first few books, but when her own marriage started unraveling and she got more popular, the sex began to take over like kudzu. Hell, even her Facebook page posts are generally 75% about sex somehow.

      • Oh, I do so love the Anno Dracula books. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re stuffed full of references to period films, books, and TV. I’m so thankful for the annotated editions, because I honestly wouldn’t catch most of them on my own.

      • I love the new versions. Especially since I didn’t realize for years that there were more books after the first, and so I was lucky to find beaten-up copies at Half Price Books.

    • Ah, the old Vampire Own Night Clubs trope. I remember reading a webcomic where some characters playing an RPG decide to make their vampires own an IHOP. And wear Hawaiian shirts.

  2. I was going to point out that LKH definitely ripped off From Dusk Til Dawn but it’s obvious even to someone who never saw the movie but read a synopsis of it. Aren’t they making a show out of it?

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