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

Very proud moment for me today – my budgie has finally learnt how to play his little toy drum. He has finally condescended to play with it, after screaming furiously at it for a week. Edgar is a very fussy boy, and gets unhappy when you put new toys in his cage. As if buying him toys was some kind of great evil.

Everyone walks together to get to Papa’s secret rooms inside the club. Anita appears to have a gun out for some reason.

I liked having a loaded gun in hand the first time I paid a call.


Olaf and Professor Dallas walk ahead into a dark bit, so Anita and Edward are sent into a tizzy, thinking that vampires are trying to kill him or something.


Anita then walks into the dark bit, which turns out to be a room full of vampires. This sends Anita into a fainting fit because…. reasons?

It wasn’t just the number of them. It was my own ability to sense them that was the problem. I’d been around a hundred vamps before, but they hadn’t affected me like this. I didn’t know if having walled off my link to Jean-Claude made me more vulnerable to them, or if my necromancy had grown since then. Or maybe Itzpapalotl was just that much more powerful than the other master had been. Maybe it was her power that had made them so much more than most vamps.

  • So, you’re pulling this out of your ass then.
  • Because you’ve been around a hundred vamps before and it’s never bothered you before.
  • You haven’t displayed any increased vampire sensitivity since your tripower shit with JC and Richard.
  • I fail to see how a magical discipline can grow. You talent at it can grow. Necromancy in itself cannot grow.
  • If she’s so powerful how come she’s just Master of one city and not on the vampire council?
  • Anita, you killed a guy who could move the earth itself. Having the ability to sense powers is not a powerful power. It’s like the ability to sense relationships – vaguely useful, but not that great. Well, unless you’re scouting for people to become powerful vamps. Which would be self-defeating, as they would get rid of Itzpapalotl in a heartbeat.
  • LKH just added this in to be vaguely interesting and it hasn’t worked.

Papa is amongst the other vampires and let’s Anita call her Obsidian Butterfly so LKH can stop spelling it. I can’t blame her, as I’ve stopped calling her by her full name, but you named the character, if you can’t deal with it, think of a better name. They accuse each other of distrusting the other, and Papa offers to send some of her vamps away if Anita drops her gun. Her gang put up their guns, which is… well, I’d ask them to just put them away, and Papa sends some of her vamps away.

They were all pale, but the natural skin colour of many was darker than Caucasian, so even pale, they weren’t the ghostly paleness I was used to seeing. I realized with something like shock that most of the vampires I knew were Caucasian. Here, white skin was the minority. A nice reversal.

‘A nice reversal’. God, do you think she’s aware of the shitstreams she keeps publishing? Not only does Anita enjoy her life of white privilege, but that extends to vampires, who no matter what skin colour they may have, are rendered ‘pale’ by what they become. No one is a person of colour in this books. Everyone who dares to be anything other than white will become white.

It’s the same shit Stefanie Meyer pulled. It doesn’t stop being racist with time.

The vampires look sick, and Anita says that vampires can’t get sick, forgetting that she’s dealt with sick vampires before.

One of them stumbled and fell at my feet, landing heavily on hands and knees. He stayed where he was, head hanging down. His skin was a dirty white, like snow that had lain too long by a busy road, a greyish white.

Not only did you ruin the metaphor by overexplaining it, I’m just… I hope that was a Caucasian vampire. I really hope that.

Sick vampires paw at Anita, sniff her, and sort of faint. She pulls a gun out and another Aztec vampire comes barrelling out of nowhere, dragging a vampire from her. Other vampires run out of the room and Papa screams at them for disgracing her. She promises that they can feed.

Then she spoke low and rapidly in a language that was sort of Spanish sounding, but it wasn’t Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish, but I’ve heard it often enough to know it when I hear it, and this wasn’t it.

That is so fucking clunky. Why is it so hard to write ‘I didn’t recognise the language, but to me, it sounded quite like Spanish’? Plus, could you not be bothered to do any research into the 67 national languages of Mexico?

A big vampire grabs her, and her gun hits into him, and her cross comes out and bright light spreads out everywhere. They start to scream, and the big vampire… starts to die? And then he does something and grabs him so she threatens to shoot him, and then she does and it makes his head explode even though her gun was pointing into his stomach.

Edward and Anita stare at the corpse and talk about the ammo. Papa buts in to remind them that they’re here to talk about the murders. Anita ignores this to demand Dallas be taken away, and thinks about how much Papa starves her vampires and how much looking into Edward’s face reminds her that she is blank.


this was a weird chapter.

Also we’re a third of the way through the book and no progress as such has been made on the mutilation case.


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

  1. This is pointless. And offensive. It has managed to be both pointlessly offensive and offensively pointless. Well done, LKH. Can we get back to the plot now?

  2. You know, I used to have no problem with the idea that vampires–being unable to stand in the sun, and thus soak up UV–would eventually lighten in skin tone. But the problem is, A: the colour is determined by genes, so I, for instance, even when I’m not outside, will still be a light shade of brown, and B: the gene change was a mutation to begin with, so how exactly would a black man (if I recall, Meyer had one) become nearly white in less time than the United States has been a country? Unless these writers are suggesting with vampirism comes a genetic change to albinism too.

    • It does not make sense on any level, unless they are suggesting that vampirism destroys melatonin levels in your body. Which would mean every vampire would be… just vaguely grey all over.

  3. If she means Nahuatl it most certainly does not sound like spanish, which…even that comparison is offensive. I also find it irritating how she uses food metaphors for all the people of color, though she just does that with everything to be fair.

    • *Puts on LKH goggles* But if they live in Mexico, it must be like Spanish because that’s the language of Mexicans, who are just so cool and dandy!

      *takes goggles off* She was just being lazy again. Casual racists are.

  4. “I liked having a loaded gun in hand the first time I paid a call.”

    … why? I could understand having a gun on you (these are dangerous people, after all) but holding it? How can that be interpreted as anything other than a threat? Does Anita/LKH not understand diplomacy at all?

    “Also we’re a third of the way through the book and no progress as such has been made on the mutilation case.”

    You’d think that without the constant distraction of sex, LKH would be able to focus on the actual plot, but I guess not. I’d like to say I’m surprised and disappointed by this, but I’m really not.

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