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

Anita parks up the car, so I’m guessing that Edward quantum leaped during the events of the last chapter. Ramirez parks alongside her, and gets out with an Officer Rigby.

He was entirely too comfortable in his own skin, as if nothing bad had ever touched him. He lacked entirely that air that most policeman have of having been ridden hard and put up wet.

Isn’t the phrase ‘ridden hard and put AWAY wet’? And I never knew you can only become a police officer if you have undergone extensive mental and emotional trauma. Got it.

He looked older than I was, but his eyes were younger, and I resented that.

… what does that even mean? You have loads of wrinkles and you’re jealous? That he appears to have the eyes of a baby surgically implanted in his face?

Apparently, Nicky Baco – why are you calling him Nicky? – is suspected of plenty of murders, but nothing has ever been proven. He’s a member of a local biker gang.

ah, club. Biker gangs now preferred the more politically correct term of club, according to Ramirez.

Well, no, they don’t. A biker club is very different from a biker gang.

The club is called ‘Los Lobos’ which is HILARIOUS because a American Chicano band has that name too.

I hate it when LKH tries to be funny.

Anita walks to Baco’s… home? Business? I’m not sure. He’s in the middle of a spell, so she is struck with teh magics. Ramirez then exposits about the terrible crimes of Los Lobos. Guess what they do?

go on

I’ll give you three answers and you try and work out which is true

1. Driving around, hassling ‘the man’.

2. Scatter sweets from their motorbikes wherever they go, spreading happiness and joy to all they meet.

3. Rape. Rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, they are bad guys so they like rape.

Anita and Bernardo try to go inside, but the police protest because… um, they might die? Rigby tells Anita something terrible about Los Lobos…

“In the world this gang runs in, women do not exist except through men.”

My frown deepened. “You’ve lost me.”





anyway, this means Anita has to go in with a MAAAAAAAAAN on her arm, and seeing as they police already weren’t going in, Anita prepares to go in with Bernardo. Like she already was. And now Ramirez thinks she’s angry with him and Bernardo is cool and Anita goes on about how she respects the police and why aren’t you just going inside the fucking bar. why can’t you solve this crime. why are we wasting time on this relationship horse shit?

Why was I always ass deep in male egos in the middle any any given crisis?

Because your author hates women.

Anita tells Ramirez that she wants to remind everyone ‘I’m a big girl’ – ick why do you insist on treating women like sexy children – and Ramirez says ‘Okay’, which is apparently what men say in lieu of apology. Oh, LKH, you great social commentator!

We then get a page on how using eeeeeeeeevvvvviiiillllllllll magic is a death penalty offence, something which has been part of the AB universe since the VERY FIRST BOOK. I know that this is the law in this world. It is a stupid law because some people just ignore the whole ‘trial’ thing, and just straight up execute witches. But that’s not all! When a witch has been executed without trial for the simple act of doing magic, their bodies are burnt, and their ashes thrown into running water.

That’s desecration of a corpse. It’s illegal, no matter how you swing it.

There are parts of Europe where it’s still legal to burn a “witch” at the stake. There’s more than one reason that I don’t travel outside the country much.


  • You don’t burn a witch. You burn a HERETIC or someone committed of PETTY TREASON or a female COIN FORGER. You only burn a witch if her crimes intersect into THOSE AREAS.
  • Why would there be parts of Europe that STILL BURN PEOPLE ALIVE? Oh, pot calling the kettle fucking black, your country likes to electrocute people alive! And that’s not even stepping into the institutional racism on death row!
  • Yes, there are still countries in Europe which have laws permitting death penalty. But considering that most of Europe is in the European Union, they are forbidden from executing people – and even those who aren’t have laws specifically prohibiting legal executions. In fact, there is only ONE European country which still executes people, compared to OVER THIRTY US states permitting it. (The country is Belarus, and they are run by a brutal dictator. It’s a really awful situation for them.)
  • Why are you portraying Europe as this fucking medieval wasteland? I mean, I’ve got a feeling of this throughout all the books. Coming from a country that can’t even afford decent medical care to the population, I get a distinctly xenophobic air from all this horse shit. I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of European social politics! (Which do have their problems, I will admit, but most of them are a hell of a lot better than the shit I hear about American social politics)
  • Of course, Europe is full of stuffy bigots who hate witches. Europe is full of stuffy bigots, that’s why they make great villains. Not like ‘Murica, which is a perfect wonderland of rainbows.
  • LKH shows her utter ignorance for world politics with this statement. You already know that she is incredibly isolationist and limited in the scope of her literary works, refusing to even acknowledge that there is life and landmasses beyond the boundaries of the USA. You would not find people burning witches in Europe. Do you know where you still find people burning witches? Africa. In parts of central and southern Africa – again, not all, because it’s a fucking huge continent – there are still areas which hold disabled people to be witches. And will kill them. It’s horrible, but… it’s not very common.
  • Is this a hangover from the Cold War? Hurr hurr those Russians are so backwards, unlike us in America. And yes, there are problems with the social policies of Russia, but the Russian people tend to be a lot more open minded and liberal than American propaganda would have you believe.
  • ‘Parts of Europe’? Europe is a continent. There are at least FIFTY countries – and I say ‘at least’ because what makes your country a part of Europe can change depending on what the categories are – in Europe. Can you be more specific?  You can’t just say ‘parts’. That would imply that it’s widespread throughout the continent, and pays no attention to individual cultures and responses to magic. Because IT’S FUCKING DIFFERENT DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU GO.

It would be fair to say I did not like that paragraph.

Bernardo and Ramirez then death glare each other, which Anita doesn’t understand. Um, weren’t they really angry with each other because they’re competing for Anita’s affections and fighting over who can take her to the Harvest Ball? Ramirez then mentions that Los Lobos LURVE using knives, so they had better watch out.

Yeah, well, don’t get close to them then. Duh.

Ramirez then starts dumping MORE exposition on why the bar is called ‘Los Duendos’.

“Do you know that los duendos are?” Ramirez asked.

“Bernardo said it meant the dwarves.”

Then Bernardo is an idiot, because it means ‘the tame/ the domesticated’. And what happened to your quotation marks? Did they offend you by refusing to be used in your shitty book?

“But around here it’s folklore. They’re small beings who live in caves and steal things. But they’re supposed to be angels that got left suspended between Heaven and Hell during Lucifer’s revolt. So many angels were leaving Heaven that God slammed the gates shut and los duendos got trapped outside of Heaven. They were suspended in limbo.”

I can’t find any evidence of this. Admittedly, it was just a little google fu, but the only reference I can find is Mexico’s day to honour dead children – ‘little angels’. But I’m not sure how I can find the particular story, since LKH CALLS THEM ‘THE TAME’ AND NOT ‘THE DWARVES’. WHY DID NO ONE FACT CHECK THIS?

Anita contemplates going into the bar, and umms and ahhhhs and procrastinates for two pages of bland filler that goes nowhere.

To quote and overused movie line, I had a bad feeling about this.

I hope a wookie rips your fucking arms off.

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

  1. I wish I’m not, but I can’t help but laugh at your rant. Because it *is* sadly true, but she’s not alone in thinking everything outside the US is the wasteland, and we are The Chosen. Despite, well, everything you said. I mean, the current situation in Florida is example enough of how fucked up this country can be in the name of “‘Murica” and guns, God, and glory. And healthcare. Which is not a right, mind you, it’s a privilege (yes, that was an actual argument against the Affordable Care Act), and it would bring on death panels for old people and thousands will die like they do under socialized medicine which has long lines for cancer patients and squawk squawk squawk.

    Her “dwarves” sound like LKH honestly just threw some folklore in a bucket and stirred it up, because I am at a total loss as to what the fuck she’s talking about. The only thing I can think of is that it was a Mexica story — the living of little people in caves, thieving off the humans — and it warped when Catholicism came knockin’. Actually, the closest I can find are the alux, which are MAYAN. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alux

  2. I apologize for asking for plot. It was wrong of me and I’m sorry. Can’t we please go back to the less offensive…you know what, never mind. Can someone just shoot Anita. Or maybe she can come over to Europe and us poor backward witch burners can take care of her. Since obviously we still live in the times of the Spanish Inquisition. Obviously Europe is full of morons. Apart from England, which later in the series provides Byron, a bisexual vampire frozen at 15 who strips, has sex with Anita and calls everyone Duckie. And France, which LKH fetishizes to a ridiculous extent. Yay. But no matter how bad Europe may be, at least we don’t have Anita.

  3. If it helps, I tend to portray Europe the opposite way in my own UF works? Europe is where the really powerful and influential supernatural forces are located, with centuries of culture and influence, and America is the backwater where the monsters who can’t cut it with the big boys end up.

  4. I’ve enjoyed your reviews immensely for giving this terrible series the treatment it deserves, but your rant didn’t sit right with me. Slightly. Sort of.

    I mean, I get that LKH is the worst kind of patriot and her writings reflect the worst kind of American, but I get the impression that you countered her nationalism with some of your own. I get it, you’re frustrated with LKH’s “American Utopia”, America isn’t perfect, but it’s not exactly horrible either.

    Yes, there’s American propaganda, but EVERY country uses propaganda, and singling out America is just unfair.

    Yes, we’re super for the death penalty, but (OPINION TIME) some people are so awful that they NEED to die. Is the system flawed? Yes, but if it didn’t exist, some truly terrible people would probably be sitting in a cell and getting fed seven days a week, and that isn’t right.

    Yes, our politics are extremely shitty… and I can’t really argue against that. Politicians in general are shitty.

    And as for Russia, I have no doubt that your average joe-schmo is decent, but saying they’re more liberal by virtue of not being American is just… unfair. Especially considering the Russian government oppresses LGBT people. Over here, it’s legal in 17 states, whereas it’s banned in Russia.

    Sorry for the somewhat long-winded post, doubly sorry if I come off as whiny or whatnot. I just like my country despite her rough edges, I’m still gonna read your blog because you’re a legitimately funny, thoughtful, and informed writer, but I just needed to get all this off my chest.

    • Considering that this is a book written by an American, featuring American characters, and set in America, I am certainly not singling out America. I can hardly start discussing Australian politics, because that has nothing to do with the chapter or with the point I was making. Accusing me of having some sort of vendetta against America is ludicrous and unfounded. Defending my continent – which is not something I can be nationalist about, as it is not a nation – against the idea that I would willingly be complicit in the murder and torture of innocent people is something I get angry about.

      I am not defending Russia’s policies. I am defending the Russian people. And yes, on the whole they are more liberal than people in America, but that is because American politics is all much more conservative than European politics. You cannot define a people by their politicians, especially when their politicians do not operate in fair and democratic ways.

      I took a shot at American propaganda because it encourages isolationism and this idea that the right way of doing things is the American way – to the point where defending the social policies of the European Union is seen as me unjustly attacking America, in a discussion about the social politics of Europe and America. I’m sorry, but am I not allowed to be proud of where I am from, and point out unfair accusations?

      • Reading back on this, I come off as a completely ignorant idiot. (that’s kind of an oxymoron)

        I wasn’t trying to say or imply that you couldn’t be proud of where you’re from and defend the UK, I was just trying to do the same, and apparently I failed and only succeeded in making myself look like a jackass. For that, I’m sorry. I’ll try to word my comments better and be more informed on what I’m actually talking about in the future so I don’t make that mistake again.

        Again, sorry.

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