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


Yes, I did disappear from the internet for a week. I had a succession of laptop maladies; the cooling fan of my main laptop broke, so it had to be sent away to get fixed. I started using my spare laptop, which lasted a few days before the hard drive corrupted and it became a very nice tea tray. It’s limping on right now, so I may dip out of posting again for a few days.

By the time I found a parking space, Bernardo and I had a plan. I was an out of town necromancer wanting to talk shop with one of the only other necromancers I’d ever heard of. If it hadn’t been so damn close to the truth, it would have been a lousy cover story.

It isn’t anywhere near the truth, and it’s still a lousy cover story. Anita, you’re so famous the press follow you around in St. Louis. You are well known. Baco and his friends should be instantly suspicious of the well-known vampire executioner suddenly forcing herself into their bar with a ludicrous cover story.

I’ve dated men that I couldn’t walk hand in hand with, like an awkward rhythm between us.

Anita Blake: Too Stupid To Walk and Do An Action At The Same Time.

Bernardo opened the door for me, and I let him. It might blow our cover to argue over who got to hold the door for who. Though if he had been my real boyfriend, we’d have had the discussion.

Anita Blake: Too Rude To Politely Accept A Person Opening The Door For Her.

It’s not a feminist thing, it’s Anita being rude. She doesn’t point out that she could open the door FOR Bernardo, does she?

Anita realises that, oh shit, the two of them don’t seem they like fit in inside this biker bar. Oh no, like that wasn’t immediately obvious.

I was so the only suit jacket in the room. But even the polo shirt and jeans seemed a little much beside what some of the women were wearing. Can you say, short-shorts?

oh my god the people in the dangerous biker bar aren’t dressed like suburban soccer moms that is so unexpected oh my god

Anita fixes her attention on the first woman she can see in the room, and spends the best part of a page insulting her and her fashion sense.

She was wearing a black leather bra with metal studs on it and matching shorts that looked like they’d been painted over her narrow hips. A pair of those clunky platform high-heels completed the look. Those platform shoes had been ugly in the seventies and eighties, and they were still ugly two decades later, even if they were back in style.

Not only is what this woman wearing pretty much EXACTLY THE SAME as many of Anita’s outfits, so she is not in any position to judge her fashion, this sounds like commentary from a much older woman. This is the year 2000 and Anita is twenty five – ignoring the stupid problems with the timeline LKH has caused. She was a child throughout the time period she’s talking about. The fad for platform shoes ended in the US in the very early eighties – Anita was about five or six. And since she’s not a ‘girly’ girl, why would she have taken such an entrenched interest in the fad of platform shoes?

The woman Anita hates for wearing platform shoes – which I actually have a fondness for, because a lot of women in the punk scene still wear them, so I think they look great – is hanging on some older man. Anita shocking realises that people in this gang may be werewolves! Which was not obvious at all considering the club is called ‘The Wolves’! WOW SUCH INSPIRATION SUCH IMAGINATION

Everyone stares at Anita and Bernardo, and Anita wonders whether the violent gang of rapists is routinely rude to people who come into their bar.

The bartender was a woman, surprise, and a dwarf, ah, little person.

‘Dwarf’ is considered an acceptable term for those affected by dwarfism, so you don’t need to correct it to another accepted term. The snide little ‘ah’ just implies that LKH doesn’t understand why dwarfs have accepted terminology. It’s just another little snide jab at political correctness in this book. Because, you know, how dare people want equal rights and respect in society.

Her face was the typical rough square.

Why did you say that? ALL DWARFS LOOK THE SAME. THEY ARE ALL HORRIBLE COMPARED TO THE ARYAN BEAUTY OF MY VAMPIRES.

STOP YOUR ABLEISM

Anita asks the woman for Nicky Baco, but what do you know, she isn’t going to tell Anita anything. Anita name drops herself

if Anita is so famous the bartender does a double take, WHY THE HELL DID NO ONE RECOGNISE HER BEFORE NOW? Fame does not work like that! Either Anita IS famous, or not! Make up your mind and make it consistent!

The bartender pulls out a shotgun and asks Anita to drop her ID on the bar, and slide it over slowly. She then asks for Bernardo’s ID, and he refuses, because he’s not going to make himself be nice to a woman or a dwarf. Anita demands he do it, and then they are made to put their hands on the bar, legs apart. The bartender asks them why they want to see Baco, so Anita tells the bartender the complete truth.

Anita, you suck.

Blown away by a psychotic dwarf bartender, how ironic.

Yeah, you’ve got to remember that the bartender is a dwarf because otherwise… Anita can’t make fun of people with genetic conditions.

The bartender tells them if they move while they’re patted down for weapons, she’ll kill them. They are patted down, so Anita can go on about how they’re both always armed because they are just so tuffff. Then there’s a big rigmarole about how they don’t know who Bernardo is, so they ask Anita to prove that the pair are lovers, so she bluffs that he’s circumcised. And oh look KOMEDY as Bernardo has to drop trou in front of the bar.

He does this, after a page of arguing about how ‘he’s not a cop, he’s a super tuff assassin’, and so… all the men in the bar cheer his penis.

Is that normal?

Anita decides to get a good look herself which…

It took me a few seconds to register that he was circumcised because what I saw first was sheer size.

Apparently Bernardo has a dick like a garden hose.

The bartender demands that Anita blow Bernardo in front of everyone, because shut up, and then Nicky Baco appears to stop all this. He wants to know why she’s here, and casually tells us that Paulina (the bartender) doesn’t like Anita. Like that wasn’t fucking obvious beforehand.

Baco was half a body-length shorter than I was.

what does that even mean??????????????

Baco then orders that Bernardo and Anita are given their weapons back for some reason, and he is impressed that she can put her back-knife back in its sheath without having her eyes open.

I hate that stupid back-knife. It makes no sense.

Baco makes a vague innuendo, Anita calls him out, and he suddenly gets all adamantium rage that she’s ‘too good to fuck a dwarf’. Um, where did that come from? Anita then says he shouldn’t behave like this in front of his wife.

“The sacrament of marriage? You‘re offended for my wife’s sake? You are a funny girl.”

“Yeah, me and Barbara Streisand.”

The humor faded a little from his face. I don’t think he got the joke.

I don’t get the joke, and I’m the queen of obscure reference jokes.

Bernardo suggests they leave, and Baco has to jump in and remind the characters that they’re supposed to be asking questions about the mutilations. Baco says he’s got a bad feeling about it all, so Anita suggests that they pool their resources and work on solving the crime.

Um

how do you know Baco isn’t involved in the mutilations?

Does his vague sentence about having bad feelings mean you instantly know he’s innocent?

LKH, if Baco is innocent, the reader DOES NOT KNOW THAT. If you know something about what happens later in the plot, it must be revealed at the appropriate time. STOP SPOLING YOUR OWN STORY.

The pair promise to meet up later and Anita thinks about how much Paulina loves and hates Baco. Thrilling.

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

  1. Even if you got rid of all of the racism, sexism, ableism, gun porn, clothes porn, rape, stalking and abuse, there still wouldn’t be a good story in this series. This plot makes no sense! LKH gives Anita knowledge she shouldn’t have, none of the events are connected to each other, and I have no investment in any of the characters! Story telling, how you don’t.

  2. “Funny Girl” was a movie Streisand was in.

    Remember the “sheer size” comment: those damn things are apparently thick (hurr hurr) in the gene pool in Anita’s world.

    I have to sadly agree on the platforms, though: I think they’re hideous and unmanageable. And it makes buying awesome boots difficult, since most women’s punk and/or goth “styles” have those thick soles. I tend to like the motorcycle style more, with regular soles and a thick heel if necessary. But that’s a personal preference, not an irrational disgust for a decade.

      • Yes, though I guess she gets bonus points for the fact it’s a two-level joke: Streisand also originated the part on Broadway, and then went on the be in the movie as well. Also, it’s not a sexist or racist joke, so there’s that as well.

      • And it’s such a dated reference. LKH seems to have forgotten that she and Anita aren’t the same age (which must be really hard, given how Anita is LKH’s self-insert).

        But I guess she and/or her editor (did she still have one at this point?) thought it was a real zinger, so it didn’t get cut.

      • This chapter makes it very clear that Anita is a SI, given her talk about platform shoes.

        Currently – as in the last book published – Anita is thirty years old. Yes, that makes no sense, but bear with me. That means she is roughly the same generation as me. All I know about Barbara Streisand is Yentl, Mechabarbara from South Park, and Meet The Fockers.

        Yes, I know about her career in film and in theatre, but I am not going to get Barbara Streisand reference jokes. It’s just a bit before my time.

        Now, Shelley Duval references? I am the queen of those. For some reason.

  3. Well, I’m going to be 33 this year, and I got the joke, even when the book was first published. However, I A: have a lot of useless info in my head, and B: have two parents who are Baby Boomers. So a lot of jokes that are outside of my date of reference I will get, simply because I’ve heard of it from them. So I didn’t even really notice at the time, when I first read it, that the joke should have gone right over my head. Now, yeah, it’s pretty obvious most people our age wouldn’t have gotten it, and it’s an obvious indicator of LKH’s age.

    Also, I think this is right around when she didn’t have an editor. It’s also when she was getting rid of Hubby #1 for the younger upgrade (or she did already by this point), so I think the two events went hand in hand.

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