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

Anita is now at the hospital. I am not entirely sure why. Wasn’t she supposed to interrogate Nicky Baco? Why can’t she investigate a crime like a normal person? I’m not saying that I could write a murder mystery better – I haven’t tried to write one before – but this is the NINTH murder mystery LKH has written! She ought to be good at it by now!

How do you prove that someone is really dead?

If you don’t know that by now, I don’t think you should be working the police any more.

Anita posits that the bodies may just be vessels for the magical powers that are working to mutilate people and that she can prove this by examining the victim’s brain function. If they lack higher brain function, then they’re empty vessels. However, the doctors have already shown that the victim’s have ALL their brain function, so I don’t know why Anita had this theory and then remembered the evidence she had already been told.

[Doctor Evans] wouldn’t let me talk in front of the survivors about the fact they might be dead.


Are you seriously trying to argue that the victims are all actually dead, just animated by magic?

  • Anita’s comment about how they’re all dead was a stupid ableist thing about how if they’re not really living, then they’re all just dead.
  • If they being being animated by magic, wouldn’t the doctors and nurses treating them have noticed? This is a world where zombies and animated corpses are known about. If the victims were animated dead bodies, then the medical staff would have realised by now. Mainly by the fact that none of them would have any life signs.
  • Hang on

Anita then talks about how there’s so much darkness pressing on them all, and how stupid Doctor Evans won’t believe that alive people are dead. The police officers guarding them suddenly worry that the victims are going to eat them, even though zombies in this universe don’t eat human flesh. And then there’s this whole thing about how Anita has to give permission for the police officers to leave the room?

I have no idea what’s happening.

“I thought we’d be ass deep in man-eating corpses by now.”

Why? Zombies in this universe don’t eat people! And if the victims are animated corpses, then why would they eat flesh? MAKE MORE SENSE.

Ramirez and Anita joke about how she’s not perfect – HA HA HA – and Doctor Evans pipes up, agreeing that Anita may be wrong, brave enough now someone else has said it.

“This is magic, not math, Doctor Evans. There are very few hard and fast rules. There are even fewer rules the way I do it.”

Magic is comprised of very specific rules, and animating corpses is no exception! There are certain rules and formulas that practitioners have to do, otherwise they can’t raise corpses. My lord, why are you so stupid?

Marks then complains about the fact that police officers have had to watch over the victims, Ramirez then fluffs up like a big cat at the insult, and Anita has to stop him from taking a swing. Anita then talks to the other officers – who were not here when she named the officers watching over the victims on the other page – and they’re called Jarman and Jakes, hahahahahaha LAUGH DAMN YOU LAUGH.

Then Officer Rigby runs up with a taser because…. he can’t shoot Anita in the face?

I have no idea what is happening.

Ramirez points out that he can’t fire it in an oxygen rich environment. You’d think Rigby would understand this, but it takes HALF A FUCKING PAGE to explain that sparks cause fires.

LKH, if you can’t be bothered to write adult characters, go and write a fucking kid’s book series. No, not Young Adult. She can write a book series for toddlers. That’s the intelligence level we’re working with.

And then Jake and Jarman laugh at Ramirez for being called ‘Hernando’ and there’s a page about weapons and having a pissing contest about weapons and they leer at Anita.

I have no idea what is happening. Plot and reality has just taking a flying jump from the window of sense.

And then they all start mocking her for kissing Marks and not kicking him in the balls. I can’t tell if Jake and Jarman are supporting Anita or not – their characterisation changes from sentence to sentence. I have never read writing quite this inconsistent. If you can’t decide what you want to do with a character – and I say ‘a’ because Jake and Jarman are exactly the same – then don’t include them. J&J mention Marks is attempting to have Anita arrested for ‘magical malfeasance’ which carries the death penalty.

I think I’m supposed to go ‘ooooo how evil!’ only that it’s perfectly legitimate. Anita murdered two people through use of her magical powers in The Laughing Corpse (ignoring her many other crimes). She broke the law she values so much, and while I think the death penalty is immoral, she has done a crime which earns her that sentence within this universe.

Ramirez and Anita walk off, so they can talk about how other women wouldn’t like being sexually harrassed, and how she’s not like other women. That’s for damn sure. Ramirez tells Anita that he knew about Marks’s campaign but didn’t think it was important to know. He then asks about whether she murdered anyone in Nicky Baco’s bar, and Anita goes on and on about how this conversation is sooooooo intimate. When it isn’t. They talk about how Baco is scared, which I saw no evidence of, and Ramirez lectures her on how she must trust people.

Ramirez grabs hold of Anita’s arm.

I smiled. “What next, rubber hoses and bright lights?”


I don’t get what that means. Is this more KOMEDY?

Ramirez declares her a bitch, although I have no idea why or for what specific reason. He gets angry that she is meeting with Baco and they argue for a page about it.

People start screaming in the hospital room.

Well, at least that means something is happening. Because this whole chapter was entirely pointless. It all should have been cut or edited down to a few paragraphs.


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

  1. Maybe LKH just wrote her chapters, then shuffled them and assembled them in that random order. It might explain a lot. Like the lack of a coherent story line.

    • This chapter really shows that she lacks a coherent plan. I know she doesn’t like to write that way, but it’s what you have to do if you’re going to write an interesting and competent mystery story. She has to keep adding unnecessary filler to pad out things between important scenes – and then adds nonsensical elements to the mystery all the while! This book needed major editing. A good editor could turn this into a competent novel.

  2. At a panel LKH once said that she wont ever write Y.A. novels because she is not a pedophile, thankyouverymuch.
    Looks like we’re not going to get a curvy, tiny high school student with black hair whining about how evil the blonde cheerleaders in her school are.

    • I’d counter her ‘I’m not a pedohile’ BS with her constant sexualisation of child related imagery.

      And the fact that she’s essentially saying that people such as J.K. Rowling and Terry Pratchett are interested in abusing children. Which is a disgusting accusation.

      • Given the massive amount of sexual do-not-want, I’m glad that she sticks with a series where the people Anita has sexual contact with are (mostly) of an age to consent. I don’t think that LKH can write a story without massive amounts of sex any more, so I don’t want to read her teen lit.

        Also, this is what she imagines adults act like. I don’t want to see how her teen characters behave.

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