A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Obsidian Butterfly’ chapter sixty two


This is a great big chunk of chapter. LKH has realised it’s close to the end of the book and she hasn’t done anything to warrant a conclusion or resolution of a plot, so we have to get it all in one big slog.

There is MAGIC and POWER so Anita wakes up from, what, her fourth lot of unconsciousness in this book? Damn, no wonder Anita’s so fucked up. She must have some serious brain damage, especially considering how many times she gets knocked unconscious in every single book. She’s chained to some stone slab.

I finally turned my head to the right and let myself see what was there. At first I thought it was Pinotl, Itzpapalotl’s human servant. I had a few seconds of cursing myself for believing her when she said she didn’t know about the monster, then I realized it wasn’t him. It looked like him.

Well, POC, they all look the same really.

LKH, are you aware of the massively offensive shit you put in your writing?

Paulina, Nicky Baco’s wife, is draped on a sacrificial altar. Her heart has been ripped out. The unknown man is offering her heart upwards, towards something.

I was still wearing the kevlar vest and all the rest of my clothes.

Not only did you not put those clothes on, but you gave up your kevlar vest to Edward and never took it back.

He held the heart over my chest and began to chant in a language that sounded like Spanish, but wasn’t.

NAHUATL IS NOT SPANISH

IT DOES NOT SOUND LIKE SPANISH

IT IS NOTHING LIKE SPANISH

STOP

Anita complains about how cutting out a heart for sacrifice is soooo much different than her simply cutting hearts out to kill people. The heart is dropped on her chest and magic makes it beat again. The magic hurts Anita, so I’m happy. The magic makes Anita’s heart want to burst out of her chest, which I like, because a gory Alien-esque death for Anita would make me happy. Some dude in a mask looks down at her and he’s wearing a cape of flayed human skin and then Anita mouths off to… the bunch of guys wearing human skin capes. I mean, mouthing off to people trying to kill you is always the safest and best option in this circumstance.

They then reveal they used magic and Paulina’s life force to bring Anita back to full life because she had a bleed in her brain. Guess I was right about the damage caused by her constant bouts of unconsciousness!

“But she didn’t volunteer to trade her life for mine, did she?”

NO SHIT.

Paulina was a hostage for Nicky’s ongoing loyalty, but he didn’t show up so they killed her.

I was happier for me than sorry for Paulina.

Of course you are. You can’t be sorry that your fuck ups lead to a woman loosing her life. But the only person who is important here is Anita fucking Blake.

The random human skin cape dudes explain that they need Anita alive because she’s so important. And then she realises she’s surrounded by the animated bodies of all the murder victims, who have had their souls eaten away by Red Woman’s Husband. Red Woman’s Husband, while wearing a simply divine necklace of tongues and belt of intestines, is dressed like a conquistador. For some reason.

He has POWER but Anita refuses to believe he’s a god. After all, there is only one single god in the world and the others are just make believe.

They talk shit about blood and why he’s wearing body parts and then he reveals the great big HOW. How he has been getting the skin off all those people. How? By calling ‘the skin from their bodies’.

THEN EXPLAIN WHY THE WOUNDS WERE FULL OF OBSIDIAN SHARDS

HUH?

YOU JUST FORGOT, DIDN’T YOU

WHAT WAS EVEN THE FUCKING POINT

Red Woman’s Husband reveals he cut other pieces to feed his pet dragon. Did the Aztecs have dragons? I don’t think they did. Apparently, Aztec dragons are mostly extinct because the Spanish killed them to lessen the morale of the people they were conquering. Whatever. It’s called a ‘Quetzacoatl’ because, fuck it, LKH wants to shit all over a culture because she’s lazy. Anita then makes a joke about Jim Jones, because LKH has no taste or decency.

RWH and Anita get in a long and protracted argument about whether he is a god, and RWH says that he is here to take vengeance for the pain of his people.

“No offence, but you didn’t get those turquoise blue eyes from anyone local.”

  • Well, no, because no one has really got ‘turquoise’ eyes.
  • Oh, and the Spanish invaders were perfectly behaved and never did any raping of local women, ever.

Anita then tries to argue that his plan is pointless, because there are no more Spanish people in the Americas. At all. RWH then says how she can make him a whole generation of mini gods and that he will rape her. RWH and his goons debate whether she can replace Baco because she can’t feel his power. RWH then undresses down to his maxilatl. He straddles her for the whole concubine/rape thing. They talk shit about how he’s so cold for about two and a half pages. He promises to not hurt her and then cuts off her top. Which she isn’t really wearing because she never got dressed into it. Anita is confused as to why me wants her partially naked.

He climbed on top of me. But he didn’t get into a standard missionary position. He scooted lower until his chest was pressed against mine. With our height differences, that put his groin safely below mine. So it wasn’t rape what we were doing.

Unless RWH is seven foot tall, the different in heights shouldn’t mean that his groin is hanging around the bottom of your thighs. LKH, do you not understand how people work?

RWH asks about his heartbeat – which isn’t there. He says how Red Woman doesn’t live in him and that he’s going to sacrifice himself so the Aztec gods return and cast out Christ.

I’d read enough of the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish to doubt that Christ had much to do with it, no matter how many things had been done in His name. “Don’t blame Jesus Christ for what the Spanish did to your people.”

Why not? The Spanish brutally enslaved, murdered, and forcibly converted the peoples of Mexico and South America because the Bible told them they were lesser people than those of Europe, that they were the evil children of Ham who couldn’t be trusted to care for themselves. The bullshit Christianity of the fifteenth century is just as much a blameable factor in the Columbian conquests as the Spanish’s desire for empire.

RWH then says how he’s going to drain all the life out of Anita and make her a mummy because. OH and the murdered all those people because they had artefacts from his sleeping place so they had to pay for the desecration. Even though all the victims had NATIVE AMERICAN artefacts. But hey, one group of POC is just the same as another, ammirtie LKH?

RWH then says how draining Anita will make him mortal and immortal. Stop writing LKH. Your writing is making less sense than it normally does. He starts draining blood from Anita’s ear. He then makes to rape her again, before a goon interrupts him to say that the police are coming. Anita stabs him through the heart as ‘You’re just another kind of vampire. I kill vampires’.

He rolled off the stone, fell to the floor.

That’s it. He just died that easily.

What was even the point.

This book fails every single rule of narrative and story telling.

A goon runs at Anita, who can’t do anything but scream for someone to help her. She gets chased around by the goon until Olaf shoots him in the head. Great, the serial rapist saves the day. A bunch of police men with flamethrowers runs into this place and Anita tells them to first murder that innocent dragon because she hates nature and wildlife and all life on this planet. Anita announces that RWH was just a vampire and all the animated corpses that did nothing just dropped and that nothing more has to be done at all.

Oh, and Edward isn’t dead, because there is no justice in this world.

There’s two pages of bullshit back and forth between Olaf about what to do with the bodies.

A cop threatens to shoot Anita for… some reason.

Anita then cuts out RWH’s heart, and Olaf thrusts his hand in the wound to caress her hands.

THIS was what the book was supposed to be building up to for five hundred and fifty pages?

It was so anti-climatic and ignored the few clues given throughout the text. This was thirty pages of really boring conversations. Nothing tense. Nothing we haven’t seen before. Fuck this book.

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

  1. You know what would have made this better? If RWH hadn’t been interested in Anita at all. If Riker had been selling artifacts from his culture, so he wanted revenge. He came to kill Riker and his gang at the same time as Anita was there. He has his army of flayed people with him there, and that’s when Anita confronts him. It’s not great, but it would tie the two plot threads together.

    But seriously, I am confused. Where did he come from? Why now? Why did he flay people? Does he know Papa? Where are the tongues and intestines from? – none of the victims were disemboweled. Why was he at Riker’s hideout? How did he capture Anita and not the others? How much did Nicky Baco know about him? Was the local werewolf pack in on it? Why? All of these questions had better be answered?

  2. So, that’s it? That’s how LKH decides to wrap up what was supposedly the main plot of the book. And this is the “high point” of the series? Dear lord, how could this series possibly sink any further? (don’t answer that)

    “I was happier for me than sorry for Paulina.”

    Because why should Anita feel bad that this woman is dead? After all, Paulina was sacrificed to heal Anita, which is surely the most noble of purposes. Who cares that her children are now orphans, and that their only caretaker is now a semi-psychotic monster hunter. Why am I supposed to like Anita, again?

    “It’s called a ‘Quetzacoatl’ because, fuck it, LKH wants to shit all over a culture because she’s lazy.”

    I’m actually kind of okay with feathered serpent deities being Latin American dragons. Granted, I have to wonder how they got one to New Mexico, but whatever.

    • Regarding the Quetzacoatl – I found it infuriating because it just reinforces LKH/Anita’s idea that other gods are just ‘make believe’. Those Aztecs, they’re so stupid that they made a perfectly common dragon into a god! If it had been just a simple dragon, I’d have been fine. She didn’t have to imply that other belief systems are inherently lesser than Christianity.

      This series just sinks lower and lower and lower. Still, it should be a fun ride!

      • Speaking of dragons, why does Anita tell the cops kill a creature that’s almost certainly a member of an endangered species? “Jane Goodall of the supernatural” my ass.

        I hope you mean “fun” in the sense of “fun to rip apart”. Because I’ve seen sporkings of some of the later books, and it’s pretty much just this, but the padding is either Anita & co. sitting on their collective asses or having sex. So, basically, this book, but with sex.

  3. …I always read that dragon to be the last of it’s kind, as it was safely asleep while the rest were hunted to extinction. Because Anita’s all like ‘oooooh dragon! I’ve never seen one of THOSE kind before!’

  4. Since this is book number 9 of the series, I don’t understand why any of you are reading it still. Sounds like you guys have nothing to do but carp over a rather popular series. Stop whining and stop reading the series if you don’t like it. Grow up!

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