A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Narcissus in Chains’ chapter one


Hey guys a quick announcement: I’m going to be moving house soon, going out to my first place on my own. It’s super scary, and I’m very worried about it all, and updates are probably going to be spotty for a while as I sort out internet etc etc.

If you would like to help the Great Dottie Home Alone Move of 2014, you can support me in a few ways!

  • Marathoning my video reviews will earn me some ad revenue! You don’t even have to watch them that closely – but it will give me a boost.
  • I’ve got copies of the Anita Blake books – Burnt Offerings up to Obsidian Butterfly – that I’m not going to need any more. If you or any other person would like one of these copies, I’ll sell it to you for four pounds (not incl. post and packaging). Why four pounds? Because I’ll sign them and write a 100 word story of your choice inside the cover. Put a bit of good in them.
  • A short story of mine is going to be published soon in an omnibus of YA fiction. I will earn royalties from the e-book, so buying copies will help me.
  • I do have a donate button on the site, if you would like to help.

Don’t worry if you can’t help – I don’t mind. Frankly, running this blog and interacting with my great commenters has been great for my mental health. But if you’d like to help, you are a really great person. Well, you’re great people anyway, because you read this site.

So, onto Narcissus in Chains!

I have heard many many things about this book. Namely, that this is the base breaker. This is what finally cracked the fanbase, with people separating into the trus and the anits. It’s going to be fun to dissect this, although I feel I’m going to get very angry as well. (Will be angry for cash)

What’s the cover like?

TPhoto_00086

I got one of the super duper red bound covers which I think are exclusive to the UK. It’s a really nice cover, considering the ones LKH books normally get. This would inspire me to buy this book, if I didn’t know anything about the series.

The look on my face must have frightened him, because his eyes widened, and I saw something like human fear cross his reptilian face.

If this book doesn’t feature the Space Pope, I will be very disappointed.

I’m Anita Blake and I kill monsters. The last thing I want to think about though when I get home after a night out is work.

omg that is the worst sentence ever

But someone has abducted a wereleopard from the Narcissus in Chains club. It’s a dark world out there with shapeshifter crime and were-creature stuggles. I may not have seen Jean-Claude, the Vampire Master of the City, for six months, but I need his help now, whatever the consequences. Someone is targeting the lycanthropes and we have to save them.

And the were creatures can’t save themselves because? Anyway, basic madlibs Anita Blake blurb that tells us nothing, rinse and repeat.

Let us move onto the chapter itself!

June had come in like its usual hot, sweaty self, but a freak cold front had moved in during the night and the car radio had been full of the record low temperatures.

… wasn’t the last book set in the summer? So are we counting the six months from the end of Blue Moon? But that was in summer as well. WHEN ARE THESE BOOKS. IS ANITA BLAKE A TIME LORD.

oh god no can you imagine her travelling through time?

Ronnie is with Anita, and Ronnie’s panicking about girl things. She turned thirty, you see. Anita must be 25 or 26 by now, so I wonder how she and Ronnie met. I guess it must have been on a job, but knowing would require world building. Ronnie, though, isn’t talking about herself but obsessively going on about Anita’s love life. Ronnie is pro-Richard, and really hates JC.

Yeah, Ronnie seems decent. She recognises him for the rapist pig that he is.

“I used to think I knew what dead was or wasn’t, Ronnie.” I shook my head. “The line isn’t so clear-cut.”

Pro-tip: if you don’t breathe or have a heart beat, you’re probably dead. Anita, your job is to execute people. You should know what consitutes being dead or not.

They blather on about how JC ‘seduced’ Anita (read: manipulated her into sex when she was at her lowest point) and Ronnie calls vampires unethical. Considering the vampires we’ve seen, Ronnie is absolutely right. She goes so far as to call them monsters, which Anita does on a regular basis. But this makes Anita MAD so she stomps off into the night.

hey look Anita couldn’t even be nice to her best friend on said friend’s birthday. What a cow.

Ronnie had wanted us to dress up, so we had. It was her birthday. It wasn’t until after dinner that I’d realized her diabolical scheme. She’d had me wear heels and a nice little black skirt outfit.

Wow what a bitch she wants to spend nice time with her friend.

Ronnie had them go out to a night club, and they went out on the dance floor. Ronnie dances around while Anita stands there being awkward.

There had been one man who had attached himself to me instead of Ronnie. I didn’t understand why. She was a tall leggy blonde, dancing like she was having sex with the music. But he offered me drinks. I don’t drink. He tried to slow dance. I refused. I finally had to be rude. Ronnie told me to dance with him, at least he was human. I told her that birthday guilt only went so far, and she’d used hers up.

I don’t buy that.

  • If men are only sexually attracted to evil tall blonde women, then wouldn’t the human race have evolved to not have those characteristics by this point?
  • oh like hell does Anita think she’s ugly
  • You talk about your friend like that? I don’t talk about friends I’ve fallen out with that way. You talk like you hate her.
  • Fair enough that you didn’t take his drink. Don’t take drinks from strange men in nightclubs. But Ronnie, a detective and a cis woman, will have been helping fend off creepy men from her female friends since she was a teenager. That would have sent a red flag up immediately.
  • Who slow dances in a night club?
  • Anita’s only birthday present to her friend is to be forced into things. You are a bad friend.

Anita talks about her celibacy, but she’s recently reconsidered letting JC and Richard back into her life. She’s even been out and got the pill, which is sensible thinking. Ronnie catches up with her, and Anita realises she’s angry at herself, rather than her friend.

I was wearing two-inch heels, which put me at five five. I get a much better workout when Ronnie and I jog together than she does.

… because being short makes you better at cardiovascular exercise?

Anita is now magically at her home, and her phone is ringing with an emergency instantly as she gets in the door. It’s 2002, why doesn’t she have a mobile phone? In 2002, even I had a mobile phone. And I was ten. Anita picks up and it’s Gregory the wereleopard, reporting that Nathavile is in trouble.

Wereanimals without a dominant to protect them were anyone’s meat, and if someone moved in and slaughtered them, it would sort of be my fault.

Why is that? Animals don’t behave like that. People don’t behave like that. When someone swings at you with, say, a meat cleaver, you don’t sit there and think ‘Well, since I haven’t got a ultimate authority, I am incapable of doing anything, so I better let this guy chop me into little bits and sprinkle me into the English Channel’. So why do wereanimals exist solely in this really poorly done BDSM bullshit?

Anita then goes on about how Nathavile is a ‘true submissive’. Is that really a thing? Because the way Anita goes on about it, it sounds like Nathavile is emotionally broken after a life of abuse – which, well, doesn’t sound as if he has the mindset of a ‘ultimate submissive’. That reads as – even though I think he’s very manipulative – as someone who is emotionally broken and has trouble sustaining control because they’ve had their control violently ripped away from them. LKH, you are fetishing rape and abuse for your silly BDSM nonsense and I don’t like it.

Anita then goes on about how Nathavile is incapable of saying no or telling his Dom when to stop. Uh, so why is he still actively pursuing the lifestyle? Why isn’t he saying, ‘I’m going to take myself away from this scene until I’m strong enough?’ Either he’s intensely traumatised, or he’s doing this all for kicks, to get people invested in his life. I’m not entirely sure myself what to believe about his character. I think he reads more as a liar who manipulates his way into people’s lives. Not because I don’t think abuse victims can pursue his lifestyle choices, but because LKH is unable to write someone as having those experiences. Nathavile reads like JC – a smarmy conman who’s out for what he can get from women.

oh god anita is still monologing

She has been interviewing prospective doms for Nathavile, because he’s too broken to do it himself. Uh, Anita? If he can’t cope in the scene, DON’T ENCOURAGE HIM TO BE IN THE SCENE. She complains about posers, which I find hypocritical because she knows nothing about the BDSM scene either. She also complains about how they all think women are super sluts because Anita has never ever thought that herself. Anita complains about how all the wereleopards are fundamentally useless at doing anything because they’re stupid and Anita is their dominant and they cannot function from minute to minute without her tender loving care.

Anita is essentially their parents. Who wants to have sex with her children. LKH keeps linking sex with children and I don’t like this.

Gregory is then thrown off the phone by ‘Marco’. Marco is from a new gang in town, and they are keeping Nathavile because…. of his wonderful personality? Anita demands to know if Nathavile is dead, and Marco is all, tee hee hee are we negotiating? Am I being camp gay enough? Because we can’t have good LGBT characters! We are all eeeeevvvviiillllll.

Anita wants to talk to Gregory, because clearly, murderous kidnappers are going to let their victim just have a casual chat about what is happening to him. Gregory is in pain and sort of hisses, while Marco titters about how pretty all the boys are and how Anita has to rescue them at the club ‘Narcissus in Chains’.

This chapter was essentially boring monologuing. But nothing too awful so far. Tiger Gray will be starting reviews soon – hopefully! – so I’ll enjoy seeing their take of this.

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18 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Narcissus in Chains’ chapter one

  1. Yeeah, the whole Nathan/Anita thing gets horribly fucked up to the point where he’s one of her bedmates (as in, one of the ones she consistently sleeps with) even though it’s obvious he really needs to be very far away from all of this shit. You know something’s wrong when the heroine tells herself it’s morally wrong and repugnant to have sex with someone who can’t say no, and yet merrily goes along and does it anyway.

  2. Anita is the worst leader ever. She thinks ‘OK, I have been given control over this group of people. I don’t believe that they are capable of functioning without 24/7 handholding. So I’m going to leave for 6 months.’ Either she’s exaggerating their incompetence to make herself feel special, or she’s a horribly neglectful leader who should step down and let someone else take control.

    The first chapter is supposed to grab you. It’s what you read when you pick a book up in a shop, or you get the preview online. It sets the tone and introduces your plot and protagonist. Based on this, I would put the book back.

    Good luck on your move!

  3. About the timeline, I have been taking notes on that since the beginning. I stopped at OB, because well, honestly, I couldn’t stand anymore Anita Blake. Anyway, my notes show that Blue Moon took place in May, and OB took place in May as well (a year later). GP was two years earlier than OB. She broke up with JC and Richard at the end of BM (on and off) and six months later, she stopped seeing them completely. And this is before the timeline really gets fucked up.

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