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

Richard is here and he’s totally hawt.

I think he’s picked Anita from the ground – where JC left her, isn’t that telling – because this scene would be really weird if she was just lying on the floor throughout. They make out and Anita goes into raptures about how Richard is ‘the ultimate male’. Because fuck androgyny. Honestly, LKH missed the best part of the 70s and 80s – when people were exploring what the labels of ‘male’ and ‘female’ meant, and explored gender fluidity.

Richard also dressed from head to toe in black vinyl, with ‘leather and metal studded ‘bracelets’ and a matching collar’. I have no idea why she put bracelet in quotation marks. I own a lot of studded wrist cuffs and dog collars, so I have no idea why she can’t describe them as such. It also has the unintended effect of making it seem that Anita suddenly shouted ‘BRACELETS’ for no reason, as LKH uses quotation marks to denote speech.

JC then appears again, and it is revealed that the two men had a pact to contact each other when Anita decided to go back to their bullshit. Richard wanted to surprise Anita, because otherwise he wouldn’t have gotten a kiss. Because we’re in high school, apparently.

“I have played you fair tonight, ma petite, and yet I am punished, rather than rewarded.” Jean-Claude held out his hand to me. “Shall we begin with a kiss?”

I was suddenly aware that we were standing on the dance floor near the metal framework and the waiting ‘actors’.

You are the least aware literary character ever. How are you just noticing the place where you’ve been stood for two chapters?

As uncomfortable as it was to do what we had to do in public, it was still better than in private.

‘Marrying the marks’ involves metaphysical sex. Why is doing that in front of a room full of strangers better than doing it in private? Anyway, the three of them start making out – well, I say that, but JC and Richard don’t kiss. They have to avoid boy cooties. Anita screams and they collapse on the ground together. Wow, they are the world’s easiest people to get off. JC jumps on Anita to dry hump her. They explode with POWER and Anita passes out.

When she wakes up, the entire room is staring. And applauding.  Asher then reappears to whisper at Richard – ‘Can you hear me, mon ami?’. When did they become friends? Although I guess they have rape in common. Jamil, Shang-Da, and Sylvie then appear to help Anita rescue the wereleopards. Oh, are we actually approaching what might be a plot now? I am surprised!

There are two random vampires, a woman and a man. Jason crawls between their legs and wants to know about the sex – I mean, marks ceremony. Everyone decides to stay on the floor. Jason rubs his head on Anita and talks about her underwear. Everyone agrees that yes, this felt good, but LKH has forgotten that this happened in the middle of a busy club during a rescue mission.

You can’t build tension while everyone is lying around the floor talking about oh, yes, metaphysical sex is very nice.

I also feel really bad for all the shapeshifters who go to NiC because it’s the only place they’re not going to get shot or hurt or enslaved, only to have to watch this nonsense unfold.

Some say that moment during sex when you both have an orgasm your auras drop, you blend energies, yourselves together.

Who said that? You only started talking about auras in this book. Anita, unsurprisingly, didn’t know much about them. Now, unsurprisingly, she’s suddenly a fucking expert on them. Be consistent!

Narcissus then comes in to announced how there will be no show tonight, as they’ve all witnessed a ‘treat’.

The woman, who was still standing to the back of the dance floor in her robe, said, “I can’t compete with that.”

Oh yes, what a show, three people rolling around and dry humping, surely there will never be a better show in the history of the world. Never. Not ever.

[Narcissus] knelt beside us, smoothing his dress down in an automatic and strangely odd gesture that I’d never seen a man make before. Of course, he was the first man I’d ever seen in a dress. There was probably a cause and effect.

That’s actually a rather nuanced way of looking at it. Anita is pretty sheltered and probably has limited experience of those who exist outside of the societal definitions of ‘male’ and ‘female’. And she’s not judging someone negatively.

Narcissus then proves further how much he rocks by insinuating that JC controls the wereleopards – through controlling Anita. This makes JC angry, so he flashes POWER at Narcissus. So, you know, demonstrating how vulnerable JC is when it comes to Anita. Oh, I love Narcissus. Finally, an intelligent and shrewd villain. He asks to speak privately. Not that Anita is paying attention. She’s too busy talking about how wonderful it is that she can touch JC’s and Richard’s skin.

This is a terrible rescue effort.

JC tries to get Anita to, you know, rescue people but she’s too busy thinking about how much she wants to have sex.

You are the worst, Anita.


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

  1. With Mason especially I think it’d bother me because of how the same thing happens all the time—men, especially rich white men, can abuse women and get away with it in society because of their charisma, wealth, etc., and even be considered the “real victim”. There are too many IRL cases to count. The other killers and such on Hannibal are pretty removed from reality—serial killers exist, yes, but I’ve never heard of anyone who actually made people into mushroom farms or towers of body parts, and if they did you can bet they were the only one who ever did this, a case of one—and Hannibal himself borders on the supernatural. Mason? The shit he does is not only 100% real, it happens a LOT.

    The fuck does “ultimate male” even mean?

    Yeah, I think she meant wrist cuffs or something like them and just doesn’t know the word. Which shows how much she knows about what she’s doing. With another author I’d say maybe it’s to show Anita doesn’t know the word, to illustrate how unfamiliar she is with this scene, but LKH doesn’t use first person POV like that (aka how it’s supposed to be used)

    He’s really the first guy she’s seen in a dress? Like, seriously? She’s around my age here, isn’t she? I’m 24, btw. Guys are in dresses all the time on TV as parts of comedy, and while that’s hardly the most sensitive thing (lol, dudes wearing something for girls, so funny!), it’s still something I can’t believe she hasn’t seen. Bugs Bunny does it, for crying out loud! Maybe she means IRL, I guess?

    • I presumed IRL, which was some actual consistent characterisation – Anita’s pretty sheltered for a 26 year old. But it felt realistic. It felt like a genuine moment of ‘oh, yeah, that must happen’ without any shitty judgements.

      Anita stood in the middle of a bondage club, shouting BRACELET over and over like a bemused fish.

  2. Serious question(s): Why are we meant to sympathize or emphasize with Anita? How has she grown as a character from book one to the present? Has she really undergone any development or have characters just handed her things and praised her for non-stop whining and SEVERELY confrontational-yet-at-the-same-time-strangely-passive-aggressive attitude towards her job, relationships, and life in general? Does Hamilton MEAN for Anita to come off as unlikable, or are we meant to admire her “Strength”?

    And most perplexing: How have YOU managed to stay sane while reading this series?

    • She’s grown by becoming worse and worse. If LKH had shown this as a bad thing – how she’s becoming one of the monsters and how dreadful this is – it’d be really well done. But nope, we’re supposed to accept this all as being positive which creams my corn.

      I have stayed sane because I find the descent into madness hilarious so far. Plus, I have great commenters.

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