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


Ok, so what’s happened so far? Wereleopards went missing, we met an awfully offensive villain, and a ‘chosen’ wereleopard leader arrived. Because to be a perfect wereleopard leader you have to be born into it.

I hate the idea that people are just ‘born’ to be better than others. It’s crap. And, um, how come the perfect ‘born’ wereleopard king is white?

Anita goes into the shower and cries. She cries and cries and cries and Cherry comforts her. She’s crying because JC as been arrested for her murder. This is stupid.

“He was covered in your blood.”

Yes, but the witnesses would all testify that she was attacked by a snakeman and the physical evidence of the room, like the paralysed snakeman, would back up their testimony. JC would not be in jail. There is no evidence! And, um, Anita IS NOT DEAD.

“And how would you explain that in less than a week you were healed of wounds that should have killed you?”

She doesn’t. The police should have looked at her ON THE NIGHT IT HAPPENED and been like ‘oh, yeah, she’s alive”. This plot makes no sense! Anita wants to stop this great injustice but Cherry says that the delicate plotholed mess must not be questioned. Cherry is also refusing to tell Anita something and runs off as Micah asks to come in and ‘clean off’. Whatever is going to happen, Cherry thinks Anita will hurt her for it.

I don’t like the sound of this, but Anita forgets her worries as Micah’s HAWTNESS hits her.

Micah had curled his hair. It was definitely curls, not waves. The curls were tight, but not small. The color was that shade of dark, dark brown – almost black – that comes to people start out white blond as children, then darken.

What horseshit. I have very dark brown hair, close to black, and I’ve always been this dark. My stepsister and father started out as very light blonde, but their hair became light brown over time. Their hair colour is much lighter than mine. Micah sticks his face in hers and announces the news that Anita may have contracted lycanthropy. I can’t see how, seeing as she was attacked by a snake not a werewolf.

“Serpentine lycanthropy isn’t really lycanthropy. It’s not a disease I can catch.”

The shapeshifter abilities of brown people are inferior to those of white people. Got it. Plus, ‘serpentine lycanthropy’? What the fuck?

It’s then dropped that the captured swanmanes were rescued. You’re such a Samaritan, Anita.

Micah announces that Anita was scratched by Gregory when she faded to black and that she has all the symptoms of a newbie shapeshifter, honest! It’s totally going to happen! She’s totally going to be come a shapeshifter! And they can’t prove it by a blood test, but it’s totally going to happen! Micah calls her a ‘poor little deluded girl’ (fuck off with your privilege micah) and says that she knows nothing, does Anita Snow.

Her rapid healing is totally not a side effect of the vampire marks, by the way. Anita is totally a shapeshifter.

Anita feels faint.

I sat Indian fashion on the floor, the wall to my back, my head bent over my folded legs while I waited for the light-headedness to pass.

Why did you say that? Couldn’t you just say ‘I put my head between my legs and waited …’ etc, etc? Did you actually have to say ‘Indian fashion’?

Micah starts talking about how much Elizabeth hates Anita. This conversation is more jittery than a jumping bean on coffee.

“She hates that you’re a better alpha as a human than she is as a wereleopard. You make her feel weak.”

Oh, yeah, Anita’s amazing alpha skills which got two wereleopards brutally tortured for over two hours while Anita whined. Such a great alpha. Micah wants to know whether Anita will punish Gregory for infecting her – because she’s totally going to be a shapeshifter – but she just wants to know where he is. He is Noticeably Absent and Cherry is as suspicious as possible. It would seem that Richard has decided to torture Gregory as well. Micah starts waffling about how Richard has made his pack a democracy and this is bad because he’s suddenly a fucking expert on werewolf politics. For some reason. He then reveals that Anita can’t be lupa.

For fuck sake. Richard formally disavowed Anita as lupa books ago. Why can’t LKH remember her own canon?

Anyway, Richard is going to torture Gregory and everyone wants to do it. Richard has suddenly become a real arsehole. I mean, I thought he was an arsehole anyway, but he’s been made into an awful person. Just as Micah the Perfect waltzes in. Interesting.

Anyway, Gregory is being punished for hurting a member of the pack but Anita has been voted dead as a member of the pack because she’s in charge of the wereleopards. So, they’re punishing Gregory for hurting someone who is dead to them. Right. That makes perfect sense. Also, Richard has totally ruined the pack because he’s not running it like fascist dictator. Anita has to argue that Gregory is hers but as she’s dead she can’t do that.

My brain hurts.

Anita must ask Richard for Gregory back. Anita looks at Micah and wants to kiss him. She wants to get out and dressed, and actually – gasp – uses a mobile phone. She phones Richard, who won’t help her because Anita would take him back.

You’re punishing him for hurting someone you won’t recognise, but when his pack asks for him back, because that means he technically hasn’t committed a crime, you won’t give him back.

THIS MAKES NO SENSE.

Richard then drops that the pack is voting to make him date another woman and have another lupa. Anita is sad that he can’t date her anymore.

YOU’RE TRYING TO STOP A FRIEND FROM BEING BRUTALLY MURDERED. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO WORRY ABOUT YOUR SEX LIFE.

This relationship tripe goes on for two pages. Anita tells him that damnit, democracy just doesn’t work! They then repeat how much Anita wants Gregory back and Richard now has changed his mind entirely. She can prove herself worthy and get him back. She can come to a meeting tomorrow night with her wereleopards and all her allies. But if she can’t prove that she’s alive, Gregory will be killed.

This plot makes no sense! AT ALL!

They argue for another two pages. Richard asks whether her infection – because she’s totally a shapeshifter – was an accident. You were there fucker! You saw that he fell on her! But no shapeshifters are as fast as the Flash, and can change their actions within fractions of seconds. So Gregory did it on purpose. Richard doesn’t want to kill him, but democracy is making him. He’s got a new third who forced the vote and is trying for packmaster. Anita tells Richard to just kill him, and then she launches into this great speech about how goshdarnit, democracy sucks!

“I was trying to save people’s lives, Richard. You’re trying to remake a political system. Ideology is great in a classroom or a debate, but it’s flesh and blood that counts, Richard. It’s life and death we’re talking about here, not some outdated ideal you have in your head about what a better world you can make for the pack.”

That’s right, kids. You may have a dream of an ideal but you should never fight for it. It’s worthless. Things will never change.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? The very fact that we live in a society which, at its fundamental level, relies upon our vote and our participation in the system was an IDEAL, hard fought and hard won. There are problems, but there are problems in every system, and people need to keep fighting for ideals and improvements. Freedom and equality should be a given, but they are an ideal, and one we have to fight for. But according to LKH, you just should never try and make the world a better place. There’s no point in fighting for goodness. You just sit back and let one person overrule your life. This is actually arguing for a dictatorship of a privileged few and it’s disgusting.

Just fuck this shit. Fuck it all.

Anyway, Anita has to pass a lot of tests to save Gregory, tests that can only be done if you’re a shapeshifter. Because she’s totally going to be a shapeshifter. Richard then gives the phone to Jacob, who just chuckles about how Anita can do nothing. Anita makes John Wayne movie references and promises to kill him if he hurts Gregory. She makes him promise to not challenge Richard.

Jacob says that he wants to kill Gregory because he enjoyed raping the women of the wolf pack.

You know what? I like Jacob. Not that I approve of killing people, but he’s got a reason and a decent motivation. He’s not proud of what he has to do. He’s doing his pack role of keeping people safe.

Anita says she will hunt Jacob down and kill him, unless he helps her rescue Gregory.

This fucking book. I’m going to enjoy crafting with it.

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

    • It’s the self-righteous way she describes things that makes me go ‘THAT IS NOT THE WAY YOU FOOL’ every time. It makes me quite pig headed about things.

  1. Back when the swan manes first showed up, Anita made a distinguishment between lycanthropes (therianthropes) and shapeshifters. However, LKH has since forgotten it, and used the terms interchangeably instead. If she hadn’t forgotten, then what I think Anita is saying is that the were-snakes are shapeshifters and thus inherited, like the swans

    Of course she also craps all over THIS distinguihsment too when she decides later in the series that the tigers all have clans that they’re born into (unless they’re an icky orange REGULAR tiger)

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