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


I’m too hot, I’m cramping, and I have a burnt tongue.

It’s time to review some bad fiction.

“I see what you mean about being practical,” Micah said.

Anita can’t even rehem a dress. She’s not practical in the slightest. Anita launches into woe mode, as she is such a sociopath.

“I don’t think you’re a sociopath, Anita. I think you do what needs to be done to protect your pard.”

What, like letting them get brutally tortured for hours at a time? She’s such an amazing leader. Micah nods and agrees with everything Anita has ever done (and ever will do) but thinks that Richard is right as well. What do you agree with, Micah? Richard and Anita have opposing viewpoints. You can’t agree with them both – not when the argument is whether a man should die! You can’t half brutally murder Gregory.

It made me tired that Micah agreed with me. I wasn’t in love with him.

What? People can only agree with each other when they’re in romantic love? What? WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY?

Micah announces that he is going to shower now but that he wants to sill talk to Anita. Anita is trying to run off and get JC out of prison, but hey, that can wait. Even though JC is the established character and the easiest way to piss off a fanbase is to suddenly proclaim a brand new character the perfectest and bestest and the most important character ever at the expense of established characters. Anyway, he’s showering all that blood away and saying that Anita is the most powerful leopard queen he’s ever ever ever met.

He turns around and Anita can see the great big chunks she ripped out of his flesh. He calls them ‘love bites’ which makes me heave. They’re not healing because wounds inflicted by shapeshifters to shapeshifters take longer to heal.

No. No. The last nine books proved that is bullshit. You have created rules. Follow them.

Anita remembers some continuity and remarks that when she bit Verne in Blue Moon, it was considered horribly rude. But, nope, to wereleopards it means ‘the sex was good’.

So all wereleopard sex has to involve people biting chunks out of each other. Why? Why must all wereleopards be into pain?

They exchange vague talk about how Micah could do great things for the pard based on… him being nude in a shower. Micah says he will be honoured if Anita lets him accompany her to the meeting with Richard tomorrow.

His hands slid downward, trailing white suds over his stomach, his hips, then slid between his legs, working the soap over himself.

Do wereleopards flirt by wanking off in front of you? Because that’s sexual harassment, and I don’t have to take it. Plus, would it kill you to say penis?

I knew from my own experience of getting the stuff off me that you had to scrub more where it had touched you, but his hands stayed until he was slick, thick with bubbles, and partially erect by the time his hands slid to his thighs.

… did you just explain using soap to your audience? what.

Anita just stares with her mouth open. She tries to make her excuses and get away, but Micah says it’s okay to be attracted to him and that as they’re specially born wereleopard leaders, they’re destined to be attracted to each other.

Can you stop writing like a child? Because it’s that level of stupid.

Micah soaps his shoulders. Anita stares at him until the soap slides all the way to his waist.

“You’re an attractive man, naked, covered in soap. I’m human, so sue me.”

Ick. Soap is not sexy. Soap is, you know, soapy. Whipped cream. Chocolate. Strawberries. Those are erotic things to be covered in. Soap… is soapy. It dries your skin out and it burns in intimate areas.

Those huge yellow green eyes suddenly looked perfectly at home in his face.

Where were they before? Floating around his head?

Micah says how amazing and rare it was for them to share their beasts – don’t Anita and Richard do that all the time? – then grabs her and pulls her into the shower.

I was shaking my head, and finally stopped moving with him. He kept pulling on the towel and it unwrapped, starting to slide down my body. I grabbed it, holding it just below my suddenly bare breasts.

“No,” I said, my voice strangled, but I repeated it. “No.”

He stepped him into me, pressing the slick hardness of him against my lower hand and arm. He tried to uncurl my fingers from the towel, and I held on for dear life. “Touch me, Anita, cup me in your hands.”

“No.”

“I know you want to, I can smell it,” he said.

Arousal DOES NOT mean consent. And I have no idea how this scene differs from the original rapey hardback edition, but this is still pretty fucking rapey. Anita says ‘No’ three times and Micah doesn’t listen to her, just tells her that she wants it so hard fucking luck because she’s going to have sex anyway. She told him no, clearly does not want to have sex with him, but he’s going to just rape her because ~*destiny*~.

FUCK YOU MICAH. I’M WILL CRUSH THAT GIANT DICK OF YOURS BETWEEN TWO BRICKS. I AM FED UP OF READING ABOUT RAPE.

“You’re a stranger. I don’t do strangers.”

“I’m not a stranger. I’m your Nimir-Raj, and you are my Nimir-Ra. We could never be strangers.”

You only met an hour ago. You are strangers. Plus, look, she’s saying NO A FUCKING GAIN.

Micah just starts kissing her and mouth raping her. Anita can taste soap which is disgusting. Licking a soap bar is not my idea of a sexy time. Anita opens her mindlink with JC and he makes her respond to Micah’s sexual overtures.

  • Anita said no, but Micah said they must have sex.
  • Anita said no, but Micah mouthraped her.
  • Anita says no, but JC starts forcing her to enjoy and respond.
  • THIS IS RAPE.
  • THIS IS RAPE.
  • FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP WRITING RAPES.

Micah rubs his cock on her crotch. Anita isn’t really paying attention, as she’s trying to get some answers out of JC. He’s blathering on about how she must feed on his lust and how she now has JC’s demon.

Okay, skip the bolded parts of you have triggers. Because this is really disturbing.

I found I did have a voice and said, “Micah, stop, please stop.”

Micah licked the back of my neck, and I shuddered, pressed against the wet wall.

“Please, Micah, I’m not on birth control.” A clear thought at last.

He bit softly at the back of my neck. “I had myself fixed two years ago. You’re safe with me, Anita.”

“Please, Micah, please don’t.”

He bit harder, just this side of drawing blood. and my body went passive, calm. It was as if he’d hit a switch I didn’t know I had. When he pressed himself inside me, he was slick, and I knew that sometime when I’d been paying attention to Jean-Claude inside my head, he’d spread more soap on himself, allowing that thick hardness to slide more easily inside me.

He pinned me to the wall and slid inside me, one tight inch at a time. It wasn’t that he was long so much as he was wide – wide enough that it was just this side of pain to have him work himself inside me, even with the soap.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a more graphic or realistic rape scene. Because there is no way to argue that as consensual. Anita is begging him to stop, but Micah hurts her until she is quiet and passive. He forces himself inside her and it’s painful. This is rape, and it’s being presented to us as consensual sex. Anita starts to enjoy this as she grows wetter but still says ‘I didn’t want sex’. It reads as a scene from a Victorian book – that it’s not rape of you have a reaction.

No. This is rape. It’s horrible, brutal, and humiliating.

And, DEAR GOD, you should not put soap in your vagina! Sorry, I felt that needed to be commented on. Soap is a terrible lubricant.

I don’t want to look over the rest of the chapter, because LKH is desperately trying to sell this mess as being consensual and that Anita likes it really. It’s not rape if you’re wet, after all. Micah pounds her as hard as he can, because he’s a disgusting rapist cunt, and Anita ‘feeds’ on him.

They hug when he’s done.

I started to cry. He was afraid he’d hurt me, but that wasn’t it. I couldn’t explain the tears to him, because I didn’t want to say it out loud.

She’s crying because she’s now a ‘monster’.

Anita, sweetheart, you’re crying because a stranger brutally raped you while your boyfriend, someone who professes to love you, forced you to enjoy it.

God, I’m welling up. This was appalling.

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

    • God, this chapter was so fucked up. I just had to sit back and stop myself from crying because it’s one of the worst – and most realistic, aside from the magical bs – rape scenes I’ve read. And now I have to read about how marvellous Micah is for ten more books when he did this. This is exactly how I felt about JC. JC, who is even worse, for MAKING HIS GIRLFRIEND ENJOY BEING RAPED. SWEET FUCKING LORD.

  1. Oh boy. If you think this is bad then I have no idea how you will react to the magical date rape orgies. And worse. I honestly think you should consider stopping. While I guess few scenes are disgusting in this manner specifically the amount of rape that is condoned is going to increase. I’ve suffered from depression before and if you feel this strongly about such things then I would be fairly worried about your health.

  2. After typing up the scene in my book, it looks like all LKH honestly did was throw in a line about how Anita “wants it so badly,” because that is really all I see that’s different. There’s no mention of her wanting it, just that she keeps saying no, and acknowledges that she wants to feed, but otherwise, she is basically telling him off the entire time.

      • Yeah. I can’t help but wonder if there’s a literal wall in her brain that keeps her from understanding these basic concepts. Is it her upbringing? Is she still surrounded by people in Missouri who think it’s not rape if the woman wants it? (I’m actually leaning towards this one; the US is sadly full of these types.) Throwing in a remark that she suddenly wants it in a sea of “no, no, no” does NOT suddenly make it not!rape.

      • while I’m no psychiatrist one reason I’ve thought of why she may write stuff like that is that her own sexuality is more “violent” (cant really think of a better term) than the norm. If this is the way normally imagines sex in her internal ‘fantasies’ it may bleed over onto the page. Though I have no idea how common these urges are from what I’ve heard(which may be completely wrong, like I said, I’m no expert and I haven’t confirmed my sources ) there are those who roleplay this sort of thing in a safe manner with the consent of all parties. And since with fictional characters consent is as imaginary as the characters, it may be that LKH naturally writes about sh’t that would be morally irredeemable in real life without even thinking much of the implications.

        Of course this is just speculation on my part from just reading the books. I am not claiming this is the answer, but I’ll just throw it out there. I don’t mean anything insulting from it and I hope no one takes insult from it, i’m just putting it out to add another aspect to this discussion.

      • @Caesar

        I think you’re on to something there, given how repressed the AB books are. That could very well be why the Merry books sometimes feel more natural, because Merry as far as I know isn’t in to the darker stuff despite having sex with goblins etc

      • @ tiger gray. Its been a while and my memories sketchy, I do remember Merry being more open to sex than Anita was. So maybe thats it. But theres still the fact that she was forced to have sex with her bodyguards by her deranged aunt in a race to see whether she could produce children faster than her cousin. Maybe merrys acceptance of this may have made it seem more natural whereas anita would have had a lot of badly written angst. But at the end of the day it seems just as disgusting as the ardeur.

  3. One of the little bits I remember in particular from Kiss the Dead is Anita being praised for practicality for things that had nothing to do with her, like her men not eating meat before a show so they wouldn’t bloat. Somehow, she got the credit for that and being “practical” for it despite having nothing to do with it. I guess because there’s nothing practical that she actually does at all. I get the feeling that maybe LKH thinks being “practical” is a “guy thing” though and therefore Anita must be the epitome of it, and, in classic Sue fashion, have it pointed out and lauded by others despite it being a perfectly ordinary trait. It’s also an Informed Ability, also common to the Sue and Anita in particular, because she doesn’t actually demonstrate it, we’re just told about it.

    …people only agree if in love wait what? LKH is like this weird alien with no understanding of human behavior and mindsets, and I say that as someone with Aspergers Syndrome.

    Why must wereleopards be all into pain? Because they’re were-animals, silly! No really, it becomes canon in Kiss the Dead that becoming a shifter makes you kinky. Yes, really. And poly too, I think.

    Should eyes…not look at home in a human face?

    LKH does indeed write very realistic rape scenes, with Anita as both victim and rapist. What’s scary is that she DOESN’T SEEM TO REALIZE IT’S RAPE.

    • to be fair I think she means she’d rather Richard was agreeing with her and getting along with her harmoniously because she’s in love with him, rather than a stranger behaving the way she’d like Richard to behave

  4. Well, I think we have definite confirmation that LKH wasn’t working with an editor at this point. Or revising her first draft. Because there is no way that… *THAT* made it past anyone without getting at least commented on.

    How did all the fans not get seriously pissed about this? And I don’t mean book-throwing pissed; I mean full-on book-burning pissed. Because after reading… THAT, I’d want to destroy this book, and I’m working on getting a Library & Info Science degree.

    And LKH is still writing, still being published, and still fairly successful. There has to be some kind of demonic pact involved here, there just has to be.

    • It’s really mind boggling when you consider this: the next book, ‘Cerulean Sins’ was supposed to be named after a sex shop JC owned, but was considered far too ‘raunchy’ for inclusion.

      This was okay though.

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