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


Dawn was minutes away when Jean-Claude came through the door in a robe. “You may have the bed, ma petite, and I will take my coffin. I think your nerves are raw enough without me dying in your arms as the sun rises.”

Also:

JC, you deliberately left your girlfriend on her own after you made her enjoy getting rape. You don’t care about her, period. You are the worst.

Anita says that she’ll have Nathanvile with her, so she’ll be okay, and JC demands that Jason join her as well. Anita raises her eyebrows but doesn’t question it. JC blows her a kiss and runs off. And rape someone else.

Nathaniel was sitting on the corner of the bed, neutral in face, eyes, even body language. He was very good at seeming non-threatening, soothing almost.

That’s because he’s waiting to wear your skin as a fetching bathrobe. Just admit it.

Anita is surprised that she is tired, apparently not knowing that emotional turbulence and stressful events can exhaust you. Nathanvile strips off and Anita pops to the bathroom. She starts worrying because she hasn’t anything to sleep in, so it’s lucky that Jason knocks on the door, having been sent with JC with clean pyjamas. Wouldn’t she have stuff at the Circus, anyway? Seeing as she used to stay over a lot?

He held out a folded piece of red satin. I took it and let it spill through my hands. It was actually two pieces, a loose top with spaghetti straps and a pair of shorts. It was obviously meant to be lingerie.

I’ll point out again that – in the UK at least – lingerie covers all female undergarments, including pyjamas. But the most important thing to remember is that Anita must be sexually available for her man at all times. She is not allowed to be anything other than a sexual object.

The top that had looked loose actually clung pretty tightly across my breasts. You’d certainly know whether I was cold or not. The shorts were cut so high on the sides that the legs almost met the waistband. It managed to cover everything and still not leave much to the imagination.

If the legs are cut to the waistband, those shorts are not covering anything. Anita goes out and Jason goes into raptures about her look. Anita says that she is uncomfortable so Jason responds by making innuendos. Oh, Jason is a Nice Guy. Anita threatens to shoot him, which is Komedy.

He raised his hand in the Boy Scout salute. “I won’t bite, promise.”

That made me think of Micah and caused me to blush, which was embarrassing under the circumstances.

I don’t think ’embarrassing’ is the right word for it. ‘Humiliating’ perhaps. ‘Distressing’. ‘Frightening’. But this is an LKH character, and they can’t feel strong emotion aside from hatred. Jason laughs because that’s what people do when their friends are unhappy.

With his yellow hair and blue eyes, he looked somehow out of place against all the black silk, as if he needed a different colour to frame him to best advantage. Of course, the bed wasn’t meant to frame him to best advantage, it was meant to frame Jean-Claude.

By repeating this, I’m letting you know how important this is. By repeating this, I’m letting you know how important this is. And wouldn’t black silk make JC look a bit washed out – since his hair is black, wouldn’t he look bald? By repeating this, I’m letting you know how important this is.

I leaned against the heavy cherry wood post of the bed, one hand on it. But my hands were not big enough to encircle the wood. It was a big bed – at least king size.

Why. Just why did this need to be in here? Descriptions and character actions should help move along the plot or provide characterisation. All this does is emphasise that Anita is THE SMALLESTEST HOBBIT.

Jason tries to worm what happened to Anita out of her, but she’s not budging.

I slid my gun under the nearest pillow, safety on. And for extra precaution, since I was sleeping with non-gun users, no bullets were in the chamber.

Um, how will that gun help defend you, then? If someone bursts in the room to kill you, what are you going to do? Throw your empty gun at their heads? Jason tells Anita to move closer. Anita starts bewailing how Richard isn’t hers any more – because all love is ownership, ammirite – but Jason says no other werewolf will ever be able to touch Anita because Richard would certainly kill them. Ah, possessive, homicidal love. The greatest and healthiest kind of love. Anita calls Jason smart for knowing about this.

“Hit the lights, Nathaniel.” Nathaniel did what I asked, and the blackness was complete. […] I felt Nathaniel by the bed. “Please, turn on the bathroom light, leave the door ajar.” He went back and did it. One of the good things about Nathaniel was he didn’t question orders much. It used to bug me. Now I counted on it, sometimes.

Translation: Anita enjoys having a personal slave. What an admirable person.

Nathanvile crawls back in, which means Anita and her useless gun must move over, and Jason moves over, and one fell out and he gave a little cry and he gave a little shout.

In fact I was able to roll over onto my side without bumping anyone. Of course, that wasn’t how I slept at home. At home Nathaniel and the rest of the wereleopards cuddled into big piles. I’d slept most of the last six months among them. It was, sadly, getting to the point that when I slept alone I felt lonely.

Let me get this straight – all the St. Louis wereleopards have to give up their lives and families to sleep with Anita every night? But of course, Anita is the focus and centre of all existence in the universe, all hail Anita. Anita cuddles against Nathanvile and Jason complains. The two argue about whether Jason will try anything, because of course, friends regularly consider raping friends.

We were within an inch of being the same height –

ALL MEN IN THIS WORLD ARE THE SAME HEIGHT AS YOURS. WHY THE HELL DOES ANITA MAKE SUCH A BIG DEAL ABOUT BEING FIVE FOOT THREE WHEN MOST PEOPLE ARE THAT HEIGHT?

– which made spooning easy. It also put certain parts of his anatomy up against my butt, and it was hard not to notice that he was happy to be there.

For the love of almighty Isis, this is a book where the main female character gets infected with a magical need to have sex every few hours! HOW CAN YOU BE PRUDISH ABOUT THE WORD ERECTION?

Not too long ago, I’d have made him move, but I’d spent months learning shapeshifter etiquette. The men tried their best not to get erections, and not to use them when they did; the women tried to ignore the fact they had them. That was the rule. It allowed everyone to pretend we were just a bunch of puppies sleeping in a nice friendly pile. To acknowledge anything else meant the system fell apart.

  • ‘The men TRIED their best not to get erections, AND NOT TO USE THEM WHEN THEY DID.
  • Not only is it suddenly okay to say the word erection, but can we talk about that?
  • The men only ‘TRY’ not raping the women they know.
  • OH MY GOD
  • The women are told to put up and shut up if the men sleeping nude with them decide to take advantage and rape them in their sleep.
  • WHY ARE ALL MEN IN THESE BOOKS RAPISTS?
  • AND WHY ARE THE WOMEN JUST EXPECTED TO PUT UP WITH THE FACT THAT IT’S LIKELY THEY WILL BE RAPED IN THEIR SLEEP?
  • CAN SOMEONE ASK WHY LKH IS OBSESSED WITH RAPE?
  • You are not a bunch of puppies sleeping in a friendly pile.
  • For a start, one of the men might decide to rape you and will be forgiven.
  • You’re not animals. You are humans. You’re not animals so why are you behaving like animals?
  • People are not born into shapeshifterness (so far in this universe) so they’re not brought up in animalistic situations to display animalistic behaviours. You don’t just suddenly start behaving like an animal! That is not how nature works!
  • Why is everyone so willing to give up their independent and individual lives? Why is everyone happy to suddenly become a pod person?
  • You mean, to acknowledge that you’re human beings and it’s not acceptable for men to casually rape you just because they get an erection and that means they’re fucking entitled to a vagina would make the whole system of servitude and conformity unacceptable? The devil you say!
  • If we fight like animals, we die like animals!

Anita repeats that she has grown used to this and Jason is disappointed that Anita doesn’t react. Jason is an arsehole. Anita then has flashbacks to being pinned between Micah and Caleb but Nathanviles vanilla odour comforts her.

For the love of crap. NO ONE FUCKING NATURALLY SMELLS LIKE VANILLA. GROW THE FUCK UP.

Jason starts to feel her up. Again, arsehole.

Normally, I spooned Nathaniel – took the dominant position with my body protecting his – my bare back to the room.

shut up shut up shut up shut up

Nathavile falls to sleep first. Anita can tell this because…. they are so connected?

QUICK EVERYONE INVENT AN X-MEN SUE CHARACTER TO MAKE THE STUPID GO AWAY

Mine’s a French girl called Dominique who can project illusions from her eyes that are indistinguishable from your surroundings. I have no idea if there is an X-Man with that power because there are too many fucking X-Men books.


 

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

  1. “I slid my gun under the nearest pillow, safety on. And for extra precaution, since I was sleeping with non-gun users, no bullets were in the chamber.

    Um, how will that gun help defend you, then? If someone bursts in the room to kill you, what are you going to do? Throw your empty gun at their heads?”

    I don’t know much about guns outside of what I need to know to understand historical tactics, but I thought chamber refered to the bullet being in the barrel ready to fire and not the magazine. In that’s the case the gun wouldn’t be empty and there’d still be a mag in the gun. But I know I can’t be right because having a chambered bullet in your gun while you sleep is a good way to blow your head off if the gun misfires. I know I can’t be right because if LKH is really a gun nut nut she should know basic gun safety. So in other words from what little I do know Anita is suicidal but theres a good chance I’m mistaken because LKH should have researched basic gun saftety before putting guns in her books. Basic google search doesn’t tell me much.

    • I don’t know much about guns either, but yeah, you do need to chamber a round before you can fire.

      As to your second point, I kinda have to wonder why Anita would sleep with a loaded gun under her pillow. I can maybe get keeping one in the nightstand, but what she’s doing is asking for trouble.

  2. Hey, you know who does value consent? Animals. Ok maybe not some, but rats actually do! The males are very delicate with their courtship, and accept rejection. I mean I’m sure there are some rapist rats but generally that doesn’t seem to be the norm, just from what I’ve read and observations of my own.

    No wonder LKH doesn’t favor them.

    There are a few X-villains with illusion powers, yes, the most notable being the now-deceased Mastermind and his two scantily-clad super-sexy sexual daughters. None with them specifically coming from the eyes, though.

    Mine that I mentioned last time is my character Sati, not usually a Sue but transplanted to the X-verse so that she can resurrect my fave characters and then hang out with them and they all like her cus she saved them 030

    • Rape is very common with birds, sadly. It’s pretty much all rape for them. But they have a very different societal structure. Hell, I’d argue that the shapeshifters in this series are much closer to birds than anything else.

      My dog bit the only male dog who attempted to court her. Even dogs respect the need to say no.

      Having Sue fantasies is really fun, if you don’t make them SIs. Dominque has to look after an aunt who has suffered a deliberating stroke and becomes her carer. When her aunt dies, she looses all ability to control her illusions, and her husband tries to kick her head in to stop them. Then she needs, you know, help and stuff.

      She’s a bit more depressing than most Sues. A bit more actual pain and development.

  3. omg you want my Xmen sue character? her name is Needle and she is the child of Storm and Nightcrawler. She is demon-y like dad but has long white hair and some weather powers. She has scars like movie!Kurt but they are from all different religions, as she spent time traveling the world in a search for enlightenment.

  4. Weirdly, I can accept the “were=animal behavior” bit, but only if it meant we had an explanation as to *why* a human being will suddenly change so much once they’re infected, and not only change, but change into a stereotype. Obviously by now we all know LKH’s idea of how shifters act is almost diametrically opposite to real animals: is it because people have passed down the *idea* of how to act so strongly it’s become a brainwashed attitude? Is it because the change itself somehow so completely effects their DNA they really do become these puppy-pile-sleeping, comfortable-with-nudity, etc type of people even if they had been prudish antisocial types beforehand? (I honestly think it would be the last, and how they “act” is really singular to shifters as an overall species, and can’t be attributed to normal animals even if the two look alike once one shifts.)

    Oh, Laurell, if only you had the talent to actually explain this shit.

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