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

The chapter opens with a symbolic dream.


The phone is ringing and Nathaniel answers it. It’s Rafael, the king of the wererats.

Rafael was the wererat king. Their equivalent of an Ulfric.

That’s kind of implied by the fact that, you know, he’s a king, you goober.

Rafael says that he’s sorry Anita might be turning into a wereleopard, because Rafael is probably one of perhaps ten characters that is not an arsehole. He then says he is happy to stand as her ally when she confronts Richard to get Gregory back.

“I appreciate the gesture, Rafael, you don’t know how much I appreciate it, but I’m not lupa anymore. Your treaty is with the pack, and I’m not pack amymore.”

Why are you so stupid? Rafael is standing ally with YOU as NIMIR-RA OF THE WERELEOPARDS.

Rafael reminds Anita that she’s saved his life and that his treaty is with Richard, not the werewolves. He’s going to be making a political point – that he will only stand in alliance with the St. Louis werewolves if Richard is in charge. They talk about how much they hate Jacob and wish that Richard was a brutal dictator. Stop, Rafael. You’re a nice guy. Don’t turn into the conforming mess Anita wants you to be.

Anita then reconfirms how this lets Rafael make a political point.

“As I said, Anita, you understand things that Richard does not.”

What, she understands that repeating words unnecessarily pads out the word count? She hangs up and Jason starts asking her questions. Whoops. Anita wasn’t even smart enough to ask him to leave the room. I guess she understands a lot less than other people assume. Jason promises that he won’t reveal what happened unless directly asked as this ‘will help Richard’. To me, it looks like the rats are undermining his leadership, but what the hell. What do I know.

It was ten o’clock; we’d had a little over six hours of sleep. Time to start the day. Yippee!

That was so out of character I got whiplash. Since when has Anita ever been enthused or happy about anything? And what happened to yesterday’s trauma? Did she just sleep it off? Nathanvile snuggles into Anita.

Today the feel of him pressed against me made things low in my body clench tight.

Why can’t you just say ‘Today, the feel of him pressed against my body made me wet’? A fire of desire rushes through Anita and everyone can sense it. I’d argue that seeing as they’re shapeshifters they could probably smell that she’s turned on but whatever, it’s magic.

Sorry. ~*magic*~

Anita starts to get affected by the ardeur and thinks about how she’s a cat and Nathanvile is a mouse that smells like vanilla. Um… sexy? She wants to lick his stomach but no! She can’t think like this! She’s a good girl! She doesn’t even masturbate – she can’t WANT to have sex with someone!

Jason says that he was told to stay with her to stop her from feeding on Nathavile in the night as Anita has JC’s ‘incubus’. An incubus is not a magical thing. It is a type of vampire. It is not like flu or herpes. It’s not something you can catch or infect other people with. Either he infected her with the ardeur or turned her into an incubus. Pick one and stay consistent.

Also, why can’t Anita feed on Nathanvile? They’ve had sex before. They are attracted to each other. Anita isn’t attracted to Jason – they’re friends and while they ‘flirt’, they seem to have no interest in having sex with each other. JC just seems to be controlling who Anita can and can’t have sex with. Why? I have nothing, other than forcing her to have sex with men she doesn’t want to sleep with. AGAIN.

Anita touches Jason and finds out that he actually does want to have sex with her.

Jean-Claude’s ardeur let me see into his heart, and I found it the most pure of any that I’d looked into in a long time.

But you’ve only just gained the ability to see into people’s ‘hearts’. And Jason? PURE? Stop trying to convince me that Anita Blake, a woman who is interested in monogamous sex and is so sheltered that she will not even touch herself or be an active participant in sex, actually really wants to have lots and lots of sex with lots and lots of different men. If you want to write a pornography series where a woman is infected with a sex magic, fine, do it. It’s been done to death. But Anita’s characterisation goes against everything that the ardeur stands for – a characterisation built up for ninebooks. Her battle against the inflicted sexual desire and her fight to remain the person she wants to be would be a really interesting plot development. But LKH is lazy. She just wants to get her SI to the point where she will have sex with lots and lots of men. She’s forgotten that, while Anita is one of the most obvious SIs I’ve ever seen, Anita has her own life, her own experiences, and her own motivations.

That’s why fans dropped the series. Because this is not how the Anita they’ve loved would react to this.

Anita falls a little bit in love with Jason because he’s pure of heart. She demands that they both leave the room, but Nathanvile won’t.

Nathaniel would never tell me no.

If someone can’t tell you no, it’s rape, or something like that.


I’m not going to repeat what I’ve already raged about but this is just so frustrating. Jason drags Nathanvile off the bed and Anita starts writhing around and having a fit because of the ungodly pain of not having sex.

Here’s a question for you: what does the ardeur actually need? I know it needs sex and orgasms, but is the person with the ardeur required to have the sex? Or are they even required to have penetrative sex? Could the ardeur be fed if someone jacked off in front of her? What are the rules? Why won’t LLH tell me the rules?

Anita starts scratching herself until she bleeds so Nathanvile and Jason hold her bodily on the bed. She keeps on thrashing around so Jason decides to tie her down until JC decides to wander his lazy ass in here.

Again, could the ardeur be fed if one of you jacked off in front of her? Why can’t you try it and find out?

Nathanvile flops his hair on Anita’s face – wow such help – and Anita wants to tear apart his skin and hers to eat. Jason has run off, forgetting that he was supposed to stop Anita having sex with Nathanvile, so Anita starts to initiate sex with Nathanvile.


Anita and Nathanvile have steamy makeouts for two pages until she tells him to stop. He doesn’t until she yanks some hair out.

You see? Nathanvile isn’t submissive at all – if he was (ignoring the shitty way LKH depicts it) wouldn’t he stop immediately? It’s just further proof that he is actually a conman who manipulates women. Anita forces him off her then tells him to lie down on his stomach. She sits on his back and bites on the back of his neck, like Micah did with her, until he starts to bleed. She feeds on him, but this isn’t enough. She pulls off his shorts and –

I spread his legs so I could kneel between them, lowered my mouth to that smooth, untouched skin, and marked him. There was more flesh to hold in my mouth here, tight, but more plentiful.

What the hell are you biting? Are you biting him on the ass? I can understand that and the less I say about the potential of biting men on the ass the better. Are you biting his anus? His perineum? If you write a sex scene, you have to be specific with what your characters are doing. It can’t be ‘Then they had sex and it was very sexy’. Flesh is a vague term. She could be biting his kneecaps for all I know.

Anita gets naked and rolls on top of his body, covering herself in blood. Ick. Nathanvile really, really wants her – wants her wallet, more like – and this is sexy.

When I could trust myself, I spread his legs as far as they would go, and bit down, marking areas untouched, getting even closer, until I could see him pressed between his body and the bed.

You did that already.

Anita starts sucking him off –

Hang on. Nathanvile is still lying on his stomach on the bed. How is this working?


That’s not how anatomy works! There’s a bed there! They’re not floating in the air!

Anyway, Nathanvile enjoys this but Anita has to force herself not to bit off his cock and eat it.



I laughed until I cried.

It turns out that Jason was watching, ready with shackles. He didn’t intervene because ‘every time I thought you were going to lose control, you didn’t’. Uh uh uh. You didn’t intervene because you were worried she’d bite your cock off. Because there was no way you could stop her. With the ardeur, she’s stronger than you and it would only take a split-second for Nathanvile to be sans penis.

Anita senses that JC is awake and is now running towards her.

Hey, isn’t this book supposed to be about shapeshifters being kidnapped? Or something?

I think this is the first chapter of this book where I’m signing off smiling. Because there’s nothing more hilarious than a sex scene where a woman is trying to not become a literal cock-gobbler.



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

  1. “Cock-gobbler.”


    On a different note, I think there *is* a mention at some point that the ardeur can be feed from a distance; J.C.’s creator liked to have orgies so she could watch and feed off the participants, or something to that degree. But I think they then also jossed Anita’s ability to do it because she’s an idio–I mean, untrained, or something.

      • When has magic in the Anitaverse ever made sense. Magic works depending on what LKH thinks the story needs at that specific time. And that’s if she bothers to explain it. Otherwise its just described as POOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWEEEEEEEEERRR!!!!!!!!!!!

    • The thing is that as mentioned above, the ardeur is basically a plot device to make Anita to have sex. It’s explained to her at one point that it will force her to have sex when her energy is low, so she could prevent or at least reduce the frequency of these incidents by eating and sleeping properly (this is said explicitly). Yet she does nothing along these lines, despite constantly complaining of the effects of the ardeur on her life and how she really doesn’t want to have the sex it forces her into.

  2. “Either he infected her with the ardeur or turned her into an incubus.”

    Technically, I think Anita would be a succubus, what with her being female (at least biologically, at any rate). And assuming she’s not already some kind of succubus, what with how she seems to suck any interesting characterization out of those around her. [/nitpick]

    Also, I can’t help but think that the ardeur could be an interesting magical STD, in the hands of a good author. Which is to say, not LKH. I don’t know why she continues to write these books now, since she’s got another series that’s actually erotica. Must be for the money.

    • Yeah, she would be a succubus. I was kind of running with the text calling her an incubus. And treating being an incubus as a thing one could catch. Which is weird.

      The ardeur – man i hate that stupid word – would be a great idea. Like all things in Anita Blake would be great if written by any other person.

      Love for the character, I suppose. She’s written Anita for twenty years – it’s like a really fucked up child she’s nurtured into adulthood. It’s tricky to just leave something like that behind.

      • The ‘ardeur’ (which she won’t even spell consistently through the series) always makes me think of the word ‘arduous’. Which is what this is. It is an arduous freaking task to get through this tripe.
        Which means ALL the Woodchuck Cider for Dottie!

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