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


Firstly, an awesome British indie-punk band I know called Colour Me Wednesday have a new single that I think you’ll all like. It’s about how gender roles in the music industry are bullshit. I heartily endorse this message, especially in light of what this blog focuses on.

And not just because they’ve fed me!

“Jean-Claude’s coming,” Jason said.

“I know,” I said.

Repeating information is the quick-fix to padding out your book! It never ruins the quality of what you’re writing! It never ruins the quality of what you’re writing!

Jason stares at Anita’s body but this is okay because his heart is ‘pure’. He wants her just for her as opposed to those…. other men who are interested in her and always have been interested in her. What?

The hunger was just below the surface; like something simmering in a pot, you have to keep the heat low, or it boils over. I’d had enough heat for one day.

You use a hunger metaphor and then immediately switch it to a boiling pot metaphor. Stay consistent. Asher then comes in, saying he ‘felt the call’. I hope this isn’t leading to a sex scene. He felt her POWEEERRRRRRRRR. He tries to touch her face – STOP IT – and then licks the air.

“May I taste your pomme de sang?” It was French for apple of blood, and it was a nickname for a person that was a regular donor to a particular vampire.

And it’s a terrible nickname. For a start, it doesn’t make any sense. Why the hell do French vampires refer to blood donors as ‘apples’? the only pomme de thing I remember from my basic French is the name of the potato. But, you know, that’s a potato. Why would you call human blood ‘apples’? Why not bloodbag, fangbanger, casks, or feeders? And why do all vampires use that hackneyed phrase? They’re not all French! Why would vampires of other ethnicities use that phrase? I know Asher is French, but it’s phrased to suggest that ALL vampires use that stupid, stupid phrase. Why does your worldbuilding suck?

Asher wants to lick Nathanvile’s wounds, and Nathanvile is fine with that. Asher does so and stares up at Anita with Hypnotoad eyes throughout. Anita then joins in and her beast flares up –

I have to point this out. It’s not safe for humans to drink blood. Well, human blood. Animal blood is perfectly safe to drink or eat, and many cultures so so. Human blood is poisonous. It’s full of iron and too much iron in your blood will get you killed both by Magneto and by iron poisoning. Members of the vampire subculture have to train their stomachs to accept blood and it takes a while. Anita should be vomiting profusely all down Asher’s back. BLOOD IS NOT SAFE FOR HUMANS TO DRINK. YOU FAIL.

Asher notices Anita’s beast and they suddenly realise that they should have sex with each other – even though this has been a plotline since Asher was introduced and a plotline I hate because Asher wanted to brutally rape Anita. And still does. He touches her thigh – OMG – and then JC arrives.

He was wearing a black robe with black fur at collar, lapel, and sleeves. His black hair melted into the fur, so you couldn’t tell where one blackness stopped and the other began. The last time I’d seen him in the robe, I’d told him there better be something under the robe besides skin. Now, I hoped there wasn’t.

*Unbeknownst to Anita, we’ve secretly replaced JC’s penis with a bouquet of fake flowers. Let’s see if she notices!*

Anita starts boiling with ardeur soup. I don’t know why LKH called it ‘ardeur’. It just sounds like she can’t spell ‘ardour’, which is French for ‘to burn’ that is a good word for the ‘boiling’ metaphor she keeps returning to.

Things lower than my stomach clenching tight enough to draw a sound from my throat.

Your toes? Toe cramp can be a bitch, I sympathise.

Asher announces that Anita tastes like JC and his maker, Belle Morte. Anita rolls over, exposes herself, and hides her body again. Jason openly complains because he’s an arsehole. JC starts to strip and Anita starts to feel aroused but then replaces that with fear. Because it’s healthy to be afraid of wanting sex. Well, she’s worried about what will happen and how she doesn’t ‘trust myself’ but… JC is a vampire. What can you do to him?

Anita announces that the hunger recognises Asher – what – and they postulate whether it’s because it’s Anita’s sexual desire or Belle Morte’s. I thought Anita was attracted to Asher because she has JC’s emotions? JC keeps on strippin’.

“It is alright, ma petite. Once taken, blood fills your stomach, but lust…” Fur brushed in a teasing line down my arm. “Lust is always there, never vanquished completely, never satisfied.”

Does Anita have to have sex with other people to satisfy the ardeur? Couldn’t she just… have sex with herself?

Anita demands to have sex with JC right now but JC can’t because he hasn’t fed so can’t get an erection. Um, you can have sex without penetration. What, does JC the super lover not know how to sexually please a woman without his penis? He is not good at sex! JC turns to Jason, makes an overly florid speech about how he’s going to bite him, and Jason… glides over.

I could taste the movement of his body in my mouth, not just his heart, but as if every throb and beat of him was trying to slide over my tongue and down my throat.

What parts of his body? His foot? You want to shove his foot down your throat? How about no, you crazy bastard?

Asher decides to leave because…. um, he’s bisexual, so therefore evil. Or something. Anita stares at him and has a vision of Belle Morte.

  • Anita looks up at Belle Morte, who is strongly implied to look just like her.
  • Asher comes in and Anita is repulsed by his scars.
  • Belle Morte has a perfect body, making it look like JC dumped his longstanding lover and partner because he didn’t look nice any more.
  • Belle Morte is only interested in JC – from whose perspective Anita is seeing this.
  • JC says ‘stop. don’t go’ in the most unconvincing voice ever

Anita finds herself repeating the words and Asher and JC are OMG SHOCKED. Although they both know Anita has experienced memories from their shared past before. Asher is upset that Anita knows how Belle Morte cast him out and is upset. JC says it was all his choice that the people Asher was closest too found him repulsive because of his physical deformity.

What nice people.

“That was your choice,” Jean-Claude said.

“How could you bear to touch me? I couldn’t bear to touch me.”

Um… it doesn’t seem like it was Asher’s choice. It read that JC and Belle Morte refused to talk to him, acknowledge him, or help comfort him emotionally after his torture and the death of Julianna. I don’t call that a choice! I call that passive aggression!

Anita then has to ask why Asher was kicked out. AFTER RELIVING THE ENTIRE MEMORY. ARGHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA WHY CAN’T FEMALE CHARACTERS IN PARANORMAL ROMANCES BE INTELLIGENT? BECAUSE SMART GIRLS AREN’T SEXY? ARGRHSGSGDGDDFUCKYOU

Asher has to resay that he was through out because he wasn’t ‘beautiful’.

“You are beautiful, Asher. That she couldn’t see that isn’t your fault.”

  • Anita, you constantly mention that you find his scars physically repulsive and only think about whether he still has a penis or not. You are such a hypocrite.
  • Asher likes to brutally rape women. I don’t find that beautiful.
  • Wow, such inspiring words. I’m sure that’s going to solve his three hundred year old angst and pain.
  • And, again, the man he loves is picking a small, brunette woman over Asher. Your words are going to sound very hollow.
  • Anita Blake: Queen of Friendship and Comfort.

Asher flops his hair over his head and huffs. Anita is SAD that he has to hide. Anita jumps up, suddenly happy to be nude in front of a lot of men despite never being happy with it before and no significant character development to get her to this point, and thinks how JC is SAD and that’s why he rejected Asher. And he couldn’t go to him at some point over the centuries to reconcile, or even try to reconcile now that Asher is in town because… JC is an arsehole.

Through Jean-Claude’s ‘gift’ I knew that Asher wanted to touch me and didn’t trust himself enough to have his hands out in front of him. But it wasn’t me he wanted to touch.

What. What the actual hell.

Anita touches Asher’s face – WOULD YOU PEOPLE STOP THAT? – and he walks away. She touches him again, stroking his skin, and acts all lovely dovey to a man who wanted to brutally rape her. Anita sighs over how much she loves him, despite the fact they never talk or interact ever.

I turned and looked at Jean-Claude, tried to ask with my eyes what I was thinking.

“To know another’s heart, you must first know your own, ma petite.”

Anita thinks love is a ‘bitch’ – no, contrived love is a bitch – and Asher and her hug. JC wants them both. Asher rubs his face against Anita’s stomach. Anita decides that… they can all sleep together? Anita starts boiling up with ardeur, even thought it was just fed, and is surprised that lust is hot. Which is stupid.

I hugged my arms to me, as if I was cold, but I wasn’t cold.

AJHWERRHJRJHKHJDFFHJDFSDKHJDFKIHDFGLKDFGKLDFGGFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

YOU WRITE FOR A LIVING!

HOW YOU GET AWAY WITH THAT?

Anita wants to know if the ardeur is permanent, but JC waffles on about how it might be and it might not be. They’re not going to do research or anything because that would answer questions. Anita is surprised that vampire powers might feel separate to the person who has them. I want to smash my face into things. Anita strokes Asher’s hair. JC says she will gain more control of the ardeur in time, although she seems pretty controlled right now. He then says she will get the rotting disease of Sabin from The Killing Dance because…. um, she will. Even though she isn’t a vampire. Actually, she’ll rapidly age and die like in The Last Crusade. Because reasons.

“But you haven’t aged, what have you been doing?”

This comes after two pages of JC discussing how he feeds the ardeur.

HOW ARE YOU SO STUPID?

HOW ARE YOU SO STUPID?

I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY THIS HAS TO BE REPEATED!

Anita realises that JC can feed from a distance – again, he said this ON THE SAME PAGE – and understands that’s why he owns a strip club. Anita asks to be taught how to do this, but JC refuses to do this. Because helping your girlfriend is a terrible thing to do. She asks again but JC refuses. He then demands to sleep with her, rather than help her like she asks.

JC: Being a douchebag, and not even caring.

“They’ll kill Gregory. I have to get him out tonight.”

This is ten in the morning. You have eleven hours to wait before fighting to get Gregory back.

“Then come and feed.”

“Define feed?”

“Drink their lust,” he said.

I had a personal blue screen moment.

Anita doesn’t want to have sex now and shakes her head. She has to be reminded that she doesn’t have to have intercourse to feed on them. Asher asks to leave and feed on Nathanvile. Anita refuses – they don’t bother to ask Nathanvile – and says that they can all feed together in a mixture of blood and lust. Asher is surprised – for this is only something intimate companions do together!

I will not bluescreen again. I will NOT bluescreen again.

Asher comes over and drops his robe on Anita, who huffs it and finds it so sexy. She talks for a page about how much she wants to touch him. For a PAGE. She trips over Asher’s robe because she’s so tiny and he picks her up.

I’d have told him to put me down, but my heart had filled my throat, and I couldn’t speak around it.

This book makes me sad.

Other things make me sad too. I’ve got bad news about my video reviews. Namely, that Blip is deleting my channel. I’m… well, I’m not upset about this. Other than saving my Verbal Spork, I’m not fussed about my Supernatural reviews. They were such a part of my university experience that it depresses me to work on them now I’ve left. They’re also not that good, so… well, they’ll be still up on my youtube channel but that’s it.

So, yeah. I’ll also post about my madcap X-Men sues and talk about possibly starting a X-Men RP together!

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

  1. Oh man, RP. I haven’t done that in years upon years, since I stopped going on to AOL and the Red Dragon Inn forums.

    …though funny enough, my main character was Gambit’s daughter. >.>

  2. Why do the vampires all use French? I thought we established in the first book that LKH really, really liked Anne Rice. There’s your answer.

    God, I’ve written first drafts better than this. What’s LKH’s excuse?

    Sorry to hear about your Blip account. I get why they do this, but it has to be discouraging to anyone looking to set up a new account with them.

    • Yeah, I haven’t uploaded anything to it since January (Although, admittedly, I have had other things to worry about) so I understand why.

      They’re all secretly Belgian. That’s the real shock twist of the series.

  3. “Through Jean-Claude’s ‘gift’ I knew that Asher wanted to touch me and didn’t trust himself enough to have his hands out in front of him. But it wasn’t me he wanted to touch.”

    “I hugged my arms to me, as if I was cold, but I wasn’t cold.”

    I wonder, looking back, how many times she filled space in her books by saying, “It was as if X, but it wasn’t X.”

    These books are so bad, but they’re… no, actually just bad.

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