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


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Somewhere during the dressing process I came to my senses. I stayed up against the headboard, Asher’s robe belted securely over the red pyjamas, my face averted, forehead pressed to the wood.

Words. Those are just words. What do they even mean? It’s like I’m staring to the Vortex of Words and I can’t understand what’s pouring out of it.

People move around on the bed which turns Anita on. I’d make jokes, but it does have a point. Anita talks about how everything around her now links in to the ardeur, how it completely changes and colours the world around her.

I couldn’t separate them, and that was scary all on its own.

That is actual good character study, but I don’t think it’s going to last.

JC then tries to hustle Anita into the orgy but she’s not feeling it. She even screams at him ‘Don’t touch me!’, which JC takes umbridge at because… he can’t change what he did. Although he could have, you know, not done it. There was no reason to infect Anita with sex magic – other than to make the woman he professes to love and care about enjoy being raped and to enjoy having sex with men she doesn’t want to have sex with.

JC, YOU ARE THE WORST. The only thing that stops me getting actually angry about it is how ridiculous and fantastical it all is. Honestly, it makes me shake my head and laugh because there’s nothing in this approaching reality. I hate how LKH makes rape and sexual exploitation acceptable, but she at least has the sense to not put it in a real world context. Because then I really would get angry because assholes would see this as a textbook for how to pick up women. Like with 50 Shades of Grey.

Anita looks up to JC and rhapsodise on his appearance when suddenly… she sees a different face! With brown eyes! This makes all the men in the yard freak out because it means she’s going to change. Anita is being felt up by a female presence who is raising her ‘beast’. The men hold her down to the bed while Belle Morte examines Anita and her powers. She tells Anita that she’s a succubus – glad someone pointed that out – and…

It was like being covered in pure lust, rolled in it, like flour on a piece of meat before you cook it.

That is not a sexy metaphor.

AREN’T YOU TURNED ON?

Belle Morte feels Anita up some more – I think, it’s hard to tell the wording is so vague – but she contains Anita’s ardeur. While Anita is clearing in another place, her mind definitely not in the room, the men all sex her. While she’s having some sort of out of body experience and is not able to consent. What romantic and caring men.

And considering the fact they’re convinced she’s about to rip her skin off and turn into a leopard? NOT THE TIME FOR SEX. REALLY NOT.

Belle Morte rides Anita for the sex – really meaning Anita is unable to consent to this – until Anita forces her out. As Anita wakes, she realises that Nathanavile and Jason are sucking her nipples. Jason gropes her and she starts screaming for JC and Asher. She demands that they feed so she can feed. Even though she just needs sexual energy and she doesn’t need penetration for that.

Asher asks JC to comply as Anita can’t fight Belle Morte and the ardeur (she’s doing it so far asshole) but JC says she doesn’t understand anything. Who’s fault is that? Who’s supposed to be helping her with this? They get on the bed and Anita stares at them. Asher and JC chow down in Nathanvile and Jason, and Anita has a ‘body bucking’ screaming orgasm, as those are they only kind that exist in this sort of fiction. Everyone apparently has a spontaneous screaming orgasm and Anita feels it all.

Like the heat the ardeur was named for, it passed over us again and again.

I looked it up and ardeur can mean ‘heat’. It also means ‘enthusiasm’ or ‘zeal’, so I still think it’s a stupid name.

Everyone carries on screaming for a page.

This isn’t sexy. I bored, very, very bored. I’ve read better smut for free on the internet.

The problem is that Anita isn’t really doing anything. She’s just sitting there while things are happening to her and then, boom, orgasm. It’s not a fantasy. It’s just a bland madlibs. Anita sat wearing X. X did this to X. X did this to Anita. Anita and X had orgasms. It’s dull.

Belle Morte fills Anita’s mind with bland threesomes of JC, Asher, and Belle. Anita has been fed so now she can ‘do what I did best’. Um, I thought your best was killing vampires and raising zombies? How is that going to help? Anita demands JC take her hand and as he does so, Anita writhes and suffers as Belle Morte pains her.

Anita draws in the power of the triforce and necromancy (oh, you remember you can do that now?) and fights off Belle Morte… even though she did that already just a few pages ago. Consistency! Not only for cakes!

The power pressed like lightning in a bottle, but the bottle was my body, and there was no released without one more thing… blood.

Anita has to drink blood now. Great – projectile vomiting was just what this scene needed. Anita drinks from Jason.

We weren’t having sex anymore –

No shit.

there was no distraction, only my teeth tearing his flesh, his blood pouring into my mouth and the moment the blood poured over me the necromancy flared and I pushed it into the honeyed touch.

I have lost power in my thinking thingy. Aside from pointing out that it sounds like Anita tore Jason’s throat out.

I shoved her out, cast her back, locked her outside us. I’d been training in witchcraft this year, so I bound her from contacting us through her power.

Has Anita been training in witchcraft? I thought she’d been training to control the munin-wolf magic thing. But I don’t know because my thinky thingy hurts.

Anita tells Belle Morte to pick up a phone if she wants to know what’s going on. That’s actually a fun line, for once.

This whole chapter was Tab A into Tab B, repeat, and scream. How dull.

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

  1. to be fair to JC he didn’t know he would infect her with the ardeur. Still, there’s no reason for Anita to be so passive. She’s like a sex doll that talks and moves sometimes.

    • Yeah, that was always his excuse, but I also recall him mentioning that it was always likely the three of them would be trading *something* between themselves. Since the ardeur seems to be JC’s secondary special power (if you will), it was pretty likely either she or Richard would get it, and being the necromancer, it was *very* likely it would be her. So yeah, he may not have known how it would happen, but I doubt he was entirely surprised. So he’s still a massive cock.

      • I’m halfway on the fence for this. I don’t think LKH intended for the ardeur to infect Anita from the start (although, she certainly meant it as soon as JC being an incubus was mentioned) but I equally think that the characters should have talked about it before this point as soon as it became a possibility.

        I just hate everything involved in the ardeur.

  2. So, since there’s nothing much I can even say about the absurdity and wrongness of this, I’m gonna tell you a story involving 50 Shades. I was at my recently-married cousin’s house for a family Christmas party, and I saw “50 Shades of [something, don’t remember what]” and assumed it was a parody because I didn’t realize there were sequels after “Grey”. So I picked it up, my sister cried out a warning as to what it was, I hastily put it back (it was on the same shelf as cookbooks and THE FAMILY BIBLE WTF) and cousin’s husband asked me if I didn’t like it. I was like nope and he was like why not and he said they (he and my cousin) love it and that he can’t wait for the movie to come out.

    Now, with most books, this wouldn’t be a weird thing to tell someone you barely know at a family gathering with Nana right nearby, but….yeah. I was just like uhhhh and made my exit to another room.

  3. Ohhh, 50 Shades. HATE. HAAAAAAAATE.
    I can rant about that for hours- and I have. Even LKH doesn’t enrage me as much as that pile of misogynistic lies masquerading as BDSM. I can’t even go on, otherwise I will literally spew a 10,000 word screed of feminist rage on your blog, and it doesn’t deserve that. I just… GAAHHHH. HATE.

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