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


This is another thirty page chapter.

Rafael the rat king had a black limo. He’d never struck me as limo kind of guy, and I said as much.

Why does he have a limo. Why does he need a limousine? Because he doesn’t want to make a spectacle of himself, which is not a reason. Everyone gets in.

All the leaders for in the back of the limo, which smacked of elitism to me, but it did allow us to talk together, and no one else seemed to have a problem with it. I wasn’t sure why it bugged me, but it did.

I’m not sure either, seeing as Anita is so elitist it hurts. I want to know where everyone else is sitting, if not in the back.

The back of a limousine is one big space, the only other area being where the driver sits. Are you telling me twenty or so people are all sat in the spare seat next to the driver? Or does LKH not actually know what a limousine looks like?

Rafael was tall, dark, handsome, and strongly Mexican. He spoke with no trace of an accent, or rather he sounded like he was from Missouri.

Then he has an accent. It’s just not a KOMEDY stereotypical Mexican accent. What, do you think all Mexicans or Hispanic people in America have come from over the border? Are they not allowed to live or come from the US?

Anita feels uncomfortable around Micah but can’t think why. Hmmm. It’s a mystery. With them is Donovan Reece, the new swan king. His skin is so pale it’s translucent which is stupid on many levels. He’s bleating about how thankful he is because, aw shucks, he was just helpless to save his people without Anita! pfft, do you think swans are capable of defending themselves? Nope, they’re birds, so they are useless.

As you may know, my family keeps birds and have kept birds for years. I have never known animals that resort to violence quite as quickly as birds do. Sure, they’re not as dangerous as dogs or cattle, but they are more than capable of defending themselves. I have seen chickens tear apart and devour rats that have dared to come into their nests. My great-grandmother owned a cockatiel who enjoyed attacking eyes (although, he was always very sweet with me and would nibble my nose and eat ginger cake from your hand). My cockerel, Eggs Benedict, has attacked and chased away dogs – even with a crippled foot stopping him from getting as fast as he could do. Birds will fuck you up if they get the chance. They are far less tame than other domestic animals, so no, I don’t believe that were-swans are helpless wretches.

Donovan witters on about how he and his people will be meat if they change – no, they really won’t, not if they have any real bird instincts – and how he won’t change shape unless he wants to. This makes Anita curse him for being so disgustingly arrogant.

You’ve got some fucking nerve.

Donovan apparently smells like food, and Anita knows he’s ‘soft and easily killed’ and instantly wants to devour him alive.

Fun fact – the only natural predator adult swans have are bears. LKH, I thought you were supposed to be an expert in biology.

Anita starts shouting out loud how Donovan smells like food and how he’s so tempting. I find this odd as it’s been established that Anita hates food and hates eating just as much as he hates everything else. Micah sympathises and Rafael wants to know exactly what Anita wants to do to Donovan.

“If you tell Mr Reece what you’re wanting to do to him, then maybe he’ll fly away home.”

They’re saying this in front of Donovan. Donovan who has done nothing wrong and is sticking his neck out by openly supporting Anita’s pack. Donovan points out that a rat is a prey animal too which lets Rafael monologue about how rats are amazing and omnivorous and not as weak as a mere bird.

Try telling that to the rats who were torn apart by my chickens.

Donovan gets annoyed and shoves his arm in Anita’s face, telling her to get a good whiff if he smells that good. Anita freaks out because ZOMG HE IS SO TASTY LIKE A DOUBLE CHEESEBURGER AND SCAMPI AND CHIPS and he remarks on how bad her control is. Rafael is worried about her, and Donovan is convinced that Anita won’t hurt him because she’s ‘the good guy’.

Donovan points out he’s going out on a limb to support Anita, as the swans have always remain independent of shifter politics in St Louis. This leads into a big recap of the shit from The Lunatic Cafe regarding Kaspar and how swans are the only shifters who can shift at will because they have a curse rather than a disease. Um, if it’s a curse, then how come it’s not punishing them? Having the ability to turn into a bird at any point is not a curse. I’d say that was an enchantment. A curse is designed to hurt the person afflicted with it, and the swans aren’t being damaged by this at all.

Donovan reveals that he was born to be a swan king which Anita finds surprising. Even though she’s a predestined wereleopard queen now mated with a predestined wereleopard king. Consistency! IT’S PRETTY FUCKING IMPORTANT. Donovan got the title in an intimate manner and then asks whether Anita killed Kaspar. She didn’t, and Donovan reveals he’d have liked to kill Kaspar because DUN DUN DUN Kaspar was a rapist and sexual sadist who made the women in his care addicted to rape and sexual sadism.

LKH, I can’t tell your heroes apart from your villains. That is not good.

Donovan starts stripping to show them ‘the symbol of my kingship’. Ok. The sight of his stomach makes Anita go ZOMG HUNGRY and crawls towards him. Micah sighs, because this is totally a sign of Anita becoming a wereleopard, there’s no chance that nothing else might happen. Donovan has a feathery stomach because…

Micah touches Anita and she instantly drops a gusher. Her hunger can be turned into sex – because this has to be said yet again – and he was worried she was about to change.

I turned, still held in his arms, half-pinned between his knees. “You thought I was going to change?”

ARSJHSDHJDDRRRRHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

They reveal that if Anita was to change, there would be no way to stop her. So, yeah, a confined space is a great idea. And of Donovan’s mark of kingship?

“I have a birthmark in the shape of a swan. My family knew from my birth what I was meant to be.”

“I’ve heard of such things,” Micah said, “but I thought it was legend.”

I think it’s bullshit that became a parodyed cliché years ago. Who the hell bases a system of government on birthmarks? That’s incredibly stupid. Donovan and Anita swap sob stories about how they’re so not normal and how they’re lives are ruined, sigh. Rafael tells Anita to grow up and reveals that her and Micah’s auras (well, the colours of their beasts) mixed or something.

“Micah said he thought birthmarks in the shape of your beast was legend. Well, until just now, I believed talk of a perfect mate was legend. Like true fated love, just a romantic story.”

Come on, THEY ARE THE TRUEST OF TRUE LOVES, EVEN DOWN TO BEING PREDICTED BY DESTINY. Rafael predicts that Richard will not like this. Donovan points out that Richard dumped Anita.

“When has logic dictated how a man acts when he sees the love of his life in someone else’s arms?”

If I was Richard, I’d be glad to be rid of her.

Rafel realises that Anita might be upset about being dumped – how perceptive – and warns her to not make Richard angry.

“Yeah, I’m hurt, and maybe a part of me wants to punish Richard for that, but it’s not just him dumping me. It’s the mess he’s made of the pack. He’s endangered people I care about, and he’s doing his usual Boy Scout shit that doesn’t even work well in the human world, let alone with a bunch of werewolves. I’m tired, Rafel, I’m tired of it, and him.”

Um. LKH, you can go and live in a fascist autocracy, but I like the freedom to play a part in the governance of society.

Anita says Richard must give up his morality because…. she is the supreme authority for all life and all knowledge, all hail Anita. Richard is going to get himself killed which endangers the rest of the trifroce.

“What do you want me to say, Rafael? That Richard and I have a fundamental difference of philosophy in nearly every important area? There’s more than reason we didn’t get married and live happily ever after.”

The Reasons Why Anita and Richard Did Not Get Married

  1. Anita forced Richard to a point where he killed someone.
  2. Anita cheated on Richard.

Yeah, Richard’s stance on the ethics and complications of democracy had nothing to do with it.

Anita sighs about how the fact she left made Richard like democracy and has to fix all these problems she left. Um, how the pack works is nothing to do with you, clunge-gunge. Anita is going to fix things by killing all those who oppose her and Rafael points out the problems with that. He also agrees that the werewolves can’t be democratic which means he has thoroughly got himself on my shit list. He then demands Anita hide the fact she and Micah are ‘lovers’. Micah and Anita start to talk about how wereleopards have a group mind because that’s how leopards – SOLITARY HUNTERS WITH NO PACK STRUCTURE – work.

I remind you all, this is happening in the back of a limo with twenty or so people listening in, not that LKH remembers that. She doesn’t want her and Micah’s packs to be joined but, whoops, the fact that he raped her means that’s already happened. Micah says Anita’s pack is a mess and Anita retorts that Gina looks seriously abused.

Sick burn?

Micah gets all defensive about it and Anita strikes back at him about how he can’t judge her if he can’t even protect or help his own people. She’s suddenly become Hannah Blake, and Micah’s response makes it seem that he’s the one doing the abusing. It feels like Gina is the last wereleopard queen who Micah raped and subsumed into his pack. Micah says it’s all much more complicated than Anita can possibly understand and gives her shit for what’s happened to Gregory.

I hate Micah.

They promise to help everyone together as a fawmilllyyy and Anita, channelling Hannah again, asks to know what’s happening with Gina. Micah decides to tell her.

“Once we were taken away by a very bad man. He still wants us, and I’m searching for a home strong enough to keep us safe.”

I think you need to look up what ‘complicated’ means. Because that? It is nothing like the definition of ‘complicated’. And ‘a very bad man’? Are you five years old?

Micah starts talking about how much trouble he is which, for most people, is a sign to run away from a man. Rafael sympathises for Anita in this situation because he’s got an ex-wife and a son he’s not allowed to see. Something that is not like this in any way shape or form. Anita then talks about how she was dumped by a WASP for being Mexican.

I don’t think Rafael really wants to hear your sob story about how you were just too Hispanic while being perfectly white for this random college guy who is never named. I think Rafael has probably had actual racial slurs thrown at him in his life, compared to your bullshit fluff.

Anita sighs about how she just loves too many people. The limo has arrived, ready to meet Richard, and Anita goes out to meet him on Rafael’s arm. So, Anita’s such a strong independent woman she must make herself look powerful by propping herself on a man.

Funny how phallic objects are always more useful the bigger they are. Anyone who tells you size doesn’t matter has been seeing too many small knives.

That’s bullshit. A scalpel is small, but manages to cut people open very enough.  A steak knife is small, but cuts meat well enough. A skinning knife is small, but does the job. A knife is designed for a specific purpose – they’re not supposed to be big! A big sharp object is a machete or a SWORD. LKH, do research! You just sound ridiculous!

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

  1. Mostly copy-pasta’d from my response to Tiger Gray. Sorry, it’s not that your spork didn’t say anything theirs didn’t, it’s more that I don’t have too much different to say either way about the shit in this chapter XD

    What does strongly Mexican mean? If this was another series I’d assume she meant a strong cultural identity, but I’m guessing here she means appearance, which makes no sense since there’s no one way that Mexicans look due to the diversity of their population–some look more white, some look more Native, and then there‘s of course populations of other ethnicities as well. It’s like saying someone looks very American

    EGGS BENEDICT. THAT’S ADORABLE.

    I really, really hate LKH’s pathetic ignorance of swans. In my head, swanmanes should be the way vampires are stereotypically pictured—incredibly beautiful and INCREDIBLY FUCKING EVIL AND DEADLY because seriously, swans. Swans are incredibly aggressive, murderous birds. And they don’t even have the excuse of needing to kill things to eat. They just do it. They drown dogs. They attack people. There was even a swan that was a serial killer of other swans, nicknamed Hannibal. They would be perfect successors to the likes of, say, Anne Rice vampires, except probably with less pathos cuz SWANS DON’T GIVE A SHIT

    “Fun fact – the only natural predator adult swans have are bears. LKH, I thought you were supposed to be an expert in biology.” and looking at the size diff between bears and swans, I bet there’s NOTHING that could take out a wereswan in that case (if their swan shape is bigger than a natural swan, as is the case with other shifter types) including the ‘big as ponies’ wolves

    Rats will totally eat anything they can take down–baby birds, frogs, mice, etc (APPARENTLY NOT CHICKENS THOUGH). So a rat the size of a German Shepherd would definitely be a predator to be reckoned with no matter how much it also ate grain. Just, rats are also very smart and wily, and thus WOULD NEVER FUCK WITH A SWAN

    Oh, so it turned out Kaspar was an even worse person than previously though? Gee I wonder why that’s just coming out now…she must have gotten letters from readers about how hanging his skin on the wall was messed up and so decided she’d better ‘justify’ it more, even if Anita learning it AFTER she made him into home decor doesn’t really make it ok (LKH fails to understand this logic a LOT)

    …if I recall right, his kingship mark is on his arm, isn’t it? Like Rafael’s? Maybe not, if he has to strip…oh wait, this is AB.

    Seriously. The birthmark could just be a genetic trait, nothing mystical or magical, and maybe it might have been used to determine leadership in very primitive days but modern shifters have to be smarter than that.

    Ugggh. “very bad man” was until now one of Anita’s annoying verbal quirks that up until now was not shared by anyone else. But now, like “flavor” and “so”, it has spread to other characters and is thus even more unbearable because NOT EVERYONE SHOULD SHARE THE SAME VERBAL QUIRKS ESPECIALLY WEIRD ONES LIKE THAT

    • Chickens will fuck you up very happily.

      The stuff with Rafael makes me roll my eyes.

      Stripping solves everything!

      Everyone has the same mind because Anita is the hive queen who rules all.

  2. The definition of hypocrisy should include Anita’s picture. Birds. I watched a video of a peacock attacking a car. I’m no expert in biology but I think it’s safe to assume that birds are pretty aggro. Oh, the covert racism rears it’s head at me again. Being dumped by some college guy because of some vague thing with his mom? Anita, I weep for your tragic life story!

  3. Y’know, I think that last sentence was LKH informing us all that she’s a big ol’ size queen.
    Uh, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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