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


The clearing was huge, but not huge enough.

You’re a terrible writer. Why not try ‘The clearing was huge, but even this great space wasn’t enough to contain all of us’? A little wordy, yes, but it sounds better than ‘this is huge but also not huge’.

Anyway, there are two hundred wererats here and six hundred werewolves. What, there are SIX HUNDRED werewolves? That makes it even more unlikely that Raina and Marcus could do all their raping and torturing without the pack stepping in. I can’t believe that 598 people are powerless to stop two people. Anita feels guilty and wishes she had a gun.

Rafael introduces Anita to Claudia, her enforcer. Claudia is six foot six and wears no make up, so she’s probably secretly evil. Anita needs a bodyguard because she doesn’t have enough leopards to protect her and the pack aren’t a proper pack.

“Even Micah’s people added to yours don’t have the right personnel for a working pard. You have too many submissives and not enough dominants.”

I have been staring into space trying to think of an adequate response to that. That is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read. Nathanvile begs Anita to take the help but she’s dismissive. Rafael says his pack is full of professional soldiers –

Another entirely stupid thing. This chapter isn’t going to be fun.

– and that he’ll share with Anita. She refuses but she’s going to get the bodyguards anyway. Claudia is joined by Igor who has a lot of tattoos.

He was bald, with a tattoo of a dragon curling around his ears and the back of his skull. Even by starlight you could see the design of the tat was oriental and well done.

You couldn’t say ‘Chinese’ or ‘Japanese’, could you. Went straight for the offensive term. Claudia and Igor are exactly the same person and they owe Anita because she saved their king, blah blah. They then squeeze Anita’s arms because… um, squeezy? Anita then asks if Igor’s name is real, as she’s a rude bitch. It would seem it isn’t but Igor isn’t telling.

I was relieved to have bodyguards of my own. Naw, not me. I didn’t need no stinking bodyguards.

YOU ARE NOT JOSS WHEDON. YOUR REFERENCES ARE LABOURED AND NOT FUNNY.

Anita goes on about how protective she feels about her leopards (yeah, that’s why you ignored them for a year and a half) and thinks about how she doesn’t trust Micah. This makes her reach out and touch him. SIGH. I’m missing James McAvoy in shorts for this. Ugh.

This sends POWER through all of the wereleopards and this is a sign she’s being a queen.

or something

POWER goes through the wereleopards and they bond, without any need to develop their relationships on screen. Convenient. The others form a circle around Anita and Micah, and watch on in awe as they engage in hot steamy makeouts. Anita sees all the bad things that happened to the leopards and sees a vision of Gregory being tied up. No shit. The POWER bursts and Anita starts crying. She turns around to see Richard shirtless, looking all wild and shit. He’s embraced his beast, which is good because now he’ll eat people and rape women without feeling guilty. He has POWER so he looks like a king.

Richard is joined by his tokens, Jamil and Shang-Da. Shang is angry because he couldn’t protect Richard from the pain of… um, Anita being raped by a stranger. But, anyway, Richard has a speech.

“Welcome rat king –

A nitpick, but that’s a title and should be capitalised.

“- of the Dark Crown Clan. Welcome Nimir-Ra and Nimir-Raj of the Blooddrinkers’ –

Nope, that’s two words. And leopards don’t drink blood.

“- Clan. Welcome to the lands of the Thronnos Rokke Clan. The leopards have shown us this night what it truly means to be a clan, be they pard, lukoi, or rodere.

Rodere? A group of rats is a mischief. And why aren’t you greeting the swans?

They show us for what we all strive for – a true melding of all our parts into a whole.”

Surely, Richard is terrible for trying to introduce democracy and diplomacy into shapeshifter politics.

Richard challenges them to win back Gregory. This makes Micah go into raptures on how wonderful Anita’s pack is and how his are the ones with nowhere to hide. Anita asks ‘What is wrong with all of you?’, rude but to the point, but Micah won’t say. It’s a ‘very long story’ which I take to mean ‘I like raping women, so we had to run from where we used to live before I was caught’. Anita can’t be dissuaded, even when Micah starts going on about Gregory. Micah says that the ‘very bad man’ is going to come after them. What, is this the husband of a woman you raped coming for revenge?

I hope he crushes your balls between two bricks. Slowly.

Anita offers to kill the guy but he’s apparently hard to kill. Rafael comes over to praise the leopards because they used to be the woobie of the shapeshifter world despite, you know, turning into LEOPARDS. Anita then muses on how werewolves don’t have a sense of home. Ignoring werewolves, insulting their culture, and generally being entirely disinterested makes you an expert, you see.

Rafael praises Anita for she doesn’t have a sense of right or wrong, just a tender heart.

Keep on saying it, it ain’t going to become true.

Rafael keeps praising Anita for her mother’s love for the leopards. Yeah, that love that abandoned them for a year and a half, refuses to listen to them or respect their culture, demeans and degrades them, and makes them disturbingly dependant on them! Isn’t that what love is?

Rafael KEEPS ON WITH THE PRAISE. Anita has shamed everyone through her… use of nothing, and Anita shits on Richard for thinking democracy is a good thing. Rafael goes on about how ‘kindhearted’ and ‘insightful’ Anita is.

Both hands on the keyboard, LKH.

Anita then sighs about how everyone thinks she’s a sociopath. Um, they’ve just spent a chapter going on about how much you care for people? THAT’S THE OPPOSITE OF A PERSONALITY DISORDER, YOU GOOBER.

All these months I’d been worried I’d fail the wereleopards. I thought failure meant them dying, or getting hurt.

They’ve already been hurt. Most of it has resulted from the terrible abuse you give commas.

What I realized suddenly was the true failure would have been if I hadn’t given a damn.

You haven’t given a damn. You’ve been in charge of the leopards for several books now and you’re only just starting to pay attention to them.

You can bandage a wound, set a broken bone, but not caring… you can’t cure that, and you can’t recover from it.

Let’s see if you can recover from me replacing your tampax with explosives, Anita.

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

  1. Spoiler: Claudia is in fact thus far good through and through. Because she always sticks up for Anita and takes her side on everything, so she gets to be “pretty” as a reward because that’s the most important thing and yet is described as an Amazon that is going to be (sadly) off-putting to a lot of straight men and thus is no threat to perfect petite Anita (I personally find Amazons incredibly hot but remember, this is LKH, who finds the height of female beauty to be tininess)

    I guess they’re not introducing swans because “prey” doesn’t deserve respect or something

    Why would werewolves not have a sense of “home”? Are wolves nomadic or something?

    IF OTHER CHARACTERS SAY IT ENOUGH THE READER WILL BELIEVE IT RIGHT?

    • Oh that’s even worse.

      The lack of ‘home’ is supposedly responsible for Raina’s sexual sadism. Yeah. That makes sense.

      It must be true if everyone says it’s so!

  2. Oh, the “Oriental” thing. My mom does it all the time. However, she’s 67 (as of this coming Friday), and it’s difficult to expect someone that old to change, no matter how often I have to remind her “there is nothing Oriental except rugs.”

    • My grandfather says similar things but he’s almost eighty. I tend to be more forgiving of him than other people (and because he does it to wind me up, so it’s best to ignore it).

  3. It’s said here that the wererats are mostly professional soldiers. Elsewhere (I forget it it’s in this book or a later one) it’s stated that Narcissus mainly “recruits” bodybuilders. This raises the disturbing possibility that the were groups are deliberately choosing, attacking and converting specific people for their skills. Unfortunately this is never expanded on AFAIK.

    Oh, and Anita? If your job is protecting the leopards and they’re hurt or killed, you most certainly have failed them. Giving a damn is nice but it’s hardly the end of it.

  4. I would like to point out that the bonding “montage” shows Anita did not abandon her people for that year and a half or six months or whatever… she spent most of that time with the pard, out of state, working with Marianne and that other pack… the one we met when Richard was in jail for rape because he was trying to save trolls… you know, the pack he fucked his way through, while slut-shaming Anita. She was working with the other pack to learn how a healthy pack/pard should be, and how to build healthy bonds within her pard. She was also researching werewolves, their political and social structure and culture, so when she did finally get her own psychic mess cleared up, she could do the same for Richard’s pack.

    Unfortunately, this was all explained during exposition (more tell not show), and doesn’t actually change who she is as a person at this stage in her character development. She’s still a psychopath and a narcissist… learning what she could about the pack and the pard, and her own abilities as well, ultimately was about her being a better killer for the wolves, and obviously hasn’t changed her clinging to teenaged sexual tropes. She still continues to ignore any inconvenient facts about herself, her people, and her world, and treat everyone who doesn’t fit her narrow, monochromatic worldviews as “Eeebil,” making all that information gathering… rather pointless, really.

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