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

Sorry for the slight break in updates – I was a bit busy with other things.

Anita sits and thinks about how much she hates Raina. Yeah, not buying it Anita. You could have done anything else but bring out a ghost you knew would try and attack people. This is all your fault. Everything is your fault all the time.

Lillian is peering over her and says that Anita is in shock. Gregory is also in shock. I wonder why. Gregory’s chances have also gotten worse.

“Seventy-thirty, maybe. He’s curled on the deck in a blanket, shivering worse than you are.”

He’s having major blood loss and you’ve left him having a fit on a blanket outside. This is as bad as Richard thinking Anita was dead and putting a damp cloth on her head. Why are these people all so terrible at medicine? You’d think a doctor could do something more than letting her patient bleed out on a deck. Anita asks whether Gregory can ever be healed, although she knows by know that shifters can heal anything.

“We can regrow any body part short of decapitation, unless fire is added to the wound to close it. We can’t heal burns, unless the burned flesh is completely removed, in effect making a new wound.”

Why can’t shifters heal burns? If the only thing they can’t heal from is fire damage, why the hell does that apply to burns? I am willing to bet that 99% of all burns are completely unrelated to fire. I burnt myself with a glue gun this week and I’m as sure as hell that the glue gun wasn’t firing out pellets of fire. I have a massive burn on the back of my right hand that came from hot oil. That wasn’t fire. What about burning yourself on a hot pan or with boiling water, both of which I have done? (wow I’m clumsy). Those didn’t involve fire! Why can’t shifters heal those types of burns?

Lillian is very angry because she had to heal Gregory from the last time he was tortured by Raina, not that anything she says or does indicates she feels any emotion at all. Gregory can’t change because he’ll die and Nathaniel arrives with coffee to help Anita. I notice no one is trying to stop Gregory from bleeding out or helping him.

I held the mug tight, and it took several seconds to realize I was burning my hands. I didn’t panic, just handed the mug back to Nathaniel. He took it, and I stared at my pink, red hands. I had first-degree burns, and I hadn’t felt the heat until it was too late.

“Damn,” I said, softly.

Lillian sighed. “I’ll get some ice.”

  • God, Nathaniel isn’t even trying to hide that he’s out to kill Anita and take her money now. He made her a cup of coffee so hot just holding the mug gives her instant first-degree burns.
  • I don’t believe Anita has instant first-degree burns. That’s stupid.
  • Any time medicine is brought up in these books LKH completely and utterly fails.
  • Ice can cause further damage to the tissue and even result in frost-bite, if left in contact with the tissue too long.
  • The burn may expose underlying tissue which is fragile and more likely to be damaged by exposure to ice.
  • If the skin surrounding the burn is damaged by the ice, it may impede the healing process.
  • Putting ice directly on burns can cause a burn victims body temperature to become to cold. That will lead to shock, which is incredibly dangerous.
  • Putting ice on a burn is really friggin’ dangerous. Do not do it.
  • Dr Lillian is a terrible doctor.

Merle and Cherry come in to talk about how Anita connected with Nathaniel’s beast. Lillian shoves multiple bags of ice into Anita’s hands. That’s it, Anita’s going to loose the ability to use her hands. Lillian then leaves to check on Gregory and probably bleed him for a bit. Anita then gets very angry because she’s done all she can to help Gregory tonight, goddamnit! Isn’t he happy to be raped and tortured? And then Merle tries to talk Anita to use her beast before her first full moon because Anita is the bestest and most amazingest person who ever lived.


“You risked yourself for one of your cats. It is the very best a Nimir-Ra, or -Raj, has in them, to take great risks for their people.”

Merle says calling a beast can be not sexual and Anita is astonished. Anita can’t do it so they have to talk to someone who can call the beast from people which is Richard. Of course it’s Richard.

“Richard blames himself for Gregory’s injuries. If we offer him a chance to heal him, he’ll come.”

Richard should blame himself. It was his idea in the first place!

I stared at Nathaniel, watched the intelligence in those flower-colored eyes.

Here’s what he’s thinking:

I wonder if I could talk her into making me a co-signer on the house and her bank account.

Anita is surprised that Nathaniel is ‘whole’ and clever and ‘not inferior’ because subs are worthless scum, you see.

Some people choose to be bottoms, to serve; it doesn’t make them less, just different.

Congrats. A+ for you.

It was a night for revelations, so why the hell not have Richard join us? How much worse could it get? Please, no one answer that.

There’s two hundred more pages. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot more answers. Yup, we’re up to four hundred and twenty pages. And I could not tell you what the hell the plot is supposed to be.


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

  1. “Why can’t shifters heal burns?”

    There is a lot of fantasy that has fire as some sort of spiritual/magical plot device like religious objects to vampires. Most authors explain it better though.

    “•I don’t believe Anita has instant first-degree burns. That’s stupid.”

    I thought first degree was only superficial. And a quick check of Wikipedia seems to confirm that. Though from what little I know cool water is a much better treatment than ice.

    “There’s two hundred more pages. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot more answers. Yup, we’re up to four hundred and twenty pages. And I could not tell you what the hell the plot is supposed to be.”

    Has chimera even been introduced yet? Of course this is still more plot than bullet.

  2. I remember when I was RPing oh so long ago, we had a character in the chatroom get third degree burns. My character mentioned putting ice on it, and another one’s mun told me flat-out it was a bad idea, for exactly the reasons you mention. Since then (and I was a teenager, mind you) I’ve remembered that ice on major burns=bad idea.

    Oh, and your clumsy burns aren’t as bad as the two times I literally blanked and went to grab the oven rack with a bare hand to pull out a pizza. Did it twice, on two separate occasions, years apart; just didn’t think, and reached in. Holy balls, did that hurt. I couldn’t move my hand for a while after that.

    I always found the idea of fire having some sort of spiritual power fairly stupid. Then again, the idea of religious symbols (and usually only Christian, unless the writer is open minded) having effect on creatures also has me rolling my eyes. It just makes no sense, except in a “I’m so brainwashed my mind is telling me I should be hurting” sort of way. But when supernatural creatures exhibit God Mode Wolverine style healing, even third degree burns destroying nerves and down to the bone should be fixable. I can buy silver being damaging in the sense that the metal itself might cause some sort of excessive allergic reaction that ruins a cell’s attempts to heal, but fire?

    • I think fire can work because it’s culturally considered a purifier, which works into the whole soulless monster schtick.

      I have done the whole grab the hot tray with bare hand thing a lot. I’ve also zoned out and poured hot water from a kettle on my thumb and put a hand on the heated section of an iron. My burn history is a long history of me doing incredibly stupid stuff.

    • I think the problem is that you’re trying to give outright fantasy scientific explanations. Sure there are limits to what is fantasy and what is not (a horse, unless stated to be outright magical, is still a horse and would still drop dead after galloping for a day). But if there a system of magic in the series as long as that system is internally consistent its a seems a bit like a fallacy to claim it makes no sense because it acts differently to its internal logic even if that logic is consistent with the internal logic of our world.

      Here’s an example. Lets say I a create a world for a story where the elements are sentient (kinda like the Greek gods were personifications certain elements (not periodic table, more like basic forces in the world like darkness), though with them being more alien). Now lets say werewolves are linked to the moon when ancient shaman used a ritual to ask the moonlight to bind the souls of wolves into warriors so they hunted better, thereby creating the first werewolf. Now if elemental silver is somehow antagonistic to elemental moonlight and because of the link with the moon and werewolves and that antagonism silver burns werewolves.

      Sure from a scientific standpoint this is bullshit. Darkness isn’t a sentient force. Its the absence of photons reflected off of surfaces into a viewers eye. Moonlight isn’t a sentient forces. Its the photos reflect off of the moon into the viewers eye. But if you look at it from the standpoint of this worlds internal logic saying silver causes an allergic reaction in werewolves is bullshit.

      Now if one were to ask the question of whether the anitaverse had internal logic I’d say it does, barely, but it does. Sure I’d like an explanation of why religious objects harm vampires, but not having an explanation doesn’t mean that the internal logic in the world that religious objects drive off doesn’t make sense. I’d go on further but then I’d be getting into areas which violate my personal policy of not touching theological debates with a forty parsec pole.

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