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


Anita is all drowsy and sleepy but wakes up instantly because of Richard’s smell. He must pong really badly. She then calls him a blanket but the glide of his ‘silken’ skin is nothing like a blanket and blankets can’t cuddle or be like people in any way.

So, just to clarify, people are nothing like blankets. Phew. I was worried that I’d get them confused for a moment there.

Anita squishes her butt against Richard’s morning wood. But ahahaha Anita’s body is stiff and aching from Richard’s mega penis so she is like a giant mega penis as well ahahahahahaha. They kiss but oh noes Anita is in actual real pain.

He stayed propped above me, fingers moving a lock of hair from my cheek. “What I did last night would have broken things inside an ordinary human.”

Bones or through the wall of her cervix? Either way, that’s bad.

I didn’t need a mirror to feel my eyes go cool.

… No, I agree. Mirrors do not generally let people feel sensations.

Anita says they should just try going slow this morning so Richard attempts to eat Anita’s entire boob. That is not hyperbole.

[…] taking as much of the breast into his mouth as he could.

Huh. I didn’t know this was taking a swift turn into vore. This makes Anita full of the ardeur, which managed to ignore all the sex they had somehow, and Richard notices. The ardeur comes to life inside Anita so she decides to rape Richard. That’s not hyperbole either. Richard has already said he does not want to be fed on and when he realises that Anita is ardeur powers, he backs away and holds her off him, which is a clear non-verbal no. Anita is now like a sex terminator, so Richard tries to run away.

I could feel his fear like fine champagne. It added to the sex, brought me to my knees, to crawl from the tangle of covers to the edge of the bed.

He’s IN FEAR OF YOU. STOP. STOP. YOU ARE GOING TO RAPE HIM.

Can this series have A SINGLE LEADING CHARACTER WHO IS NOT A RAPIST?

That’s not much to ask for. It’s a fairly low bar. And LKH can’t even be bothered to try and get over it.

Anita looks at him, thinks about how great it would be to eat him, and then Raina fills her mind with the memories of Raina raping Richard. This fools Richard into thinking that Anita feels empathy for other people and he asks if Anita is okay. He touches her and the ardeur springs into action. He starts to struggle and pull away – another non-verbal no – but Anita smacks the ardeur into him until he orgasms.

He screams the whole time.

Richard found his voice first. “You had no right to feed off me.”

She didn’t. You said no. You displayed you did not want to consent through your actions. And Anita just didn’t care.

“You never said no.” I rolled onto my side, but didn’t try and sit up yet.

He did. He said no when he said he never wanted you to feed on him. He screamed and tried to get away. And that excuse Anita uses? Thanks LKH. You probably triggered a lot of your readership with that phrase. You are a shitty person.

“You could have stopped me, Richard. All you had to do was either leave the marks open between us or let your beast out. You made your choice on what to control.”

Anita held Richard down as he screamed and forced the ardeur into him. Point out to me exactly where he had the chance to stop her. Anita doesn’t understand why Richard is so upset so he has to remind her that he never ever wanted to be fed on. He makes to leave and Anita still doesn’t understand.

“So, you won’t be here tomorrow morning when the ardeur comes again?” My voice sounded almost neutral when I asked.

rage

HE DOESN’T WANT TO FEED YOU. STOP RAPING HIM.

Anita pouts at Richard because who can she rape now? How about Nathaniel, your personal sex toy? Richard suggests JC but Anita just pouts more. Richard suggests Micah but Anita pouts because she doesn’t wuv him!

Anita goes on about how Richard could have stopped her feeding on him and Richard just says that he’s not interested in being with her any more. He goes out and Anita cries because she just wuvs Richard soooooo mucccchhhhh.

So much you held him down while he was screaming and raped him. If that’s not love, then I don’t know what is.

Anita has collapsed into a lump on the floor and Nathaniel makes a reappearance. He holds the crying Anita and it’s so sad. Then Cherry and Zane crawl in to hold her because it’s so sad. And then Gregory and Vivian appear and hold her because it’s so sad. Everyone is stroking each other and they’re all naked but it’s definitely not sexual. They fall asleep in a big pile.

Anita thinks about the cold spot inside her because she loves Richard but can’t love Richard because he just won’t accept who he is.

Richard was a riddle with no answer, and I was tired of playing a game I couldn’t win.

It’s very easy to not make Richard angry. Just don’t rape him or do things against his consent.

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

  1. It gets worse. I just finished a later book, and not only does the noncon get worse, but the age actually dips into the teens. TEEN, as in statutory rape in the state of Missouri even if he’d consented. Definitely a throw-the-book kind of moment for me, and sorry for the “not so spoily because you know it’s coming,” spoiler 😀

  2. I really do wonder if Laurell had some sort of event in her life that led her to believe that consent is based on simple verbal cues. Because she really, really does seem to have a problem understanding how consent actually works.

    Also: Richard sucking Anita’s breast down like a Jell-O cup always reminds me of that Ninja Blade anime.

    • I think some elements are generational, but her lack of understanding around consent is really worrying.

      I wonder how big Richard’s head is, if he can slorp down her ginormous boobs in one go.

  3. This is reminding me uncomfortably of the disgusting point of view some people have towards rape, where if you didn’t physically fight until they pinned you down, it wasn’t rape. And the equally awful view that men cannot be raped and that women cannot rapists. Anita does not have the right to sit and cry about this.

    /You made your choice on what to control/
    So Anita is saying he could have opened the marks and allowed the woman trying to rape him into head, ‘let his beast out’, which I assume means shifting into wolf form – also not fantastic- or trusted the woman he loves not to rape him. This should not be a choice that anyone should have to make. You should not have to surrender your mental privacy or turn into a more physically threatening form in order to convince the woman you love, who you are tied to for the rest of your life, to not rape you.

    No, it seems that you can’t win with Richard. You want to rape him, and he doesn’t want to be raped. Those are fundamentally irreconcilable differences.

    • Yup. There’s no point in them discussing it because I don’t think either of their viewpoints will change. (Even though I know Richard will be contrite about it later because Anita Is Always Right.)

  4. Two major reasons why LKH’s approach to rape pisses me off.

    One, she keeps glossing over it. I don’t mind it when rape is included in a story (hear me out on this). I think that fiction is a unique platform for discussing and exploring the causes and effects of this crime, and when it’s done well it can really make a work…not enjoyable exactly, but you know what I mean. I *loathe* it when rape is just used as a generic catch-all threat from antagonists towards women and – incredibly rarely – men, and if it does occur the effect it has on the victim is entirely skipped over. When this happens, the antagonists stop feeling scary and the characters in general stop feeling real. You can put all the strange and fantastical elements you want into a story, but the moment my suspension of disbelief is broken, I grab my parachute and bail out.

    Two, she’s using her books to play out her fantasy. I know there are people out there with a rape fantasy, but I don’t believe any of them would enjoy actually being raped. A popular method among couples who indulge in rape scenarios (besides using safewords) is to leave a pre-arranged item in a pre-arranged place as a non-verbal green light to the other person. But that takes forethought and agreement among all parties. Everyone knows exactly – or at least has a good idea – what they’re getting into beforehand. We haven’t seen any characters have that sort of discussion in scene, therefore it cannot be assumed to have taken place. Without that prior communication, it’s not indulging a fantasy, it’s rape. And that’s illegal. It would be nice to have an acknowledgement of that at least.

    Oh, and “You never said no.”?

    Fuck you, LKH.

    Fuck you.

    • Rape has a very valid role to play in fiction, I agree whole heartedly, but these books treat it as a shortcut to angst and character development. If you are going to include something like rape in your book, then you need to be prepared to discuss it properly. It is not a tool to be used lightly.

  5. I’d ask why, given all the shit he’s been put through, Richard doesn’t just move to Maine or something. But then I remember that his whole purpose at this point is basically to be LKH’s whipping boy.

  6. If I remember right (and laws are changing all the time) in Missouri there isn’t a law to cover this. Aside from the whole metaphysical BS obviously. Rape is defined as penetration of a vagina by a penis. There are similar laws for sodomy but that’s not going to cover forced or sex of a man by a women. I’m not using this as an excuse for LKH. We have the shower scene and that was pretty clear to me. So she has no qualms writing this shit and acting like it’s all fine or thr victims fault. You didn’t say no. You picked what to control. It’s like everyone is a rapist in this series in one way or another. When I read Olaf was a rapist who hates women I thought well at least he and Anita should get along. They have a few things in common.

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