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


I have finally reached the last chapter of NiC! And I’ve prepared a small treat…

IMAG0065[1]

You see this? (And apologies to the child I inadvertently got in the picture) That’s a real life oubliette dungeon! It’s in Alnwick Castle, and it pretty much confirms to me that what I said was right and that LKH does not understand European history. Alnwick is a border castle, in the zone of land between England and Scotland that’s been fought and contested over for thousands of years. It’s a pretty wild part of the country, where castles had militias to deal with raiding and invading Scots, and the castle was pretty close to the site where William Wallace burnt an abbey full of women and children down.

The dungeon is in the outer walls of the castle. It is not part of the main castle, and it’s designed to stop cattle thieves and raiders from running across the border and escaping justice. It’s not something gothic and darkity dark. It’s a functional place to prevent prisoners from escaping trial.

*slow click*

And let’s read LKH sum up all the plot lines that she couldn’t be bothered to discuss or explore in her book.

Richard did make his Bolverk.

Of course he did. Despite him being angry at Anita at the end of the book. Anyway, Anita kills Jacob, because that plot line made sense and went somewhere. Even though Jacob was written as being entirely self-obsessed and wanting power for himself.

I did not turn furry with the full moon. […] I’m gaining powers like a master vampire. Go figure.

*monotone* What a surprise that is. I am totally surprised by this turn of events. Lo, LKH is a master of dramatic tension.

The snake men and Marco died during the fighting.

The series didn’t need any more gullible brown people, you see.

We have a shapeshifter coalition to promote better understanding among the groups. I’m chairman, though I tried not to be.

How about saying, ‘I am not a member of your minority, it would be inappropriate for me to take such a position within this community, so I am refusing to take it’? Because it’s not appropriate for her to be even involved in the coalition. Anita hates shapeshifters and knows nothing about their cultures and communities. She’s as useful as a chocolate anvil.

Micah and I are still dating, if you can call sharing a bed and my house dating.

I call that ‘casual sex with your rapist’ as there’s no emotional bond between them.

We rescued Joseph, the lions’ Rex, and his wife is still pregnant, four months and counting – a record. Narcissus turned out to be a hermaphrodite, and he’s pregnant, too. I’m not sure Narcissus should be breeding, especially knowing who the father is, but it’s not my choice.

scared what

  • OK, ‘hermaphrodite’ is widely considered to be a stigmatising and misleading. ‘Intersex’ is generally preferred, although it refers to a very diverse range of conditions. It’s not an area I’m an expert in – I do have friends who identify as being intersex – but I’m not going to claim to be an expert. Like with anything else, I respect intersex people and will attempt to talk about related issues with as much respect and dignity that my knowledge and research can give me – and basic human decency, ammirite. I may make mistakes, but I want to know how to talk about such things in a better way.
  • With that said, let me know if I’ve trampled all over anything like a great big elephant.
  • LKH does not care about any of that. She just wants to make something shocking and drastic and it’s offensive as all hell.
  • I’m not sure how Narcissus is pregnant. Obviously, intersex people can and do have children, but there are a lot of different conditions and they have different effects on fertility. As I’m unsure what particular condition Narcissus was born with, I can’t tell how much LKH actually put any thought into this. That said, I don’t think it would help. This has been written for shock value. We’re supposed to be horrified at the thought of such a disgusting freak having a baby. Like, ew.
  • ‘I’m not sure Narcissus should be breeding’. Is that because he’s a shifter, because he doesn’t respect your binary, that he’s into BDSM, that he identifies as a gay man (again, I have to presume that, as Narcissus is presented with male pronouns), or that he’s an intersex person having a child? None of those reflect very well on you, LKH.
  • ‘It’s not my choice’. You’re damn right it’s none of your business.

Also, the cobra king and son are dead. After all, we didn’t need any more brown people in this series.

I wake up pressed between Micah and Nathaniel. You can’t feed the ardeur off of the same person every day, not even a lycanthrope.

Well, of course not. Anita can’t have multiple partners through choice.

Belle Morte wants to send her people to visit. Anita and Ronnie aren’t talking. After mentioning that she’s not dating Richard, we get a big paragraph about how she’s totally not dating him but that Micah loves her.

As for the rest, if I wake up to silk sheets I know I’m at Jean-Claude’s place. If I wake up on pure cotton sheets, I’m at home. But wherever I am, Micah is beside me.

How do you not know where you’re going to sleep? And huray, you’ve won your rapist. Congrats. Anita’s happy with him. I guess that’s a happy ending.

My final thoughts on Narcissus in Chains

I don’t think I have any cohesive thoughts on NiC. What I can say is that this is not a book. It is a nothing. It does not follow any narrative rules or structure that anyone can perceive or even enjoy. It’s a bloated mess of a… thing. The plot is non-existant. The idea of shapeshifters going missing and there being a conspiracy and the communities are closed off and don’t trust each other – that works as a plot. That’s a good plot! But it’s barely there. It’s a non-entity in ITS OWN BOOK. I could even accept Micah – him coming to Anita for help, and them growing closer over the investigation, because she feels that he understands her. But, nope, LKH can’t bother with tension. She wanted them to be together, but didn’t want to explore or go into any depths.

And that’s the problem. She just couldn’t be bothered. This book is lazy. It’s just words and words and words. They don’t add up to anything, because LKH is too lazy to explore consequences. She just wanted to write about Anita being amazing and having sex with hot guys. Her perception of story construction is like a child’s – ‘and then Anita was the greatest person ever and then she got jelly and ice cream and then she got a unicorn!’

And I really hate Micah. I hate the ardeur for being a terrible idea that was only introduced to stop Anita from being a ‘bad girl’. This book was awful drivel. A waste of paper and effort.

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

  1. This could have been stripped down to two interesting plotlines:

    1) Elizabeth invites Micah to take over the pack. Anita then realises that she knows nothing about the therianthropes that she is supposed to protect. This leads to her becoming involved with Micah, trying to create a working relationship with Richard and going to Narcissus’ club, as it is a neutral zone. She sees that Jacob is trying to undermine Richard’s authority in the same way that Micah tried to undermine hers.

    2) Therianthropes are going missing. Their communities are all closed off from each other. As she is exploring the workings of different groups, Anita might be able to do some actual police type work and put it together. Maybe her friends at RPIT help.

    Then these two plots tie together with Chimera being behind both the disappearances and Micah trying to undermine Anita. Chimera could be introduced earlier. Perhaps Anita asked him to help investigate the disappearances. Maybe Dolph invited him in to consult on cases because he doesn’t trust Anita any more, leading to some more conflict there as well.

    If it’s really needed, the ardeur could be thrown in a straight-up attempt by JC to regain some control over Anita. Make him into the immoral bastard that threatened to kill Richard instead of this collection of French stereotypes. Make him menacing again.

    This could have been a great book.

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