A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Cerulean Sins’ chapter ten PART ONE


Anita and JC have gone to bed. They’re not worrying about the ‘bad vampires’ (christ you sound like a child. Who the hell has such a black and white world view?) because the shifters are with vampires and everything should be fine.

Yeah, if I was Musette I’d quietly slaughter everyone in the building while Anita and JC are banging. Teach Anita to try and stab me.

The ardeur was in hiding. I wasn’t questioning it, just grateful.

I’m questioning it. How come the ardeur only shows up when it’s convenient to the plot?

Jean-Claude’s large four-poster bed was draped in blue silk, mounded with pillows in at least three vibrant shades of blue. He traded the drapes and pillows to match whatever color the sheets were, so I knew without looking that the sheets would be blue silk. Jean-Claude did not do white sheets, no matter what they were made out of.

Who cares? What does that add to the story?

JC is sat on a chair while Anita luxuriates on an animal skin. She is totally fine with lying around on THE SKIN OF A DEAD ANIMAL. Eurgh. Anita asks whether Musette & Co might try grabbing Asher again. It’s apparently impossible unless they kidnap him.

“I’ve been around enough vamp politics to know that if you stop them from doing one thing, they’ll do something else, not because they want to, but because it will cause you pain.”

Why must every explanation be as fucking convoluted as possible?

Anita asks what they’ll have to do for Musette & Co. JC replies they have to provide them with food and sex which Anita Does Not Understand. The worrying thing is that Musette’s child vampire Bartolome might want sex which Anita finds disgusting. Even though he’s not a child. Technically he is, but he’s several hundred years old. And a vampire. But whatever, it’s STORY TIME.

Yay.

“Belle Morte can smell sexual appetite, it is one of her gifts. Bartolome may look like a child, but he does not think like one, nor did he when he was a human and a true boy of eleven going on twelve. He was the heir to a great fortune. Belle wanted to control that fortune. He was also notorious in an age when noble sons were allowed almost any indiscretion with women who were not of noble blood.”

If BM was the advisor of kings and emperors, why the fucketty flip is she bothered by one fortune in France? Couldn’t she just influence kings into giving her fortunes and lands? And, yeah, real nice BM. Manipulate a boy who’s just started puberty and started his sexual development. That’s not disgusting at all.

“Explain that,” I said.

“He looked like a child, Anita, and he would use that innocent face to maneuvver women into compromising situations. By the time they realized that they were in danger of abuse, it was often too late. More than that, he threatened to accuse them of being the aggressor.”

… what. What the fuck. Why would a boy of eleven manipulate grown women into those situations? What is he getting out of it? Money? There are boys of that age who are sexually aggressive, but they generally focus on people their own age. And how did Bartoleme get away with this? He was allowed any indiscretion, but surely it would look like he was going to them. This is a weird situation.

“There was no such phrase as child molestation in that century, but everyone knew it happened. Children were often married as young as ten or eleven, so the people who had such tastes could satisfy their needs within the marriage bed, until their spouses became too old for their tastes, then they would look outside their marriage, or by that time their own children might be old enough.”

I stared at him. “I don’t think I wanted to know that last part. That is beyond disgusting.”

Where do I even begin.

  • NO, children were not often married off. Marriages under the age of consent (13/14) were extremely rare and normally only confined to the highest nobility and to royalty. Then, it’s not a case of making a romantic match, but for the sake of joining extremely powerful families and countries.
  • And even then, you did not take your child bride (because, let’s face it, it’s mostly young women being married off. LKH is trying to make us ignore the gender issues because she hates women) straight to bed. Why? Because even five hundred years ago it was considered fucking disgusting to have sex with children. If you married a young bride, you would treat her as a daughter until she reached an age where it was safe for her to have children, normally about seventeen or eighteen. Why? Because having a baby under the age of sixteen is seriously dangerous. You tear open the uterine artery and die pretty quickly. There’s no point in throwing away your extremely valuable child bride.
  • LKH is presenting this as ‘children’ because she wants to paint women as being as being just as interested as child molestation as men. That’s bullshit. In a world where 1 in three women are abused and assaulted, it is not women who are the aggressors.
  • Yes, there were child molesters five hundred years ago. I have no idea what this has to do with Bartoleme. Thanks for telling me that there were child molesters, when you just implied that Bartoleme was abusing innocent women and having fun doing it. Why go on the tirade about abuse? Why does Bartoleme’s story have to involve this ridiculous nonsense? Including this sort of thing doesn’t make your story omg dark and realistic. This is the sort of crap young writers include because they don’t know how else to build a story. It is childish and unnecessary.

“Oui, ma petite, but it is still true. A fortune as large as Bartolome’s would normally be Belle’s task. She would never leave such monies, or lands, or titles, to anyone else. But she is not a lover of children, no matter how grown-up they may be, so she cast it to Musette. Who, as you now realize, will do anything our mistress bids her do.”

  • Um, if BM isn’t sexually attracted to children (yeah, say ‘lover of children’ because you can’t bring yourself to be specific in your storytime about child molestation!), then why the hell did she inflame Bartolome’s mind with her lust powers?
  • Why the hell is she so obsessive about this fortune? This makes no sense!
  • Musette is a child vampire. Why didn’t BM just arrange a marriage between Bartolome and her ‘daughter’? Clean, neat, simple.
  • I have no idea why Bartolome liked to torture women, other than for LKH to make a point about how awful women are.

“So, yes, she seduced, or allowed herself to be seduced by the boy. Belle gave her a touch of the ardeur and Bartolome was enraptured. Belle did not mean to bring him over to us as a boy. She meant to wait until he grew older, but Bartolome was thrown from his horse. He had crushed his skill, and was dying. His next brother was only five, and Belle would have no hold on him. She needed Bartolome, and so she bid Musette finish him.”

Why the hell did this story need the molestation tangent? Why didn’t BM just arrange for her ‘daughter’ Musette (which is actually an old English name, not French, just because there’s an ‘ette’ means that it’s French) to marry Bartolome? Then he has an accident, and he has to be made into a vampire swiftly. Even though dying would render his inheritance null and void. Making turning him into a vampire completely an utterly pointless. Vampires were not legally recognised back then, so there would be no way for Bartolome to claim his fortune. This story makes no fucking sense.

“Bringing children over is forbidden for a reason. Musette did not make Valentina one of us. Belle found that one of her Master Vampires was a pedophile and had brought over children to be his permanent… companions.”

What. WHAT? Who is Valentina? What the hell does this separate child molestation story have to do with the first one?

“He had broken our prohibition against bringing over children, and when Belle Morte found out why he had done it… she slew him. With full permission of the council, she slew him. They destroyed most of the children he had made. They were vampires trapped in children’s bodies, and they had been abused.” He shook his head. “Their minds did not survive, not whole.”

“So how did Valentina escape?” I asked.

“She was his newest and had yet to be touched. She was a child and a vampire but she was not mad. Belle took her in and found her people to care for her. She had human nannies for many years. She had human playmates. I must say that Belle did her best for Valentina. I think she blamed herself for not realizing what a true monster Sebastian was.”

  • The law against making children into vampires seems to be ‘oh, well they’ll be sad’. That’s a shitty reason why not. Considering how utterly lawless vampires are, I have no idea why they follow this law.
  • Why the hell do vampires care about vampire child molesters making child vampires? Vampires in this universe are murderous rapists with no regard for the conventions for human society. Why the hell do they suddenly have morals?
  • If, as JC implied, that it was very common for children to be married and in full sexual relationships, then why have the vampires all decided that it’s wrong for people to have sex with children? Wouldn’t they think it was normal?
  • I think this is an utterly disgusting attempt to be dark and serious, but child vampires don’t stay as children. They have the bodies of children, but their minds keep on developing. So they’re not really children. They are vampires.
  • Nice victim blaming. Why the hell are you punishing the victims?
  • WHO THE FUCK IS VALENTINA
  • Seeing as Valentina would have AN ADULT MIND, why the hell did they give her human nannies?
  • Yeah, BM didn’t see Sebastian for who he was. Probably because SHE THINKS IT’S OKAY TO SEXUALLY INVADE THE MINDS OF CHILDREN. SHE’S JUST AS BAD.

“Valentina tried to turn some of her playmates into vampires, so she would not be the only one. When her nanny discovered her, Valentina slit her throat. That was the end of human nannies and human playmates.”

  • BM, you’re an idiot. ‘I am totally shocked that a vampire is acting like a vampire!’
  • Isn’t Bartolome a child? Why didn’t BM get Val + Bart to play together?

“She does not truly need one in the traditional sense of a child’s needs, but she is forever eight years old, and even today she cannot catch a taxi by herself, register in a hotel, without people wondering. Some well-meaning human will call the police to report the poor abandoned child that’s staying in their hotel.”

  • SHE’S A VAMPIRE. IN A WORLD WHERE VAMPIRES LIVE OPENLY. WHY CAN’T PEOPLE RECOGNISE SHE’S A FUCKING VAMPIRE.
  • She’s a vampire. She has mind control powers. Can you tell me why she can’t just use them to make this less of a problem?

tl;dr

That was only four fucking pages. And I am nope’d out. See you for the rest of this moronic mess tomorrow.

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11 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Cerulean Sins’ chapter ten PART ONE

  1. “(christ you sound like a child. Who the hell has such a black and white world view?)”

    Uh, LKH? Is this not the woman who claims that all the people who don’t like her books are “haters”? Because no one could possibly dislike or find fault with her books for legitimate reasons.

    This whole Musette thing just feels like LKH going, “Hey, you know who was an awesome and creepy vampire? Claudia. Too bad I killed my knock-off Claudia back in the first book…”

    To her credit, she did at least manage to make it to book ten before recycling a villain.

    • I dunno, most of her villains feel exactly the same. Hey look a rapey asshole who’s out to get Anita, haven’t seen that before!

      This part of the chapter just fucking broke me. I couldn’t deal with the stupid.

      • Good point. I meant more that they were at least unique on a surface level. Musette is pretty much a carbon-copy of what’s-her-face from the first book, who in turn was a carbon-copy of Claudia.

      • Yup, Musette is pretty much Little Miss Nikky all over again.

        LKH doesn’t even get what made Claudia a really interesting character. It was the pathos of being an adult in a five year old’s body, not being obsessed with torture.

  2. If LKH had made it clear that undeveloped minds can’t normally handle being turned into vampires and so child vampires are normally either mad and uncontrollable or completely brain-dead, that would be a good, solid reason for vampire children to be taboo, and to punish people who create child vampires. It would make more sense than having vampires, who are explicitly shown to operate on blue and orange morality, to randomly stick to this one point of human morality. But LKH thinks that her audience needs to bashed with ‘paedophilia (sorry, being a ‘lover of children’) is wrong! Even vampires think so! I do not approve of paedophilia!’

    • “I’m so edgy and darkity dark but I can’t stomach my bishie vampire sex objects being complex and possibly construed as being bad so I’ll assign them a random moral code that has no actual reason for existing!”

      And yet, she can’t stomach the implications of her darkity dark world. She actually can’t stomach exploring anything actually edgy.

  3. “JC is sat on a chair while Anita luxuriates on an animal skin. She is totally fine with lying around on THE SKIN OF A DEAD ANIMAL. Eurgh”

    This doesn’t seem too out there. Plenty of people don’t have problems with leather or fur.

    And G-d. Valentina. She is by far the worst thing I’ve ever seen written down. Even in this series.

  4. I have never, ever understood the idea that child vampires=children forever. Yes, physically, they won’t mature, but their minds are going to simply because of the fact they’re still living through the years they would have as a teenager, an adult, and beyond: no one thought Gary Coleman was a perpetual mental child just because he looked like one, so why would a damn vampire be the same?

    • If LKH had said at any point that vampires are frozen at the age they were made, I’d buy it. But she hasn’t, so I have to assume that child vampires are just like any other vampire. And if JC can work a phone without getting confused, a child vampire’s mind can develop.

  5. Yes to every point you’ve made about child vampires and LKH’s bizarre soapbox she’s taken on the subject. As for Valentina, she gets worse. In this book I recall reading she is about 7 or 8 years old in body, and then Danse Macabre rolls around and suddenly she’s 5. FIVE! It was bad enough before LKH decided to reboot her into a kindergartener!

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