A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’ chapter ten


Jason walks Anita to her car, because she can’t be left alone for even a solitary second, and Ronnie goes whizzing past in her car. She’s had a serious enough fight with Louis Fane that he’s been left behind and asks for a ride home.

“Can I grab a ride home?” It was Louie Fane, Dr Louis Fane, although his doctorate wasn’t in the biology of humans, but in the biology of bats.

That… was terribly written. You don’t need to reiterate who he is – he was reintroduced in the last chapter – and just say that he’s an expert on bats. You don’t need to qualify the existence of the scientific study of animal biology by showing how it’s connected to humans.

Anita and Jason both say it’s fine (even though it’s Anita’s Jeep and she’ll be driving, so Jason shouldn’t be offering the ride) and Louis says that he wants Anita to ‘talk some sense into [Ronnie]’. Um, right, whatever. Oh, right, and then it seems that Jason has a car and drove here himself? Right, okay, that’s – that’s badly written, whatever. Louis wants a heart-to-heart with Anita, as everything is being made to be about Anita at this wedding.

Louis asked Ronnie to marry him and she said no. That’s why they were fighting.

“Well, last I knew you guys were getting along really well.” Actually, the last time Ronnie had confided in me it had been a conversation that had set us both giggling, because it had been mostly about sex. We’d both overshared, which women do more than men –

STOP WITH YOUR GENDER BULLSHIT

and the sex had been as good between her and Louie as it had been between me and Micah. Which was pretty damned good.

So, Louis lubes up with soap and rapes Ronnie all the time?

Ronnie had this mistaken idea that dating Micah meant I’d dumped Jean-Claude. When she found out it didn’t meant that, she’d not taken it well. She just couldn’t seem to cope with me dating the undead. Picky, picky.

Hang on, you said that you hadn’t spoken to Ronnie in months. In fact, the last time you two interacted was back in Narcissus in Chains – BEFORE MICAH CAME ONTO THE SCENE. So, no, Ronnie shouldn’t know anything about Micah.

Louis says that they’ve been dating two years – really? Really? It’s been two years? TIMELINES ARE WEIRD – and he’s all offended that Ronnie just doesn’t want to marry anyone. He suggested they live together, but she’s not that interested in that either. Anita says she’ll talk to Ronnie for him.

You know, that’s a really cowardly way to discuss this issue. Louis, if you give even a single solitary fuck about Ronnie, YOU WILL talk to her. Don’t let someone else do it for you!

Anita sees that Louis is full of so much pain, like this was a murder or something. Micah comes along because it’s ardeur time. Louis then starts talking about how Ronnie and Anita haven’t spoken since Micah moved in (no, that happened beforehand) and how maybe Ronnie’s just jealous or something.

Yeah. Whatever.

I did the guy thing, and patted him awkwardly on the back.

Yeah, because men are these dense emotionless robots who never understand what you humans call FEEL-INGS.

[Louis] blinked and gave Micah an odd smile, that was almost a sob.

How can a facial expression be a noise?

“How did you talk her into moving in with you?”

Oh, yeah, because Anita is a feeble wimminz and Micah couldn’t talk and make a decision with her like adults. Anita must be pressured and manipulated into everything by men. And she certainly couldn’t take an active role in her love life, and men should just talk over her like she’s a child.

“I moved in with her,” he said, voice very quiet, very even, a careful voice, reserved for frightened children, and overly emotional adults. I’d heard that voice often enough aimed at me.

AND YOU THINK THAT’S NORMAL AND HEALTHY? MICAH TALKS AND DEALS WITH YOU LIKE YOU ARE A CHILD AND YOU JUST ACCEPT IT??????

“And she asked me.”

And let’s not ignore the fact that another manipulative abusive man just forced himself into Anita’s life and demanded she accept it without question.

Anita then relays the news to Jason, once Louis gets in Jason’s car (since when has he had a car? Why does he make Anita drive him around?), then Anita prepares to get in the Jeep but decides to stare at Nathaniel and think about what BDSM means. She’s just realising that seeing as Nathaniel is a submissive, that means he’s actually controlling her.

YES YES THAT’S WHAT HE’S DOING. HE’S CONTROLLING YOU BECAUSE HE’S A MANIPULATIVE ASSHOLE.

She thinks about how sad it is that no one read Nathaniel read bedtime stories and then she forgets about what she just realise as Nathaniel is just TOOO SAD Y’ALL. TOO SAD. She thinks about how Nathaniel suggested they have monster movie nights and how he runs around the house cleaning after her as she’s a disgusting slob who makes him into her slave. He is the princess she rescued, and she is his prince.

Look, the Nathaniel/Anita relationship is utterly unhealthy on each and every conceivable level. They should not be a couple. They just should not.

Marianne, Anita’s psychic helper, then calls Anita. She senses there’s something desperately wrong and starts to do a tarot reading for her.

Of course, Marianne does tarot. She doesn’t do any cool and esoteric ways of telling the future, like using a chicken to eat alphabetised corn. Tarot it is, and luckily, I have a little experience with tarot so we can point out all the potential fail here.

“I’m looking at the Knight of Cups here, that’s usually Nathaniel’s card.” I’d been skeptical, to say the least, when Marianne first got out a deck of cards to do a ‘reading’, but they were eerily accurate, at least in her hands.

Well, she knows you really well and is your emotional advisor, so… she would know what was happening and how you were thinking, making her readings accurate. And she is actually psychic, so you shouldn’t be sceptical at all.

When she’d first started, Nathaniel’s card had been the Page of Cups, a child’s card, or at least a very young person, but of late he’d been promoted. Knight of Cups.

  • Page of Cups – a young person who is sensitive and helpful but you don’t know them very well. At all.
  • Knight of Cups – a person who is a bringer of ideas, opportunities, and offers. He is amiable, intelligent, but easily bored and discouraged. IT ALSO INDICATES FRAUD, FALSE PROMISES, AND TRICKERY. It represents a person who has trouble discerning when and where the truth ends and lies begin.

Um, yeah, you should probably tell Anita that, Marianne.

“King of Wands, Micah is with you, too.”

  • King of Wands – a man who is fun, enthusiastic, passionate, makes you feel good about yourself – but is also reckless and will leave you in the lurch. He is a heartbreaker.

“The devil, temptation. You haven’t fed the ardeur yet.”

  • Nope.
  • NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPE.
  • The Devil card represents a feeling of subjugation and enslavement. It is a card regarding addiction and breaking chains to finally feel free.
  • So, essentially, you’re telling Anita that she needs to break free of the situation and that she feels enslaved by the ardeur – which was forced onto her, and now she needs to ‘feed it’ like an addict.
  • If you think that, just tell her the correct meaning.

“The Priestess, you have a question for me.”

  • No. It means that Anita should trust her gut instinct. Her gut is telling her to not be with Nathaniel, so thanks for clearing that up.

Marianne wants to know whether Anita is doing something ‘silly’ like trying to pick between Micah and Nathaniel. Then she won’t hear anything more because it might ‘influence’ the reading. No shit.

“I put you in the center, Queen of Swords.”

  • Queen of Swords – a mature, intelligent, self-sufficient woman. So not Anita. At all.

“The past is the five of pentagrams, being left out in the cold, not getting your needs met.”

  • The five of pentacles warns against being so wrapped up in one area of your life that you ignore the others and suffer a form of loss in some way. So, Anita being so wrapped up in her adreur sex bullshit that she ignores friends, family, and her job.

“Deity is the six of cups, which can be someone from your past coming back into your life, someone you felt a strong connection with. Future is the Knight of Cups, Nathaniel’s card. The mundane is the four of pentacles, the Miser, holding on to things that no long help your life run smoothly. Now we’ll do the connecting cards.”

  • Six of Cups – living in the past, trying too hard to recreate the past, you will meet someone from your past and gain new experiences from it.
  • Four of pentacles – nice editing fail there – is not a miser? It represents financial security and a warning to not be too obsessed with material possessions.

“Connecting the mundane to the past is the Lover’s card. [OF COURSE IT FUCKING IS] Something happened in your live life that made you afraid of being hurt, or giving up someone, or something. Connecting the past to the deity is the King of Wands, usually Micah’s card, but it could be energy, a male presence in your life. Connecting deity to the future is the two of swords, you have a choice to make, and you think it’s difficult, but if you take off the blindfold, you can see, and you have what you need to do it. Connecting the future to the mundane is the Knight of Wands, another man in your life. You do draw a lot of male energy to you.”

  • Whyyyyyy won’t this stopppp
  • STAHP
  • The Two of Swords describes being stuck in an unpleasant situation, so that fits here.

“Overlaying the Miser is the six of swords, help unseen, or help from a spiritual source. Overlaying the Lover is the four of rods, the marriage card. Overlaying the out in the cold is the ten of pentacles, happy prosperous home. Hmmm. The King of Rods and the six of cups stand on their own, but the two of swords has crossed with the Queen of Wands. Nathaniel’s card is crossed by the Devil, temptation.”

  • Six of swords – moving away from a bad situation.
  • Four of rods – I think you mean four of wands, unless you’re using a mixture of decks, which is a dick move – means taking a break from a hard situation and enjoying life. It is not a marriage card.
  • Ten of pentacles – a happy family life, not home.
  • King of Rods – King of Wands, I’m guessing, because the editor clearly didn’t give a shit – we’ve covered that one.
  • Six of cups – the past.
  • Queen of Wands – an extremely capable woman who has no problems in combining a successful career with a happy home life. Hahhhhhh that’s not Anita, at all.
  • Nathaniel’s card is crossed with feelings of enslavement and a need to break free. hmmmmm.

I’m getting a totally different reading from this deck than Marianne is. What I’m reading is that Anita could be happier in life if she moved on, abandoned all this ardeur bullshit, and left all these assholes behind.

Marianne then reads about the murder and how it will all work out ‘but not without loss’ and it’ll involve someone from the past. Thanks for revealing the plot to us all. She then gives Anita a message from God.

I am serious.

” ‘You know what you need to do. Why are you asking me?’ ”

I licked my suddenly dry lips, and said, “It doesn’t bother you that you just took a message from God for me?”

“Well, it wasn’t from him directly. He just sent it.”

WILL YOU STOP WITH THIS ‘GOD HIMSELF DIRECTLY APPROVES OF ANITA’ BULLSHIT?

Marianne tells Anita to just follow her heart and trust herself (eugh) and then she hangs up so Anita can go into her home.

I got out of the Jeep and hoped I was grown-up enough for this particular choice.

No. You’re not. Because you consistently refuse to behave like a grown woman. Get a clue, dump all these assholes, and move on with your life.

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7 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’ chapter ten

  1. I love how you managed to take that tarot reading and pull out a more rational, sensible meaning of it all than what LKH provides. I can’t help but conclude that she either got all her interpretations from something like a My First Tarot Deck kit, or latched on to the interpretations that best suit her goals.

    And personally, given everything I’ve read about tarot (namely that every card has numerous meanings), I see them as more of a Rorschach test – the interpretation is going to vary depending on who the reading is for.

    Tangentially, I’ve had this idea of a story about a real fortune teller who hates trying to use tarot cards for exactly that reason, so instead plays rounds of poker with clients.

    • The cards have multiple meanings, it’s true – the minor arcana (Wands, pentacles, cups, swords) can refer to situations or people, and the major arcana tend to have a theme that can be applied to different situations or people. They are vague enough so that people can attach meaning from their individual lives – however, the meanings LKH comes up with do not match the cards given. And she decides to mix both rods and wands, pentacles and pentagrams, which is just weird. You have rods OR wands, not both, as they are exactly the same thing.

      That would be a great story! Let me know when you write it, I’d love to read it.

      • Yeah, the random switching between rods/wands and pentagrams/pentacles really shows that this got the absolute *minimum* editing possible – even LKH didn’t bother to read it afterwords.

  2. ““Well, it wasn’t from him directly. He just sent it.”

    …so, from Him directly then.

    I don’t get why Anita would be skeptical either, since psychics are objectively real things in her world and everyone knows it. I suppose there would still be people who tried to fraud for various reasons, but she knew from the start Marianne was the genuine deal, didn’t she? I doubt a werewolf pack would be employing a faker, and Anita can sense paranormal energy of all types it seems (despite her being supposed to just have a connection to vampires, at least before she became a nonshifting panwere Sue)

    • Anita’s always known Marianne is the real deal, and considering that she’s Anita’s magic teacher, why would she doubt her?

      Plus i find messages from god to be gross

  3. I’m not even religious and that message from God thing offends me. Yeah Anita’s love life is what He concerns himself with. I like to think that Marrianne is just so sick of her bitching and moaning about how her guy problems are soo terrible and not taking/listening to her advice that she just made up the God approves message so she’d shut up and deal with it

  4. I’m sorry, has she never heard men talk about sex before?? They abso-fucking-lutely overshare. The oversharing part is how nude pictures get passed around, (usually false) rumors start about people sleeping together, and people’s reputations get ruined. In fact, men are EXPECTED to overshare with their ‘bros’ often, to brag about their sexual exploits, because toxic masculinity means their worth in society’s eyes is tied to their sexual prowess.

    LKH, way to not only shit on women for enjoying talking about sex IN A PORN SERIES and turning them into giggling school girls about it, but to also be completely wrong about men in an effort to make women seem silly and lesser than men. AGAIN.

    Did a sexually liberated woman piss in her cornflakes or something? Ffs.

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