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


The living room was dark as I entered the house.

Well, you’ve been out. So it would be. Anita goes instantly into raptures about how the leopards can see in the dark and therefore they don’t need to turn the lights on. This would be more impressive if, you know, I didn’t need lights to walk around my home at night. Because I know where things are and I can see enough in the dark to get around without  walking into things. Like most people.

She doesn’t want to go into the bedroom, because Nathaniel and Micah are awful fucking people and won’t leave her house. She decides to call JC then decides that would be ‘cowardice’. The phone rings and it’s ‘Teddy’, a cultured werewolf who is also a bodybuilder that we’ve never met before and are likely to never meet again. He’s calling to let Anita know that Gil the werefox is in the hospital. Because she’s obviously the fucking person to call about shapeshifter news? Gil was in a car accident when some dude ran a red light. Gil was seriously injured, and is now handcuffed to the bed and the police are preparing to put him in a ‘safe house’.

Safe houses were really prisons for lycanthropes. They’d been designed originally for new lycanthropes, so you had someplace safe to go during your first few full moons. It was a good idea, since the first few moons could turn into a killing spree, unless you had other shapeshifters to watch over you. The newly furry spent a first full moons with no memory of what they’d done, and very little human int hem while they were in animal form. The safe houses were a good idea in theory, but in practice, once oyu went in, they never let you out. You never had enough control to pass their tests and get out. You were dangerous and would always be dangerous. The ACLU had begun the legal battles on grounds of illegal imprisonment without due process, but so far they were still bad places to be sent.

Oh gods, not this again.

This? Does not work. At all. LKH has been trying to tie the werewolves into some sort of civil rights thing, because too many people use werewolves and vampires as metaphors for those who suffer ongoing prejudice in the modern world.

The problem is that it doesn’t fucking work in the AB universe. People can fight against the prejudices of racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, etc, etc, (and the fact that I have to put an etc is fucking miserable) because there’s no basis to hate people for anything.

But AB werewolves? There’s a huge fucking reason to detain them permanently. They go into a murderous frenzy in the presence of blood. Their pack structure involves murder and rape. They eat their romantic partners alive if they don’t concentrate hard enough during sex.

There is no reason to be prejudiced towards people of different ethnicities, sexual identities, or genders. There is every fucking reason for the government to consider werewolves in this world to be a danger to other people. Because they are. They are uncontrollable murderous rapists, and there’s no reason given in the text why  the US government shouldn’t take an interest in keeping them contained.

Anita also gets cross that the hospital team are wearing ‘full hazardous material gear’ while treating Gil, as LKH is still treating ‘werewolfism’ as a metaphor for the AIDS crisis.

I’d wear a biohazard suit if I had to treat a shapeshifter in the AB universe. You think I’d want to be a unrepentant murder and part of the bullshit pack system?

Teddy then wants Anita to deal with some pack member who’s loosing control in a bar.

OH, AND WEREWOLVES ARE PERFECTLY SAFE, EH? AND WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU CALLING ANITA? WHAT THE FUCK CAN SHE DO? SHOOT HIM?

And then Teddy tuts at Anita for swearing. What the hell? Ugh. She’s got to go because… um, PLOT DEMANDS IT. She suggests that Micah would be better suited, which is fair. He comes into the room and Anita stares blankly at his abs. strong independent woman…. She hands the phone to Micah and he doesn’t want to deal with it.

Even though he’s head of the stupidly named coalition and is therefore responsible for maintaining the ‘respectability’ and safety of the shapeshifters in the city.

“Nathaniel has many fine skills, but this isn’t one of them.”

“You’re not really good at either,” he said, with a smile to soften the harsh truth.

I smiled back, because he was sooo right.

Unless you are writing about teenagers or doing a section with text or IM speech, do not use ‘sooo’ in the body of your narrative. It is childish.

Anyway, this means that Anita now has to deal with the ardeur with Nathaniel. Look at how that worked out. All neat and that.

batman glare

That doesn’t count as smart plotting. If you couldn’t make this happen naturally, then you’re a shit writer.

And then Damian the vampire walks in. Remember him? It’s okay if you don’t, LKH gives a whole page of backstory for him, otherwise you’d never fucking remember who he was. He’s Anita’s vampire servant and is a total non-character. Anita then blathers on about how vampires in the States are ‘more civilised’. Yeah, the stalky, murdery, rapey vampires are just so civilised and follow the law.

Damian must have come straight from work, because though he, like most of the vamps from Europe, almost never wore jeans and tennis shoes, he also didn’t like dressing up as much as Jean-Claude insisted on.

WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT

WHY THE FUCK DOES LKH THINK EVERYONE IN EUROPE GOES AROUND IN FURS AND DIAMONDS ALL THE TIME

I wear jeans and trainers all the shitting time. Whether or not I ‘dress up’ has nothing to fucking to do with the fact that I’m European.

Damian is dressed as a pirate for some reason. He works in a nightclub. Why the shit is he dressed as a pirate? Damian and Anita start talking about flirting and his gemstone eyes and how he can’t have sex with people while he’s working. He then starts whining that he needs his own room in the house because he wants to bring home people to fuck. This is purely to make Anita uncomfortable, as she is not happy with the thought of having strangers in the house. He goes on about how she is his master, and that he wants her to ‘touch me’.

Anita’s hugely uncomfortable with all this and isn’t happy with how he’s acting. He gets in her face about ‘warm, wet, soft bodies’ and how he can’t trust strangers because they might kill him. Anita says how she’s got a crick in her neck from him being so close, so he grabs her and puts her on a kitchen counter, face to face now.

“You have but to tell me stop, and I will stop.”

Hmmmm. Damian freaks out because Anita gives him ‘peaceful eyes’. Well, I’d be pretty upset if someone just handed me a pair of eyeballs. He’s upset because of all this punishment and grabs her so hard he injures Anita. She finally says that he oughta fucking stop and get out her face. He’s angry because, like every other fucking guy in this world, he has some implicit right to stick his undead peener in her vagina.

Nathaniel comes in while Anita’s practically on the verge of crying because of how she treated Damian – not that he physically hurt her, and didn’t give a shit, no, that’s A-FUCKING-OK. Then it’s peanut butter ardeur time.

Something about how being meeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaannnnnnn to Damian means there’s some sort of vague price to be paid.

I have no fucking idea why.

WHY THINGS HAPPEN

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

  1. srsly, the idea that supernaturals can easily substitute for POC and LGBT people isn’t just wrong, it’s offensive. Especially with LKH’s supernaturals. Because, oh, hey, haven’t these groups actually been historically stereotyped as violent and hypersexual? YEAH.

  2. I don’t understand why Damian is here at all. He’s literally just a tag on to make her super speshul snowflake who has a triumvirate despite it literally breaking the universe. I can get that, and I found the idea fascinating, but if you’re going to make him a one dimensional character and basically an adjective to describe another character then GET RID OF HIM. It’s bad writing, and probably a plot device to let us know how hard Anita’s life is. And/or just to give us another helping of poor pretty man-pain.

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