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


I went to the stairs, expecting to see them struggling on the steps, but the stairs stretched empty. I ran down the stairs toward the sound of fighting. Richard has taken the fight out into the living room, so he had room to use his long arms and legs.

These books blow my mind sometimes with the sheer incompetence of imagery and word composition.

Here’s a rewritten version, by yours truly;

I flung myself down the stairs, following the sound of the fight. The scuffle had moved into the loving room, the hallway not giving them enough space to really do some damage to each other.

More movement, more meaning, and less repetition.

Anita comes in to see Richard deliver a perfect roundhouse kick to Damian’s face. Because obviously Richard can do that.

Back foot set, front foot, set but loose, body partially turned to give that pivoting strength, the way when you land a fist you turn the fist into the skin for that extra bit of harm.

LKH, I don’t think you’ve ever punched anyone, have you? That is the weirdest way to describe punching someone in the face. There’s also another woman watching Richard beat the shit out of Damian, but as it’s a woman, Anita couldn’t give a fuck.

Well, here’s her excuse.

I was standing too close to the fighting to sightsee.

And yet she gives a blow by blow account of a roundhouse kick? Hmmm. Hmmmmmm.

If Damian had just been a big bad vamp in my house, I’d have gotten my gun and finished him, but he wasn’t a villain.

No, he just enjoys murdering people and goes into manic rages because of his mind link with Anita.

Somehow it was all my fault.

It generally is.

Damian roars and runs forward while Anita whitters and refuses to use her NECROMANCY POWERS WHICH COULD STOP ALL THIS and Richard kicks him in the chest.

If he’d been human it would have dropped him, but he wasn’t human, and it didn’t.

Thanks for that Anita. For a moment, I forget that they were a vampire and a werewolf fighting, despite you reminding me in the last paragraph.

Damian then gets very, uh, ‘wily’ and launches himself at Anita. For reasons, I suppose.

A tome nage throw is the only throw in judo where you commit your whole body to it. Most throws have variations you can do at the last minute if they don’t work, but the tome nage either works or it doesn’t. You fail, and your opponent is on top of you in a perfect position to pin you. But I hadn’t chosen the throw, it had been the only move Damian’s attack left me. I had seconds to do it right or have him eat my face. So when I kicked up with my feet, I gave it all I had. I’d forgotten that all I had was more than it used to be.

Doesn’t all of this make you think ‘wow, what a desperate and frantic life-or-death struggle is taking place! Gosh, this is just so gripping and tense and I’m so worried that Anita might get hurt!’

If you’ve got a frantic, fast, and dangerous fight, then DON’T DESTROY THE SCENE BY GOING ON FOR HALF A FUCKING PAGE ABOUT A JUDO MOVE. It slows everything down. I don’t care how much research you’ve managed to actually do, because going into the dry specifics of a judo move slows everything down and I don’t care. I don’t care about the precision of doing a tome nage when this is supposedly a desperate fight where a woman is trying to stop a vampire from ripping off her face with his bared teeth.

Damian flew through the air again, but it wasn’t his supernatural powers this time.

Yeah, even though you didn’t actually show, depict, or write him as actually flying in the last chapter. You said it happened, and we saw zero evidence for it. Someone says ‘wow’, and then Anita realises that she kicked Damian into the random woman. So I guess she’s losing her face instead. ‘Clair’ starts to scream and run, and Damian is like ‘NOM NOM FACES’ and starts to chase her. Richard goes after him, and then something weird happens?

All Richard has time for was to rush Damian, to crash into him, and take them both to the floor.

He had the vampire down but not pinned. Richard screamed. His shoulders blocked my view, and I had to move around to their heads to see Damian’s mouth buried into Richard’s upper chest.

Ok, let’s try to make sense of this – with badly drawn pictures!

So, this is what’s happening:

rdc1

Richard, Damian, and Clair are all running towards this door, in this order.

Now, this is what should have happened:

rdc3

After all, both Richard and Damian have super speed, and they are explicitly stated to be using it to catch up with Clair. Clair is not mentioned as using super speed, even though given that Richard knows her she is probably part of the supernatural community. Damian, logically, should have caught up with her, and she should be part of this. But she isn’t.

Instead, Damian ends up buried face first in Richard’s chest, like this;

rdc4

(The letters show where their faces are).

However, it’s mentioned as being ‘a crash’, taking them ‘both to the floor’. So, how exactly did Damian flip round?

He should have landed like this;

rdc2

With both of them facing downwards, towards the floor. And Damian having a gigantic spoon head.

Richard makes a ‘preternatural rookie mistake’. ‘Vampire bites are like snake bites; if the snake has a good grip, you don’t just yank it off’. Anita then goes off on a ridiculous tangent about venomous snakes, as if that’s relevant, and then this single bite TO THE UPPER CHEST somehow rips off Richard’s entire shirt and a big lump of flesh.

Are we ignoring the fact that a snake’s teeth are completely different from mammalian teeth? And that snake fangs break off all the time and aren’t really that strong? So, I guess if a snake bites you, it’s awful, but you could just pull it off and the damage would be a lot less than, say, a huge dog biting you and refusing to let go. I mean, snakes don’t just their fangs to grip onto meat to chew, rip, or tear – that’s what mammals do.

But what do I know? I’m not a biologist.

Anita and Richard are holding Damian down, and Richard’s got an injured arm, oh no, and Anita lifts Damian off and gets a choke hold around him, and oh teee heee heee she’s naked, did you realise that? She’s been naked this whole entire time!

FOR GOD’S SAKE WOMAN PUT ON SOME DAMN PANTS

She then worries about the fact she’s touching her breasts against Richard, instead of controlling the vampire who is trying to make a very serious effort to eat her face. She then waffles on about ‘the electric reaction’ of touching Damian and I still don’t understand why she can’t frigging use her NECROMANCY POWERS. You know, those powers that give her CONTROL OF THE UNDEAD.

JC then wakes up and immediately sends Anita a mind message that blames her for all of this.

I had no word for what Damian had become. In a different country it would have been demon, possessed, damned.

Those are all English language words, so why can’t you use them? And apparently England is some vast superstitious backwater. Thanks Anita! I’m always so glad to be treated with your geography lessons!

Anyway, Anita has to incapacitate Damian somehow. Hmmm, this is all sounding very familiar… this is like that other time Damian freaked out. And Anita used NECROMANCY POWERS TO CONTROL HIM. Why can’t you just order him, Anita? You’re his master, he’s your servant, that’s how the magic works.

I knew if you decapitated most vamps, they died. I’d never had the strength before to snap a neck this easily, so I’d never tried. If I snapped his spine would he die? Would he be crippled? Would spinal damage cripple a vampire?

Well, you’re not going to decapitate him by breaking his spinal cord. So, no, he won’t die. And he’ll heal magically. So, no, he won’t suffer any paralysis.

And then Anita looks through some door – god I have no idea what the floor plan for this place it it seems to be all made of doors – and Nathaniel is looking at Gregory’s (apparent) corpse at the bottom of the stairs. Nathaniel, who is covered in blood as if he was freakin’ Alice Morgan, and then comes over to hold Damian’s arm down.

Anita why aren’t you using those fucking magical powers of yours why is this so awful

Anyway, JC insults Anita for two pages until she figures out that she’s ‘shielded’ against Damian and this is making him into a murderous psychopath. No, it’s because he IS a murderous psychopath, love.

There’s a page or so of waffle about Anita’s awful metaphysical magic bollocks and I don’t care. This has been a big ole cul-de-sac into nowheresville. Anita has a revelation that Damian is a revenant – no he’s not, a revenant is an animated corpse, a totally different thing entirely – so JC has to talk Anita through HOW TO BIND THE DEAD USING MAGIC, A THING SHE DOES EVERYDAY FOR HER FUCKING JOB.

It’s her job, and she has to rely on a man to support her through an action she literally does every day.

Anita Blake is the exact opposite to female empowerment.

Now there’s a lot of blood everywhere and everyone’s covered in it.

when is this pointlessness going to stop just kill him already

oh no wait this is going to CONTINUE FOR ANOTHER CHAPTER. Arghhhhhh just stop this no one gives a fuck about Damian just kill him

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

  1. I want him to die. He serves no propose, he has no development, character arc or narrative weight. He’s not funny or interesting or even vaguely distinct. He’s totally superfluous. Sadly, she just keeps adding more superfluous men to her harem. Because love and stuff.

    • “He serves no propose, he has no development, character arc or narrative weight. He’s not funny or interesting or even vaguely distinct. He’s totally superfluous.”

      I think you just described about 90% of Anita’s “sweeties”.

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