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


By the time Nathaniel and Jason came looking for us Micah was back to normal.

There’s a distinct lack of commas in that sentence. And, again, we’re reminded of how Anita felt so threatened by possibly feeling/being treated like anyone else that she had to bring three dates to this wedding.

Normal for Micah mean that if I hadn’t seen him break down, even I wouldn’t have guessed. In fact, he was so back to normal that it made me wonder how many other breakdowns I’d missed. Or had I caused this one?

  • Does it strike anyone else as being slightly suspicious that Micah is able to emotionally breakdown and then instantly be able to act as if absolutely nothing happened? It seems, methinks, that someone has not experience one or seen one happen. I have, on both counts. It takes me a long time to calm back down.
  • I might be reading too much into it all, given that every single person in the Anita Blake universe appears to be lying and emotionally manipulating every one else, all at the same time.
  • Anita, you are not the centre of everyone’s universe. Some people react to things that are completely nothing to do with you.

Nathaniel smushes up against Anita, because Everything Is About Anita At All Times, and Jason decides to ask for sex.

“It’s after midnight, we thought you’d be outside feeding the ardeur.” His grin was way too wicked to match the mildish words.

“I’m able to go longer between feedings,” I said, “sometimes fourteen, or even sixteen hours.”

“Oh, pooh,” he said, and stamped his foot, pouting. It was a wonderful imitation of a childish snit, except for the devilish twinkle in his eye. “I was hoping to take another one for the team.”

Oh my god. The men around Anita have all recognised that childish behaviour and actions are what sexually interests Anita, and have started acting in kind. Gross. Anita turns him down but Jason is desperate to sleep with her again, for reasons I cannot fathom. Anita just lays there and does nothing when she has sex. You might as well have sex with a blow-up doll, it all amounts to the same. Anyway, being forced to have sex with Jason is only an option when there’s a sexing emergency. Everyone rushes to make sure that Anita or JC do not take any blame for this ridiculous situation – it’s all BM, ‘the wicked, sexy vampire of the west’ (what the fuck?), going around being evil and shit. They begin to praise that Anita is so strong because… I dunno, I have no idea how Anita is strong or interesting.

I laid my head on [Nathaniel’s] shoulder, curving my face into the bend of his neck, and getting that whiff of vanilla. He’d always smelled like vanilla to me. I’d thought once it was shampoo, or soap, but it wasn’t.

NO ONE SMELLS NATURALLY OF VANILLA

NO ONE

Jason has to prompt Nathaniel to ask something – because Nathaniel is keeping up this poor damaged widdly boy act – and Nathaniel is desperate to dance with her. Anita agrees. Everyone is shocked.

“Where is Anita, and what have you done with her?” Jason asked, face very serious.

Sorry, but I had to. That line is in every single bad piece of fan fiction. It is a famous sign of bad fiction, this little non-joke that always crops up in the written works of bad authors.

THE ULTIMATE PROOF AMMIRITE

Anita and Nathaniel smile and giggle at each other and go off to dance

this wedding’s lasted like seven chapters how many more will it go on? Is it the whole book? Will it ever end??

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Cerulean Sins’ chapter seven


Musette stood by the white brick fireplace. It had to be her, because she was the only little blond Barbie doll in the room, and that’s how Jason had described her. Jason had a lot of faults, but describing a woman inaccurately was not one of them.

She was indeed small, shorter than me by at least three inches. Which made her barely five feet tall, if she was wearing heels under the long white gown, then she was tinier still. Her hair fell around her shoulders in blond waves, but her eyebrows were black and perfectly arched. Either she dyed one thing or the other, or she was one of those rare blonds where body and head hair didn’t match. Which did often, but not often. The blond hair, pale skin, dark eyebrows and eyelashes framed blue eyes like spring skies. I realized that her eyes were only a few shades bluer than Jason’s. Maybe it was the dark eyebrows and lashes that made them seem so much more vivid.

She smiled with a rosebud mouth that was so red I knew she was wearing lipstick, and once I saw that I knew she was wearing more makeup. Well done, understated, but there were touches here and there helped a striking, almost childlike beauty along.

YOU ARE SEXUALISING A CHILD. PLEASE STOP. I don’t care how old Musette is as a vampire. She’s a child. SHE IS A CHILD. STOP IT.

Musette’s teenage girlfriend – and if Musette is a teen, then I’d like an exploration of their relationship and how it works, but I guess we’re not going to get it – and Anita thinks about how the girl doesn’t have any bitemarks on her neck. She is confused where else a vampire might take blood from. *rolls eyes*

There’s another visitor in the room, a huge six foot man with giant shoulders. Quick, stop him, he’s escaped from a 9os comic book! He’s got dark hair in a braid and is dressed in… period clothes? Anita says he’s got tights on but there isn’t any mentioned anywhere else. We do get this though:

His skin was as dark as skin that hadn’t seen much sun in centuries could be. I was betting he tanned with very little effort. His eyes were an odd blue green, aqua, like the waters of the Caribbean. They were startling in his dark face and should have added warmth and beauty.

You couldn’t be bothered to talk about his period clothing, for once, but you drew attention to his stupid eyes and took the time to stress that he’s totally white you guys, he’s not a gross brown person, he’s just really tanned.

Musette speaks in French… for some reason, and JC tells her that Anita doesn’t speak it. She completely understands what he’s saying even though she doesn’t speak French because congrats Anita, you speak less French than a twelve year old. Musette says that she hasn’t seen Damian in ages and his mistress, that scary one who is never named like freakin’ Voldemort, is called Moroven and won’t take a place on the council. Damian is distressed and Anita steps forward to defend his honour. Musette starts mocking JC and Asher for replacing Julianna.

oh man i like musette. she has personality and could be really interesting!

“Why is it that Asher and you choose such common women? I suppose there is something comforting about good, sturdy, peasant stock.”

clap

Musette is great.

Anita laughs and then goes on about how all her family have been farmers and soldiers and she’s so proud of being peasant stock because ‘we’ve had to work for everything we have’. Funny that you don’t seem to spend any of your time working or striving for anything. In fact, everything you’ve gotten has been given to you. Musette is very confused and Asher tries to explain that Anita knows nothing of a feudal society.

Of course, because Musette automatically assumes that the world is run like a European feudal society? LOGIC.

“You, lovely Musette, have never lived where you were not subject to a lord, or lady, or where you did not rule others. You have never lived without knowing the duties one owes one’s liege.”

That’s double crap. Not only was European medieval feudalism, you know, confined to Europe and does not define the world, it’s not like Anita comes from a land where she does not have expectations of loyalty and duty and a ruler. She has a ruler – the American President. She is a subject to someone else – not in a king/subject sense, but in the sense that she has to follow the laws etc of the president and her government. Anita has duties. They’re just different from working the land.

Musette does not explain the concept of ‘freedom’ and decides that anything she doesn’t understand is not important. Well, that does make her sound like an aristocrat. Musette asks ‘Angelito’, the braided hair guy, to display their present for JC and Asher.

It was a picture of Cupid and Psyche, that traditional scene where Cupid asleep is finally revealed to the candle-wielding Psyche. Valentine’s Day has robbed Cupid of what he was in the beginning. He was not a chubby sexless baby with wings. He was a god, a god of love.

Cupid is the god of sex and attraction, not just love. The Greeks did portray him as a chubby baby boy. Greek history and culture wasn’t fixed. Different areas and different places and different times had different interpretations of their gods and myths. Anyway, Cupid is Asher.

He was nude, but that word didn’t do him justice. The candlelight made his skin warm from the broadening of his shoulders to the curve of his feet. His nipples were like dark haloes against the swell of his chest, his stomach was flat to the grace of his belly button as if an angel had touched that flawless skin and left a delicate imprint, a line of hair dark gold, almost auburn, traced the edge of his stomach, and ran in a line down, down to curl around him, where he lay swollen, partially erect, caught forever between sleep and passion. The curve of his hip was the most perfect few inches of skin I’d ever seen. That curve drew the eye down  the line of his thigh, the long sweep of his legs.

Ok, I’m going to show an image of an actual picture of Cupid and Psyche from the time period where Asher and JC were doing their thang.

Notice anything? Oh, yeah, it’s not as frankly erotic as that. That’s because it wouldn’t be acceptable. Here’s a slightly later picture of the same myth.

Again, not so openly erotic and pornographic. Nudity is used as a symbol of purity and innocence, rather than for eroticism. Ain’t no one be painting that Asher picture.

The Psyche in the picture is JC. Um, because? This makes Asher and JC sad. But present time isn’t over! Musette brings out a Titian –

OK, I have no idea how Anita can recognise a Titian when she is not interested in art AT ALL. And a Titian? Nope. Not only did Titian not work in France but he lived before Asher was made into a vampire and before he was tortured. This is a picture of Asher after the melting by holy water, so this is the 1640s/1650s. Titian had already been dead seventy years by that point.

JC is struck with memories, so he and Anita faint into a big heap.

strong independent woman… fainting in every book…

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


The gang are now in a corridor. It has silver wallpaper. It’s very fancy wallpaper, but I don’t care. Anita calls it a shock after Narcissus’s ‘Marquis de Sade’ bedroom.

LKH, have you ever read any Sade? I have. Let me tell you, the stuff in Sade’s works far outstrips the ‘hardcore’ in this book. Narcissus’s tastes are pretty tame in comparison.

Jamil is suddenly with them again, and Anita goes on about how it’s so clear he’s not wearing underwear. Because, you know, that’s integral to the plot. And there’s a new vampire called ‘Faust’.

Seriously. Faust. Well, I’m just going to imagine him as Richard Burton in the seventies version of Faust because it makes this all the more hilarious.

In the better light, his hair was obviously tinted burgundy, like a shade of red gone wrong, but it suited him.

What?

Write things with a level of competence, that’s all I ask of you.

Anita spends a page talking about Jamil and Faust’s clothing, because that’s important to the plot. She then mentions there are two women behind them. One of them has her clothing described in loving detail, because that’s important to the plot.

The hose climbed her legs all the way up, making them look long and shapely, though she was only three inches taller than me.

  • Of course her tights went up her legs. That’s their function.
  • Um, if you’re five foot six – like me – it means you can’t have shapely legs? What, if you’re ‘short’, you get instant stunted legs?
  • What?

Her breasts seemed to stay magically on either side of the line of skin, as if they were held in place by something more than a bra.

You mean tit tape. Or her top has breast pockets.

The other woman is a vampire. Now, last time she was mentioned I left out the fact that this vampire, Meng Die, is Asian. I didn’t feel the need to draw attention to her ethnicity, unlike LKH. Who has given her the most stereotypical Asian vampire name – it literally has DIE in it. She continues the stereotype by going on about how delicate she is and how birdlike she is and how dainty she is.

Newsflash: that’s pretty racist. I don’t like it. By all means, make your vampires as ethnically diverse as possible. So many vampire franchises don’t – they’re so bogged down with the European mythos, that everyone tends to be focused on the west. Having vampires of different races and cultures and experiences is great! Making them the most stereotypical example of their race is very bad and offensive.

Anita reveals that she is finally going after the wereleopards, and how she’s going alone (aside from all her bodyguards). She can’t have Richard or JC as they’re other ‘dominants’ and she would look weak. Fine. She says that if she’s seen as weak, everyone will make the wereleopards their ‘meat’ which… well, they already are. Because Anita doesn’t care about them. She reiterates how she can’t be seen as weak over and over and over. Repetition makes it good!

Oh, and the woman who has all those breasts is Sylvie. Anita couldn’t even be bothered to refer to her by name. Wow.

They arrive at the door where the wereleopards are being held. Faust stands in front of the door so Anita barrels into a great big scene where she tells him to not stand in front of doors when people have guns because you’ll get shot do you know what a copkiller is it’s a weapon designed to kill cops you fucking idiot faust why don’t you know how to get out of the way of these people who have been told we’re coming and that narcissus is willing to give me back the wereleopards, you fucking idiot!

“Get out of the fucking way,” Meng Die said.

oh i love you meng die. Rule over this world on a throne of decapitated heads.

Faust does not like a woman ordering him, so they start to squabble, and Anita calls them ‘children’. Pft. You don’t have the right to call anyone else a child, woman child. Jamil knocks on the door.

The door opened, revealing a brown-haired man as muscled as Ajax, but taller. What did Narcissus do, recruit all the weightlifting gyms in town? He frowned at us. “Yeah?”

“I’m Nimir-Ra for the wereleopards. I think you’ve been waiting for me.”

“About fucking time,” he said.

They go in, and it’s introduced as the ‘room of swords’. There’s a big guy in half-hyena, half-human form because…. um. Reasons. Wouldn’t it be dangerous being stuck between forms for long periods of time? I mean, their bodies are able to go from one form to the other, wouldn’t being stuck do serious damage to them? Anita then notices all the men have ‘dark skin’ and all look the same.

you aren’t even trying to avoid those implications, are you?

Anyway, oh no, Greggory is bound to a wall and is naked despite wearing clothes and has a rockin’ bod and now there’s a snake man.

The snake man has claws.

Yes, snakes are famous for their clawed hands.

Anita wants to know why the snake man – Coronus, which makes me think of Corona – has taken her people. He strokes a random woman who deserves no name. Snake man came here for swanmanes and kidnapped wereleopards because…. you know, swans and leopards are the same thing. He then demands Anita come over and look at Gregory, personal like, and oh my god, he’s been castrated!

Anita doesn’t need to go over and realise that. She ought to be able to see that HIS CROTCH IS COVERED IN BLOOD. HOW BLIND IS THIS WOMAN? THIS WOMAN WAS ABLE TO SEE THE DEFINITION OF HIS ABS FROM THE DOORWAY, BUT COULDN’T SEE THE FACT HIS PENIS HAD BEEN CHOPPED OFF?

Anita starts to cry about poor Gregory, and they unbind him from the wall, and she holds him in her arms and cries. She feels actual emotion for once. Then the snake man claws at her and she springs out with knives.

I foot-swept the snake, but the snake was on its feet, kicking upward like it had springs in its spine.

You foot-swept the snake.

The snake has legs and feet.

… wow, that biology degree really makes this world seem so realistic!

Another snake leaps out, and Meng Die fights it, but is taken out very quickly. Sylvie and the gang start partially changing and fighting in a confusing way. Anita wrestles Corona and then Jamil leaps onto her as Corona yells out he’s been beaten. Corona bleats how he wouldn’t have been so cruel if he thought Anita was coming, which makes the whole political mess so much more confusing. His eyes then reveal where Nathavile has been hidden!…. which is in full view of the entire room. The fuck?

Anyway, Nathavile is full of swords. I don’t think this is a bad thing.

Anita goes up to him and touches him, which must be a massive help for all that agonising pain he’s in. She then starts rubbing his wounds which, again, must be a massive help for all that pain he’s in. Anita then ponders aloud what on earth she can do to help him.

…. um…. remove the fucking swords, you jackass?

They do this, and Nathavile screams. Gregory then turns into a half-leopard and his genitals are enormous now. Corona tells Anita to leave, and now she thinks about that woman chained to the wall and how she should probably do something. Now there are three women chained to the wall, and because Nathavile is sad, Anita deigns herself to possibly help. Corona and her argue about it for two pages.

Anita, you could just… free them. Corona is paralysed. He can’t do shit. He stays he must absolutely keep them for mysterious reasons but Anita knows ‘we’d won’. Yeah, you shoved a knife in his spine and lungs, that was obvious.

Corona thinks about this for a page. Two more snake people attack Anita out of nowhere. Jamil and Gregory jump on them, but Anita’s already unconscious. Nothing says competent hero like being knocked unconscious every ten chapters!

I don’t even know what the fuck is going on in this book. Already.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Obsidian Butterfly’ chapter seven


Anita storms out the ward, feeling all ill and stuff, so Marks makes his move.

“Not so fucking tough after all, eh, Ms. Blake.”

You are a brave man, Lieutenant Marks.

The pair then have a small pissing match about who could stomach staring at the victims longer, forgetting that the victims are human beings and not objects to be fought over.

“You… you witch.” He spat the last word at me as if it were the worst insult he could come up with.

Seeing as witches are hunted down and executed in this universe, it probably is a bad insult.

“Don’t you mean bitch?” I said. I was feeling better out here in the hallway. Trading insults with Marks was a cakewalk compared to my other chances.

Your insults are so intelligent after all. Have you tried ‘I know you are, but what am I?’.

“I said what I meant.”

“If you don’t know the difference between a real witch and an animator, no wonder you haven’t caught the thing that’s doing this.”

Actually, what is the clear cut definition between a witch and an animator? Isn’t animating like a specialism within magic? What makes animation magic different from other kinds of magic?

Marks points out that the FBI think it’s a serial mutilator, and Anita ignores him until Marks offers to take her to a crime scene. This makes her look high and mighty by saying that the victims are the biggest clues to cracking the case, as if she were a real police officer.

Anita then motions for Edward to come closer to her. She then kicks him in the face.

I think this gif sums up my feelings on this matter –

– namely WHAT THE FUCK WHY DID THAT HAPPEN?????????

WHY HAS ANITA DROPKICKED EDWARD IN THE FACE IN THE MIDDLE OF A HOSPITAL

WHY HAS THAT HAPPENED

THAT MAKES NO SENSE

APPARENTLY THIS IS PUNISHMENT FOR MAKING ANITA GO INTO THE WARD

BUT ANITA YOU CAN TALK TO EDWARD AND SAY YOU DIDN’T LIKE IT

WHY MUST YOU COMMUNICATE IN DROPKICKS TO THE FACE

THAT IS NOT A METHOD OF COMMUNICATION RECOGNISED BY ANYONE

WHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYY

Marks finds this hilarious, and asks what Anita’s like if she’s seriously pissed off. She then gives him her TUFF FACE which makes him react as if he’s opened the fucking Arc of the Covenant.

TUFF.

Anita then thinks about the nature of good and evil, in her own special, simplistic manner.

I’d told Doctor Evans we were the good guys but if Edward and I were on the side of the angels, then what was left to be on the other side?

Demons. I mean, they’re obviously on the other side from angels.

She thinks about the perpetrator in the worst way possible.

Something that could skin a person alive without using a tool of any kind. Something that would jerk the penis off a man and the breasts off a woman with its bare hands. As bad as Edward was, as bad as I’d become, there were worse things. And we were about to going hunting one of them.

Sorry, I can’t hear you faux baddass speech because I’m too buys thinking that the perpetrator is just really bad at giving out free handjobs.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Blue Moon’ chapter seven


“Have fun visiting your boyfriend?” Maiden asked as he followed me down the hall.

I waited at the second locked door. “He’s not my boyfriend.”

“Everyone keeps saying that.” Maiden unlocked the door and held it open. “Maybe it’s a case of the lady protesting too much.”

“Take your library card and shove it, Maiden.”

“Ooh,” he said, “that was nasty. Wonder if I can think of a comeback half that good.”

The dialogue is so painful.

Anita gets her gun back, and Maiden’s loaded it with a single bullet in the chamber. Anita thinks this must be a message – a warning against something! I think it’s a message about what she should do with it, but whatever. She then wangsts about how much cops hate her, especially small town cops, because she’s such a super cool vampire executioner.

Maiden then tells Anita he’s going to be on lunch. The police station will be empty. Richard should jump bail right now because before this day, there were a lot of nice, upstanding citizens around the place.

… is this all going to be a conspiracy?

Anita and Jason are then magically outside without walking, and by … sigh, I have to call him this, Shang-Da’s house. There’s a big old pickup truck (REMEMBER EVERYONE IS A REDNECK, HEEHAWW) with four dudes in it. I guess this is what Maiden was warning us so subtly about. None of them has weapons, so Anita’s feeling pretty confident until she remembers that, whoops, murder is illegal.

Myerton’s legal system didn’t seem to take to well to strangers.

Because the town is run by hicks! Do you find it funny yet?

Shang-Da gets himself into the fighting stance for a martial art as, you know, he’s Asian and must know martial arts. Then his grandmother, who is dressed like Every Old Woman Stereotype Ever, comes out, shakes her cane, and tells everyone to stop threatening her grandson. Anita sighs about how she just can’t shoot them, and says that she’s going to beat the crap out of them. They ignore her, and she calls them ‘stupid amateur muscle’.

Well, they’re not stupid. Out of these three people – the skinny white girl, the short skinny white dude, and the guy who looks ready to fight – I wonder which one of these people you would consider taking on in a fight.

The gang all round up, and then start mocking Shang-Da by calling him ‘China Boy’. You know, this may be a bit out there, but I don’t think LKH has ever been around overtly racist people. The truly committed bigots who don’t hide behind a veneer of ‘but I just think ethnic peoples are so cool and exotic!’ (hem hem, naming no names). If she is presenting this violent gang as being backwards racists, while ‘China Boy’ is offensive, it’s a bit… I’m trying to be very careful with what I’m saying, but considering the racial slurs aimed at Chinese people, ‘China Boy’ is the sort of insult someone would come up with because they don’t want to write actual racial slurs and they have to make up one that is blindingly obvious, to make it clear ‘hey, these guys are racists and that is bad and symptomatic of everything that rednecks are!‘.

What I’m saying is that LKH has that level of white blindness where she cannot understand or perceive racism correctly, and seems to think it is people being mildly nasty. Which is bad when her main character is Hispanic.

Jason and Anita critique the gang’s racial epithet of choice, and Anita thinks about how fighting four guys twice her size is going to be hard. But she’s got a black belt in Judo, so she should be fine. And all those bodyguards just a few minutes away, but they would take away her glory. And has a guy with her who has superhuman strength, but both her and the author appear to have forgotten that.

Anita is charged at by ‘Mel’ a big slab of muscle who she beats easily. She breaks his leg for good measure. Jason throws one into the side of the truck. More men have appeared to arrive, as there were four originally, and now there are three who are unconscious while Jason and Shang-Da fight off a few more. And Anita stands there and does nothing. What a hero. The guys seem to be doing fine, until one of them kicks Jason in the head. Cripes, I hope the guy with super strength and super healing abilities can possibly cope with this onslaught! Anita finally decides to help and is kicked in the chest. She is sent flying across the yard.

Then the sheriff who was totes in on this arrives.

“Freeze motherfucker!”

Oh, I see someone likes Samuel L. Jackson movies! Because I highly doubt a sheriff would shout this on the main street of town, opposite the police station!

He tries claiming that obviously, Anita’s gang attacked the pile of unlimited goons that are lying about the place. Anita is helped up, and immediately describes Sheriff Wilkes by what type of gun he has. Sheriff Wilkes has actually heard of Anita, as she is super famous, and wants to know why she’s in town, spoiling his conspiracy. She says she’s here for Richard, and HAHAHAHAHAHA HE THINKS SHE’S DATING HIM AHAHAHAHAHAH.

The sheriff’s deputies giggle at Anita. I’m guessing they’re evil. The sheriff tries to press charges against Anita, but she claims the fact that all the goons are now unconscious was purely an act of self-defence. Well, she looks white, she can get away with that kind of crap.

Anita fakes fainting to avoid criminal charges. That’s a girly thing to do, right?

Sigh.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Burnt Offerings’ chapter seven


I’ve been playing Lego Harry Potter so long purple rings are surrounding everything I look at. I promised myself I would not buy the second one until I absolutely complete this one and now I have a lot of level grinding to get through as I’ve just reached 50% completion.

On the plus side, I get a break to review Anita Blake. For once, it is a plus.

Anita is going out for a date with JC. It’s difficult because he’s booked a table at a fancy restaurant and women’s ‘dress clothes’ (why do you keep using that phrase?) can’t conceal weapons.

Susan Sto Helit does not approve.

Anything form-fitting made it difficult. Tonight I was wearing a spaghetti-strap formal with slits so high on either side, I’d had to make sure that the hose were a matching off-black, and the underwear was lacy and black. I knew myself well enough to know what sometime during the evening I’d forget and flash the undies. And if I had to go for the gun, I’d certainly flash. So why wear it? Answer: I had a Firestar 9mm pistol tucked inside a bellyband.

What is with your obsessive attachment to guns? And tacky, tacky clothes? The slits are so high she is able to reach through them to grab the gun in her bellyband. I wish I was joking.

I wouldn’t wear something like that to eat. I’d be worrying so much about whether I was comfortable and that my stomach wasn’t bloating that I wouldn’t enjoy my meal, which is supposed to be the point. And that I was showing my bum off to everyone, and that’s not something people should have to see.

She then explains her bra in great detail, revealing in how she’s wearing lingerie (which is a catch-all term for any item of intimate clothing worn by women, so I guess she goes commando all the time) and that her heels are too high. It was that or hem the dress, but ‘I refuse to sew’.

I was going to take a picture with all my craft ephemera around me, but it’d take waaaay too long to set up. Here’s this instead:

Now aren’t you a pathetic mess.

I do consider sewing to be an essential life skill. When your t-shirt rips or your cuffs are half an inch too long, then boom, get a needle and some thread, and the job’s done. It’s not hard to do a good job. This is just another way for Anita to say something ‘feminine’ is beneath her contempt.

Then there are two pages of description of JC. Two. Pages. I do not want two pages of this rapist asshole in my face, fawning over little details that mean fucking nothing and add nothing. Here’s what JC is wearing in handy bullet points. Hope you’re paying attention – it has no relevance to anything.

  • JC’s hair is not curly, but straight tonight.
  • He has a feminine face, but not so you would ever think him a woman, because women are fucking useless and ugly trolls.
  • He is wearing blue and Anita goes into raptures about how she’s never seen him in this colour. Apart from the last book, you mean.
  • He is wearing a blue jacket and a blue frilly shirt.
  • He is sipping wine from a fancy crystal glass.
  • All the blue he is wearing makes his eyes extra blue and amazing.
  • He is wearing black form-fitting trousers that show everyone he is not wearing underwear. He’s flashing the imprint of his penis to everyone as that’s where all his self-worth lies.
  • He is wearing knee high boots.

There. Now we all know.

Anita strolls over in her heels, which gives us another colossal load of how sucky women are.

You had to sort of throw yourself into it, a sling-back, slouching, hip-swinging walk, or the dress wrapped around your legs and the heels twisted at your ankles. You had to walk like you knew you could wear it and look wonderful. If you doubted yourself, hesitated, you’d fall to the floor and turn into a pumpkin. After years of my not being able to wear heels and dress clothes, Jean-Claude had taught me in a month what my stepmother couldn’t teach me in twenty years.

Apart from the fact that she clearly did teach you, as you have worn heels in each of the past books. But, no, Judith is a woman so FUCK HER AND HER FUCKING FEMININE STUFF.

The sight of JC makes Anita feel like a big ugly hoebag and she huffs at him for looking handsome. They then talk about his hair. Anita then says that instead of this being something as nice and simple as taking his girlfriend out to dinner, this is actually all about JC using her mind to taste food.

In private he’d roll on his back like a cat, hands pressed to his mouth as if trying to drain every taste.

That’s because he’s just the servant of Puddykins. All hail Puddyinks.

They talk about his food fetish and how all this is making Anita gain weight, as JC is forcing her to eat more. That’s healthy. That’s very healthy. Anita bitches about how she’s gained four pounds and isn’t that dreadful.

The waiter then comes over and this happens.

“The petite cut,” I told the waiter.

The cheapest and smallest cut. That’s the slice on top of the gristle. Why would you ever order that? I may not eat steak any more (I refuse to eat beef until the British government abolish the badger cull) but I wouldn’t eat the shitty end of the steak that ends up in dog food.

“How would you like that prepared?”

“Half well-done, half rare.”

The waiter blinked at me. “Excuse me, madam?”

… do you even know how steak is cooked? Getting it half rare and half well-done is not only barbaric (it should be on the pinker side of things, over-cooked beef is awful) but really, really difficult. Do restaurants even allow this? I have never seen this as an option, probably because the steak would be ruined.

“It’s an eight ounce cut, right?”

He nodded.

“Cut it in half, and cook four ounces of it well-done, and four ounces of it rare.”

He frowned at me. “I don’t think we can do that.”

“At these prices you should bring the cow out and have a ritual sacrifice at the table. Just do it.” I handed him the menu.

EXCUSE YOU

there is no need to act like an imperious cow at the waiter because you ordered your skag end of meat to be prepared in a ludicrous way that the restaurant do not do. The waiter is not there as your fucking servant. He is not to be commanded around like that.

Ha. I used to work as a waitress. I know what’s really going to end up in her food. Heh heh heh.

The poor waiter then asks what JC wants. JC refuses to order, so the waiter asks him if he would like more wine.

“I do not drink – wine.”

YOU’RE SO WITTY

I THINK I DIED AND WENT TO HEAVEN FROM THE WIT

Anita laughs and JC laughs and they laugh until they cry and the waiter just leaves, presumably to add his contribution to Anita’s meal.

I hate Anita. I seriously hate Anita and her fucking attitude.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Killing Dance’ chapter seven


Right, so Richard and Anita are on a desperate mission to save Stephen’s life – so they stop and have a long discussion about the precise structure of how werewolf packs work.

“If Raina’s there, she won’t be alone, and she won’t like you taking Stephen.”

“Raina’s the alpha female, the lupa. I’m not allowed to fight her.”

“Why not?”

“An alpha male becomes Ulfric, wolf king, by killing the old leader, but the winner chooses the lupa.”

“So Raina didn’t have to fight for her place?”

“She didn’t have to fight to be lupa, but she did have to fight to be the most dominant female in the pack.”

“You once told me that the pack considers me a dominant. What’s the difference between being a dominant and being an alpha female? I mean, can I be an alpha?”

You’re not a werewolf Anita. That kind of stops it. A dominant is not a pack member, not ‘lukoi’, but who is respected by the pack. JC is a dominant. Richard reiterates that he is an alpha, like Anita already knew, but the information dump doesn’t stop there.

“We have about half a dozen alphas, male and female. I was Marcus’s second in command, his Freki.”

“Freki is the name of one of Odin’s wolves. Why would second wolf be named after something out of mythology?”

“The pack is very old, Anita. Among ourselves, we are the lukoi. There can be two seconds, Freki and Geri. […] To outsiders, we keep it simple. But I want you to know who and what we are.”

“Lukoi is Greek, right?”

“But do you know where it’s from?”

“No.”

“King Lykaon of Arcadia was a werewolf. He didn’t try and hide it. We call ourselves the lukoi in his memory.”

Um, why?

Lycaon was not a nice guy. He was turned into a wolf by Zeus for murdering and dismembering his own son, and serving him up as a meal to the gods. Lycaon murdered and ate his own son, and was turned into a wolf as punishment.

Of course, this is one of the many legends about Lycaon, but this is the most popular. In all of them, Lycaon gets turned into a wolf for being a horrendous dick. Why would you ever name yourself in his honour?

“If you’re not Freki anymore, what are you?”

“Fenrir, challenger.”

“The giant wolf that kills Odin at Ragnarok.”

“Can a woman be Ulfric?”

“Yes, but it’s rare.”

“Why?”

“They’d have to win a knock-down drag-out physical battle. All the power in the world won’t stop someone from pounding your face in the ground.”

“Why don’t the female alphas have to duke it out to win the top spot?”

“Because the Ulfric and his lupa are a mating pair, Anita. He doesn’t want to get stuck with a woman he can’t stand.”

I don’t get this. Why can’t a werewolf alpha just be with his wife or significant other? Why must it be decided by the ‘dominance’ of the other women? Oh no, I get it, to provide cheap tension. Because if Richard succeeds Marcus, he has to sleep with the lupa, Raina, and that will be bad. An alpha has to mate with his partner for life, and of course, Anita isn’t a werewolf.

I included large quotes of text because I find this explanation of the power structure of a werewolf pack to be… well, stupid. Intensely stupid.

For a start, I find the overly-complicated terminology to be confusing and included purely for Hamilton to get back at detractors who felt she didn’t do enough research into folklore and mythology. There is no good reason why there should be so many terms for various roles in the pack; why aren’t the terms ‘alpha male’ and ‘challenger’ and ‘alpha female’ good enough?

The terms are also mainly Scandinavian or Germanic, with one solitary Greek term, and I find this to be unbelievable and limited. Purely on terms of folklore about people changing into wolves, there is a lot of cultural variation. There are tales of people turning into wolves all across Europe and Asia. Am I supposed to believe that all of them subscribe to the terms and conditions of northern Europe? Especially when the rules and legends of werewolves vary from country to country, sometimes from area to area within one locality? Am I supposed to believe that a Japanese Yōkai would use these terms for describing their wolf pack? There would be cultural or idiosyncratic differences in structure and title from all across the territory of werewolves. Richard could say that his pack is descended from one of Germanic origin, but no, apparently all werewolves subscribe to white European cultural viewpoints.

Finally, this is a more general complaint about werewolves in fiction. The trouble with werewolf fiction is that it relies on some really outdated research. They operate on the basis of large groups of people, all struggling to achieve the goal of becoming alpha. There is one alpha couple. and it’s a constant fight over who gets to be on top, acerbated by sex and by how many people there are in the pack. This was based on Victorian opinions on wolves, but further research has proved that wolves operate very differently. Wolf packs are family groups. You have a mating couple raising their children. The mating pair will form a pack with their cubs, juvenile offspring, and those over a year who will leave the pack when they reach sexual maturity. You occasionally get larger groups coming together, but this tends to be an abnormality or because of the animals being kept in captivity. We are constantly told that werewolves are animalistic and can’t separate their instincts from their human behaviour, but they function within the boundaries and societal rules that are determined by their human desire to conform and find identity. The whole tussle and fight for dominance or to be alpha rarely happens with real wolves, mainly because the children of the mating pair will leave before this becomes an issue.

Richard and Anita arrive at the pack headquarters, and it’s a massive porn set. Why are the pack doing this? They make it clear that they’re not okay with doing the porn, but they do it anyway. If they know Richard is a challenger and potential pack master, why don’t they get rid of Marcus themselves? Are they incapable of doing anything against him? If so, why?

There’s some girl called Heidi, and she has a shaved head so Anita insults her. Stephen is with his brother, she says, so he won’t get hurt. She’s being kept in the pack because the evil Marcus, who was a nice guy in The Lunatic Cafe, won’t let her go. That’s a rather human reaction, rather than a wolfish one, isn’t it? Richard is very kind to her, again proving my point that the pack members, if they are so pissed off, could just kill Marcus and Raina themselves.

A great big guy called Sebastian steps forward and starts talking about the nonsense terms that make me want to claw my hair out. He wants to be second in command, but Richard is all, aha, but I’m the challenger now, and Sebastian is all, well good I can kill you then.

Way to shoot yourself in the foot, Richard.

Richard has to answer the challenge, because the werewolf system is fucked up, and Anita isn’t allowed to fight. Raina has forbidden anyone from turning Anita into a werewolf so they’ll just kill her.

“Are all Marcus’s enforcers assholes?”

“Was that an insult?”

“If you have to ask, then indeedy-do, it was.”

Why are all these people SO SO SO SO SO STUPID I DON’T GET IT

Richard calms Heidi using some stupid magic power BS and Richard is all, aha, you can’t challenge me, I am all-powerful!

These are bad werewolves. Like, just silly and pathetic. Angua would kick all of their asses and they wouldn’t know what’d hit them.

And then we get a massive racial stereotype walk up, with his cornrows and his swagger and his bad attitude, saying how Richard needs to kill people to get respect because damnit, we’re werewolves, not human beings!

Well, aside from the fact you behave like humans, live like humans, organise your power structure on human ideals, and just be a wolf for one night out of twenty eight.

Then there’s screaming and all the assembled werewolves start generating power like duracell batteries and Anita has to run off an save Stephen while leaving Richard to face everyone on his own. Heidi whispers that Gabriel the wereleopard is with Raina, that asshole from Book 4. I can’t remember if he was said to be a wereleopard, but the folklore about people turning into cats is very interesting and quite different from wolves. Shapeshifting into a leopard, as I am assuming that Hamilton means the African leopard, and not the jaguar, is normally a sign of a god or prince.

but anyway saving stephen from the evil porn

get right on that.