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


OK, I am back to this chapter after majorly nope’ing out after the bullshit in the last chapter. I just couldn’t deal with LKH’s batshit tirade against child molestation that made no sense in context and no sense in her universe.

Right, where were we? Ah, yes. JC and Anita have to provide Valentina – I still don’t know who she is – with a submissive for her to torture. Um, what? So, Valentina can’t have a lover because she has the body of a child but she is interested in getting sexual gratification from participating in (bad) BDSM. What is it? Is she stuck in the mentality of a child or not? WHY CAN’T YOU BE CONSISTENT AT ALL?

Anita asks whether they’d be better prepared in the preparations they were making if Musette had arrived when she was supposed to in three months. I think part of my brain exploded from the stupid.

“You know most human guests don’t expect their hosts to supply them with sex partners.”

Yeah, well, they’re not human guests. What’s your point?

“Nor do most of the bloodlines that descend from the council, but Belle’s line is built upon sex, and it has become custom to offer any of Belle’s line sex when they visit you. It is assumed that we all carry a touch of her succubus within us.”

“That’s not true,” I said.

“Non, but no one of her line has ever wished to dissuade the others of the lie.”

… you mean it’s assumed that vampires of BM’s line have the ardeur? That’s not exactly a lie. And then Anita starts talking about Willie McCoy.

Of course. That’s a logical leap. He’s not been brought up since Burnt Offerings, but yeah, my mind leaps to a random minor character when I’m thinking about succubii. Apparently, Willie and his SO Hannah are the weakest vampires (why? Isn’t Asher the weakest because he belongs to no one? That’s why Musette claimed him? ARGH) but they’re safe because part of the treaty that has been already fucking broken so there’s no reason to think Musette would still follow it that Musette & Co aren’t allowed to interfere in JC’s businesses. There are three vampires who are not protected from M&Co.

Meng Die is not safe and apparently Bartolome will have a particular interest in her because… um, reasons. For equally vague reasons, she will be entirely safe from him so they don’t need to worry. Faust is mentioned next. Love how Meng Die and Faust were clumsily reintroduced in the previous chapter to lead into this.

“Faust likes men, and to my knowledge nobody in Musette’s party is gay, right?”

“Oui, but that is not always a barrier.”

“We laid down the law tonight, that no one was to be hurt again. Forcing someone to have sex with a partner they find repugnant is a form of rape, and thus it’s harm.”

  • M&Co might have bisexual people in the group. Or anyone who has a sexuality that is not plain heterosexuality/homosexuality. You know, there’s a whole vast spectrum of sexuality out there.
  • Just more biphobia. Just shame all those filthy bisexuals. They’re just greedy gays, really. *rolls eyes*
  • I don’t think gay men are disgusted by women. They just aren’t sexually attracted to them. (Well, depending on where they fall on the Kinsey scale. Sexuality is a varied and fluid thing and that’s awesome.)
  • Um, forcing someone to have sex is just rape, straight up. Sexuality doesn’t come into it.
  • What, would it not be rape if Faust was forced to have sex with a man?
  • ‘Hell no, a gay guy just sees that as a chance for more sex! Because they’re so promiscuous! I have a load of gay men as friends! Aren’t my characters so realistic!’ GO TO HELL.
  • Rape is ‘a form of rape’. Wow. That’s a new low for this series.

JC brings up Angelito for no reason. Angelito is a casual partner with Musette, but Musette mostly enjoys getting her kicks with Valentina. Um, why aren’t you chastising Musette for being all sexual with Valentina? Because it is. It’s a sexual relationship between the two of them. But as LKH can’t conceive of non-penetrative sex, it just flies right under her radar.

“If everyone has access to someone they can fuck, or we have no suitable partners for them outside of rape, then everyone’s covered. Or have I missed something?”

He thought about it quietly for a few minutes. “Non, ma petite. Your machinations are worthy of Belle herself –

HA.

– if her intention were to keep her people safe.” Then he looked at me. “Except for one problem. Musette has had sex with Asher in the past, so you cannot make a charge of rape.”

“Having sex in the past doesn’t mean it can’t be rape in the present,” I said.

  • what
  • the
  • fuck
  • WHAT
  • THE FUCK
  • WHAT
  • THE
  • SHITING
  • FUCK
  • Musette is a child. Why isn’t it so disgusting and icky for ASHER to have sex with a CHILD?

How does this chapter keep getting worse? My god, this is an achievement in fail. BM thinks that an orgasm is the sign of a good time had by all, and I’m supposed to be so shocked except that that’s the exact same reasoning JC and Micah gave for their rapes of Anita.

“Why is it always Asher that we can’t protect? Asher that we can’t save?”

When has he needed saving before? But enough about that. Let’s talk about the ardeur – namely, that it’s not bothered Anita at all but she has to feed it now. Anita isn’t interested in sex right now, probably because they’ve spent the last two hours talking about rape and child molestation. I would be very disturbed if those turned Anita on. JC says they must, and lays down a guilt trip because all he really wants to do is snuggle, he doesn’t want to have no sex at all but they must, yadda yadda yadda, manipulative bullshit. Anita is sad because she’s not Julianna and I don’t know why. She then suggests that JC, Asher, and her make a threesome.

And there’s the reason for this whole convoluted mess of a plotline. Because Anita just can’t want to have sex with Asher as well. Otherwise she’d be a bad girl. *rolls eyes*

Anita then goes on a massive speech about how disgusting she finds the idea of two men having sex with each other. Isn’t Anita a icon for the modern age? She is sad because JC loves Asher but doesn’t apologise for basically calling her boyfriend disgusting for liking to have sex with men.

I hate Anita. She’s awful.

“I can’t let you take Asher to your bed, and I can’t take Asher to mine.”

ARJRHRGRERGERHGER

Anita doesn’t want to have sex with Asher, but she’ll force herself to so he’ll be safe. So… she’s been forced into consent. That’s rape. Again.

It’s sad that I don’t think Anita has had a consensual sex scene in the series. That’s not right.

Luckily, Micah will give permission for Anita to do this because he’s a practical man. And he understands how JC gets off on watching Anita be forced to have sex with other men.

Anita doesn’t understand how she will have time with JC if she starts having sex with Asher. I am so close to the end of this now, I’m just going to shout ASJSKDHSDFJHFHFF and move on. Anita’s personal life is ‘close as it’s ever been to working’. What. What does that even mean.

JC summons Asher with his mind.

I felt my eyes go big, breath freeze in my throat, while my pulse beat like a crazed thing. What had I done?

Can Anita have a sexual experience where she isn’t scared out of her fucking mind?

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.

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


Ok, so what’s happened so far? Wereleopards went missing, we met an awfully offensive villain, and a ‘chosen’ wereleopard leader arrived. Because to be a perfect wereleopard leader you have to be born into it.

I hate the idea that people are just ‘born’ to be better than others. It’s crap. And, um, how come the perfect ‘born’ wereleopard king is white?

Anita goes into the shower and cries. She cries and cries and cries and Cherry comforts her. She’s crying because JC as been arrested for her murder. This is stupid.

“He was covered in your blood.”

Yes, but the witnesses would all testify that she was attacked by a snakeman and the physical evidence of the room, like the paralysed snakeman, would back up their testimony. JC would not be in jail. There is no evidence! And, um, Anita IS NOT DEAD.

“And how would you explain that in less than a week you were healed of wounds that should have killed you?”

She doesn’t. The police should have looked at her ON THE NIGHT IT HAPPENED and been like ‘oh, yeah, she’s alive”. This plot makes no sense! Anita wants to stop this great injustice but Cherry says that the delicate plotholed mess must not be questioned. Cherry is also refusing to tell Anita something and runs off as Micah asks to come in and ‘clean off’. Whatever is going to happen, Cherry thinks Anita will hurt her for it.

I don’t like the sound of this, but Anita forgets her worries as Micah’s HAWTNESS hits her.

Micah had curled his hair. It was definitely curls, not waves. The curls were tight, but not small. The color was that shade of dark, dark brown – almost black – that comes to people start out white blond as children, then darken.

What horseshit. I have very dark brown hair, close to black, and I’ve always been this dark. My stepsister and father started out as very light blonde, but their hair became light brown over time. Their hair colour is much lighter than mine. Micah sticks his face in hers and announces the news that Anita may have contracted lycanthropy. I can’t see how, seeing as she was attacked by a snake not a werewolf.

“Serpentine lycanthropy isn’t really lycanthropy. It’s not a disease I can catch.”

The shapeshifter abilities of brown people are inferior to those of white people. Got it. Plus, ‘serpentine lycanthropy’? What the fuck?

It’s then dropped that the captured swanmanes were rescued. You’re such a Samaritan, Anita.

Micah announces that Anita was scratched by Gregory when she faded to black and that she has all the symptoms of a newbie shapeshifter, honest! It’s totally going to happen! She’s totally going to be come a shapeshifter! And they can’t prove it by a blood test, but it’s totally going to happen! Micah calls her a ‘poor little deluded girl’ (fuck off with your privilege micah) and says that she knows nothing, does Anita Snow.

Her rapid healing is totally not a side effect of the vampire marks, by the way. Anita is totally a shapeshifter.

Anita feels faint.

I sat Indian fashion on the floor, the wall to my back, my head bent over my folded legs while I waited for the light-headedness to pass.

Why did you say that? Couldn’t you just say ‘I put my head between my legs and waited …’ etc, etc? Did you actually have to say ‘Indian fashion’?

Micah starts talking about how much Elizabeth hates Anita. This conversation is more jittery than a jumping bean on coffee.

“She hates that you’re a better alpha as a human than she is as a wereleopard. You make her feel weak.”

Oh, yeah, Anita’s amazing alpha skills which got two wereleopards brutally tortured for over two hours while Anita whined. Such a great alpha. Micah wants to know whether Anita will punish Gregory for infecting her – because she’s totally going to be a shapeshifter – but she just wants to know where he is. He is Noticeably Absent and Cherry is as suspicious as possible. It would seem that Richard has decided to torture Gregory as well. Micah starts waffling about how Richard has made his pack a democracy and this is bad because he’s suddenly a fucking expert on werewolf politics. For some reason. He then reveals that Anita can’t be lupa.

For fuck sake. Richard formally disavowed Anita as lupa books ago. Why can’t LKH remember her own canon?

Anyway, Richard is going to torture Gregory and everyone wants to do it. Richard has suddenly become a real arsehole. I mean, I thought he was an arsehole anyway, but he’s been made into an awful person. Just as Micah the Perfect waltzes in. Interesting.

Anyway, Gregory is being punished for hurting a member of the pack but Anita has been voted dead as a member of the pack because she’s in charge of the wereleopards. So, they’re punishing Gregory for hurting someone who is dead to them. Right. That makes perfect sense. Also, Richard has totally ruined the pack because he’s not running it like fascist dictator. Anita has to argue that Gregory is hers but as she’s dead she can’t do that.

My brain hurts.

Anita must ask Richard for Gregory back. Anita looks at Micah and wants to kiss him. She wants to get out and dressed, and actually – gasp – uses a mobile phone. She phones Richard, who won’t help her because Anita would take him back.

You’re punishing him for hurting someone you won’t recognise, but when his pack asks for him back, because that means he technically hasn’t committed a crime, you won’t give him back.

THIS MAKES NO SENSE.

Richard then drops that the pack is voting to make him date another woman and have another lupa. Anita is sad that he can’t date her anymore.

YOU’RE TRYING TO STOP A FRIEND FROM BEING BRUTALLY MURDERED. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO WORRY ABOUT YOUR SEX LIFE.

This relationship tripe goes on for two pages. Anita tells him that damnit, democracy just doesn’t work! They then repeat how much Anita wants Gregory back and Richard now has changed his mind entirely. She can prove herself worthy and get him back. She can come to a meeting tomorrow night with her wereleopards and all her allies. But if she can’t prove that she’s alive, Gregory will be killed.

This plot makes no sense! AT ALL!

They argue for another two pages. Richard asks whether her infection – because she’s totally a shapeshifter – was an accident. You were there fucker! You saw that he fell on her! But no shapeshifters are as fast as the Flash, and can change their actions within fractions of seconds. So Gregory did it on purpose. Richard doesn’t want to kill him, but democracy is making him. He’s got a new third who forced the vote and is trying for packmaster. Anita tells Richard to just kill him, and then she launches into this great speech about how goshdarnit, democracy sucks!

“I was trying to save people’s lives, Richard. You’re trying to remake a political system. Ideology is great in a classroom or a debate, but it’s flesh and blood that counts, Richard. It’s life and death we’re talking about here, not some outdated ideal you have in your head about what a better world you can make for the pack.”

That’s right, kids. You may have a dream of an ideal but you should never fight for it. It’s worthless. Things will never change.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? The very fact that we live in a society which, at its fundamental level, relies upon our vote and our participation in the system was an IDEAL, hard fought and hard won. There are problems, but there are problems in every system, and people need to keep fighting for ideals and improvements. Freedom and equality should be a given, but they are an ideal, and one we have to fight for. But according to LKH, you just should never try and make the world a better place. There’s no point in fighting for goodness. You just sit back and let one person overrule your life. This is actually arguing for a dictatorship of a privileged few and it’s disgusting.

Just fuck this shit. Fuck it all.

Anyway, Anita has to pass a lot of tests to save Gregory, tests that can only be done if you’re a shapeshifter. Because she’s totally going to be a shapeshifter. Richard then gives the phone to Jacob, who just chuckles about how Anita can do nothing. Anita makes John Wayne movie references and promises to kill him if he hurts Gregory. She makes him promise to not challenge Richard.

Jacob says that he wants to kill Gregory because he enjoyed raping the women of the wolf pack.

You know what? I like Jacob. Not that I approve of killing people, but he’s got a reason and a decent motivation. He’s not proud of what he has to do. He’s doing his pack role of keeping people safe.

Anita says she will hunt Jacob down and kill him, unless he helps her rescue Gregory.

This fucking book. I’m going to enjoy crafting with it.

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


The house was a two-story split-level ranch that could have been anywhere in the Midwest, in any upper-middle-class neighborhood. But the large yard was done in rock paths running high to cacti and a circle of those small flowered lilacs that were so plentiful. Other people had tried to keep their lawns as if they didn’t live on the edge of a desert, but not this house. This house, these people had landscaped for their environment and tried not to waste water. And now they were dead and didn’t give a damn about environmental awareness or rainfall.

Seeing as New Mexico seems to have pretty strict water laws given that they LIVE IN A DESERT – oh, I can’t care. I can’t be angry at her bloated prose this early in the morning. I saw a live screening of Coriolanus last night and my mind is not easily turning to screaming at LKH for her redundant filler and obvious ignorance.

Anita prays that everyone died in this house, because she is an atrocious bitch, and a uniformed officer stops the pair of them. He asks for ID, and says that Anita’s executioner license is not worth anything in New Mexico. He then asks why she’s armed and we get hit with two barrels of Anita’s infamous smugness.

The smile was very genuine this time. “It’s not concealed, Officer Norton, and it’s federally licensed so I don’t have to sweat a new gun permit every time I cross a state line.”

Yeah, like you give two figs for the law.

Officer Norton is reluctant to let the pair of them into the crime scene – who can blame him? – while Anita goes on about how Edward has an aura of purposefulness. Norton then calls Anita ‘Miss Blake’ which is a capital offence in the la-la land of Anita.

I didn’t correct him that Miss Blake should have been Ms. Blake. I think he was looking for an excuse to get rid of us. I wasn’t going to give him one. Very few policemen like civilians messing around in their cases.

OH I WONDER WHY. IT’S ALMOST LIKE THEY ARE NOT POLICE OFFICERS

I wasn’t just a civilian, I was female, and I hunted vampires; a triple threat if ever there was one. I was a civvie, a woman, and a freak.

Why do you think that the police hates women?

Norton brings Edward and Anita into the house. She thinks that it’s awfully quiet, almost as if the inhabitants were brutally murdered. She walks around touching things, while Edward lounges in a chair. Anita thinks horrible things about Norton. A Detective Ramierz comes in, and Anita doesn’t trust that Ramierz is cheerful. How do you get far in life without being darkity dark dark? Norton isn’t cheerful, so Anita presumes that he’s racist, and then he leaves the room.

Ramierz is nice to Anita, and she tells him to stop it, to not ‘work so hard to win me over’. Gee, nice manners are such a burden.

oh and now i see why ramierz was made hispanic

“You’re a woman and with that black hair probably part something darker than the rest of you looks.”

For a start, I don’t see what Anita being a woman has to do with anything. Secondly, Anita is lily white and has dark hair. How the hell does dark hair mean that you’re ‘darker’, which is a shitty way to describe it. I’m not an idiot. I know that there is no uniform way that Mexicans or Hispanics look – it’s a ethnic group which is predominantly a mixture of a lot of ethnic groups – which is why there is a lot of dialogue about the politics and cultural impact of ‘passing’. Now, as a mostly Caucasian Brit, I can’t talk about this subject from a position of experience, and I am not going to try and sound like it’s something I know all about. That is a shitty, privileged thing to do. However, I will say that Anita Blake is not a character who is an accurate depiction of a Mexican-American woman. She has none of the stresses or experiences that a woman of her background ought to have. She has no connection to her heritage or to the culture she ought to be proud of. She treats her Latina status as being something intensely negative, except when it is seen as something exotic. She is so exotic that a Hispanic man immediately picks up on it, despite Anita not commenting on their shared cultural and ethic background. Her ‘exoticness’ is so powerful that a Hispanic man must immediately fucking fall down to his knees and proclaim her the most DARK woman evur. LKH does not understand the politics of race and culture. She just wanted to live out  her fantasy of being ‘ethnic’ and cool, without thinking through the ramifications of this.

Race is a sensitive issue, but it’s a very important one. And should be treated with all due respect. Which LKH never does.

Ramirez talks about how there’s a lot of people with mixed heritage in New Mexico, which makes it all the more remarkable that he is so struck by Anita he has to proclaim her QUEEN OF PEOPLE WITH MIXED HERITAGE.

“I could be part dark Italian,” I said.

“We don’t have a lot of dark Italians in New Mexico.”

WHAT IS SO REMARKABLE ABOUT HAVING LILY WHITE SKIN AND BLACK HAIR? WHY MUST IT MERIT SO MUCH DISCUSSION? WHY IS EVERYONE OBSESSED WITH IT? WHY DOES IT NOT MERIT ANY DISCUSSION BY ANITA ON THE SUBJECT OF PASSING?

Plus, Italians have that icky gross ETTTTTTHHHHHNIIIIICCCCC skin tone, so yeah, whatever Anita. You’re as dense in the brain as a hog is in the butt.

Ramirez is so struck by the Queen of Ethnic that he offers to show her round the sites of Albuquerque. Edward is amused, so Anita flips him off. If these were any other people, that would seem cute and good natured. But they want to kill each other, so I can’t.

Anita goes to explore the house some more. She stares at things. A lot of things.

A newspaper was spilled over the pale wood coffee table with the business section folded into fourths. The business section had New York Times written across the top of it, but some of the other pieces said Los Angeles Tribune.

It takes special skill to write about the names of newspapers in such a buttfuck awkward way.

Anita stares at photos. She stares at all the Native American artefacts this family has, making me angry at this family for privately hoarding cultural artefacts that are not theirs to have. Not that Anita cares. They’re privately bought so that makes it all legal and above board and not morally wrong. Anita stares at Ramirez’s ass and this is bad because noticing that other people are attractive makes you weak. God forbid a woman look at someone and thinks that they are attractive.

These books could not be ANY more sex negative.

I had enough problems without dating the local cops. I was a civilian surrounded by police, and a woman, too. The only thing that would earn me less respect in their eyes was to date one of them. I would lose what little clout I had and become a girlfriend. Anita Blake, vampire executioner and preternatural expert, had some ground to stand on.

If you put things in commas, it means that idea is unnecessary to the sentence. That bit in the commas IS THE POINT OF THE SENTENCE. ENGLISH. DO YOU SPEAK IT?

Dectective Ramierz’ girlfriend would not.

Ramierz’s. ‘S.’S. YOU ADD A PLURAL APOSTROPHE. ENGLISH. DO YOU SPEAK IT?

I really hated this little aside. It implies that people place no worth in woman who are in romantic relationships and that girlfriends, wives, partners, whatever, deserve no respect and are less than other human beings. Fuck that. And why did you immediately jump to ‘life would be awful when I’m Rameriz’s girlfriend’? You find him attractive. That is fine. You’re allowed to find men attractive. Just because you find someone attractive does not mean you have to rush to marry them to avoid having impure thoughts! There is nothing wrong with looking at someone’s butt and thinking ‘that is a nice butt’. It’s normal! It’s healthy! It’s pleasant to look at nice things! What is wrong with you? Why does LKH hate sex so much?

Anita presumes that Edward is judging her for – gasp – flirting with a man, oh shock, oh horror.

Honey, you are making me clutch ma pearls.

Ramierz says they can go on through to see the gory stuff, and they joke around with Anita playing the tough girl although she executes vampires for a living.

…. how did Anita become a vampire executioner anyway?

Ramierz then praises Anita for being practical because she wears no make up as if that’s something remarkable. Sorry, I can’t hear the plot over the squishy sounds coming from under the author’s desk!

Let’s have some butts.

BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS

THEY ARE FUN AND NICE

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


I leaned against the door of my cabin, eyes closed, breathing in the cool air. I’d turned the air-conditioning on for my two guests. The coffins sat in the middle of the floor between the desk and the bed. Under the Circus of the Damned, deep underground, neither Damien nor Asher slept until full dark. I hadn’t been sure if they would aboveground or not. So the air.

…. because air conditioning keeps the room dark?

I’d understand it if cool air kept vampires asleep, but it isn’t. They go to sleep in the day, no matter how the day is, whether above ground or not. This is just so Anita can say that vampires smell weird and OH NOES she is dating a vampire and isn’t that dreadful.

She then looks in the mirror and she’s injured but she’s healing quickly and that’s so surprising except it isn’t because she has the marks of a vampiric servant and has done for a few books now and SHOULD BE AWARE OF THIS SHIT AND WHAT IT CAN DO TO HER BODY.

Anyway, she senses with super speshul necromancer powers that Damian and Asher are awake and getting up and atom.

Damian was a green-eyed redhead, but that didn’t really cover it.

Unless he has a second head that is coloured purple, yes, you have covered it.

His hair fell like a red curtain around his upper body, the hair so red it looked like spilled blood against the green silk of his shirt. The shirt was a paler green than his eyes. They were like liquid fire, if fire could burn green.

Stop abusing similes that way! If your comparison works if you change the comparable thing (like ‘hey this candyfloss would be like a ferris wheel if it was a ferris wheel’), then it means your comparison does not work.

It was natural colour, as if his mother had fooled around with a cat.

So it wasn’t a natural colour then. As cats and humans don’t really have the same eye colours as pigmentation differs from species to species.

Asher was a blue-eyed blond, but again, that description didn’t do him service.

That’s what he is. Ain’t no fancy ass descriptions going to make him not be, at the end of it, a blue eyed blonde.

He was wearing a white dress shirt, untucked over chocolate brown dress pants. Leather loafers, no socks, completed his clothes. I’d spent too much time around Jean-Claude to call it an outfit.

No, groin high boots and see through clothing make an outfit!

Seriously though, it’s disgusting to wear loafers without socks.

Asher was beautifully handsome like a medieval cherub. Half of him, anyway.

I have never seen a face of such beauty.

Okay, LKH clearly means the idealised versions of cherubs we have today. Those adorable little toddlers in those nappies, flying about the place…. um, is she accidentally saying that I ought to find idealised children sexually attractive?

Anita then goes on and on and on and on about those scars of his, seeming to miss that part in the last book where to stop him from raping her, she had to seduce him until he felt too uncomfortable to hold her down and forcibly penetrate her.

No, I am not forgetting that it happened.

They ask where the bodyguards are, suggest she may have had sex with Richard, and she practically stamps her foot and screams.

Asher came to stand beside me. He rested his hands lightly on my shoulders. “You are quite right, Anita. What you do with Monsieur Zeeman [GET IT HE’S FRENCH] is none of my business.”

I slid my hands over his, sliding my fingers to intertwine with his. I remembered the feel of his cool skin against mine. I leaned my back against him, pulling his arms around me, and I wasn’t tall enough.

he wants to rape you. this man tried to rape you. why are you so comfortable with him.

But actually she has JC’s memories but this makes asher happy because now, finally, someone isn’t treating him like a freak. as in over two hundred years no woman ever ever has liked him because he has scars, and no woman in their right mind could like someone with disfigurements.

Sigh.

You could have just have Asher now finally able to feel that he can get over Julianna’s death because he knows the truth. But nope, women hate men with disfigurements apart from the saintly Anita Blake, lover of all men.

Asher is happy that she’s treating him this way because he can’t be with JC right now. As the man you love is easily replaceable by the woman he loves and who you tried to rape. That’s how that works.

Damian gets grumpy and asks to eat. When Anita gives him permission to chow down on one of their donors (as obviously all the werewolves and wereleopards are instantly okay with being fed on), Asher and her complain about how grumpy he is. It’s almost like a, he’s a cock, and b, you have unimaginable powers over him through necromancy,

“Go get dinner. I think the werewolves are planning some sort of party or ceremony.”

Richard told you to your face, just twenty minutes ago. You know this.

This is broken by by Daniel Zeeman, who phones Anita to head down to the Happy Cowboy (subtle.) as the Zeeman’s mother has found the rape claimant and is threatening to fight her to make her recant and stop lying. Gee, that’s clever. Get yourself arrested for witness intimidation, tampering, and trying to pervert the course of justice. While we know there’s a massive conspiracy, the conspiracy is still in place. Richard’s mother has just made him look very guilty.

Oh, and Daniel can’t stop his mother because she is soooooo overbearing. Like all mothers and housewives!

Anita wonders what to do. She thinks of involving Richard, but the sheriff would probably arrest him. And seeing as the whole town knows what’s happening, they would probably get him arrested for witness intimidation as well, meaning that the Zeeman family would have fucked themselves over royally. Is there any point of having a conspiracy when the people you’re trying to conspire against do all the work themselves?

Anita sighs, as she’s going to have to punch out Charlotte. Yes. That’s the appropriate solution to this problem.

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


Look at this simply amazing link before you read the blogpost!

And I would like to ask you for some comments today. I’m thinking of putting together a longer article, and I’d like examples of fundamentally unlikeable female characters that work as sympathetic protagonists that the reader (or viewer) can root for. My example is Scarlett O’Hara, for instance. I’m hoping to write a post on Anita Blake, and why she fails on every level of being a jerkass hero.

Regarding hair yesterday; it was mentioned in a previous book that JC had tremendous power over his hair. I mocked it as it was ridiculous. It is still ridiculous.

Anita and JC are driving to the council, with Asher kicking in the back seat.

“Something’s wrong,” Jean-Claude said.

You’re in car with a man who wants to torture your girlfriend. Yes, I think something may be wrong.

JC can’t feel his vampires inside his head. Asher twirls his moustache and says that Balty’s master has done this for sure!

Jean-Claude’s hand lashed out in a blur of speed that was almost magical.

I’m pretty sure it is magic. That’s why Anita’s super speshul snowflake powers work, right?

JC whines that he’s done nothing wrong (HA) but as he has taken accountability for the death of Mr Oliver, in the eyes of the Council he has broken the law. The Council wants to make sure that JC hasn’t founded his own ineffectual organisation. Asher babbles about how old-fashioned the Council is, but that JC’s intransigence has made some hope for a new order. JC says that he is not powerful enough to sit on the council.

Oh, and the Council are at the Circus. Making all of the driving around and fuss about Asher in the car entirely pointless.

There is some political talk about the Queen of Nightmares moving around and seeing how legal existence is affecting vampires in the US (not well) but Anita doesn’t give a shit about this. Asher sniffs her hair and she freaks. Admittedly, I would too. Asher asks her why she is not full of POWER and abilities, which is a very valid question. Anita does not give a shit about anything, apart from her vajeen.

JC and Asher exchange mild pleasantries and threats, and they all arrive at the Circus. Anita asks if they’re going to take back the Circus by force, because she’s a colossal idiot. JC says it’s not wise, but they should be aggressive in their approach. That’s not very wise either, as Anita is put a slight tickle away from pushing ‘aggressive’ into ‘gun wielding fury’.

“They think you’ve started a revolution, Jean-Claude,” Asher said from the darkness. “Like all revolutionaries, dead you become a martyr. They don’t want you dead.”

That is real genuine intelligence, something I have come to not expect from this series. I don’t expect it will last. The Council do not believe that JC is innocent – even if Asher does, for some reason. Asher leaves Anita with a warning about JC before running off into the darkness again.

That was a short stretch into nowhere. Glad I’ve got The Scarlet Pimpernel to keep me entertained.