If there is one thing that squicks me out hard, it is people that I don't know knowing me.
Look, I know that's a weird thing to say given that I run a blog and have books and continually spew my guts everywhere, but that's 'cause this place? Is my place to be honest about shit. I'm not going to put up a front and pretend to be anything but what I am: A screwed up, exposed-as-slightly-mysogynistic, more than a little crazy person who really likes over analyzing things. But IRL I don't get to do that. IRL I have to be fucking perfect. How so?
I have been publishing my own books for almost six months. I have told my parents. I have told a few very close friends who do not work with me, and you can count those on one hand. I have not told my boss, or anyone else who works for her, because if I did tell my boss, she would be fake pleased for me, and my life at work would be a living hell until she forgot about it, which would take about three weeks. And my life is my work. From three in the afternoon until nine o'clock at night, I am not me. I am a waitress who has to obsess over the corners in the room, the finger prints on the glasses, the quality of the food, the volume of the music, and the number of people in the restaurant. And if my boss wants me to come in at eleven AM? I come in at eleven AM.
So when a customer 1. asks for my name and 2. uses it, I get creeped the fuck out. If you are a regular, that's fine. I know your name too, and I can probably predict what you're going to order. But if I have never met you before, I don't want you calling me by name. I want you to order your food, order your drinks, be happy and leave a tip. Don't ask me where I went to college, because then I'll have to explain why I've never gone and the real reason has never flown anywhere. I have to be with you, I have to wait on you, I have to watch your table like a hawk and make sure every tiny piece of paper gets cleaned up and that your water never runs dry. I am in here, I have no life. My name is the only thing I've got that's mine in that place, and I do NOT want you to use it if I don't know you. At best, it feels like you're trying to own me as me, and not just me as waitress. At worst, it feels like you're flirting with me, and that makes me VERY uncomfortable. Especially when you are male and my father's age.
Why do I bring this up? Because Anita casually violates the thoughts and emotions of both Jason and Nathanial in the first fucking paragraph and acts like it's no big deal.
If you don't understand why this is wrong, go read this book. I'll wait (or if you've got a better book worth recommending, I'll post it here too)
You should not be casual about peeking into another person's head. You should definitely not feel casual about doing it without their permission.
Asher shows up. He notices Nathanial bleeding on the bed from Anita's numerous "love" bites. He asks if he can taste Nathanial, only he uses the phrase pomme de sang, or apple of blood, thus turning Nathanial from a person into an object. Anita asks Nathanial if it is alright for Asher to lick his wounds. Nathanial says yes.
Boys and girls, the fucked-up-ed-ness just never stops.
...you know, I just said that faceously. I honestly expected to get further into the book before I found something worse. I just found something worse:
It made me wonder. I curled closer to Nathaniel’s body, one leg entwining over his. I didn’t ask permission, because he was mine, and I knew him well enough to know he would not only not mind, but he would welcome it.Okay, guys and gals. This might come as a shock to you, but Marital rape is a thing. It is a thing that happens more often than anybody is willing to talk about. And the mindset that allows for that shit? Is the bolded part right there.
Newsflash, Anita: You cannot own people. People are not posessions. He is NOT yours. Have the fucking decency to ask him what he'd like for you to do. Yes. He will probably say yes. But you only have to guess wrong one time.
The book also raises the idea of Anita literally eating Nathanial one bite at a time. And not in the cool oral sex way. In the fava-beans-and-chianti sort of way.
I also want to bring up something really disturbing: Anita is not having sexy feelings on her own. Each time she touches a person, it isn't Anita wanting to have sex with them. It's the arduer, this magical fount of vampiric sex that Jean Claude gave her during their "marriage of the marks" several chapters back. Anita is literally not in control of her actions right now. Her sex drive is.
This is disturbing. This loops all the way past disturbing, through pathetic, into anger-producing, and out into WTF should I even think territory.
I also want to point out that Jean Claude knew all of this, and he left her alone in a room with two men, one of whom has no healthy boundaries whatsoever, while he went to bed. Knowing full damn well that she was going to "feed" on them, and that there was a good chance she would kill Nathanial in the process.
Nobody in this story is healthy. Nobody in the main cast is anywhere close to being a good person.
Jean Claude gets into bed, too. Someone once told me that an orgy is legally defined as a locked door and five people who have no shoes. Boys and girls, I think we are there.
Then Asher has an attack of self confidence, and Anita steals Jean Claude's memories of Asher and realizes how sad Asher's life has been, and begs Asher to stay.
Asher gets pissed off because Jean Claude had "no right to share those memories with her." Wait, there's somebody with actual healthy boundaries in this book? Who gets angry when those boundaries are violated without their permission?
You know, one thing I really hate is when people pin you down and go all "you can tell me anything" at you when you feel mildly upset, and then push, and push, and push, and push, until you finally start sobbing, not because you actually feel upset but because you know that once you calm back down, the other person will leave you alone again. That's kind of what we're seeing here. Asher wants to go because the bedroom fun has triggered unpleasant memories and he can't quite handle it. Don't chase him down and force him to be happy just because YOU can't stand his pain.
But she does push the issue, and since this is the Anitaverse, the offering of sex makes everything alright.
Anita then discusses what feeding the ardeur entails. It's basically sex. Anywhere, anytime, all the places everytime. She asks Jean Claude how he handles it, and he says when he has no better substitute, he "feeds" on sex from a distance via his strip clubs. It's still icky, but it sounds better than draining your sex partner of...uh...whatever it is you drain when you feed on sex. Anyway, Anita asks to learn how to do that. Jean Claude says no, you have to have real sex now, I'll teach you how not to treat your loved ones like food later.
Jean Claude is not a good person.
Anita realizes that if she goes to the lupanar feeling like this she will have sex with Richard right there on the floor, so she gets back into the bed. And everything that passes is described in idealized detail, and...uh, yeah.
You know what one of my biggest problems with this book is? Everybody has long hair. I have long hair, mid-back leingth. It is very pretty, which is why I haven't cut it, and it is also easy to restrain, ditto. But you know what happens when I let it long and loose?
I break a hairbrush trying to detangle it.
This is a bed full of people whose hair is waist leingth or longer. I think in Nathanial's case it goes down to his ankles. Nobody talks about stepping on hair, or tangling hair, or getting hair caught in unmentionable places. Hell, I pull my hair in my sleep sometimes, and that's just me in bed by myself. Long luxurious hair is great, but it's also why God invented pony-tail holders, and why folk with long hair keep one or nine of them beside the bed.
There is a lot of flirting, a lot of "Can Asher even have sex?" and an awful, awful lot of "poor injuried ruined man, how much not-pity-at-all we have for thee, let us cure thy pain with girl sex."
I'm going to let my collegue speak for me, here: