Saturday, December 22, 2012

Narcissus in Chains--chapter 19

Okay. They had sex. So we're going to get to the point now, right?

I WAS NAKED again. It seemed to be a theme that night. The five of us lay in a heap, breathing hard, bodies tingling, with that rush that magic will leave behind sometimes— where you feel both tired and exhilarated at the same time— sort of like sex. did just have sex. Sex does not equal penetration.

Also, Anita ate a big chunk out of Jason's neck. This was not in any way, shape or form sexy or okay. Anita promptly runs to the bathroom and throws it up, and then starts freaking out yet again.

I think I'd be more okay with the whole "WE HAVE NO LIMITS GIVE IN TO YOUR DESIRES" thing this book has if Anita weren't collapsing every single time her own boundaries get pushed. This is not empowering and sexy. It's frightening and predictable and boring. Even more boring is the litany of injuries Anita both received and inflicted during the orgy. Also presented in a shocky, not-at-all-okay manner that I do not find sexy.

But Jean Claude brings Anita her tooth brush, so everything is okay.

And then there is more speculation about whether or not Anita will become a Wereleopard (She won't) and why she's happy that Nathanial bit her, and what Bella Morte is doing and...yeah, there's a plot somewhere in  here, right? Can we let it back into the room, maybe?

Nope. Instead Jean Claude postulates that leopards might be sexpire Anita's "animal to call".

This is kind of one of LKH's contributions to vampire lore. Powerful vampires can summon a shapeshifter of a certain type. Jean Claude's animal-to-call are wolves, I believe. This would be kind of cool, but after this point Anita collects animals-to-call like the crazy cat lady down the street. If you're hoarding animals, you have a mental illness. I don't even want to start approaching what it means if you're hoarding people.

Also we find out that Asher's bite is orgasmic and Jean Claude's isn't. they make dental Viagra?

And then Anita claims that what just happened wasn't sex, and Jean Claude stomps on her verbally until she agrees that yes it was.

Look, I agree with JC that it was sex, but for fuck's sake, the woman has endured more trauma in the last twenty four hours than most people do in a year, and she is NOT handling it very well. Dude. Back the fuck off. 

 And then we find out that a wolf, any wolf, can act in the magical vampire-necromancer-shapeshifter thing that got Anita into this mess in the first place. Thus justifying the absolute shit-storm of nonsense Richard is about to get showered with.

I do not view any of these characters as people. They are more like pistons in an engine to me. Things that make the story go vroom when supplied with enough crisis-fuel. My issue with this bullshit is we spent nine books getting attached to the Richard-Piston and now, because for whatever reason LKH might have, sand is getting dumped in the engine. I mean...does anybody here rememeber Charmed? Does anybody remember how they got rid of Pru when Shannen Doherty was a pain in the ass? They gave her a beautiful send-off, killed her in a blaze of glory, and then used that crisis to introduce a new character the viewers could accept.

I do not understand why LKH won't do the same thing, ever. Oh, I've heard her excuse (My characters are PEEEEEPOOOOLEEEEEEE) but I don't understand that mindset. They're not real. Major character death is a great crisis point to wrap a novel around. I just....I don't get it!

And then we find out that nobody has ever thrown Bella Morte out of their head the way Anita just did. I am sure this repetition will have some point in the future, but I really want to just skim the damn thing now.

And then Jean Claude tells her she needs to pick out a permanent sex partner so that when the ardeur rises she'll have someone to drain. And that it ought to be Nathanial.

Anita repeats that she can't have sex with Nathanial because he'll never say no and having sex with someone who consents to everything is rape. Hey, Robot Susan, how do you feel about that?

And then Anita freaks out more. And then we get an info-dump on Belle Morte's history. Because doing this before she tried to possess Anita would be bad. And Jean Claude apologizes for not warning Anita about Belle's head-jumping skills because he didn't think it would effect her.

You know, Edward Cullen was an asshole, but at least he told Bella some of what was happening before it bit her on the rear.

And then Jean Claude tells Anita that somewhere in the world there is a vampire who has a six-inch-wide, foot long penis. So basically this dude has half a floor tile for a dong.

Plot? Plot? Hello? Can you please make an appearance?

Now we have to establish rules about who Anita can sleep with. Jean Claude is basically like "One night stands only, nobody else you might love more than me." And just to cement his status as asshole of the year, he says this:

There are many things I would have told you today, if you had been in the mood for truth.

To translate this out of asshole speak, "if you weren't crying and pouting because you were just raped, posessed by a sex-power and worried because the man you love is going to kill one of your charges, I probably would have told you more about how to deal with the vampire sex power I've just cursed you with. But you're mad at me, so this is how I'm going to passive-aggressively punish you for thinking you're a person with feelings."

Fuck you, Jean Claude.

And then the book takes a left turn right into retrospectively hilarious:

“Please, don’t tell me that I’m going to turn into slut-girl.” 
He smiled. “I do not think you need to fear that. You are stronger willed than that.”

I promise I will not call Anita a slut. But given that she's throwing the S-word around after only having five lovers assigned her, it makes the later books kind of funny. I know there's way more than ten now, probably more than fifteen. If you have to use fingers AND toes to count your permanent lovers, you are not a slut, but you do probably have some kind of severe mental issue and probably need to go get therapy. If you can't have fifteen pet cats, you shouldn't have fifteen pet men.

And THEN we find out that Anita mind-raped a vampire several books back, and when she abandoned him Jean Claude locked him into a coffin topped with crosses. He's been locked in there for six months without food, water, or human contact. Anita freaks out, and Jean Claude just repeats that it was what he had to do to control him.

Because picking up a fucking phone six months ago was more work.

But he magnanimously decides to give her the vampire so she can nurse him back to health like a kitten.

Anita leaves the Circus of the Damned to go find where the plot went. On the way, she thinks about how she ignored most of her metaphysical lessons because witchcraft is too scary for her good-girl Christian ways.

Why is Christianity not equipped to deal with magic in this universe? Seriously? If it's real enough for Wiccans to heal wounded werewolves and zap undead baddies, it should be real enough for there to be some kind of Christian variation. And I'm trying to say this without exposing my bias.

The chapter ends with the strong implication that God wants Anita to choose Jean Claude and not Richard to be a permanent lover.

The plot has still not shown up.


  1. The plot disappeared shortly after Obsidian Butterfly was published and has never been seen since. It is thought to have joined the Witness Protection Program and even Anita' Blake's much vaunted Marshal status hasn't coaxed it out of hiding.

    When your main character has to make an actual schedule for her lovers and you make it sound as sexy as a room full of men sitting around waiting for a prostate exam than as an author you need to set back and realize you aren't writing an erotic novel, you are writing a parody.

    1. I think I just laughed so hard my post-work beverage went up my nose. :D

      Problem is, if this were a parody it would ACTUALLY be funny.

      And it wouldn't be written by LKH.

  2. I went and got Starbleached from Amazon. Plan to read it tonight. Looks interesting.

  3. "And then Jean Claude tells Anita that somewhere in the world there is a vampire who has a six-inch-wide, foot long penis."

    Like, the head of his penis is 6" or more across? Clearly LKH has not actually spoken to men regarding our organs, because all that surface area to rub against whatever you're wearing... That sounds agonizingly painful.

  4. The series is kind of weird in regard to religious favoritism. Wicca and Voodoo work very real magic on Earth, yet it gets implied a lot (at least in the ones I've read recently) that there is a One True Christian God up there and He's on Anita's side. I don't know if LKH is attempting fair-handedness and screwing up, or if this is the result of her converting from Catholicism to a very happy fluffy bunny brand of Paganism, or if she thinks of Wicca and Voodoo less as real religions and more as magical systems to be used as easily in fantasy as vampires and wereanimals whereas Christianity is the Real Deal and thus too sacred to bring up over-much or...? I don't know. Like I said, it's weird.

    1. I'm usually happy when Christianity makes it through one of these books relatively unscathed. I'm fine with a mention, like "yeah, it exists, and there are good people and bad people, and it's not a part of this story so let's move on."

      I'm not at all happy with the "God approves of my choices" feel of the last few paragraphs. There's an underlying implication that LKH knew damn well what she'd just written on some level, knew she needed to redeem Anita's recent choices, and rather than rewrite them pulled God out of the ether to justify Anita choosing highly abusive men as her sex partners. What, you don't like Jean Claude? Well, God does, so neener neener neener.

      Nevermind that the God I know would not be nodding in approval of Anita's life choices. God would, in fact, be warming up for a good long session with the Clue-By-Four.