I re-read this book up to THE scene. You know. The one that broke me.
I forgot every single thing about how terrible this book is and I need to go curl up beside my bed and whimper for a few hours.
So Anita drives up to the Club in standard club-going clothes. We get an explination about why the club has to be all the way over here, which we do not need to hear. We find out where Anita parked. I would be begging them to move on but I am now traumatized and will do whatever it takes to stall. Then we get the List of Sharp and Shooty Things that Anita has on her person. One gun, one long knife in each boot that will give Anita bruises on her knees. We also find out that Anita has a black belt in judo and is working on another belt in another martial art.
You know, someone once pointed out to me that a black belt is a lot like getting an online digree. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's the equivilant of a diploma mill, and it doesn't really mean squat. Given that Anita is yet to kick ANYTHING in this book I do not give a flying fuck.
Oh, and this is what she's wearing:
My skirt was so short that even with boots that came up to mid-thigh there was a good inch between the hem and the top of the boots.It takes a lot to make me say "She's asking for it." An awful, awful, awful lot. But even I have my limits. You have the right to dress however you want, but for the love of GOD, why would you go interview kidnappers in an outfit that advertises your altogethers? WHY WOULD YOU THINK THIS IS OKAY? I am picturing this, and the picture leaves nothing to the imagination. Also...thigh high boots. Have you ever worn leather? Have you ever noticed how you cannot fucking bend in leather?
And then paragraph after paragraph after paragraph on magical sheilding. We don't need this either.
She bounces off of a werewolf named Jason on her way into the club. Jason is Jean Claude's boy toy. Yes, Jean Claude is bi, in theory. In practice, he is Anita's Only, because having things make sense sexually isn't fun, right? Of course right. Also, he's wearing a silver body stocking that leaves even less to the imagination than Anita's outfit.
Now, I know I complimented Laurel K. Hamilton's narritive voice. And it's a good one. But it also has problems. That problem being that every once in a while she will use a word so often, it'll stop looking like a word.
As Jason led me up the steps, I had to look behind him. The cloth that covered his groin was only a thin thong at the back, leaving nothing but a fine glitter over his butt. The shirt was not attached to the pants, so as he moved I got glimpses of his stomach. In fact the shirt was loose enough through the shoulders that when he took my arm the shirt pulled to one side, revealing his smooth, pale shoulder.Jason takes Anita into the club to see Jean Claude. This is what Jean Claude looks like:
His long black hair fell in soft curls around his shoulders, nearly to his waist... He was dressed in a black vinyl shirt that looked poured on...His skin looked unbelievably white against the shiny black vinyl, almost as if it glowed with some inner light...Vinyl boots came up just over his knees, gleaming as if they’d been spit polished...He was beautiful. That heartrending beauty that was masculine but treaded the line between what was male and what was female. Not exactly androgynous, but close to it.And this is how I react to what Jean Claude looks like:
Seriously. He's wearing latex pants and latex boots that come up over his knees. I really hope he'll never have to do squats. Also: What kind of porn is LKH watching?
Hey, aren't we supposed to be rescuing were-leopards?
“Breathe, Anita, remember to breathe.”
Because I definately remember there being a ransom call at the beginning of this book. Not a romantic issue call. One of your charges has been kidnapped, and you are here to save him.
Jean-Claude made me feel like that, like I should weep at his beauty. It was like being offered an original da Vinci, not just to hang on your wall and admire, but to roll around on top of.
Well, the book figures out that Anita is going to stand there and look at Jean Claude all night, because Narcissus shows up. Narcissus, the owner of the club. As for how he's dressed...
*sigh* I'm not going to quote it. Here's the list:
-Makeup. But not, you know, in a feminine way.
-curly black hair cut very short
- nail polish
-stockings with a "delicate" spiderweb pattern.
-a black lace dress that makes him look like June Cleaver. No bullshit.
He's also an alpha something. So let me repeat this. He is an alpha something dressed up like June Cleaver in hell. He demands Anita give him the gun. There is a lot about how Narcissus is not passing for a woman, he's just "secure". It doesn't say what he's secure in. He's just "secure". His club is neutral territory and he doesn't want Anita killing anything in here. I would agree, but I can't stop picturing a muscular, dominant male dressed like Glenda the Good Witch's goth phase.
It's also revealed that Narcissus is a werehyena.
One of the fucking awesome things about Sunshine was the weres. Specifically the mention of werechickens, and how they'll pay anything for the anti-change drugs, and how the were-skunks are such a problem the police have to have a special flying unit to take care of them.
You will not be seeing any were-chickens in the Anita Blake universe. They're not cool enough.
I've been reading for five minutes. There is posturing and posing, and Anita still hasn't given up her gun yet. Her people might not be safe, she says. Lady, you've got the strongest vampire in the city on your side, and SPOILER the Alpha of the local wolf pack is on his way. Also, your people are WERELEOPARDS. THEY CAN EAT THE PEOPLE HOLDING THEM IF THEY WANT TO. You don't even have silver ammo. You can raise the dead using blood from a paper cut. You do not need the gun. Why have you not given up the gun?
“Nathaniel is one of those bottoms that will ask for more punishment than he can survive. He has no stopping point, no ability to keep himself safe. Do you understand?”Ugh, I am pretty sure this thing does not EXIST, and if it does, why are we exploiting a broken human being this much? GIVE UP THE GUN AND GO RESCUE YOUR BROKEN WERELEOPARD, YOU PSYCHOTIC BITCH.
Narcissus asks why Nathanial didn't have a keeper. Anita says he did, but the chick ran off. And...
wait. Why are wereleopards living in a pack? Leopards are not pack animals. Wereleopards are "Are we mating? Are you nursing? No? Then fuck off" animals. This is not realistic. I am beginning to doubt your story about vampires and wereheyenas in a BDSM bar.
Anyway, this chick running off is a big threat to Anita's authority, and she's sick of the authority and having a whole pard of wereleopards on her back is such a hassle and blah blah blah blah blah. Twelve books later, she's still got the leopards and I think she's fucking Nathanial, so all this is, is a delay of the plot.
Finally, she surrenders the gun. Narcissus compliments her, because her costume appears too skimpy to hide a gun that big. Nice. It's also too skimpy to hide a human that big. she had the gun at the small of her back in a holster under a skintight shirt. In exchange for the gun, Narcissus has promised the cats will be perfectly safe until Anita arrives.
So now it's time for sex.
Anita has to reopen the bonds between herself, Jean Claude and Richard. Otherwise nothing will be protected. And they have to have sex to do this. Or touching kissing make out session. In public. Likely in front of the people who have kidnapped the wereleopards.
Okay. Whatever. Let's do it and get it over with.
...hello? Have the make out session so we can get back to the plot. Hello?
No. Jean Claude has to explain that Anita will get more abilities when the marks are reopened. Uh...am I reading the wrong chapter? Did I already do this? No, no, this is still chapter four. I thought we'd already covered this. Yes, we did already cover this. How about we get it done and move on?
And then we have the handfull of sentences that utterly ruined the entire series.
They were both wonderfully powerful, but there was nothing too terribly extraordinary in their powers. Well, there was one thing about Jean-Claude. He could gain power by feeding off sexual energy.This is going to bite us all on the ass so hard, we could market it as weight loss surgery.
So Anita and Jean Claude go to "their" table, where Jason, he of the silver spandex, and another man are sitting together. The other man is Asher.
Asher is an interesting character. He, his girlfriend and Jean Claude were a menage a trois back when the Spanish Inquisition was a thing. They caught the girlfriend and burned her, and tortured Asher with holy water, which burned him like acid. Basically, Asher is the two-face of vampires. One of Jean Claude's enemies sent Asher to the states to throw Jean Claude off his game during important negotiations, and Anita brought Asher over to the side of the angels...using a makeout session in which she channeled Jean Claude's lust for Asher and kissed him all over his scarry bits. This was the...ahem...climax of that particular novel.
Look, I said the early books were good. I did not say they were great.
Asher is pouting because Jean Claude won't rekindle their relationship. Jean Claude won't rekindle their relationship because Anita will throw a hissy-fit if he does. So Asher has been pouting for a couple of books at this point, and will jump at a chance to make Jean Claude hurt.
Anita and Jean Claude still have not made out. The plot cannot advance until they make out. Another character approaches their table and tells Jean Claude that they'd better get the magic sex (god I wish I were joking) done before the club's next floor show starts, because interrupting the show using magical sex would be, you know, rude. Now they have a time limit to make out. DO IT AND GET IT OVER oh for fuck's sake. Anita freaks out during the make out session (This is a clue you're doing it wrong) and Richard shows up and grabs her.
The chapter ends. And they still have not made out.