...Can I put this off mommy? Can I please?
One thing that you need to remember, my lovely loyal blog readers: I loved this series. Yes, it is not the best. Yes, the main character is annoying as fuck. Yes, the clothing is insanely stupid, the triangle is more of a trwhyangle, and there were many many many many many things that did not make sense. In a sense, this was my Twilight. It was dumb as hell, but that was part of the reason I liked it. Also, unlike Twilight, there was lots of sex, usually in the climax, and the guilty pleasure factor was always nice.
And up until now, we haven't deviated too far from what the other books were like. Admittedly, by now there would be several bodies on the ground, Anita would have visited a bloody crime scene and played "who vomits first" with the preternatural cops, and Jean Claude would have spent at least half of chapter five trying to get into Anita's pants only to be rebuffed, but there was hope for redemption. I kept repeating to myself, "Kidnapped wereleopards, Kidnapped wereleopards. This will get better. This will get better." And Richard being not a whiny bitch (so far) was a welcome and much needed change. It fueled the hope.
This chapter dashed all hope for me. Oh, it gets worse from here, trust me. I actually kept reading, and it took another couple of scenes of stupid for me to throw up my hands and fling the book across the room. But this was when I realized things had changed forever. Ready to read it?
Good. 'Cause I'm not.
Anita and the boys have gone into Narcissus's "office". Now, please remember that this is a wereheyena dressed in June Cleaver's black lace dress. I want you to keep that picture in your mind.
The room is black, save for the shiny, silver plated torture objects. Silver in this universe burns the everliving fuck out of any shapeshifter that touches it. So these are, like, literal torture impliments. There's also a bed big enough for the entire club, apparently, with enough chains to make it fun for the whole family!
...I almost want to paint this because it's so insane it loops right through stupid and back into bad-ass. But then I remember what this scene did to me.
Everybody sits on the bed, save for Narcissus, who gets a chair. Jean Claude settles in on the sheets like he's about to seduce virgins, and Anita notices that there's a loop in Richard's collar for a leash.
Richard did not want to have sex with Anita until after they were married. SO. OUT. OF. CHARACTER.
And then Jean Claude reveals that, when somebody else was Master of the City, Narcissus raped him in this room, on that very bed.
When I re-read this book, my jaw dropped. I do NOT remember this being in here, and I am really hoping that I just skimmed this part. Because Jean Claude is terrified of Narcissus. It is implied that it was well, WELL beyond bad, and that the biggest reason Jean Claude became a Master vampire was so that he would never be passed around like the vampire's party favor, ever, ever again. Jean Claude even starts having flashbacks to other events not related to Narcissus, and Anita experiances these because for a minute he's too upset to shut their magical link down.
This is something that, as far as I know, never gets addressed again. It wasn't in the early books, it wasn't in the later books I skimmed, and most importantly, Narcissus doesn't die.
If I were a powerful preternatural creature and I knew that ANYBODY was doing the shit implied here? Rape as part of political deals? The rapist would be dead. The cops can't, or won't, deal with them, and they are a level of evil that should not continue to live. This is treated as tra-la-la, another day in the life of a vampire. Sexual trauma galore.
And then Narcissus tries to touch Jean Claude and Richard hulks out. Richard also experianced the memory of rape, he's realized his friend has been brutalized past endurance countless times before, he understands that the pig sitting in front of him is one of those abusers, and he is not going to allow Narcissus to come within six inches of his buddy. He breaks the fucker's wrist.
Which breaks the truce. Narcissus, who is all riled up and eager to "play" (gag me) with somebody, uses this as an excuse to threaten Jean Claude via Anita. He's been hurt, so he needs a toy to make everything better. Everybody else important used to give him toys to play with, and because everybody's been distracted he's now an equal power in the city, he can negotiate on his own terms, and he wants somebody to give him somebody else to abuse for a few hours.
I. Am. Not. Making. This. Up.
Narcissus shrugged. “Perhaps, but have you not wondered what I’ve been doing since Marcus died and you took over? I wondered when the gifts would start arriving, but instead all gifts stopped, even the ones I’d begun to count on.” He looked at me then. “Some of those gifts were yours to give, Nimir-Ra.”
Nimir Ra is the title of the Wereleopard leader. And those "gifts" are fucking people.
Narcissus mentions that he's never had Nathanial, and he asks Anita for him. Anita says no.
Narcissus says, how about for a day? Maybe even an hour? Anita says fuck off. Richard does the same when Narcissus asks for a wolf. Fuck. No. Narcissus thinks Anita is some kind of in-the-closet shapeshifter, something never hinted at in the other books, so he tries to force her to shift. This fucks up the other two guys for a couple minutes, but nothing comes of it. So Narcissus turns to Jean Claude. How about a vampire plaything?
Asher steps up to the plate. He asks if Narcissus only wants a toy to play with, or if he wouldn't mind being "topped" for the evening. Narcissus says sure, but it needs to be somebody special. Asher shows off how screwed up he is from being tortured with holy water, and Narcissus goes "Yep, you'll do."
Jean Claude asks why Asher is willing to torture Narcissus for the evening, and Asher replies with the following:
“And do you know the best part of all?” Asher asked. Jean-Claude just shook his head. “It will cause you pain to think of me with Narcissus. And even after I am with him, he will still not answer the question you have been wanting, so desperately, to have answered.”
So to sum up what just happened: In order to save her missing wereleopards, Anita Blake must get her vampire lover to have the most fucked up individual in his retinue give himself over to a sadistic, masochistic wereheyena for an evening, when the were heyena is the bottom.
It turns out that all this is Asher's temper tantrum because Anita won't let Jean Claude sleep with other men.
...YOU ARE SLEEPING WITH RICHARD, DAMN IT. THIS SHOULD NOT BE YOUR CONCERN.
And then Asher starts torturing Narcissus and Anita runs to rescue the damned wereleopards who are the reason everybody's here in the first place.
So. Did any of that make sense to you? It did? great. Explain it to me, please.
I'm going to go drink until the pain goes away.
Tomorrow: It gets worse.