Donovan Reece is the dude in question, and the dehumanization begins immediately. He's pretty. He's SO pretty, sports fans, that he is like a statue. An object, in other words.
I'm just going to leave this here:
He's also got the swanmanes with him, AKA the female swan shapeshifters. Words, as I have learned recently, are very important. And using a word that does not imply humanity towards a human individual makes them into something less than human. The description goes to the other Alphas in the room, and we get a truely WTF description of...people.
Donovan took over then, introducing me to the man and woman sitting between them. They were both dark-complected. Their bone structure was pure middle America, nothing special, but their eyes were too big, too dark, the hair truly black. There was something exotic about them that straight European just doesn’t give you. They also looked amazingly alike, like male and female versions of each other. They were Ethan and Olivia MacNair, respectively.
For half that paragraph, I thought she was describing African Americans. Then I thought it might be Indians, Arabs or Native Americans. And then we got to "European" and I went back and re-read the rest of the paragraph. No, no, it says "dark complected". ...And then I got to the names. Well, maybe they're something related to Roma (I know nothing about Irish Travelers, but that, maybe?) There's a big chested predator-shifter that Anita treats with respect, and then we get this:
One man was slender with golden red hair, and strangely up-tilted green eyes. He sat on the floor, huddled against the side of the couch as if he were hiding.Prey critter folks. I gaurentee it.
I swear to fucking god I am writing that werehippo story, and nobody on this planet is going to stop me.
And then...we have honest to god effective characterization:
The woman was tall, nearly six feet, broad-shouldered, strong-looking. Her hair was brown, streaked with gray, pulled back from her face in a loose ponytail. Her face was bare of makeup. She offered me a hand, and gave me one of the best handshakes I’ve ever had from another woman.First reaction: Fuck you Anita Blake. Second reaction: I want to read six million books about this woman, and I don't even know her name.
BTW, her name is Janet Talbot. I'll bet money she gets severely injured and/or killed by the end of the book. She fucking outshined Anita in the space of one paragraph.
The folks with the Irish names are the were-cobras. Their leader is Nilisha. And her husband/Alpha/Mate/made up word was killed leaving another woman's house.
Yep. He's dead. Way to victim blame, LKH.
Olivia, Nilisha's daughter, and Nilisha have a fight. (How many times did LKH type that name? I hate it after three reps...) Anita herds everybody out to stop the fight. Nilisha asks what everyone is doing. Janet replies "Somewhere quieter" and holy fuck, I love this woman. She reminds me of Johanna Mason.
It turns out that Janet is missing a son, the werebears are missing their Ursa, (Think of that yourself, Laurel?) Gil the fragile red-head is just scared (Yep. Prey animal) and Christine is a rep for the folk only present in ones or twos, and is the city's only weretiger.
That shudder you felt was millions of desperate fans crying out in terror. Disturbed force is disturbed, folks.
Hey, this book hasn't really pissed me off this chapter yet. We might just survive without ge--
Christine continued as if I hadn’t spoken. Focused, Christine was always focused. “Joseph’s mate is pregnant. Amber would be here but she’s under complete bed rest until the baby is born.”
“Until she loses it, you mean,” Cherry said.
I glanced at her. “You say that like she’s lost some before.”
“This is her third try,” Cherry said.Oh FUCK YOU Laurell.
FYI boys and girls, I'm not supposed to be here. I'm a pill baby, ladies and gents, and Mom was on the pill because she lost two kids before she had me. Due to a bad drug from the fifties, Mom's cervix was mush. She was told that she would not have kids, ever, and that she should give up. And she did. My brother and I were both woopsies, and she was glad to have us both. My mom also had to have total bed rest for me. (For my brother, they just sewed everything up and told her "See you in six months!").
So Fuck you, LKH, for dismissing that kind of dedication and dreaming as something stupid.
Admittedly, there's a reason for this. Weres can't carry to term because the shifting puts too much stress on the fetus. EXCEPT THAT'S TOTALLY FUCKING NOT TRUE AT ALL. The were-snakes bear children, I know the were-tigers bear kids because hereditary shifting is a big plot-point in the future books.
And then Olivia suggests they call the police.
SOMEBODY HAS FINALLY MADE THE SANE CHOICE. I know they're not actually going to involve the cops, BUT SOMEONE SUGGESTED THEY DO THE SMART THING. Let me enjoy it while it lasts.
It turns out, though, that everybody already has reported their people missing. And that, because they kept the shape shifting secret and made no obvious connection between the missing, the cops aren't doing anything.
So this book expects me to believe that there is a cluster of missing people, all of whom are caucasian, all of whom had relatively good family lives, one of whom is twenty-one, none of whom showed any signs of intending to disappear, and that the police don't give a shit.
And then...holy. fucking. shit. Folks, Anita is going to call the cops and tip them off that there's a connection between the people in this cluster. Anita Blake is going to tell the truth about things. SHE IS GOING TO SAVE PEOPLE'S LIVES FOR REAL BY NOT BEING STUPID.
The chapter ends with her going to the phone. Hot shit, boys and girls. This could actually be good.
And this is why I keep reading this series. Because this could have been the whole book. This could have been beautiful. And it won't be, because non-con sex is more interesting than a whole bunch of missing Alphas.