Saturday, January 5, 2013

Narcissus in Chains--chapter 31

Anita goes on about how much she hated Rania.

You know, I think (in another book, with another author) the story of someone whose power comes from a spirit who hates the everloving fuck out of the magician would be very interesting. Especially if neither party were evil, and they hate each other just because.

Of course, in this story, Rania hates Anita because Rania is an evil hell bi--

Right. Sorry, sorry. Evil hell psychopath. Rania is an evil psychopath, and Anita is the sweet little angel afflicted by the ghosts of the people Anita helped kill.

I think anyone with magical powers needs to have the words "DON'T FUCK WITH EVIL SPIRITS" tattooed to their eyelids. Along with "BY THEIR FRUITS YOU SHALL KNOW THEM". You'd think dealing with a psychopathic murderer when she was alive would be your first clue not to deal with her spirit when she's dead. Really. Everything else in this story disgusts me, but "Let's summon the psycho from hell to heal one of her former victims" just...baffles me. I don't get how ANYBODY would think screwing with Rania would be a good idea.

Of course, Anita now requires medical attention:

Dr. Lillian was shining a tiny light in my eyes and trying to get me to follow her fingers. I wasn’t doing a good enough job apparently, because she wasn’t happy. “You are in shock, Anita, and so is Gregory. He was a little shocky before you began, but damn it.”

Okay, first up? I've had bad emotional reactions to things, too. Flashbacks included. And pitching a fit because the ghost of someone you killed showed you bad memories should not equal BEING IN SHOCK BECAUSE PSYCHOPATHIC WEREWOLVES PUNCTURED YOUR EAR-DRUMS.

However, Lillian points out that now, thanks to Anita's experiments in shamanism, Gregory's chances are now less than fifty-fifty. So Anita being STUPID (Seriously. DO NOT FUCK WITH EVIL SPIRITS.) might have real, serious concequences. I am absolutely sure that this will be played out in a mature and serious manner, and that I will not be driven into incoherent swearing in a few short paragraphs.

Ah ha. I kid. Seriously, you might want to banish small children from the room from here on out.

Lillian tells Anita that she actually saw the damage that Gregory went through, and that Gregory, who has already been trashed physically and emotionally, is on the deck enjoying the flashback from hell that is his right to experiance, and there is a heavy overtone of "GROW THE FUCK UP AND DEAL" in Lillian's tone. Anita responds:

I shook my head, and had to bury my chin on my knees to stop the movement. “It isn’t a memory with the munin, doc, it’s real. It’s like  .  .  . it’s like a live-action movie, but with me in the movie.” I hugged my knees and tried desperately not to think, not to revisit what I’d experienced.
Let me get this straight, Anita.YOU experiancing trauma from the POV of the ABUSER is worse than the already traumatized victim being forced to relive trauma from several years ago, when he hasn't even started to recover from the shit he went through less than two hours ago. 

Anita, you are a piece of shit. You don't even qualify as the gendered insult that cannot be mentioned. That, my dear lady, would be a fucking upgrade.

And aww. Nathanial brought Anita her baby penguin mug full of fresh coffee that he made with his own two widdle hands. How sweet.

Don't worry. I didn't let Applebloom see anything other than the baby penguin mug.
And poor little Anita is so shocked out by her experiances she gives herself first digree burns on her coffee mug.

1. COFFEE SHOULD NOT BE THAT HOT. Holy shit, Nate, what'd you do, use a fucking pressure cooker?

2. Anita. Darling. You are about my age, you summon dead people for a living and you kill vampires in your spare time. GROW THE FUCK UP AND DEAL.

And everybody in the pard, and I do mean EVERYBODY, is crowded around Anita right now. NOT Gregory. NOT the man who actually needs comfort. No. They're being gentle and kind to the leader who is failing them, and failing them so hard I don't think Anita should be defined as a leader right now. Maybe healing Gregory is beyond her, and that's fine. But for the love of fuck, if you're a leader you should have better sense than to fucking summon a fucking psycho to try to fix something you can't do on your own.

Finally somebody comes kind of close to saying "grow the fuck up":

Cherry gripped my arm. “Don’t fall apart on us now, Anita, Gregory needs you.”
You know, my favorite book series from the last few years is Hunger Games. You have no idea how much I love that series. I did not fan out over Harry Potter, I was "hey, this is cool" for LOTR, and I was happy with the Narnia movies, but oh my GOD did I learn why we're called fans when I started reading the first book.

And, without spoiling everybody for the third book? There comes a point where a MAJOR character turns on Katniss. It fits with where the story goes, but it took me back a little bit, because I wanted the sunshine and the rainbows and instead we got...what we got. And then I realized that turn happened...well, in part because it's the writer's job to fuck with you, and that was a pretty good plot twist. But it also happened because SOMEBODY needed to call Katness on her shit. And it had to be somebody that she couldn't escape, that was inside her defenses the way all the other characters were not. It took all the little nagging voices in your subconsious and shoved them all into the book. And a part of you went "FUCKING FINALLY", even while the rest of you remained on Katness's side. It was something that had to happen, just as this (Cherry telling Anita to knock it off) is something that needs to happen.

So I think one of the tests of a good character is that another, equally good character should be able to call them on their bullshit, be completely right, and have the primary character accept the reality check and deal. Because EVERYBODY needs reality checks. 

How does Anita react?

The first flare of anger pushed through the shock. “I have done my fucking best for him tonight.”
Bullshit, sunshine. Yes, you "rescued" him. But Rania came damn near to starting a fucking war back at the Lupanar, and you elected to bring her back. You didn't take two seconds to consider what she'd do to someone both of you view as a victim who has no defenses whatsoever. You exposed a person who is fucking broken to a sadist whose entire goal in life was to inflict pain. You were stupid, Anita, and you almost got him killed, and now you're wallowing in how violated you feel instead of trying to find another way to save your leopard.

If you are a leader, you do not relax until everybody is home and safe and stable. That is why leaders should not ever want that job. It sucks. It requires more from you than you may have to give. A superhuman like Anita may not need to play nice all the time, but she does need to put her people's good over her own, otherwise she's no better than the psychopaths she spent ten books fighting.

Which is the total truth, now and forever.

So then Cherry backs down and starts sweet talking Anita, and I'm sitting here literally stunned. This is a textbook abusive situation. If this were a marriage, Anita would be the abusive spouse and Cherry, the bruised child trying to get Daddy to take her little brother to the hospital. WHY IS LKH WRITING HER CHARACTER THIS WAY? 

And now everyone is demanding that Anita call Nathanial's beast, because even though no Alpha ever could do that before they shifted even for the first time, Anita could definitely do it now. Consistency, LKH. It's not that hard.

And Anita whines about how she doesn't know how. Seriously. This is whining:

 “What do you want from me?...I don’t know how. When I was with Nathaniel, it was  .  .  .” I sighed.

Why is anyone putting up with her? Why?

Anita doesn't want to do it because calling the beast is sexual. the others tell her it doesn't have to be sexual. Anita says that she won't be able to touch Gregory without remembering Gregory's abuse, and that is the single most fucked up concept I have ever tried to wrap my brain around. ("I can't help him because I'll always remember what somebody else did to him and that will hurt my sexy-sexy.")

And now we find out why Gregory's had to suffer for three fucking chapters:

“You need to talk to someone who can call the beast from their people,” Merle said. I looked at him. “You got someone in mind?”

 “I am told your Ulfric can call the beast from his wolves.”

 I nodded. “So I hear.” 
“If he called a wolf into form, while you watched, then he might be able to show you how to do it.”
Fuck you. Fuck every single character in this book who did not immediately turn and run screaming from the page when presented with this morass of an awful plot. This entire thing--Gregory going deaf and not being able to shift, Anita summoning Rania and traumatizing Gregory even worse--was to give Anita and Richard an excuse to screw.

Another human being's pain is being written as justification for Anita to have sex.

I am sure that somebody who doesn't write in most of their free time would not see it that way. I do. I can see every step of this thought process. ("Gee. I want Anita and Richard to fuck. How can I justify it? Well, if Richard comes over, they could fight and then have makeup sex. But why would Richard want to come over? Well, maybe if Gregory is SO hurt, having him come over is the ONLY WAY..." you get the gist) and it's's pathetic. The woman spends HOURS monologuing on her blog about how her characters are her babies and she can't stand the idea of hurting them...AND THEN SHE WRITES SHIT LIKE THIS. 

Ah, but the suck does not stop. Not even for one paragraph. Nathanial adds that Richard will come because he feels guilty for Gregory's injuries, and Anita realizes he's being insightful, and then thinks this:

It was one of the most insightful things I’d ever heard him say. It gave me just a little hope, that indeed Nathaniel could be made whole— that he was getting better.
So being a natural victim is now a result of mental trauma? And people with mental issues aren't capable of deep insights unless they're "getting better?" There's this whole patronizing, paternal aura to that thought that makes me want to hurt something.

And just in case you were wondering, I'm copying and pasting directly out of the e-book. I am not cross typing this. That is how this sentence was originally published, unnecessary comma, hyphen and all.

And then it's apparently "unnerving" that Nathanial knows Richard so well. No, it's called "observation". A two year old would know Richard feels guilty for hurting Gregory. Oh, but Anita then has an earth-shattering revelation!

It meant that I’d underestimated Nathaniel. I kept equating submissiveness with being inferior,

And oh my God. OOOOH MY GOD there is so much fucking fail in the last few sentences of this chapter. First, some good old fashioned grammar fail:

I looked into his face and wondered what else I’d missed, or what else he’d show me?
Thing is? I know exactly how that unnecessary question mark got in there. Word has this funny habit of deciding that question words, ie "What" automatically mean you end with a question mark, even if no question is actually asked. But the problem is this: "I wondered what else he'd show me." <--that a="a" actually="actually" asking="asking" be="be" because="because" else="else" he="he" if="if" it="it" mark="mark" me="me" nbsp="nbsp" need="need" needs="needs" p="p" question.="question." question="question" read:="read:" right.="right." s="s" show="show" to="to" use="use" want="want" what="what" wondered="wondered" would="would" you="you">

And here we have the penultimate fail. The thing above all things that lets me know even Laurel K. Hamilton knew she was fucking up this story:

How much worse could it get? Please, no one answer that.
How much worse could it get? Please, no one answer that.

How much worse could it get? Please, no one answer that.

How much worse could it get? Please, no one answer that.

And with that scream from the author's subconscious, the chapter ends. 

1 comment:

  1. Technically it is accurate to call Raina bitch because she turned into a female wolf. I like using bitch and son of a bitch for dogs. As it is accurate and funny.