Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Narcissus In Chains--Chapter 36

Business first, gang:

We are on a FREAKING ROLL with this book right now. I was bummed for a little while because it looked as if January were going to be a Book Sales Wasteland, but that is SO not true anymore. 15 books in two days, six of which are Planet Bob.

I know begging for sales is obnoxious, but I really, really, REALLY like this momentum. It's the best it's been like, EVER. So. If you guys have bought yourself a copy of a book, ESPECIALLY Planet Bob, THANK YOU thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU You rock harder than a beauty queen at a metal concert. And if you haven't bought a copy yet, but plan to, Now is the Time.

If you're just here for the reviews...here we go.

It's this part. Fuck.

Excuse me, gang. This requires medication.

Alright. Let's do this.
DAWN WAS SLIDING through the trees in a wash of white, white light that left the trees looking like black paper cutouts against the shining sky when I pulled the curtains and filled the bedroom with twilight dimness.
Yes, we start with a blast of purple that is nearly incomprehensible. My God, this is almost like Amanda McKittrik Ros level purple. It's like, radioactive or something. I could see using purple like this for something important, but all she's saying is that it's dawn and she's closing the curtains and wait a goddamn fucking minute here.

It was THREE AM when she and Richard went out to the deck to save Gregory. Did our lessons in beast-master summoning take three hours? And if it didn't take three hours what did you do between three AM and six?

Your issues with continuity are making me doubt your werewolf/leopard/vampire/BDSM/rape fic's veracity, Laurel. No cookies for you.

Nathanial is going to bed with Anita. She discusses his lovely auburn ankle length hair, and mentions that it disappears when Nathanial shifts. So...uh...WHERE DOES IT GO? Hair is not like a limb. Hair is more like clothing. Hair is dead. Why would Nathanial grow back six-odd feet of hair every time he turns into a panther? 

Also: ankle. Length. Hair. Guys, my hair goes down to about mid-back. Long hair is easier to manage in food service than short hair, because you can stuff it all under a hat and be reasonably sure you got it all. I can BARELY manage to keep it under control. It takes much brushing. It takes much detangling. Much shampoo. Conditioner. Sweet Baby Jesus, the conditioner. I am glad hair products do not come from living things, because herds of things would have died to keep my hair nice. It's a pain in the ass, is what I'm saying. The ONLY way I can keep it under control is to wear it up. 90% of the time it's in a pony tail. I wear it up so often that the one time I wore it down at work (For five minutes, because my hair thing broke and fuck if I'm going to take my hat home with me) everybody was all like, "OMG YOU HAVE HAIR! AND IT IS PRETTY! YOU SHOULD WEAR IT DOWN MORE OFTEN!"

And then I say "tangles" and everybody nods sagely, because they have tangles too.

Point is, Nathanial should either be wearing nine zillion hair ties, or a rat's nest. Or he should be spending all of his time brushing his goddamn hair.

Also, Anita doesn't sleep with the leopards when they are leopards.  Only people.

Seriously. Getting to snuggle with a big cat and know you are in no danger whatsoever would be, like, one of the perks of having a were-feline for a friend. I am SURE I am not the only person who has had that fantasy. WHY WOULD YOU NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS?

...because it leaves no room for sex. RIGHT. Also, Anita, if you describe sleeping a whole bunch of people in one bed as a "pile of puppies" one more time I will puke in your fucking lap I swear to GOD. It wasn't a good simile the first time.

But Anita is waiting for Richard, not Nathanial, and so she's wearing swanky PJs.


And then a wereleopard comes in and tells Anita that Richard is crying in the kitchen.

*sigh* at least it's not the shower.

I sighed. Although I was tired, I was excited at the thought of Richard being in the house, of him coming to me, maybe. Instead of sex we were going to have another session of hand-holding, and shoulder-crying. Damn it.

Yes. Because your sexual satisfaction is more important than the emotional well-being of a man you fucking dumped, who loved you passionately, who wanted to marry you, who still loves you just as passionately. God forbid you try to be strong for somebody else emotionally.

And you know what? I get that you're probably exhausted from all the shit that's happened in the last few days, but that attitude right there is shitty. It's not the worst thing ever, but it does make you the worst girlfriend in recorded history. If you want to have sex with somebody on a frequent basis, you should have the maturity to support them emotionally when you cheat on them with somebody else.

Anita goes to see Richard, and I shit you not, he is sitting in the kitchen with a fucking halo around his head. I am not kidding at all: 

The early morning light made his hair look more golden than normal, less brown. He looked up, and I realized the gold glow was a halo effect of the rising sun. It painted a nimbus of shining gold around him, leaving his hair light brown around his face,

It's one thing to  call a character holier-than-thou more times than I can count at this point. It's another thing entirely to give them a literal golden halo. 

I am laughing, loyal blog-readers. Laughing so hard I think I might hurt something.

And then Richard hides his face from Anita by twisting away and shoving his face towards a wall. So basically, he acts like he's two. I think every character in this book has some form of low grade DID, only without the awesomness that comes with Tyler Durden.

And then Richard explains, and it has nothing to do with Anita, and everything to do with the core purpose of this book.

It's got one, and I just connected the fucking golden halo with what I'm about to blog about. I can't figure out what the bleeding fuck that purpose is, unless it's simply "Shit all over someone else's moral structure". But this has to be part of the core of everything.
Richard tells Anita that a member of his pack, Louisa, is in prison for killing her husband. Apparently they got married, went on their honeymoon, and Louisa lost control and shifted while she was losing her virginity. Anita says well, if she could have controlled herself during a non intercourse orgasm, she should have been able to control herself during sexual orgasm...and then Anita somehow works out that Louisa waited to have any sexual contact at all until after she was married.

Richard says this:

 “I taught her to control the beast during anger, sadness, fear, pain, every extreme of emotion, but not sex. I respected her convictions.”

And Anita goes on a long inner monologue about how this was the height of stupidity on his part. And in the universe LKH has created, it might be.

But here's the thing, sport fans: this is not a real universe. These rules are things that the writer makes up as they go along. And LKH has proven over and over again she can't even remember a character's eye color from book to book, let alone the structure of pack magic. There is ONE REASON why this scene is here, and it is to express how stupid the entire concept of celebacy is, and how stupid it is to hold to your convictions.

I am at a level of rage right now that I cannot properly express. I'm going to try, but whatever I say is going to  fall infinately short of how FUCKING PISSED OFF I am by this.

If you believe something that does not affect anyone but you, you have the right to hold onto that. If you believe that having sex before marrige is wrong, you have the right to say no as long as you want to. If you want to sleep with five men, sleep with five men. If you want blue hair, dye your hair blue. And NOBODY has the right to pass judgement on you.

Things that do affect other people (Ie saying that homosexuality is wrong) are different. Because it's not your struggle, it's not your fight, you have no right to tell somebody else what they do or do not get to do with their lives. Fuck, if you want to bring Christianity into it, Romans 14:20, loosely paraphrased, says you have the right to believe that there is nothing wrong with what you're doing when you keep it between yourself and God.

When you throw in the saint-symbolism of having Richard sitting there with a fucking halo, this passage goes from being a part of the story to being a personal statement from the author. This fictional girl was created so that LKH could talk about how stupid chastity is. So that she could pass judgement on people who chose to live their lives differently from her. So that she could get on her high horse and tell us all how we're doing everything wrong.

Screw that.

Anita even goes on about how the doomed couple should have been "less religious" when Richard never mentioned faith at all. Yeah, because ONLY the religious might want to hold off on sex.

Fuck you, LKH, for writing this, and for deciding that this was something worth taking a stand on. It wasn't. It's total, judgmental garbage.

So then Richard collapses sobbing into Anita's arms, and she comforts him, and they talk pack politics, namely about how Richard has appointed "sexual surrogates" so that new werewolves can learn how to control themselves during sex. Because you totally need to have two people to have sex with every new member of the clan.

And then he basically asks Anita to become his executioner. Because every well-functioning group needs to have a fucking official murderer in charge of it.

And then they run off into the bedroom and have sex.

that's how it reads, people. Dead husband, celebacy is stupid, sex-surrogates for the pack, "hey, will you murder for me?" and "Lets have sex."

  Mercifully, the chapter ends before they actually start making the beast with two backs.

GOOD GOD that was horrible. Am I the only one who thinks it was horrible?

I'm going to go do something sweet and fluffy so that horribleness isn't the last thing I have in mind before I go to bed.


  1. Okay, I'm going to ignore the many - Oh God so many - moral problems with this chapter and focus on the world-building issues.

    Once again, shifters are a known quantity in this universe. People know about them. The fact that they can lose control and shift suddenly under extreme situations is an easily discoverable fact. There should be books with titles like So You Married A Shifter: A Dummy's Guide To Sex With Large Carnivores. Dan Savage should have written several columns on the subject. There should be entire forums devoted to discussing the how-it's-done details.

    Instead we get this stupid but obviously an accident death, for which the pack is going to execute one of the victims.

    Also: Anita? Is a US Marshal. How the fuck is it permissible for a US Marshal - a law-enforcement agent - to act as executioner for what is essentially a criminal gang? No, really, I want an answer for this. Given that shifters and vampires and so forth are all known quantities, why does the US government allow them to run their own little fiefdoms within its territory? Why does it allow one of its agents to participate in their internal 'governments'?

    Oh, and this whole bit with Louisa? Mary Sue again. Once again an entire scene exists solely for the purpose of Anita Being Right Again, even if she had no way of knowing what was going on. She is the centre of the moral universe, just as she is the centre of the plot universe, and events must happen to prove her rightness.

  2. I wonder if this was written at the point when LKH converted from Christianity to Wicca? New converts to anything tend to be the most fervent in my experience, and her maturity level seems like the type to 'embrace' her new faith just by taking shots at her old one...or it could be around the point where she and her first husband split up. He didn't like the idea of sex in the books, so Anita going from celibate to CELIBACY IS BAD AND WILL KILL YOU, STUPID could be LKH's fuck-you to him.

    Actually, wait, yes, this is after she divorced Gary and hooked up with Jon. Because Richard was the insert of Gary, and Anita was supposed to kill JC and marry Richard in the end...but since LKH and Gary split, she couldn't have her self-insert do THAT since she seriously cannot separate Anita from herself. And so after she marries Jon, the president of her fan club, new shiny soul mate Micah comes in!

    I personally think Micah was partly Jon's idea myself: "Hey, since he got to be the Wolf King, I should be the LEOPARD KING! And, uh, can you give me a GIANT DONG?"

    1. OMG FooB! This book is Foob!

      The author's personal life took a turn for the less-than-perfect, and as a result she ran the story off the rails and turned it into a revenge-tract! FooB!

      It, uh, makes sense in context.


    2. That would make sense. Kind of.

      I think the reason this is so baffling for me is LKH isn't providing an alternative to what she's arguing against. She's making blanket, generalizing statements--ie morals are wrong--without providing either a good reason why or an acceptable alternative.

      It's pretty clear this is intentional. The golden halo pretty much erased all doubts I had. Actually, I think she was trying to be inoffensive by not getting specific...and that ruins anything of value she might have had to say.

      Also: Thank you Ian for linking me to TV tropes. I have now lost my ENTIRE DAY.

    3. If that was the case with that strip, then yes, it is Foobed up! This isn't just my own wild conjecture either, it's pretty common fandom knowledge/opinion. There have been other incidents of LKH inserting people from her real-life into the books, Anita's background is just like hers except for the stuff related to being an animator and being bi-racial (which LKH isn't and does really poorly) like how her mother died at same age in same way, grandma moved in to help take care of her and was mean to her, etc. And the book I'm currently reading/sporking now devotes an entire chapter just to put in something 'funny' that really happened to LKH happen to Anita and her guys...which LKH acknowledges in the afterword as if it's some hilarious brilliant thing when actually it was just really boring and obnoxious. I could go on, but, uh, yeah.