Which means the "rules" for this book are an ungodly bitch. I can't introduce any new major characters, or new Mcguffins, or anything that I haven't been toying with through the other three books, because when I put it all together I don't want it to look like I just pulled the final bit out of my ass, so to speak. Which means if I decide the plot is lacking in a certain something, I get to go back through the other three books and find what I need there. Meanwhile I have this instinct, or whatever (I call it the energy-o-meter, except when I don't) that tells me if things are exciting enough up to this point or not. This has caused me to seriously revise my plans for this book twice already (Once because no, it wasn't exciting enough, and once again because it gave me a chance to do a "wheels within wheels" kind of plot, which is easy when your main character hasn't fucking slept in three days. Casey's smart, but she's not at the top of her game right now. When this is over she will gladly kill for bed and a pot roast.)
It's also fun setting this thing in my general area. I've spent most of my life here, so the research for it is less intensive and more spot-checking to make sure, for example, that the county lines are where I think they are. Small town coastal Texas is very, very strange.
In short: Things are moving, but slowly, and I'm frustrated. I guess this is the part of writing that makes it work.
And I'm going to review things until SOMETHING happens, goddamn it. Even if it kills me.
Chapter 27 opens with Merry snuggling Kitto, and her other men fighting over who else gets to sleep with her.
You know, I might step on somebody's toes here, and if I do I am very sorry, but living with all these men fighting over you all the time only sounds fun if you are a sociopath without a guilt complex. Seriously. These guys are warriors and they are fighting like teenage frat boys fighting over who gets to fuck that technically old-enough cheerleader. That is what Merry Gentry and this lifestyle has reduced them to.
Also? Merry's positive side to Kitto almost dying (I guess that's a "other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?" kind of moment.) is that she gets to sleep. So these arrangements are miserable all around and there's nothing romantic about it. The men are fussy because they're not getting enough, and Merry's fussy because she's getting too much.
Then we find out that:
1. Jeremy Gray lets his employees get away with murder. Seriously. If I called in sick because my SO was sick? I probably would not have a job the next day.
2. Fading is serious business AND
3. Jeremy Gray has no idea that letting a human psychic scramble her brains at a crime scene isn't something you are supposed to do. The psychic's husband apparently wants to kill Jeremy for putting his wife at risk, and I can't say I blame him.
And then Merry offers to cuddle Jeremy and this happens:
He was quiet for a moment. “I’d almost forgotten that.” “Forgotten what?” “That it’s okay to be held by your friends in ways that humans consider sexual. That it would be all right for me to come and cuddle close to you while we slept.”
This makes me want to take a shower. And it's not because they're talking about offering non-sexual physical comfort. It's that they are specifically calling attention to it. "OH YOU WILL THINK THIS IS SEXUAL BUT IT IS NOT HEE HEE HOO HOO".
There's a "tell" that I look for in my own writing, that's also common to lying. It's when you find yourself either 1. putting "swear to god" or "honestly" in front of a sentence explaining a character's reactions OR 2. overselling what a character is doing. A good example of number one would be "She honestly had no clue what he was doing". A good example of number two is that shit right up there. I look for it because it's an indication that my brain knows goddamn well my characters don't think that and never would, and it's trying desperately to convince me that yes, they really, really would. It's usually an indicator that something is severely wrong with the passage and that I need to revise, NOW.
How does that apply here? I think you can do the math.
(BTW for those of you NOT frequenting LKH Lashouts, LKH has apparently just turned in the first draft for the 21st Anita Blake book. As if it were her actual manuscript. As if she had gone through it and polished it and made sure all the ts were crossed and the Is were dotted and the characters were doing what they were supposed to. Which she hasn't done because she just turned it in like two or three days ago. And the release date is in fucking JUNE. I MIGHT be able to push editing right up until two days before a release date, but that is because I am doing EVERYTHING myself and I don't have to deal with physical distrubution of my books. That's not how professional publishing works. In short: NOBODY IS EDITING LKH'S BOOKS AND THAT INCLUDES LKH HERSELF.)
Then Galen shows up and tells Merry that Niceven's representative is here to cure Galen's ailing penis.
Describing a man as "Barbie doll sized" is not now and never will be sexy. He and Merry fight over him dropping his glamour, and then he and Doyle fight, because apparently he was Niceven's lover until Niceven slept with somebody else and got knocked up, and due to the "Children are precious and we need to have more of them" rule Niceven and her baby-daddy have to confine their genetic contributions to just each other (THIS IS NOT HOW YOU SOLVE A FERTILITY CRISIS) and so she ruled that Sage would never be allowed to screw anybody who was not Niceven. Who can't screw anybody who isn't her baby-daddy. But back when Sage was Niceven's lover, he made fun of Doyle for not being allowed to screw anybody who wasn't Andais ect ect ect. This is the height of our story-telling prowness.
A literal dick-measuring contest would be more entertaining at this point.
And of course we're not going to get out of a chapter involving Galen without "The Green Knight" being thrown everywhere. Sage reminds us that Merry has traded a drink of her blood for the cure for Galen. Because Merry is Bella Swan? Or maybe being a Mary Sue is a blood borne disease?
...that would actually explain a lot.
He asks that they be left alone. Merry refuses to be left alone. This repeats for several pages until they settle on Kitto being the only witness.
So to recap this: Merry is going to be alone in bed with her fake child-lover and a man the size of a doll. And there will be blood drinking, which is the only way Victorians could ever write about sex (that's why we have Dracula. In fact, you could argue that the same attitude that invented light/dark meat is why we have to deal with Twilight. Thank you, Victorians. Thank you.)
Things continue in chapter 28, only now we're negotiating how Merry will get bitten and if Sage is allowed to use Glamour.
We just did this.
And somehow it migrates into a debate about wheither or not killing butterflies to pass a college course is wrong. I am not making this up:
Alive they were magical; dead they were like tissue paper and sticks. I’d finally asked how many insects I had to collect for a D, and I’d collected that many and no more. There had been no point to collecting the insects when the college had a complete collection of almost everything the class was killing. It was the last biology class I took where you had to collect anything...I wouldn’t kill someone for collecting butterflies, but if I had butterfly wings on my back and spent most of my life out among them fluttering from flower to flower, maybe I’d see the death of one butterfly on a different scale. Maybe, if you were the size of a Barbie doll, killing the small creatures was every bit as horrible as killing people. Maybe. Maybe not. But I didn’t feel sure enough of my ground to argue.And the best part?
That's the end of the chapter.
in Chapter 29 Sage glamours Merry so that she doesn't hurt anymore.
So the Faerie have magic that can instantly kill pain, that can leave you feeling good, that will not kill you if you take too much of it and that (probably) has no physiological side-effects. That the Faerie are not offering to the general public because Worldbuilding Sucks. When "anesthesiologist" could be their profession until infinity. Seriously. DO YOU KNOW HOW VALUABLE AN INSTANT PAINKILLER WOULD BE?
But hey, so far things aren't bad at all. We might just--
Kitto entwined his leg over mine, and I felt him growing firm against my leg.
And then Sage bites Merry. And I have to ask:
He bit me like he was biting into an apple, sharp, but the pain floated away, and when he began to suck at the wound, it was like he had a thin, red thread from my fingertip to my groin.Is it just me? Or does LKH have a serious thing with food? We had the things with Doyle earlier, we had the fuck-tastic garbage in Narcissus in Chains...it seems like every time somebody screws in these books, we get food-based similes.
Merry orgasms. OF COURSE SHE DOES. But at least we got all the stuff with Kitto done last chapter adn we can breathe easy because she's definately not going to...wait. WAIT. WAIT A SECOND. DON'T--
I cried out again, and when Kitto slid his body over the edge of my thigh, pressed himself against me, not entering but lying across me, both of us nude, both of us eager, I didn’t protest.
And of fucking course Kitto gets magical powers through the healing power of sex. Anita Blake's ladybits might be a soul-sucking black hole from which there is no escape, but Merry Gentry's va-jay-jay is a magical bag of holding, only it's for magical powers and people's "godhead". And of course once again they are both dripping blood when they "Come to", so to speak, except that this is with somebody who looks exactly like a fucking child.
And then Sage, who was watching the entire time, gets miffy because he caught a "glimpse of heaven" and he won't give Merry the cure for Galen. Because he got to watch somebody else have a good time.
Have I made it clear how fucked up this book is yet?
Sage demands sex in return for Galen's cure, everybody decides not to worry about it because Kitto has come into his own (...oh blue Jesus that means that getting magic is the metaphore in this book for losing your virginity. I FEEL SO DIRTY) and LKH decides that she hasn't fucked with our heads enough this chapter:
As celebration of the faerie court went it was modest. We ordered out, Kitto’s choice, bought some very fine wine, and partied until dawn.
It was a little after dawn when the earthquake hit, a 4.4 on the Richter scale, centered in El Segundo. There is no major fault underneath El Segundo. It’s probably all that saved us from demolishing the entire city. It lasted for only about a minute, really not that much damage overall; no one was killed, though there were injuries. But it added an entirely new twist on the idea of safe sex.
HE HE HE HE MERRY GENTRY COMES SO HARD SHE STARTS AN EARTHQUAKE THAT ALMOST DEMOLISHES A CITY AND COSTS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THIER LIVELIHOODS AND HOMES TE HEE HEE HEE