Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Laurel K Hamilton it is...you pick which one!

I am concerned. No sarcasm, folks. Last november I had a very troubling bout of vertigo.My theory is that it was induced by a severe stress/dietary deficiency due to my going through very stressful workday (The Diwali Party will live in infamy) and not eating my usual two to three plates of sushi a week. Under normal circumstances I would call that silly to the point of stupid, but I spent three weeks feeling like the universe was rolling and it went away fast after I ate a couple spicy shrimp-and-tuna rolls. As in I went from feeling like I'd puke from sitting down to feeling normal within twenty four hours. It was weird.

Well...it might be back. I visited a friend on their boat today (living on the coast FTW) and have spent all day feeling slightly...off. Like I've never actually gotten off their boat. Hopefully it is just Spring Break Hangover (...god don't I wish it was the traditional kind) and it will be gone by tomorrow. Just in case it isn't, though, I will be dropping by Wal-Mart for sushi making supplies. I will abso-fucking-lutely indulge in hyper-superstituous paranoia when it involves this shit. The only issue I have is if the Mystery Dietary Deficiency is present in the tuna, I am SOL because I do not make sushi with grocery store fish. What bothers me is I might have cut down a little bit, due to last week sucking, but I didn't stop. I had two sushi meals, and I was constantly snacking on nuked edamame (Wal mart carries it. Who knew?) until I ran out on Saturday. So if the Vertigo from Hell is back, and it IS Mystery Dietary Deficiency related? I'm worried. And ODing on sushi, edamame and miso this week, because I am NOT going through that shit again.

Also: Taking magnesium pills. That's my Obvious Culprit for the Mystery Dietary Deficiency. I attempted google-fu to see if stress can trigger a magnesium deficiency and the result was a resounding NO SHIT. So I'm going to get up right now to take pills. BRB.

Okay. Pills consumed. But Folks? If the Vertigo from Hell rears its ugly head again? Release date gets pushed back. This shit was not fun the first time, and having a vague idea of how to make it go away does not equal actually being able to make it go away.

So. Majority rules, and it will be more LKH. But will it be Anita Blake eleven or Merry Gentry three?

In the interest of fairness, let's review the first chapters of each and go on from there. :D

The interesting thing about Cerulian Sins is, it's actually the book that got me interested in the Anita Blake series in the first place. My parents went through a VERY straight-laced, Good Christian, Magic-is-evil phase when I was very young. I remember clearly being told that I could not borrow a book from the library (Dove Isabeau, by Jane Yolen) because of the red dragon on the cover.

Naturally this triggered a life-long obsession with finding this book after the Magic=Evil phase wore off, which I finally solved last year because Internet (and if you like picture books and good fantasy and can live with a story only twenty pages long, Dove Isabeau is worth hunting down. It's pretty).

Anyhoo, reading this book kind of takes me back immediately to the first time I read it. Not so much because this book is awesome, but more because that was 2004 and my life was the definition of "fucked up" at the time. So yes, folks. I first encountered Anita Blake in the pulp of a Houston Krogers, waiting for my grandmother to pick out another John Patterson book (Why we could not like Jeffery Deaver like any good soul is beyond me, but we could not) (Oh, and you think LKH is a waste of paper?)

CS opens with Anita meeting a wholly unremarkable man. And also drinking coffee out of a completely unacceptable coffee mug:

I took a sip from my coffee mug with the motto, “If you slip me decaf, I’ll rip your head off.”

One...that's not funny. Google fu finds many funny-ish anti-decaf slogans, the simplest of which is "decaf sucks". So LKH can't even make an effort to make the coffee cups funny anymore. Ah, Sigmund, how we miss thee.

Two...you can get fired for having shit like that out where customers can see it. Seriously. It's like wearing a t-shirt saying "Don't interrupt me while I'm ignoring you." (guy at work wore that on his fourth day. He did not have a fifth. Admittedly, he had other strikes against him) You don't have threatening things around customers. You just don't.

Anyhoo, the decaf is part of an interoffice shenanigans story involving her boss switching all the coffees for decaf and not telling anybody. Apparently this =having mono at Anita's office.

(Fun restaurant fact: Asking for coffee at thirty minutes till close means you get whatever is in the pot. Usually this means decaf. Also? Ordering french roast to counter act the three vodkas you had with dinner and the shot of drambuie you just ordered to go with the coffee? Yeah, that's not going to work.)

None of this is interesting. Why did I find this book facinating enough to keep reading at the Krogers? Because it mentioned zombies and because I'd been living on a steady diet of James Patterson and The Amazing Race by that point (AKA having to live with grandma). Right.

Nondescript Dude, AKA Mr. Harlan (...Ellison, douchebag extraordinare) wants Anita to raise an ancestor. Apparently he has said this before the book started, because Anita is all "So you said" an things devolve into one of those trademark Anita Blake pissing contests in record time. We also get the Litany of Scars. And then a lot of rambling about wheither or not he actually has a gun. The pissing contest continues until both of them are avoiding each other's questions, and are simultaneously getting ready to pull guns on each other.

It is sad when you spend all day editing books in front of docu-dramas about gangsters and this makes that life look sane. For Christ's sake, Anita, he's avoiding your question. He's only getting into position for his gun because you are OBVIOUSLY ready to draw yours. Calm the fuck down.

Anyhoo, he reveals that he is a hitman who still wants to raise his ancestor.

A name might help. You know. Because we have to find a grave. Which is what Anita could have said instead of being all "Because I want you to tell me" and getting gun happy. And with his being a PAID FUCKING MURDERER being out in the open, suddenly Anita and Mr. Harlan are all buddy buddy.

That doesn't mean the pissing contest stops. Anita demands more info, Harlan reveals that Relative is over 200 years old, which would require a human sacrifice, only Anita is special enough to not have to kill a human sacrifice to raise that zombie, because Plot, I guess.

Anyhoo, Harlan thinks his ancestor lied when he came to the states and gave a false name. Harlan wants to track his ancestry back into Europe, so he wants to summon the zombie, have him give his name, and then put him to bed.

And he implied that he was willing to have a stranger killed to raise said zombie.

I smell bullshit. How does Anita react?

“It sounds reasonable enough.”

Direct. Fucking. Quote. Folks, he just literally said and I quote: “I heard an animator could raise almost anything, if they were willing to do a human sacrifice.” and when Anita said she could do it without an extra dead body being involved he said and I also quote: His eyes widened, the closest to surprise that he’d shown. “You can raise a nearly two-hundred-year-old corpse without a human sacrifice?” and then strongly implied that he figured Anita had been murdering people for years. And then less than a fucking page later Anita is swallowing this bullshit about tracking the family tree back to europe?

And then when she tells him that she can't see him until Wednesday or Thursday, he exposits that Tuesday is the full moon and accuses her of being a shifter.

Laurel, there are ways to work exposition into your chapters, but having Random Dude pull 'fo out of his ass that he shouldn't have in the first place? That isn't one of them.

What follows is a mountain of info-dumping and BAD punctuation that I don't want to touch. Also, Richard has been reduced from "Former fiancee and love of live" to "On-again-off-again-honey bun."


Anyhoo, the pissing contest somehow continues even though they've made an appointment to meet on Wednesday night, and cards are exchanged. There is "I am a big bad killer" expository stuff and "he is a big bad killer" expository stuff and I really hope to God this is the last time we see this moron, but I have a bad feeling the (ass end of the) book will involve him and Anita drawing down and confronting their demons together, like some kind of gun-fueled Sociopathics Anonymous meeting.

The chapter ends.

Now. For the other alternative.

I stopped reading Merry Gentry after the second book and I have no idea what the fuck happens next. I stopped reading because I didn't care, I'd realized that LKH was a gigantic circle-jerk hemisphere and the reader was on the end getting the least attention, and I had better things to do. So in reality the choices here are really opposite ends of the spectrum for me.

Seduced By Moonlight... Yeah. We stopped trying, didn't we?

Anyhoo, I think we can safely categorize Anita Blake as the "Trying" series. That opening could use some help (namely, better characters) but it was interesting in its way. This one, on the other hand, opens with Doyle laying beside the pool while pretty water rainbows dance over his skin.

Yep. Not kidding.

He lay at the edge of the pool, wearing almost nothing. Sunlight glittered across the blue, blue water of the pool. The light broke in a jagged dance across his body, as if some invisible hand stirred the light, turning it into a dozen tiny spotlights that coaxed Doyle’s dark body into colors I’d never known his skin could hold.

At least it isn't hair and garnets this time. And...oh fuck. OH FUCK. Okay, this is just my pet peeve because I've been formating ebooks for six months in a rather half-assed way, but guys? They put LESS effort into formatting this book than LKH did writing it.

Fast rule of thumb: Paragraph indents OR a space seperating paragraphs. DO NOT USE BOTH.

And bullshit if you argue this book came out in 04. Somebody could have come through and fixed it since then.

And it doesn't take long for LKH to racefail.

He wasn’t black the way a human being is black, but more the way a dog is black.

Anyhoo, it takes three paragraphs for Merry to stop describing Doyle and move on to describing the rush to get her pregnant. The words "Cannibalistic orgy" are used, but are sadly only applied to how the tabloids reacted to More Famous Than Elvis Merry living in LA.

And then we get Repeated Sentence The First:

They can say that the Seelie Court is a beautiful place, but I learned that my blood is just as red on white marble as it is on black.

This was in Divine Misdemenors, and I'm pretty sure it was in whatever the first book was called. I really hate that sentence, is what I'm saying. And it doesn't take long for us to have the second repeated sentence of the series:

The eyes would be welcome in the Seelie Court, but not the hair. It’s blood auburn, sidhe scarlet, if you go to a good salon and get the dye job. It’s not auburn, and it’s not human red. It’s as if you took good red garnets and spun the jewels out into hair.
Spinning. Does not work. That way.

In fact, I think LKH has decided that the words in this book need to be beaten to death. All of them. Every single word. The repetition is having that effect here.

 After we get "Doyle is pretty" for a couple more paragraphs, we move on to "Rhys is pretty."

And then we find out that Rhys came to get his picture taken by the tabloids stark raving naked.

...Okay, I'm going to give it to him.

Stick me in front of the press like that, I'd fuck with them too.

And then they start making out so the tabloids will have a good show.

Because this absolutely works in real life.

And...uh...things are actually getting kind of steamy. There are references to mouths being sweet and other things tasting just as  sweet. And then this happens:

I didn’t have time to protest, or even decide if I was going to. The helicopter cleared the trees, and that was how they found us. Rhys with his face buried in my groin, his legs bent at the knees, feet kicking slightly over his bare ass, like a child with a piece of good candy.

Chapter ends with Doyle and Rhys rushing Merry inside while Frost stands guard. Merry says, basicially, "Any day nobody's trying to kill you is a good day" and the chapter ends.

Make your choice my loyal blog readers. There can be only one.


  1. Aw man, vertigo sounds freaky D= I hope you're okay. Also very impressed that you can make sushi!

    As hilarious as this Merry Sue book sounds, I'm going to go with CS because it's the book I stopped on/didn't finish.

    1. Sushi is easy as long as you:

      Have a rice cooker
      have the little bamboo pads and the seaweed
      Really don't care about getting the rice right because I never have.

      Vertigo is not fun. It is better now, but I took twice the magnesium the bottle said I ought to before I went to bed. I would seriously rather have dental problems than severe vertigo. Dental problems come with a bill. Vertigo comes with "Well, sucks to be you, here's some Dramamine."

      CS it is, then. :D

  2. To my shame, I read both, but oh God... I don't know which is worse.... I'll go with Anita, too, though, because I know there's a plot in there, somewhere.

    Sorry to hear about the vertigo. Hope that it is fixable and quickly, too.

  3. First of all, vertigo sucks! I hope it goes away stat! And sushi sounds like an excellent medicine!
    Second, CS is the book where I finally gave up hope that the series was ever going back the way it way. It's also the only book I ever actually threw across a room- just whipped it as hard as I could to bounce off the late-70's paneling. I never paid for a book by her again. So yeah, spork the shit out of it.

    1. It is better this morning. THANK GOD. I think I'm just going to have to OD on sushi and magnesium pills every time I go through high stress. It just scares the living shit out of me because both my grandmother and one of my aunts--the one I am most like mentally and physically--have meinere's disease, which can be REALLY debilitating. I don't want that. Ever.

      It looks like CS is the one we're going with. :D