Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cerulean Sins--Chapter 43

Anita now describes her clothes. The dress gets less than a paragraph. Most of its description is actually complaining that her clothing is girly, that it shows off her boobs, and that her hair and makeup (another paragraph) was done by one of Guilty Pleasure's strippers. Not sure why that detail (which is worded exactly like that) is necessary. I'd say that it's a relief, but we went from OMG TOO MUCH DETAIL to "Yes, but what does this dress look like?" Does it have fluffy skirts? Is it slender and slinky? Easy to move in? Will it block her gun hand? Or worse, is it like the slit-to-the-waist-dress she wore in the second book? (won't block your gun, but you'll flash the world when you put it back)

And then Micah shows up, and his clothing gets described down to the stitch. This is the difference between the two paragraphs. Anita's girly clothes:

I HAD, OF course, complained about my clothes. The black velvet and blue silk seemed to be offering my breasts up like pale ripe fruits. The colors emphasized the near translucence of my skin with the undertone of blue highlights. But I knew what the blue highlights really were— blood. Blue blood inside my veins that would burst red when oxygen hit it.
So it's a black and blue sack with a boob window? This is Micah's outfit:

The color was turquoise blue, with enough green to make his eyes blaze green. The shirt had holes at the top of his shoulder, in the middle of his upper arm, and two in the middle of his forearm. Black cord was threaded through the cloth and tied around his elbow, above and below the holes to keep the cloth from sliding around. The cuffs were wide and stiff, with shiny black buttons, with cutouts on the underside so the skin of his wrists was bare, just as the holes at his elbows left those spots bare. His skin looked very tanned, very smooth, very warm against the turquoise. The pants matched the shirt— and not just in color. There were holes on the sides that flashed the perfect smoothness of his hip, down to glimpses of thigh. The holes probably went farther down, but black boots cut off the view just above his knee. The pants were so tight that he really didn’t need a belt, but there was a black cord threaded through the unnecessary belt loops that swung as Micah walked. He was actually almost to me when I realized there were holes on the inside of the pants legs, too.
Because we needed to know the shirt has holes, and has to be tied down with cords, and that his pants are leaving nothing to the imagination. I'm amazed we didn't get a fucking button count. Seriously. We get to know exactly where every little stitch is, and we don't find out how Anita's going to get to her gun when the inevitable happens and she starts shooting things.

You know, just for the hell of it, I'm C&Ping my two favorite bits of costume porn from Hunger Games, so I can see why this bugs the crap out of me. One: Katniss's post-Games dress:

I am still the “girl on fire.” The sheer fabric softly glows. Even the slight movement in the air sends a ripple up my body. By comparison, the chariot costume seems garish, the interview dress too contrived. In this dress, I give the illusion of wearing candlelight.
“What do you think?” asks Cinna.
 “I think it’s the best yet,” I say. When I manage to pull my eyes away from the flickering fabric, I’m in for something of a shock. My hair’s loose, held back by a simple hairband. The makeup rounds and fills out the sharp angles of my face. A clear polish coats my nails. The sleeveless dress is gathered at my ribs, not my waist, largely eliminating any help the padding would have given my figure. The hem falls just to my knees. Without heels, you can see my true stature. I look, very simply, like a girl. A young one. Fourteen at the most. Innocent. Harmless. Yes, it is shocking that Cinna has pulled this off when you remember I’ve just won the Games. 
This is a very calculated look. Nothing Cinna designs is arbitrary. I bite my lip trying to figure out his motivation.
It's about the same amount of wording as we got for JC and Asher. But there's a difference. Let's take a look at my other favorite bit:

Girl talk. That thing I’ve always been so bad at. Opinions on clothes, hair, makeup. So I lie. “Yeah, he’s been helping me design my own clothing line. You should see what he can do with velvet.” 
Velvet. The only fabric I could think of off the top of my head. 
“I have. On your tour. That strapless number you wore in District Two? The deep blue one with the diamonds? So gorgeous I wanted to reach through the screen and tear it right off your back,” says Johanna.
 I bet you did, I think. With a few inches of my flesh.
This one, I know why I like. You never see this dress, but you have a good idea what it looks like, and it develops Johanna's personality while they're talking. ...I probably ought to mention that this conversation happens while Johanna is shucking her tree costume and standing in the elevator bare-ass naked. I think I love the description of Katniss's interview dress for roughly the same reasons. Clothing in these novels is consistantly a weapon. Throughout the entire first book, Katniss's clothing is carefully chosen to make her look like a halfway decent contender for the Games. Now, however, she's a threat, and Cinna pulls out a metric ton of little girl clothes to compensate. In other words: THE COSTUME PORN EXISTS FOR A REASON. The long descriptions of the interview dress, the chariot ride clothing, the post-games dresses, the (SPOILER REDACTED) dresses. You get an image of pretty clothing, but you also get a looming sense of dread. You are always reminded that the reason Katniss is getting the pretty clothes is because she is probably going to die in the next few days, and this dress might give her a shot at survival, or it might not. It's a calculated move in a political game, and that's what makes the upteen millionth description of Katniss's new dress interesting.

So. Why are Asher and Jean Claude so pretty?

“One of the vampires coming tonight has an eye for a beautiful man. Both Asher and I fell afoul of him, more than once.” 
“And,” I said. 
“To flaunt such delectable meat in front of his table, yet not allow him a taste or a touch, pleases us.”

...they're dressing up to say "Fuck you" to their rapist.

I honor the sentiment, but god non-con as a primary motive for action is really getting old.

LKH then blows it by explaining exactly what I just said--Belle sent the rapist to say Fuck you to JC, so JC is dressing pretty to say "fuck you" to his rapist--in horrific, excruciatingly polite and way too fucking long detail. It. Goes on. For paragraphs. And it ends with what we already established in Musette's intro: Belle Morte has sent everybody JC's way because JC and Asher left her and she's more than a little miffy about it.

That's it. That's why the big bad vampire is tormenting JC and Asher. Because they told this abusive drama queen to get screwed and set up shop in another town.

I know my reading habits aren't the best in the universe, but dear bleeding god, even Charlene Harris isn't this fucking shallow. I hate Sookie, I hate her guts with a passion, and I would much rather read about her giving four guys the shaft (Eric, Bill, Alcide and Sam) all at once while trying to pretend her lack of commitment is "romantic indecision" or what the fuck ever you can use to justify deceptive bed-hopping (It's not the fact Sookie sleeps with all four that bugs me. It's that she promises commitment and then lies her ass off when she can't follow through. If you can't do monogamy don't do monogamy. But don't lie to your partner and promise something you ought to know you can't pull off) than I would read about how powerful rapists choose to trigger their victims and have this get passed off as a political power play. Seriously. ALL BELLE WANTS TO ACHEIVE IS THE REVICTIMIZATION OF JEAN CLAUDE AND ASHER. She has no political goal beyond "make the boys feel bad". She's not trying to get control of St. Louis, she's not trying to take over one of JC's clubs. She's not trying to make them come back to her. All she's doing is fucking with them because Book. I'd say "plot" but it's chapter 43 and we still don't have one.

And then the book goes on to say that Belle's power base, the source of all her security, is based on being the most desireable woman in the world.

And she killed Juliana because Jean Claude and Asher's devotion to her challanged that power base

And Anita is now in the same position, so Jean Claude has to convince Belle Morte that Anita isn't a challenge to Belle Morte's beauty!

AND HE IS GOING TO DO IT BY HAVING A HAREM'S WORTH OF PRETTY MEN AT THE BANQUET. Because Belle Morte doesn't consider men to be a threat, so JC is going to dress all the pretty men in his employ in pretty, pretty clothing and convince Belle that he's not here for Anita, he's gay for his "harem" of men!

Because, you know, it can't possibly be that Jean Claude is, at minimum, bisexual. Nope, he has to pretend to be gay to save his girlfriend's life. Oooh, but why is Anita such a persistant thorn in Belle's side?

“She thinks like a woman, ma petite, and not a modern one. You think more like a man, so it is hard to explain to you.”

You know, I think they forgot to give me the "this is how you think" gender memo when I got out of the crib.

The chapter ends by wandering off and getting drunk while Anita wonders about motives.

You don't really need to, Anita darling. In this book, they're all filed under "Stupid".


  1. Yes, because it's totally possible to be the most desireable woman in the world for 1,000+ years when beauty standards are different all over the world AND constantly changing.

  2. There are many things wrong with this chapter. So, so many. But as usual, I'm fixated on the trivial:

    The black velvet and blue silk seemed to be offering my breasts up like pale ripe fruits.

    Now I'm picturing Anita with a bad case of boobshelf.

    1. I was picturing it as one of those get-well fruit baskets. The kind with cheap ribbons around the edges and a squicky scent of fake pine.

    2. Pine-scented boob shelf. Thank you for that mental image.

  3. ... Micah is wearing turquoise blue pants.
    Tight turquoise blue pants.
    Can we talk about this for a second? I think we need to talk about this.
    I bet the material's velour.

    1. This is a bad porno.

      It's probably vinyl. Extra shiny. With black trim. The only way LKH would ever have gotten bonus points from me is if it had also involved polka dots. Black ones.

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