Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cerulean Sins--Chapter 51

I ought to subhead this chapter "In which CW loses her mind".

One of my favorite books is That Hideous Streingth, a book that might as well be subtitled "The Problematic Chronicles" because it is written by a straight Christian white man and it has a sadistic lesbian as one of the secondary villians (who contributes fuck-all to the plot. I've spent the last several months trying to figure out what Lewis meant to do with her other than villianize lesbians, because he's got four other major villians in the piece and all of them serve a double purpose, and I can't come up with a thing.). I promise one day I will review this and be fair about it because it's not fair for me just to murder the books I hate when the books I love have issues too. Anyhoo, I bring it up, because it's the only book off the top of my head that has a banquet scene that is relivant to the novel's plot. It lasts for one chapter, most of which is actually Character X, Character Y and Merlin (...yes. That Merlin) Doing Things. It's dry as toast. Unless you get what Lewis is doing, and you have to be several flavors of fucked up to get it.

Compared to this? With the problematic antagonist factored into the equation? It's an awesome scene.


(Come to think of it, in THS most of the male protagonists's scenes are dinners of one kind or another. It's still better than this)

(Fuck, the scene where Mark has to eat in the Crazy Room is better than this)

So Anita and Jean Claude kneel beside Asher, and Asher is the most beautifulest thing that ever mattered and, because of this, Anita knows that Asher wasn't influencing her love for him through his vampiry powers because now he IS influencing her to feel like if she doesn't touch him, she'll die, and in case my regression to grade-school words isn't an indication, this isn't very clear what the fuck is actually going on.

This happens:

I opened myself wide and let Asher roll through me like a stream, long dammed, flowing, flooding, filling up a land that has been too long without water.
I like pretty words. I like strings of pretty words. Poetry makes me melt (Fatal Interview. Find it. Read it. Love it.) but I don't like overly complicated pretty words. I like my words to make sense on a casual read-through. You can be pretty and still function as a writer. It's hard. The prettier you get, the harder it is to understand you. Not because the reader is stupid, but because the human brain isn't wired to remember thirty fucking adjectives at once. Suffice to say, every time Laurel K. Hamilton starts trying for pretty words, I get a pretty fucking nasty headache.

The first half of that sentence is fine. It's not flowy, but it's pretty enough to get your point across. The rest of it is like "Yes. Okay. Uhhuh. I get it. This is the nine-millionth water meaphore you've used re: sex in your career. PLEASE MOVE ON TO THE NEXT POINT."

However, somebody on LKH_lashouts once pointed out that it helps to imagine it being spoken by Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove.

You're welcome.

  ...and the water metaphores continue. Seriously. It's like every time LKH has to write about somebody having an orgasm, she takes a shot of something high proof, holds her breath until the burn goes away, and then writes about the burn.

So Belle goes back to being pouty because Asher has proved that he's got powers now, and Jean Claude won't let him be taken away. In fact, because Jean Claude is now the source of power for his own bloodline--AKA author asspull--Belle needs to get the fuck out of St. Louis before tomorrow night.

Belle is like "But you can't!" and JC is like "TRY ME" and I'm wondering why they couldn't have done this a long, LONG time ago. Before she started fucking with his people.

And then Anita somehow sorts out that Belle intends to kill the MOAD and take her place as ruler of the vampire council.

Anita tells Belle that's stupid, the MOAD will eat her for breakfast. Note: this is a character who has never appeared in the series prior to this, who has done nothing but sleep this entire time. THIS IS NOT HOW YOU INTRODUCE A MAJOR VILLIAN, PEOPLE.

Let's go over a few other introductions, just as examples:

Darth Vader: Choked people to death
Koobus from District 9: Hoo-rahed with multiple magazines of LARGE ammo, then called Wikus van de Merwe a little shit in a manner that implied he really wanted to bite Wikus's nose off.

The MOAD? Is asleep.

I am not afraid of the MOAD. At this point I think Belle could take care of business with a hammer and two feet of Balsa.

Name-calling ensues. The highlight is Belle calling Asher and Jean Claude "petite catamites" which isn't nice at all. Then she turns around and drives Musette's body to the exit.

Valentina and Bartolome ask if they can stay so that they can "fix" Stephen and Gregory. Because what they did was wrong, wrongety wrong and they want to help put the pieces back together.

LKH gets a brownie point. It's probably going to die alone, but she gets it none-the-less.

Richard is ordered to escort the guests to their rooms and make them all go away.

Anita muses that the only reason Belle let Valentina and Bartolome stay is, Belle feels guilty for turning children into vampires. I'd give LKH a second brownie point for calling what Valentina's maker did, and what Musette did to Bartolome rape of a child, BUT:
 Valentina I understood because a vampire of Belle’s making had done the unspeakable. But bringing Bartolom√© over as a child had been simply good business. I hadn’t thought Belle Morte lost any sleep over good business. But she’d still condemned him to an eternity in a child’s body. A child’s body with a man’s appetite forever.

 Yeah, it is STRONGLY implied that Belle's guilt isn't for raping a child, it's for condemning a man with appetites to live forever AS a child. That it's the deprevation she feels guilt over, not the whole "We raped and turned a child" part.

In short, my loyal blog-readers:


  1. I haven't seen District 9 yet, so I can't comment on that. But I can comment on Vader and Voldemort, and how they were set up as dangerous before we ever saw them.

    Vader: A New Hope opens with a tiny craft being pursued by a HUGE warship. The fleeing craft is captured and boarded, and a brief firefight ensues that sees the defenders quickly slaughtered. We haven't even seen Darth Vader or heard his name yet, and already we know that whoever is in command of the warcraft and boarding action is dangerous. Then he comes onboard and takes action - By murdering a PoW with his 'bare' hands.

    Voldemort: We don't see him through most of the first book, but we see the results of his actions. The main character is an orphan, people still live in fear of his remaining agents, and he has become such a demon to this subculture that people are afraid to say his name. His past actions include murder, torture, and running a terrorist campaign to overthrow the government. His behind-the-scenes actions are the driving force of the book's plot, and by the end of the book he attempts to murder a child.

    The Mother Of All Darkness: Is taking a nap.

  2. I really like the concept of the MOAD. I think she could be a great villain and a very frightening one. I'm kind of biased because I really love Goddess type figures that aren't nurturing good earth mothers (for instance, since you mention Lewis, I love Jadis the White Witch) but are instead more cruel forces of nature. I think this might be because I was raised Catholic and am still really attached to the figure of the Virgin Mary, so maybe it's like an evil version of her to my mind, idk. In any case, I love the MOAD in theory.... practice she really sucks. Totally ineffective even when she does wake up. It makes me so sad.

    Also, I think you might have mentioned this upon his intro, but would Bart even be considered a child by people who lived as long ago as Musette and Belle? I know that girls were married that young in the Tudor Era and, I think, ancient Rome and/or Greece...our notions of when childhood ends are pretty modern, enough that I could see really old vamps, especially ones who don't live in the human world that much like Belle, having not adjusted to them yet.

    (Not that I'm saying Bart WASN'T a child at 13, but he might not have been considered such in his world and/or by the vampires that made him)

  3. Bearing in mind that this is the simplified version, covering a lot of different times and places -

    Medieval and Rennaisance *noble* or *wealthy* girls tended to be married off young, but those were contractual matters between two families. The girls married off in this way were generally still regarded as - Not exactly children, but not adults. And such marriages were relatively rare, rare enough to be mentioned as unusual in sources from the time. Outside of those contractual marriages, older men who pursued adolescent girls or much younger women were generally regarded as fools.

    Greek and Roman attitudes about this were complicated by slavery and a lot of master-student relationships that were essentially slavery or indentured servitude. An older man pursuing an adolescent would be a fool and a lech. An older man using a slave or student would just be taking what was rightfully his.

    TL;DR version - Belle's underaged toys are still creepy.

    1. Ah, alright. Thank you! It makes sense that things like class would make a difference too, I'd forgotten to factor that in.

  4. JADIS YES. She was awesome. I remember watching that movie in this state of utter enthrallment because it was EXACTLY what I imagined it.

    She got short changed due to not doing Magician's Nephew AND that FUCKING GOD AWFUL SHOEHORNING into Dawn Treader (WE DID NOT NEED A SHOEHORNED IN RELIGIOUS PLOT IN A BOOK THAT WAS ALREADY RELIGIOUS. FUCK YOU DISNEY) (...I've been saving that for three years)

    Maybe not a child, exactly, but Belle would know she'd fucked up in ways not related to Bartolome's sex drive.

    To dip into things CW knows via google and osmosis...

    Developmentally, fixing a person as a teenager is the single worst thing you can do. Full stop. Doing ANYTHING to damage the mental development during the teen years is horrific, and I don't mean the social development. There are chemical changes that occur in the brain in the teen years that are critical for the development of a healthy adult. This is one of the reasons why you can't drink until you're twenty one or smoke until you're eighteen. There may or may not be proof that chemical influiences damage the brain during this period, but it's better to be safe and not fuck it up with alcohol.

    Bartolome would be irreperably damaged by both his conversion at a young age and by his sexual proclivities at a young age. That's not normal. A hypersexualized youth usually has abuse in his background, to the point that hypersexualization at a young age is diagnostic criteria for molestation and abuse. My understanding of vampires is that they are frozen at the moment of their turning. This would include brain chemistry. Ergo Bartolome's basic brain chemistry was frozen at the worst age, and possibly, the worst possible moment.

    I think a child vamp could learn to cope with being an immortal child and could develop a level of maturity, but they would never develop full adult maturity. It would not be physically POSSIBLE to reach full adult maturity, as their brain chemistry would require them to grow another decade.

    A sane human being, even an immortal vampire, would understand that this is wrong. "Dude is fucked up" is a universal diagnosis no matter what era we're in. Also, there's a HUGE tendancy for us modern folk to underestimate the knowledge base of a so-called primitive generation, simply because we can actually explain the things they took for granted. A vampire as old as Belle would realize that turning an undeveloped brain would have catastrophic effects, and that turning an undeveloped brain that has experienced trauma would be beyond the pale.

    And the point is not wheither or not Belle would consider Bartolome a child. The point is that Anita thinks the great tragety is that Bartolome will never get to experiance sex without having it twang off every statuitory rape statue in existance. NOT the turning at an undeveloped age. It's the fact that he can't have proper sex that is the great tragety to LKH.

    Because sex is all that exists.

  5. LKH keeps trying to make Claudia and failing at it.

    1. I just snorted beer up my nose.

      It isn't an improvement over soda.

      (if LKH ever says we're interrogating the text from the wrong side of the condom, she will officially win the internet. Forever.)