Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cerulean Sins--Endgame

Okay folks. Buckle down. We're powering through the shit in one great big go. I read through it to see how much I could knock out tonight, and in addition to the answer being "all of it" it's kind of a perfect storm of fuckery.

Oh, and it'll be The Wolf Gift next. I don't promise it'll be funny--though given that this is Anne Rice, it probably will be--but I do believe it'll be better than this shit.

So. Anita goes to the crime scene where our ass-pulled plot device AKA villian escaped the police.

To get it out of the way so we can focus on the rest of the chapter, he did it by cleverly growing out his claws (something that, depending on which chapter of Narcissus in Chains you're reading, only powerful alphas can do, or that merely powerful weres can do.) skewering a cop and using him as a meat sheild to get to the nearest window. And then escaping because "the" sniper wasn't covering that side of the building.

Yeah. They're taking down a killer werewolf with SWAT and they only brought ONE FUCKING SNIPER. And why the FUCK would they position the guy so that he isn't covering a window that faces the door of Rapey McWerewolf's apartment? Why would there not be two or more snipers? Oh, but Rapey was nice and calm when they put handcuffs on him--handcuffs for humans, not were-whatevers, apparently--and he got them all by surprise.

Guys, it is official: LKH hates cops the way that Stephen R. Donaldson hates women.

(God. The Gap series. I am still having flashbacks)

It also isn't very clear how many cops are in pieces. Mayhem and violence were implied by the last chapter, but the hallway is nice and neat, according to Ms. "I got glued to my boyfriend via our condom" and only two names are brought up. The rest of the squad is apparently at the hospital, but the commander is still on site, unharmed but in so much shock everybody including Anita is trying to pitch him into the nearest ambulance. Zerbowski says that they didn't know weres could partially shift. Anita says she knows and the FBI knows and that really should have been in the last breifing that everybody didn't get, apparently.

There's also some really subtle criticism for the cops remembering their training and not going full auto on Rapey's ass. Right now I am assuming this is a hotel or apartment complex (THE TEXT ISN'T REAL CLEAR, OKAY?) so I am also assuming it had less to do with training and more to do with not killing innocent bystanders.

Zerbowski and Anita trace Rapey's steps until Anita gets a call. Apparently there's now a warrent of excution on Mr. Van Anders.

Let me get this off my chest right fucking now: This is the single WORST idea any human could possibly perpetuate. Having that warrent in hand is effectively Anita's permission to kill whomever and whatever she sees fit, and as long as the things she kills are not 100% human, nobody gives a flying fuck. Now. I understand that you cannot do a direct vampires=repressed minorities, because repressed minorities are not superpowered creatures who can eat you. What sane body of humans allows this shit to go down and not protest? For fuck's sake, every time Texas executes somebody, the local catholic branches go into Candlelight Vigil Lockdown Mode (which is awesome until you realize that means they're holding vigils for people like George Rivas,) You really expect me to believe that vampire rights groups aren't willing to truck a few thousand people out to act as human body shields? Thus, you know, making not shooting things in public places kind of critical?


But no. Anita is now free to go fill Rapey McWerewolf full of holes. Off we go. She snags some dirty clothes and heads off to recruit a werewolf to go catch another werewolf.

So she can kill him.

 (Please don't go to Richard's house. Please don't go to Richard's House. Please dont--"

Next chapter.  She goes to Richard's house!


He caught me off guard by starting. “If you’d stuck to my morals, Asher would be dead right now, or worse, trapped in Europe with that monstrous bitch.”
POINT THE FIRST: No, Richard. What you did in the banquet was not morality. It was gross fucking stupidity. The time to pull that shit was either BEFORE Musette showed up or after. NOT DURING. YOU MIGHT AS WELL HAVE HUNG A SIGN AROUND YOUR NECK SAYING "I AM A TENDERIZED WOLF STEAK MARINATED IN MY OWN STUPID. EAT ME."

MASSIVE POINT THE SECOND: Anita just saved her own ass by adhering to a moral code that discomforted her and interfeared with her line of work that she did not believe in at the time (not using animal sacrifices to make her Wiccan teacher happy made her zombies all drippy. Customers aren't happy, but the Aryan Terrorists who recruited Rapey Wolf got scared off). The ONLY reason Richard's moral code is bad is because it gets in the way of her sex (and Richard is being literally suicidally dumb, which is not related to his ethics and is entirely related to his biochemistry) (which is fucked up because he got raped a couple weeks ago by his girlfriend. Who is Anita. And he isn't getting any form of therapy or assistance because everybody in this book sucks) Apparently morals only count if they don't involve blocking the things between your legs.

Anita says she wants to save women from dying. She shoves the pictures of the dead women under Richard's nose. THEN she asks him to lend her a werewolf.

Anita Blake just shoved pictures of an incredibly brutal rape and murder under the nose of someone who has issues involving both his own rape (WHICH SHE DID) the accidental death of people under his care, and the animal instincts he's losing control of because HELLO, he is depressed out the yin yang. This runs as her being heroically confrontational with an intransigent borderline enemy. In reality it's just cruel as fuck.

Richard tells Anita that he's "decided to live".

You know what the real fun of depression is? It's the knowledge that at any hour, under the right and/or wrong circumstances, your brain can be hijacked by your own hormones. You no longer have total control of your brain. And by "hormones" I mean the crying jags, the rages, and the hell that is suicidal ideation. It has nothing to do with your normal thought processes. At the time it feels perfectly normal and sane and right, and then you wake up the next day thinking "WHAT THE FUCK WAS WRONG WITH ME?" So yeah, that "decided to live" just means his brain chemistry is a little less fucked today than it was when he decided to yank the wolves out from under Jean Claude. Richard does not need Anita shoving murder pictures in his face. He needs to be hospitalized.

At one point Richard tells Anita she didn't have to show him those pictures, that it's going to haunt him. She's all like "Yeah, well, I saw the real deal, your nightmares can't possibly be worse than mine".

Yeah, because it's not like Richard is a werewolf. It's not like he fucking ate his rival, that people under his watch didn't accidentally kill and eat their human lovers during sex, and that he has probably seen something like those bodies every time he kills a deer. OH, WAIT. ALL THAT IS TOTALLY TRUE.

And rather than let Anita marinate in her own insensitivity, LKH has Richard get violent and shove her up against a wall. Because nothing neutralizes your own main character's utter lack of empathy like misogynistic violence!

Next chapter.

Anita takes four werewolves to go confront Rapey McWerewolf in a crowded mall.

Well, if nothing else this ought to be a good confrontation. They elect not to evacuate the mall, because having a competent police force in an LKH book is like having Thomas Covenant have consensual sex with a woman who isn't his own fucking daughter. We find out that Rapey McWerewolf is positioned between a bunch of teenage girls and a couple of young mothers playing with their children in the food court. Anita approaches him with her gun out but WHOOPS, she gives the game away and he sees her.

SO. Now we have the big violent fight in which the children endangered by Anita sucking at her job become meat sheilds and we have to compare morality and--

I fired into his body twice more before I got close enough to watch his mouth open and shut. Blood blossomed from his lips, and turned his blue shirt purple. I circled wide, so I could get a clear head shot. 

He lay on his back and bled, and managed to cough blood, and clear his throat enough to say, “Police have to give warning. Can’t just shoot.”

 I let out all the breath in my body, and sighted on his forehead just above the eyes. “I’m not the police, Van Anders, I’m the executioner.”

 His eyes widened, and he said, “No.”
 I pulled the trigger and watched most of his face explode into an unrecognizable mess. His eyes had been bluer than in the photos.

THAT'S IT. THAT'S THE BIG CONFRONTATION WITH THE RAPIST WEREWOLF. No fight. No throwing of tables or chairs. No hiding. No struggle. Anita walks up to him, shoots him in front of several children, and then goes home to snuggle Sigmund. Yes. The villain we ass-pulled at the eleventh hour gets hand-waved away.

Next chapter: Anita snuggles Micah and Sigmund, and reads Charlotte's Web to Nathanial.


Even in LKH's good books, this chapter is always a fucking cop out. It's like, if you can't resolve all your plot threads in one book and you don't intend to carry them over into the next, trim the threads. But no. Everything gets wrapped up in this neat little bow. Anita is arranging a meet and greet between Dolph, his son and his vampire daughter-in-law-to-be. Anita decides that Richard is no longer suicidally depressed. This is like saying that epilepsy is cured when a person is not actively seizing. Anita and Asher and Jean Claude doing the same thing they've been doing since Asher's intro, only now it has to be brought up because it was a plot point in this book.

Valentina and Bartolome are sticking around so they can kill Gregory and Stephen's dad. Unless this happens in the very next book, this is a cop out.

LKH uses quotes out of Charlotte's Web to try to make a profound statement about how pretty fall is. 105 people are melodramatic enough to have highlighted that part of the book.



  1. If it had been played right, that final scene of Anita murdering the psychotic shifter might have been good.

    (Yes, murdering. I don't care if you have a nice piece of paper with fancy Latin words and shiny official seals on it. Hunting down and shooting someone without a trial is murder.)

    If there had been a long drawn-out hunt to build tension, with Van Anders escaping at dramatic points because he'd shielded himself with crowds, Anita's choice to gun him down gangster-style would work. But this is just... PLOT DONE NOW STORY OVER TIME FOR THE EPILOGUE.

    Oh, and a question. Does holy water harm shifters in this world? Because if you have a supernatural person hiding out in a crowded mall, my thought is that you should round up a half-dozen priests, have them bless the mall cistern and wave the appropriate incenses about... And then hit the fire alarm and start the sprinklers.

    My thoughts about the warrant of execution: LKH seemes to operate under a mindset of privilege instead of rights. People who view the world tht way are A-OK with the less-privileged and less-powerful having their privileges revoked, because the lesser has broken the rules and deserves to be punished. But they have trouble believing that their own privileges can be revoked in the same way, because they view these privileges as a kind of property and it would be wrong to steal this property from them.

    So LKH is fine with a legal system that grants Anita the power to execute someone without a trial, based mainly on the word of a known terrorist who is desperate to cut a deal with the authorities. Because obviously this violent shifter is a not-quite-human beast who needs to be put down, and obviously a warrant of execution would never be issued for a good clean fully-human person like, say, Laurel or any of her friends.

    1. No, holy water doesn't. Which is sad, because that is a pretty awesome solution to supernatural issues (as long as you don't care about hurting innocent supers as well as the guilty)

      If there had been ANY DRAMATIC TENSION AT ALL involving Van Anders this scene could maybe have worked. If he had been involved in the PLOT at all, this scene could maybe have worked. But Van Anders didn't belong in this book. At all.

      I think the privelages VS rights things explains a lot about the so-called plot choices LKH makes. Anita hates Richard's moral code (which seems to be, uh, don't violate my personal bounderies, don't hurt other people needlessly, and equality is good) because it infringes on her sexy fun times. And yet she adheres to a slightly different moral code ("An it harm none, do what thou will", which under fluffy bunny Wiccan rules would basically boil down to "Don't violate personal bounderies, don't harm anything needlessly, and equality is good") because...well, actually, because the author is switching religions and working her issues out in her published books rather than her private journals. IDK WTF the actual books reasons are.

      This legal system would be interesting...if you had a protagonist/major cast mate who was "lesser" and who ran afoul of said system a'la Sam Sheppard/Richard Kimball. Innocent fugetive points out how UTTERLY FUCKED UP this system is. (And that's not even going into the ungodly mess that was Kiss the Dead. OH GOD WAS IT BAD)

      In this case? Where the protagonist is benefiting from the unfair rules and doesn't give a fuck? It needs to go die in a fire.

  2. Ugh, the summary/epilogue chapter. I hate those because, as you said, she always uses them to tie up loose ends without actually having to write about said loose ends. In the end of Bullet, this includes mentions of oh yeah we hunted down and exorcised one of the Council members, no big. MEANWHILE WE GET CHAPTERS DEVOTED TO ANITA IN THE GYM.

    1. You know, I really need an animated gif for "Pounds head on desk repeatedly" because GODDAMN IT LAUREL I DO NOT NEED TO READ THAT.

      I want to read about the council member hunt. I want to read about the hunt for the rapist werewolf. I want to read about political negotiations THAT DON'T INVOLVE SEX. AND FOR FUCKS SAKE I DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT THE MAIN CHARACTER'S TERRIBLE HYGIENE, WHY IS IT THAT HARD TO UNDERSTAND?

      At this point IDK which one's worse. LKH and Anita Blake for just black-hole sucking in general, or Charlene Harris and Sookie Stackhouse for an ending that Goebbels would have been proud of. I'm pretty much in "I hate everything" mode at the moment.

  3. The more references I see, the more I'm really glad I never managed to make it through the first Thomas Covenant book.

    1. Thomas Covenant was an will forever be an asshole. And the worst part of it is, he is not the most misogynistic character Donaldson ever wrote.

      ...and it probably says a lot of bad things about me that my biggest issue with him was not the fact that he raped the ONLY character who was actually nice to him, but that he spent the ENTIRE FIRST BOOK bitching about being a leper AND thinking everything was a hallucination, and then spent the first chapter of the second book trying to get back to that other world so he could get healed again via the magic mud.

      But yeah, I had to stop reading the second book when I realized he was getting into a consensual relationship with his own daughter.

      Have I mentioned that I was thirteen and my mother had actually recommended I read these things?