Sunday, June 30, 2013

Anita Blake it is! Incubus Dreams--chapter 1-4

Yeah, so I read (or in the case of Eternal Prey, re-read) the first chunks of the book, and decided to go with this.

I'm gonna double up on chapters as often as possible, though, because holy shit I almost forgot how much LKH likes to drag.

Oh, and as for how my weekend went, I somehow forgot that it's the Fourth next week. We got slammed. Good slammed, but also "too tired to pick out a new book" kind of slammed.

Right. So let's just dive in, shall we?

We open with a Halloween Wedding. Not Anita's. It's Larry Kirkland and Tammy Reynalds, animator and Christian Witch/Detective, respectively. Anita, naturally, is one of the groomsmen. Grooms people. Because Heaven forbid Anita Darling have to spend 300 bucks on an ugly orange dress for her friend's wedding. Oh, and GOD FORBID she have to put on makeup. Oh, no. She's just as unruly as all the men are, the wedding planner hates her for being so manly manly manish, and have we properly established that all Anita needs is a penis of her very, very own?

Frankly I kind of like the idea of having female groomsmen, especially if said fem is the groom's very best buddy, but there's "Hey, I'm here to represent and support my former student and fellow co-worker in a spirit of mutual respect and dignity, and also, I happen to look great in a tux" and then there's this. ANITA IS MORE MAN THAN GIRL. DO WE UNDERSTAND THIS YET Y/Y?

Oh, and this chapter also exists to shit all over Tamnmy during her own wedding.

They’d done something with her hair so that it was smooth and completely back from her face, so that you could see just how striking she was. I’d never really noticed that Detective Tammy was beautiful.
Every time Tammy does something at her own wedding it's a subtle negging, just like in that bolded part there. First we have the "OH GOD ORANGE IS SO UGLY" criticism of the Halloween wedding color scheme. Then we have the description of Tammy in her wedding dress. In the next chapter we also get to criticize her for having bad taste in ornaments and being clumsy. This is this character's freaking wedding.


The double standard is alive and well. The woman is supposed to be beautiful on her wedding day, the groom is just supposed to stand there and not embarrass himself, or her.
*sighs*. On the one hand, I agree that the beauty standards for women are terribly skewed, mostly unhealthy and almost entirely unnecessary. On the other hand, girls get princess dresses, flowers, kickass shoes and fire-engine red lipstick, whereas the traditional fancy guy wear begins and ends with "black suit." Also? Anita? Darling? Honey-Bunny Bear? Sometimes women like to conform to the traditional gender role. Yes. It's constricting as fuck when you don't want to be there, but it can be rather fun if you're playing that game because you want to. Being a "liberated woman" does not give you the right to decide that I can't play that role, and it sure as fuck doesn't give you the right to shit all over another woman's wedding just because the woman employed traditional beauty standards and decided to wear lots of makeup. She's not conforming to traditional gender roles because, sweetheart, you're standing on the groom's side of the aisle and you're wearing a tux. Your friend wants to play dress up and you don't. It's her wedding. She went out of her way to accommodate your lifestyle. Shut up and deal.
Oh, and Tammy is four months pregnant, as previously established, and this is theoretically a shotgun wedding, judging by the look on Daddy's face.

...yeah. You can't arrange a traditional church wedding on this scale in four months, unless you are Satan and you own a minister's soul. And that's just the "booking the church" part. So either Tammy and Larry can work miracles, or the pregnancy is a side effect of the wedding prep, and not a cause.

And of course, we take time to dump on Richard, who "Dumped me because I got along better with the monsters."





The first time he dumped you, it was because you promised you would love him forever and never leave if he would just shift in front of you and accept his dark side, and the second he shifted in front of you and accepted his dark side you ran the fuck away and gave Jean Claude a blow job. The second time it was because you fed your mystical sex thing on him when he told you multiple times that you could not. Shut up, get therapy, be really thankful the law doesn't define "forced envelopment" as a crime (yet), and leave Richard alone.

Eventually we get to the point of this chapter, which was apparently to put Micah, Nathanial and Anita all into tuxes together at a party. We get a drool-y description of how perfect Micah is perfect perfect, even though a. Anita knows nothing about his human side and b. he raped her the first night they met. least this is better than the "slit up to my waist on both sides" dress Anita wore to some date with Jean Claude. I have no problem with what a character chooses to wear riiiiiiiight up until the character starts whingeing about, say, how hard it is to put a gun back into your waist holster when you're wearing it under your dress and you decided to go commando. If you want to be provocatively dressed, do so. If you want to make it easy to use your weaponry, we've already established you look great in a Tux.

And then we have Detective Jessica Arnet drooling over Nathanial:

Jessica Arnet was a few inches taller than Nathaniel’s 5' 6", so she had to look down to meet that lavender gaze. No exaggeration on the color. His eyes weren’t blue, but truly a pale purple, lavender, spring lilacs. He wore a banded-collar shirt that was almost the same color as his eyes, so the lavender was even more vibrant; drowning beautiful, those eyes.

You know, it took me five years to understand that Elizabeth Taylor's eyes were violet and not blue. And I still don't see that marked a difference between most green eyes, most blue eyes and most violet eyes.

Anyhoo, Jessica decides to give Nathaniel a hug instead of a handshake, and because Nathanial is so precious passive, he doesn't let go, or ask Jessica to let him go because that might hurt her feelings. Aw, isn't it precious. Someone so eager to please that he will allow himself to be pawed via unwanted sexual advances just so he won't hurt someone else's feelings. And of course the only way to fix this is for Anita to stake her claim on Nate by pawing him in front of Jessica, while simultaneously thinking about what she's going to do when she has to dump Nate, because he aims so hard to please and he so obviously loves Anita.

LKH can go fuck herself for writing that. Also, for writing that as a stripper, Nate should be used to getting pawed by random people.

End of chapter. In the next chapter, we find out that the wedding reception is skeleton themed, and that Tammy Reynalds is too tall for her own decorations.

Jessica Arnet sits next to Anita and they trade barbs for a while. Basically it's "Is Nathanial yours?" "Technically yes" repeated for three pages.

Then Dolph calls Anita and asks her to come to a crime scene. Apparently they are on speaking terms because Anita talked his son until putting off conversion into undeath for a while. Because, you know, him having an honest-to-god psychotic meltdown in the precinct office and physically assaulting Anita is the kind of thing you can blow off with a little paperwork. Anita heads off to the crime scene.

Next chapter: Anita feels guilty for heading off to the crime scene, because looking at a murder victim is so much better than dealing with social stuff and that makes Anita a terrible person.

The victim is an exotic dancer of some kind who stepped out for "air", or probably a cigarette. I will give LKH kudos for one thing: There is no veneer of "Oh, she asked for it" like there was with Nate. Very small kudos, because she did do that bullshit with Nate, but good behavior ought to be rewarded. The victim has been drained by multiple vamps, shoved behind a dumpster, and then displayed so that somebody would find her.

And of course, we take a break from the crime scene so that Anita and Dolph can have a pissing contest RE: Jean Claude. Can he be sure that Anita won't cover up a crime JC's people committed? None of JC's people would do this, he'd kill them (Note: Anita does not say no.) Oh, so JC is a murderer now? Oh, Lay off, Dolph. Work out your issues on your own time (Again: Not a no)

This accomplishes nothing, because even the little bits of backstory we get from the dialogue were already explained in the preceeding paragraphs.

 In the next chapter, we explore the body. Anita figures out there were a minimum of seven vamps draining the body, and that leaving the body here was a statement. Dolph makes the jump to serial killer, probably because the ritualistic posing of the body suggests some kind of fantasy at work, and that type doesn't usually stop with the first one. Anita assumes this means Dolph has info he's not giving her, because actual good policework is asking too fucking much.

The chapter ends with Anita worrying over her friendship with Dolph. Because being dragged up a staircase, having your face shoved in bloodstains, and then having a table thrown at you in an interview room are not at all indicators of a toxic personality that should be avoided at all costs.

...I should have gone with the dino book, shouldn't I?




  1. Anita Blake it is!

    Oh God. *commences whisky*

    Anita would look terrible in a tuxedo. Comically terrible. Tuxedos are cut and coloured for men of the non-labouring classes. They give skinny men a sense of mass and make fat men look solid rather than soft. Tuxes look good on some women, mainly slimmer women, but are a really bad choice for busty women. Seriously, go google some pictures of a tuxedo and imagine a woman with Anita's bust in that jacket. Try not to giggle.

    So either Anita looks ridiculous but everyone is too polite to say so, or she's paid a lot of money to have her tux specially tailored for her build. In which case she looks like Zatanna Zatara, not one of the boys.

    And yeah, running down a friend at her wedding? Not friendly.

  2. Seconding what Ian said about bust women and tuxes.

    The only thing that has EVER appealed to me about getting married is getting my choice of foofy dresses and all that. Also, if Tammy wanted a change from the groom just standing there, you can bet she could have it. People do all sorts of crazy weddings nowadays, changing around groom/bride stuff would honestly be minimal, and since Tammy is not a traditional Christian I doubt there'd be any religious issue with changing up the ritual.

    And I haven't read this AB book, so I'm looking forward to all the beautiful unfamiliar fail!

  3. If I remember correctly, Anita has hated Tammy from the get-go, and is only there for Larry. It's still in highly bad taste for her to criticize the looks of a bride at her wedding, but it's not out of character for her. Sadly.
    Also there are lots of nice suit options for guys and as far as I am aware they are expected to look nice too on their own damn wedding day- although gods forbid Anita ever admit that a man can look sharp without crotch-high leather boots and a net shirt.
    Actually, thinking about it, it might be that whole "the man obviously is only getting married to please the woman so he can't be interested or invested in the process and must only show up and shut up." That is definitely an Anita thought.

  4. Jessica Arnet was a few inches taller than Nathaniel’s 5' 6", so she had to look down to meet that lavender gaze. No exaggeration on the color. His eyes weren’t blue, but truly a pale purple, lavender, spring lilacs. He wore a banded-collar shirt that was almost the same color as his eyes, so the lavender was even more vibrant; drowning beautiful, those eyes.

    Here, let me fix that for you.

    Jessica Arnet was a few inches taller than Nathaniel’s 5' 6", so she had to look down to meet that lavender gaze. Drowning beautiful, those spring lilac eyes.

  5. Sometimes women like to conform to the traditional gender role.

    THANK YOU. This is something I'm going to try and deal with in my next couple of novels. I hear a lot of smash the binary type stuff in trans communities and it's like, well shit not all trans people are non binary, guys.