Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Incubus Dreams--chapter 19-20

So. Artwork. Artwork? Artwork:

I love Joey. She's been sitting on my harddrive for two years, patiently waiting for me to get off my ass and start getting her ready for the world. She also goes through a lot of totally unreasonable shit, but it is all fine, because when this girl hits bottom she freaking bounces. I do not believe in "My characters talk to meee!" but I have no idea where this chick came from, and I'm really excited that I get to share her with you in about a week.

Also: Scary fucking dragon.

So. Where were we?

Right. Anita went to go take a shower. Only she gets interrupted by Nate because Damian starts freaking out again and for fuck's sake, Laurel, we just did this. You want to write porn. Fine. I can't stop you. But when a plot point is resolved at least let it wash the lube off before you drag it back out for another round. There are five other men in the house. Fuck one of them for a few minutes.

Oh, and this time the emotion is fear, and it's not evil chocolate. It's wet silk, which for some reason Anita is still trying to eat. The oral fixation is getting old. And I don't think it's oral as in sex. I think it's oral as in somebody quit smoking and now has no idea what to do with their mouth.

And it's a fear-memory of Damian's involving some woman who wouldn't let anybody be prettier than she was, and there was a friend (?) with a scar that made him less pretty and...uh.

The only name I heard in my head was Perrin, but I knew that wasn’t right. That hadn’t been his name, anymore than Damian had been mine, ours, his.

Did we forget a few important words?

Nate kneels over Damian and Anita. His hair is undone. He smells like vanilla.

LKH needs a lifetime membership to Cupcakes International. Maybe if she gets free cupcakes she will stop comparing sex to food.

And then Damian throws Nate into the fear-memory of Dude-Named-Perrin (?) and Unnamed Evil Female throws Perrin the Pretty into the sunlight only he doesn't burn (??) and pronouncements are made reguarding this (????) and it's possible that vampires of Damian's lineage can day-walk? Maybe? Except they can't and they burn alive and WHY IS THIS HERE?

And Richard saves them.

I'd use a headdesk gif here, but I think I'd break it.

It turns out that Evil Female is Moroven AKA Nemhain, and what happened to Perrin was so terrible that Damian is reduced to rocking and whimpering to himself on the floor. So of course, he can be comforted by Anita...except before we get to the comfort sex part Damian's maker Nemhain shows up somehow (psychically?) and steals whatever it is that makes Damian Damian (AGAIN) so Anita now has to save him. AGAIN.

End of chapter. Next chapter. Jean Claude contacts Anita psychically again and starts to walk her through the whole "Saving Damian" thing. Again.

Gregory comments randomly that everybody smells like food.

And then the wrongest thing in the series so far shows up:

Jean-Claude’s voice swelled inside me, pushed back the fear enough so I could hear his words. “You must raise the ardeur, ma petite, you must. She does not understand a clean lust, free of pain and terror. Use our Richard, and I will be able to join my powers to yours, and we can defeat her.”

One: I know I've said it every single time Richard gets mentioned, but Anita raped Richard. Specifically while under the influience of the ardeur, when he had specifically told her she is not allowed to use him as food. This will never be okay.

Two: Richard is trying to move on with his life by aquiring a new girlfriend. WHY HE BROUGHT HER TO ANITA'S HOUSE makes no sense, but there you go.

These two points mean that Jean Claude has just ordered Anita to retraumatize her rape victim under circumstances very similar to the rape, so that we can save the life of a third-tier character whose entire contribution to the series, as far as I can remember, was being locked in a coffin for six months.

You know, Cerulean Sins was a slog through hell and back, but at least it was consistent suck. It did not waiver. It did not really bother topping itself. I am beginning to suspect that this book does not come with a bottom to hit. And as much as I enjoy mining for comedy gold, nothing about this is funny. Having to deal with your abuser? Not fun. Being told that you must have sex with your abuser to save the life of an uninvolved third party who just fucked said abuser right in front of you, while you had a presumable flashback to the time she raped you? Not only is that nowhere near sanity, I really can't understand why ANYBODY would be willing to write this.

In other words: What. The fuck. Am I reading?

Anita spends several pages trying to get out of it.

This is the first sane thing she's done in this book...

...right up until we get to the whole "Yeah, but we've just ended our relationship and I don't want to revive that shit anymore" whining. Because, you know, it's all about how Richard has ruined Anita's life.

Hey, A.B? One of you pushed the other one into a fight to the death that ended with the consumption of the loser's corpse, and then ran the fuck away. And it wasn't Richard. One of you said "Oh, yeah, I'll never violate your limits now that you've pointed them out to me in triplicate" and then broke every promise made, and it wasn't Richard.

I know I keep harping on this, but for fuck's sake, couldn't this have been resolved without forcing Richard to have sex with Anita while his new girlfriend is sitting out in the car? 

 Meanwhile, Gregory still thinks everybody smells like food. Thanks for that.



 And she's an itty bitty tiny thing who is Anita's size and who has dark burnette hair--fuck, I was sure she'd be a tall blond--and her name is Clair. And she's a new wolf. So very new that she doesn't recognize what fear is when she smells it.

And Anita and Nate and Damian are all freaking out at Gregory being mostly leopard right now, and at Clair having wolf eyes because I HAVE NO IDEA, NOTHING MAKES SENSE ANYMORE.

Oh, and Anita is no longer participating in anything. She might as well be a body pillow on the floor. She is our eyes and ears to let us know what is going on, and what is going on is Micah and Richard talking about just how good their fear smell is.

And oh, hey, I thought this couldn't get any worse. It just did:

I’d seen Richard nude enough times to lose track. The sight of him nude had excited me, made me nervous, afraid in that oh-my-god, where-am-I-going-to-put-it-all sort of way, envious when I’d lost my naked privileges, angry when he was being shitty, or trying to rub my face in the fact that I still found him handsome, but he wasn’t mine anymore. All those emotions, and lust, and love, but never fear. Never that feeling that he was physically so much larger than I was, so much stronger, so much  .  .  . he’d never hurt me physically, and I’d never been afraid of him physically, but I was now. I was afraid the way virgins are supposed to be afraid when white slavers snatch them away. Afraid of being ravished. Afraid of him using that body in mine. Afraid in a way that I’d never been afraid of anyone that I loved.
Anita is now afraid of being raped.

By Richard.

I do not know where to start with the fucked up here. This is wheels within wheels of utterly fucked all to hell. If utter human horribleness were distilled down to its basest elements it would be that paragraph right there. I mean

Richard kind of talks Anita back down, and then Damian grabs her and ramps her right back up again...and the chapter ends before we go any further.

I want to know what drugs were involved in this, so that we can get them banned on the manufacturing level. This is not darkety dark. This is just char-grilled stupid.


  1. I am so glad I stopped reading these books before this one. I'll still flip through one in the bookstore if I feel masochistic, but I have no desire to read the "new and improved" ardeur Anita. I always say that the original book Anita would kill this one and feel no remorse at all. While the first five books weren't great literature, they had decent plotlines and interesting characters, and they were a nice "guilty pleasure". This? This just makes me want to burn some books, because no one needs to read crap like this.

  2. "And she's an itty bitty tiny thing who is Anita's size and who has dark brunette hair"

    Clearly, we're meant to see this as Richard trying to replace Anita with a woman who looks like her but not, y'know, as attractive or tough *eyeroll*


  3. Like I've mentioned before I find LKH's gender politics absolutely abhorrent.

    "I was afraid the way virgins are supposed to be afraid when white slavers snatch them away."

    What the fuck is she thinking with this, seriously? Also "use" is a really unfortunate term when it comes to Richard.

    It makes me furious that a male character is never acknowledged as a rape victim. This happens in the Wheel of Time, too, where this woman is stalking and raping one of the male characters at knife point and everyone laughs it off like it's a light hearted farce.

    1. I realized how involuntary sexual responses are when I read that a large percentage of women orgasm during rape.

      That is how little control you have over your own body. An orgasm does not indicate you wanted it, liked it, or anything other than the fact that friction occurred.

      ...and I am suddenly SO GLAD I gave up on WoT halfway through the third book. I am sure that it is a lovely series, but I've seen glaciers move faster.

    2. A lot of abusers will also exploit that involuntary enjoyment for gaslighting purposes, too.

      WoT...I read like eleven of those. I am still not convinced Robert Jordan intended to ever finish it.

  4. The whole Richard-is-evil-and-Anita-is-saintly bullshit is why I quit reading in the first place - or rather, Anita's hypocritical and delusional attitude about the whole mess in Cerulean Sins is what finally killed any hope I had left that the series and the characters would get back on track. The fact that it actually got worse for the poor bastard is really sad.

    1. I think the point that broke me for the series was in Narcissus in Chains, well before the shower scene, when I realized that everything that I thought we'd settled two books ago was back into play and that we were going to go through it all over again.

      Women SHOULD have the agency to choose who they want to be with, but if a writer is going to spend ten fucking books selling us on a relationship and have the relationship be a done deal by book ten, then the writer should either stick to his or her fucking guns, or have the ending be something spectacular enough to make ten books of being flat out lied to worth the cost of admission.

    2. I hung in there a little longer because I thought maybe it was all just an aberration; it had been getting weirder for a while, but I knew the author had been through a divorce and I thought maybe once that calmed down a little we'd be back on track. NiC was like a fever dream; it was an incoherent mess and I was confused how it even made it to print. I hoped that was the last of whatever it was she had in her system, but nope. When Anita told Jason that she had never held anything back from Richard I threw the book across the room so hard it bounced off the 70's paneling about ten feet. A hypocritical character with consequences is great, a supposed hero who is hypocritical with no consequences not so much.

  5. I have a tendency to narrow my eyes at incredibly offensive things.
    My eyes have narrowed so much that I can't even see anymore.
    Send help.

    "I was afraid the way virgins are supposed to be afraid when white slavers snatch them away"
    Oh, hello misogynistic rape cultureific racist sentence that I can only BARLEY get into.
    Why virgins? Are virgins supposed to be more afraid of sex/rape than anyone else?
    Why WHITE slavers? Are white people more pure, and therefore more worthy victims?
    Why are YOU THE VICTIM, ANITA? 'Oh, the man I'm rapeing might hurt me. OH WOE IS ME"

    Look. Anytime you're in Canada, my entire liqueur stash is open to you. We need to get rid of the damage these books are doing to you.

    Also, hi! Sorry I haven't been commenting. I've been reading along, though.

    1. omg I know right, that one sentence alone is enough to write an entire essay on.

    2. If it makes it any better, white slavery is a term that refers specifically to women being abducted for sex trade, not anything to do with the race of the women in question. So a virgin might actually have more to fear since she'd fetch a higher price in that market.

    3. Hi Kore. Missed you. :D

      I also love how it's not the way the kidnapped virgins ARE afraid. It's how they're SUPPOSED to be afraid. Implying that one or more of these hypotheticals might not be. Because, you know, one of them might be having fun here.

      ...just typing that made me want to vomit more than a little.

      The more and more and more of this book I read, the less I want to try to understand LKH's motivation. It's like trying to understand the sexual proclivities of a serial killer. Sorry, I just don't want to go there. It's not safe.


    5. I know that white slavery refers to kidnapping for the purposes of sexual slavery, but that term is SO PROBLEMATIC, YOU GUYS (whihc I'm sure you know). Like white trash, the term just makes me want to start setting fires.
      I didn't think about the fact that virgins would go for a higher price, and something tells me that LKH didn't either.