Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Incubus Dreams--chapter 22-23

Oh god guys.

Oh god. I read ahead during lunch. I had my kindle with me and it was there and OH MY FREAKING GOD I almost snorted lunch up my nose.

So Nate makes coffee and this brings Anita into the kitchen, where Dr. Lillian is working on Richard, and Clair the new girlfriend is sitting at the table.


Clair contributes nothing to this story at all, except to highlight Richard's desperation at not having an Anita anymore. But accepting her presence requires us to accept that ANY SANE HUMAN would bring their new lover to their ex lover's house to...whatever. WHY IS HE HERE? WHY IS SHE HERE? Okay, that first one gets answered, but there is no reason for Clair to be here other than "Awkward".

Dr. Lilian looks at Anita. Lillian has a bodyguard named Fredo, which is one mistake away from being Frodo, and I think the idea of a hobbit body-guard is freaking awesome. Fredo is not nearly that interesting. He's generic bad guy with too many knives. Lillian realizes that seeing Richard is causing Anita distress and she throws everybody out of the kitchen so that she and Anita can go onto the main deck.

It's possible that she just makes them all go stand near a kitchen wall for a minute, but either way that "Go away so us women can leave" bit is kinda "HUH?"

Dr. Lillian gives us a speedy "as you know Bob" recap of everything we just read, and then kisses Anita's ass ("OH NO ONE ELSE COULD SURVIVE THIS SHIT EXCEPT YOU") until they decide to go back inside.

Anita goes to cuddle with Damian for a while, and this is where I completely lost it. See, Damian looks up at Anita...and he's pretty

I was suddenly struck by the sheer beauty of him. It was almost a physical force. As if beauty were a hammer and I’d taken a hit directly between the eyes.

Question one: how does a writer re-read that during polishing edits--which are the only kind of edits Laurel gets--and NOT go "OH HEY, I USED ONE SENTENCE WHERE I NEEDED TWO. LET ME FIX THAT BY HIGHLIGHTING A FEW WORDS AND HITTING BACKSPACE." And dear fucking GOD does the woman love filters. "His beauty hit me like a hammer between the eyes." It says the same damn thing and it's more immediate.

Suddenly is evil. Almost is even more evil, and "had taken" is nearly as contaminated as "was doing". Revise accordingly.


Apparently having sex and/or being tied to Anita makes vampires more pretty. Because it's one of Belle Morte's powers and somehow Anita has all those now. She calls Jean Claude to confirm this and he's all like "Uh...what?" which is great because the audience feels the same way.


 They spend pages talking about this. Pages. Dedicated to finding out why having sex with Anita made a vampire more pretty.

Isn't there a serial killer murdering as we speak? Didn't Damian flip the everloving fuck out a couple chapters ago? WHY ARE WE FOCUSING ON MAKING VAMPIRES PRETTY.

Oh, hey, Anita needs to go work soon. Because if she doesn't raise zombies on purpose she starts doing it by accident. I do not remember this being mentioned in the series but I will assume it has.

or I start getting followed around by ghosts, or the spirits of the newly dead. I hate that last one, they always want me to take messages to their nearest and dearest, and it’s always stupid messages. I’m fine, I’m happy, don’t worry about me. What kind of message is that to knock on someone’s door with? I’m this complete stranger, but your dead son told me to hunt you down and say he’s fine. Nothing else, nothing urgent, just, I’m fine, don’t worry.”

...that would be the most awesome plot in the universe. Wouldn't it be awesome if the parent was like a mafia boss or a really scary shapeshifter leader and the haunted person had to choose between being kidnapped by weresnakes or having The Ghost Of Jimmy Brown sing "I am Henry the Eighth I am" at the top of his lungs for the rest of their lives.


...because the alternative is reading about sex making vampires pretty.

Laurel, just make them fucking sparkle and get it over with.

End chapter.

Next chapter, Gregory is still a leopard-man, so it's Nate's turn to dance at Guilty Pleasures. Clair is...I can't decide if that's an attempt to mimic human emotion or if LKH intentionally gave Richard a girlfriend made of animated cardboard. Either way, we're moving on.

Richard, meanwhile, has severely damaged his arm. He has to keep it immobile. If he were human he'd risk losing the arm. As it is, he risks losing his job because fast healing factors are a red flag for therianthropy.

...and that's all we get of THAT plot thread. Let's all discuss Richard's stupidity at taking a three month old werewolf--aka the new girlfriend--outside of a safehouse a week before the full moon. Because, you know, that's stupid and we can smash him on that. Except it's so far out of character that no, we can't.

And now we find out why Richard is sitting in Anita's house!

“Gregory couldn’t get anyone here to pick him up. He got worried. On his way over, his car broke down. I was next on the list at the coalition help line.”

 I hadn’t actually known Richard was helping staff the emergency calls. “Why didn’t he call AAA?” 
“He was more worried about why no one was answering your phone than his car.”

One: It's Triple-A, not AAA. Nobody says "Aye-Aye-Aye" unless they're two.

Two: So is there a reason why Richard couldn't have gone to rescue the wolf at the bar? Seriously. It's his wolf. I had assumed that Richard wasn't on the call list because We Hate Richard. But if he was on that list and he is trying to help other shifters, then logically he would be the person a wolf would call when they were in trouble. Which means that Micah should have been at home with Anita and none of the last several chapters should have happened at all. Richard wouldn't even have had to have picked up Gregory because Micah would have gotten everybody into bed and Damian wouldn't have had his little freak out.

But we're not addressing that. No. We are addressing Richard's assumption that Anita has been sleeping with everything with a penis, but especially Nate. Who is sad because Anita won't let him have sex with her at all.

I think my favorite thing in this book is how Sex ONLY equals intercourse and this somehow means you're a prude. Folks, I grew up fundamentalist Christian. KISSING counted as sex. I do not understand this at all.

Richard continues to freak out about how many men are living with Anita.

He has a girlfriend now. This is none of his business, and he should not be here because HE HAS A GIRLFRIEND NOW.

And then LKH loses the narrative for a minute:

Nathaniel was very carefully not looking at me, or anyone, but especially not me. I don’t know how I knew that he wasn’t just busy getting real cream out of the fridge to pour into an honest-to-God cream pitcher. The little pitcher was blue, and the sugar bowl was green, so the mugs matched everything. I knew his favorite color was purple, and had asked him why blue and green, and not purple? His reply was that blue was my favorite color, and green was Micah’s favorite color. The answer seemed to make sense to him. It didn’t really make sense to me, but I was beginning to learn that things didn’t have to make sense to me if it made the people around me happy, and the new dishes seemed to make Nathaniel very happy.
The place where the paragraph starts is not the same place where the paragraph ends. We start at Family Therapy and end at Bed Bath and Beyond's dishware section. Anybody else have whiplash?

And then we get a rapsody on a theme of "Nathanial is my wife". Anita begins considering giving Nate a lacy apron and a set of pearls.

Somebody told me she actually does this. PLEASE PLEASE TELL ME SHE DOES NOT ACTUALLY DO THIS.

Richard wants to discuss how Anita can be so soft around Nate, and not be fucking him. Nate decides that now is the perfect time to make waffles biscuits.

Anita finally asks Richard what his problem is AND we enter retcon-from-hell territory.

Again: We spent a large number of books watching Anita attempt to balance Jean Claude and Richard as boyfriends. Anita wanted Richard. The ONLY reason she was with Jean Claude was because Jean Claude would kill Richard if she cut JC off. Then Richard accepted his beast, scared Anita, and sent her running off to Jean Claude's bathtub for a comfort blowjob. Richard broke up with Anita because she had promised him she would support him in that acceptance, and that she would not do exactly that. They got back together after three painful books, and it looked like we were going to have a happy threesome right up until Narcissus in Chains and the whole "Raping Richard" thing.

Please keep that firmly in mind, kay?

Richard tells her that he assumed she had the same open relationship with Micah that the wolves last alpha had with his girl Rania, whose spirit possesses a time-share on Anita's soul. Anita tells him that Rania wouldn't understand monogamy if it ate her panties, and Richard tells her that she's one to talk, basically.

Anita flies off the handle and points out that (off camera) Richard is screwing every female he can find.

There is no way to verify this other than Clair.

Richard says "At least I waited until we stopped dating to screw around." Which is REALLY uncomfortable given that he's talking about the shower scene AKA the time that Micah raped Anita.

He tells her that he thought she was sleeping with Nate before she broke up with him.

She says "YOU broke up with ME because I liked the monsters better than you do"

I'm quoting the next part to prove it exists:

He actually looked embarrassed. “That was really unfair of me, and I’m sorry.”

That was really unfair of me, and I’m sorry

That was really unfair of me, and I’m sorry

That was really unfair of me, and I’m sorry

 That was really unfair of me, and I’m sorry

 Richard has just apologized for breaking up with Anita because she raped him.

Tell me there is another way to interpret that. Please.

And of COURSE Richard then goes on and on AND ON about how PERFECT Anita and Nate are together and how they should be sleeping together already and just gag me with a fork and get it over with.

We then get a description of Nate laying down plates...and I gotta admit, I like the paragraph. Oh, sure, you could argue that it's unnecessary detail, but it's kind of a void--we've got all this emotional tension, and they're left alone and instead of acting on it Nate does the domestics. When you're in a fucked up relationship, or just in a good one that's only fucked up momentarily, it's these little moments that kind of define it.

If it were a good book, this would be good.

Anyway, they have a touching moment that ends with "I still want intercourse" And then Micah shows up. And Anita gets light headed because...fuck if I know, and Micah comes to her rescue. She says she's about to faint. Micah counters this with the dumbest line in the entire series: 

 “You’re not going to faint. You never faint.”

That line exists in this book. I swear to God. I am not making this up. I really have nothing to say that the Macros didn't already say a thousand times better.

LKH wants us to believe that ANITA doesn't faint.

 Anita then watches Clair butter Richard's biscuits. She then re-imagines Nate in a lacy apron and pearls, starts laughing, runs out of the room, starts crying instead, and sits there until Micah shows up.

This book sucks.


  1. you are great!!!keep going!!!i want the next merry genty book too if u can take it, when it's over!!!*goes back to lurking*


    She is here because Richard has been telling her all about Anita, and of course she doesn't believe a word of it. She wants to meet the Craziest of Crazy Exes, so she can compare Richard's stories to reality.

    And of course when she gets there the house smells like charred pork, there are bits of cooked vampire flesh scattered from room to room, the furniture is scorched, and there's a stain on the floor where Anita just had sex with a burn victim.

  3. "I knew his favorite color was purple, and had asked him why blue and green, and not purple? His reply was that blue was my favorite color, and green was Micah’s favorite color. The answer seemed to make sense to him. It didn’t really make sense to me, but I was beginning to learn that things didn’t have to make sense to me if it made the people around me happy, and the new dishes seemed to make Nathaniel very happy."

    This right here kinda hammers the point home that Nate isn't really a character. He solely exists to make Anita happy. Doing things that make her happy will make him happy, and that is the sum total of both his and Micah's characterization (later books will explain why, and believe me it is so unbelievably creepy that I cannot fathom why LKH tries to pass it off as love).

    I understand the desire to make a loved one happy, but Nate literally has nothing beyond making Anita happy. It's very creepy and it's made worse by the way Anita refuses to address it or try to fix it. Instead she binds Nate to her so that he is utterly and completely dependent on her. Making her happy no longer becomes a mere desire, it is now the only way he can survive. Nate's background is filled with sexual and physical abuse, and being forced to please others as a way to survive. Now Anita has taken the place of his pimps, the only difference is that she tries to disguise it as love.

    1. There is a very fine line between using details to show a character's feelings--ie upset person fixes dinner while someone else talks to them, romanticly involved people play games with flowers--and using detail to babble because you don't KNOW how to show things.

      LKH wants this to be "Nate loves us so much he's abdicated his own color choices for us!" But this makes no sense. Nate loves Anita enough to choose her favorite color rather than his...but he's insisting on sex when she's told him no. Ergo, he's VERY good at meeting his own needs over the desires of others, and this whole color choice thing is a red herring because insisting on your own needs is...bad?

      My character test is if you can sit the ensamble cast down in front of a bad movie. (IE SKYLINE or TWILIGHT or HANSEL AND GRETEL) If they start MST3King the movie out of desperation, they pass.

      LKH would have them all have an orgy because she wouldn't know what else to do.

    2. A good point and a good character test.

      I still have difficultly as seeing Nate's insistence for sex as an actual, 'healthy', need. Based on his background and behavior from earlier books, Nate is portrayed as this weak, submissive character who uses sex to please stronger dominants. His abusive experiences have led him to believe that he needs a strong master to be safe, and that the strong master will always demand sex from him. His 'need' for sex with Anita is more of a reflex from his past, a belief that she will only keep him safe as long as he pleases her in bed.

      I don't see Nate's insistence for sex as a healthy desire on his part, I see it a symptom and characteristic of someone who has been abused and hurt many times in his life. Anita is in a position of power over him, he is submitting, and she is fully aware of that. Yet she will ultimately take advantage of him and this and try to play it off as him being the manipulative one.

      Nate started out as this victim and survivor of child abuse, now he is being rewritten as this sexual predator that manipulates Anita into situations she is's really kinda disgusting the way Nate's character is twisted around. I'm all for seeing an abuse victim learn to overcome their abuse...but this is just sick.

  4. The bizarre insistence she has on separating people into two and only two categories really weirds me out. Especially since the series didn't start out with it that obvious or overblown. Now though; you're either aggressively nasty or a weakling, you're either a 50's Stepford housewife or a cigar-chomping pistol-packing macho 70's cop. For no apparent reason.

    1. I think there are two reasons why LKH does this. The biggest reason being that she really and truly sees the world this way. People are either A or B, gender roles are strictly defined and enforced, there are no exceptions in any case.

      The other reason is this makes Anita more of a speshul snowflake. She's a female character, so she should fall into the category of 'weakling Stepford wife', but she is given the characteristics of a man. The other characters will point this out constantly, how Anita doesn't act like a girl, instead she acts like 'the man' in a relationship and in all other aspects of life. But she's still a girl...with big titties.

      When you separate your characters into two categories, the only way to make one character stand out is to give them characteristics of both categories and blend it into one character. Thus we get Anita: female body + male mind/behavior = special

    2. Wow, that's...awful. And sad.

    3. Whereas in real life that is called "Being a person".

      IRL nobody is completely male or completely female in their mentality, and everybody is capable of looking at another person and going "Yep, that one's nice" even if they don't identify as being attracted to that gender. Because we're not perfectly labled paint cans. We're that water jar that the paint brushes get rinsed out in. Paint splattered, colorful, and full of that mud-colored water that indicates a good time was had by all.

      I guess nobody really has a good time in an LKH book.