So how's Anita Blake doing?
Let's see, Nate's still in the office. She's doing that tell-the-truth-so-they'll-assume-you've-lied thing ("He's here in case I need to have sex") and her pride smarts a bit for having sex in the office.
I bet it does.
She leaves to take Nate to Guilty Pleasures, and Nate reminds her to eat because just like the ardeur needs sex, the inner beast needs meat and the inner vampire needs blood, Anita's inner human needs to be taken care of too. That means a burger, or fries, or something that resembles real food.
“It would be interesting if you kept a food diary to see if there was a correlation between starving your human body and the other hungers rising.”Let me get this straight. Laurel K. Hamilton is writing a story where balance between needs is absolutely key to her main character's well being, and she is going to ignore this in favor of having sex.
Will, in fact, later demonize this idea--that feeding her human body will sate the supernatural stuff too--because it's not hard core enough.
Laurel K. Hamilton has spent the last twenty years writing a novel series about the downward spiral of addiction, and everybody knows it but her.
Nate gives her a very stern talking to and they head off to get a burger for Anita and a salad for Nate. Nate talks about how burgers make him bloat.
And then we take a detour right into psychological fuckery that must be read to be believed.
“Richard always talked about his beast like it was all his baser impulses, you know, lust, sloth, the traditional sins, but to sin implies a knowledge of good and evil. There was no good or evil, there was nothing like normal thought. I hadn’t really understood how all my thoughts are based on things. I’m always thinking about how one thing affects another. The consequences of your actions.”Okay. The problem with the bolded part is that in this universe, a lycanthrope is not an animal. Being shoved into a situation where your self-control is challengened in no way shape or form removes your responsability to remain in control. A murder committed drunk is the same, morally, as a murder committed sober.Being human usually means you have awareness of your actions and their consequences. This is not something that you can abdicate. You CAN abdicate the reaction to said consequences--ie feeling guilty you killed someone--but you become an utter waste of eggs and sperm in the process.
Richard is a highly moral person, and he is aware that it is much easier for him to cross the line as a wolf than it is as a man. And unlike a drug user, Richard does not get a choice. He has a biological imperitive to place himself in a place that is not safe for himself or the people around him, once a month, every month.
“I stopped thinking about the Browns’ grief, their dead son. It wasn’t that I chose to ignore it. I wasn’t being callous, it just never entered my mind. It was just that they hurt me, and I got mad, but mad translated directly to food. If I killed them and ate them, then they couldn’t hurt me anymore, and I was hungry.”
And then you acted on that feeling by handling Mrs. Brown with unnecessary force, and by turning her son's death into your personal pissing contest. The fact that you lost control, Anita, does not justify the behavior you inflicted on the people around you.
She asks Nate how he avoids ripping into people, and he tells her to channel the animal feelings into sex, which is what they did in her office.
I get the feeling this is like getting heroin addicts onto methadone. It's less harmful but it's a lateral move, and that "less harmful" part is debatable.
Anita and Nate feel each other up while they wait for their salad and hamburger.
Thrilling action, ya'll. Just thrilling.
However, in the next chapter we get this absolutely breathtaking bit of description.
The alley was an alley,
YOU DON'T SAY.
Okay, the sentence goes on to say "cramped, smelly" and other things that are generally back-bar alley-ish, but seriously. This alley, guys, it's an alley. You might have missed all the nuances, so let me say it again. This alley is an alley.
And it is full of Nate's screaming fans. They're shouting his stage name of Brandon, but yeah, Nathanial has screaming fans. Because Anita must have the very best stripper leopard for her harem, ya know? OOOh, and of Nate's fans TWO of them are blondes and one has black hair, but it so obviously came out of a bottle.
The fan-girls get wary of Anita until both Nate and Anita say that she's security. One of them keeps pushing until a security vampire (...okay, that is for-reals, one of the coolest things I've typed all night) makes the girls go away. Anita says that one girl, a brunette, is taking things way too personally.
Then Anita finds out that the guy who should have kept the girls away from the stage door is also taking money to let in undesirables.
The undesirables being, you know, men. Yeah, men are strongly discouraged from going into Guilty Pleasures.
Doesn't that violate more than a couple laws?
Anita and Security Vamp AKA Buzz discuss how Bad Security Vamp Primo is fucking everyone over, and then some of those nasty unwanted men start heckling a dancer and a vamp comes to get Buzz to fix things, because it is "getting ugly". Anita goes along for shits and giggles and the chapter ends.
This book is going NOWHERE, isn't it?