Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dragon Breath Pt 3 update

It's with the editor, who has already sent back partial edits for me to work on. She's not the same one who worked on the other two thirds, but she's really good, and I'm happy with what I've seen so far. Artwork is in progress and trucking along nicely. I'm going to set an ETA for next weekend, the 8th or 9th, depending on how much I can get done between now and then. And I'm (Gasp!) starting the countdown clock. WHEE BOYS AND GIRLS THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

Indiegogo donators will get their copies of pt three e-mailed to them, and yes, I know I still owe two of you pictures and things. Those are coming too. Those will be sent before Christmas.

No Anita Blake today. Last night I was drugged to the gills (I hate being a girl. I hate it. Every time one of those womb-centric feminist "peroids are only bad because the patriarchy makes it so" routines all I can think about is that scene in Fight Club where Tyler gets beat up by the bar owner. "YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE I'VE BEEN, LOU. YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE I'VE BEEN." Pain has an amazing way of reducing you down to your base components and them making those little pieces squirm.) and today I wasted too much time trying to figure out why my computer wouldn't turn on (Good news: I made it turn on. Bad news: I have to figure out why my backup battery isn't working anymore)
So there you go. Updates and shit. It's happening this time, kids. I promise.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Danse Macabre--chapter 12

Richard spends the first few pages of chapter twelve snuggling with naked Anita and contemplating the texture of Jean Claude's hair. Jean Claude is frozen because Richard is touching him and OMG too much movement might freak Richard out and send him into a snit of homophobia! It's like we're watching Elmer Fudd go creeping across the screen, muttering "Be wery wery quiet. We're hunting straight guys."

Once again, I'm getting that weird whiplash feeling. I am in no way qualified to make this commentary, but I thought Homophobia didn't equal "I don't want that person to touch me" unless there's a "because they're gay" attached to it. (Correct me if I'm wrong, PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong, but "I don't want you touching me because I'm not attracted to you" seems to be like, a baseline for human rights.) Richard's issue doesn't seem to be "Ew, gay people". It seems to be that he's straight, and his sexual boundaries are continually and consistently crushed by Anita and Jean Claude, and he's starting to overreact because that's what continual traumatic experiences do. He never goes on a homophobic "Gays are evil" rant, he just says "I don't want that. I don't want that. Please stop, I said I don't want that. Please stop touching me. Please stop. PLEASE FUCKING STOP I HAVE ASKED YOU VERY NICELY" until he snaps and starts screaming--and even then it's still "I TOLD YOU I DO NOT LIKE THAT AND I ASKED YOU TO STOP." and not "OMG I HATE GAYS." And the only non-straight person Richard ever seems to interact with is Jean Claude, who has the sexual boundaries of an octopus. We don't get to see how he interacts with someone who isn't constantly shoving himself onto Richard. He has the exact same reaction to Anita. Anita is basically walking all over Richard's limits on a weekly basis, and justifying it because it's just Richard's homophobia. Yes. Richard not wanting to have psychic sex with a woman is his homophobia. Explain that, blog-readers. Explain that.

FYI that's a textbook abuser tactic. First, demonize a behavior you don't like, then crush it or ignore it somehow, then explain how justified you are in crushing said behavior because it's just a socially inappropriate reaction and your victim will become a better person for being repeatedly crushed. Bonus points for dressing it up in religion. "Oh, you're not being a good Christian right now because you're drinking, so it's okay for me to hit you/lock you up/do this other thing to do. I'm making you a better person." "Yes, Richard. Let me expose you to sexual situations you do not like because it'll make you a better person. It's not that you're not enjoying this. It's just your homophobia talking."

It's also rather interesting that even though this series is on an "It's okay to be gay" kick, it's apparently only okay when there's a woman (this being Anita) involved. Seriously. Name one gay couple in this series--ONE--that isn't villianized that doesn't involve Anita somewhere. Asher and Jean Claude? Anita. Auggie and Jean Claude? Anita. Asher and Narcissus? Oh, it's a bad, twisted, evil relationship and he needs to come back to the magic vag. Yeah, I'll find the bullshit with Richard to be something like active commentary on gay rights when gay people (or ANY people) are allowed to exist outside of Anita's sphere of sex and not be little demon people.

So the Cape Cod master and his oldest son show up at the door, and we get a few pages of Anita and Jean Claude's robes.

His is furry, hers is not. They're both black. Note how quickly Anita cooperated with Richard's request that she put clothes on.

Richard then takes the blame for what happened in the room. Because it's not enough for Anita to be a textbook abuser. Now we need to have textbook victim responses too.

“Some nights I hate you, Jean-Claude, but if I’d been with Anita tonight, touching her, Augustine wouldn’t have been able to roll her.
"If I stay with him, he won't drink as much." "If I put out, he won't hit me/the children". "If I do this, then the abuser won't do the behavior I dislike so much." Right. Richard wants out of this relationship bad, so anything that happens to the other people in it is his fault. And he's accepted this blame.

Folks, you are not responsible for what another person does. You are never responsible for someone else's behavior. It is their choice to do it. They can choose not to. You are not obligated to prostrate your life in front of someone else's addiction or sex drive, or political ambitions, or anything else. You always ALWAYS ALWAYS have the right to say no and leave.

But Richard basically says "I promise to support you guys and never leave again" and the chapter ends with Anita wondering how true he can keep to that promise. Because it's not like he isn't promising to cooperate with his rapist or anything.

Wait. He totally is.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Danse Macabre--chapter 11

I think my problem with having Richard show up--other than, you know, the obvious--is that means whatever progression we've made in terms of plot goes out the window. Given that "progression" cannot be air-quoted enough with these books, that is so fucking significant it isn't even funny. When a character sets your series back by several plot arcs? GET RID OF THE CHARACTER. HE (or she) IS NOT HELPING THE FUCKING STORY.

Richard is so pissed that he's got Claudia the were-rat's hackles up, and she's showing Anita that Claudia really is Super Rat under the mousy exterior (I couldn't resist. I'm sorry).

Richard also reminds me of drunk calling your ex. Not actually drunk calling, but the fantasy that preceeds it. You come up with the story that you ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE will bring them running, and if you're lucky you manage to pass out before you reach the phone.

Richard is actively "spoiling for a fight", which is a term I've always hated. Anita thinks that it's more like her than him, which would be something we both agree on if Richard actually had anything resembling a character. JC gets out of the tub first to go soothe Richard, and Anita gets out of the tub and towels off. She spends a second looking at herself in the mirror and hoping that Richard gets aroused looking at her.

He looked at me with that rage-filled face, and the moment he saw me, his eyes filled with such pain, as if the sight of me like that was a knife blow straight through his heart. I was sorry for the pain, but happy about the reaction.
You. Wish.

Moving on.

Richard screams about "How could you do that with him?" And for a minute I'm thinking we're about to go into homophobia City while we demonize Richard for not wanting to have sex with men. (It's kind of amazing how this series manages to do both at once) but that's not it at all.

Richard lowered his hands, and his eyes were pure chocolate brown. He’d swallowed some of that awful, burning power. “You helped him rape the Master of Chicago.”


It's not gonna last, we're going to justify this and turn it into Richard is Wrong in a minute, but let's all just enjoy the moment while it lasts. Anita just raped an entire city, and Richard is calling her on her shit.

(Also, can I point how ungodly squicky it is that Richard is magically tied to his rapist? In that he senses every time she rapes someone else the way she did him? I think that was a horror movie plot, only the sexes were reversed and the rapist wasn't the protagonist.)

 And then the hypocracy just flows like fucking wine. "I WOULD NEVER RAPE ANYONE AND NEITHER WOULD JEAN CLAUDE."


And then Richard says "Well, did the other guy really pick a fight with you?" becasue THAT totally justifies everything. Jean Claude decides to send all the bodyguards out of the room because it accomplishes...something. Anita realizes one of the bodyguards wants to have sex with her. She'll have to do something about that later.

Richard asks her to please put something on, she's making him very nervious. They then discuss the vampire politics, including the "they'll probably kill us all" part, which makes Richard start asking if this gathering thing really was that great of an idea. Jean Claude doesn't really answer. Jean Claude and Richard then go over the list of all the local vampries who could become Anita's new fuck toy because why not?

And of course things descend into the relm of emotional breakdowns and the chapter closes with Anita cradling Richard's head in her lap because of course she does.

It amazes me how someone can spend so much time writing something and have absolutely nothing happen.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Danse Macabre--chapter 10

And now we're in a bathtub.

You know, for somebody who takes a bath every other fucking chapter, Anita really has terrible hygene. Just sayin'.

Oh, and in the opening paragraph Anita poo-poos a guy having hysterics because, you know, Anita just psychically raped him.

If he’d had more guards with him, and we’d had less, it could have gotten violent, but when you’re outnumbered, outmuscled, and your master is saying, Let it go, well, Octavius had to eat it. He didn’t like it, neither did Pierce, but Haven, of the Cookie-Monster-blue hair, was voting with Auggie. They both liked us just fine.
Anita has Lovecraftian rape powers. She just freaking used them, and her side is telling one of her victims to "let it go". HOW IS SHE NOT THE BAD GUY. HOW DO YOU NOT SEE THE PROBLEMS HERE. HOW.

"Oh, it was a visit from the orgasm fairy. Didn't that make you feel good? WHY YOU MAD BRO?"

Good fucking God. I could see some of this as understandable, but this rape-power thing is utterly fucking oblivious. HOW DO YOU NOT SEE THIS. HOW. HOW DO YOU MAKE THE VICTIMS THE WHINY HATERS WHEN YOU ARE THE PERSON RAPING.

By being a rapist at heart. That's how. Not kidding, not joking. Read too many transcripts for that to be funny. EVERYTHING is justified by orgasm. By your orgasm, specifically, but it's happy rapist bonus points if the victim has one too. That way you can say they wanted it. WHY IS THIS WOMAN STILL THE HEROINE OF ANYTHING?

Even Jean Claude is hiding from Anita. She starts pushing because he's got the marks shut down and she's not used to it. Then she remembers she's supposed to be pregnant, and is all like "No, no, it's cool, it's cool. Keep the marks shut down, everything is fine." Yeah, because it's all fine and dandy when you want to keep a secret.

Jean Claude is all like "...are you serious? You're not going to push? You're gonna let me have my privacy?" and it's kind of pathetic how happy he gets.

And then...Oh GOD I am so glad I'm not drinking anything tonight. I would have just spewed across my monitor. I'm laughing so hard right now I can't even fucking talk.

So Anita starts going on and on and ON AND FUCKING ON about Jean Claude's eyelashes. He's got Elizabeth Taylor's eyelashes. And then they're lace.

I am not fucking kidding.

Until then, they were just this unbelievable lace around his eyes.

I'm picturing long overlays of brussel's lace, trailing down his cheekbones and flickering every time he blinks.

Oh, and it turns out that the emergency that kept Jean Claude from the Masters room was a fight between Requiem and Meng Die over, you guessed it, Requiem fucking Anita. Because Meng De LOVES Requiem and Anita's magical va-jay-jay STOLE him and ALL ROADS LEAD BACK TO ANITA'S COOTER.

Not just Anita. Her reproductive system. There isn't one thing in this story that doesn't go back to the magical vag. Plot? VAGINA. Character development? VAGINA. Pregnancy Scare? DO NOT MAKE ME EXPLAIN BIOLOGY.

We've taken a character that was interesting and kick ass and stuffed her into her own genetalia. WHY.

Anita and JC discuss why Anita won't let Requiem back into her bed.

“To my knowledge, the only man you have never said no to is your Nimir-Raj, Micah.


If you want Anita to have a relationship with the asshole who raped her THAT'S FINE. Okay, it's not fine, but it's an element that you've elected to have in your story. DEAL. WITH. THAT. ELEMENT. DO NOT TRY TO WRITE IT OUT OF EXISTENCE.

Jean Claude presses Anita to give Requiem a good answer for not fucking him. There are soap operas less concerned about fucking than this series. Anita says that she doesn't have a good reason. JC says that Meng Die almost killed Requiem and Asher in front of witnesses, and he needs her to either shape up or die, and getting Requiem back is probably the only thing that'll fix it.


Anita says she has seven lovers already, that's plenty. Statistically, yes, but apparently statistics don't mean shit in this book.

Jean Claude tells Anita that in terms of mantaining the ardeur, she's acting like a woman with anorexia. And there is a whole universe of implications re: Anita having an ED that I am not going to touch because FUCK IS THAT SQUICKY.

Basically he tells her the entire fight is Anita's fault, the entire scene with the Masters is Anita's fault, and that it'll keep happening if she doesn't get the Ardeur settled and find herself a brand new blood apple. THE WORLD WILL END IF ANITA DOES NOT FIND A NEW MAN.

Also, Requiem is hunting Anita because he had a female arduer-ed lover that Belle killed because BELLE IS AN EVIL HATER COMPETING FEMALE, and now he's going after Anita because she's a good replacement.

Jean Claude then confesses that if their powers keep growing he might end up owning all of America with his penis. andtheothermastersmighttrytokillthem SO LETS EXPARIMENT WITH OUR NEW SEX POWERS.


end of chapter.

I got nothin, kids.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dance Macabre--chapter 9

It's a sex scene. We've read a million of these already. Lots of mouth action. Lots of spilling. Lots of nonsense. No sign of actual consent. Lots of violent language for things that should be, you know, non violent in the context of sex.

Something I did raised Auggie up off the ground as their mouths touched,

We don't need to know what this is. We just need to know that it's something. Anita did something.

My body reacted for me; the sight of them kissing just flat did it for me. I’ve been told that it’s how a lot of men feel about seeing two women kiss. Why should I be any different?

You know, maybe it's because it's them kissing. It's a moment that is, in theory, completely theirs. They are not permitting you to watch. You're just kind of there, and you're getting off on something that doesn't involve you.

This is not sexy. It's creepy and a little disgusting. I so did not wake up today thinking "Gee, I wonder what being inside the head of a Peeping Tom feels like."

LKH then does that whole "His body" thing to describe a man's penis, and it kind of backfires because she's talking about his body--specifically, his abs--in the start of the paragraph, and then we're talking about kissing up the hard curve of his body and it took me a second to understand the hard curve was actually a penis. There's a reason genitalia have names. It's so we avoid the confusion of going from navel to head without a transitory phrase.

Anita then starts describing giving a blow job, which is actually something I can't read due to personal issues, so I'm going to assume it's a thrillingly beautiful description of giving head and leave it at that.

...and now we're in full on homo-erotica. I did not expect that. Neither, apparently, did Anita, seeing as how Auggie was spelunking Anita's cavern with his johnson at the time.

And just in case we had any hope whatsoever for Anita being a heroine, we get this paragraph:

We didn’t just feed off Augustine, we fed off all his people in our territory. I felt Haven, the werelion, spasm against the floor, where he still lay in the fallen curtains. I felt Benny, behind the wheel of a car, lose control and have to screech to the side of the highway. Pierce fell against a wall and slid to the floor, his body spasming. Octavius collapsed on the stairs, choking, clawing at the stone, breaking his nails to bloody bits to try to keep it from happening. But nothing could save them, any of them. If we’d been in Chicago we could have fed off every beast and vamp that owed allegiance to Auggie, and he would have let us. For this pleasure he would have sold what was left of his soul and the souls of everyone who worked for him.

The fucking Great Old Ones are not half as terrifying as that. LOOK AT THAT. One of 'em has orgasms in curtains. Fine. ANOTHER ONE HAS IT BEHIND THE WHEEL. NO WARNINGS. Next time there's a five car pileup in St. Louis, I guess it's 'cause Anita and JC bumped uglies. THE TEXT ITSELF SAYS THAT THIS IS SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE NEED TO BE SAVED FROM.


But it's all okay, because Anita is unselfishly broadcasting that power to HER people, and they're all hunky-dory with this.

End of chapter.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Danse Macabre--chapter 8

Auggie's powers make Anita want to make out with him. What else is new.

It turns out that Auggie is one of Belle Morte's old lovers. The ardeur is his drug and he's jonesing for a new fix. Well, I guess when you're an addict, any port in a storm...Anita's ardeur is now contageous, so she tells everybody else to keep their hands off. Everyone except Graham obeys out of self-interest, Clauida the were-rat offers to shoot him if he misbehaves.

Jean  Claude is apparently racing down the stairs at a speed of general mosey. HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW YOUR PSYCHIC SOUL MATE IS NOT IN TROUBLE?

Auggie tries to sweet talk her into sex. Lil tip, guys. If your lover says "Let us drown together" running might be a good idea.

Anita prays to Mary and the ardeur lightens up. Then she makes one of those asides that make my teeth grit:

For years I hadn’t prayed during times like this, too embarrassed, but I’d finally realized if my faith was real, then it didn’t desert me just because I was outside societal norms.
On the one hand, I've been there with my faith, I've done that. I've been doing studies lately on faith and trusting God (Christian blog-readers: George McDonald. Unspoken Sermons. It's free on Amazon. It is amazing.) so I get part of it. According to Mr. McDonald, distrust of God is equal to athiesm, and I probably need to stop right there because I can discuss this subject for the next hour. ON THE OTHER HAND every time LKH wanders into my faith I want to punch something. WOO HOO, Anita is SO SPECIAL God AND Mary listen to her when she's wandering around in a gray area. Only Anita never spends any time on God when she isn't deep in the shit. This is a book were we find out how many toenail clippings she made this morning, and she spends exactly zero hours going to church, or reading the bible, or doing anything faith-promoting. BUT HER FAITH IS SO PURE GOD COMES TO HER RESCUE ANYWAY. Except obviously she has faith issues, because she wasn't praying during these tricky situations. Anita is a Christian because it makes her religious items flare up whenever she comes down with a case of Bad Vampire. That's the only reason. She's not wearing a cross because it has symbolic significance to her; she's wearing it because it's a weapon. Her faith is all about what God can do for her, rather than what she can do for God (the ultimate answer is "nothing" but it's more complicated than that). Basically, her faith is as self-centered as every other relationship in her life, and her faith should not work at all. Especially the holy items as weapons bit. If holy items have power, it's because of the deity behind it, and the Deity in Christianity has a documented history of squishing anybody who misuse his things.

Basically, God in the Anita Blake novels is the magic slot machine in the sky. Put in enough faith tokens and you'll win a pony. We're one televangelism commerical away from Prosperity Gospel.

And of course, the magic sex powers trump God. Anita's sex drive is bigger than God.

So Anita switches over to the metaphysical beast inside of her and starts literally eating Auggie's face. He tries to kiss her, she bites him, she screams wordlessly, she fights, yadda yadda yadda...can I remind all of us that this is a visiting dignitary who could start an inter-city vampire war if he gets pissed off? That this is exactly why Anita should not have gone in this room alone?

LKH has written a female character that cannot be trusted to do anything on her own. She's done this on purpose. WHY.

Auggie somehow sends power into her to make her love him (?), and she keeps trying to eat his face. While praying that she won't permanently hurt him, because she loves him.

And then Belle Morte takes over the inside of Anita's head.

I think LKH writes by throwing darts at a board. Seriously. It's that fucking random. And she seriously needs to stop describing her sex objects with permutations of "like a child" because good holy fuck that is not sexy. Belle Morte is "like a child".

Am I the only person who remembers how Nikolaus was fucking scary? It's like we've inverted Nikolaus. Instead of having a child be, you know, autonomous and scary, all her bad guys are infantilized by Anita's desires.

Belle Morte and Auggie talk for a few minutes. It establishes that he tried to force Belle to love him and she threw him out because of this. Belle tries to roll the whole room and finally Jean Claude shows up. He raided Jareth's wardrobe again. He throws Belle out of Anita's mind, and Belle tells Jean that he, Anita and Auggie are probably going to have an orgy once she's gone. Belle tries to make Anita feel betrayed by revealing that Auggie and JC were lovers, and Anita is all like "Whatever. Let's fuck" and Belle is all "WTF is WRONG with you?" and the rest of us are all like "JOIN THE CLUB BELLE. WE'VE BEEN ASKING THAT SINCE NARCISSUS."

There's a memory...thing where Belle tries to show Anita something that JC and Asher did, and instead JC shows her a memory of him and Asher having sex. It goes back and forth for a while. It feels like the book just dropped acid.

 Belle gives Anita the power of living memory, whatever that means, and we get to watch Jean Claude and Auggie make out as JC's payment to get to America. Whatever floats his boat. Anita goes on about how she can't resent JC for the stuff that happened in his past, she comes back to herself, Auggie apologizes, the ardeur takes over and mercifully that's where the chapter ends.

Danse Macabre--chapter seven

Long, LONG day at work today. I spent this evening doing theoretically low stress fun AKA building new versions of mob grinders in minecraft. Yes. I have a book overdue and I goofed the fuck off. Every time I started trying to write I thought about a (theoretical) room full of Nth graders and fabric paint on tables that ABSOLUTELY CANNOT BE STAINED and I realised it was either work on the nether mob farm or curl up and whimper in a corner. I figured out how to slaughter ghasts while AFK and how to build a high density item sorter without resorting to inverters (because when the fucking redstone torches burned out it destroyed the item filters.) Of course NOW I have no reason not to park the game on a menu and write.

Also: I love Joey, I love her story, but I don't like writing her story. The last third had SO MANY things to tie in it's like WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF CHILDREN. WHY.

So, yes. I am not THAT much better than LKH in her priorities. And now you know...

Chapter seven made me realize that DM and Merry Gentry were written co-currently. It also made me realize that if anything justified what Anita and Co. were doing--if there were a plot that went ANYWHERE--this scene would be tolerable.

As it is...

SHE KISSED ME, and this time I didn’t fight her. I let my body melt into hers, let her feed at my mouth. There is a moment in a kiss, especially an open-mouth kiss, where the caress of lips and tongue spills over some line, and beyond that line, you kiss back. I kissed her, kissed her as she was meant to be kissed, full and complete, tasting her.


 We take a long break to look at how all the men are reacting to watching two women make out. Because that's the total point of this scene.

What's sad is, I'm probably right.

Speaking of which, everybody disgusted by the sex scenes involving Cynric in later books should realize that this chapter has Anita making out with seventeen year old Thomas. The only thing that stops them is Thomas freaking out over Anita's hidden gun.

He’d actually missed the big knife down my spine, because he hadn’t come to the midline of my body until low on my back. But it was a big weapon to miss. Baby, he was a baby. And I’d have said that if he’d been twenty-seven instead of seventeen.
Yeah. I was poking around in the Amazon Customer Discussion forum for Affliction and somebody pointed out that Anita is twenty seven currently. Meaning however old she is in this book, she's not twenty-seven. I think she's got her head so far up her own ass her eyes need a wet-wipe.

Anita tells Thomas to go sit down. Thea, Anita and Micah then bicker for a few minutes over who needs to be acknowledged next: Auggie's people or Thea's other sons. Anita decides to let Thea wait until JC shows up again, and heads over to Auggie's side of the room

 Thea's reaction is...uh, not very gracious.

“So Augustine’s whore is higher in rank than my sons?” Thea sounded genuinely angry.

Nice, Thea. Real nice. Not to be one-upped in class, however, Anita tells Samuel to make his wife behave. He does.

 Anita tells Thea she doesn't like being forced, so her children probably won't get another chance at her bed. Thea says that Anita wouldn't want her sons anyway, forced magic was her only excuse. Anita moves over to Auggie's side of the room, wondering frantically if Thea knows about the pregnancy scare now.

Auggie's girlfriend gets the classic LKH treatment. A couple bits stand out.

  • Her hair was long, and teased too high on the top, as if she’d never quite left the eighties, but it was brunette. It might even have been her natural color.
Oh FUCK YOU. There's so much wrong with this I'm not even going to dignify it with taking it apart.

 The spaghetti straps of her dress and the thin material should not have been able to support her breasts. Breasts that large do not stay perky without more help than the dress could give. Her breasts sat under the dress in a way that real breasts just don’t.
 You know, that whole "Exactly the way (insert here) doesn't" worked for Douglas Adams because Douglas Adams was trying to be funny, and most of his humor involved forcing your brain to make hairpin turns that left you with whiplash. LKH is writing porn. If you get whiplash doing porn, you're doing something wrong.

Auggie's girlfriend's name is Bunny. BUNNY.

Well, I'm going to make a bet now and say that Auggie is the villian for this piece. Don't tell me if I'm wrong or not. I want to be surprised.

Bunny asks how she can be a whore when Thea is pimping her sons out and Anita has a harem. Probably because two of the three women AND the writer are dedicated misogynists, and they want somebody special to shit on today.

Naturally, Auggie dumps her on the spot. On the one hand, she just made an ass out of him AND her in a highly charged political situation...on the other hand, Thea insulted her and she hadn't said one word onscreen beforehand.

Auggie apologizes profusely to Anita for the insult.

Meanwhile, a tooth-and-nail disfiguring battle is being played for laughs.

Fredo pushed himself from the wall, all boneless ease like some dark, well-armed cat. Clay just took Bunny’s other arm, and helped Benny start carrying her toward the door. She used the spike heels effectively, probably drawing blood through Clay’s pants. He never slowed, and neither did Benny, though his face was bleeding from nail marks. Fredo got both her ankles, and they carried her out.


And of course the reason for all this is that Anita is a natural beauty and everyone is jealous of her pretty mcprettyness. GAG ME.

Nate, of course, has his lips firmly planted on Anita's nethers.

“You outvamped the sirens, Anita.”
Auggie tells Anita that her animal to call isn't just leopards. His lions felt her call, and he wants to trade a lion for Bunny's replacement. He wants a london vampire for a pet. IDK, Auggie, the one you got is probably a winner...and I do just love how Bunny is presented as a hellcat to justify Auggie jumping girlfriends like that. SO classy.

Auggie's lions introduce themselves as Haven and Pierce. Anita rejects them out of hand because they're both "too dominant."

Anita wonders where JC is, and gets a vision of both him and Asher holding Meng Die down in a restraint. I guess the badly written female disease is catching tonight.

Anita then makes out with the two cats. Pierce, she dismisses instantly because he doesn't actually want to be here. Haven gets the full treatment.

Joseph, the local were-lion leader tries to stop it, and Haven freaks out. Joseph then tries to get Haven under control, and Auggie steps in because apparently this is stepping on his mojo, or something. He dominates Joseph because he can, I guess. Anita squares off with Auggie and reminds him that vampires call her the executioner, and if he keeps messing with her people she will kill his ass.  She starts using her necromancy against him, and he goes along with it until he gets close enough to pin her down, and then he starts making out with her because all roads end at Anita's va-jay-jay.

End of chapter.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Danse Macabre--Chapter 6

Anita is making out with a mermaid.

But she won't enjoy it:

If she’d been a man I would have just let her kiss me— was I really this homophobic?
No, Anita. You're straight. This is what happens when someone you are not attracted to puts the moves on you. You don't like it. Congratulations on discovering what the rest of us figured out during proms and awkward first dates. Pretty soon you'll have understood healthy bounderies and what constitutes consent and what poly really is.

Her kiss bruised my mouth and I tasted blood, sweet, metallic candy on my tongue. The moment I tasted the blood, it hurt. She’d cut the inside of my lip on my own teeth.

At the risk of TMI, I remember a phase where my blood tasted good. I was also having prolific nosebleeds, which was how I discovered this. I was diagnosed with anemia not too much later. Our bodies are really good at telling us what we need. Anita might want to go get that looked at.

 Thea, meanwhile, manages to sum up what's wrong with the entire series in one rather nice paragraph:

“My deepest apologies, Anita; it has been so long since I met anyone who could withstand my desires that I simply kept trying to force. Forgive me.”

I think if you replace "desires" with "no-editing clause" you'll get something really meta.

So. Do we get to find out WHY Thea the siren is assaulting Anita the Succubus? Other than sexy fun times? That sounds like Thea's really lonely...

 Thea then apologizes, but her apology is "I'm sorry I didn't realize you were strong enough to tell me to get fucked" and not "I'm sorry I violated your personal space and tried to take over your will." Because that's pretty much par for the course in an Anita Blake book.

The nearest thing we get to an explination is that Thea is addictive, and Anita is addictive, and apparently Thea wants something to get addicted to, and somehow this involves her sons because ONLY ANOTHER SIREN can awaken a siren's powers and Thea doesn't do incest...but she hopes that Anita can do it.

Anita is a succubus. Not a Siren. You're SOL.

Anita says she doesn't like Thea pimping out her sons. Thea asks what pimping out means, which I call bullshit on because if this white girl knows what it is, it's mainstream enough to fully penetrate the Earth's core. Thea doesn't live in France, she lives in fucking Cape Cod. She has television. SHE SHOULD KNOW THIS.

“If your power is not close enough to mine, then we will stay for the parties, and the ballet, but you will not have to look at them as pommes de sang. We will take our sons home and you will not have to worry over your discomfort.”

And this is the point where you say "How about let's not, and say we did," and go with that, because Anita's heavily implied that the whole "Candidates for blood apples" thing freaks her the fuck out. 

Instead, Anita asks what the side effects are. Thea says that nothing SHOULD happen...but if she fucks up it'll awaken the ardeur, and that means an orgy in the important meeting room. Gee. I wonder what's going to happen next.

Anita finds out that two of Thea's sons are seventeen.

I looked at her, and didn’t know what my face showed, but it felt like nothing pleasant. “I don’t do teenagers. Hell, I didn’t do teenagers when I was one.”

First of all, give it a couple more books. It'll change. Second...I really hope that just means Anita didn't have sex as a teen. Otherwise she was screwing twenty plus guys when she was still in highschool, and that gives her character layers of fucked-up I don't ever want to touch.

  • I wanted to say out loud, Your first time should be with someone you care about. Your virginity should go to someone you love.

Yeah, one of Thea's sons has never done it before. Guys, I'm a southern Christian, and that comes with a lot of baggage, but virginity IMHO is like the pop top on a jar of pickles. It doesn't really matter to the pickles.

Anita remembers that she might be preggers, and Thea picks up on this. Anita decides to bullshit her way out of it and says that Sam is only the second master vamp to ever have kids and...

Wait. Wait a second. Wasn't a MAJOR subplot in one of the earlier books that Vampires could only insiminate a living female if they were recently dead enough? And that this involved hot tubs and prayer and a lot of other things. SAMUEL IS ESTABLISHED AS A THOUSAND YEARS OLD. HOW THE FUCK DOES HE HAVE BIOLOGICAL SONS.

I really hope they're somebody else's, because that's a pretty major part of the lore LKH just broke.

The chapter closes with Thea tasting Anita's power again...and once again, they have to make out to do it.

This book is never going to end.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dragon Breath Pt. 3--SAMPLE

I've been REALLY hesitant to post bits from these two books because every single part contains MASSIVE spoilers for part one, but given that I really dropped the ball this month (In my defense, changing jobs and all) I'm going to give you guys a sneak peek.

The most spoilery bits are after the cut. Also, it's not professionally edited yet. Consider it a rough work in progress.

Chapter One

The man standing beneath the Dragon Queen’s wing was not supposed to be there. Granddad Sanderson was the rock on my father’s side of the family. He’d always projected this aura of the unshakable truth, an unstoppable force looking for an immovable object. Practicality. But there’d been a division between Dad and Granddad that ran deeper than just Dad marrying Mom. There’d been something else. Something that Dad was supposed to do that he didn’t.
Silly me, I thought, crouching in my battered dragon body. And here’d I’d thought Granddad wanted Dad to be a doctor. 

Danse Macabre--chapter 5

This book is a carbon copy of Cerulean Sins. Right down to Jean Claude's stupid gold-and-silver drapes. Which are described in detail, as is the painting of JC, Asher and Juliana which isn't even in the room. We dedicate a lot of time and attention to something that isn't there.

Anita manages not to start an intercity war with her first comment. The nearest (white, blond) MotC introduces himself as Augustine AKA Auggie. This gives me the cold sweats for reasons I cannot immediately articulate, so I'm going to assume that Auggie is a nice vampire who never has sex with Anita. I will cringe appropretely when proven wrong.

Auggie also makes an excuse for JC not being there. He understands that business can't always wait, which makes me really wish Jean Claude's empire was something other than sex...or that Anita could distract herself from teh sex long enough for us to see what Jean Claude's business actually is. All we ever see of Jean Claude's businesses are the customer side, and I'm including Anita's visits to the dressing rooms. You don't see the day-to-day stuff. What happens when you run out of something needed, what regulations JC has to follow to run his clubs, what happens when the cops raid him (and you can bet your ass that happens frequently) who he has to pay off. You know, that kind of thing. But we'd much rather focus on Anita fucking every single male dancer in Jean Claude's employ, rather than on the things that could develop him as a character.

I looked into his eyes, until I saw that they were like the sky when it goes black, just before it falls down and destroys everything you own.
I can't decide if I like this description of Auggie's eyes, or if I hate it, and either way it kind of loses its own point halfway through. Auggie has black eyes. Auggie has black eyes. Auggie has BLACK EYES. DO YOU GET IT YET?

“Welcome, Samuel, Master of the City of Cape Cod. As Jean-Claude’s human servant I welcome you and yours to St. Louis.”

Why would anyone saddle themselves with "Master of the City of (insert whatever here)" Why not "Master of Cape Cod" or "Master of Tombstone", something you can say in one nice mouthful?

Sam here brought a woman with him, probably his blood apple, and Auggie probably brought his blood apple and these are the two women who are fighting. Lovely. One of them takes little snipes at Auggie because having a female character who isn't awful is too fucking hard.

His animal to call is mermaids.

MERMAIDS? What happened, did somebody forget to give Laurel her Animal-a-Day calendar? She couldn't think of ANYTHING else? Why not Harpy Eagles? Or Hippos? How about motherfucking dragons, if we're venturing into the mythological? MERMAIDS?

Please tell me they turn ugly. PLEASE. Big ugly razor-toothed mermaids. It's the only way this will be salvagible.

Samuel’s eyes were hazel, pale brown with an edge of grayish green around the pupil. The green shirt brought out more of the green, so his eyes were almost an olive green, but they were definitely hazel, not true green. But then I had high standards for true-green eyes.

Every time LKH starts describing color all I hear is:

That's it.


Anita describes Sam's wife. It's...uh...special.

She bowed a body that was inches taller than his, bowed and hid her face. I was betting it was because her face just didn’t look sorry enough. Her dress was somewhere between cream and white, and it matched her skin and her hair. She was all whites and creams and pearls. At first glance you might think albino, but then she raised her eyes back up to us both. Her eyes were black, so black that her pupils were lost in the color of her irises. Her lashes were golden, her eyebrows gold and white.
It's that last bit that cracks me up. I've got this mental picture of Anita leaning in until she can see the individual eyebrow hairs.

Thea, the mermaid with the special eyebrows, bows to Anita. Anita helps her up. Thea asks if Anita is helping "like a queen to a commoner" or if Anita is acknowledging that Thea is a superior. Anita takes way too many words to say "I have no idea. I suck at this" and Auggie says the following:

Auggie laughed an abrupt, very human-sounding laugh, turning me to look at him. “Jean-Claude said you were a breath of fresh air, Anita, but such an honest breeze, I’m not sure we’re up to it.”

You know, when I was four my favorite game with my mother was Barbie Beauty Pagent. This one time I didn't have enough bathing suits for both our barbies to compete against each other, so my mother suggested I let her have the bathing suit and my doll should wear an evening gown because the modesty would win points with the jury. Mom had to explain what modesty was, but once I got it, I went nuts on the concept. "I'm modest. I'm modest. I'm the modestest person ever. Aren't you impressed with my modesty!"

Yeah. Anita is played up as being the honestest person who ever honested, and it reminds me of four year old me trying to play up modesty because I didn't want my mother to know I'd never heard of the word before.

We also find out that Samuel and Thea are putting their sons on the chopping block so Anita can turn them into blood apples.

Worst. Parents. Ever.

...and Thea decides that she and Anita need to decide who is of higher rank so yes indeed, we're having a fucking pissing contest between Anita and a motherfucking mermaid. WITHIN FIVE MINUTES OF WALKING INTO THE ROOM. At least Anita isn't the source of this, but hey, bonus round! IT'S A WOMAN. YAY.

Anita decides to offer Thea her wrist because fuck if I know, and Thea goes for the throat instead, because why not, and the explination for this whole creep fest is:

“My wife is very competitive with other women, Anita,” Samuel said. “Surely Jean-Claude mentioned that, as he mentioned your temper to us.”

That, or the book is being written by someone who's focused more on proving how much better they are than everyone else than they are focused on writing a goddamned story. PEOPLE DO NOT INTERACT THIS WAY.

And then...Anita and Thea start making out. For serious. This is how the chapter closes:

“Succubus,” she whispered as she lowered her face toward mine. I knew in that instant that she was going to kiss me. “I am seeking another of my kind, Anita. Are you what I seek?” And with the last word she closed her mouth over mine.
The next chapter will be how Anita reacts to being kissed by another woman.

I peeked ahead.

Send help.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Danse Macabre--chapter 4

Anita is going into the room with the guest Masters of the City. With Micah and Nathanial. No Jean Claude. No Asher. Anita alone with two VIPs who could and would eat her if she insults them to their face.

This is like Dubbya entering a room. Any room. There are many many many many people who would do a better job at this. Ronnie (baby comments notwithstanding) Louie, Richard, the Swan King, Rafael (Dear holy Fuck, do you realize that out of ALL the were-whatevers not only is Rafael the only one not dragged into Anita's shit on a regular basis, forced to fuck OR participate in Jean Claude's nonsense more than once in a blue moon, his leadership ability is completely unthreatened and Anita and CO. count him as a friend. He's not on the radar AT ALL. Rafael is like, political GOD. Bet your sweet ass the dude knows what he's hiding from. Good form, Mr. Rat King. Good form. WHY ARE YOU NOT HERE) any single cop other than Dolph.

Fuck. Dolph would at least be up front about his issues.

They're sending in the person who got into a pissing contest over who got to walk through a door first.

Anita has (had) nothing to prove. I do not understand why she keeps doing this.

The two Masters of the City are all right so far, but the two women are sniping at each other.
AND THERE IT IS. Right there. Black and white. It's the women that are the problem. It's that women can't get along.Women can't deal.

I just got done watching Pacific Rim. Women kick ass. Sure, some of us have prickly personalities, but unless you manage to piss people off severely, you shove a group of women against a wall, they're gonna lock arms and shove back. WHY ARE THEY ON THE RECIEVING END OF THIS SHIT.

(For the record, everything in Pacific Rim is awesome).

It has the feel of something that could go south if we don’t have someone to help keep it friendly.”

I mean, if Anita said "And you're calling me? God, are we that desperate?" I'd be more cool with it. If Anita having a fuse shorter than a nanobot's wiring were a character trait that everybody understood and just kinda worked around officially--Jean Claude redirecting her, Ronnie smiling and nodding and hiding the party invites to the annual cop bash so that nobody gets flung against walls, Anita taking steps to make sure she's not, you know, in a room full of important visiting dignitaries ALONE--then it'd be a part of her character. There ARE people who have two political left feet, short fuses, and whatever. The problem is that the text treats Anita as if she is fine, and she's not. She needs help. Active, immediate intervention because this woman is destroying. her. life. And she's doing it every time she opens her mouth.

And of course Anita can't psychically call Jean Claude for help, because the other masters might be listening in. Isn't it great how things like cell phones and telepathy break right when you need them?

(There was one point during Pacific Rim where I was screaming "DO YOU PEOPLE NOT HAVE CELL PHONES" at the screen. It was near the end. It involved brains. They needed a cell phone.)

Writer's tip, kids: Best thing you can do is have the cell phone/telepathy/whatever actually work, and have something else come up. It'd be more realistic because deadzones are comparatively rare. (They still exist, but what are the odds of an emergancy happening right there? And everybody involved being on the same carrier?)

We then segue to how Graham and Other Dude both want to be Meng Die's blood apple (fuck the fancy french.) and how Meng Die is unreliable and how she pitched a fit because Requiem wants to be Anita's new breakfast boy, and oh my fucking god. THE MEETING IS THERE. IT IS IN THERE. WALK. TO. THE. MEETING.

...The other masters of the cities have brought Anita boy-toys to sample. Because I HAVE NO IDEA. THERE IS NO LOGIC INVOLVED IN THIS BOOK.

One of my favorite movies is Mixed Nuts. Steve Martin. Most people watch a movie about redemption, second chances and angels during Christmas. I watch a movie about the holidays at a suicide hotline. There's a scene in which two characters recommend they dispose of a dead body disgused as a Christmas tree (It's a long story) by taking it downstairs and leaving it on the Los Angeles boardwalk. Steve Martin replies:

"That is not a plan. A plan has more than one step. First we do this and then we do this and then we do this."
I'm having that reaction to the plot. This is not a plot. THERE ARE NO "THISES" IN THIS PLOT.

Also, Anita? This is how it's done. God bless you, Mrs. Munchnik.

Apparently turning Anita into Prince Charming in her polyamourous personal Cinderella story (the text made the comparison, not me) is all happening because Jean Claude is the blood source for his own very personal line of vampires (Seriously. WHY ARE ALL THE SPECIAL WORDS FRENCH. I know Jean Claude is french but I am pretty confident that vampires aren't unique to the country of baguettes and Marie Antwonette. Wouldn't there be more than one word for this shit?) and the other masters want to impress him, and shoving sex toys at his pet succubus seems to be the best way to do that.

I think I really hate this book.

The chapter ends with Anita admitting that maybe Jean Claude should be handling this.

And with that, I leave you in the capable hands of Mrs. Munchnik.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Danse Macabre--chapter 3

Anita makes it to the Circus of the Damned without having to pull over for sex.

We've managed to mature this character back to Basic Human. This is actually a positive, because fuck the sex chapters are annoying.

 ...LKH needs to sort out what crosses do in the presence of vampires. Whenever they work onscreen, they make a big purdy lightshow that hurts vampires and vampires only. HOWEVER, Anita is leaving her cross in the car because she doesn't want another cross-shaped burn scar. Also, what the fuck does this mean:

 I’d left my cross in the glove compartment, because the chances of no one “accidentally” using vamp powers on me tonight were between zero and nothing.
Forget about double negatives. This is like a negative squared. Seriously. Is she saying that nobody's going to use vamp powers, or that everybody is using vamp powers?

Nathanial's ankle length hair will never stop being funny. Nor will his perfect pony princess lavender eyes.

Depending on how the light hit the shirt it brought out either the green or the yellow of his eyes, so that the color of his eyes changed with almost every breath. It was a nice effect.
It's a shirt. Anita, it's a motherfucking shirt. You are not fucking Saruman, you cannot wear all the colors, and even if you were, the rainbow robe thing never works out.

Also: I'm picturing homemade cheap porn costumes. Simplicity, Pirate Garb. You know the type.

Four-inch spikes, with open heels, and laces that wrapped around my ankles. When Jean-Claude couldn’t persuade me into a skimpier outfit for the night, we’d compromised with the totally impractical shoes.
Your fuck-me shoes are going to get you killed, Anita. I do not care how good you are at walking in them, all you need to do is torque your ankle once during a fight scene and there you go. The best thing you could do is order from the same catalogue as nurses and food service workers. (They have some really nice flats that do the dressy thing very well.)

I had a key to the new back door of the Circus of the Damned.

You know, I actually liked the hyper-paranoid system JC had. It made for good worldbuilding and it kept the people inside of it alive. OF COURSE we're getting rid of it. Anita's life trumps everyone else's safety concerns.

A werewolf answers the door because we need to introduce yet another new character .This is Grahame, a werewolf, and because I have no fucking idea if I've seen him before he is now Grahame Coats. In ferret form.

You're welcome.


His perfectly straight black hair managed to fall decoratively over his brown eyes, and still be very, very short on the bottom, so the strong line of his neck was left bare and strangely tempting. His eyes tilted up at the edges, and I now knew that he had his Japanese mother’s eyes and hair, but the rest of him seemed to have been copied from his ex-navy and very Nordic-looking father.
That's not Nordic. Unless you're talking about noses or something. Which you don't actually mention, so WTF Anita?

It turns into a pissing contest. Of course it does. We Literally cannot walk through a motherfucking door that Anita has gone through TEN MILLION times without it being a goddamn pissing contest between her and another character. GOD FORBID anything be normal, non-confrontational and routine.

Micah tries to bully his way past, and Anita reminds Grahame that she's got power in the pack and can tell him to fuck off if she wants to. Because Richard hasn't found a new Lupa yet.

There were so many reasons Graham had not made the leap from bodyguard to breakfast snack for me.

This is the creepiest line I've found so far. We're in rapy territory and we're only in chapter three. Great job, Anita. PEOPLE ARE NOT BREAKFAST SNACKS WHY DO YOU THINK THIS WAY.

Once Nathaniel moved from pomme de sang to my animal to call,

WHEN THE FUCK DID THIS HAPPEN?!? I've been READING these books. Admittedly I took a big-ass break from them, but the animal-to-call shit was something I was waiting for. Did I miss it? Did I go blind? DID LKH REALLY JUST DEVELOP SOMETHING MASSIVELY IMPORTANT TO THE SERIES OFFSCREEN?!?

WHAT THE BLEEDING FUCK ANITA. was when you did that tri-whatever thing with Damian and Nathanial. Okay. Not quite offscreen. It's just defined offscreen. Oh, and having Random Ass MotC explain this OFFSCREEN isn't helping. I'm still pissed. And the reason why Anita has to "feed" (aka fuck) so often is apparently none of her current guys "count" as a full meal because they're all tied to her magically. So she needs to screw outside all her important relationships so the important relationships have lots of fuel. Got it?

Anita makes Grahame get on his knees and beg her not to kill him. Our heroine, ladies and gentlemen. She's literally kicking the dog. Okay, werewolf, but still. THIS IS HOW YOU DEVELOP A VILLIAN (lazily). WTH is this doing in a HEROIC character's development? I'd understand if we wanted Anita to be an antihero, but her holier-than-thou attitude makes that impossible. WHAT ARE WE DOING. BOOK SHOULD NOT WORK THIS WAY.

The "begging" turns out to be licking Anita's mouth. I am not making this up. It's explained as wolf behavior, but I'm pretty sure wolf behavior wouldn't be that sexualized.

Also, I've just realized how much of the non-con bullshit is covered under Anita HAVING to stand up for herself. Grahame is submissive to her, so she can't "back down" from this sexualized encounter, which Grahame knows and is taking full advantage of. A LOT of the rapy shit happens because Anita actually standing up for herself and demanding, you know, consent and that her bounderies be respected and the like, would be interpreted as weakness. She has to let these people do these terrible things to her. If she doesn't ,she'd be seen as weak.

Anita. You're packing serious heat. They'd protest once. If they survive, they'd never do it again.

The sexy lick goes on for a few pages.


Anita walks off and Grahame follows, demanding sex, and asking why Anita is always mad at him. Uh, maybe it's because she's made it very fucking clear she does not want to fuck you, and you just used wolf-pack business as an excuse to cop a feel. She's got no obligation to sleep with you, dipshit. She's pissed because you won't GO AWAY.

Richard is now forbidding his wolves from carrying guns. Great.

So Grahame informs Anita that there was an emergency in the Circus that made Asher cry out for Jean Claude. He's got no idea what this is, but is worried that JC isn't upstairs yet. The book is much more focused on the who's-fucking-who politics of the (sigh) vampire kiss. Apparently there was an influx of powerful vamps, one of them's pissed, and Grahame is stuck in the middle because fuck if I know.

Anita then acknowledges that it isn't fair for her to keep her men monogamous when she isn't, but fuck if she's going to change.

End of chapter.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Danse Macabre--chapter 2

This chapter is fucking ugly. 

It starts with Nate and Micah freaking out--a little--over the idea that Anita might be preggers. I think I have used more words on their freak out than the book actually does. This segues very quickly into Anita and Nate making out in front of Ronnie to rub her nose in her oncoming monogamy, which turns into a very, very, very ugly exchange of words between Nate and Ronnie. Ronnie, it seems, has been verbally sexually harassing Nate because, you know, hot stripper. This is the first Anita's heard of it, but Ronnie admits to it.

Then things go off the deep end.

He said again, “I know why you don’t want to commit to Louie.”
 She said in a small, weak voice, “Why?”
 “Because it torments you to know that you will never know how I am in bed.”
 “Oh,” she said in a voice that was almost her own, “so I’m not wanting Louie because you’re such a stud?” 
“Not me, Ronnie, but the next me. The next guy you get obsessed about. Not love obsessed, but I-wonder-what-he’d-be-like-in-bed obsessed. And you’ve always been beautiful enough, hot enough, to get anyone you’ve ever wanted, right?”

This is the moment that, in reality, would end a friendship. Whose, IDK, but that's a very, very, very ugly paragraph.

It also creates a catch 22 for Ronnie that she can't get out of. She doesn't want to commit because she doesn't want to be chained down to good sex, and she's jealous of Anita's harem, who are the best sex in the universe which she can never have because they're loyal to Anita. It's this simultaneous condemnation of monogamy and promescuity that leaves no outlet whatsoever. Anita gets to sleep around because her love is true, but everyone else is a slut.


It gets worse.

Nathaniel ignored him. “You need to find out what you’re running from, Ronnie, before it ruins the best thing you’ve ever found.”
 She spoke in a harsh whisper, “You mean Louie.” 
He nodded. “Yeah, I mean Louie. He loves you. He really, truly loves you, not just for a night, or a month, but for years. Part of you wants that or you wouldn’t still be with him.”

Why is Louie good for Ronnie? It's not because of the sex, or because of anything he helps her do, or how she feels about him. Nope. It's that LOUIE loves RONNIE. And Ronnie needs to get her act together and love him back because his love for her makes everything alright.

Nevermind that she's obviously uncertain. Nope. Her feelings don't matter at all. She needs to make herself love Louie or else she's gonna lose him forever.

This is repellant.

And then Nate gives Ronnie the address for his therapist, because obviously that's what you do when you verbally castigate them in public.


 When they're discussing Anita's pregnancy (she isn't) Nate brings up that he went through this once already. With the woman (established as a prostitute) who took his virginity. Apparently she found out he was a virgin and "fixed" it for him.

...when Nathanial was thirteen.

And the fact that she became preggers soon after is more important than this casual mention of statutiory rape, which is treated as a rite of passage and not, you know, a terrible crime committed against a minor by an adult (or at least significantly older teen) who should fucking know better.

Also: Nate? You're talking about all this like it's normal and not abuse. Get a better therapist.

 He tells us how the woman aborted the baby and then got murdered by a John, and then firmly establishes that he wants the (non) baby. Micah and Nate then go way way way out of their way to state that it's her body and her choice, kind of the way that people talk about how they can't be racist, they've got black friends.

They plan out buying the pregnancy test. The chapter closes with this:

Positive. It seemed like such the wrong word. If I was pregnant it was definitely a negative. A really big, scary negative.
Great. You don't want kids. Go fix the (non-existent) problem. Anita's not unsure here. She very, very firmly does not want a baby. This should be a non-issue.

Danse Macabre--chapter 1

So I am completely blown right now, guys. We did a really cool thing at work, but getting to the really cool thing meant putting in three twelve hour days, and I am tired.

But we have book so let's crack this baby open and...

...oh fuck, this is the pregnancy scare book.

Bad choice of words. And we get our fail started in the very first chapter.

It was the middle of November. I was supposed to be out jogging, but instead I was sitting at my breakfast table talking about men, sex, werewolves, vampires, and that thing that most unmarried but sexually active women fear most of all— a missed period.
On the one hand, I'm not going to go on a "that's what happens when you don't use contraceptives" trip because I'm a pill baby. I'm living proof that it doesn't always work. THAT SAID, let's go down the fail list, mkay?

Let's go with the very obvious here: Not all single women want to get married, and not all single-by-choice women are anti-baby. I am sure that a single, sexually active woman would be more worried about an STD, cancer or, you know, the whole werewolves and vampires than she would a missed period. An unplanned pregancy isn't all sunshine and roses and sometimes the best choice is the one that results in no baby, but there's a difference between "whoopsie daisy, there's a baby" and "MY LIFE IS FUCKING OVER" level fear.

Second...and having never read this book...I don't understand why LKH would introduce this plot line when it changes nothing. LKH never changes anything, but this is a pretty big deal.

Of course, any arguement that a kid could change the book for the better ("Better" in this case isn't "morally outstanding". "Better" is "Shit will fucking happen that doesn't involve fucking." I hate baby plots, but a baby plot would be, you know, a plot.) has to first completely ignore the fact that Anita Blake is the last person on earth who should raise a fucking kid.

And of course, Anita is freaking out because she's two months late. And Ronnie's there. Double yay. And she says that everything's probably alright, it's just stress and ...wait. WAIT ONE FUCKING MINUTE:

“That last serial killer case was only about two weeks ago.”
...No. No. I am not going to try to untangle the timeline. Whatever. Cerulean Sins happened two weeks ago, and Micah was some kind of dream...thing.

Why do the books have to run so close together? We should get like, at least a month before Anita is in the shit again.

We get a quick low-down about how Ronnie is dating Louie, who is a were-rat, and how she's moving in (nice to see that plot line got resolved offscreen) and how if Louie weren't hiding his were-whatever status, they'd be going to the ballet.

...LKH is going to be doing a ballet story.

Yeah. I took ballet for most of my childhood. I quit when I understood that I didn't have the body type or the discipline to make it work. But it's one of the things that goes really, really deep with me. Ballet is fucking hard, it's demanding, it utterly destroys every person who participates in it in every way you can imagine--for example, when you do pointe work you learn how to wrap your feet so that when you damage your toes you don't bleed through the shoes--and it's one of the most gorgeous fucking things on the planet. I am now officially not looking forward to this.

Anita also has to show up for a big political party involving two visiting Masters of the City who snuck in without anybody knowing. They're into ballet too. Anita has to be there. Why, IDK. If I were Jean Claude I'd rupture something trying to keep her from going. (and probably pull Ronnie in Anita's place, because anybody who can stay Anita's friend can probably pull the political game just fine) but Master/Servant...yeah.

Anita is apparently on the pill. Only this was never mentioned once, in three books where we get descriptions of her goosebumps, toothbrush and toenail clippers. Sure.

“I could ask ‘Who’s the father?’ but that’s just creepy. If you are pregnant then it’s this little tiny, microscopic lump of cells. It’s not a baby. It’s not a person, not yet.” 
I shook my head. “We’ll agree to disagree on that one.”

Oh my fucking God. Please. Please oh please oh fucking please tell me we are not going to have an anti-abortion arguement. Please tell me that LKH isn't going to try to do pro-life. Please.

Fuck. Well, maybe that's the last we'd hear of it.

This also sets up the very disturbing idea that Anita would actually have the baby and keep the baby. I'd do a baby plot because babies change things. They create chaos. Interrupt sleep patterns. Make you deal with poopy diapers every day.

I do not think that would happen in this series. And reviewing every scene with the idea that a child would be raised around that--do not argue that Anita could mantain safe boundaries with the kid. She had sex in her office when clients were waiting outside--makes me want to hurl.

She was shaking her head so hard that her hair fell around her face, covered the upper half of it. She ran her hands through it sharply, like she was pulling on it. “I’ve tried to understand that you’re happy living with not one but two men. I’ve tried to understand that you love that vampire son of a bitch, somehow. I’ve tried, but if you actually breed … actually have a baby, I just don’t get that. I won’t be able to understand that.”
...this is going to be awful, isn't it? That is a shitty thing to say, espeically when it's obvious that this is just the author pontificating. This is the literary equivialnt of a political cartoon.


They debate who the father could be. They cross off all the vampires and Micah, and talk about how horrible it would be to have a twenty-year-old stripper for a father. And this goes round and round until Ronnie, in this order, calls Anita a whore, breaks down into tears, and admits she's jealous of all the men Anita gets, all in the space of about three paragraphs.

I got nothin.

“All the damned men. I’m about to give up everybody. Everybody but Louie, and he’s great, but dammit, I’ve had lovers. I hit triple digits.”
And this is how we know that Laurel isn't exactly swinging from the neighbor's chandelier. The average human has about six to seven sex partners in their life. That's it. AND WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU COUNT THAT. I mean, after twenty wouldn't it just get monotonous? Is Ronnie keeping a Banger Sisters style rock cock collection?

And Ronnie is upset that she's giving it all up just for one man. Well, yeah, but maybe you can teach this one how to give you a really good time.

And then they bring up Richard.

Because, you know, we can't not bring up Richard. And it's like this big shocking shame that Anita is sleeping with Richard. Because it's not like Richard would have any reason to resent Anita for anything.

Of all the men in my life, the worst possible choice to be the father would be Richard, because he of all of them would try for the white picket fence and a normal life.
No, Anita, because kids need normal. And what you're confusing for conservative white America here is what everyone else calls "Safe, Sane and Consensual." You know. Things like respecting boundaries. Accepting No. Not killing people because they annoy you. Holding life as something more valuable than your next political move. Richard isn't perfect, but out of all the fuck-toys in this series he's the only one I'd trust to raise a kid well enough. Not well. The kid would have issues. But well enough that the kid could address said issues and maybe manage not to be a total fucking sociopath. Maybe even be happy.

...please stop calling your boyfriends "Sweeties". It makes me think of "The Sweetie Man is Coming" and I don't want to get Anita's general ick in District 9. 


He’d affected me this way almost from the moment we had seen each other. Lust at first sight.
Right. I'm going to go look at Narcissus in Chains for a review.

I scrambled out from between them. My left arm protested the use, but it didn’t hurt enough to outweigh my embarrassment. It wasn’t a graceful exit, but at least I was standing at the foot of the bed staring down at the two men instead of sandwiched between them. Screw graceful, I wanted some clothes.
This is Anita's first reaction to seeing Micah--to waking up underneath him, actually. Running the fuck away. And as for the infamous shower scene?

“Micah, stop, please stop.”

Yeah. I'm not remembering this wrong. Sorry, Laurel, the ret-con won't stand.

Nate and Ronnie exchange nasty little jabs at each other and then Ronnie drops the B-word:

Ronnie’s voice came harsh, ugly, like she was choking on her anger. “And when the baby comes, are you going to fuck in front of it, too?”
That's a legitimate question. You cannot do that shit around a kid.

And of course the guys are like "Baby?" and that's the end of the chapter.


Is going.

To suck.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Micah Chapter 12

Anita wakes up in the hospital.

Salvia the child murderer-assisting lawyer asshole who tried to kill Anita? He's dead. Killed offscreen by the zombie Anita raised.

The killer zombie? Oh, Larry Kirkland--you know, the dude whose wife is in the hospital with premature labor? yeah. That guy. He flew down and put the zombie back in the ground. And the text seems to imply that he came with Tammy. I cannot get concrete confirmation on this, but that would mean that they put a woman with a history of premature labor on an airplane.

I can excuse a lot of bullshit, but for fuck's sake, Laurel travels. FREQUENTLY. HOW CAN YOU STUFF SO MUCH FAIL INTO SOMETHING YOU DO MULTIPLE TIMES A YEAR AS PART OF YOUR JOB. I have traveled on an airplane eight times. Counting the round trips. I knew exactly what I could take on a plane before I got on for the first time (Mostly because I wanted to make sure you could take spindles--yes--and knitting needles--not the metal kind, which is what I used at the time. :(--on a plane.

Oh, and it turns out that Micah moving Anita into a fancier hotel saved her life, because the salesman who checked into that hotel room that night got killed very very dead. So it looks like Salvia framed the soon-to-be-zombie for a child molestation and murder that one of his boss's sons did, and the zombie died because of the trauma and he blamed his murderer and Salvia was worried that the zombie would testify about the molestation (and not nine million other mob related things) so he decided to assassinate the animator who would raise the zombie and when Micah changed Anita's room it kind of killed that plan and Salvia had to go to a really shitty plan B that got shot in the ass when Killer Zombie blamed him for his murder and I AM SO GLAD WE FOCUSED ON ANITA HAVING SEX IN A FUCKING HOTEL ROOM AND NOT ON THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN AWESOME PLOT AREN'T YOU.



They wake up in bed. They fly to philly. They check into a hotel room and fuck. THAT IS  LITERALLY FIFTY TWO PERCENT OF THIS BOOK. Kindle provides you with a percent-of-book thingy at the bottom. I CHECKED.


I kind of breezed by the truely, revoltingly awful things in this book because A. I've already touched on the anatomical stupidity, the awful sex, the bad characterization and the abso-fucking-lutely-senseless character assassination of everybody that isn't a sex partner for Anita Blake (and some that are) because silly me, I thought there'd be more of a book. In terms of awful content this is actually pretty damn mild compared to using molestation victims to give your main character somebody to comfort, or wearing a mini-skirt, thong and stilettos to an active crime scene, but THIS IS ALL WE GET. 


I do not pirate the books I review on this blog, kiddies. I pay for the privelage of ripping this shit to shreds. This book cost six dollars. I WILL NOT GET THIS MONEY BACK.


 In short, I have only one response to this.

I am probably going to take tomorrow off (because the next two days are busy at work and I need to get paid before I give Laurel K. Hamilton any more of my money) but I will continue on this sausage train because THAT WAS NOT ENOUGH SUCK.

Good night.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Micah chapter 11 + book update...things

Okay, it's time for an update on the book:

It's coming. It's in better shape than it was last week. I found a couple of very major plot flaws that had to be fixed and reorganized and that's what's thrown me off my game (that and the whole money thing). I lost most of this weekend to being sick and to computer issues (grumble grumble fucking corrupted photoshop file) but I feel safe in stating that we are in the home stretch. So the last installment of Dragon Breath will be done fairly soon.


Barring a total disaster.

In a not-entirely unrelated note, I discovered that you are supposed to dust the inside of your computer. I did not know this. My computer is officially a fucking saint.

 *sigh* back to Micah.

Micah is calm.

This requires several paragraphs.

Then somehow Anita and Micah manage to make the itty bitty cut she made for her ritual start gushing like a fatal hemmorage, but only when they're touching. Because sexual arousal does that. The court reporter starts vomiting in a corner.

Anita walks her entire protective circle completely fucking distracted by random chipmunks.

I might be wrong here, but I do not think this protective circle should be a functioning entity.  It's a nit-picky little thing, but I'm fairly confident that not focusing on you magical ritual means your ritual should fail. The text even acknowledges this...and then goes on ahead and does the circle anyway, because apparently Micah's blood is all it takes. Micah is literally magic, ya'll.

Micah and Anita start screaming when the power hits. I am horrible and imagining them both having a full blown orgasm in front of an entire out-of-state court of law. Anita is so overwhelmed by her power that she says "fuck the legal system" and raises her target just like that. No pause to discuss things with the judge and the rest of the gang. Nope. Just random zombie!

We waste several paragraphs on Anita pawing through the dirt. We find out she has never done this before.

And then the zombie sees Salvia and the shit hits the fan.

See, zombies are easy to raise unless they've been murdered. Then they turn into a starving pitbull and their murderer is the t-bone stake dangling in front of them. They will go through everything until they get their hands on the percieved murderer--not the actual one, just the one they think killed them--and then get to be laid to rest.

And this zombie thinks that Salvia murdered him--despite being dead of natural causes--because Salvia stuck the molested body of a child in his car.

The body of a kid murdered by the son of a mob boss.

So let me lay this out for ya'll, just so that you're really clear: A man is framed for pedophilia by the mob so that they can 1. get rid of a witness and 2. take care of their own, and he dies before he can testify. He thinks that the guys who framed him murdered him, something that Anita doesn't know when she raises him. It's been pounded into our heads over and over and over again that you DO NOT RAISE MURDER VICTIMS EVER, so this is about as big an OH SHIT moment as this series has ever had...


He keeps beating against the protective circle and Anita feels it give. Well, you probably should have spent more time on your ritual and less time following chipmunks.

 Anita is expending all her energy to keep the murderous zombie in her circle and away from Salvia when Salvia's goon shoots her in the arm from somewhere across the graveyard. Her sheild pops like a soap bubble, and when she jumps the zombie he throws her against a gravestone.

End of chapter.

Guys, there is one chapter left in this book. The famous "I can't be arsed to plot out all the lose ends" summery chapter LKH is so good at.

This book didn't even last a WEEK.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Micah--chapter 10

One of the things in the gym bag that Micah was holding was a machete longer than my forearm. Even with a badge I might have had trouble getting it on the plane, except for the magical artifact law. Magical practitioners who earned their living from their magical talent could not be denied access to their magical tools.
...Really. Your magical training requires you to use a machete longer than your arm. Kind of like how it requires you to kill a chicken, use special ointment, and go through nine million forms of mumbo-jumbo you discarded several books ago because you found out you didn't need it. You can't, like, buy one once you get to Philly either, can you? St. Louis is the only place you can buy a machete from.

And by the way? You can bring machetes, swords, knives, clubs, baseball AND cricket bats on a plane as long as it's checked luggage. So sorry, Anita. You're not special. You just actually obeyed the fucking law for once and put the edged weapon in the cargo hold, rather than trying to bring it into the cabin.
  We were introduced to everyone. I gave a special nod to the court reporter, the only other woman there. I spent a lot of time being the only woman everywhere I went. I’d begun to like having other women around. It made me feel less like a freak. The only girl in the all-boys club had begun to get a little lonely of late.
Which is why you act like other women are shit every time you have to deal with one. I can count on one hand the number of positive female characters in this series, and ALL OF THEM are either Anita's teacher, or Anita's student.

...and that is extraordinarily troubling. FYI a huge red flag for a dangerous sociopath is a lack of peer-to-peer relationships. Sociopaths cannot have platonic relationships with peers. If they are a sex the sociopath is attracted to, they will either enter a romantic relationship or utterly demonize the person (or do both). If the peer is the non-attractive sex, then the sociopath will attempt to be either the teacher or the student. If they fail to acheive either role, they will demonize the peer and demand that others do the same. Sociopaths have teachers, students and sex partners in their lives. They do not allow themselves to have platonic equals. You can manipulate teachers and students and sex partners. It is much, much more difficult to manipulate a platonic equal--and having an equal will allow your students and sex partners to have someone to vent to, who could provide much needed ground control. Anita has her Wiccan teacher, there's that Marshal that gets scratched a few books ahead, the were-rat who takes care of her, and her leopards. In each case Anita is either in a superior or subordinate role. The people that she called her peers early in the series--like Ronnie and Tammy--she's pushed away and demonized.

I'd say "Good on LKH for characterization" but I really don't think this is intentional. It doesn't make enough sense in the context of the story.

The defense hates Anita because she's going to resurrect a prime witness. We get that. They immediately start rehashing the "inadmissible evidence" arguement that probably got squashed long before anybody called St. Louis. The loudest of them is Salvia, an Italian lawyer that sounds vaguely familar to Anita. So this *coughMOBcough* lawyer starts screaming that any evidence delivered by the zombie will be tainted, and decides the best way to prove this is have Anita walk him through every step of her zombie-raising process.

Rather than just bloody doing it, Anita balks at explaining why a circle of protection might be necessary.

This is like a surgeon refusing to explain why disinfecting the table and tools might be a good idea. Not only is it kind of self-explianatory once the basic concept (germs and/or magical contamination) is grasped, it's kind of magic/medicine 101 and not explaining it just makes you look dumb.

Of course, Anita refusing to explain how zombie-raising works to the court system drags this scene out for several pages, which was probably the general idea.

Eventually--and you have no idea how long it takes to get to this point--it boils down to Salvia wanting to question her methods the way he would a DNA expert, and all of a sudden Anita really knows crime scene protocol (which is why she wore a miniskirt, skimpy blouse, heels, a thong and nothing else to a crime scene last book. Because making a statement of girl power is more important than keeping a crime scene secure and avoiding hepatitis, AIDS and tetanus.) and can bat with the big boys. She says that her methods are not open to interpretation because unlike DNA and fingerprints, where fucking up could alter the results (and thus fuck up a case) she either will raise a zombie or she won't, and that's it. No more questions.

Salvia is not happy about this, but the judge just wants to go home, so he lets it fly. Salvia goes back to questioning her about why she needs a protective circle. Anita, meanwhile, is having so much trouble with her superpowers that she has to snuggle with Micah in public.

And then Salvia says that since the dead guy was a good Christian, painting him up with blood should be bad. And Anita's reply is kind of priceless:

“Besides, Mr. Salvia, are you implying that you can’t be a good Christian if you sacrifice a few chickens and raise a few zombies?”

Yeah, because it's not like Laurel K. Hamilton didn't spend the last two books shitting all over Christianity in general and Tammy and Franklin AKA the declared Christians in particular. If you want Christianity to be the big bad awful religion of the masses that's fine. Go right on ahead. But don't make your mouthpiece character one of them. It makes them look like a hypocrite and you look like a fucking idiot. It's one thing when you're trying to show the difference between awful, abusive organized religion (which exists) and the individual follower (Mercedes Lackley did this beautifully in one of the Bedlam Bard books) but this reads less as "SOME Christians are good!" and more like "OH FUCK I FORGOT, ONE OF HER DEFINING TRAITS IS THAT SHE'S EPISCOPALIAN."

The judge starts asking Anita if she wants to be held in contempt. Probably because she's doing this:

I grabbed on to him and pressed as much of him against me as I could, so that we were plastered against each other, as close as we could get with clothes on. I buried my face against the side of his neck, drawing in the warm, sweet scent of his skin. Soap, the slight sweetness of his cologne, and underneath that the scent of his skin. The scent of Micah. And underneath that, that faint, neck-ruffling scent of leopard. The moment I smelled it, I felt better. That musky, almost-sharp scent of leopard helped chase back the almost-voices of the dead.

Anita. You're in public. This is not a rave. This is not a dance. This is not a romantic night out. This is business. Knock it off. 

  Finally, Micah asks the judge if Anita can put up her sheild for her own protection, because her magic is haywire and she's losing control. Salvia objects, but that's pretty much his entire defining character trait.

Micah, however, figures that he's stalling for a reason, and that right there has "assassination attempt" written all over it, but Anita is all "Gee, I wonder what he could be waiting for?" and she insists on going ahead with things.

They spend several pages taking off Micah's jacket and clearing up the legal red tape that apparently is needed before Anita can cut into Micah...and the chapter closes with her doing just that.

Seventy percent of this novel is gone. HELP.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Micah--chapter 9

Guys, I just realized something terrible: We're halfway through this book.

We are halfway through this fucking book. HOW IS THIS FUCKING POSSIBLE. THERE HAS BEEN NO PLOT. NO PLOT WHATSOEVER. I don't. I just. I can't.

I should also point out that I'm loopy on cold medicine ATM so I make no promises about coherancy. (valuable lesson: Cons=colds)

The first paragraph is kind of a thing of beauty:

Philly was a pretty city, what little I’d seen of it. The visit so far had consisted of the airport and the hotel room and some amazing sex. We could have been anywhere. The cemetery reminded me that the city was in one of the thirteen original colonies. It was old, that cemetery. It breathed its age and the age of its dead. Breathed it along my skin the moment we stepped out of Fox’s car. Once, a cemetery this old would have been peaceful for me. Too old to have ghosts, maybe a few shivery spots if you walked directly over a grave, but mostly the dead here would be inert, earth to earth, dust to dust, and all that. But now the dead called to me, even through my shielding.
One of the comp rules I'm bad about remembering is that paragraphs ought to be about one thing. Sentences are one to two thoughts per, paragraphs get to rock a central theme like cookies or alligators. This is a loose rule, but it's one that should be observed once in a while. So here we have "Philly is pretty". Okay. "I've been screwing too much to pay attention." Well, that's alright...but is it just me, or do we not exactly segue into "this is an old fucking cematary" as much as we do plow into it face first with no warning beforehand?

(I'm also mean enough to think that the only parts of Philly we see are a hotel room, an airport, this cemetary and a hospital are because LKH had never been there and didn't want to blow money on a guide book. But that's just me)

"Breathed" is the wrong word choice IMHO. I'd also really like an explination on why the cemetary is too old to have ghosts, which is something we never get.

Anita plays with the tombstones for a minute, then stops suddenly. Franklin walks into her and freaks out, revealing that he's got some kind of power. This will never become important for this book. I know, because I just read the whole damn thing. Fox asks her what's wrong and she lies so that Frank doesn't get uncovered as psychic or whatever.


She continues playing with the graves on a psychic level until Franklin almost loses it, and then Micah points out that she's losing control of her power tonight. Am I the only person who misses the days when Antia had her shit together? Because she was really cool back then. Micah also points out that 1. she should not add death magic to her power tonight, so no killing chickens and 2. she probably shouldn't use her blood at all, so he'll volunteer. Otherwise she might wind up raising the entire graveyard. Anita agrees with all of this, and wanders off after Fox and Franklin. And that's the end of the chapter.

I'd do more, but in all honesty I don't want to kill this book any sooner than I'd need to.