Friday, October 18, 2013

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.


  1. This is the last one my packsister read. I quit at the one before, but she said she picked it up idly in Borders and read the first two chapters and "It tricked me! I thought it was going to have a plot- an ugly plot, but still! That there was going to be some consequences for once!" So she bought it and nope, it was all a lie.

    "And this is how we know that Laurel isn't exactly swinging from the neighbor's chandelier."
    She is a huge prude, which I never fail to find amusing. And sad. Sadmusing?

  2. Yay, DM! I haven't read this one, and I want to because it has the merfolk in it...but I really DON'T want to because the sporks I've read thus far indicate it is a totally plotless filler novel of stupid crap.

    - I like that she never considers some single but sexually active women might *want* to be pregnant, and that might even be why they're sexually active! Plenty of women in this day and age would like to have a baby with OR without a man, and while single motherhood is still sadly looked down upon, not everyone sees it as a horrible scandalous thing no one would ever choose for themselves. I know it's just from Anita's POV and she might not actually mean for real that no single woman has ever wanted to be pregnant, but given LKH's tendency to indeed present such generalizations as fact, and to speak through Anita, I sadly think it is the case (whereas I might not with a different author who doesn't have that history)

    - I made a fan character that was her kid. From that one time she and Rafael fucked. The fact that she would be A TERRIBLE PARENT is recognized by others (aside from herself and her yes-men harem) and Rafael takes custody of the baby, a boy named Angel Deluna Lopez. Anita is tremendously pissed not because she actually wants the kid or cares about it, but because rules are dared being applied to her.

    - "Micah was some kind of dream...thing." That would make a lot of sense.

    - One of my friends from AB roleplay had swanmanes who did ballet. She researched it so fucking hard, and her swans are so fucking devoted to it. She clearly knows her stuff, and so do they. LKH's fuckery with ballet enrages her so much as a result.

    - "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." This is why I'm convinced Anita does not urinate, defecate, or menstruate. In other series, I assume it's just not being mentioned because it's boring, but in this series, where everything no matter how mundane is described in detail, including other bathroom stuff, it seems odd that it's left out. And let's face it, she's enough of a Mary Sue not to shit!

    - "Please tell me that LKH isn't going to try to do pro-life" I've heard that she treats this exactly like everything else: Anita disagrees with whoever is talking to her. Somehow, that pisses me off more than if she just went all staunchy strawman for either side, because at least that would show some respect to the issue.

    - At some point in the series, Richard also laments to Anita that he's "hit tripe digits" with partners as well. I think this absurdity is because LKH wants Anita to be all Puritan and able to look down her practically-virginal nose at slutty sluts, but since Anita herself has hit double digits, this is the only way she can give her any ground to stand on.

    - See, usually when I hear "kids need normal" it's someone saying that any child will be screwed up who isn't raised by a married heterosexual I'm so relieved that in this case it just means "raised by people whose lives don't revolve around sex and violence" since that is, you know, actually reasonable and true. Of course, in the Anita-world, saying the latter is the same as/just as bad as saying the former, I'm sure!


    1. "Kids need normal" doesn't mean they need homo (or, for that matter, heterosexual or even plural parents). It means that they need what I said. Schedules. Schools. Healthy relationships with responsible adults who can put their shit aside to meet the kid's needs, and who are able to tell the kid "no" when the kid wants something unhealthy, like candy or early emancipation (Will Smith, I am looking at you.) Anita's so-called poly is not the issue: her inability to mantain normal boundaries of behavior or consent are. Add in the fuckery with the seventeen year old and it's like OH HELL FUCK NO. There is NOTHING in Anita's behavior that indicates that the familial boundaries would be respected any more than any other boundary would.

      I really wanted to do the whole "If Anita had a kid" senario and how that would have actually done things to the story, but each time I wound up deleting it because Anita should NEVER have a kid. Even if Anita only had one lover and she were married and she met the surface values of "normal" she would still be the last fucking person on earth who ought to raise a kid. The emotional abuse and hypersexualized enviroment would inflict a significant amount of trauma, and Anita's tougher-than-thou attitude would make it VERY unlikely the kid would ever seek help or therapy when they needed it. And Anita isn't real. She's a mouthpiece for an author who stopped giving a fuck a long time ago. The only reason Anita would get a kid is because Laurel had a point she wanted to prove and she's using a fake child to do it.

      I am half terrified and half excited to see where this one goes. Probably into the nearest bedroom for three quarters of it will be my book.

      The sexual partners. Dear fucking God. I just put together that the "well THEY slept with more people" thing is just another goddamn pissing contest. Ronnie is having issues with moving in with one man after having hundreds of sex partners, but ANITA is just fine with moving in with several men when she only has tens. GODDAMN IT NOT EVERYTHING HAS TO BE ABOUT WHO CAN HIT THE CEILING AT THE URINAL.

    2. Oh, I know what you meant, I agree! I must have worded that wrongly.

  3. when the hell did Ronnie turn in to such a horrible bitch? good lord, they're supposed to be friends? is this world so fucked that someone can talk like that and still be considered a friend?

    1. Probably because it casts Anita as this saintly saint. Look, she endures this terrible person's behavior and forgives them and still considers them a friend. With a nice undercurrent of "So when I do that shit to YOU, you ought to be like Anita and love me and forgive me and not hold my shitty behavior against me."

      I figured out that Anita's behavior is so incredibly shitty, LKH had to downgrade all the other characters to "Moral black holes" to compensate. Because fixing your main character to not be a shitty person is, you know, TOO HARD.