Friday, January 31, 2014

Harlequin--chapter 38

I'm doing this early because 1. I started the next Starbleached book today and I'd really like to get back to that and 2. This is FUCKING HORRIFYING and I'd rather not have it be my entire Friday night.

Anita describes Haven, trying very hard to make him sound dangerous. The word "Still" is used a lot, to give the implication that this man is a piece of shit and that Anita's known it from the beginning.

He's got sesame street tattoos and he dyed his hair to match Cookie Monster's fuzz. He might be a dangerous motherfucker, but he will never be scary. But congrats to LKH for writing about bronies before bronies were a thing (You KNOW if this were written in 2012 Haven would be rocking Fluttershy's do. You KNOW it)

And now Anita is going to intervew Haven on taking over Joseph's pride right in front of Joseph. This includes the murder of many of the members, his own death, and the probable rape/gang rape of his wife.

Our heroine is doing this.

I'm gonna elaborate a bit on what I said in yesterday's comments: I am now actively hoping that LKH got pissed off at the real human being that she based Joseph on, and that all of this is just a really shitty revenge fantasy aimed at a real person somewhere. Because that would mean that LKH doesn't actually condone the social implications of this. It would mean that LKH is a silly, lonely woman with poor self confidence, who has surrounded herself with "yes" people, who really doesn't think past her own nose when it comes to people. I am going to ascribe to that "These are all people she knows" theory with all of my mental abilities.

Because the alternative is that LKH really does condone the shit that's happened in this book. The mass rapes. The dehumanization of victims. The victim/predator binary that doesn't allow for altruistic protectors. The mass rapes. The technical slavery of anybody weaker than you. The murder of anyone who DARES suggest you might not be the moral be-all-end-all. The moral absoluteism. The sexism. The racism. The cruelty. The mass rapes of children. Either this is a revenge fantasy based on a real human being, or LKH actually believes that a man defending his family and subordinates from abuse and mass rape from the dominant paradigm deserves to die.  And I'm gonna go with revenge fantasy, and that she doesn't think this shit all the way through, because I refuse to believe that any human being can really be that bad.

Either LKH is a self absorbed, silly, fifty-ish woman, or she's a moral monster.

We covered? Good.

The power was seeking what Micah was to me, a Rex to my Regina. Chimera had been the same way, I guess; he’d been the dominant in whatever group he took over.

Haven reached out to me. I could have moved back, but I was just a little late in moving. Maybe it was a Freudian slip, or maybe it was an entire wardrobe.

1. A Freudian slip usually means a mistake in speech or action that betrays an internal thought or desire. It can apply to actions, but in this context it doesn't betray shit. It just means that Anita was slow in moving and Haven was faster. As another example: I got into my rapist's car voluntarily. That doesn't mean that I wanted to be raped.

2. A Freudian slip has bullshit to do with clothes. I get it, LKH, you were trying real hard to be clever. This is like saying "The color was red, but I felt more like orange, or maybe I felt more like the entire tree." We're talking about psychology. NOT CLOTHES. It comes off as more of a car wreck than a clever observation.

But you want us to read it as Anita wants to fuck Haven. Well, she's sensed a kindred spirit, so OF COURSE SHE DOES.

  Haven was staring down at our clasped hands as if he didn’t know what they were. He sounded distracted, like he was thinking about something very different from what his words said. “Your Nimir-Raj has kicked Joseph and his lions out of the coalition. I’ve checked with the wererats, the werehyenas, and your Ulfric. They’re all cool with me doing what needs doing.”
Murder. He means murder. The murder of Joseph because he ignored Anita.

OF COURSE THE OTHER WERES ARE GOING TO SUPPORT ANITA. However shitty it might be, Micah's coalition is the best hope the weres have for real, meaningful social change. It's a horrible thing, but there isn't an alternative. There's varmint laws that allow weres to be shot on sight, if Richard gets outed that's his career gone, Lillian has the same thing (I can't remember if she's still a legal doc or not. Sue me). It's a little like Patricia Brigg's Marrok, only instead of the Marrok taking care of the needy wolves and policing the packs, it's Micah acting as Anita's procurer. You want basic human rights? You want to not be thrown out into the cold and outside of the protection of the other were packs? You'd better put out for my girlfriend. With those kinds of stakes, if I were in that position I'd probably go along with it. If I were trading my being raped for my human rights I'd probably agree to be raped, because it'd mean that maybe, someday, I'd get to have a life without general fear and dread, and that's the carrot Micah offers.

In fact, this really, REALLY reminds me of what happens when a prominent Social Justice Warrior rapes somebody. The victim keeps their mouth shut because the SJW is doing so much good and who would believe them anyway?

IMHO it shows you how fucking twisted this whole thing is. If ANYBODY reported Anita and Company to the cops, they face either instant death, mind-rape, or the Joseph treatment. Congrats. Being a supernatural in St. Louis is now a dictatorship.

Joseph begs for his life again. Yes, boys and girls. He's still in the room. Anita says nobody trusts you, and Haven just ignores him.

“So you won’t care what I do?” Haven asked. He was looking at my face now . His face was more serious than I’d ever seen it. 
“There are some lions in his group that are weak, but they’re still valuable. Give them a chance to join you.”
 “Valuable how?” 
“They have jobs. They bring income into the pride so that others don’t have to work.”
That sound, blog-readers, is the sound of my brain shattering. I don't know where to start. The abilism--that the ones who have jobs are the valuable ones. The fact that the valuable ones are ONLY valuable because they allow others not to work. I have no idea how to address that one. The fact that they are calmly discussing MURDER in front of the MURDER VICTIM. The fact that said victim is only a future dead man because he WOULDN'T HAVE SEX WITH ANITA.

Haven replies that money isn't a problem, Auggie is bankrolling him.

Dude. Unless the "others" Anita mentioned are YOU and not, you know, the people who can't manage their lions in a public setting, you're talking apples and oranges here.

Anita says that she doesn't want any human mob connections in town, because that would bring too much heat on Jean Claude. Okay, the text says it's the difference between vampire and human but NO WAY IN FUCK are the cops treating vampire mobs and human mobs differently, any more than they are the Italian and Russian mobs. It's still mafia, it's still criminal, and the feds still won't hesitate to break your ass.

 Haven then gets REALLY posessive and demands to know if Anita slept with any of the lions in Joseph's pride. Because OF COURSE we have to have posturing with that. It's not like Anita should be free to fuck (CONSENTUALLY) whomever she wants (Who consents to being fucked prior to the actual fucking)

Haven then tells Joseph that, in effect, his lions have twenty four hours before the shit hits the fan.

“She’s right,” Haven said. He looked at Joseph. “We can’t settle this right now, so go. Go tell your pride that you failed them. Tell them that we’ll give them tonight safe.”
And this is when a sane group of weres, like Joseph's pride, call the cops, tell them that shit is about to go down, and then fort up in a secure building with a LARGE supply of ammo because FUCK THAT SHIT.

I am now sorely tempted to write a book about a group of weres forting up to fight a hostile takeover. It's an idea that's been bouncing around for a long time. I have a set of characters and everything.

Wicked and Truth then escort Joseph out of the building. And this happens:

“You condemn me to death, Anita,” he called back over his shoulder. I didn’t know what to say to that, so I said nothing. You can’t save everybody, and we couldn’t afford to have any ally that wasn’t with us completely. It wasn’t just the sex. There’d been no lion in his pride good enough to be a bodyguard. Not a single one.

And the thing about protecting the weak? They can't usually give back to you once you save them. Nobody ever repaid Superman. Peter Parker gets shit on every time he turns around, in or out of the mask. It doesn't matter. The whole point of protecting those weaker than you is that they CAN'T give back. You don't protect the able because the able can damn well fucking protect themselves. You protect the weaker (As much as they want you to) so that they can become self sufficiant, and even if they don't, you keep doing it because someday, you WILL be the weak one, you WILL need protection, and you'll want somebody to stand over you with a flame thrower or a blank check, ready to keep you alive come hell or high water. And if you're superhuman and you'll never grow old? You keep doing it because it's the right thing to do. Every human being ought to have food and water for the day, clean clothes, a clean body and a door that locks. The fact that we cannot provide that for people when we have this much technology and this much wealth and this much social awareness is an indictment of just how much we've failed as a species.  I mean for fuck's sake, if overextending ourselves in the protection and betterment of the less fortunate isn't something to aspire to, I don't want to be fucking human anymore.

Anita is saying that the lions aren't worth protecting because they cannot directly benefit her.

Can it get worse? Yes. Yes it can.

“What did you say to him, Wicked?” I asked. 
“I told him that the werelion had given him tonight to be safe, but if he kept saying mean things about our masters, I’d just do him tonight.
 “It’s my fight,” Haven said.
 “I said that I’d do him, not that I’d kill him. After everything he’d just said, I figured rape would scare him enough to get him out of here.”
Yes. Rape as a casual threat. Our heroes. Threatening to rape their own murder victims at the drop of a hat. Those crazy kids.

This is never acknowledged by Anita or her folks. Instead, they bemoan that the rumor that nobody can join Jean Claude's protective circle without fucking Jean Claude isn't true.

But now it's time for Haven to swear his love to Anita forever.

I like being a guy. I like being muscle. I like hurting people. I don’t mind killing people. I like my job. I like drinking with the guys, a little poker, and strip clubs, fucking. It was a good life.”
Who not to date, boys and girls. Anyhoo, Haven's unwavering oath of devotion is all about how thinking about Anita fucked up his manliness.

“Yeah, you did, Anita, maybe not on purpose, but you did. First it fucked up my job, then it fucked up my fun. I started looking at my friends and what we did, and thought, She’d be disappointed. She’d think it was stupid.” He shook his head. “Damn it, I’ve never let any woman mess me up like this.”

Note the problem: It's not that his job is messed up. It's that a WOMAN did it to him. Isn't that weak of him? Isn't Anita special for doing that to him?

Anita Blake: Redeeming Potential Rapists, But Only Where She Is Concerned.

I didn’t know what to say. Sorry seemed lame, and It’s not my fault seemed worse. I didn’t mean to fuck up your life seemed the most accurate. I finally settled for, “I didn’t make you rethink your life, Haven.”
She made a RAPING MURDEROUS THUG think that maybe being a rapist murdering thug is a bad thing. AND THIS IS A NEGATIVE ACTION ON HER PART. Haven then confirms this. She did make him rethink his life.  And then Truth chimes in, because his job is to say how WONDERFUL Anita is.

“A lady always makes a  man want to be better than he is."
Yes. Anita is a lady. No one else is a lady. Just Anita. Nobody that Haven raped or fucked is a lady. Just Anita. Anita is wonderful. Anita is everything.

Fuck Anita.

“Only love of a good woman will make a man question every choice, every action. Only love makes a warrior hesitate for fear that his lady will find him cruel. Only love makes a man both the best he will ever be , and the weakest. Sometimes all in the same moment.”

Twenty five people in this universe are amoral, melodramatic shitheads. Yes, folks. Twenty five people highlighted that paragraph on their Kindle. Twenty-five human beings read THAT paragraph in the context of THIS chapter and decided that it deserved merit. Twenty five people.

Anita betrayed a man whose only crime was IGNORING her in favor of his own family and his own subordinates so that Anita would not RAPE THEM. Anita is not a good woman.

Anita basically tells Haven that yeah, she wants sex with him but she likes how her life works right now, so please don't fuck it up. Truth tells her that Haven's ego needs salving, so she salves it.

“I thought about you while you were in Chicago, but not to the extent you thought about me. I sent you away because I wanted to touch you. I wanted to be naked with you, and do all the things you do when the clothes come off.”

Yes. Because actually saying you want to have sex would make you a slut, apparently.

Haven follows it up with this:

“It means that once I kill Joseph and take over his pride, I’ll be a permanent member of your coalition. I’ll be the local Rex. Once I take over Joseph’s pride, I can’t go back to Chicago.”

Yeah, because it's not like your murder victim didn't leave the room FIVE MINUTES AGO. And hey, we haven't had any major sexism this chapter:

The lioness in me wanted to know if he was as good as his brag. Not just about sex, but power. The lioness more than any other of my beasts wanted a mate that could protect her , keep up with her.

Yep. Because protection is what you think of. Not safe, sane companionship. Protection.

Anita realizes that having Haven as a Rex is okay, but having him as a boyfriend might be a problem. Because it's okay if he abuses other lionesses, but there's a risk he might abuse HER, and that's a no-no.

I opened my mouth to say go, but my lioness swiped a claw up inside me, like she was playing with my liver. It made me writhe on the bed and not in a good way.

You know, apparently LKH has a biology degree. I think it came out of a crackerjack box, but she has one.

This could probably go on forever, and apparently LKH realized this, because Dolph shows up and throws everybody out of the hospital room. This is a public hospital, not a were/vampire special. I did not know this. What are these idiots doing here if this is a public hospital? Anyhoo, Dolph tells Anita that Edward and Olaf are enough backup...

or is there something going on in our city so dangerous that you need all this firepower?”

THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO WARN THE COPS. THE COPS NEED TO KNOW THAT MURDERING VAMPIRES ARE IN TOWN. Otherwise one of them might go hunting for a murderer and wind up dead. This is info that could LITERALLY save lives.

Instead, Anita finishes the chapter by wondering why she doesn't trust Olaf.

I hate this book.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Harlequin--chapter 36-37

Book stuff boys and girls! Yep, it's the weekend, and I know most of ya'll like to buy books on the weekend. So just a reminder that The Perilous Choice and all my other stuff is out.

I know, I know. Blatent plugs are a pain in the ass. But the book money is bailing me out of shit more often than it ought to, so...yeah, I can't justify not doing book plugs. BOOK PLUGS!

 (Seriously, blog-readers. You are the best and I wouldn't trade any of you for the world)

...Apparently it's cameo time. Wicked and Truth show up. I know who these guys are, but for all the impact they've had on the story they might as well not exist. LKH likes pretty guys. I get it. I get it. Is there a reason she can't like, do one pretty guy, or two, or three? Just keep the penis count down to something reasonable, just so they can be characters and not just dicks? Wicked and Truth are dangerous and pretty. Great. Do they like broccoli or cauliflower? Have ambitions? Sleep with stuffed armadillos? These aren't characters. They're fictional dildos.

They were brothers, and vampires, and had only recently joined Jean-Claude’s group. The first time I’d met them, Truth had nearly died trying to help me catch a bad guy. They’d been warriors and mercenaries for centuries. Now they were ours. Jean-Claude’s and mine.
Wait. Now I get it! It's Penismon! Gotta catch 'em all. Though the poke Peniiballs are a little redundant. And it certainly explains why LKH can't cut a dude loose when Anita's done with him. They're all sent to Someone's PC.

 Anita comments on how Wicked bulked up from trips to the gym, and...uh I thought the big thing about vampires is that they are dead. THEY DON'T CHANGE. THEY ARE IN A STATE OF BIOLOGICAL STASIS. HOW THE FUCK ARE THEY BULKING UP FROM THE GYM. And designer suits. Where would Wicked get the money for a designer suit? Is Jean Claude buying off-the-rack Armani for his boys now?

They are described as masculine multiple times. They're boys, get it? They're boys. We might miss the fact that they're boys, so we're going to mention it three thousand more times.


Joseph arrives.

Let me make it real clear what this guy did: He refused to have sex with Anita and let her rape his pride through him. That's all he did.

“I know,” Graham said, “but he’s out here alone. The lions left you and the vampires and our Ulfric to die. You don’t owe them anything.”

It wasn't their responsibility. They're allies, but there's being an ally and then there's letting you rape me and all my people because you SAY you need it. And Anita isn't going to ignore them. She's going to punish them for ignoring her. Which is the real crime here. They ignored her, so now she's going to rip into them until they bleed. That is the entire point of what happens next.

“Asher invited the lions from Chicago back,” Graham said.
Why would Asher do diddly fuck? Anita hasn't talked to Asher. Jean Claude might have, but Jean Claude hasn't talked to Anita. And they're deliberately bringing in the psychotic mob enforcer that nobody wants to have in St. Louis, INCLUDING Anita, because he's the worst thing they could have happen to the pride.

Because Joseph ignored Anita.

There's a lot of stuff about politics and how Jean Claude and Micah are both leaving the lions out in the cold, and it just shows that both Jean Claude and the furry coalition (That's what the book says) are just criminal gangs and cults-of-personality for Anita, Jean Claude and Micah. The  crime here isn't murder or rape or stealing from the coalition's coffers. It's that when Anita demanded sex, Joseph refused her. He put his pride's safety and his marrige's well-being over Anita's need for sex. And note: SHE NEVER ASKED HIM FOR IT IN PERSON. He had the word of a bunch of hangers-on that Anita needed him to fuck her so she could rape his entire pride, and he said "Not happening". Everything that Anita has gotten about Joseph is second hand. This is the first time she has ever seen him face to face onscreen since MAYBE Narcissus. She condemned Joseph to horrible things without speaking with him, without finding out why he said "Fuck no", and without taking a step back to go "Hey, maybe RAPING HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE AT ONCE isn't something I'm willing to do, even to stay alive."

The lions weren’t my problem, damn it. They had betrayed us. They would have let us all die. Their moral superiority had been worth more to them than the lives of our vampires.

NO. THEIR RIGHT TO NOT BE FORCED INTO SEX WAS WORTH MORE TO THEM THEN THE LIVES OF THE LOCAL MAFIA BOSS AND HIS PETS. THAT is what this is. To a civilian Jean Claude is reprehensible, Richard is a loose cannon, Anita is a predatory rapist and the world would be a much, much, MUCH better place without all three of 'em. It isn't morally superior to say "No, I won't have sex with you". It's a basic fucking human fucking right. HOW DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THIS.

Joseph comes into the room and the chapter ends. Next chapter:

I WATCHED JOSEPH walk toward the bed. He was tall with dark blond hair cut short. He was dressed for a business meeting in a suit complete with tie. I was betting his wife, Julia, had picked the outfit.

You know, I try real hard to stay the fuck away from the "These are all people in LKH's life" bullshit, because a lot of it is bullshit, but this chapter, this whole lion thing, is so nasty, so mean spirited, so UTTERLY FUCKING WRONG, that I have to ask: Who told LKH no? Because this isn't just shitty writing. This is motherfucking vindictive. This is Richard level hate right here. This isn't fantasy sex or pretend politics. This is an IRL revenge fantasy. This is nasty.

  And of course, Joseph begs Anita to please not bring in a psychopath to take over his pride, kill him and rape his wife.

Anita responds with the geniality and tact she's known for:

I shook my head. “My lioness has never wanted you, Joseph. Had you ever wondered why? Why wouldn’t she want the strongest lion she could find? That’s what she’s programmed to do...“I did it because you were my ally, and I thought it was somehow my fault that the other werelions were going to come and take over your pride. I’ve learned since then that Augustine has had your pride on his to-do list for a while now. Because you and your lions are too weak to defend yourselves, and all the other lions know it.”
Yeah, because keeping dangerous people away from vulnurable people is making yourself weak.

Again: This is all because Joseph ignored Anita.

“No, I kept them safe. Jean-Claude kept them safe. Richard kept them safe. The wererats have died keeping your city safe. The leopards nearly lost their queen. The swans risked everything . Where were the lions while the rest of us bled and died?”
Kept them safe like a mob boss protection racket. The lions were being not raped, not attacked by the Harlequin, and thus not dead. It's not Anita's fault her people are being attacked by the Harlequin, but I think the super secretive society of evil assassin clowns would be more than a little non-plussed if Anita had just called RPIT or the feds and gone "UH: VAMPIRE ASSASSINS" when the mask showed up. They didn't because Jean Claude knows one fed in one club, and his ass is grass.

Joseph points out that if Anita ever asked, the werelions would fight for her. Anita says that since none of them are ex-military, they can't fight so all they're good for is rape meat. Like the swans. Victims or killers. That's all you get to be in this series.

But of course it isn't Joseph's fault. It's his awful, conniving wife for daring to want to have a monogamous relationship and a pride where people aren't randomly raped or abused for dominance fights. Where her people aren't rented out to the local mob boss. You know, to have the closest thing to a normal life a lion could get.

 And then Joseph drops something fucking brilliant

“You’re picking men who will have to have sex with you. If you have no choice, then you’re just a slave.”


“You self-righteous prig. I didn’t sleep with them because most of them are virgins, or damn close to it. Corrupting the young just doesn’t appeal to me.”

And you'd have to teach them how to have sex, which would mean giving a fuck about somebody other than yourself for once. And it's wrong to offer virgin sacrifices, but not wrong to demand it? Get fucked, Anita.

But at least this chapter is nearly over and it isn't going to get much wor--

Haven, alias Cookie Monster, walked into the room.

End of chapter.

Harlequin--chapter 35

Dolph, being Dolph, immediately goes apeshit on Requiem, forcing Anita to protect her friend from the vampires fucking with him.

Of course from Dolph's POV it's a vampire about to eat his wounded, if highly misguided, old working buddy. And there's no mention that his goals here could possibly be altruistic because he's the Designated Hater and will be until he gets a lobotomy. The surviving girl vamp is screwing with him, so his cross is glowing and he's ready to shoot everything with fangs.

It was Mercia. If we all survived, I’d ask Edward how he managed to miss her.

UH MAYBE IT WAS BECAUSE HER FRIEND DIED RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER WHEN YOU KILLED SOLEDAD. It would have taken AT LEAST fifteen minutes for Olaf and Edward to get there, and I'm thinking more like an hour or two. I see my kill buddy die remotely, I'm booking it. Anita, you are not so special that your enemies will risk certain death to end you remotely. Up close, maybe, but not remotely.

Edward comes in, assesses the situation, and decides his best move is to pretend to hate vampires as much as Dolph does, just to get him out of the room. Apparently he's so good at it that he talks Dolph into handing over his gun.

At this point, Dolph is just a cardboard cut out with "Shithead" written in crayon.

Then they decide to take Requiem with them and leave Dolph in the room. Requiem quotes random poets and freaks Dolph out. Probably because quoting random poets isn't something a normal person does.

Of course we get the judgemental "Are you fucking him?" exchange that has to happen every single book. I think she just copy-pastes it in at this point. And then Dolph shows that he's actually right for once:

It took him a second, and then he stared at me. He tried to frown, then laughed and shook his head. “I hate that you date the monsters . I hate that you are fucking them. I think it compromises you, Anita. I think it makes you have to choose where your loyalties lie, and I don’t think us mere humans always win the coin toss.”
GUESS WHAT? THEY DON'T. Anita just raped HUNDREDS of shifters at once. Hundereds. Some of whom were children. Some of whom were probably babies, unless the Swanmanes suddenly stopped reproducing. If Anita could find a way to psychically rape an entire city, St. Louis would be toast. Dolph is absolutely 100% right in saying this. Only it's not that she's dating any old monster, it's that she's dating a supernatural mafia don and a couple of pretty thugs.

And then Anita fucks up and almost outs Richard to Dolph:

“I asked you once if you were dating any humans, and you said no.” I fought not to look too relaxed, or too tense. This was Richard’s world I was playing with. “You probably asked during one of our many breakups. We’re pretty on and off.”

You know, keeping the cops in the dark about your people is kind of a stupid move. So is not having a decent liason. One of the premises of my Exiles books are that the Faeries are the worst kept secret in the world. Cops and social services know ALL about them, mostly because the Fairies are highly likely to become clinically depressed and call the cops and/or social services for a crisis, and if one of 'em twists off the cops are gonna know about it. There aren't very many of them, so the general public isn't in enough danger to justify outing the fairies, while the reverse is definately true--out them and the public would squish most of them like bugs. Smart move would be for Richard to have at least ONE person relaying shit to the cops. But nope, we have to treat the police like mushrooms in this series--keep 'em in the dark and feed 'em lots of shit.

Dolph and Anita then discuss her many breakups with Richard. Why the FUCK a lead detective is discussing Anita's lovelife like this, let alone what the fuck he's doing here, is never explained. But Finally, FINALLY, LKH admits that the reason Anita broke up with Richard the first time is because he ate someone. Not because he couldn't handle her liking monsters, but because she couldn't handle him. She does not, however, mention that when she ran off she went and gave Jean Claude a blow job in the bathtub.

Edward finally prompts Dolph into asking Anita where the other Harlequin vampire is. Which makes me think that Dolph has a case open on Anita and her lovers and GOD KNOWS she's got enough shit for him to pin something on her.

Anita fucks up again and drops the girl vamps' names in front of Dolph, which makes him rant on how Anita withholds informants and evidence until she and only she can move on a case, which is 100% true. I kind of love Dolph right now.

“I trust you, Dolph, but I don’t trust the hate in you.”

...Which means you don't trust him. At all. It's a yes/no question, Anita. You can't do both.

Dolph then brings up his family and says he's come to terms with his son marrying a vampire. Anita mentions, in passing, that Dolph got so violent over this issue he nearly put her through a wall at a crime scene and trashed an interrogation office, and I think the only reason he's still got a badge is that Anita is a fed, and if Anita has to have a badge they can't kick anybody out of the club.

Anita then explains about the Animal to Call stuff that probably should be in "Supernatural Cop's Quarterly" or something, because that's major information that somebody would have told a cop other than Anita before.

They figure out in three seconds that the Harlequin vamp got out by having her Servant carry her out in a duffel bag. Edward and Dolph are better cops than Anita, they should have figured that out at the crime scene.

Dolph and Anita yell at each other for a minute, and then Dolph asks about Peter.

The UNDERAGE kid who just got seriously hurt and possibly infected with lycanthropy. You know. That Peter.

Anita should be so seriously fucked right now.

Dolph then follows up with a question on if Anita is Jean Claude's human servant, and she responds by accusing him of sexual harrassment, followed up by a bullshit analysis of how much his son loves his vampire fiancee. How the fuck has Anita managed to never get arrested? That's classic "I DON'T WANT TO ANSWER THAT" behavior. This, in turn, is followed up by a monologue of how much better a cop Anita is.

No. If you don't understand why wearing a g-string and stilettos to a crime scene is a bad deal, you're not a good cop. If you don't get why dating a mafia don compromises you as a police officer, you're a real shitty cop. And if you don't get how bringing up someone else's family issues to avoid an interrogation is INCREDIBLY shitty on your part, you're the worst cop in the world. Anita doesn't respect the job. She only cares about it because it gives her the leverege she needs to protect herself and her boyfriends' interests. She NEVER makes any sacrifices for the good of other people if she, herself, does not benefit directly.

Edward and Anita finally throw Dolph out and rehash the entire conversation without coming to any conclusions whatsoever. Then they decide that Peter needs to go home if and when he takes the shapeshifter shot.

End of chapter.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Anita does, wonder of wonders, kind of call herself on her own bullshit and acknowledges that Cisco and Peter just saved her life...but only after pointing out that Cisco (the hired guard) fouled Peter (the random kid's) shot by jumping in front of it.

LKH wanted to show how awful dealing with teenagers is. Boo hoo. They still saved Anita's ass.

Claudia and Remus got there first, because you just can’t outrun a shapeshifter. Edward and Olaf were close behind, but they didn’t get there first.

How can you read that and go "I absolutely need to repeat myself here, the reader might not get who got there first."

That said, I would like to read LKH's  version of Who's on First, as it would probably be entertaining. For all the wrong reasons.

Everybody empties their clips into Soledad, and she just keeps on growing back. Cisco gets his throat ripped out offscreen and his struggles to breathe are mentioned in passing. Anita fills her full of silver. She keeps coming.

I really like this. Anita's response to everything is "Shoot it" and now she can't kill Soledad. This could be interesting. High stakes, a risky situation. Claudia throws herself on Soledad and they roll around for a while. Olaf runs for a flame thrower. Soledad makes a few threats about how killing her and her mistress won't stop the wild hunt (gag) and instead of making a snappy comment Anita just quotes the Harlequin rules at Soledad, because the Harlequin is totally listening to their own rules.

Anita adds that she's totally safe from reprisals because she'll be killing the two female vamps using her warrents. Which are for two different vamps with different names and everything. Soledad correctly points out that this is bullshit, Anita doesn't have warrents for the Harlequin vamps and would thus be guilty of murder, and Anita replies with a MASSIVE leap in logic.

“But the warrant is worded sort of vaguely. It states that I can kill the vampire responsible for the death of the victim, and that I can, at my discretion, kill anyone who assisted in that death. It also allows me to kill anyone who tries to impede me in carrying out my court-appointed duty.” I looked into that strangely beautiful face. “Which means you.”
Laurel K. Hamilton actually thought this was heroic. That it wasn't wrong, that it isn't a horrible abuse of power, that this is exactly what a heroine of good standing and character would do: violate the law to commit random murder.

Anita and Olaf then begin firing at Soledad again, because he found fire in the form of a can of WD-40. That works great against wasps, but this is a full sized tiger person who can shrug off having her head blown off.

Olaf glided into the circle with his torch and his squeezy can of accelerant.
This is the best line in the book. I have no idea why but it made me laugh till I hurt myself.

And he doesn't do the smart thing and use the oil can as a makeshift flame thrower. Nope. He sprays Soledad with the stuff like it's fucking lighter fluid and then jams the torch into random wounds.

He shoved the torch into the wound I’d made, and she started to scream. The smell of burning hair was strong and bitter. It began to overwhelm the scent of the accelerant. He set her afire. He covered her in the thick oily liquid and burned her. She was too hurt to do much, but she could scream, and writhe. It looked like it hurt. It smelled like burning hair, and finally , when she stopped moving, it smelled like burning meat, and oil. She made a high-pitched keening noise for a very, very long time.
Our heroine. Sets her enemies on fire and watches them burn. That sounds badass, but I want you to do something for me, folks: hold your breath for a minute. See how long it takes you to get through that minute, and then imagine watching somebody burn to death, screaming, while you're holding your breath. And this probably lasted ten or fifteen minutes because this woman was fucking hard to kill.

Heroine. Upstanding heroine we are supposed to worship for being awesome.

And then Olaf and Anita take Soledad's head and heart because why the fuck not. Anita is pragmatic--Soledad could still jump up and eat her--but Olaf is actively getting off on this and LKH is very careful to point out how very much he's enjoying it.

Our heroine: Pairing up with rapist murderers because why the fuck not.

Oh hey, remember when I said that Anita got hurt so bad her guts are hanging out? She decapitates Soledad before Edward points this out to her.

Edward knelt beside me. He touched the front of my shirt. His hand came away crimson like he’d dipped it in red paint. He ripped my shirt open to my chest. The claw marks looked like angry, jagged mouths. There was something pink and bloody and shiny bulging out of one of the mouths like a swollen tongue.

I like that last image, but if your intestine is trying to get in on the exciting external action sequence, you'd probably be feeling it. If not pain, than the fact that you're sensing the touch of things in places things shouldn't be. Like your intestine.

Edward races Anita to the hospital ward. Which apparently they have in Not-The-Circus and Not-Guilty Pleasures. End of chapter.

Chapter 32: Cisco dies. Even the text acknowledges that Cisco shouldn't have died because Anitaverse shifters can heal throat wounds faster than they can bleed out, but Cisco still dies. I'm glossing over this because there's a big world-breaker of a plot twist coming up.

That said, if Anita hadn't spent the whole book shitting on Cisco, we might actually care that he's dead.

Richard tries to save Cisco, and of course fails. So he and the other wolves go off to mourn. Anita hands her warrents off to Edward's Ted persona so that he can serve them for her. She calls Zerbowski to clear this and hands the phone over to Edward so the doctors can put her internal organs back where they go.  And in the next chapter, LKH forgets how her world works.

See, Peter got scratched by Soledad, which means he's been exposed to shifter...whatever. Virus? Blood? And now there's a chance he'll turn furry. Small chance, because Tiger doesn't catch very well, but there's a chance. And Peter doesn't like shifters because one of 'em killed his Dad.

How do they fix this?

“They want to give him a live shot.” “What?” I said, and it was almost a yell. “Yeah,” Graham said. “But that will give him whatever lycanthropy is in the shot.” “Not if he’s already got tiger lycanthropy,” Graham said. “What?”“Apparently, they had some people who were attacked by more than one beast in a single night. The two different strains canceled each other out. They came up clean and completely human.”
This is bullshit. Both Chimera and Anita carry two strains of therianthropy. Chimera got his over the course of a month but Anita was infected with at least two of her strains during the fight with Chimera. This is the very, VERY thin logic the book uses to convince us that Anita could carry four different kinds of shifter in her bloodstream, so it's very important that this concept remain unchallenged. But now, when a character would shift with devistating personal consequences, suddenly getting infected by two strains of shifter cancel each other out.

Meaning Anita should be clean.

LKH tries to convince us that Edward is better than Superman

“Ted Forrester, federal marshal”— he said it the way you’d say “Superman, Man of Steel”—“ is with him. He seems to be helping him choose.”

And instead of pointing out that Anita caught her difficult issues on the same night she asks them what kind of kitty cat is in the shot, because if Peter gets tiger twice that seals the deal. Graham goes off to check it out. Anita angsts because she wants to check her stitches but Requiem is in the room and she'd rather not be naked in front of him. The idea of putting the bedsheets over her head or something doesn't occur to her.

Requiem points out that Olaf and Edward went to kill the Harlequin, only found Soledad's dead mistress and hacked her into tiny pieces. Once again we are reminded that Olaf wanted to kill a live one. Requiem also points out that the council is pissed because they killed the Harlequin and that Jean Claude could be completely borked. Anita says Belle Morte told her something completely different, because Belle Morte is a completely trustworthy source of info.

Requiem then starts flipping out and quoting random love poetry, which isn't different from his usual thing. For some reason this scares Anita, though, so she starts screaming for help...and Dolph walks through the door.


The cop who nearly put Anita through a crime scene wall and still somehow kept his badge.

End of chapter

Monday, January 27, 2014

Harlequin--chapter 30-31

Anita complains about having two under-twenty people for guards, as she has Peter, who is a full blown rapist before he's old enough to buy lotto tickets, and Cisco, who is eighteen and somebody Rafael gave to Jean Claude because he trusted him. There is a world of difference between the untested kid Edward can't send home and the legal adult the professional body guard service decided is capable of defending you. They make Anita feel old, though (like a prom chaperone is the phrase used) and they can't be fucked, so they have to go.

She tries to talk them into letting her see Richard alone. Because the absolute best thing you can do when you're being hunted by vampires that can control your mind from a distance is to go be alone with another human being that they've been fucking with. The boys say no dice.

Soledad the weretiger then shows up and things get...erm...weird.

She saw us, and her face looked suddenly stricken. She dropped to all fours and started to crawl toward us . Not in that almost sexual way the lycanthropes could, but broken, as if it hurt her to move.
Turns out Soledad shot Richard because Richard was trying real hard to kill Jean Claude, and that was all she could think of. She's very sorry. Anita spends a few minutes trying to decide what to do--should she forgive Soledad for breaking up the fight and probably saving all their lives, or should she pout and continue to punish her for making what everybody agrees was probably the right move?--and finally holds out a hand in forgiveness. Soledad takes it and hulks the fuck out.

She grabbed me around the waist, lifted me in front of her face and chest, and I blocked the clawed hand that had gone for my throat with my arm. Claws dug into my side just below the ribs.
Yep. Soledad was a plant the whole time. And I'd really like this development if I gave a fuck about Anita (or if Soledad killed Anita, because Anita is a walking black hole of rape and suck at this point) and if I didn't have one major issue with this senario.

It's subtle, but it's one of the things I consider to be a huge deal, kind of like how the unlikable characters who do shitty things are always the first to die in the slasher movies. The slasher movie is implying that the unlikable characters deserved to die, especially if the death is ironic in nature, and it's dangerously easy to carry that implication--the shitty character deserved to die horribly--into an incredibly shitty assumption, that all victims do something to deserve it. They never kill the nice fluffy character right off. Nope. It's always the nasty ones. Something like that is going on here. Anita is making a choice that, while right, is pretty out of character for her at this point. She's forgiving someone who hurt her indirectly in an attempt to shield others--in this case, Anita and Jean Claude--from greater harm. Kind of like how Joseph the werelion is sheilding his pride from greater harm by not fucking Anita, Soledad shot Richard to keep him from killing Jean Claude and, by extension, Anita, Damian and Nathanial. While it did put their lives in peril, there was a good chance they'd all survive, and they have. The morally right thing to do is to forgive Soledad and move on. Anita does. The thing about forgiveness, though, is that it does leave you vulnurable in some way, and by accepting physical contact with Soledad and allowing the moment of emotional intimacy forgiveness requires, Anita exposes herself to attack, and Soledad takes advantage of this. Or to TL:DR all that bullshit, Laurel K. Hamilton is basically saying Anita was wrong to forgive Soledad.

Up until Soledad sinks her claws into Anita, Soledad had done nothing wrong. She'd saved five lives with one bullet, in fact, and had already taken one big hit for Anita in trying to take the not-a-tiger thing that the MOAD gave her. There is no reason for forgiving Soledad to be bad. Except that it turns out she was a plant and evil evil mc evilstine the entire time. Given that major, major awful shit is about to go down with the werelions, having this scene here is a kind of subconsious justification. Anita forgave Soledad for making the right move and got mauled for it, so Anita can't afford to forgive the werelions.

I do not think that LKH wrote this intentionally, but I do think this is the reason why she wrote it. Same way Eli Roth makes all his characters pieces of shit, Laurel K. Hamilton has justified Anita's poor choices by setting up stuffed attack shirts.

Also: the female with the non-white name is the traitor. OBVIOUSLY.

End of chapter. Next chapter, the boys that Anita bitched so comprehensively about have drawn their guns and are trying to decide if they can shoot Soledad without hitting Anita. Soledad shifts from behind Anita and of course it's time to introduce the specialness.

She was striped pale lemon gold and white. Weren’t tigers orange and black? If I lived, I’d ask someone.
...pale. lemon. gold. Yeah. NO.

Also, Soledad is the Animal to Call of one of the girl vampires Anita is about to give to Olaf. We're supposed to find her big and scary but if somebody you loved was about to become prey for a butcher you'd probably react the same way.

There's some kind of secret...communication...thing between Anita and Peter, a little like the "Shoot the hostage" scene in Speed, only I have no idea what the blazing fuck they're talking about, and Anita blinds Soledad with her hair while Peter shoots her legs out.

No. Seriously. She doesn't attempt an elbow to the solar plexus or a quick headbutt to the nose. SHE BLINDS THE WERE-TIGER WITH HER HAIR. also bugs me how seldom Anita rescues herself. Things always end with her fainting and being carried out of the room. It's probably just my own pet peeve, but if John McClaine can crawl across broken glass, get blown up multiple times, and still walk out of the building without help, female power-heroines should get to do the same.

Soledad tears into Anita like she's a side of beef. Anita's guts are now poking through the holes. Then she goes for Peter and...

She stopped trying for my throat and reached for Peter. I was suddenly trying to wrestle her hand away from him instead of me. Her hand wasn’t on my stomach anymore. Peter’s body reacted as if something hurt .

That is the most beautiful example of pointless passive voice I have ever seen. Is there a reason we can't say, "SHE STABBED PETER IN THE GUT" and move on?

Peter finds his gun and turns Soledad's head into red goo. Richard hears the commotion and comes out of his sickroom, and Cisco tries to peel Soledad's body off of Peter. However, being a Harlequin's Animal to Call apparently means you've got more hit points than a Resident Evil boss because Soledad is still alive, if mostly headless. She jumps up and wraps herself around Cisco and the chapter ends.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Harlequin--chapter 29

I HADN’T RECOGNIZED Peter at first, because he’d done that growth spurt thing that teenage boys do sometimes.
It's an extremely nit-picky thing to bitch at, given that we're pretty much just discussing rape at this point (Because once again, that is ALL this book is about) but if Anita is supposed to be this GREAT cop with this GREAT  skillset, being confused by a growth spurt is kind of...IDK...NOT SMART.

Also: Apparently only some teenaged boys have growth spurts. The rest of 'em stay marooned at a thirteen year old's four foot three. Nice to know.

Anita scans Peter for signs that he's a predator in the making, because apparently RAPING TWO OF HIS GIRLFRIENDS isn't a big enough clue. (I like how FUCKING RAPE is LKH's go-to for "possible trouble in adolescence". Seriously, I'd love to have a look at the woman's mental rolodex. Does it have ANYTHING other than "Rape" in it?) She also spends a paragraph complaining that Peter's fake ID is too good and that Edward is advancing his education too much.

I do not remember Edward having such shitty boundaries. That was one of the things I liked about his character. Ted Forrester and Edward weren't the same people, and he kept that very clear. LKH has apparently decided that THAT line needs to be good and blurred.

Olaf looks like the dad from The Munsters. He does. Also, Anita will go out of her way to avoid telling her body guards that Olaf is a serial killer whose victims are exactly Anita's type. She'll finally dump that job off on Edward and mysteriously, none of her bodyguards will immediately kill the son of a bitch. Here's hoping for a stray bullet or nine.

Anita does, however, assure her bodyguards that Olaf has promised to behave in St. Louis. Because serial killers have a history of keeping their promises to potential victims.

Again: You have vampires who are very powerful who do not give a FUCK about the law. Roll Olaf and MAKE him behave himself.

Anita reveals that she has somehow discerned that the female vamps she saw via rape-o-vision are plants in the Church of Eternal Life, and that they are the vamps she's got warrents to kill. Olaf asks her what they look like. He gets very excited. Anita shows a lot of reluctance to have him along, but she does not kill him, which means she doesn't actually give a fuck about morality, she just finds this shit distasteful. But she does tell him they're sure fits.

I forced myself to look up and meet Olaf’s gaze. I fought to watch his face while I said, “They fit your vic profile, if that’s what you want to know. One of them maybe a little tall, but the other one is juuust right.”

Anita is promising a serial killer victims in return for his cooperation. Her justification is that she'll have to decapitate these girls and she doesn't know anybody else who'd go along with it.

Anita. Richard ATE people because that was the thing to do after a dominance fight. Most of these vampires do not give a fuck about killing things. They just do. You could bring them along and they'd have no problem cleaning up. This is not enough justification for using a serial killer as backup.

And then...this happens.

“Where is the paperwork?” he asked. “In my briefcase in Jean-Claude’s place.” “You can’t go to the Circus of the Damned without me, Anita.”

I actually re-read the entire book up to this point this afternoon because I was sure that we were already at the circus. The descriptions matched the descriptions of the Circus rooms, there's a breakfast thingy here, Sampson was here, and I was pretty sure that Guilty Pleasures connected to the Circus via tunnels. But apparently no, it doesn't and no, we're still at GP and Jean Claude, who is so paranoid his back door didn't even have a key until recently, is sleeping at his nightclub and not in his main lair while the murderous crazy vamps are hunting him.

These people have no logic.

Anita spends a paragraph talking about how Peter's boots are real cowboy boots and Olaf's aren't. Folks, I'm a Texan. Unless you own a motherfucking ranch, and by "own" I mean ACTIVELY WORK, you have no reason to own a pair of cowboy boots. Or the fucking hat, either (I hate the hat. Have I mentioned yet, how much I hate the goddamned hat? I remember a crime show where the florida cops and people were "Generic thrift store" and the georgia cops and people were "generic thrift store" and the Texas cops and people were all in cowboy hats, boots and fucking string ties. NO.)

Olaf disrespects Claudia. Anita rips him a new one.

I kind of like that part.

Also, it's amusing to watch LKH actually try to write a misogynistic character. It's kind of cute.

Anita finally decides that it's not worth it and heads off to Richard's room with Peter.

end of chapter.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Harlequin--chapter 28

Guys, I'd love to pull the "At least it can't get worse" gag with this chapter, but it's actually not that funny anymore. One, I know it's gonna get worse 'cause the Haven thing is coming up, but I kind of doubted that the bottom would fall out before this. And then I read ahead and...

Fuck. Let's just get on with it.

Edward brought backup with him. One of 'em is Olaf, who is basically LKH's idea of a serial killer. Big. Burly. Rather than a virgin/whore complex he's got a whore/victim/Anita one. Yeah, because he'll make an exception in his kill list for Anita.

Olaf likes you, likes you in a way I’ve never seen him like a woman. He has whores and he has victims, but whatever he feels for you is different.”

This sentence, just this one, makes me feel blind screaming rage. No, Laurel. Psychopaths don't work this way. They don't make an exception for their window dressing (See Paul Bernado and his treatment of his wife/killing buddy Karla at the ass end of their crime spree.) Many of them, in fact, deliberately choose public mates who don't fit their victim group so they don't accidentally kill their beard and out themselves in public. (IE Ted Bundy's public girlfriends and eventual wife were, with one exception, passable bordering on plain, with NONE of the features his victims had in common. The exception is considered by many to have been his prototype. He never hunted her, but he did re-initate a relationship for the express purpose of humiliating her)

But no. Anita is so special the deadly serial killer wants to fuck her and then let her live.

Thankfully for my sanity, Anita is on the right end of this conversation. Olaf is a killer, she fits his profile, she wants him the fuck out of her city. Edward convinces her to let him stay because...he's good at killing things and he probably would have come to St. Louis anyway if Edward hadn't made him promise not to.

This is supposed to be a convincing arguement for while Olaf is a good person. I guess.

And it is only then, after HALF THE CHAPTER is dedicated to Why Having Olaf Here Would Be Bad For Anita, that we find out that Edward's OTHER backup is his teenaged soon to be stepson, Peter.


Peter's presence in this chapter is introduced with Laurel K. Hamilton's usual tact: Peter was, in fact, in the hallway while Anita and Donovan were having sex. Edward has the following to say about Anita's bedroom exploits.

“I figured you for a screamer.”

Peter is sixteen. Yeah, that's old enough to screw, but that's not old enough to be in on the grown up's porn. Anita asks Edward, in surprisingly restrained language, what the bloody blue ant fuck Peter is doing in St Louis when they have killer vampires on the loose and Edward replies that it's because there are killer vampires on the loose.

Seriously. That's his entire reasoning.

“Short version, because we’ve only got a few hours to find these bastards.”
And you expect me to believe that a child Edward is supposed to be GUARDING is the only person he could grab? There wasn't some psychotic goat diddler or something he could have grabbed? You REALLY expect me to believe that in ARIZONA the only suitable backup a souless mercenary could nab on a moment's notice is a CHILD?

Again: Anita's on the right side of this arguement, but once again, she doesn't exactly follow through with the right move, which is to send the kid back home until he can legally buy a pack of cigarettes.

So it turns out that Peter, being a human, was traumatized by certain events--having his dad eaten by a werewolf and then being molested by crazy not-Aztecs in Arizona--and like any other human, has nightmares and various shades of PTSD to deal with. Edward, being a fucked up sociopath of the first water, is teaching Peter how to shoot things instead of sending Peter to a REAL therapist. Which means that when Anita called, he listened in on everything and then demanded that Edward take him along...and Edward said yes because an untested hormonal child is the best backup you can have when something that scares THE ENTIRE VAMPIRE COUNCIL is moving in on your best friend.

Anita says "FUCK that shit, send the kid home" to everything that Edward hands her...right up until he says that Peter is in love with her.

“When I was sixteen, I’d rather have died than have a woman I loved humiliate me.
Yeah. So when Anita saved Peter, he imprinted on her like a newborn baby duck. Also on the violence from that night.

“His therapist says that an event like what happened to him just as his sexuality was awakening can be a defining event.”
Please tell me this isn't going where I think it's going.

It is going there, and it's coming with a healthy serving of slut shame.

“It means he’s had two girlfriends in the last year. The first one was perfect. She was quiet, respectful, pretty. They were sweet together.” “What happened?” I asked. “Her parents called one night and asked what kind of monster our son was, that he’d hurt their daughter.”
Well, that sounds nice enou--

“The usual. She was a virgin and they didn’t do enough foreplay.” “It happens,” I said. “But the girl claimed that when she told him it hurt, he didn’t stop.” “Sounds like buyer’s remorse to me, Edward.”
Oh for FUCK'S SAKE Laurell, you're seriously SLUT SHAMING a DATE RAPE that didn't even happen in this book? Can you not go ONE WHOLE CHAPTER without having a protagonist character rape somebody?

“I thought so, too, until the second girl. She was rough trade, Anita. As bad as the first girl had been good. She slept around, and everyone knew it. She broke up with Peter, said he was a freak. This girl was a freak, Anita. She was all leather and spikes and piercings, and it wasn’t just for show. She said he hurt her.”

This kind of amazes me. On the one hand, this girl is defined as bad because she sleeps around. Not the leather and the spikes, or an actual criminal record. Nope. She's "rough trade" because she sleeps around. And yet her complaint about rape is valid because she knows and the other girl doesn't. I think these two examples kind of capuslize how LKH views the world, right here. You've got the prudy-mc-two-shoes who can't define what they're looking at, and the slutty little freaks you have to be better than. And then you've got her in the middle because she's Just That Special.

“When a kid is abused, they can react a lot of different ways; two of the choices are that they identify with the abuser and become abusers, or they embrace the role of victim. He didn’t embrace the role of victim, Anita.”
You say there are a lot of different ways, but you only provide the binary. Victim or abuser, kill or be killed. There's never a third option that would allow a human being to survive with dignity and not become a fucking monster. You get wolves and sheep in Anita's world. You don't get any guard dogs. It's like a world of supervillians with no Batman. I mean, Peter could have gotten real help, put his history in order and become, say, a foster parent or a victim's advocate, who would run against labling other kids as "rough trade" or damaged goods. He could have gracefully thanked Anita and Edward for their imput on his life, and then run off with Rafael and Ronnie and started something that could, IDK, actually HELP shapeshifters and supernatural critters have normal lives. But that would require growth and depth, and we'd much rather have a safely defined binary system we can just plug our characters into. Keep 'em nice and pigeonholed.

“I don’t know yet. But his therapist says that he’s also identified with his savior, you. He has another option besides just victim or abuser; he has you.”
The hubris in this bullshit is just astounding. And it hasn't been a fucking HOUR since Anita raped hundreds of people across the nation. Yesterday somebody reminded me that the swanmanes aren't made. They're born. Which means a lot of the people Anita just raped are CHILDREN. How the FUCK is Anita Blake anything other than an incredibly vile abuser? How could she be an example of ANYTHING to an abuse victim, other than the poster child for "Don't let this happen to you"?

And of course, Anita is more or less being set up to be Peter's perfect lover because she likes it rough and he's imprinted on her sexually.

 “You saved him, Anita. You took off the ropes, the blindfold. He’d just had the first sex of his life, and he looks up and sees you.” “He was raped,” I said. “It’s still sex. Everyone likes to pretend that it’s not, but it is. It may be about dominance , and pain, but it’s still sex. I’d take it away, make it so it never happened, but I can’t. Donna can’t. His therapist can’t. Peter can’t.”

 Here's hoping Peter goes back to Arizona, gets real help, and never comes back to this series ever again.

I really can't do this bullshit justice, either. Every time I read that paragraph up there I find six different things to scream at and they all cancel each other out. What you're reading, loyal blog-readers, are the handful of things that manage to make it out of a nuclear explosion of WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT.

Edward and Anita finally agree that they can't keep Peter here, and they can't send him home. BULLSHIT they can't send him home. Roll him, write him a nice letter apologizing for getting him out of the line of fire, and stick him on a plane after working out a good lie to tell Donna that will involve her taking her son home and keeping him there.

And the chapter ends with Anita debating the difference between a crush and hero worship and deciding that there isn't any.

I SERIOUSLY need to go shower after this chapter. Even the sex let me escape with relative sanity but this? It makes me feel VERY dirty. And I'm not entirely sure why.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Harlequin--chapter 27

Book stuff first, my lovelies. Weekends are when I usually sell the most books, so I want to remind ya'll that The Perilous Choice is out in the wild and ready to go home with you.  Click on the Gray Prince tab to go to that list of books. 

If nothing else, the ego boost will help make the pain go away. This book, people. This fucking book.

Anita starts discussing the ardeur. She manages one whole sentence before moving on to the world breaking stupidity.
My control of it had grown to the point where I had to give it permission to feed.

Anita cannot make it through ONE DAY without feeding the ardeur. She has NO CONTROL of it whatsoever and never has. She has just used to to RAPE hundreds of people and is about to use it to rape hundreds more. The solution to control, as has been mentioned time and time again IN THE TEXT is to eat real food and not abuse her body over much. She has proven incapable of doing either.

And then this happens.

I had to unleash it. Maybe if the beasts inside me hadn’t risen at nearly the same time, I wouldn’t have thought of the ardeur as something on a leash. Something on a chain, yeah, a chain with a leather collar at the end of it. Yeah, something leather and metal studded, and tight.
It's kind of the yeahs that do it. Without them, it's kind of normal LKH writing. With it, all I can see is some dude masturbating during a peep show. Which is probably the effect LKH wanted so...uh...go team?

LKH then manages something actively beautiful, but there's another rather sad problem with it:

 He lay against the front of his body like something carved of ivory and blushed with the first pink of sunrise. He was as pale as a vampire, but he was dawn, he was sunlight on water, he was moonlight on wings.
Laurell's desire to avoid naming genitals at all costs is now warring with her ability to use correct grammar. Penis, Laurell. It's called a penis. There are several pages of kissing and, once again, Anita calls her vagina her "opening". Also, her vagina is now a giant bag of holding. Not kidding.

“My version of the ardeur gives you what you want most, sometimes.”

Million dollars and a pony. Come on. You can do it.

And then, right at the moment before Anita and Donovan decide to have sex, Anita decides not to do it and Jean Claude's power sweeps her off into the world of magic sex because OF COURSE she can't decide to have sex on her own. He's managed to recover from the brink of death just in time to save Anita from having to own her own sex drive. What a pal.

Anita gets too rough with poor little weakling Donovan, and her peanut gallery gives him advice in how to keep her from eating him alive. LITERALLY.

This would be funny if it weren't going to end in the nation wide rape of hundreds of innocent people who trust Donovan to protect them. Good Christ, most of these people don't know Anita, will never know Anita, and will never give two shits wheither she lives or dies and she is raping all of them to keep her lovers alive.

 Anita shreds Donovan's lower lip. He's the weakling for not being able to take the pain.

but his eyes filled with that look that a man gets . That look that says, Mine, sex, more, less than that.
The bolded part is italicised in the book. Because somehow a look manages to approximate its own meaning. I think LKH has confused eyes with semaphore flags.

Finally she breaks through Donovan's sheilds and:

The three women I knew in St . Louis were in a small bedroom . They stared up at me as if I were something they could see, something that had come to get them.

Yep. Because we must be reminded: Anita KNOWS these women. She PROTECTS these women. They come to her house for safety when Donovan's away, and she's just raped them and everyone else like them in the entire country. East coast, west coast people.

It gets worse. Jean Claude wakes up and:

We ate them down while they stumbled in mid -step, while they slid down walls, and none of them fought us. They just gave it up.
And the justification? None of them fought.They just gave it up.

Guys, I have been pretty open about the fact that I was sexually assaulted about five years ago. It was non violent and I did not fight. It would have been very difficult to fight in that situation. Hard as it is for me to believe this, the fact that I did not fight does not make it any less of a rape. A manipulative aggressor will absolutely make it difficult for you to fight back. A lack of a violent response--or any response--does not negate the damage that unwanted sexual invasion does to you. It doesn't matter what gender you are or what gender they were. Not fighting doesn't negate that rape happened. Having an orgasm does not negate that you were raped. What matters is that it did happen, and there will never be ANY justification for it. Ever.

I'm not even going to dignify this by arguing logistics, though I could. Because it doesn't matter how they could or could not have fought Anita off. It wasn't their fucking responsibility to fight Anita off. It was ANITA'S job to fight Anita off. It was Anita's job to say "This is a real shitty idea and we need to find a better one". It was Anita's job to ask Donovan if he had gotten permission from all of his swans so that she could go forward knowing that she wouldn't be damaging the people she was about to suck dry. Anita made the wrong move, and now hundreds, possibly thousands of people just paid for it. Also, Anita's rape victims now number in the THOUSANDS.

Anita continues to fuck Donovan while he turns into a swan.

The fact that LKH did not make a Leda/Zeus comparison ONCE tells me that her classical education was sadly lacking.

Jean Claude and Richard are magically healed, and then JC and all the other vampires die for the day, giving Anita a few precious hours to find and kill the Harlequin with all her fresh new rape magic.

Everybody connected to this book should go die in a fire.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Harlequin--chapter 26

Anita babbles about how relieved she feels around Edward (HIS PRIMARY GOAL FOR YEARS HAS BEEN TO KILL YOU IN ONE ON ONE COMBAT HOW THE FUCK CAN HE BE SAFE) and then goes into a list of all the vampires--her close personal friend vampires--will be saved if she mind-fucks all the swans in the country. ANITA IS JUSTIFYING COAST TO COAST RAPE BECAUSE IT WILL SAVE HER FRIENDS.

 Probably the low point is that she includes the vamps who left the Church of Eternal Life and blood-oathed themselves to Jean Claude. Again, the fact that if the master DIES you do too kind of takes all the fun out of the blood oathing thing, as does the whole "if I rape him you all feel it" aspect. She wants to protect these people, not because they are people and deserve to be protected, but because she feels that it's right to do so.

And she's protecting them via rape.

I couldn’t let them die, not if I could save them. But I so didn’t want to have sex with Donovan Reece.
Then don't.

Nope, we get a litany of how beautiful Donovan is, and of course this includes how freaking pale he is. " a caucasian vampire that hasn't fed" But because he's not an official predator and isn't mindlessly aggressive and a fucking idiot to boot, he pings her radar as food.

Guys? For your own health and safety? Don't underestimate prey animals. DO NOT underestimate prey animals. There are generations of Survival of the Fittest ensuring that that fluffy whatever you're cooing over is a descendant of a long line of badass motherfuckers. Ever notice how the "Let's climb on the big scary crococile and handle the killer snakes" type of TV naturalist are always AT LEAST fifteen feet away from the moose? This is not because they don't want to scare Mr. Moose. This is because they are scared of Mr. Moose and they want to get the fuck out of the way if Mr. Moose decides to introduce Mr. Cameraman to Mr. Antler. (And they don't go anywhere near the hippos. I still want my werehippo) Swans will break your bones with their wings while chasing you down to do so. I mean, we got a rabbit at my place of work who, when you handle her right, is the sweetest little thing ever but you offend her? You bleed. Profusely. Seriously, I explain to all the new people. Do not pick up the bunny. Do not put your hand on the floor where she can smell it, she's already got your scent, just start petting her RIGHT NOW (grooming is a bunny dominance thing, and rabbits read the hand-under-nose as a grooming demand. Dominant bunnies will bite, and most bunnies will at least make a shot for Top Bun. Which means you're bleeding right now and you don't know what you did.) and DO NOT put your hands in the cage when she's in there. I have heard pit bulls with less intimidating growls than the noises that come out of that goddamn rabbit.

Seriously. I'd love to get Hamilton alone in a room with an adorably fluffy dwarf rabbit for an hour. Just an hour. She'd be praying for the Holy Hand Grenade and then we'd get book after book of nothing but were-rabbits.

Sylvie shows up and, when Anita hesitates, says this:

“Anita is like a new lycanthrope. It means her hungers are not under her control completely . Donovan may be powerful, but he’s a prey animal, and her beasts smell that,” Sylvie said.
It's probably because Anita eats so rarely her inner zoo will leap at anything with a pulse. (And she probably wouldn't be in this crisis if somebody had ordered out for pizza before this bullshit started)

However, we do get proof that there is a God and he cares at least a little about my sanity:

“No oral sex,” Sylvie said,
Thank you God. Thank you God. Thank you God.

People come into the room. Anita needs an audience, I guess. She rambles for a minute about how she doesn't want any eighteen year old guards (Because she thinks they're too young to fuck) and then she looks for Asher. Requiem takes offence that she doesn't look for him, and we have to spend a little time soothing feathers and reassuring the vampire that Anita doesn't love him any less than she does all the other vampires in her life.

Because a poly relationship is all about jealousy, backbiting, and begging for sex.

London comes in the room. Anita is very careful to establish that he's older than Batman. Not kidding:

His nickname for centuries had been “the Dark Knight.” Yeah , long before Batman, there was London .
We also rehash how Anita broke her promise not to feed the Ardeur on London and how much happier he is now that he is an addict all over again. Excuse me, I need a vomit bucket.

Jason shows up next. Okay, this is the cameo chapter, then. Jason's sad because his leader (Richard) is dying and the MotC to replace Jean Claude if Jean Claude dies might not have wolf as an Animal to Call and might not want him reguardless. This is actually pretty good in character but it's a little...ah...much.

He's here to take Anita's wolf, if he needs to.

We take an unnecessary pot-shot at the lions:

He was actually the same age as some of the werelion college students that Joseph had let me choose from. His excuse on the age had been that older lions had jobs and families. At the time I hadn’t questioned, but now, well, I’d probably be questioning everything the lions did for a while.

Yeah. Joseph prioritizes the mental health, families and well being of his charges over sustaining the hold of the local mafia don over the local supernatural community. Wow. What a horrible person. Not surrendering his marriage and his people to your unholy sex drive. Truely, this is the height of betrayal.

Sylvie then leaves, because the ardeur will be rising and Sylvie doesn't do girls and Anita is NOT GAY people. She was dreaming about that session with Belle Morte and even during it, she was imagining that she was a dude. She's completely het. Totally.


Micah comes in covered in blood. Most of it's Richard's.

Micah reminds us all that if Jean Claude dies, he takes Anita with him. Thus severing the last little bit of possible altruism Anita could have in her mass rape scene.

Edward promises to behead the Harlequin if Anita dies. Because they are that good friends. Even though he really wants to kill Anita. They're friendly.

End of chapter.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Harlequin--chapter 24-25

Oh my god you were all correct. All of you. Oh my god my brain. Oh my god.

There is no saving this series. Even if from here on out it turned into perfectly written prose with truely erotic and edgy sex scenes it would not be worth salvaging. Oh my fucking god.

Nothing much happens in chapter twenty four.  Anita wakes up. Cherry the wereleopard is there (I still cannot trust any character in this series named Cherry) and is crying over Anita. Anita's throat is sore from where they intubated Richard. Because Anita has some kind of stigmata thing going on, apparently. Jean Claude is almost dead, too. Lillian shows up. Anita and she discuss the slapping. No judgement is passed. It's just discussed. Did you do this? Yeah, I did. Moving on. Apparently Lillian opted out of the mass rape. I guess even LKH clued in that raping your doctor isn't the smartest idea in the universe. Nate is eating non stop burgers and Damian is draining blood by the galleon just to keep Anita, JC and Richard alive.

Bully for them. I still don't buy that the tri-whatever made of two people who are so cannon-weak they're the crisis of the chapter over and over and over again can suddenly support the three biggest powers in the series. That's like spending all your time shoring up a dike and then expecting it to take the storm surge from a cat five. It's been hammered into our skulls that Nate and Damian are the weak children in need of being protected. Now we need to believe that they're rising to the challenge when over and over again we've been told that they have no hidden preternatural strengths. LKH, you cannot suddenly let your designated victims take a load that would burn them out completely in any other novel.

Edward shows up. End of chapter.

Next chapter: Anita realizes that Jean Claude is unconsious and her best backup is here. She gets out of bed, grabs her gun, walks into Jean Claude's room and shoots him in the head. Fade to black. Epilogue: It is so awesome getting myself back again.

*Sigh* Don't I fucking wish.

Nope. In Real life Anita admits she's glad to see Edward because that means she's finally safe.

Edward is a sociopathic killer who does not give one solitary fuck about Things. You should not feel safe.

He comments that Anita couldn't even stay alive for a full day. They had to restart her heart, so it fits. Lillian makes a funny joke (“Fine, but let’s ease her into it; she’s been mostly dead all day.”) and LKH ruins it by smashing it into our faces like a TV pie. Apparently Edward was talking to the ambulatory members of Anita's gang, and he has a plan.

“You feed the ardeur on the head of another animal group, and take their energy the way you did the wererats’.”

This is actually in character for Edward. He's a sociopathic killer who is established as Not Giving Fucks throughtout the series. Anita gets power by raping people, so to him, it makes sense to just go rape more people. And how this is supposed to work is Antia says "FUCK that shit" and begins carrying a heavier caliber whenever Edward is in town.

Instead, she praises Edward's problem solving skills.

 He didn’t flinch or hesitate, even though he’d only known about the ardeur for a few hours. He’d landed in the middle of a crisis of metaphysical proportions and it hadn’t fazed him, or if it had, it didn’t show. In that moment I loved him, in a guy-buddy sort of way. He’d never fail me, or fuck with me, and I loved him for it.

Edward is suggesting that Anita, who has just raped several hundred people, now go out and rape several hundred more people. Because she can and she needs more power. Anita's reaction isn't "What's wrong with you" or "What about the people I'm about to rape", nope, it's "Edward is so awesome, he takes such good care of me."

Note: None of Anita's victims are in the room. Lillian was exempt from the rapening. Anita is making this decision without having seen the reprocussions of her actions. At least last time one of her victims started freaking out in front of her. This time everyone is like "Hey, let's do it again!"

It's not even like their first thought is sex. Nope. Something that is cannon acknowledged as rape is the very first thing they're reaching for. They want rape. And more rape. And more rape.

And the best part? Anita's last thin excuse for raping people is that Jean Claude controls her. He's always been the one shoving her into the major sex acts. The sex with Auggie. The sex with Rafael. There's always that little note about Jean Claude's hunger or Jean Claude's lust. Well, this time Jean Claude is fucking unconscious and it is all Anita this time. This is her chance to say "Fuck no".   What does she say instead?

“Which animal group?” I asked.
Who should my victim be.

This is actually a really good setup for an entirely different protagonist. Someone is psychically raping hundreds of were-animals at once, weeding their way through the leadership like a roto-tiller on crack, and only Our Hero Of Unestablished Gender can stop this evil force from assaulting every preternatural group in St. Louis. Anita will be the half-crazed Renfeild guarding the door. The HUG shoots Jean Claude in the head and offers Antia a good rehab contact for once she gets into the prison system.

Anita's gonna go rape the swans.

Yeah, it's the first time she's choosing her rape victims on her own and she's going right for the prey animals.

Anita can't hit a more powerful group because she knocked out most of the were-rats and devistated Jean Claude's guards in the process. That means the wolves and the heyenas are off limits. The lions would work, but Jason, the leader, was like "FUCK no" when they called him.

Anita swears that the lions will get theirs for betraying her.

Yes. Refusal to let his entire pride be psychically raped=personal betrayal of Anita worthy of active vengence.

“The lions would let the vampires die.” I said it out loud, because I needed to hear it. I couldn’t quite believe it. “That’s how I’d take it,” he said. We looked at each other, and I felt my eyes go as cold as his. I think we were thinking the same thing. The lions would suffer for this. Ungrateful bastards.

Probably the most disturbing thing about this is that it's raising a good question: Whose life has priority over the lives of others? If the only way for a group to survive is by feeding off of and/or draining another group, do they have a right to do so? Saying yes means that you're subordinating the rights of one group to the other--the subordinate group is not deserving of free life. Saying no means the same thing to the other group--that the predatory group are not deserving of free life. But if the lives and individuality of both groups are equally valid and equally valuable, how can you say that neither group is deserving of life? It's wrong for the predators to consume the prey, but it's equally wrong for the predators to die. It's a shades-of-gray question that I don't believe has a good, clean answer. For both groups to exist in something approaching happiness, a very ugly compromise has to be made. (If you read 'em, that's the question behind Starbleached.) In my opinion (and you can scream at me if I'm wrong) it's a question with three answers: slavery, genocide, or the production of a third, never-before seen option that allows both parties to exist to each other's betterment, rather than at their expense.

LKH is answering that question in an extraordinarily ugly way. In effect, she's saying that the predatory group ALWAYS has right-of-life over the prey. The weaker group should always bow to the stronger. The dominant paradigm deserves everything belonging to the subordinate, including their possessions, joy, bodies, thoughts and lives. By stating that Jason and his pride deserve to suffer for placing their pride's physical and mental integrity over Jean Claude's need to survive--that this is a line they are not willing to cross, not even for him--Anita is stating that if she, the dominant figure, demands something the subordinate is not willing to surrender, the subordinate should surrender it anyway.

By having Anita make this statement, LKH is effectively condoning the slavery option.

There's a scene in That Hideous Strength where Mark, the male lead, chooses to do something illegal for the N.I.C.E for the very first time. To me, it pretty much sums up how disgusted I am with this scene:

But the moment of (Mark's) consent almost escaped his notice...There may have been a time in the world's history when such moments fully revealed their gravity, with witches prophesying on a blasted heath or visible Rubicons to be crossed. But, for him, it all slipped past in a chatter of laughter, of that intimate laughter between fellow professionals, which of all earthly powers is strongest to make men do very bad things before they are yet, individually, very bad men.--C.S. Lewis
 THS is a very flawed book, but I love it because of observations like that. Anita Blake is consenting, for the very first time, to initiate a horrible crime of her own free will. And it goes by without any remark at all. Anita's only concern is that it won't be enough. There aren't that many swanmanes in the city.

Edward says that's fine. Donovan is Swan King of the entire country.

Anita is now contemplating nation wide rape. And she's completely okay with it. She's not asking Donovan to send a text to all his swans giving them a heads up. Nope. She's just like "Okay, can you hall his feathered butt over here so we can do this?" Not only that, but like the were-rats, Anita knows these people. She protects them. THEY STAY AT HER HOUSE SOMETIMES.

“He says that he leaves his swan maidens in the care of your leopards when he’s gone for a while.” I nodded. “There’s only three of them in town.” “They’ve stayed over at your house,” Edward said.
Anita does exactly one thing right, and by "right" I mean "Something that should go without saying for a decent human being". She makes Edward promise that he won't use any of the info she's giving him to hunt a were-whatever. He gets a shifter contract, he cannot use this information to act on it. I have no idea how that would work, but he promises so there is that.

The lions, though, are fair game. Anita just has to throw them out of the club first.

I used to worry about becoming like Edward. Lately, I counted on it.

And that is why most of the fanbase hates LKH's books. End of chapter.