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.


  1. Oh man, that is a disturbing observation, but given the increasing tone in the series of MUST KILL EVERYONE TO PROTECT OURSELVES it sounds very possible.

    Why did Soledad do these things if she was a baddie plant all along? I guess to keep up appearances but if she'd just let Richard kill Jean-Claude, I doubt anyone would be the wiser and it'd do just fine to take out Anita, so...

  2. So basically Our Heroes have just brutally executed the one person in the room who tried to prevent a mass torture/rape/murder spree? And we're supposed to believe that she was the bad guy here? Is that where this series has taken us?


  3. "Weren’t tigers orange and black? If I lived, I’d ask someone."

    Has Anita never heard of a white tiger before? Or a golden tiger? Most people know about the white ones, so yeah, not all tigers are orange and black. And really, you're watching a woman shapeshift into a massive tiger after just fucking a guy who turned into a swan, why nitpick about color?