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
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.
WHY ARE WE BRINGING IN NEW CHARACTERS NOW? THERE IS NO REASON. THERE IS PLOT. RETURN TO PLOT.
“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.