This is my personal blog and does not necessarily reflect the collective views of Hard Limits Press

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Cerulean Sins Chapter Thirty One

Here we go.

Anita is having ardeur problems. She runs through the Circus in a manner reminiscent of See Spot Run, including such meaningful rhymes as "then I was past him and running down, down to the underground.

So Richard is also running through a forest somewhere? I guess this is a vision she's having. " water made flesh, like flesh made speed." 

So some of the vampires are awake and others aren't. I am confused by this. I thought they all died at sunrise? I remember some bullshit about J.C. being able to bypass this sometimes with his Master of the City powers, but other vamps are awake as well like Musette's entourage member Angelito.

Richard is killing a deer, though Anita refers to it as riding so I am not sure if Richard is eating it or fucking it. really a summation for this whole series.

Anita opens the bathroom door and doesn't remember touching it, twice.

Wow hang on, so Richard isn't the one that killed the deer? Ugh. Why am I wasting precious seconds on this? But details like this, as small as they are, make me loathe this series. Details matter, because they add up. Oh, and J.C. is in the black bathtub and he's hot and stuff and Anita like, totally wants him and will probably feed on him whatever send whiskey.

Anita doesn't want to be in Richard's mind when he starts eating the deer. You have to be fucking kidding me. This woman is the evil doer for the pack but she's squeamish about a thing wolves do all the time? She can't stand to know what it's like to eat a deer when she's tried to take a bite out of just about everyone she knows?

The next part of this scene isn't utterly worthless. She crawls in to the tub with J.C. and he shields her from Richard. He's not hard because he hasn't fed. That said, I just have to say how much describing J.C.'s eyelashes as lash annoys me. Lace has patterns in it. Are his eyelashes little doilies?

I enjoy the next part. What the fuck? She's begging J.C. to feed on her while Richard comes back in to her mind, feeding on the deer. It's a good scene that showcases Anita's desperation and the dark side of the ardeur. 

You know, I actually like the idea of the ardeur. I hate how poorly it's used.

Anita admires J.C. and I don't hate this either. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

Here comes LKH to disappoint me, because Anita turns in to a Regency era hero from a shitty romance novel, the kind missing its cover with rippled pages where a horny house wife dropped it in the bath water before shamefully tucking it in to the returns bin. To whit:

"Is this the face that launched a thousand ships?" I slipped my hand behind his neck and began gently to bring him closer as if for a kiss, "And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?" I turned my face and swept my hair aside, exposing my neck, "sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss!"

This is so fucking out of character (as far as Anita is a character) it's shocking. Of course it's not to say a tough lady can't also love literature. I mean Ashley Williams who is from one of the greatest game franchises of all time is both a competent soldier and a lover of poetry, and it works because the writers for Mass Effect are at least halfway competent. But for Anita, it's as if she burst on scene in a pink ballgown and started belting Let It Go in the middle of a crime scene.

It's in character for J.C. at least, who responds in kind. J.C. is also desperately trying to avoid violating her consent because he knows full well that if she weren't in the grips of the ardeur she wouldn't let him feed. I feel fucking sorry for J.C. right now. J.C. is a predator, and I don't mean that in the real world sense as short hand for sexual predator. This is why sometimes comparisons to real world issues fall flat in fantasy. He literally is a predator and doing this is tantamount to getting in a lion's cage and continuously zapping it with a cattle prod. Eventually, instinct will take over and it WILL maul you. And should it come to that Anita will blame him later as if she had no part in it. She has plenty of people to feed on when the ardeur comes knocking, several of them werewolves and wereleopards who won't try to feed on her, obviating this gnarly consent issue that's risen up between her and J.C. This is manipulative and even abusive on her part, like a sub who constantly claims their dom is abusing them despite the dom following all of their rules and respecting their safeword.

You are a gross sociopathic abuser, Anita.

I am pretty sure this is the "flacid blowjob" scene that made a friend of mine chuck this book across the room.

J.C. keeps telling her no and like a true serial rapist this makes Anita angry, because she's been so "good" i.e. she didn't feed on Caleb or Nathaniel. Apparently not raping someone means she's owed someone else's body as a reward. This is absolute toxic waste, you guys. This is flat out disgusting. It would be brilliant if she were meant to be an extreme anti hero but she's supposed to be the heroine, and unironically. Other readers think J.C. is the creepy rapist and I don't agree, save a couple of scenes. He's the victim over and over again. Anita underscores this fact by going back to sucking hi flacid dick, taking his balls in her mouth too, which she unfortunately refers to as testes.

Somehow this flacid blowjob feeds the ardeur. 

Anita waxes poetic about loving J.C. It wouldn't be so bad, but the problem is I don't believe a word of it. I have never understood why the people in these books love each other. There's nothing between them that's soft, or kind, or real. It's all fucking they don't have control over, emotional abuse, and politics. Call me crazy but that doesn't scream love to me.

Anita offers J.C. blood even now, that she's not controlled by the ardeur. This would be a weighty scene if I cared about these people or believed in their relationship, but clearly I do not.

Before Anita said she only knew the one quote she said, now she pulls out another one even so.

They have some back and forth that's good. STOP TEASING ME, LKH. We all know you're just going to fuck this up again.

Anita is wearing a cross and for some reason that upsets J.C. to the point where he tries to leave. He also accuses her of "clinging to your holy object" which is bizarre because she's just wearing it, nothing more. Asher shows up for some dumbass reason and stops this potentially intimate scene by implying that Anita only wants this because he rolled her before. 

So here we are, left with another scene that gives the reader a case of story blue balls. What's the fucking point? Nothing ever happens! It's like LKH is incapable of letting anything happen. How does someone like that write over twenty books?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Dragon Age

So, lately I have been deliving back in to fandom and honestly it has done wonders for my creativity. Here is the outpouring so far, in case you'd like to read some Dragon Age fanfic.

I have not forgotten about Anita and intend to keep doing it but with school as all consuming as it is I am using every spare moment for actual writing (and Fallout 4, let's be real). Still, watch this space.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Cerulean Sins Chapter Thirty

Anita carries plastic in her car for when she needs to "transport" something "messier than chickens." First, its been so long since anything having to do with her animating has come up that the chickens thing is almost a non sequitur. It took me awhile to remember that on the extremely rare occasion that Anita actually does her fucking job, she sacrifices chickens to get the power required to raise a body.  This also makes me realize how few details are provided about animating, its origins, and how/why it works.

I'm a fan of what Sanderson would term "soft magic." That is, I don't think magic needs to have a set of hard and fast rules to be interesting, and in fact sometimes I prefer that it doesn't have many limits. That said, there's a difference between soft magic and a series of faint sketches that don't really come together in a cohesive image.

See this is why these take me so fucking long, because even the first sentence of an Anita Blake chapter inspires two paragraphs of bitching. 

Anita apparently stopped breathing during her bedroom scene with Mamma Darkness. Angst! Nathaniel has to drive so you know shit is bad.

Can someone explain this to me: "And I'd touched enough of her thinking to know it wouldn't bother her."

Is this some dialect I'm unfamiliar with or is this as nonsensical as it seems?

Anita goes on to say this in regards to Mamma Darkness: "She thought like a sociopath--no empathy, no sympathy, no guilt, no compassion."

Anita shows her ass by trying to hold forth on what sociopathy is. She cites the notion of a "pure sociopath" and I will tell you in all my years studying this and similar disorders I have never once heard that term. "True, pure sociopathy is pretty rare..."

Many years ago I had a friend who was a pathological liar. This person would lie about things just because, not out of any need to fabricate the information (e.g. to get in to a bar or out of trouble) but just because they couldn't admit when they didn't know something. That's what Anita reminds me of. She can't acknowledge that she's ignorant so she just makes shit up instead. That, or she's so incompetent she doesn't have the skills to recognize she's incompetent. Anita Blake: Vampire Dunning-Kruger Effect-er.

Anita sniffs the air and decides Caleb smells "young." This means his meat would be particularly tender. This is totally gross. She thinks Caleb smells like jailbait and that makes her want him more. Ugh. There's nothing good to say about this.

"You smell good, Caleb. All tender and scared."

I don't think it's a secret that I hate every sleazy cell in Caleb's stupid, stupid body. But this is so far from okay you couldn't locate okay with a detailed map, a magical compass, and a sentient animal companion to guide you. Okay has gone the way of the dodo. It is the free love generation, once so full of hope, now nothing but the threadbare scraps of a dream.

Ugh, sorry. I have been reading LKH for so long I get purple prose seizures.

What I mean to say is, this is fucking bullshit. And it's absolutely unforgivably disgusting. Caleb is not a piece of meat no matter how many times Anita compares him to one. I get that we're supposed to think oh look how vampire-like Anita is becoming ooga booga spoopy scaryz, but it doesn't work. This is Anita right now:

Anita uses the word pulse like eighty billion times. She fantasizes about his pulse being like candy and omg you guys I am so over this. Didn't we just have a chapter where she just about took a chunk out of him? 

There are cars following them. Um, I thought we already covered the fact that they're being followed. Did LKH forget her own stuff between this chapter and the next? Am I going crazy? (crazier?)

Jason is also thinking about eating Caleb. Anita says that the difference between dogs and wolves is that dogs never look at humans and think "food." Honestly, neither do wolves. LKH seems to know this because she makes Anita say something about how there's never been a recorded wolf attack on a human in North America, but that must be wrong because somehow the supernatural wolf monster that acts nothing like an actual wolf behaves in a blood thirsty manner.

Somehow Jason is "projecting his need" for flesh on to Anita, which frankly just sounds like a narcissistic inability to take responsibility for her own desires.

They try to figure out what to do about the guys that are following them. Anita actually admits she's not a real detective and doesn't know what to do in a situation like this. Normally I would be glad to see her admit to not knowing something, but this just makes her look ridiculously incompetent. Sure, she's not a detective but she's constantly playing up her involvement with the police and what to do when being followed is some 101 shit.

Oh, well. Now they're not being followed. Maybe they weren't being followed at all. Because turns out, if you're banging the Master of the City it's pretty easy to find you which means no one needs to follow you in the first place.

Here lies Tension, taken from us too soon. Sadly, she never matured in to Plot.

She touches Jason who is still wolfed out. For some reason this makes their mutual desire to eat Caleb get stronger. What the fuck? Why is she reacting to Jason as if they're bound? Sense, it makes none. Also jesus this is the weirdest car ride. Oh, and when did they have the time to pull over and switch drivers? God, I am so lost.

And let me just point out, Caleb is a fucking leopard. It was stupid enough to characterize Donovan the Swanking as food, considering he turns in to a ginormous vicious bird from hell that can break arms and drown people, but Caleb is. a. leopard. Why the fuck a werewolf and an overpowered animator want to eat him, I have no earthly clue. Caleb tries to get away from them. He "spills" and they "spill after him."

Sooooo not only has this been several chapters of nothing but people in a car feeling feelings and seeing things, BUT this is the BIGGEST CAR IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE. Right now it contains a fully shifted werewolf, Anita, Nathaniel who at one point earlier was also shifted if I remember right, and Caleb. Somehow, Anita, Jason, and Caleb are all in the backseat. Remember, Jason is SHIFTED. And YET Caleb ALSO has room to try and get away from both him and Anita.

Anita is on her knees in front of Caleb. How is this possible? THEY'RE IN A CAR ON THE HIGHWAY. Oh and here comes Richard in a cloud form to blow through Anita's mind in a cloud of sugar. DOES ANYONE ELSE REALIZE THAT THIS ENTIRE CAR RIDE HAS CONSISTED OF PEOPLE SEEING AND SMELLING THINGS IN THEIR OWN HEADS? What must this look like from the outside? Is this supposed to constitute plot? There are EYES and CLOUDS and BLACK ROOMS and GOD why am I doing this again?

I'm on a lot of oxycodone right now but it turns out there's no drug that can numb the psychic pain of reading this 'book.'

Anita just loves the pulse in Caleb's neck, so much that she has to mention it a hojillion times. She goes on to mention that both she and Richard are homophobes yet seems to think that's just a quirky little character trait rather than a glaring personality flaw. The hunger is coming from him, too, thanks to Belle screwing around with his mind. Are you getting the sense that it's tough for me to try and turn all of this in to a coherent synopsis? There's a reason and it's not the painkillers.

Caleb has a pulse in his stomach.

Richard suggests Anita turn the hunger to a desire for sex instead. For some reason Anita asks Richard if he'd really be okay with her fucking Caleb, even though they're broken up. And you know, the whole Richard being Anita's rape victim thing.

Even Richard is like, we're not dating.

Beasts go through Anita. She's left "kneeling" despite the fact that she was already kneeling somehow in the backseat of her fucking car. And can I just say, the Circus must be hundreds and hundreds of miles away given how ENDLESS this STUPID FUCKING CAR RIDE is.

Richard forces Jason to change. This is a very painful process and also totally unnecessary. I have zero idea what is going on anymore. Oh, I guess it's to keep him from eating Caleb? But the context made it sound like it was because Anita wouldn't fuck Jason while he's shifted, except the talk had been about fucking Caleb....

Anita stares "at the curve of his butt." She's a grown woman regularly getting railed by just about every swinging dick she comes across, but she uses the word "butt" with a straight face. Oh and now she's just hungry for Jason too, in a sausage way not in a 'sausage' way. Richard tells her he'll feed and she'll be sated through that. For some reason the proper response is to scream.

So let's recap shall we? So far this car ride has involved disembodied eyes, glitter clouds that are also sweet, the smell of roses, a bazillion pulses pulsing tenderly in pulse point places, a little visit to a black black blackity black room with a bed DARKER THAN THE DARKEST SOUL upon which the Mother of all Darkness rests in all her spoopiness, a vision about Belle Morte where there's screaming and dreams and gossamer, a driver switch that apparently no one had to pull over to accomplish, a near accident that inexplicably and conveniently attracted zero police, a magically expanding backseat, and Richard turning up on the mind phone. Anita then punches a dent in the car door, but is still intact.

Richard decides the best thing to do to keep Anita from eating Caleb is to play with himself, hoping to turn Anita on enough that she'll want dick instead of a slim jim. Keep in mind he's jerking it in front of poor Jamil.

This has got to be one of the most asinine things I have ever read, and I've read both My Immortal and My Inner Life. I would read My Inner Life in particular over this drivel any day.

Anita consideres forcing Richard to do what she wants. I guess once you've already violated someone's consent, why not do it again?

Richard is sorry for...something. I don't know what. I hate his character because he just exists for LKH to masturbate on. He sucks and it's on purpose. It's like when you're in fifth grade and your first story is how McMeanyHead gets punished for being mean to your 'main character,' a main character whose name is suspiciously similar to your own.

Her and Richard are like melty candy and Anita wants to melt together forever.

J.C. wakes up. This car ride FINALLY ENDS.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Moar Anita this weekend, I hope

Sorry about the no entries situation for the past couple of weeks. Life happened in a lot of ways but I haven't forgotten about skewering Anita (not like THAT) so stay tuned.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

if I've done you wrong

This is something I've been wanting to say for a long time, but like many things I let it percolate for awhile first. I still don't know if it will come out as coherently as I might like, but here's my attempt:

If I have ever caused you harm, trust me, I remember it. The nature of my psychiatric illnesses means I will never forget it. I don't bring this up as a means to acquire sympathy for myself, but only so those I have truly injured know that I do not carry the memory lightly. I have examined it, dissected it, agonized over it, tried to understand why I behaved as I did.

For many years I reflected the abuse that had been dealt me, hurting others with it just as I had been so grievously injured. Now that I am free of that influence, I look back in horror as if some awful person were wearing my skin, that face stapled haphazardly on over my real one.  But I know that my actions, regardless of lessons learned in a crucible of trauma, made others feel lesser. I took from them. I made their hearts hard instead of open and soft. I let rage guide me.

Without that anger I am left with the desire to add something to the people I meet, instead of subtracting. I have made a conscious decision and effort to come from a place of kindness and assertiveness instead of aggression and thoughtlessness. So I hope that now when I extend the following invitation, the people carrying around scars I inflicted know that it's heartfelt: if there is anything left undone and unsaid between us, please send me an email and let's talk. I hope the intervening years have been kind to both of us. Know that I likely loved you, and had no idea how to show it. Know that most of you, I still miss terribly, and that I think of you often and wish good things for you.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cerulean Sins Chapter Twenty Nine Part Two

Aaand right back in to the turgid prose, friends:

"The air in the Jeep was suddenly soft, sweet, like the perfect summer night, where you can smell every blade of grass, every leaf, every flower, like a scented blanket that wraps you in air softer than cashmere, lighter than silk, a sweet blanket of air." 

Anita goes on to describe the presence of the first vampire, who she has already titled The Mother of All Darkness:

"It was like standing on the train tracks, when you feel the first vibration down the metal lines, and you know you should get off, but you can't see anything. As far as you can look, the tracks are clear, there's only that metallic vibration, like a pulse beat against your feet, to let you know that several tons of steel are hurtling towards you. People die every year on train tracks, and often their dying words are, I didn't see the train. I've always thought that trains must be magical that way, or people would see them, and get the fuck off the tracks."

Let's just say the faith readers still put in the traditional publishing industry is amazing.

Things get so bright in the car thanks to Anita's blazing cross that Jason has to stop the car in the middle of the street. How they haven't found themselves in a horrific six car pile up by now is beyond me.

The Mother of All Darkness is a vampire and a shifter.

I don't mind that she breaks the known laws of this universe, actually. Big Bads often do. I just wish she were better written, because it's almost impossible to get past the shitty prose. It takes away from the dread we should be feeling.

This chapter is a treasure trove of absolutely shit writing. It's as if I opened up a bank vault only to discover that all the money has been replaced with rotting meat:

"The cross was still glowing, but only the metal itself, as if it were hollow and candles burned within it." 

Anita's faith is literally so strong her simple cross necklace is repelling the Mother of All Darkness. Well already, this bad guy is toothless. If Anita can control her at first meeting, why would I care about what comes next?

Anita considers opening her bonds to J.C. and Richard, but is concerned that they might be taken over too. J.C. has no faith (though I suspect this means no faith that Anita respects) though Richard does. This is news to me. Since when does Richard believe in god? Maybe this is because I started at NiC but I can't recall a single moment when Richard references any kind of belief in god.

Hold everything! I actually like the next, oh, three paragraphs. Anita struggles with the MoaD and all the shifters in the car start to get animal-y as they respond to the MoaD themselves.

Here is where I am going to pause and hold forth for a moment: I think talent is overrated. It exists, certainly. People have natural affinities for certain things sometimes. But if you love something and you're willing to pour your heart, soul, and most especially your time and effort in to it, odds are you can become quite good at it. I point this out because I think with a heaping dose of self awareness, a tough editor, and a writer's group that is both supportive and realistic, LKH could hone her talent and turn out something good, if not great. But her story is one that always reminds me to be on the lookout for narcissistic, egotistical tendencies in myself. Creativity suffers, more often than not, if you indulge in those traits. Even Kanye West works his ass off, whatever you think of his personality.

Okay, okay.

Despite the fact that I enjoyed the last page, it quickly devolves in to something silly as Anita and the MoaD psychically scream in each other's faces.

A few acceptable paragraphs follow about how Anita realizes that the MoaD has no scent, seeing as she's not physically present, and that helps her ground herself in reality. That said, it's pretty obvious it's a psychic experience right? And I don't understand why they're all focusing so hard on "it's not real." In this world, psychic projections can be very real. Hell, Anita has been nigh-rolled by Belle several times now, entirely from a distance. Pay attention to your own world, damn!

Anita has a vision of the MoaD asleep in a black, dark, black room. The MoaD is doing all of this in her sleep. So what in the fuck is drawing her to Anita, of all people? I can't believe I am even asking that question. Everyone is drawn to Anita. Those who aren't not so mysteriously get killed.


Anita mentions the fact that vampires tend to call MoaD names like Mother Gentle to appease her. This is interesting since that is probably where terms like The Fair Folk came from. She concludes though that Mommy Dearest is a lot more accurate. Is this a reference to the movie? Isn't she a little young for that?

This hellish chapter is finally over.