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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cerulean Sins Chapter Twelve

Strap in for some more joyless, mechanical dry humping because this shit is about to go down.

Asher is "like a reluctant child." 

All of sudden Asher believes Anita truly wants him, despite her giving him the mother of all mixed signals the chapter before. It's like she can't admit that she wants to have sex with him, so she has to couch it in this bullshit political vampire nonsense. Just once, I want to see Anita enthusiastically consent to sex. Just once. I don't think that's ever happened. Anita's life makes me so sad. Supposedly she's this untouchable badass, but she's really just emotionally disabled to the point where nothing she does has any real meaning.

They natter on about how the ardeur might rise, and how it's close to dawn, and how J.C. has this masculine chuckle that only men do about sex.

Anita realizes she's the only girl. It took her this long to figure this out. I don't even know. When men are interested in you, by the way, it's like "lions watching gazelles." 

Asher is afraid. Great. So we have a bed full of people who don't want to do this. Again. This is also going to be yet another scene where Anita tries to have sex and instead releases all the crazy animals and hungers and vampires and god knows what else are currently using her body as a skin suit.

Asher is afraid and doesn't want to do this so J.C. soothes him "almost like a baby." 

Anita strips down to her underwear and high heels. Okay, that's fairly sexy. I'll give her that one. Tame, sure. But at least it's not vomit inducing like most of these scenes are.

The funny thing is, I want to be in to this. The only thing I like writing and reading more than action is sex. I'm begging LKH to seduce me as a reader and frankly, it's not that difficult.

 Yet I feel nothing when these things happen to Anita. They always leave me cold because there's not a drop of true passion or love.

There's, stuff about where everyone's legs are. I have given up on trying to picture this, not that I was inclined to do so in the first place.

"She begins like an American man, but she does foreplay like she is French."

What? Does that mean she likes to cover people in wing sauce before getting down to business? Does she have to pour a PBR over Asher's naked body before she can find him sexually attractive? Maybe she can only fuck in a jacked up Ford truck. What does French foreplay look like, by the way? Do they have to argue over whether French beef is of high quality first? Whether the French Revolution was justified? What Marie Antoinette's wig was made of?

Also when has Anita ever engaged in anything approaching foreplay? She's sure rushing this, ignoring Asher's reluctance because she doesn't have time for that shit.

Anita is a saint because she can look past Asher's scars, you guys.

She's tickling Asher's neck and that's supposed to be sexy. She gives him "that safe edge of teeth." I don't know what that means but apparently Asher is wild for it.

Anita licks Asher a bunch.

I think it's that I don't find "licked" to be an especially sexy word, but I'll give her a pass because we all know how goddamn impossible it is to find words that everyone agrees are hot.

Asher tells J.C. he has taught Anita well. Anita tells him that's sexist. Okay. I don't think you get to make that call, Anita.

Anita is afraid to unzip Asher's pans because she's worried about getting his dick caught in the zipper.

Somehow Asher's hands "spill."

Turns out Asher's dick is scar free and works now, and this is momentous that him and J.C. laugh and cry and hug and there's rainbows and fireworks.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Cerulean Sins Chapter Eleven

Dottie's chapter is here 

Asher comes in and he's wearing white, which apparently doesn't suit him. Great. He's hiding behind his hair, as usual. Can someone explain this to me? Because I used to have hair down to my ass and I couldn't have hid half my face behind it reliably. Part of why I cut it was because it had become a crutch identity wise, but it certainly wouldn't have veiled extensive scarring.

Basically, we once again have a scenario where Anita doesn't want to have sex but she is forced by the ahem, 'plot', to do so. Nor does she want to share Asher with J.C. (because as we've covered, she is a queerphobic dick cheese) but she is also being forced in to doing that, because this is apparently the only way good girl Anita can sign off on gay love. The fact that Anita and by extension LKH believes that good and queer are mutually exclusive is so expected at this point that it just fills me with a strange sadness, the kind that makes people write existentialist poetry and drink too much gin (not that I need another excuse to do those things).

Anita starts to come on to Asher and you know what? It's good! There's a lot going on in this scene emotionally. Asher is mortified because Anita saw the paintings, saw him before the scars, saw him when the scars were fresh. For a vampire that comes from a line such as Belle Morte's, where conventional beauty is one's greatest currency, he's been utterly humiliated in front of the people he cares for the most. I feel for Asher here, and he initially rebuffs Anita's advances because of this.

"She will do anything to protect her people, even take a cripple to her bed for one night."

Oh Asher, sweetheart. He doesn't want a pity fuck and who can really blame him? Anita asks him if her reasons are really that important.

That Anita doesn't understand this is just more evidence that she has no ability to feel human emotions. Even that could be interesting. I mean, we all loved the first three seasons of Dexter, right? But LKH's cognitive dissonance prevents her from writing anything truly interesting. She can't see beyond the notion that Anita must somehow be good in order to be a worthwhile protagonist. The other glaring issue is that to LKH and by extension Anita good simply amounts to a totally arbitrary list of traits and behaviors that have very little to do, in the end, with moral righteousness. Rather they reflect an inability to perceive human motivation and the toxic values that LKH apparently holds to with the strength of a person who knows that without arbitrary rules she simply won't be able to effectively ape social mores any more.

Anita at least finally understands that Asher doesn't want to be discarded the way Belle discarded him, like he was a broken object that could be easily replaced. This is also good stuff.

...and then Asher randomly wants to know what Micah will think. What? Well, okay. Micah won't care because Micah's entire purpose is to agree with everything Anita says. Dicks for you! And you! Dicks for everyone!

Asher tells her that if she casts him out after this he will leave, because he's sick of watching J.C. offer love to others. He's sick of being their hanger on and tired of being toyed with.

Anita begs him not to go and they kiss instead.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cerulean Sins Chapter Ten Part Two

Dottie's chapter here

Anita acts all judge-y because Belle ..."really doesn't understand that there's a difference between lust and love..."

Since when does Anita understand that? One of the major problems with this series is that, despite the high number of sexual partners Anita has, there's very little love. I am two books in and I don't understand why any of these people are together. What connects them beyond sex? J.C. and Anita never discuss anything beyond sex or politics, frequently both. She and Richard are even worse, constantly arguing, Anita constantly tearing down the things that make him who he is. Her and Micah? He's barely a character and at every turn he's asking Anita how high he should jump. That is his only purpose. And to have a penis that a friend of mine described as "tragically huge."

And I say all this as a polyamorous person who is a total sucker for romance. I should be eating this series up. I should be like a goose that just found a whole loaf of white bread. But it does so little for me, because I can't buy that these people love each other.

"Why is it always Asher we can't protect? Asher that we can't save?"

Gee, I'm glad you asked. Maybe it's because you want him to die or get banished so you don't have to imagine icky gay cooties all over J.C. any more.

Out of another character's mouth, this sentence could be seen as a mournful reflection on one's own inadequacy. Out of Anita's, rest assured it's just a preamble to her withdrawing her already questionable support and kicking Asher out of her inner circle.

Neither J.C. or Anita want to have sex, but they have to because otherwise Anita won't be able to handle the ardeur.

Anita realizes that if Asher were her and J.C.'s lover, the other vampires couldn't ask for him. She then goes on to tell J.C. she just can't share him with another man even though she knows how stupid and unfair that is. Guess what? Your character holding forth about how something she's doing is gross doesn't in fact make it less gross.

It hurts Anita to watch Asher and J.C. together.

How Anita and by extension LKH find this acceptable is beyond me. Normally I wouldn't draw such obvious lines between character and author but LKH herself has made it clear that I should. This is not a charming character flaw, or even a character flaw I can relate to, because there's nothing in Anita's life that shows me why she acts in such a miserly fashion. She won't even let J.C. feed off of her--a thing essential to his existence--and then gets huffy when he feeds off of other people. It's fine if you don't want to make him a hamburger, Anita, but you can't get mad when he goes to McDonald's. This isn't just a sex thing, it's a food thing. A continued existence thing. But no. Only Anita and her feelings matter.

Which brings me once more to, why are these people together? Why does J.C. want her so bad? Why? SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME. If I were J.C. I would dump her ass and go back to Asher. Anita does nothing but cause problems for J.C. She withholds constantly, at every turn possible. She's completely emotionally unavailable and self focused. Why? Why does he need her so bad? The thing with romance is, you have to make the reader believe these people are together for a reason. It doesn't have to be a good reason either. People get together for the wrong reasons all the time. But no matter the why, the reader has to buy in for it to work.

Anita decides that she'll try to have them both anyway. She hits me with a line I actually love:

"I want to show him with my hands and my body that I find him lovely."

We'll just ignore that hands are also a body part. Just let me have this one okay?

Of course it turns out Anita is just doing this for political reasons.

...what was I about to do? And could I live with it later?"

Well you could try not being a biphobic homophobic bdsm phobic shitbag. That might help.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cerulean Sins, Chapter Ten Part One

So, short version is I was very sick. The hospital was involved, there were I.V. medications and a round of antibiotics that made me sick on top of everything else. Now though:

Aaaand we're back. 

This chapter opens with some nonsense about splitting up the vampires and wereanimals on Anita's side so the "bad vamps" can't mindfuck everyone if they try. It irritates the shit out of me how Anita persists in using this kind of baby talk when referring to the people around her. "Bad little vampires" is especially grating. It just makes her come across as callous, to the point where she's gone right past anti hero in to cruel waste of space. These are the people she's tasked with executing and she can't be bothered to humanize them even a little. You can say that's how she has to approach it all you want, but Anita is clearly not doing it to protect her sweet little core. She's doing it because the only real person in the entire world is her.

She manages to work in some nonsense bullshit filler about what color the sheets on Jean-Claude's bed are. He "doesn't do" white sheets. What? This is the guy who owns an office that is all white. Is this meant to imply that he doesn't do white sheets because he gets blood on them? Because he doesn't understand how anal sex works so his lovers have a fifty fifty chance to shit the bed? Whoa, I think I just described the entire series.

"the rug was actually fur, thick and soft, and somehow just by touch you knew it had once been alive."

It's...a fur rug. Of course it was once alive. Because it feels like fur. 

Anita only now thinks to ask what exactly Belle and Musette can ask them for while they're guests on J.C.'s lands.


2). Assuming she doesn't know--despite how fucking stupid that is given her job--she only thinks to ask after she's completely fucked everything beyond all repair?

I know I have probably complained about this countless times, but her sheer incompetence is almost delicious to watch. Why? Because then I get to study all the ways LKH tries to make me believe that Anita is actually wonderful and I have just enough schadenfreude to find that amusing. When it doesn't inspire unholy rage, that is. (I almost mistyped rape instead of rage, which I think would have typified this garbage series a bit better than what I intended).

One of Musette's child servants used to use his boyish looks to entrap people. That's...actually awesome in a way. It is appropriately gross and dark. The thing is, I wonder if we really need a character who embodies all those stupid false accusation fears people always bring up when sexism is the topic of discussion. Then again, he's also firmly on the evil side so I'll give her a pass on that. This is the kind of thing LKH wants to write, I think, but she's not confident enough to just put it out there in all its sick disturbing glory. Either this series needs to just bite the bullet and be dark as fuck (in a way done with actual skill), or it needs to realize how silly and comic book like it is and just embrace that ridiculous kind of twisted that allows for everyone to have joke penises and so on.

As it is it's like that trifle from Friends that is half dessert half beef stew.

Apparently making children in to vampires is normally not done. In fact the last guy to make child vampires was using them for pedophilia purposes and when Belle found out, she killed him and tried her best to give one of his victims, Valentina, a normal life. And I am supposed to hate Belle and love Anita because...? This is also another time where I yearn for some world building that makes a modicum of actual sense.

Turns out Valentina is a little torture prodigy and has tortured J.C. Okay THIS IS GOING TO SOUND WEIRD, but finally. This shit is actually creepy as fuck, unlike the dumb werewolf nonsense about sticking people in holes in the ground and other B movie schlock that LKH thinks is darkity dark. Going after children and twisting them? I mean it's emotionally manipulative and kind of cheap, but it is effective.

Anita crawls over to sit beside J.C. as an act of comfort. That's very sweet and submissive of her, and I would probably like her more if she did things like this more often. Not that I expect her to be in the submissive role, but it's a lot nicer than constantly shaming everyone into BDSM. Which is particularly icky considering that described almost everyone she knows.

Here is another really interesting attempt at worldbuilding: "Belle's line is built upon sex, and it has become custom to offer any of Belle's line sex when they visit you." See, to me? That is damn cool. I love the idea that vampires can feed on more than just blood. I also LOVE making up new cultures and so this is the kind of stuff I go nuts for. It's just so sad that nothing will come of it. It's all set up to be convenient for the main characters. Musette will stick around precisely as long as she's needed to spew conflict in a completely unsubtle stream, like a fire hose of pedophilia and torture just spraying around totally unattended.

J.C. and Anita go through a list of people they care for and whether they are safe from Musette's demands. Anita holds forth about how forcing someone to have sex against their orientation is rape. Gosh, how evolved. Except a rapist is saying it, so it just makes my face turn in to a flaming skull.

Anita also says a bunch of simple crap about how they've managed to protect everyone and J.C. washes her balls and tells her she's as devious as Belle Morte. Okay.

"To Belle Morte if a man has an orgasm he must have enjoyed it."

Cool, I'm back to loathing everything about Belle Morte. But you're not off the hook Anita, because I know you and I know you believe this too.

Okay, I am going to split this chapter in two because dinner is done and I'd much rather stuff my face than put up with Anita's garbage.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cerulean Sins Chapter Nine

My blog really, really wants me to learn Russian, since that's what all my stuff is currently set to. I can't figure out how to change it. It keeps changing back. Well, at least the main post editor is in English, which means I can do an Anita chapter.

I am still way behind Dottie, but let's play a spot of catch up, shall we?

"Musette made no move to protect herself. Angelito stayed with the other men across the room. It was as if neither of them saw me as a threat. You'd think with my reputation vampires would stop underestimating me."

You only have a reputation because Word of God says you do.

Can anyone tell me how many times Anita has actually killed a vampire (or anyone for that matter) on screen? And how it compares to the time she spends fucking or endlessly nattering on? I know I'm like a broken record on this subject but it baffles me how any writer could think merely stating something is enough to convince readers. Is your heroine supposed to be tough and capable? By god you had better put her in a situation where she needs to be tough and capable, and then have her apply those skills/traits to the problem at hand.

Anita is smiling and it's a badass darkity dark smile, you guys.

Musette licks the knife blade clean of Asher's blood, taunting Anita.

"It was as if Asher didn't matter at all to her."

Uh, I think that's been well established. Or weren't the ridiculous paintings enough to drive that point home?

Anita grabs Musette's hand before Musette can stab Asher a third time, which prompts Anita to muse (ha) that maybe Musette expects her to "fight like a girl, whatever that means."

Isn't it great how Anita works internalized misogyny in even when there's no pertinent segue to help her along?

Anita knocks Musette to the floor and stabs her with the same blade Musette was using on Asher. Well shit, that's more like it. It only took sixty two pages for something mildly interesting to happen.

Werehyenas show up, presumably because they're Asher's animal to call. Anita's beast awakens. Her beast is "like a snake." NO bad author, no cookie. It already IS an animal, don't compare it to ANOTHER animal. "This chicken sandwich is like canned tuna." See? That's fucking weird.

Bobby Lee the southern fried wererat is here, because somehow Micah is psychic and knew to send him, and Bobby Lee is also a mutant and can fold reality in order to appear here not twenty seconds after the knife went in to Musette''s body.

Anita gives Musette a tuffy tuff speech about how no one messes with "our" bloodline, even though Anita isn't a vampire. Then again she also co-leads the shapeshifter coalition so obviously she sees no problem with appropriating identities and leadership roles that don't and shouldn't belong to her.

Belle Morte starts to take Musette over to respond to Anita's message, making Belle's eyes turn the color of "poisoned honey." What color is that, pray tell?

"Fear drove through me like a blade..."  Tsk tsk. That's just lazy.

Belle Morte's voice comes out of Musette's body and Anita thinks Belle would probably give really good phone sex. I'm sorry, but I don't like Anita enough to accept this kind of comment from her during a tense moment. She'd had to have a consistent character and I'd have to understand her as a person before this would work. As it is she just sounds crass and callous. Not in a good way.

Belle and J.C. have a conversation wherein J.C. is actually badass and tells Belle Morte to fuck herself, and that if she is so arrogant as to send a servant of hers in to their territory without warning again, that servant will be summarily executed. Oh J.C., why aren't these books about you and Asher?

Even Anita admits she's "superfluous." Finally something we can agree on!

J.C. tells Belle Morte that love and possession are not the same thing, implying that Anita's love has taught him the difference. You have to be fucking kidding me. Anita, who constantly objectifies everyone around her? My leopards this, and my wolves that, and Nate my kitty slave?

J.C. says this in a very straightforward way, only to have Musette/Belle inform him that he speaks "in riddles." For an all powerful vampire she sure is dense.

Anita points out that maybe Belle shouldn't have rejected Asher if she wanted to keep J.C. around.

Anita tells Belle to get lost because she's "tired of trying to explain color to the blind." Belle Morte doesn't know what that means. God it annoys me how LKH tries to establish how foreign these vampires are by having them misunderstand simple idioms. How is Belle such a political powerhouse when she can't even decipher basic shit like this? Her vampires are from all over the world, and it's not like she's short on time. A lot of idioms also find use cross culturally. It might be put somewhat differently from one language to the next, but the idea is there. "Kick the bucket", for example, is used in a lot of cultures. Now, it may be "taking off the clogs" or "kicking the void" but the outcome is the same.

J.C. starts using "threat" as a noun again which annoys the ever loving piss out of me. Belle Morte doesn't know why Anita won't act properly scared of her, necessitating MORE TALKING.

Anita takes the knife out. Belle communicates an image of herself nude on a featherbed and Anita admits to wanting her (!) but don't get too excited because only naughty vampire magic can make Anita feel the dirty bad wrong lesbian feelings.

Anita comes back to herself and J.C. and Damian are holding her. Jason is standing over both of them. Is it just me or do people fall down a lot in this universe?

There are wolves here now too and they have an "almost eatable" smell. Eatable? This is the same woman who used superfluous a couple of paragraphs ago.

Anita manages to get in a dig about how Richard should be here to watch her and J.C.'s backs. Maybe you shouldn't have raped him then, Anita. Just a thought.

Anita uses the phrase "Mexican stand off." Maybe that would sound innocuous from someone else, but everything out of Anita's mouth is highly suspect.

Belle tries to use the ardeur against them but they have such good control now that it doesn't work. And all the wolves howl, because reasons. LKH has also described BM inhabiting Musette's body as a mask moving under her skin like three times now in as many pages. I guess it's marginally better than the whole toothpicks under melted wax bullshit she uses to describe (and I use that word very loosely) shapeshifters.

The wererats are here for Anita because she made friends with them. I guess the mass rape later on will come as a special surprise, then.

Anita waxes on about Angelito's muscles. Bobby Lee tells Anita--oh I'm sorry, I mean "honey-child"--that he would follow her to the "ends of the earth."

Anita tells everyone to keep an eye on Musette and Musette's vampires.

Oh shit, here comes Meng Die. Strap in, everyone.

"Meng Die was lovely, delicate, with perfectly straight black hair cut just above her shoulders; her skin was like pale porcelain. She would have looked like a perfect China doll if she hadn't liked wearing skintight black leather most of the time." 

Meng Die's animal to call is the wolves, but the wolves don't like her because she's "too damn unfriendly." Uh huh. These are the same people who let Raina and Marcus rule them. What you mean is she is a racist stereotype and any behavior she exhibits outside of that stereotype will be punished accordingly. Meng Die doesn't behave like a hothouse orchid, so she barely warrants screen time even though with wolves as her animal to call she should be a major player.

Guys, I'm really going to hate Black Jade, aren't I?

Faust is here. Faust has burgundy hair and copper colored eyes, which sounds like an atrocious combination to me. I don't know why we're pausing the story for these appearance info dumps. It's not hard to work this stuff in to the action. He's a master vampire but he isn't a strong one, or something, so he can't have his own city.

Everyone leaves and Anita ponders the fact that a two thousand year old all powerful vampire being ticked off at you is probably a bad thing.