Read Dottie's breakdown here
Anita is romantically tied to one of the most powerful vampires in the city, yet she's his "sweetie." I can't quite put my finger on why this seems odd, but it is.
So, Jean-Claude isn't available when she calls. "I'd worried that after so long Richard might finally tell me to go to hell, that he'd had enough of my indecision. It had never occurred to me that Jean-Claude might not wait." Really? She's just taking advantage of him at that point. Not that J.C. is a good person himself, but it doesn't mean she needs to be an asshole too.
I feel bad for laughing at this: "My aura had two holes in it, one for each of the men." Yeah, your aura. That's what we're calling it these days. "I'd blocked up my holes." "The holes were there, and the only way to fill them was with Jean-Claude and Richard." THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID.
Pray tell, what is a "velvet slap" ? Whatever it is, J.C.'s voice is one. He picks up when she calls his third club.
"I just couldn't lift as much weight, and there was weight to wading through Jean-Claude's power." Holy confused metaphor, Batman.
"I...tried to sound like an intelligent human being, not always one of my best things." Color me surprised.
Our heroine: "I'm always angriest when I think I am in the wrong." This is a childish defense mechanism at best that adults are sure to find grating, yet Anita has all these men hanging off of her.
So J.C. is passive aggressive at her about not contacting him for six months. Anita mistakes being sarcastic for having a personality. I have encountered this in the real world before. If you suspect you don't have a great personality, please don't graft sarcasm on to it in an effort to evolve. It will work against you.
J.C. is a doormat. He warns Anita that Narcissus in Chains is a bondage club that will surely offend her delicate sensibilities. Hasn't she been hanging around Guilty Pleasures and Danse Macabre for a few books now? How shocking can it be? J.C. says he doesn't know Marco (makes sense, Marco is a newcomer to town) but finds it odd that Anita thought he'd know about Narcissus in Chains. Another thing I don't understand. Marco is a person, a wild card, capable of coming and going. Narcissus in Chains is a place. It is fixed, and within J.C.'s city, Why is it so weird that he doesn't know Marco, but does know the club?
I feel dumber for having typed that out.
J.C. semi scolds her for not trusting him fully. Gee, you're only a manipulative master vampire whose been around for several of Anita's lifetimes, who never fully reveals his plans. Why wouldn't she trust you fully? Silly Anita.
Oh god, here it is. "It made things low in my body clench." It made your pussy wet, Anita. It made your cunt spasm, your quim quiver. Whatever. It made you imagine J.C.'s dick and how awesome it feels when he's balls deep in your ass. This book is about an adult woman, by an adult woman. What is with this coy puerile bullshit? This gets in to my assertion that AB is actually one of the most prudish series out there, but I'm sure I'll have ample opportunities to talk about that going forward.
Info dump about how Narcissus in Chains is a no man's land, which makes it sound lawless but apparently actually means that it's a neutral zone for supernaturals.
J.C. is generally dickish, promising to call Narcissus (as in the owner of the club) and keep the leopards from getting too terribly hurt but only if Anita will have a heart to heart with him about their relationship. I expect this kind of dickery from J.C. and don't find it jarring; the guy is a vampire and is pretty much required to be a dick. Still, another sign that relationship material he is not.
"I hated talking about my personal life, especially to those people most intimately involved in it." Well, that makes you a bad person. Withholding information from your lovers and friends due to your own hangups is not a cool trait. It makes you manipulative and withholding of your affections.
So far this ENTIRE THING is about Anita making phone calls. She should get off her goddamn ass and go save her fucking leopards, especially since she's apparently so tuff and has an arsenal at her disposal. J.C. calls back and expects to talk about their relationship right now. The leopards are being horribly tortured with every minute that passes, but Anita is treating them like a distant inconvenience. I take this as more evidence of her inability to empathize, and once again I don't find that cool in the slightest.
More about filling Anita's holes while I giggle like a school child.
God, J.C. calls her ma petite a lot. They go over how Anita's absence has been undermining J.C. and Richard's power, and she says "Richard must be desperate--he doesn't kill like we do." WHY IS IT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS THAT RICHARD DOESN'T MURDER EVERYONE THAT GETS IN HIS WAY? My goodness, I'd hope a protagonist wouldn't just indiscriminately murder everyone who gives her the damn side eye. Even antiheroes don't mow down everyone that challenges them.
"His bluff" Another weird thing to say. The bluff isn't a body part, or an item he owns. It's an action, bluffing.
Another surprising insight from Anita: "I still remembered the cold horror I'd felt when I realized how much I'd endangered all of us." When does this happen? Can someone who has read OB confirm or deny? She sure doesn't seem too concerned in this book, and even less concerned about her leopards WHO ARE BEING TORTURED RIGHT NOW. It bothers me how she isn't getting in gear. Torture. People who depend on you. GET YOUR ASS MOVING. This dilly dallying just makes it seem like she doesn't care. Please see my previous rant about psychopathy.
Holy shit, Anita apologized. This might be the best Anita book, instead of the worst. Don't get used to this, folks, because contrite Anita is rarer than a unicorn.
She finally mentions the leopards. Oh yeah, them. Whatever.
Basically, she needs to close the marks so she can go in and save the leopards without having, ahem, her "holes" exploited by the enemy. Fine, great. This doesn't require a dull as a spoon phone conversation. Talk to J.C. and Richard long enough to arrange the meeting, then get to the damn action.
Wait, hang on. She wants to close the marks, yet she doesn't want to invite Richard? I guess one closed hole is better than none, but why the hell are we going round in circles about this if they're not even going to invite their third? Leopards. Being tortured. Right now.
J.C. tells Anita she ought to dress a certain way to avoid being mistaken for a policeman. There's a bunch of aggrandizing bullshit about how Anita has "the eyes of a policeman." Again this is LKH trying to convince me ever so hard about Anita's badassery, yet so far Anita has done nothing beyond make phone calls and show that she is hilariously incompetent at investigation. Not to mention, isn't Anita kind of famous at this point? Does J.C. really think she can waltz in to a fetish club, frequented by vampires and werecreatures, and go unnoticed? This book is alarmingly inconsistent, which is one of the things that keeps it from being a good story.
More crap about Narcissus making sure "no great harm" comes to the cats. Well excuse me, but I don't find that very comforting. For a werecreature there's a lot of territory between healthy and death. Anita shouldn't be letting them languish in the hands of torturers, no matter how much Narcissus is willing to intervene. Not to mention she doesn't know Narcissus from Adam and frankly, I wouldn't be willing to trust a stranger in this situation.
Anita, why do you think torture is okay? Obviously it's not a big priority to her because she has time to engage in stultifying romance 'dialogue' with J.C. Meanwhile the leopards are acquiring PTSD left and right, a condition that could very well impact them for the rest of their lives, but oh it's no nevermind because Anita has to natter on about her holes.
We finally learn that Narcissus is a werehyena. Neat. I like hyenas.
Anita says that if any of her cats have been killed, she will murder those responsible in kind. I find that pretty reasonable, actually. It's normal to be enraged. However, she keeps referring to the leopards as if they're objects, another sign that something is deeply wrong with her personality.
Claiming that she will seek eye for an eye makes J.C. tell her she has "no mercy in [her] you." Why? It's not a nice thought per se, but it makes perfect sense that she might be angry enough to call for the torturer's deaths. The constant barrage of Anita is so cold and badass and awesome is very tiresome. Not to mention this is book ten. You'd think she would have accepted that sometimes, she has to kill people. She's the fucking Executioner. She's not the Have Vampires Around for Cakes-er. She's been killing people and raising the dead for ten books! How is this still causing her such moral issues?
So the next bit involves Anita saying she's trying to act like she isn't a sociopath. J.C. says "Do you really think you can change the nature of what you are merely by wishing it?" SOCIOPATHY/PSYCHOPATHY IS NOT COOL. Also bugger off Anita, if you were really a sociopath you wouldn't feel the need to constantly assert that and you certainly wouldn't spend so much time in self reflection. You'd assume your actions were right and correct. Also, you don't BECOME a sociopath. You can acquire all manner of mood disorders, organic brain issues, and so on, but you can't one day transform in to a sociopath. That's not how it works, so all this bullshit from Anita about trying to turn away from the brink of sociopathy is awkward.
"I fear that I'm already a sociopath and there is no going back." Yes, Anita, you would be right about that at least.
The chapter ends with "once upon a time." Ergh, what a clunker.