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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Narcissus in Chains Chapter Seventeen

Nathaniel consents to Asher feeding from him!

I am 35% done and that's the first time in this entire book someone has enthusiastically consented to something. Asher makes to feed from Nathaniel and J.C. makes to feed from Jason. Anita is in the middle of all of this.

The ardeur "roared over me like something huge and burning, except this fire did not burn, it fed me energy, as if I were not the wood on which it fed, but I was the flame."

That is one of the worst things I've ever read. It also makes me cringe because it's trying so hard to be deep.

LKH describes Anita and Jason kissing.


Jason and Nathaniel start the heavy petting engine and we get this:

"The two of them fell on me, hands, mouths, bodies, like they were fire to my wood, but this wood drew them in, drank them almost." 

So Anita is wood (heh) but also she's thirsty wood. You know, like a log with a face drawn on it.

So we're about to get some naughty three way action but Anita has to stop the party by saying she's not on birth control. Fine, she hasn't been with anyone in six months.I can buy that she isn't on birth control. But has no one in this universe heard of condoms? Oh hey, J.C. shows up with some! He's my favorite character, just by virtue of being the least scummy person around in a tiny scummy pond.

Anita protests that she doesn't want to have sex with Nathaniel or Jason. Am I missing something here? I haven't read the other books, but there's no reason for this attitude that I can see. Of course she can refuse for any reason at all, but I'm talking about the story and her characterization. Why doesn't she want to have sex with them? What did she think was going through their minds when she stripped naked and asked Asher in to bed with her? What about her kissing Jason? I'm not saying in any way that if this were real life those things would count as consent. I am saying that as a character in a fictional story, her characterization and desires (or lack of thereof) make no sense. For this whole book I've been wondering about this. Why is she so sex negative?

Just admit it!

J.C. again points out that she might lose control again (because no one is treating that interlude with Micah as rape, but rather as Anita losing control of the ardeur) and if that happens wouldn't she rather she didn't end up pregnant? I can't believe that Anita is trying to refuse condoms because she doesn't want to accept that her control isn't perfect. Anita is in fact so against sex that she wants to push the lupanar back another night. I have no idea what purpose that would serve unless Anita thinks she'll get over this mysterious sex negative nonsense in a single night. Not to mention, Gregory is being tortured. But who gives a fuck about Gregory. He's an object, like everyone else in this novel. He exists to be moved around on a gameboard. He has no hopes, desires, or dreams. It's as if when Anita can't see him, he becomes a nonentity.

Again J.C. is the only semi decent guy in this book, because he's the only one who points out Gregory's existence. And J.C. is a rapist asshole, so you can see how low the standards are in this universe.

J.C. and Anita go back and forth about whether Anita is going to have sex. Anita doesn't want to FOR NO DISCERNIBLE REASON. Why doesn't she want to? Is it because she doesn't like being compelled by the ardeur? She doesn't feel like she knows Jason well enough? What? The writing is so unclear that there seems to be no reason whatsoever for this attitude, legitimate or otherwise.

As a bit of an aside, characters aren't always going to be faced with a wide spectrum of choices. In this case, Anita must have sex. That is the limitations of her powers and the story she's in. Fine. She can still show autonomy and sex positive attitudes by choosing exactly who she will have sex with. If she doesn't want Nathaniel and Jason, well, swap them out for people she does want. Something like that. I don't find the you have to feed the ardeur part in and of itself that bad, it's the fact that she refuses to deal with it AND that I have no idea why she refuses to deal with it.

We have to stop the non-action to hear nattering about vampire bloodlines, which starts to read like the begat sections from the Old Testament. It also annoys me how whenever one character does something, everyone else in the room just stops. J.C. is talking now, so Jason and Nathaniel might as well not be there. Oh, and I guess Asher is still here too? Oh indeed he is, because he adds to the nattering about J.C.'s creator and Belle Morte and how J.C. was a slave to the ardeur. 

J.C. apologizes for doing this to her. He says he never would have married the marks if he'd known a human could catch the ardeur. Assuming you believe all of this, he is officially the least shitty person in this whole book. How sad.

They go around and around about how Anita doesn't want to have sex and yet needs to feed on lust if she wants to approach the lupanar with any kind of rational thought in her head. FINALLY we learn that she doesn't like having blood and lust urges because it makes her a "sociopath" and a "monster."

Hold up a second. Anita is that closeted friend that always goes around talking about how she doesn't want to be one of those people, despite having a whole group of gay friends. How would that feel, if you were her friend? If she constantly used a slur to describe people like you? Because monster sure doesn't sound like a compliment, yet all the monsters dependent on her conveniently never call her out on how callous this is.

Gee, maybe being a sociopath isn't so bad because at least then she wouldn't have to have teh ebul sexxorz. Her constant sex negativity is a real downer.


  1. She's "more comfortable with the monsters" than Richard is, and that makes her a better person.

    But she doesn't want to be a monster herself, though. That would be ICKY.

    1. The way she talks about monsters has always really squicked me out because they're PEOPLE. Like, she's not talking about some mindless beast. In her world vampires, werewolves, etc are sentient and have emotions and yet she constantly uses the most oppressive language she can think of.

    2. And she usually says it TO THEM or RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEIR FACES. If someone that I cared about or respected constantly called me a monster for something I was either born into, forced in to, or even went into of my own damn volition in front of me and to everyone they talked to, it would not end well for them. I would be sorely tempted to show them what being a monster REALLY meant, but since I'm a classy person, I'd probably just tell them off and get the fuck away from them forever.

    3. I don't think I can draw a perfect social justice parallel in fantasy stories because the fact that these people actually do have dangerous magical powers muddies the waters. That said, imagine if someone you cared about constantly called you a slur, to your face, and seemed to have no problem doing so. Like, she's been with JC since book three and she's still referring to him as a monster in Cerulean Sins. It's awful. I hate her.