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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Narcissus in Chains Chapter Eighteen

Only now, in chapter eighteen, does Anita reveal why the hell she's been acting so batshit crazy.

"Control was the heart of who I thought I was." 

This is an excellent line, if a little too on point and obvious. We know what Anita's self concept is and why she's reacting so negatively to what's happening to her. I find the "thought" modifier particularly quite effective, because who she thinks she is and who she actually is, is implied to be different.

She decides she isn't going to have a naughty five? way, but her vajayjay is still trying to make all of her decisions. She is once again just a container for everyone else's powers. Richard's beast, J.C.'s hunger, and god knows what else. I want to see her accept these things and start working with them instead of against them. I think what she's going through now would be acceptable as a character arc if this were still books 1-3, but this is book 10. Because of that it feels repetitive and inauthentic.

Also I can understand that she might not want to have her sexual choices dictated to her by some random supernatural power, but all she needs to do is compare and contrast her current feelings to the ones she had before the ardeur. Did she desire these men before? Then great, go for it. The ardeur just becomes an exciting spice then, instead of a magical rape beam.

J.C. comes over and Anita tries to reject his advances. He says

"Ma petite, I would change this if I could, but I cannot. We must make the best of what is given us."

I completely agree with this. That doesn't mean she has to have sex with just anyone, J.C. included, but the circumstances of her situation limit her options. When we write stories, we need to create tension. Presenting characters with very limited options is one way to do that, because the reader starts wondering how they're going to make the best of the situation. Anita shouldn't expect to have all choices available to her at all times. She could still take control of this, though, by choosing her lovers freely.

She sees Belle Morte through J.C. and her eyes shift to look like Belle Morte's. I know that's kind of silly BUT I LOVE MAGICAL EYES, so there.

J.C. and Asher both freak out and get off the bed. Even Belle Morte's presence controls Anita, drawing her beast out. For all that Anita loves control she never does a single thing to take control. Things just happen to her. She is constantly being torn apart, as if all of these powers are rabid dogs fighting over a chew toy. She's as passive as a toy. She talks a big game but ultimately she's a weak, pathetic pawn.

Belle Morte essentially metaphysically molests her, touching Anita against Anita's will. She makes the ardeur rise again and Anita uses another troubling food metaphor:

"It was like being covered in pure lust, rolled in it, like flour on a piece of meat before you cook it." 

I might very well be biased against that because I have trouble thinking of anything more disgusting than food and sex together. (even though the ms I am working on has a bakery themed brothel in it).

All Anita can see is the light of Belle Morte's eyes, or I assume it's Belle's eyes. People start to touch and fondle her but she can't tell who they are. So basically, Belle Morte is now forcing Anita in to sex. All I want from this stupid book is for Anita to be in to sex, just once. For her to enthusiastically consent to fucking. For her to enjoy said fucking without having to be goaded or prodded in to doing it. Is that really so much to ask?

I'm unclear as to whether Jason and Nathaniel, who turn out to be the ones sucking Anita's tits, think she's consented to this or not. It's so difficult to tease out the consent in these books that at least for this scene, I've partially given up trying.

Anita can't fight off Belle Morte and maintain control over the ardeur. She begs J.C. and Asher to help her. They're standing off to the side watching Jason and Nathaniel indulge in their nursing fetish. Asher and J.C. have a cryptic conversation and crawl in bed with everyone else, which makes Belle Morte pleased as punch. Anita realizes this is a trap, because as soon as J.C. and Asher feed on Jason and Nathaniel, the ardeur will become so strong as to take away everyone's free will.

I love this goddamn baby so much.

Of course she can't warn them in time, so J.C. and Asher start feeding. Jason brings Anita to an orgasm with only a couple seconds of diddling. Anita sure orgasms quickly, doesn't she? It's almost like LKH is caught between wanting to write raunchy sex, and wanting to get it over with as quickly as possible becauiseshe's terribly embarrassed by her own fantasies.

For some reason the ardeur makes it so she can feel everyone else's pleasure too. Nathaniel comes, though LKH describes it as his "body building" and as a "release." Jason starts screaming because reasons. The vampires are in full on ecstasy mode which Anita describes in as hokey a way as possible.

So basically, Nate and Jason sucked on Anita's tits. J.C. and Asher fed on Nate and Jason. And somehow this terribly tame heavy petting session gave them all the best orgasms ever, because magic.

Anita sees a pornographic psychic picture reel thanks to Belle Morte. J.C. and Asher used to fuck her at the same time! Le gasp! Only vampires enjoy such things, for they are amoral whores. Anita has the presence of mind to try and force Belle Morte to go the fuck away, which is another excuse for Anita to writhe around on the bed with her tits out, a la Lucy in Mel Brook's terrible vampire parody.

Did you know there's a character in that movie named Lysette? Brb Loling forever.

Anita does necromancy bullshit.

"I drew my necromancy like a great dark cloud, a storm ready to break..."

That is some low effort nonsense right there.

Nathaniel is teh awed and calls her Nimir-Ra even though this is clearly not wereleopard magic. There are some more uninspired storm metaphors. Honestly, how does LKH make so much money? There is nothing brilliant about this. There is very little craftsmanship. It's like comparing a cat to water or a painful emotion to a knife. No fucking shit. And not moments after I wrote this little rant, I came across Anita feeling Jason's pulse and comparing his blood to candy. Come ON.

She bites Jason and uses his blood to push Belle Morte out of everyone's minds. Then because she also a witch she tries to geas Belle against contacting them again. If you're going to hang this many powers on a character, they better have a larger than life personality. Anita, it goes without saying, does not.

Anita says something supposedly badass about how Belle Morte should just pick up a phone instead of mucking about in her head.


  1. The flour/sex thing just reminds me of this.

    No. I don't want to think about fried food in sex. Eurghhh.

    1. I know it's some people's thing but it revolts me. Pussy and pizza do not go together.

  2. "Dead and Loving It" is far and away the worst of Brook's movies, but I still love it. It is so madly silly, and knowing that the massive blast o' blood from Lucy's corpse was completely unexpected to the actor just makes the entire scene that much funnier to me. If you're going to gush blood, you may as well go whole hog and geyser that bitch.

    I think some of this shit would be better reading if Anita actually realized she, personally, has almost never been in control of her life, and maybe she should change that. She talks a good talk about always wanting to be in control, but from the very beginning she almost never has been; either her necromancy did something strange or vampires took over her brain. If she had an epiphany and decided to really actually DO SOMETHING about her lack of control, this shit wouldn't be so grindingly irritating.

    1. I agree. So many things in this series go unexplored. I don't even know if LKH is as bad a writer as these books make her out to be, and neither does she because she refuses to take this shit seriously and actually edit it.

    2. I'm pretty sure she's a bad writer, and she just refuses to accept it. She was, after all, told by her college English teacher that she couldn't write, and it seems pretty obvious that the editor she had in the early stages of her career is the one who got her so far. Once she dropped him/her, everything rapidly fell to pieces.

      I mean, even in her Merry Gentry series (which is at least unabashed porn) it's just gotten absurd, from what little bits I've heard. I gave up after about book three.

    3. well we'll see about merry gentry because I'm doing that series once I am done with Anita, unless I want to legit throw myself off a cliff by then

    4. Hey, if nothing else, Mel Brooks's movies don't consist largely of pop culture references that will be dated by the time the movie comes out, unlike the "[Something] Movie" films.