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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Narcissus in Chains Chapter Twenty Five

So my post is going up later than Dottie's  because I was at the gym. You know, that magical building Anita and her harem supposedly spend so much time in?

Anyway, so Anita punched Richard in the last chapter and a fight breaks out in this one as a consequence. Richard puts a stop to it before it can get good. Sylvie struggles with her duty to her Ulfric and her friendship and sense of obligation with Anita. I wish these books were about Sylvie. Richard is bleeding and Anita thinks that is so hot, she wants to "drink him down." I am so tired of that phrase. I'd start a drinking game--ha!--but I'd already be dead.

Turns out Jacob ordered Gregory down in to the oubliette, even though Richard finds the oubliette inhumane. Or as the text says "inhuman." Well then, destroy the damn thing. Obviously the pack can't be trusted to leave well enough alone, and the place ought to be caved in anyway out of a sense of sheer decency. Keeping the place where so many people died horribly fully functional is the height of disrespect which,, by the way, is why plantations make me so sick to my stomach. Especially when people get fucking married there.

Anita informs Jacob that he "couldn't change [your] mind with a hundred watt bulb and a team of helpers." 

Something about the bulb part of that statement really irritates me. Bulb? Mind? I don't know. Anita is not funny, is the point. Nor is she insulting, no matter how hard she tries.

Anita kicks Jacob in the face. Again she's solving her problems with violence which is so fucking tiresome, but Jacob also really deserves it. 0/0 on this one.

"Blood poured from his face, over his hands, like crimson water."

Oh my god, these analogies are like mental cheese graters constantly passing back and forth over my raw brain meats.

Apparently Anita knows kenpo, despite her having never to my knowledge mentioned this before. I've also never seen or heard her go to the gym or even mention it, yet she's suddenly physically adept right when she needs to be. And again, I know I am harping on this, but if she is the bestest martial artist WHY THE FUCK IS SHE SUCH A CHILD ABOUT GUNS?

Okay it's no secret that I am a soulless bastard who hates fun, or in other words I don't like The Dresden Files. But I did read Side Jobs, and one of the things that made Murphy's short story so great is that she didn't have a whole suite of magical powers to rely on. She was good with a gun and she knew martial arts, and that's it. She went up against supernaturals and won because she used her physical skills and her brain. Anita just chops away at every situation the exact same way, as if her head is an axe and all her problems look like bundles of firewood.

Anita informs Jacob that she "knows pack law" and is still lupa for the time being, despite her need to have even the most basic of shapeshifter customs explained to her over and over again. There is more shaky world building as people throw around their titles, which are a pastiche of Greek and Nordic words for basically no reason at all.

Anita suggests that they put Jacob down in the oubliette instead of Gregory. This is one of those moments where a good writer would make us question the limits of not just the main character's morality, but ours as readers. On the one hand it's understandable that Anita might call for the same crime done to Jacob that he himself has committed. In the U.S. we have a revenge based justice system, where people want to see the accused suffer the way his or her victims are said to have suffered. I don't think that's a good thing, but it is a true thing.

On the other hand, isn't it morally better to stand up and go one better than a person you believe to be an irredeemable criminal? How do you maintain your integrity otherwise? After everything Anita has seen people like Raina and Kaspar do this should be a crossroads moment for her, where she decides whether she'll choose the high road or follow in the footsteps of all the abusive alphas before her. Saying that no, he shouldn't be put in the oubliette after all and further, that no one, no matter their crimes, should suffer so would do more for shapeshifter society than can be overstated. It's what Richard should have already done, if he were really trying to usher the wolves in to a new age of consent and self sovereignty. The oubliette should be filled with concrete and planted over with a garden, or collapsed with only salted earth to mark where it used to be, a relic of a barbaric, shameful time in lukoi lore.

There's a lot of political back and forth about whether Jacob has to obey, and whether Anita can be lupa and Nimir-Ra, and whether Richard is going to fuck Anita and if Micah will put up with that. Jacob is a goddamn werewolf and could heal himself in seconds, but he just stands there pouring blood from his nose because LKH thinks it's a neato image. It would also be better for him politically if he shifted, reminding everyone of his power as a werewolf, but we have to have blood in here somehow so she can maintain her pitiful status as a 'horror' writer.

Micah says maybe they ought to ask him instead of arguing over what he will or won't do when he's standing right there. He's a horrible rapist and probably a psychopath, but if I swallow the bullshit about how the rape is really true love he becomes my favorite character behind J.C. He's the only one making a lick of sense in this clusterjerk, though every time I think about him I get that funny rage carbonation in the pit of my stomach because LKH is so ridiculous she truly can't see how a textbook rape is well, a rape.

Micah says he doesn't mind sharing and everyone loses their goddamn minds for some reason. I am no leopard expert, by the way, but isn't it really weird that wereleopards put such importance on a mated pair? Leopards mate over a five week period, and they do it every fifteen minutes for most of that time. While the females do seek out more dominant males, they aren't life bonded animals. So I suppose it makes sense for Micah to be so sanguine about sharing, given the human elements of his personality (the leopard half would kill or chase away any other male/ the cubs, if Anita had any), but the whole Nimir-Ra/Nimir-Raj thing falls apart, or at least it does if there's no culture building behind it to prop it up. Which obviously, there isn't.

For some reason they need a medic to heal Jacob's nose even though he is a fucking werewolf. Richard has a complete personality replacement and agrees to putting Jacob in the oubliette. Torture isn't any better when the protagonists do it. We might understand why they do it--or we would in a better book--but it's not better morally speaking.

Jacob is a fucking idiot and says some more bullshit so Richard can justify punching him out. Richard realizes the pack won't listen to kindness, so he tells them it's all their fault that he's now going to revert to being an abusive ass. Anita goes on about how Richard is a true king now.


  1. I can deal with plantations as a history lesson, but it's the South; I know there are too many assholes who honestly glorify the horror that they represent. (And many in Wisconsin, too; seriously, why the fuck are Cheeseheads flying the rebel flag?)

    I find it hilarious that LKH thinks blood runs like water.

    The only reason I can think of that Jacob doesn't heal himself (or maybe consciously try to push his healing to do so?) is that it's politically unwise to do so, since his lupa is the one who popped him. Or the one who claims to be his lupa, and reversing the damage she caused might end up with him being beaten further, or eaten. But I suspect I'm giving her too much credit.

    1. They do. They hold weddings and getaways at those places. They continue to function by making money for white people while everyone walks around on the bones of an enslaved group. Ugh.

      I think it's amazing that she loves to compare one thing to another very similar thing. That isn't the point of an analogy!

      Oh sure there could be tons of good reasons, but LKH never tells us any of them!