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Friday, June 6, 2014

Narcissus in Chains Chapter Twenty

They go back to Anita's house to collect the wererats. She says she has no nearby neighbors. Can someone from St. Louis tell me if this is feasible at all? I assume it isn't really.

Oh this is rich. This is all J.C.'s fault now. Yeah, okay. I am operating on the notion that he truly didn't know the ardeur would infect her, because I don't think LKH is clever enough as a writer to give him ulterior motives. So, after he told Anita repeatedly that he didn't  know what would happen when they married the marks, she did it anyway. Now she doesn't like the consequences, so time to call J.C. a monster and put it all on him, even though even she acknowledges in the text that J.C. didn't know what would happen.

I am sick to death of her throwing the word monster around. That could easily be this world's equivalent of a racial slur, yet she has no problem constantly and blithely insulting everyone around her every time she wangsts on about being a monster. Oh my god, how horrible. Clearly you will become a waste of sociopathic space, the way all your allies are. Oh, wait. Honestly, I don't even know why Anita still has allies. It's only word of god that makes it so, because if this world had realistic consequences she'd be out on her ass with absolutely everyone.

Anita then shows jarring self insight by realizing that she doesn't see Nate as a person, but rather as a project or an object to be rescued. I am so conflicted. On the one hand her mentality is awful, but on the other hand she's actually being realistic about herself for once. These moments are like the death throes of LKH's psyche. At one time, she could have honed her talents and made this series a wonderful thing, but success came too quickly and lead her down the wrong path.

She natters on about how she hopes she and Nate didn't actually have sex. She is the most naive character on the face of the planet. She is what, in her thirties? She's been through public school sex ed, presumably. While it's not always great, surely she retained enough to realize that oral sex is sex? Failing that, she's actually had sex before. And I know I am harping on this but, she hasn't had a restrictive religious upbringing. She hasn't (as far as LKH is concerned) been raped or molested. She doesn't have a mental illness that might be a barrier to sex, and her sexuality has never been portrayed as asexual. There is zero reason for her to be such a fucking child about all of this, which is especially delicious considering she's constantly infantilizing Nate.

She keeps comparing Nate to a child and hoping she can find some loophole that will allow her to keep claiming she hasn't had sex with him, because otherwise it is like she molested him. So does Anita think oral sex on a child is just fine? That it isn't sex and therefore won't scar a person for life? Anita is a judgmental, shallow, despicable, prudish shell of a human being.

The wahmbulance arrives and Anita merrily drives it hell bent for leather down the twisting back alleys of her stupid, ignorant brain. She doesn't want to feed off others because I'm supposed to believe she gives a single shit about the welfare of people who aren't her or directly stroking her mind peen.

Nate assures her she can feed from him and that he doesn't consider what they did to be "real sex." How convenient. Anita is a stubborn asshole about feeding the ardeur despite being told twice now that if she feeds as soon as she realizes she needs to, she can keep some measure of control. I thought this fool loved control, but now she's planning on ignoring it until she absolutely must pay attention? How goddamn ridiculous can this character become?

"I have to be who I am, and who I am just doesn't give in to anyone, or anything."

This sounds like a virtuous kick ass thing to say, but really it just makes her dumb and unpleasant. Everyone needs to give in sometimes. Everyone. If you fight everything just for the sake of fighting, all you will do is make yourself sick and friendless. If a character never shows a soft side, well, I find that boring and one dimensional besides.

Nathaniel keeps trying to deflect Anita's questions because he's afraid she'll get mad at him for the answers. It terrifies me that LKH can consistently write abusive situations without ever once realizing that they are in fact abusive situations. He assures her that he's trying to be more independent not just for her, but for himself too.

I have to stop here and ask a serious question: why is independence so great? Yes, a person should be self assured and they should understand their inherent worth, but does everyone really thrive this way? I know it's a very American virtue to be a one man army or island, but not everyone is meant to lead from the front. It disgusts me how Anita constantly denigrates and devalues Nate simply because he wants to occupy a submissive role in life.

LKH once again pads her word count with mind numbing details like the fact that Anita's Jeep makes a beeping sound when she locks it.

Cherry is there and is obviously frightened when she has to tell Anita she went ahead and let everyone come inside the house. She's so relieved that Anita isn't angry about it that she drops to her knees and rubs her face on Anita's hand.

Anita natters about how she didn't realize so many people would show up. So I guess she doesn't even know how many wererats there are? What a wonderful leader she is.

The other leopards start quizzing Nate about why he's covered in bite wounds. Honestly, who gives a fuck. Jesus this is boring. We're still not at the lupanar, by the way.

Anita wants to lie about how she bit Nate because it makes Nate sound like a slut. No shit. Those are the words used. Suddenly Anita remembers Gregory because it's convenient for her to do so. She appeals to the leopards by saying they need to go rescue him, so they don't have time to natter about Nate being a slut.

It comes out that the pard voted, and they have to approve all of Nathaniel's girlfriends before he can go ahead. This is too restrictive, I think, but I get their logic. Or I DID, right until they said it's because Nate nearly got Anita killed again. No, Elizabeth nearly got Anita killed again. Actually, Anita nearly got Anita killed again, because she's a fucking idiot and assigned an insubordinate leopard to watching over her most vulnerable pard member. Look, either Nate is capable of making decisions or he's not. If he's not, you can't lay blame on him like this. The blame is on his handler or his master.

Oh, here comes Elizabeth who is a baddy bad bad. Know how I can tell?

"Her walk was always a cross between a strut and a glide, the ultimate hooker's walk." 

She is a dirty, dirty whore and therefore deserves to be punished by the almighty virginal Anita Blake.

As is the custom around these parts, Anita informs us that Elizabeth has brunette hair, but it is but a pale imitation of Anita's beautiful black locks. She is also dressed as scantily as possible, just so we're sure she's a worthless slut. Caleb,, the wereleopard version of Jason, is with her so you're extra special ultra sure that they both suck. Caleb is dressed like a disco reject who got bounced from the club after doing too much coke in the bathroom.

Elizabeth does the bad girl simper insult that's so cliche it's actively killing my brain cells. Turns out Anita killed Gabriel, who happened to be Elizabeth's mate. I think he was also a horrible rapist torturer, though, so forgive me for not sympathizing with Elizabeth. Anita is such a shitty leader that she's now in a position where she has to kill Liz for insubordination just to keep her position in a pard she doesn't want to be responsible for in the first place.

Thank god Merle shows up, because he's seriously the only good character in this whole mess. He's towing someone named Gina along with him, who probably won't be at all important later.

Oh shit, here come Vivian, one of the only people of color in the pard despite them being fucking wereleopards. Let's see how insulting the next few lines are going to be:

"She was one of the few women who made me feel protective and think of adjectives like doll-like and delicate. She was simply one of the most beautiful I'd ever seen, and the casual shorts and striped tank top with sandals couldn't hide that. She was African-American by way of Ireland, and her skin was that flawless pale cocoa shade you only get with that particular mixture."

So far the only women of color in this thing are Meng Die and Vivian, both of whom are described in objectifying, exoticizing terms. I have no problem with Vivien being mixed, either, but if all your mixed characters essentially look white with a few 'exotic' touches, you're fucking it up. Jesus, while we're at it could we find a way to describe a person of color without resorting to food? Then again everything in this book is food related. Anita needs to eat.

Also I know this is tiny compared to the gobs of racism, but how does a casual outfit detract from one's attractiveness, exactly?

Everyone is still way too preoccupied with who Nate slept with, up to the point where the other leopards start sniffing his crotch. What is this fuckery. Send help.

Because they don't "smell pussy" on Nate's dick or mouth, they conclude that he probably didn't have sex. Do I need to explain how fucked up this is? What a brilliant piece of queer erasure it is? I could deconstruct this book for academic credit in gender studies, and I am not even kidding.

Question: if the bites were going to cause this much drama why didn't he just shift and heal them?

Anita goes on and fucking on about being a sociopath again. Christ, she likes to throw that word around. It's not something to be used lightly.

"Did you do your ulfric and your master last night? Is that why Nathaniel doesn't smell like pussy, because there wasn't a hole left for him?"

It's really rich that all of these sexually free naked all the time leopards are being such slut shamers. I hate this book and everyone in it. Except you, Merle. Don't ever change.

Elizabeth is hand puppet evil again.

"I looked at her, and I let the darkness fill my eyes that was my own version of a beast." 

Anita sounds like a fifteen year old that has just discovered Goth and loves Vampire Weekend. Do kids still do goth these days? Am I just that old?

Elizabeth seriously says "you should be afraid Anita, very afraid." 

And then what? Then I laughed myself sick, is what.


Random minor wereleopards are introduced. Anita describes herself as defending Nate's honor, because god knows there weren't enough Madonna/whore references in this god forsaken book already.

Now Nathaniel has to show Micah his bite marks. Oh my lord they're just bite marks. Who hasn't gotten a bite mark or two in the course of sex? At least if you're in to that. I think I am supposed to understand that biting someone has a certain significance in wereleopard culture but because LKH is a bad writer I am not really sure.

Anita thinks the leopards are afraid of Micah, because goddamit that is how good little objects should relate to their owners. She pouts that they're not as afraid of her.

Oh, I see. This is another excuse to make Anita strip, on the hood of a car this time.

"Be afraid, Elizabeth. Be very afraid."

These references are not cute.

Oh jesus, this chapter is so long. I need an adult. Send coffee and brownies. I might not make it.

Elizabeth punches Anita for some reason and Micah thinks just after is the perfect time to kiss her.  She finally says "grow hard" to refer to an erection, which is the dirtiest she's gotten this whole book. I am working on a sex scene right now and I swear, I am going to make that thing the nastiest, raunchiest scene I've ever done, just as a palette cleanser.

Anita and Micah both want to drink each other. Talk about a silly overdone metaphor.

How did we go from Anita being punched in the face to heavy petting on the hood of the car? Also it's a Jeep. Does a Jeep even have a hood you could roll around on?

Micah and Anita are teh mated pairz. Sometimes I kinda love this sort of thing, but the way this is executed makes it creepy. It takes away their free will. I'd rather it just predisposed them to fancy each other, rather than forcing it on them.

She finally remembers she has to deal with Elizabeth and goes to get her gun out of the car. She has lead bullets because that works on fairies for some reason. Um? I'm no expert on lead. Is there iron in it or something? Because it's iron that usually works on fairies.

Anita puts a couple of bullets in to Liz's chest. I'd think even as a wereanimal that would kill you instantly. You still have to have the time to shift, and you aren't going to manage it in seconds. Anita realizes Liz wants to die, to go be with Gabriel. Ouch.

"I'd tried kindness. I'd tried friendship. I'd tried respect. But when all else fails, fear will do the job."

Except I've never been shown any evidence to prove that Anita has tried anything other than being a shitty, abusive leader. I'm just supposed to believe this, despite my doubts that Anita even knows what friendship and respect are.

Everyone licks Anita's asshole about how scary and wonderful she is and I barely contain the urge to puke. Turns out the swans are coming too because Anita doesn't have enough mouths polishing her badass pole. Her and Micah walk towards the house and she's hoping she won't fail the leopards, despite never demonstrating the slightest concern for their well being.

1 comment:

  1. Her use of the word "monster" is indeed really weird, annoying, and inconsistent, which was one of my own big complaints while sporking. Because sometimes, "monster" is treated as a slur against preternatural people, whereas other times it just seems a general descriptor, and yet other times it gets used to describe people or acts that aren't preternatural but are horrible, evil, etc. Now, in our world, the word "monster" can be used to describe both supernatural things and things that are mundane but still evil/scary/etc, but that's because supernatural things are not REAL in our universe. They are not actual people. In a world like Anita's where they are, the use of term should probably be either...
    A) Refers to preternatural people, but not morally abominable things
    B) Vice versa

    and using it interchangeably in either scenario would be tremendously offensive, as it would equate preternatural people with moral evil, horror, etc.

    Plus, it's incredibly confusing because LKH is inconsistent, as I said. Sometimes Anita talks about how she accepts the monsters as they are (making it seem like a neutral group term), other times she's enraged against people for calling preternatural beings "monsters" (making it seem like a slur), and sometimes she uses it to mean evil/scary people or things that have nothing to do with being supernatural in nature. And again, in a world where the supernatural is real, that doesn't work. There needs to be a distinction. Otherwise it's just confusing and makes Anita seem hypocritical and/or LKH like a poor world-builder who didn't think this through.