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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Narcissus in Chains Chapter Forty Four

Donovan Reese is the whitest thing that ever happened, and Anita just so happens to have a white couch for him to curl up on. Symbolism! Even though Anita having a white couch is a dumb fucking idea. I bet it's coated in leopard fur. She must buy stock in those little sticky roller things.

Just kidding, this is the whitest thing that has ever happened:

Donovan brought two ornamental females with him, presumably the swanmanes Anita rescued in the beginning. Christine is here. If memory serves she's a weretiger. In the course of describing everyone's clothes Anita hits me with the most baffling line yet:

"Her powder blue shirt was partially unbuttoned, as if she'd removed a tie, though I don't think she had."

Aside from the clumsy as fuck tense shift, how the in the bloody hell would Anita know if she'd had a tie or not? And why is it worthy of commentary? I want to claw my eyeballs out, this is so frustrating and nonsensical. This is the kind of bullshit I have to read instead of a plot about missing alphas. It's like LKH realizes there's such a thing as plot, and that people like this thing called plot, but she just sort of has a seizure halfway through and flops over like a suffocating fish.

The other two people there are "exotic." 

I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that exotic is not an okay word. Unless you're trying to portray your character as ignorant or privileged or both, exotic is not an okay word. Of course Anita is both ignorant and privileged to the point where she's a caricature, but it's not intentional and therefore I can't give LKH any points for this one. It's just offensive instead of being a hint about how the character views the world. Also Anita seems to think big dark eyes and true black hair are markers for non-white ethnicity. Well, many predominantly white (though white is a fairly meaningless word when it comes to specific ethnicity markers; Anita's pure white straight Euro bullshit is weird. I mean, what does she consider straight Euro? Very pale English people? I assume she means WASPs but who the fuck knows) people in European countries would beg to differ. The black Irish are here, they want their coloring back. Plus, making white appearing people and then giving them a little non white ethnicity for flavor is just wrong. People of color don't exist so white writers can put a little cayenne pepper in their sawmill gravy. Dammit, LKH, you've infected me with food metaphors.

I'd also like to point out that white skin is a complicated thing in many countries. White skin does not always protect a person from racial discrimination, class discrimination etc. The Irish Travelers are their own ethnic group (government recognized as such even, if memory serves) and a lot of them look whiter than I do. I don't expect Anita to know this shit but really--in my experience the average U.S. citizen doesn't--but a little nuance wouldn't hurt her. I'd love to see her ignorance portrayed as an actual failing, a real blind spot that bites her in the ass at some point. Haha, it is to laugh.

Anyway, these two oh so exotic people are Olivia and Ethan MacNair. Is that supposed to mean something to me? It sounds like they've been introduced before now but I don't think they have. There's a big dude here who I bet is going to be a werebear because haha, he's bearmode.

He has a huge beard too, because of course he does. Just once I'd like to see a werebear that was tiny and delicate in human form.

Gil also turns up. Gil is a werefox and seriously the most pointless character in the entire universe. Spoiler: he solely exists in this book for Anita to monologue at and never shows up again. To my knowledge he is never, not once, referenced again in any other book. There was a character like this in the first draft of NDT and I unceremoniously slashed her from the manuscript the way she deserved. I feel like I need to mail LKH a weed whacker for just these sorts of situations. TRIM YOUR GARDEN BEDS, WOMAN.

There's another giant woman here. You can tell she's tough because she doesn't wear makeup and gives Anita "one of the best handshakes I'd ever had from another woman."

Was it good for you? 

Her gender bullshit is so bad I feel like I'm reading a goddamn Janice Raymond book that just happens to have vampires in.

Nilisha MacNair is here. Anita seems to think Irish and Scottish are fair game for being exoticized without being too dark and icky for her perfect white self. This is a huge problem in books, especially romance novels, where the white skin of Celtic peoples makes them 'safe' targets for Othering. NO. It's STILL NOT OKAY and is several levels of fucked up, as if the authors have found a way to include the sexualized person of color trope while still giving them white skin so the protagonist doesn't get black cooties all over her translucent purity. Gross. Oh but don't worry, Nilisha is just dark enough to be sexy and exotic. 

By the by, the character soup here is a horrific mess. It's like when the new prep guy thinks you can make stock by boiling vegetable ends all day and then magically turn it in to soup by putting pasta and beans in to soak over night. No one wants to eat that! You hear me, LKH? YOUR NOODLES ARE MUSHY AND TASTELESS.

Nilisha has a big white bodyguard with her because of course she does. She's also "hell on wheels" because that's not stereotypical at all. Cower before her sassiness, white man! Another baffling line:

"He was also muscled in a way that nature does not do."

Um. Does she mean he goes to the gym a lot and is therefore ripped? Because the only way to get ripped is to lift heavy shit and put it down again over and over. Or engage in certain strenuous jobs or sports. Plus all the attention you have to pay to your diet. What I'm saying is, it takes a lot of fucking work. No one is born naturally swole. So in essence, everyone with muscles worked for them. They don't magically happen.

Or maybe she means he has an altered musculature because he's a shifter? But if that's the case, it would be natural for his shifter type to have those muscles, so nature would in fact be the author of such a difference.

These books make me think too hard, and not in a good way.

For some reason right after Nalisha says her husband is probably dead, her daughter Olivia starts yelling at her about how she's giving up and how Nalisha is just mad because dad had a mistress. Why in the world is this girl being so cruel? What is the purpose of this fight? Turns out the king of the werecobras isn't one of the snake people Anita killed. What? I am so confused. I thought of course he'll turn out to be one of the dead, either in the beginning or in the fight that just happened, but they seem to be unconnected. What the fuck? This is terrible writing, full stop.

Anita says "when [the fight] was reduced to the two women screaming at each other from less than a foot away, some of it not even in English, I'd had enough."

1). If it's women screaming, it's somehow more annoying than men having the same fight

2). When the fight isn't in English, it's worse than if it were in English.


Anita and Co decide to leave them to it, at which point Nilisha and Olivia stop fighting and apologize. "They smiled at each other like bright mirrors..." I had no idea mirrors could smile. A true visionary, is LKH.

The queen of the werebears, the Ursa, is missing. Still don't know what the big manlyz woman is, but her son is missing. Gil is just a scared useless little moron. Christine, despite being a weretiger, is here to represent shifters in town that don't have a big presence. They've lost a werelion. Who are these people and why do I give a fuck? Ugh. The werelion's name is Joseph. He has a pregnant mate named Amber. Cherry oh so tactfully points out that she's going to lose this baby too, as she's already lost two previously. Shifters can't get pregnant you see, because the change causes miscarriage and for some dumbass reason all shifters (I think) are forced to change on the full moon despite mythology from their places of origin being very different.

Turns out the Talbots, she of the dyke-y handshake and he of the recently gone missing, are weredogs.

This whole chapter is just one long begat chapter from the Bible, with all the meaningless names and notes on their type. I can hardly tell these characters apart or remember what they are. Apparently the last swanking kidnapped a bunch of shifters and sent them off to game reserves, for sadistic billionaires to shoot and kill. That's a fucking awesome idea though I'd love to know how an animal that in the ABverse is supposedly "meat" and "food" managed to kidnap a bunch of big game shifers, but welp whatever. I guarantee you we'll never get an explanation.


What the fuck. I am completely fucking gobsmacked. The whole we don't go to the cops for shifter business was already flimsy at best, but if she's willing to break it why didn't she insist in the beginning of this travesty? YOU GUYS!! they could have taken Gregory to the FUCKING HOSPITAL! She could have told Dolph and Zebrowski about the fight in the club. Holy shit this is so the wrong move at this point in the story.

"You think the snake people and their pet lion are behind this?"

You simple motherfucker.

(Watch this show. It is called Awkward Black Girl and it's hilarious)

Everyone talks in circles about possible motive. DESPITE all the oh my god we don't involve the cops noise, everyone reported their queens and kings missing anyway and just left out the shifter part. Sigh. Anita quite rightly points out that without the shifter connection, the police won't be able to draw any conclusions since the victims don't have anything else in common. Of course, we know that the scene of the cobra leader's abduction had some pretty clear wereanimal clues, and if the rest of the scenes are at all similar a reasonably competent detective would at least be able to connect the signs therein. but still, I have to give her some points for this one because the wereanimal thing is inherently important to these cases.

"Other than the fact that they're all Caucasian..."

You heard it here first. The dogs, the bears, the FUCKING LION, the SNAKE...! They're all fucking white. There's some argument that Caucasian is actually an improper term to apply to only white people but that's how most people use it so I'm going to assume Anita is referring to them all being WASPs. Why? Granted human ethnicity and animal origin don't have to go together but there's absolutely no defense for every single one of these people being white, especially when the areas where these animals tend to be found are decidedly not white. Of course you don't need all the lions to be black or for all the snakes to be South Asian--that would be somewhat problematic too--but in my opinion way less so than them all being fucking white. 

White supremacy. It's what's for dinner.

They all agree to go to the police. I can't overstate how stupid this is.

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