This is my personal blog and does not necessarily reflect the collective views of Hard Limits Press

Thursday, August 28, 2014


I know I am behind on CS chapters guys, and I'm sorry. Without becoming Captain Overshare, I'll just tell you that my mental health/med situation is on very shaky ground at the moment. Things are improving but things need to settle down even more, which will probably take a couple of weeks. I hope I'll be able to post before that, though. When I'm in a bad state of mind I find the Internet a very triggering place, but I am halfway done with a chapter write up nonetheless. I just can't promise when exactly it will be posted. Thanks for your patience and I hope you keep reading.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cerulean Sins Chapter Three

Thanks for the comments, everyone! I love comments.

Here's Dottie's break down.

Back to the grind.

Anita is teh best most practicalz animatorzzz because she carries her tools in a grey Nike gym bag, as opposed to something more elaborate. Wow, I can totally relate to her now!

Anita tells us that some people raise zombies for entertainment, like at parties and stuff. HOW THE FUCK IS THAT LEGAL? This is a crapsack world in a lot of ways but it's also been established as a world with a lot of legal rules around magical creatures and people. And given how Anita's job has been portrayed, well, it emphasizes that every single zombie is someone's loved one. If an animator is out there raising random zombies for a party, there should be watchdog groups chewing his ass out from under him. Because those aren't random zombies, they're husbands and mothers, daughters and sons.

Anita was trained to use an ointment in her animating. This is really interesting! The notion of witches using ointments (usually supposedly given to them by the devil) goes back a long ways and while Anita isn't a witch it still calls forth a nice historical echo. She apparently thinks rosemary (an ingredient back when she used to use ointments still) smells like a Christmas tree though, doesn't.

Of course considering Anita never fucking eats so I guess I can't expect her to know anything about herbs. It occurs to me that Anita is the perfect Victorian heroine. Back then it was thought that if you had a healthy appetite for food you had a healthy appetite for sex, which of course was unacceptable for a lady. But sadly, in 2014 I don't want to read about a woman who won't eat a damn hamburger or ride a dick (insert genitalia of choice, heh, insert)  once in awhile. I want a heroine who, while she may be flawed, continues to rise above her petty nature. I want her to eventually admit that she likes sex (or doesn't, but Anita is portrayed as a sexual being) and food.

We get an attempt at world building, which is sort of like the last rattling breaths a person takes before they slip in to a coma.

It's too little too late, is what I'm saying.

Anyway so animators need blood, steel, and salt. Or that's all Anita needs anyway, since she's too special and powerful to need anything else.

Anita describes her hand as "tan" which throws me for a loop because she's supposed to be so white she's nigh translucent. Said hand is covered in little cuts, something to do with Marianne's teachings and blood debt. Marianne is a Wiccan and is teaching Anita to control her growing psychic powers. So:

1). Anita has a leopard beast inside her (heh)

2). Anita has a wolf beast waaaay down inside. (thanks for the assist, Robert Plant)

3). Anita is an animator.

4). Anita has vampire marks that give her a vast cornucopia of advantages and powers.

5). Anita is psychic.

6). Anita has the ardeur. 


Anyway, there's some nattering about how Marianne's Wiccan coven went batshit over Anita sacrificing animals. Points to Anita for at least trying to use her own blood instead after that, and she gives up on it for a good reason: she's too slow with her arm because the cuts hurt. In a fight that could spell disaster. Hooray one of the only logical things Anita has ever done!

Apparently Anita hasn't told Marianne this yet. Also right wing Christians hate Anita as well. Really?

1). Gun nut

2). Homophobic

3). Transphobic

4). Believes her religion and her interpretation of said religion is the only valid belief system

I mean, seems like she's doing a damn fine right wing impression to me.

There's a couple more cops here now, plus the judge in the insurance case, plus some bailiffs. Not every judge "will take zombie testimony." Well hang on, is it legal or not? Of course it might not be admissible in every case, but that's not the same thing as zombie testimony being totally invalid legally. Also what the hell, why wouldn't he? This world has always had zombies. By now you'd think people would know if they tend to be reasonably reliable or not.

The ms I am working on now has the same conceit, that magic has always been a part of the world. That is really freaking hard to write. You can't compare and contrast against a world similar to the real one, because there was never a time before people knew about fae and ghosts and vamps etc. Trying to pull it off while doing basically no planning or outlining makes for a very incoherent book.


"I was glad Court T.V. hadn't gotten wind of it. It was just the kind of weird crap they liked to televise. You know--transexual's custody case, female teacher rapes thirteen-year-old boy student, pro-football player's murder trial." 

This is one of those Anita sentences that boggles the mind, where I don't even know how to start deconstructing it.

1). Anita thinks all of those intensely serious issues are weird.

Maybe that's all that needs to be said.

Anita cuts her finger and draws a circle with the blood, to keep the zombie she's about to raise contained. She does the rest of the ritual and honestly, it doesn't suck.

Mrs. Bennington screams at seeing her husband rise from the grave, as well she might. Anita is dressed inappropriately for her job and flashes everyone as she goes over to feed Mr. Bennington blood, thereby finishing the ritual.

"His hands felt like cold wax with sticks inside."

That sticks inside thing is never going to be scary. Sticks is not a scary word or image.

 Mr. Bennington died by accident. He was carrying a shotgun down the stairs, tripped, and shot himself. How the fuck is that possible? He shot himself with a 12 gauge in the chest, on accident? Are you serious?

Mr. and Mrs. Bennington have a sad goodbye session which actually does make my eyes sting a little. Anita finally decides that maybe she can cut Mrs. Benninngton a little slack, considering she's grieving. That didn't occur to you when you first showed up? God, I hate you.

Anita puts Mr. Bennington back in the grave. Asher turns up for some reason. Asher is a goddamn idiot for turning up in the midst of Anita doing her job, because every single person here, more or less, is packing heat and have now drawn on Asher. Oh and on Anita, because of course Anita is concerned for herself.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cerulean Sins Chapter Two

Dottie's chapter here

"Lindel cemetery was one of those new modern affairs, where all the headstones are low to the ground and you aren't allowed to plant flowers."

It's quite possible that places like this exist but I personally have never seen one, and I've been in more than a few graveyards in my life.

Anita calls this depressing, which it is, but then goes on about how it depresses her expressly because it's not Christian enough for her. She would prefer statues of Mary and angels and so forth. The thing is, she's never been presented as a sentimental person and in fact the author goes on and on about her practicality, so it seems odd that she's mourning the loss of traditional graveyard adornments. Not only that but her smug insistence that Christianity is the only valid religion is why I gave up on the series so many years ago.

Wait, hold on. I assumed we were here to raise Harlan's ancestor as all of that meandering set up would lead me to believe, but this is apparently a totally different animating job. O...kay, let's see where this goes.

This is for some kind of expensive insurance claim because the police ruled the death accidental. I don't get it. I am no insurance expert but I thought dying in an accident was a sure way to get paid out. If you commit suicide, most insurance companies won't pay on your life insurance. Oh hang on, I've puzzled out that it is the insurance company paying for this. That makes better sense.

Though, I am left wondering why animators don't work with the police as a matter of course. They should be like CSI or the medical examiner, supporting investigations. Because why wouldn't you just raise every single murder victim and ask them who the perpetrator is straight out? The author ought to give me some reason as to why this won't work. If it has been given, I certainly don't remember it.

There's a quick rundown of the drama between the family, the insurance company, and the police. Some of the people here have restraining orders against each other. There's a black and white and an unmarked police car. There's a fairly funny bit about Anita's new Jeep, and how it was tough to convince her insurance company that werehyenas tore apart the last car.

She thinks the insurance guy, Conroy, has "unadorned" eyes.

Conroy has a couple of huge dudes behind him but Anita is apparently a genius for realizing that they're bodyguards.

The bodyguards are called Rex and Balfour. Anita asks Rex if that's his real name. NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS. I HATE this question. NONE. OF. YOUR. BUSINESS. There's obviously a reason he doesn't use his legal name and Anita has no right to know that reason. They just met. One of the basic ways you can respect other people is by using the name they introduce themselves with. Really, it's not that hard.

Anita needles Balfour over having only one name, though I have no idea how she's drawn that conclusion. Most people introduce themselves by using only their first names, in the U.S. anyway. She deliberately needles him by comparing him to Madonna or Cher, because they too only use one name. What is this fuckface's problem? Is there a reason she's so snarky and invasive to people she just met? She basically dismisses them both as idiots just because they're muscled, too.

Mrs. Bennington is here, presumably the widow of the deceased. Anita doesn't like her and wanted her to stay home. What a shocker, a woman is here that Anita doesn't like. Anita is also emotionally tone deaf because she seems to think that the guy's widow will just agree to stay home. She has a right to be here.

Conroy and Mrs. Bennington have apparently been in a fist fight before, which I assume is why there are restraining orders flying around. The fact that Mrs. Bennington can handle herself in a fight makes me like her a lot more than I like Anita, but Anita is going to judge her for defending herself because Anita only thinks violence is okay when she's doing it.

Anita was apparently there for this confrontation but portraying that would be too interesting so we have to suffer through her recounting it instead.

Once again Anita tells us that if Bennington is raised and says he died by accident, the insurance company (Fidelis) has to pay up. If he says he killed himself, his widow gets nothing.

Soooo, how come zombies can't lie? I'd love some world building here to explain to me why Bennington's zombie can't just tell them he died in an accident even if it isn't true.

Mrs. Bennington is "not one of your liberated women. She liked being a wife and mother. I was glad for her, it meant more freedom for the rest of us."

And Anita is supposed to be a strong feminist character? There are young girls looking up to this walking travesty? My heart is trying to come right out of my chest at the very thought. If you think a woman shouldn't enjoy being a wife and mother, you are not a feminist. I'm just going to come out and say it. Feminism is in essence about women's choices and respecting those choices. It isn't about forcing women in to narrow 'acceptably' powerful type A jobs. (You'll also notice those 'empowered' jobs and roles are usually conventionally masculine. Feminism, that is not). Of course Anita doesn't need to be an expert on gender studies or feminist literature but this is so bad it's swirling around the plumbing in a gastrointestinal clinic.

Not to mention Anita is not more free than Mrs. Bennington. Mrs. Bennington is probably more empowered and secure in herself than Anita is. Anita can't even accept that she likes fucking more than one dude at a time. How empowered is that? Anita isn't in control of her sexuality, her magic, her mind, or her relationships. Everything she does has the veneer of control but in reality her attempts to abusively manipulate everyone around her comes from a fractured personality and deeply felt insecurity.

There's a rookie cop here, pretty much so Anita can feel superior to him. Another cop is trying to convince Mrs. Bennington that Anita can't make the zombie lie. Well, I wouldn't believe Anita either. Anita thinks that the dead don't lie, but gives no justification for why that might be.

Mrs. Bennington is wearing heels, which means she's an icky laaaaady and her character will be assassinated for as long as she's on screen. Anita makes a weird comment about the cop in her way being five nine and therefore short for a man, even though that's an average height.

The cop and Mrs. Bennington have a bit of an altercation but it fizzles before any blows are exchanged.

"If she'd been my wife I'd have shot myself too."

Well then you're a fucking asshole, random cop, because you have no idea what this woman is like when she isn't grieving and sure she's about to get fucked over by highly unethical dealings.

The officer introduces himself as Officer Nicols and Anita calls Mrs. Bennington a "crazy bitch" behind her back. Why do you hate women, Anita? This little commiserating circle jerk is truly disgusting, as Officer Nicols and Anita grasp each other's dicks firmly and stroke about Mrs. Bennington being one of those horrible unreasonable female creatures.

There is seriously a few pages devoted to this.

Even Nicols, who we've just met, has to wax eloquent about how most cops would rather have Anita as back up instead of another uniform. Does LKH truly think this is effective? I mean she must, considering how often this happens. But because Anita is so horrible it just makes me burst out laughing instead of whatever sort of hero worship LKH is hoping to inspire in me. I find it pretty disturbing that LKH doesn't seem to understand that actions are what's important.

Nicols and Anita make some shitty comments about Zebrowski and how he managed to nab a wife so out of league. Just because he can't dress himself? I think how one presents one's self is very important. Soft skills are an absolute necessity, including properly fitting, coordinated clothing. But only in a shit novel could something like not knowing how to dress yourself be a character's defining characteristic. Every time Zebrowski has been on screen he's been a very nice person. Why wouldn't his wife want him? Just because he can't coordinate his tie with his shirt?

Anita goes to get her zombie raising tools, including a giant machete because reasons.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cerulean Sins Chapter One

Dottie's chapter here

So there's a rumor out there (or maybe there's a source for it, I'm not sure) that the title Cerulean Sins was meant to refer to a sex shop J.C.owned. I believe they specifically peddled porno. But this was deemed too suggestive, so they changed it in pre publication.

I cannot believe I just typed those words. Seriously, I have the fucking vapors.

So I used to be a massive CSI: Las Vegas fan (until they dicked me over ship wise, but that's another rant) and there was an episode that depicted a woman enjoying sex. They slapped a warning on that. This was a show that showed rape, torture, child molestation, and many other highly distasteful crimes on a weekly basis. Once? They found a man's body shoved in to the back of an arcade game. But a woman on top, riding that cock like she owns it?

So already I loathe this book because anyone who can read the Micah rape scene without blinking an eye yet gets their granny panties in a twist over a porn shop can ahem, go suck eggs.

You know, I wonder if the people involved in these books just hate their jobs? Like, what is the hell of trying to edit this shit? Every night people have to go home, look in the mirror, and justify this trash. Does it even cause a blip on their internal radar? I mean, trash novels have their place I guess. It's not like The Castle of Ontranto or The Monk were stunning works of tasteful genius, yet they were amazingly influential. But I mean, aren't we trying to strive for more now? Maybe a novel shouldn't be able to depict a rape and then tell me it's love with absolutely no arguments to the contrary. No strike that. A novel can tell me anything it wants. But I sure as shit don't have to believe it.

"It was early September, a busy time of year for raising the dead. The pre-Halloween rush seemed to start earlier and earlier every year. Every animator at Animators Inc. was booked solid. I was no exception; in fact, I'd been offered more work than even my ability to go without sleep could supply." 

At first that seems like a moderately strong opener. We know Anita is an animator right off the bat, and that animating involves raising the dead. We know that raising the dead is a business, something a person can get for a fee. Granted, this is book what? Eleven? So we know all this by now, but still it is nice to be reminded, if only to get us back in to the groove of the story.

It's also nice to see Anita actually doing her job (okay so she's sitting in her office, but you get what I mean), which raises (heh) the question of how long the events of NiC were supposed to take. I don't think she went to work once during that whole ordeal. What kind of job just lets you take a couple of weeks off to sex your boyfriends? Because let's be real, most of that book involved sex.

This falls apart for me though because it's already fairly passive for a character like Anita ("seemed") and the last sentence is a total wtf. The ability to go without sleep isn't supplying the work, it's supposedly making it so Anita can take on a bit more work than the average animator.

 But the thing that really makes this bullshit is, how in holy hell does this woman do nothing but fuck and yet have the ability to function on little sleep? Not to mention she has a whole three ring circus of powers and beasts and marks and servants to power. Where is the energy coming from? It stands to reason in my mind that magic has to take some toll on the body and mind. Even if she's feeding from Nate and Micah in order to sate the ardeur, she has tons of other powers and shit to account for still.

The thing is, the average human works in a basic way on the concept of calories in/calories out. Now there are factors that can complicate this process, but unless there's something unusual going on with you this is more or less how it works. Anita expends calories when she has sex or, presumably, does magic. Should she not replenish those calories in an adequate way, she will become dangerously underweight and acquire all the associated health problems with extreme weight loss (or gain, but she also NEVER EATS so I doubt that's a problem, though one wonders what's keeping her massive globular tits filled out. It's not like there's just funfetti and glitter packed in to those things) She won't be able to complete physical tasks. Her mental acuity will suffer. Her sleep will be shit and she'll be more prone to injury. All BAD THINGS if you happen to be an action girl like she supposedly is.

In the same way she needs to eat, she needs to sleep in order to maintain her health. Sleep hygiene is very important to one's mental health and general well being. Constantly going without by the way? It not only hurts her, makes her shitty at her job and more prone to injury because she won't recover from exertion as well or as fast, it hurts the people bound to her. That's an ever increasing number, too. So not only does Anita not understand the basics of health when she has a very physical existence and is supposedly a fitness nut, she also doesn't care to learn even though her stable of boyfriends could die if she doesn't feed them through their magical ties.

Anita is a shit head, is what I'm saying.

"Mr. Leo Harlan should have been grateful to get an appointment. He didn't look grateful. Truthfully, he didn't have the look of anything."

There's a long couple of paragraphs that amounts to Harlan being nondescript, which is sort of funny considering she just described him anyway. I go back and forth on whether I think this is effective. On the one hand opening with something boring is a gamble. On the other it establishes him as suspicious in the eyes of the reader (or in my eyes anyway). So I guess that's an individual call.

"I took a sip from my coffee mug with the motto, "if you slip me decaf, I'll rip your head off."

Even this woman's coffee mug is aggressive. Gee, I thought those mugs usually had a little funny sayings on them.

Anita tells me some boring as shit anecdotes about how her boss brought in decaf once and everyone was just so tired, isn't that hilarious, my name is Anita and I am desperately trying to convince you that I have friends and am liked by my coworkers.

Honey, it is too little too late.

Harlan wants Anita to raise his "ancestor." Anita doesn't believe him for some reason, despite this being exactly the sort of job Animators Inc. must get all the time. Imagine you went to a Starbucks and were all, I'll have the pumpkin spice latte please and the barista was all I don't believe that's what you really want.

Anita gives us the scar rundown. Cross burns (uh, when did she become a vampire?), knife marks, shapeshifter claws....LKH does realize that scars like that aren't just cosmetic, right? I mean, they require physical therapy and surgery so you don't lose your ability to move your limbs.

"I smiled when I said it, pleasant, but the smile didn't reach my eyes."

I will admit something as a writer. In my past especially I LOVED TALKING ABOUT EYES. Every rp character I made ALSO had weird eyes, often for no reason. I get it. Eyes are a thing. But dear god I do not want to slog through another book about Anita's badass cold sociopath hard darkity dark eyes.

She thinks he might have a gun but it's okay because she has one too. Jesus woman, he's asking you to do the very job you are hired to do. It's fine to be a little suspicious but you're already anticipating a gun fight in the office? What the fuck is wrong with you?

"People don't like dealing with people who raise the dead. Don't ask me why, but we make them nervous."

I can't imagine.

She asks what Harlan does for a living. None of your business, Anita. She's hyper focused on whether Harlan has a gun. If he does he probably has a concealed carry permit just like you do. Why is that so weird? You live in goddamn America. Even grandma has a gun. Seriously.

The only thing I can conclude is that Anita actually has PTSD thanks to Micah raping her, so now she's hyper vigilant at inappropriate times. But see, I'd actually want to read that novel.

Harlan doesn't want to tell Anita where he works--which is completely reasonable, Anita has no right to that information--and Anita tells him she won't take his case otherwise. I'm also not sure why Harlan's place of employment and whether he has a gun are related. If he's a criminal or something he's not going to just tell her. Well maybe he will, because logic is not a thing in this series.

So far Anita is her old self. By that I mean she is an unreasonable, aggressive, hateful, prying asshole.

Somehow this conversation turns in to them both moving as if to draw weapons. What is even happening here? This makes no sense. That should be the tag line for these books. "Anita Blake: This Makes No Sense."

"Into that heavy, heavy tension..."

This isn't going to get any better, is it?

Harlan reveals that he's a hit man, but honest he's really here to get his ancestor raised. Telling random people you're a contract killer is bad for business. Especially half cocked jerk offs like Anita Blake, who happens to work with the police. Though maybe he knows she doesn't have any principles or ethics, so what does it matter?

Harlan licks Anita's balls about how Anita is so amazing to have noticed the gun down the front of his jacket, though that doesn't strike me as a particularly inconspicuous place for a firearm.

"What do you really want, Mr. Harlan, if that is your real name?"

She pulled that out of her ass completely seriously.

Harlan says he lies a lot, but he isn't lying now. Anita gives him some bullshit about how lying all the time must be hard, as if she herself doesn't do it on the regular.

Harlan wants a two hundred year old corpse raised, which supposedly is only possible with human sacrifice. LKH tries to trick me in to believing that Anita has standards because Anita won't do human sacrifice. Well pardon me but when an amoral rapist abuser tells me she has standards it rings just an eensy bit hollow.

Now Anita wants to know why Harlan wants this particular ancestor raised. This I find a little more reasonable, at least.

Harlan wants to raise his ancestor because when the ancestor left the family's home country, he gave a fake name. Harlan can't trace his family tree past a certain point thereby. Now this interests me very much. You could get in to some very complex and interesting race, ethnicity, and country of origin shit with this. Too bad we won't be reading that book. Instead we will certainly read about Anita biting Nate's dick off or something instead.

Anita offers to fit his appointment in some time next week and he makes a sly deal out of how she doesn't work on the night of the full moon anymore. I am sure this is some bullshit about her being a wereleopard, but I am not sure why it's still an issue since the bullshit epilouge from NiC already told me she didn't shift.

Also making underhanded comments about whether the woman you just hired is a shapeshifter is a good way to get thrown out on your ass in this world. It's not like Anita needs Harlan's money.

Anita gives us an internal recap about how she's the Bolverk for Richard's pack and the first human Nimir-Ra to the leopards. I don't mind that Anita is human and yet a wereleopard leader per se, because I think urban fantasy is essentially a fish out of water genre in its way. The hero never fits in perfectly anywhere. They're always outsiders. But the set up in this world is gross to me and perhaps worse than that nonsensical, because Anita being Nimir-Ra is predicated on a bunch of people who TURN IN TO LEOPARDS being weak plates of wobbly Jello cubes for no good goddamn reason.

Anita refers to Richard as her honey-bun. Eeeergh.

"I met his dead eyes with my own."

No amount of meandering about Anita's true gothic darkity dark sociopath soul is going to convince me that she's a badass. She would have to act in a badass manner for that to happen.

"Sometimes you deal with the devil not because you want to, but because if you don't, someone else will."

Another not shitty line. Bless her, she's trying so hard.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Narcissus in Chains Epilogue

I've been putting this one off long enough. I broke my mouse so I can't change the color on the quotes. Sorry.

Here's a big list of all the things LKH is not writer enough to tackle in the main body of her work:

1). "Richard did make me his Bolverk."

Reasons why this shouldn't be shunted off to the side: It was presented as a dramatic moment, one Richard struggled with because of his principles. Whether a Bolverk is a necessary part of a successful pack could be the main plot point for the novel even, with events making a case for or against as the story unfolds. Given all the fucking whining Anita does about her supposed sociopathy it could have been a questionable position for her as well, forcing her to evaluate whether her growing ruthlessness is appropriate. Instead the bulk of Anita's attention in regards to this issue goes to the fact that she and Richard are no longer together romantically.

Anita's first act as Bolverk is to execute Jacob. Why? He was already punished. To show how practical Anita supposedly is, I guess. She wanted to kill Paris too, the werewolf who wanted to be Richard's lupa. She has even less justification for this. Paris' only crime is being a social climber and who could blame her, with how cuthroat the pack is? A smart person would either try to lay as low as possible, or try to seize power so they can rewrite the rules to favor their own actions. Anita is a nasty piece of work, basically, and not in a way that makes me want to read about her.

2). "I did not turn furry with the full moon."

Of course not. That would be interesting. It's another plot thread introduced in the novel that goes nowhere, by the way. It shocks me that LKH thinks this kind of quick and dirty clean up is acceptable writing. I don't even entirely blame her. Where are her editors? Her agent? The publisher? It's a sad state of affairs when they keep turning out this crap because they know that no matter how bad it is, it will sell and make them money. Hell, I'm part of the problem because I have to buy these pieces of trash to review them, seeing as how my eyes are too bad for a lot of print books (which I could get from the library for free).

Apparently Anita is so much like a vampire that she now has an animal to call, leopards. Then why does she have a beast?

3). Anita is chairman of the newly formed shapeshifter coalition, despite not being a shapeshifter. Why? It makes me crazy how there are just WAY WAY too many shapeshifters in St. Louis (seriously, all these predators in one space?) yet there isn't one among them worthy of leadership? I have asked this throughout the whole novel but I'll ask it once more: why are people who can turn in to pony sized leopards, hyenas, tigers etc so completely incompetent? Of course physical size and strength doesn't equate to mental toughness across the board, but surely some of the independence and ferocity commonly associated with, say, jungle cats should have rubbed off on these people? At least to the point where their own fucking coalition doesn't need to be ruled by a short sighted outsider.

4). Anita is dating both Micah and J.C. Oh thank god, I was so worried about whether she would keep dating them both.

5). They rescued Joseph the lion who is mostly a plot device both LKH and the reader forgot about for most of the book. His wife is still pregnant. Anita informs us that Narcissus is a hermaphrodite, pregnant, and that she isn't sure he should be breeding, all in one block of horribly twisted text.

5a). My relationship to the word hermaphrodite is that well, I happen to like it. It's hard to find a word that means a synthesis of male and female plus a spiritual component. However, what Anita is describing is more properly called intersex, first off. Secondly, Anita is not trans, intersex, or genderqueer. So in her case especially, she should be defaulting to less controversial terms to describe someone else. You are allowed to self define however you want, yes, even if it's not in a politically correct way. You are not allowed to define other people, especially through the use of in group language that doesn't in any way belong to you, Anita.

5b). Anita isn't sure he should be breeding? Why? What has Narcissus done to earn Anita's ire? So far his only 'crimes' are that he likes BDSM, is queer, and is intersex. What am I saying, that's more than enough for Princess GOP to think he shouldn't be breeding.

This constant LGBT phobia is killing me inside.

6). Both the cobras are dead. I don't care about them so whatever.

7). Nate is apparently Anita's pomme de sang now but don't worry, they're not having "intercourse." Anita is just using him to feed her demon sex magic BUT IT'S NOT SEX.

8). Musette, one of Belle Morte's inner circle, wants to come visit. Oh ho hello 'plot' of Cerulean Dreams.

9). Ronnie is an unreasonable bitch for questioning Anita's highly questionable lifestyle, so she's in the doghouse. Yes, how dare anyone question the fact that someone who is supposed to be a vampire executioner happens to be fucking the most powerful vampire in the city? It can't possibly be a conflict of interests. Oh no. It's that Ronnie is a jealous prude. Hypocrisy, thy name is Anita Blake.

10). More whining about how Richard won't accept himself. Don't we just HATE him you guys? I mean LKH clearly wants us to. I think this has become one of the most tiresome things about the books for me. Why can't she just admit that she's failed at telling a story? That her protagonist is in no way likable and that makes her constant bitching about Richard really unpleasant? Richard is the only one who thinks maybe you shouldn't torture and kill everyone who dares disagree with you, and I'm supposed to think he's a weak willed wimp with a self loathing complex.

11). Micah and J.C. and Anita are all ruthless and teh hawt and they have teh hawt sexxors with each other.

"Life really is good, even if you're dead."

Another good line. It's a little like finding a nice plump blueberry in a cake made of shit though. It doesn't make up for the shit, is what I'm saying.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Narcissus in Chains Chapter Sixty Five

Dottie's chapter here 

"The room was black, utterly black, like being flung in to blindness, nothingness, a cave."

I could deconstruct this and go on and on about how it's one of the most inelegant, bland, cringe inducing sentences in all of literature, but I think the thing speaks for itself.

Some more shit about how the room is as darkity dark as LKH's gothic soul. A bunch of live bodies are hanging from the ceiling and Anita is stumbling around, bumping in to them. They're screaming and Anita tries crawling on the floor to get out from under. The floor is covered in blood. This is another scene that could be great if I gave a single shit about anyone or anything in this novel. As it is the only person I care about is Ulysses. It is a sad state of affairs when the only person I care about is a minor character I've met twice. Plus I only care about him because LKH is manipulating my emotions with the whole Ajax story. It's like she's trying to fuck me but doesn't understand that you can't approach a breast like you would a doorknob.

She's a bad writer, is what I am saying.

Anita is comforted by blood. She lies down in the puddle and lets it soothe her.

"Anita," Chimera said. "Anita, where are you?"

Why'd you let her loose in to the pitch black blind room cave of nothingness then, you fool?

"Great, he didn't know where I was. I wished I could think of something good to do with that information."

Seriously? Not one thing? Of course maybe I shouldn't be surprised, considering her whole plan (which everyone kept calling a palace revolt, by the way) is as thin as the glaze on a dime store doughnut.

When Anita encounters information that could be of great use to her, she does nothing. She is the protagonist of this novel.

The chained up men--who I assume are the kidnapped hyenas like Ajax and Dionysus--start prompting Anita to answer Chimera. This is all meant to be very spooky, I'm sure.

Holy shit you guys I just realized the true brilliance of this book. Its purpose is to so thoroughly kill your capacity for caring that you experience events the way Anita does, with absolutely no emotional investment. My god, it's a literary marvel.

Actually it's me desperately trying to assign meaning to something I've sunk so much time in to, don't mind me.

So basically Anita's plan is to lie very still in the dark darkity dark cave of blindness and wait for help to arrive. Our hero, everyone.

Yes, when faced with situations wherein they could be proactive, it's best to have your protagonist have a little lie down instead. Readers don't like it if your protagonists work any change on your marvelous creation. No, rather they'd prefer your heroine to be as passive as possible.

Chimera starts cutting pieces off of the bound hyenas in order to get Anita to answer him. There's screaming. Anita relents and speaks up, but only so she and Chimera can rehash the same dumb teh ebulz dialogue I've had to sit through twice now. Chimera is having a villain freak out because he doesn't understand why Anita cares so much. What?


Anita cares about nothing. Nothing. Certainly not other people. Hell, in the last chapter she was once again rambling on about how she can't care about people she hasn't met before.

It takes Anita until now to realize that maybe Chimera isn't interested in keeping up his end of the bargain when it comes to letting Micah and Cherry go.

Everyone in this is so fucking stupid. I wish I had a funny analogy or a good meme or something but this level of complete idiocy is so exhausting I can't think of a picture that would encompass my disgust.

Well, that's a good start.

Anita literally has no idea what to do without access to weapons. Then we get this gem:

"You don't feel the need to talk, do you?" [Chimera asks]

"Not unless I have something to say."

"That's unusual in a woman. Most of them can't stand the thought of silence. They talk and talk and talk."

Is this meant to make me hate Chimera? Set him up as some sort of sexist frothwand so I can enjoy it when Anita inevitably triumphs over him in some utterly uninspiring way? Because it doesn't work if throughout your entire novel, the main characters themselves have said more or less the exact same things.

There's no contrast. At all. Nothing Chimera has done has been worse than what the supposed good guys have done. Putting people in the oubliette, shooting Elizabeth apart, dithering until Nate and Stephen (who even remembers at this point) were horrifically tortured, threatening to kill Gil basically for just existing, constant exoticizing and devaluing of women and people of color, the romantization of socipathy, I could go on. And I am supposed to think Chimera is a monster? Anita is a monster.

Chimera asks if Anita wants to see her leopard, then turns on the lights. NOW he turns on the lights? NOT WHEN HE WAS TRYING TO FIND ANITA IN THE DARK?

What is this book.

I mean, other than a potential source of small animal bedding.

See, wouldn't making this little guy happy be a better use for the pages? Hell, I'd rather read about a rat in a sweater.

Chimera helps Anita out of the body forest. He takes her over to an alcove covered with a white sheet, only to move the sheet aside DRAMATICALLY!!! to reveal Cherry. Cherry has a ball gag in her mouth and is chained to the wall. She's been tortured. Given that so far no one has challenged Anita's bullshit notions that BDSM and torture are the same, this sits poorly with me.

"The bigger man stroked the snake man's head, like you'd pet a dog that you liked a lot."

Chimera is petting the Native guy like a dog. 

Anita's plan still consists of stalling until help arrives. That's awfully optimistic.

There are guys chained to the wall all around, too. They're all attractive. Anita wonders how long it took Narcissus to collect them, because he's a sexually decadent predatory queer person. Because that's not a pervasive and harmful stereotype, or anything. Plus, Anita is the kind of person that stops to comment on the attractiveness of torture victims.

Chimera makes creepy comments about how he doesn't want to give Cherry back to Anita because they have so few women to play with. Apparently, Narcissus is afraid to allow women in to his pack because "...he's not woman enough to keep it." 

Chimera pulls back the rest of the curtain to reveal Micah, who is all beaten and bloody. For some reason. Even though Cherry has been healing her wounds and Micah hasn't, despite Micah supposedly being the bestest evah leopard that ever leoparded. I don't even know why I am still getting pissed over all of these tiny things when the entire novel has such massive flaws, but oh well here we are.

"Oh, I don't know, I enjoy rape, it adds spice."

See, here's a moment where I'm meant to be horrified but considering ANITA RAPED RICHARD IN THIS VERY SAME BOOK I DO NOT GIVE A FLYING FUCK IF THE BAD GUY IS ALSO A RAPIST. YOU ARE ALL RAPISTS. YOU ARE ALL BAD GUYS. And you know what? I don't give a fuck about the concerns of violent rapists. So watching two of them argue doesn't even do me the courtesy of being simply boring. No, it has to insult me by being offensive and cheap, too.

Now Anita realizes she can't rely on help coming.

Everything in this chapter is horrible. Everything. It makes no sense, it's offensive and tawdry, it's by turns boring and the kind of shit that deserves to be burned. Everything is once again out of order. Realizing she can't rely on the plan should be her first thought, not a realization she comes to halfway through the chapter.

Orlando is a closeted gay man. This is the reason for all of his hate.

LKH is like one of those demonic machines from a Stephen King story, but instead of mangling people she just churns out GOP propaganda. Guess Orlando should have just prayed the gay away.

Chimera stops midway through his bad guy speech and Anita realizes she can hear a fight downstairs. Thank god someone is doing something.

Chimera and Abuta, the snake man, back Anita up against the door. Anita randomly jumps to asking Chimera why he kidnapped all the shifter alphas. O...kay. He wanted to rule their groups apparently, though I am still not sure why he would even want to do so. I mean it doesn't have to be complicated. I have a villain whose motivations amount to, hang out with whoever will provide me with the most victims. But you have to show the reader something. 

Chimera changes in a way Anita has never seen before. She thinks flowers and Superman are appropriate analogies right now. Interestingly she compares Chimera to things and people generally considered positive. Hmm.

Turns out Orlando is all of the alphas. Also kind of a cool idea. Also totally wasted. Chimera shifts a bunch and a shitty fight scene starts.

"Chimera came at me like grace contained in violence..."

No shit, the ardeur rises.

Jean Claude wakes up under the Circus. The beasts come out of Anita. The ardeur is there. Chimera is afraid. Anita feels J.C's blood thirst and Richard's desire to eat flesh, because for some reason in this universe werewolves eat people. Chimera asks Anita "what are you?" all dramatic like. Anita presses him up against the wall. This is all stomach turning, by the way. Also I am not sure why a woman swaying her hips and stuff would scare a man who is currently a massive lion monster, but it's Anita so who knows.

Orlando's personality wants to die and Anita can tell this because she can do whatever the fuck she wants if it's convenient for the author.

Anita has a random vision of Richard being attacked by a werehyena and she can sense how much Richard wants to die. Probably because he's dealing with suicidal feelings after you raped him, Anita.

Anita gets tossed across the room. God, I hate this scene so much.

Anita finds the alcove with weapons in it and finds a silver sword. Lucky her. Abuta comes to attack her and she stabs him. "He said something in a language I didn't understand."


I bet he'll leave a "dark" corpse.

Chimera starts cutting up one leopard or the other in retaliation. I'd still like to know how Chimera subdued all of these powerful shifters, by the way. Changing in to a bunch of different forms doesn't wash. These packs and pards have hundreds and hundreds of members.

Expecting sense at this point is a fool's errand.

Chimera wacks Anita, throwing her to the ground. Why he doesn't just kill her right there I don't know. He cradles Abuta because aww, he's sad his pet dog is dying. Anita can see that Cherry and Micah are both opened up. Intensities are out, chests are opened, whatever. There's torture porn. Moving on.

Anita panics and can feel Richard again because what this scene needs is more random confusing shit.


Both Richard and Micah are about to die. Anita calls something or other. She just calls it her power. "It was the worst thing I'd ever seen done and I didn't hesitate." The truly courageous thing to do would be to let them die instead of perpetuating some kind of atrocity. but I think we're long past that point.

Anita drains all of the power out of Chimera using her necromancy and feeds it to Micah and Richard, and thereby to the wolves and presumably the leopards.

"They were no longer dependent on Richard's broken will..."

So even though Richard has been raped by the protagonist and has innumerable other issues, merely breaking up Anita and Richard's relationship isn't enough. No, we must continue to assassinate his character to the point where it's truly disgusting. Also in case you weren't clear, Anita is better than stupid broken Richard. She's better than everyone. She's better than you.

"His [Chimera's] skin was like dirty tissue paper on skeleton sticks when I finally let him go."

Anyone know what a skeleton stick is? No? Just checking.

"Chimera was like a Twinkie with all the filling sucked out when I finally let him go." Not exactly the most terrifying thing you've ever heard, is it? Even then it would be more relevant because at least it would be food related.

Cherry and Micah are healed and they break their chains. Cherry is the size of a pony! You're telling me that not only do these people turn in to leopards, they turn in to pony sized ones? Yet these people can't even wipe their asses without Anita to help them.

The hyenas heal too. Well good, they're the only people I give even half a shit about. Richard comes in and refuses to shift and heal the rest of his wounds because, reasons. Then he leaves. Okay glad to know him showing up had a point.

Anita cries and everyone group hugs her. No really.