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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.


  1. About the scars, in the old books, Hamilton does say Anita got the cross burn from a group of Renfields that had a cross shaped branding iron. As for the cosmetic bit, I do recall that once or twice she mentions that Anita had to go the physical therapy so that she didn't lose the use of her arm.

    1. well at least it's mentioned once or twice, though that seems inadequate.

  2. Heh...I quoted you on my Facebook feed. "A novel can tell me anything it wants, but I sure as shit don't have to believe it" was too good a line to pass up. :D