On to the snark!
Musette twists the knife regarding the pictures of Asher, because she's an asshole. I guess the one good thing I can say about this is it does show how cowed and terrorized J.C. and his vamps are, how Belle Morte has a disproportionate amount of power over them even from afar.
Well now this toolbag wants some guest gifts even though she showed up early. This is of course another exercise in humiliation for J.C. and his court. Anita essentially tells Musette to get fucked, and for once I completely agree with Anita. Brr, that hurt to type.
Damian spoons Anita to keep her calm. Whatever.
A truly baffling series of events follows. Anita tries to call Musette names but instead spouts off something about beauty, and how Musette is the fairest of them all, and Musette should wait for her presents so that they will be worthy of such loveliness. For a moment I thought perhaps Anita was finally developing some diplomacy but no, someone is literally putting words in her mouth through ventriloquism.
J.C. makes some fawning mewling sounds about how pretty Musette is, and Musette wonders about whether Anita's beauty is a rival to her own. Oh my god, even the thousand year old Barbie vampire thinks Anita is at least as pretty as she is. I'll give her a little bit of a pass because Anita is the MC, but really, since when are curvaceous short women with curly hair everyone's type? And how can you truly compare Musette and Anita in the looks department, when they're practically polar opposites?
Also wow, jerk it a little harder LKH. She's one step away from having hearts and rainbows come out of Anita's orifices.
Everyone grabs one another's ego-cocks and strokes firmly while discussing who in the room is the prettiest. Asher is beautiful! No he isn't, because scars! No, he totes is the prettiest!
Even Musette is sick of this shit and she tells them all to shut up. If your characters are so unlikable and stupid that I regularly sympathize with the villain, something has gone horribly wrong in your novel.
Musette tries to insult Anita by calling her plain, which is extra weird because she just implied that Anita is as pretty as she is. God this is interminable. It's like watching children argue about whose Cabbage Patch kid is the cutest. The fact that half of these people are vampires doesn't improve the content one bit. If anything, it's more ridiculous (vampire baseball, anyone?).
Anita thinks the "cardinal girl rule" is to never date anyone prettier than you.
They should teach these books in school because I can't think of a more textbook example of internalized misogyny.
Musette is like, WHY AREN'T YOU INSULTED BY ME SAYING YOU'RE NOT AS PRETTY AS ME?
Musette has been a vampire for centuries but she acts like she's been in a coma that entire time. Sure, I understand the idea here, that a high protocol vamp who doesn't get out much might be a tad bit formulaic and formal in her speech and responses. But it's just so inane. I'm reading a series with the subtitle Vampire Hunter, yet we are spending whole pages standing around posturing about physical beauty and who has the most toys. It's not interesting, it's flat out ridiculous. It can't even be called world building, because it's as shallow as a coffee ring.
MORE TALKING about whether Asher is fucking J.C., or J.C. and Anita, or whether Belle Morte is going to call Asher home, or whether he's going to stay in St. Louis and oh my god who cares. This is particularly egregious because I should care. I want to care. At this point--eleven books in!--I ought to be rooting for these characters and their relationships. And let me tell you, I love romance. Not the happily ever after kind really, but romance as a motivator is something I eat up with a spoon. But this? I actively hate Anita and her homophobia, the arrogance that makes her stand between J.C. and Asher. I agree with J.C. the most overall, but in this series that's really not saying a lot; I still hate him for how fucking spineless he is. Asher I could take or leave, and since the rest of the book is so shit his angst over his scars doesn't make me feel for him the way it should. So why do I care about any of this? Especially since Musette is just swanning around being a complete douchecanoe, making repeated references to J.C. and Asher's relationship, to Julianna's death, to Asher's scars, and of course no one but precious special Anita is doing fuck all about it.
Though I'm always happy when I get to use the angry baby picture.
Musette worships Belle Morte to a creepy degree and can't see why Asher left, even though Belle Morte was "sickened" at the sight of him.
Musette "gave that Gallic shrug that meant everything and nothing."
Beyond this being a meaningless sentence, it doesn't fit with the rest of Anita's character voice, if she can be said to have a voice at all. She's supposed to come across as this tough as nails animator, oh so practical and ruthless, yet she's popping off with words like Gallic? It's not that an author can't do that, but to synthesize it in to one character takes skill. And we all know the problem there.
Musette needles Asher and J.C. about not being together and Anita bluntly admits it's her DISGUSTING COMPLETELY UNJUSTIFIABLE homophobia keeping them apart. Someone explain something to me? WHAT THE FUCK DOES J.C. SEE IN THIS UNGRATEFUL, STUPID, STUBBORN, HOMOPHOBIC, MISOGYNIST, CLASSIST, JERK OFF? Why in the BLOODY FUCK is a master vampire letting this jumped up little sociopath dictate his life to this degree? Sure, the books always paint her as a hero that helps him when things get rough but if you look at her actions objectively, it's obvious that Anita's presence always makes a situation worse. He constantly has to clean up after her and she consistently makes an ass of herself. Where's the spark? Where's the magic? Why the FUCK are these people together?
Can we just have a book where Anita is written out and J.C. and Asher try to forge a new relationship after the loss of Julianna? Because that, I might actually enjoy.
Turns out that because Asher isn't doing the naughty with either J.C. or Anita, he's fair game for Musette's guest gift, which basically means she can torture him to her heart's delight. Anita whines inwardly about how she's always being made to feel guilty about not fucking enough people. Shut up. You should feel guilty, Anita, because you have the fucking audacity to come in to a relationship established hundreds of years ago and dictate its terms based on your ridiculous backwards 'value system.' MEANWHILE APPARENTLY YOUR GOD IS JUST FINE WITH ALL THE MURDERING AND ZOMBIE RAISING YOU DO, yet you cling to the excuse that you were taught to be homophobic as a child? You utterly disgust me and if I were just reading this godawful series for fun I would have quit long ago.
Musette starts stabbing Asher and licking the blood because she can, I guess. And Anita? The vampire hunter? The Executioner? Acknowledges that she can't kill Musette and puts her gun away.
You have got to be fucking kidding me. Apparently she's still going to try something, but I don't get why she doesn't just empty a silver clip in to Musette's head.
Anita Blake vampire hunter, everyone. When she has the chance to use her gun she doesn't and when it would be the absolute wrong time to pull a firearm, guaranteed she will.