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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cerulean Sins Chapter Eighteen

Anita finally gets to the crime scene itself, despite absolutely zero investigative strategy being applied. There's a guy nailed to the wall of what I can only assume is a house. The details consist of "small porch" "hallway" and "straight backed chair."

Anita thinks it's weird that someone took the time to nail this guy to the wall, yet didn't imitate the crucifixion of Jesus.

She touches the bloody wall and only then realizes she's forgotten her surgical gloves.

She has interacted with an officer, Zebrowski, plus a second officer Zebrowski gave orders to, yet no one has mentioned even the most basic investigative procedures?

Oh Zebrowski is at fault for letting her in here without gloves, according to Anita. He's probably worried about getting his spleen ripped out if he dares correct Anita the great and powerful. But he's a fucking idiot too because he says "I didn't expect you to touch the evidence."

Anita uses some hand sanitizer, which makes her hands "feel wet, though I knew they weren't."

The next paragraph is so ridiculous, I don't even know how to get through it. Okay. So. Around this body--which is white haired and male--there are a bunch of "candy colored" pentagrams drawn in chalk. Plus Nordic runes, which Anita totally knows tons about because of her one semester of comparative religion way back when.

Personally I also feel that if your job is dealing with the supernatural, you ought to take more than a single paltry semester of comparative religion.

Anita launches in to a long As You Know, Bob where she tells Zebrowski how these runes don't make any sense together and how rituals require a specific purpose and basically a bunch of shit a guy in his position should definitely know. Hell, he could probably just Google it on his smartphone and get the same insight.

This culminates in the worst exposition known to man. Anita tells Zebrowski that she can't sense any magic here. He says that Tammy told him the same thing.

"Tammy Reynolds, your one and only witch on staff?"

Apparently Dolph doesn't trust Tammy because she's a witch, even though Tammy is a Christian witch. Why in the fuck he trusts Anita more I have no idea. Anita is banging the Master of the City. And Asher. And Micah. get the idea. So Anita is double checking Tammy's work because...?

Plus holy shit if Dolph is this bigoted there should be protests and riots and controversial court cases and fucking sit ins until he's bounced from his job.

Dolph is apparently in a bad mood. Now that Zebrowski has told her that, Anita is in a bad mood. She's in such a bad mood that she manages to "stomp" in three inch high heels. Is there anything Anita can't do???

She also finally confirms this is a house.

Anita goes on telling Zebrowski absolutely bog standard information, like how the crime scene is obviously staged and how someone who stood to inherit this guy's money (because the house is really nice, despite being barely described) probably had a hand in it. Dolph thought all this too, or so Zebrowski says, so at least not everyone has the brain of a concussed goldfish.

Another incredible clunker:

"You just don't like that she (Tammy)'s dating Larry Kirkland, your animator in training." 


Plus, really? This is the third book I've done and I don't think Larry has been mentioned at all so far. And I am supposed to care because...?

Anita has to go to the next scene because it's super violent and Dolph needs her to tell him whether a human did it. Isn't he supposed to be her superior? He doesn't know?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cerulean Sins Chapter Seventeen

Anita and Jason continue pissing all over the crime scene. We have the obligatory random law enforcement official who tries to give Anita shit, this time over Jason being her boy toy. He says something like

"I like my women bigger." In reference to Anita. Anita says,

"Funny, that's what your wife says."

Does...does this make sense to anyone else? Because I'm not sure it does. I mean, is she trying to say this guy's wife is a secret lesbian who likes them big and beautiful?

So I pretty much hate cops--okay no, that's not true. I hate the fucked up system that gives them disproportionate power--and even I find their portrayals in this series tiresome. I think it bothers me also because it just reinforces the glaring reality of what's happening here: Anita is the only character we're supposed to consider human. Almost everyone else is a shadow puppet. It's like LKH is twiddling her fingers and saying "I'm a cop rawr rawr rawr, sexisms!" through her clenched teeth.

Zebrowski is here. His entire character consists of being so messy his wife has to manage him like he's a small child. How lovable!

Both Dolph and Zebrowski got promoted. Anita manages to work some throat closingly binary bullshit in to even this tiny detail:

"If I'd been a man, I'd have let it go, but I was a girl, and girls poke at things more than men." 

Oh thanks for your amazing gender knowledge, Anita. When did you get your PhD in feminist studies? Tell me more.



Ahem. Moving along.

Dolph apparently isn't cool with Anita dating a shapeshifter. Zebrowski is trying to be cool though so he invites Micah and Anita to his promotion celebration party. Oh excuse me, he offers Anita "a social peace pipe."

Zebrowski and Jason joke about trying to fuck Anita.

Anita doesn't feel good because Asher bit her, plus she's stupid enough to wear high heels when she's dizzy and at a crime scene. Zebrowski wonders if she killed the vampire who bit her.

Wouldn't it be great if Anita was you know, a vampire hunter? Anita Blake: vampire dry humper.

Jason stays behind because apparently they're going in to the crime scene now. Uh, okay.

Zebrowski calls both Anita and Dolph stupid.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Cerulean Sins Chapter Sixteen

"The first crime scene was in Wildwood, the new bastion of money and social climbing."

Something about this sentence hits my ear all wrong. I am not quite sure what the problem is, but it's awkward, even stilted. Also holy shit, I did some research on Wildwood and it is 92% white.

Does Anita judge the people here for profiting from gentrification, or presumably keeping what few PoC there are out of such an exclusive address? Or perhaps, if we absolutely must judge someone (and it's an Anita Blake book, so of course we do), we might judge the idea that one has only achieved success if one beats out one's neighbors in total material goods owned. But no. Despite these ripe pickings Anita chooses to judge the faceless occupants of this rarefied address for living "in the middle of nowhere." 

And why has Anita picked such a nonsensical thing to bitch about? Why, because the only reason she lives in a similarly out of the way area is because "I didn't want my neighbors to get shot up."

BECAUSE SHE'S A BADASS, YOU GUYS. YOU CAN TELL SHE'S THE HEROINE BECAUSE HER LIFE IS SO DANGEROUS. Except when the entire world stops so she can have unfulfilling grinding with whatever unfortunate walking penis happens to be near her at the time.

I mined all of that outrage from the first paragraph. Oh, this chapter is going to be a gem.

Anita is still so sick that she's light sensitive. Jason has to pull over at one point so she can puke. Here's a thing I don't understand (that I am sure I've bitched about a hojillion times at this point). Why don't supernaturals have their own hospitals? I mean, fine, let's say that discrimination means they're not comfortable using human oriented hospitals. But why don't Cherry and Lillian and whoever else start something? At least a clinic. There's no reason for her to be fighting through the symptoms of blood loss like this. Good lord I don't think she's even thought to have some damn orange juice and a cookie. Even the blood donation bus gives you orange juice and a cookie.

"Today all the bright greens meant that whenever my vision swirled, it did it in Technicolor green like a frog smeared across my vision..."

Never have I encountered an author with such a tin ear for language. Really? A frog? Here's one of the best pieces of writing advice I have ever received: at some point in your editing process, go through your manuscript and find every analogy and metaphor. Make sure it is neither cliche nor overly purple. Bam, your book is now a thousand times better than it was before you did this. I wonder if I can come up with anything this bad? LKH I hate your writing the way a turkey hates Thanksgiving. Okay decently bad but maybe too cogent. I hate you the way I hate cheap Maybeline eyeliner, sold by a woman who dreams of being a movie star, who will come home to a one bedroom apartment and warm Soup for One in the microwave. MY HEART IS THE MICROWAVE. IT WILL NEVER DEFROST FOR YOU LKH NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU PRESS THE START BUTTON.

Anita is sicker than she should be for some reason because Asher is a naughty boy. She takes a moment to once again tell me that everything is green, but she mercifully leaves helpless woodland creatures out of it this time.

LKH hits me with this:

"at least I'm not nauseous, anymore when I look at trees."

Okay so comma placement is often arguable and stylistic but come the fuck on. Plus goddamit woman you were sick to your stomach a sentence ago and suddenly you're not?

Anita actually cops to having sex with J.C. and Asher. Explain to me why treating Nathaniel's dick like it's going through a full service carwash isn't sex, but Asher dry humping her lady lumps is.

HOLD THE FUCK ON. HOLD ON. Anita is a federal marshal now which pfft whatever might as well give her more meaningless cool points, but she also reveals that she is paid per kill. WHAT THE FUCK. Law enforcement in this world is paid to kill people? You could argue that's technically true in the real world--U.S. police don't exactly look good at the moment, and deservedly so--but just...outright? They're paid per kill and no one sees a problem with this? FINE I mean, it could be all World of Darkness style, right? Like our world but worse? Except I don't think LKH does a good enough job establishing the world building for me to buy this. PLUS there's a GODDAMN GOOD REASON we don't put market value on say, people's organs. The fact that we have for profit prisons is already a sickening tragedy of epic proportions. To think they've basically painted a target and a dollar sign on every vampire's face MAKES ME VERY UPSET WITH THIS ENTIRE CRAPSACK WORLD.

Anita then confirms that she wants the badge so she can kill whoever she wants in whatever jurisdiction she happens to be in.

Random cop #49468349 doesn't like having Anita there because she's a "fed." This is fairly realistic, I guess, but considering every single cop she meets has it out for her in some way it's just the same fucking shit again.

Anita is wearing three inch heels. The woman couldn't get all the way here without barfing, but the first shoes she thinks to grab are three inch heels. Plus we get a stupid description of Jason that serves only to remind us that he's bandaged up thanks to Anita's convulgasm from earlier. 

You know what annoys me about Anita? Aside from everything, of course. She's so sure everyone around her gives a single shit about her sex life. She's like a teenager right now, assuming that Jason's wounds are just oh so scandalous gasp! when this random cop probably just wonders why they're both dressed like goddamn idiots. 

Anita claims that because she is a federal marshal she can enter any crime scene she wants whenever she wants. Admittedly I am no expert on the marshals but I am pretty damn sure that's not how it works. (they have an interesting history though and have been on both the side of the oppressor and the side of the oppressed at different times...well worth a read). Their job is to help the federal government, and a lot of the jobs they do aren't very glamorous and have to do with paperwork. Their main 'cool' function is to apprehend fugitives, so I have no clue what marshal status has to do with Anita's job. I am definitely not sold on this enter any crime scene I want whenever I please thing. Also DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN would SOMEONE in St. Louis law enforcement do their fucking job and set up a proper crime scene? In a proper crime scene, there are cordoned off areas for investigators to walk, there are sheets where you sign in and out, there are booties to wear and hairnets to don. You don't turn up in three inch heels with a civilian in tow and expect to tromp on through because you have some fantasy land badge that gives you carte blanche to be a ridiculous human being.

Of course I don't really think of Anita as a human being. She's more like a skinsuit being jerkily manipulated by personified neuroses. I keep expecting tentacles to come out her nose. 

This cop's name is Jenkins. Come on with that low effort bullshit. That's like named him Cop #59. 

So the way our intrepid heroine handles the fact that Jenkins doesn't want to let her in to the crime scene? She peels the bandage away to show her vampire bite. How in the fuck that is supposed to help, I have no idea. If anything, in a world where we've beaten about the head and shoulders with the notion that supernaturals are discriminated against, it should make her less trustworthy, and less likely to get a pass in to the crime scene. Of course because in Anita's world even random strangers are interested in her trashy life, this works. 

Anita knows she doesn't actually have a legal right to the scene, but she doesn't care. Best law enforcement officer ever!


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cerulean Sins Chapter Fifteen

Anita wakes up in a strange bedroom with Jason beside her, answering the phone. She somehow realizes they are still in the Circus even though she doesn't recognize this particular room. How the hell big is this club supposed to be, and why hasn't Anita been over the whole place with a fine tooth comb? You'd think a vampire hunter, currently engaged (is she engaged to him yet, or am I thinking Kiss the Dead?) to the Master of the City would want to know every in and out of his main hiding place. What if there's an ambush? Hired killers?

Jason and Anita do that L shaped sheets thing from movies.

Anita doesn't know why she and Jason are naked together. When she does remember she has something that I can only think to describe as grand mal seizure meets desperately unsexy orgasm, because reasons. Why remembering what happened with J.C. and Asher is having this effect on her, I have no idea. And neither does poor Jason when she starts clawing his skin off.

She also has some kind of weird vision about a woman Asher fucked in the past on Belle Morte's orders, who has the same experience while sitting down to some poncy banquet.

Jason and Anita natter on endlessly about how this is a power of Asher's, how Asher's bite can cause orgasms, how Anita is acting like the woman from her vision, how Jason is nude and how Anita wants him to cover his dick despite most of the shapeshifters she knows being nude as a matter of course.

Anita tells Jason he "helped bring me" before. I assume bring in this case means orgasm. What the hell is up with describing it that way? Even someone as prudish as Anita ought to be able to use the word orgasm considering she's a grown ass woman.

Anita doesn't like to be teased about her sex life, but Jason does it anyway because he "can't help it" and is an unapologetic piggish waste of space.

I hate Jason.

They go on and on about vampire orgasms and drinking Gatorade and blood loss.

Dolph and Zebrowski are calling, demanding to know where Anita is. I don't know why they care all of a sudden, considering Anita only remembers she has a job when it suits her.

Jason points out that Anita needs more people to feed on. Unfortunately given the decidedly awful parameters this book has set up re: the ardeur, he happens to be right. And that's what I'd like to see from her, honestly. She's the main character; things are going to suck for her. That's basically what storytelling is, putting your protagonists in fucked situations and asking them to sink or swim. She ought to get over her upset eventually, take a look around, put together a list of her resources, and muddle out how to live with the limits she's been handed. It's Anita though so she'll just have tantrums like a spoiled child instead.

Apparently shifters are so strong "we can punch our finger through someone's ribs."

Does anyone out there understand physics? I am pretty sure that's not how they work.

Emotions spill across Jason's eyes.

Dolph is rightfully pissed because Anita is busy having orgasm convulsions while crimes are happening, plus surprise surprise Jason was an ass on the phone.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cerulean Sins Chapter Fourteen

Back to Anita. 

Jason comes in to get Anita out from between J.C. and Asher, who have both 'died' now that dawn is here. Everyone is covered in blood and Anita is sick from blood loss. Why the hell Asher fed off of her to the point where she's in medical distress I don't know; he knew he would be unresponsive shortly after and that none of them had set up any contingency plan. What if Jason hadn't heard Anita scream?

Things aren't very clear here. Anita is sort of delirious from blood loss but she wants to hang back and admire how beautiful J.C. and Asher are even though they're, yanno, dead. Jason is carrying her? I think? Anita is speaking French which I am sure is supposed to be significant but for the life of me I can't figure out why. Also, um, SHE LET ASHER FEED ON HER AFTER RESISTING BEING FED ON FOR LIKE ELEVEN BOOKS and it barely warrants a whimper.

This entire chapter--such as it is, it's like four pages--is crap back and forth between Anita and Jason, and Jason trying to get her in the bathtub. At one point he puts her over his shoulder so he can take his pants off. I don't think that's physically possible.

Anita feels great but she's "naturally grumpy" and is trying to fight it because I guess you can't be toughy tough darkity dark if you allow yourself to enjoy things, which might explain why Anita hates eating, sex, fancy clothes, baths, and friendship.

Then shit gets predictably creepy because Anita is being described as essentially under the influence yet Jason is still manhandling her and stripping her out of her clothes. He's naked himself, which Anita says should bother her, yet right now it doesn't because she's in some kind of altered state. She also thinks Jason has a nice ass and, no joke, feels "silly talking to his ass" because she's somehow still over his shoulder.

Oh, turns out Asher rolled her (mind control) without her consent or knowledge, so now she "feels drunk" and Jason is making decisions for her despite her diminished ability to understand her circumstances. Jason frankly doesn't know her well enough to know what she would prefer under such circumstances and therefore doesn't have the right to tell her what to do.

Anita passes out but feels safe and loved.