So after a first chapter with nothing but two characters talking over a dead body, the second chapter is absolutely dazzling! Hooray! Excitement! Romance! Action! Thrills! Ballroom dancing!
Haha, I'm just screwing with you. It's another chapter devoted to two people talking. That's sort of the theme for this book.
So Anita is in the office of Marshal Raborn, who is the required sexist/racist/prudish/vampire-were-hating asshole of this book, whose entire purpose in the plot is to annoy Anita by suggesting that she's a vile hosebeast. Which she is.
If I’d been a regular marshal he’d have been more in charge of me, and Edward,
Misplaced commas, AHOY! Also, sucky grammar - it should be "Edward and I."
but the preternatural branch was rapidly becoming its own entity, which meant Marshal Raborn was frustrated. He seemed to be particularly frustrated with me.
In non-Anitaspeak: he isn't the boss of me because I'm a superspeshul Sue who isn't bound by the rules! I get all the perks of being a marshal without actually following the chain of command, meaning that I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT!
“There have been rumors for decades that Seattle has a weretiger clan,” he said.
"There have also been rumors of wereotters, weremeerkats, wereweasels, werehamsters, werechickens, werebunnies, werearmadillos and weregerbils. Yeah, we didn't take any of those rumors very seriously."
I gave him blank cop face, polite, interested, but blank.
- So basically, LKH thinks that cops respond to everything with the "I'm listening to my great-grandmother talk about her best friend's chronic hemorrhoids" face.
- Also, why is she doing this? Is there a reason she's underreacting since yeah, now we KNOW that there are weretigers in Seattle?
- Also, I've met some cops on the job. Guess what: they didn't make this face.
Every group of wereanimals, or kiss of vampires, runs its business slightly differently.
Some run the local mob, and some run hair salons and petting zoos.
So we're told that the Vegas weres and vampires are out and proud, and the Seattle tigers are pretty much in hiding. Why? Because humans are all bigots, and for some reason nobody ever noticed wereanimals before the twentieth century. Because everyone is stupid.
but once some one shifted in to animal form a lot of people panicked and a lot of wereanimals got shot.
Yes, because countless millennia of werecreatures roaming around means that NOBODY knows anything about them, and they cause mass panic.
Pray, what did people do BEFORE guns?
So Anita says some vague stuff, which is just the jumping-off point for a pointless argument.
“There are weretigers here, Blake. I know there are.”
YOU DON'T SAY? Was it the dismembered weretiger body in the previous chapter? Did someone just FORGET to tell Raborn what's going on?
It was a good hard stare. Bad guys probably folded like cheap card tables when he gave them the stare, but I wasn’t a bad guy.
"I'm just a rapist, murderer, mob boss and slaveowner - I'm not BAD."
“Obviously,” I said, “we have a known survivor of a weretiger attack as our victim here.”
... are we seriously doing this? LKH is infodumping us about what happened in the PREVIOUS CHAPTER? Does she think we've forgotten?!
“Don’t get cute, Blake,” he said, in a voice as hard as the cold stare.
“Sorry, just a natural ability on my part.”
Yes, because Anita Blake is known for her endearing charm.
He frowned at me. “What is?”
“Being cute, or so I’m told.” I smiled at him.
Yes, LKH. We get it. We don't need EVERY SINGLE JOKE explained to us, especially since that means the characters look even stupider than they are for not getting it the first time.
“Are you flirting with me?”
Yes, actually you are. Just because you're not shoving your enormous tits in his face doesn't mean you're not flirting.
“Then what’s with the smart remark?”
It's LKH trying to be funny. And failing.
So it turns out Raborn dragged Anita in here
to provide her with some cheap persecution to show what a martyr she is to quiz her about the information she's hiding from them. Wow, I bet this will lead to Anita being penalized for all the stuff she's been hiding from her superiors, because she wanted to wave her Federal Marshal dick around while not following the rules. There's just no way LKH will not have that happen, what with her love of gritty realism!
I covered it by smiling at him. I made it a good smile. I’d found that most men got distracted by it.
... but she's totally not flirting! Never flirting with a cop! She's just smiling at him to try to daze him with her dazzling sex appeal! She's not FLIRTING!
I was buying time while I thought about what to say.
"BOW BEFORE ME, MORTAL. I AM ANITA BLAKE!
"... say WHAT?"
I shook my head, still smiling, as if he amused the hell out of me. What I was thinking was, Does he actually know anything, or is he just fishing?
"Blake? Blake? You know you're talking out loud, right?"
"I reeled back in shock. How could he know what I was secretly up to?"
"Again, I can totally hear you."
“Do I amuse you, Blake?”
“A little,” I said.
"It might be your rainbow clown wig."
So Raborn does what any sane person would do when confronted by a smirking flirting smartass: he whips out all the dismembered-body pictures. And even though he's clearly trying to get her to see how FUCKING SERIOUS the situation is, Anita suddenly gets angry at HIM. Why? Because righteous rage will clearly distract us from the fact that she's acting like an insensitive bitch.
I gave him angry eyes then.
He put them in a glass case next to the happy eyes, sad eyes and hopeful eyes.
“You should see it in person, Raborn. It’s much worse.”
"How dare you take a serious situation seriously and expect others to do the same, you insensitive bastard!"
Actually, Raborn HAS seen it in person, but Anita brushes off that little detail because it shows he's doing his job, which doesn't exactly support her smirking flirting smartassery about how cute she is.
“I want the truth.”
I resisted a terrible urge to say, “You can’t handle the truth,”
Wow, I bet nobody's ever made THAT joke before. EVER. Can LKH make a single joke without either explaining it or making a really obvious pop culture reference?
So it turns out Raborn wants to know if there are weretigers in Seattle, because obviously the Federal Government wouldn't know ANYTHING or have ANY contacts in any of their cities. No, they have to call in a town bike from a DIFFERENT CITY and ask her if she happens to know anybody in town, even though Anita's whole schtick is to pose as an expert while knowing NOTHING.
In fact, this is SUCH a transparently stupid thing that Anita actually calls him out on it.
“They should, but somehow everywhere you go you know more monsters than the rest of us.”
I shrugged, and didn’t have to fight to look bored. “Maybe it’s because I see them as people, not just monsters.”
- ... or rather, she began to she gained all the monsters' powers and started bonking them all the time. Before that, she hated them.
- And I'm sure knowing more monsters has NOTHING to do with collecting them as "food."
- And even now, she still calls them "monsters." But if anyone ELSE does it, they're an evil bigot!
- What a surprise, a US marshal outranking Anita is depicted as a huge ol' bigot who hates the poor oppressed weres and vampires, boohoo.
- And don't forget, Anita likes to play whatever side the other person isn't on. If this guy were pro-vampire, she'd be blathering about how cruel and cutthroat they are and only a naive idiot would believe anything good about them.
The guy rather logically points out that hey, anything that ripped a guy who can turn into a TIGER apart obviously isn't human. Anita refuses to agree with him, insisting that PCP could have caused a human can do it. What does this mean? It means LKH heard about phencyclidine and decided to name-drop it because it sounds cool and like her. Sort of like those phosphorus grenades that were mentioned but never used a few books ago.
Also, I honestly don't know why Anita is trying to insist that hey, maybe a human did it. You would need to have the brains of a cheese log to actually buy that crap, and just telling the authorities "hey, a were totally did this" does NOT inform them about the Harlequin. It's just WASTING TIME.
“They could do the violent killings, maybe, but not this.” He pointed at one photo. “This is precise. PCP doesn’t make you precise, it makes you a fucking animal.”
"Specifically, it makes you a ferret."
Since Edward and I had put that observation in to our reports, I wasn’t surprised to hear him repeat it back to me.
... then WHY THE HELL did you even bring up the topic of PCP?! And is Anita, whose main job is to spread her legs and piss people off, actually arrogant enough to think that SHE is more knowledgeable than a guy who does this FULL-TIME?!
“Like a were animal?” I asked.
“You know what I meant.”
"Well, it actually WAS a wereanimal, but I'm going to peg you as a bigot because you're not kissing my ass."
So Anita starts bullshitting him by whining about how she hasn't been here for long, and she's tired and nobody is good enough to know anything about the local scene within four hours. Uh, yeah, except she DOES know some stuff about the local scene, as well as some other ones, because she's screwed people who live there.
“What’s killing the weretigers?”
“I’m not sure.”
"But I suspect jam may be involved."
“Why are they being killed?”
“Why does any serial killer choose his victim?”
"Because the guy cut ahead of him in line?"
"No! Only because he gets sexual pleasure from it!"
Also, it does not make me like Anita any more that she's hiding ALL knowledge of this from Raborn. Yes, she doesn't have to tell him about the Harlequin explicitly, but she could at least tell him SOMETHING. Instead, she's deliberately misleading him - and no, I don't buy that this repulsive character actually cares whether other people die because she kept this secret. Telling him that yes, a were of some kind DID kill those people doesn't put him in danger at all.
“So you know it is a he.”
"I just assume that EVERY killer is a man. Murderers are sexy!"
No, Anita just rattles off some serial-killer facts that LKH looked up on wikipedia, which also wouldn't apply to weres/vampires because there wouldn't be a big strength difference between males and females. So yeah, Anita is full of shit.
“You seem surprised that I knew that,” I said.
"Miss Blake, I've seen you work. I'm surprised you can put on your own socks without help."
“I’d been told that the only reason you have more executions than anyone else in the preternatural branch is that you’re fucking the monsters, so they talk to you, but maybe that’s not all of it.”
Yup. The only reason she has more executions than anyone else is... because she's the author's Sue. She could be in a coma for months, and LKH would STILL insist that Anita's the baddest, biggest and bloodthirstiest.
So then Anita goes off on another whiny rant about how cops are SO MEAN and they have such a problem with her bonking two dozen men, especially vampires and shapeshifters. Yeah, it can't possibly be that her boyfriend is the local Cosa Nosferatu and Anita is queen of everything in St. Louis, it must be because all the cops are a bunch of evil bigots who won't let her do her job. BAAWWWWHAWWWWWW.
He rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger. “Yeah, once you start seeing the bodies in your dreams, it’s a bitch.”
"Especially when they start dancing. They have HORRIBLE rhythm."
“I believe you want to go home, but how can I trust a marshal who’s shacking up with the master vampire of her city?”
“It’s illegal to discriminate against me because of who I’m dating.”
I have NO idea if that's true or not, but this dude has a point. The vampire world in this series is like the Mafia, in that your first loyalty is always to your local power structure and you HAVE to do as the dictator says OR ELSE. Why WOULD you trust somebody who's part of that? It's like saying, "How can I trust a marshal who's also an enforcer for the Mob?"
Also, "I don't trust you because you're bonking a power-hungry mini-dictator" isn't the same as "I don't trust you cuz you're gay/black/female/Jewish/all of the above."
“I know that other cops say that I’m sleeping my way to all the information, and I do sleep with the monsters. I can’t deny that, but the idea that the only skill set I have is sex is just jealousy.”
- Well, those cops are SO wrong. Anita's just as ignorant and ineffectual as she was at the series' start!
- Besides, what does Anita care for information? She wants POWER POWER POWER OVER EVERYONE.
- And honestly, it's RIDICULOUS to claim that sex is Anita's only skill set! She's not skilled at that at ALL, unless by "skills" she means "ability to lie there like a dead fish and orgasmically scream every two minutes." Take that, HATERS!
- Hear that, Evil Haters? If you claim Anita can't do anything other than bonk pretty men, YOU'RE JUST JEALOUS! YOU WISH YOU HAD ANITA'S PERFECT LIFE! YOU ALL SUCK!
So Anita starts lecturing us on how most of the preternatural marshals are male, so of course they can't stand to have teeny weeny wittle big-boobed Anita constantly doing better than them. I have to wonder WHY she's allegedly doing better than them, because she spends whole books doing nothing but having sex, she's really stupid, she's basically got no job skills that millions of other people don't ALSO have (like the ability to slowly saw a head off with the wrong kind of knife), and she spends half her time getting knocked on her ass.
Don't believe me? In the very first book, Anita recounts how she got pwned by a vampire, and only survived because the vampire's ORIGINAL VICTIM beat the vampire's head in. She tries to claim that they saved each other's lives, but it's bullshit. Anita didn't save that woman, because Anita's interference just distracted it for a few seconds. If the woman hadn't saved her, they BOTH would have died. That totally ordinary, untrained, average, HYSTERICAL human woman had to save Anita's hammy behind as well as her own.
In other words, you could probably grab any random person off the street, and they would kick more ass than Anita. How much do the other vampire executioners suck if someone THAT BAD is the best of the best?
“I’ve read your cases. I know what you’ve managed to kill."
"A flock of geese, a vicious Chihuahua, and a vampire who happened to fall on top of you while you were holding a stake."
"You’ve been called in on cases where the first marshals were hospitalized, or killed out right."
"Of course, most of those marshals were so drunk off their asses that they were too busy throwing up to kill the vamps."
"You, Marshal Forrester, Marshal Spotted-Horse, and Marshal Jefferies are the go-to guys for cleaning up the mess.”
Because REAL marshals couldn't possibly catch the bad guy. The only ones who are awesome enough are a gaggle of serial killers. Why? No fucking reason!
We're then infodumped about "Marshall Jeffries," aka Olaf. Olaf is a serial killer who gets his jollies off by murdering women who happen to look like Anita. Unlike Anita, who is a serial killer who wangsts about it.
“They all have military back grounds, special forces. They’re all big, physically imposing men.”
"And yet I'm supposed to think YOU are more impressive than them. Explain to me why?"
"BECAUSE I HAVE GUNS!"
“Ted is only five-eight, not that imposing,” I said.
You claimed he was tall in the last chapter! MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MIND!
Raborn smiled. “Marshal Forrester seems taller.”
I smiled, too. “That he does.”
“Some times, so do you.”
"Really? I look a whole three feet tall? I'm petite, you know."
"Uh... you do know you're average height, right?"
"DON'T SAY THAT! I'M NOT AVERAGE! NEVER SAY I'M AVERAGE!"
“Do the vampires really call you ‘the Executioner’?”
"And do they snicker when they say it?"
Anita refuses to even answer THAT question until ordered to, because she's a bitch. Then she preens about how she's killed more than any other hunter, and this is SO impressive to the surviving vampires. Again, how much must the OTHER hunters suck if SHE kills more than they do?
“You can’t be as good at killing as your reputation.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Be cause if you were, you couldn’t be human.”
"We suspect that you're actually some kind of squid."
“You carry, at last count, five different types of lycanthropy, which isn’t possible. The whole idea of lycanthropy is that once you get it, you can’t catch anything else.”
“Yeah, I’m a medical miracle.”
- I will be overjoyed if I never hear the words "medical miracle" in that order, ever again.
- Fuck explanations! It's magic!
- I'm still waiting for the government to stop sending Anita into these stupid serial-killer cases, and just whisk her to a secret lab so they can dissect her and figure out what the fuck is going on there.
- And... well, the guy's right. She's NOT human anymore. This has been repeatedly addressed, because she's now more preternatural than the preternaturals. So why is this even being brought up?
- And why the fuck do all these Evil Sexist/Racist Cops always bring up their issues with Anita TO HER FACE? Why don't they find a subtler way of getting her ass the hell out of there?
- Also, lycanthropy would not apply to anything except WEREWOLVES. See, lyc = wolf.
- I could buy it if it were something like the Lyc-V virus in the Kate Daniels series, which is ONE virus serving as a catalyst for various kinds of weres. But if each strain of shapeshifter is distinct, you could not refer to a wereleopard or werebear as a lycanthrope.
- It would be like having someone who turns into an otter, and saying "That's a werewolf!"
- So how can Anita carry "lycanthropy" and not shapeshift? Fuck if LKH knows. She doesn't even bother to come up with an explanation except, "Maybe it's the vampire marks or something." Which doesn't make any fucking SENSE, because previous books have already shown us that Anita COULD shapeshift if her boytoys weren't always preventing her
breastsbeasts from ripping out.
I didn’t care what kept me from shifting; I was just happy for it. If I ever shifted for real, I’d lose my badge. I’d be considered unfit for duty due to disability.
Yes, it would truly be tragic if Anita lost that badge that she earned, and with it the job she loves so much and the rank she worked so very hard for.
“It makes you more than human-strong, though, doesn’t it?”
“You’ll turn a girl’s head complimenting me like that,” I said.
YOU LIFTED THREE HUNDRED FUCKING POUNDS IN FRONT OF A DOZEN SWAT GUYS. Stop pretending that it's a secret and that he shouldn't know about that, you stupid bitch! You're just wasting time because you can!
“Then you know I can pretty much lift weight until the mass of the weight to be lifted exceeds my body mass."
... WHAAAAAAATTTTTTT?! She lifted THREE HUNDRED POUNDS a few books ago! And now LKH is claiming that she can only lift her own body weight! Which, by the way, is NOWHERE NEAR "more than human strong," since plenty of humans are able to lift her body weight.
Also, that sentence made my brain seize. Could it GET any clunkier?!
"Any other questions?”
Yes. When are you going to die a horrible death?!
“Not right now.”
“Good.” I stood up.
Hooray! That means the chapter is now over, right? YAY!
... it isn't, is it?
“The preternatural branch of the service is becoming more and more its own unit; did you know there’s talk of forming a new branch of service altogether?”
In another series, this would be an important development, and would have massive ramifications for society as a whole. Actually, this is something that would have realistically happened LONG ago.
But since we're talking about LKH, this will just happen offscreen, and the only effect it will have is that Anita won't have ANY restrictions or rules to follow! She'll be like James Bond, except with giant mounds of creamy goodness and a Magic Vagina!
“Some of the preternatural branch marshals are just killers with badges.”
Which makes me wonder, how come they aren't training REAL marshals to do this crap? Why do they keep dragging in SERIAL KILLERS and giving them free reign?
“Why do you think the powers that be let you all run wild like this?”
- See? Even the characters agree with me!
- Because Anita is the author's Sue, and she doesn't want that Sue to have ANY restrictions at all.
“I don’t know for sure, but if I had to guess I’d say they’re making us in to a legal hit squad. They give us badges to placate the liberal left, but they give us enough room in the law to kill the monsters the way the not-so-liberal right wants us to.”
- I love it when stupid people talk about politics they barely comprehend, but think that they DO get it because they lump people into the "right" or "left" group and think there is NO overlap or middle zone.
- Also, the word is "conservative." The implications that ALL political conservatives would be slavering for the monsters to die doesn't get any less offensive if you leave out the actual word.
- Notice that Anita doesn't have a problem with being part of a legal hit squad. She couldn't care less.
- Yeah, she thinks of the "monsters" as people, but she doesn't really care about the moral ambiguity of becoming a sanctioned assassin.
“There are rumors that the laws are going to change again, and vampires and shapeshifters will be easier to kill legally, with less cause.”
"Inwardly I cheered. It meant that if any were or vampire looked at me funny, I would be allowed to kill them and bathe in their blood."
"... Blake, you're still talking out loud."
“If the laws change, which side will you be on?”
“The side I’m always on.”
"The side with the most pretty men with giant schlongs!"
“Which is?” He studied my face as he asked.
And we're supposed to cheer for her.
“Do you think of yourself as human?” he asked. I went for the door then, but stopped with my hand on the door knob. I looked back at him. “Legally, shapeshifters and vampires are human; that you’d even ask that of me is not only insulting, but probably illegal.”
"So, that's a no, right?"
- Shapeshifters could be considered legally human, but vampires are not. If they WERE considered human, they would be entitled to all the rights available to citizens. They aren't.
- And also, I don't think it's illegal to ask if someone THINKS of themselves as human. It might be considered discrimination if you asked if they WERE, but asking if they THINK of themselves as that is not.
- Note that while Anita insists that she thinks of the "monsters" as people, and gets all huffy and self-righteous, she thinks it's INSULTING if someone asks if she's one of them.
- Also note that Anita, who does five illegal things before breakfast, never hesitates to pull the "that's illegal!" card.
- And honestly, I don't think the world has enough bleeding-hearts to make it ILLEGAL to ask if someone is human or not.
I mean, think about it. In LKH's world, vampires and weres are both ruled by dictatorships that are MAGICALLY ENFORCED, extremely violent, have superpowers that could easily compromise security, are unable to be a part of democracy, and regularly recognize their own little dictatorships ABOVE the US government.
HELL YEAH the government would want to know if people working for it - especially in situations INVOLVING weres and vampires - were human. Vampires and weres would be AUTOMATICALLY COMPROMISED, and somehow I doubt that they would allow a human servant/queen of all weres do ANYTHING involving them. And that leads me to the real reason Anita is pissed about being asked if she thinks of herself as human - she doesn't, and all her allegiances are not to the government she's working for, or even the people she's allegedly protecting
Also for someone who pretends to be so jaded about the way the world really is, LKH doesn't seem to get that yeah, they might not OFFICIALLY kick out Anita for being a were/vampire hobag, but they would find some reason to. They wouldn't just fuss and fume and do nothing.
“I’ll deny I said it,” he said. “Well, that answers my question.” “What question?” “If you were honest, or a lying bastard.”
Ironic coming from a character who is clearly lying NOW since she hadn't been thinking anything of the sort, has spent the whole conversation dodging the truth, and boasted early in the series about lying under oath.
So Raborn has a fuss because he's, you know, the bastard bigot cop, and Anita then walks out and starts crying. I kid you not, she's CRYING because Raborn said something she didn't like. It wasn't even an insult or anything, just a question about her self-perception. Well, I guess we know what Anita thinks about the monsters - if anyone even ASKS if she thinks of herself as being one, she starts sobbing.
And yes, this makes two whole chapters of NOTHING BUT TALKING. Not even fun talking, but "here's crap that longtime readers would know, which has NOTHING to do with the story, and which the characters have NO reason to be explaining to each other. I wonder if the next few chapters will also be boring and pointless!