Saturday, April 20, 2013
Blood Noir, Laurell K. Hamilton
Jason gets dumped, which he's not too sad about, the same day as he finds out his father, who he's estranged from, is dying of cancer and only has weeks left. Anita gets talked into coming home with him as his girlfriend to prove to his father that he's not gay. Hamilton treats this fairly carefully, I think. She makes clear, through Jason, that it's not his family thinking he's gay that bothers him, but that they don't believe him. His dad was abusive in many ways and always treated Jason like he wasn't a good enough son.
Jason is Anita's friend with benefits. They use the term fuck buddies, but I think friends with benefits is more accurate. It's the only friends with benefits relationship that has ever actually worked. So, of course it's fictional. :) They are best friends, and Jason and Nathaniel are best friends. Jason is Jean-Claude's pomme de sang, his daily blood donor. He lives with JC and the vampires. He's mischievous and adorable. He's one of my favorite characters but he's always been a fairly minor one. He longs for love. He and Anita have a platonic love, though they have sex, but he wants what Anita and Nathaniel have. And he's so likable, you want it for him.
So. I'm using this book to push my Jason/Claudia agenda. Claudia is a wererat bodyguard and overall badass. Jason loves strong women, and she is certainly that. She's tall, and buff, and maybe a bit too serious. Jason is short, and built (he is a stripper, I mean, come on), and maybe a little too mischievous; though, the good humor tends to hide his serious intelligence. I think they'd bring out the best in each other and enjoy doing it. I don't think Claudia would get too serious and try to hold him back/down,either.
I REALLY want this to happen!!!
Jean-Claude, Micah, and Richard are barely in this at all. JC and Micah only get to appear via phone call. Richard shows up when the metaphysical shit hits the fan as it always does, and invariably makes things worse. Now, I am glad he's still around, and Anita does react to him like she normally does, but things are definitely not better. Or good. At all. But his appearance helped crystallize a few things for me on Richard. I think what really irks me is that he continually blames the victim.
Let me 'splain (yes, that is a Princess Bride reference).
Mommie Dearest, the mother of all vampires, royally fucks over Anita's mind and Anita ends up losing 2 days of her memory to a fuck fest. Mommie Dearest rapes Anita, Jason, and 2 weretigers (strangers). Fucks her over so much that Anita doesn't actually think of Mommie Dearest when she finally wakes. Richard comes to check on her - he HOLDS HER WHILE SHE SOBS - and then gets angry and acts like she not only did it on purpose, but likes it. This victim blaming made me realize that he does it all the time. He's shared memories with JC depicting JC's abuse and victimization, yet always treats JC as if he's the perpetrator. As if JC is just biding his time until he can get Richard alone and have his way with him. No matter how many times JC proves him wrong. JC was even victimized by the same people who victimized Richard, but does that cause any solidarity? NO.
Nathaniel is another example. Nathaniel is from an abusive home. So abusive that his (slightly) older brother, who protected Nathaniel, was beat to death by their "father" while Nathaniel watched. Before he died, he told Nathaniel to run. He did. Then he lived on the street as a child prostitute. Not shocking some drug abuse came with that. Then he becomes a were-leopard, and continues to get victimized by Raina and Gabriel (then leader of the leopards) - again, the same people who victimized Richard - yet Richard calls him a freak. Even gets violent with him sometimes. Now, Nathaniel is not a victim, he's probably one of the healthiest of them all - he's had more therapy.
Damian, Anita's vampire servant, was victimized by his former master, raped by other men on his master's orders. JC actually saves him at considerable risk and doesn't even like Damian, but JC doesn't want anyone to be in the position he was in for the better part of 500 years - a victim.
Micah was a victim of Chimera, the psychopathic pan-were. Asher was a victim of Belle Morte. Jason was a victim of his father's abuse and hatred.
Hell, even Anita was a victim in some ways, if only of tragedy in general. He acts like their victimization is their choice. And their choice to fight back is morally wrong.
Richard always thinks the worst of them. Case and point: Anita and Jason stopped having sex when he started dating his girlfriend. The girlfriend never believed him. Didn't even believe Jason wasn't sleeping with JC. Bitch went to Richard to complain, commiserate, and have revenge sex. He never once thought she could be wrong.
One thing that does come out of his assholery in this book, is Anita eats his rage. Well, her rage. Whatever. When they married the marks back in Narcissus in Chains, they all got pieces of each other. Anita got JC's ardeur and Richard's wolf (or so we thought, it's unclear now if it was just one of her lycanthropy strands), JC got some of Anita's practicality, and Richard got some of her rage. Well, turns out it's more like all her rage. Now, as I said in my review for Incubus Dreams, Anita grew around her rage. She's had it for so long it's just part of her, it's not something she needs to learn to deal with. Richard has even admitted that her rage is just as difficult to control as his beast. Richard, on the other hand, has never had this anger. In fact, for the beginning of the series he's the boy scout, nothing riles him up. He has never had a reason for rage. He may hate his beast, he may hate that he was infected, and that may even make him angry, but nothing like Anita's rage. During this episode, Richard goes into a rage and starts attacking. Anita ends up eating the rage and he instantly calms down.
Unfortunately, this brings out a new power for Richard. We've never read about what Richard got from JC. Turns out, Anita's not the only one who has the ardeur. Now, the implication in the book is that this is a new power caused by Anita eating the rage. That somehow she creates it. I think the rage was just masking the ardeur. The ardeur is about pleasure, Anita's is even about love. I think that rage has been overpowering he ardeur. Now that it's gone I wonder what will happen.
What happens immediately is that it overpowers him and he tries to use it on Anita. Not for lust, but to make her love only him - to make her give up the other men, her job, everything but him. He wants that 50s wife. He almost does it, too. So, after being mentally and physically raped by Mommie Dearest, Richard wants to do it again - wants to take away her choice. The thing that saves her isn't her begging him not to, cause she is, but that she had made Jason her wolf at some point during the Mommie Dearest's attack and it's enough to break the connection/power. It's actually what finally ended the attack. Richard finally pulls back, though he admits he still wants to do it, and runs off to get help from JC - who he always accuses of doing to Anita what he almost did. PS, JC has never and would never do that. He knows better. But does that stop Richard from treating JC like shit? Sigh.
Anyway, overall a really good book. I love Jason. Now that he's Anita's wolf, I hope we see more of him. Also, developments with Richard have potential. Jason and Claudia for ever!!
Blood Noir, Laurell K. Hamilton