Saturday, April 20, 2013

Danse Macabre, Laurell K. Hamilton

Holy pregnancy scare, batman!

So, this book leans primarily on the relationships again. While I'm still ok with that, I hope we don't lose the Executioner aspect of the books. I mean, the series is "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter." I like Anita's work with the police and I like the cops. Dolph may be acting like a bigoted asshole at the moment, but I still have hope he'll realize the error of his ways. And Zerbrowski is always entertaining.

So, as you can tell, the book starts with Anita and Ronnie discussing Anita's missed period. Anita does end up taking a home pregnancy test which shows she's preggers. Spoiler: she's not. However, that's not what I find interesting about this book. What I find interesting is the reaction of the people in her life.

Let's start with Ronnie since she's the first one to find out. What. A. Bitch. Friends just don't do that kind of shit to each other. Ronnie is so self absorbed that she thinks Anita's greeting to Micah and Nathaniel when they come in is meant to somehow terrorize Ronnie. So, the bitch spills the beans on Anita's baby drama. Anita has just been telling Ronnie that she doesn't want any of the men to know until she's sure. Ronnie even suggested Anita never tell the men. Then she just goes and spills the beans like some petty high schooler – or maybe junior high schooler. *rage*

Turns out Ronnie is attracted to Nathaniel, not because she really wants him, but because he doesn't want her. She basically thinks that because Nathaniel is a stripper and former prostitute (child prostitute, mind you *rage again*) that he should be willing to sleep with anyone who wants it.

Now, the last we saw Ronnie, she was freaking out about marrying Louie. Well, they're not engaged, but they compromised to just living together. She's still freaking out and she's insanely (literally, because you don't act like that with a friend if you haven't lost your ever-loving mind) jealous of Anita. Anita always wanted monogamy, Ronnie always wanted to sleep with whoever whenever. Now, they're getting the reverse. One new revelation is Ronnie had a previous marriage that ended terribly. I think it's a new revelation anyway – it might have been said when we first met Ronnie, but I don't remember it. I can see where a bad first marriage would make you a bit gun shy for a second, but there is no excuse to what Ronnie did.

The up side was we got to see Nathaniel be pretty badass. He knows Ronnie wants him because she treats him like shit. Apparently it started nicer, more flirtatious, but when Nathaniel didn't show any interest (you don't mess with your girlfriend's best friend), it became mean and bitter. Ronnie's actions toward Anita set him off and he really calls Ronnie out. Ronnie ends up running out in tears and that's the last we see of her in this book. Good. I don't know if Ronnie deserves Anita's friendship.

So, Micah and Nathaniel obviously know, and they convince Anita to get a home pregnancy test to take with them to Jean-Claude's party, but agree not to tell any of the other men. The overall plot – as weak as it is – is the vampire ballet coming to town. JC invites the ballet and all the Master of the City from around the US to town to see it. That night is a private party for JC's "friends." It is predictably a disaster…well, at least a close call. JC and company end up getting a power up of sorts.

Richard isn't there for the party – he's still trying to avoid his life. He shows up after the disaster predictably angry and thinking the worst of JC. Things calm down for a bit, but the marks (the things that bind Richard, Anita and JC in the triumvirate) end up letting the pregnancy cat out of the bag. And Richard fucks it up. Gasp!

Ok, so, once everybody knows, Anita takes the test. It's positive. Richard's reaction is to pick her up and swing her around joyously. She is obviously not happy. Then he tells her he'll marry her. He thinks a baby will make Anita a softer person. No, that's not true. He thinks a baby will make Anita a 50's wife. He thinks she'll give up being a Marshal, an executioner, all her men – basically, her life. What's worse is that he's so self absorbed, so caught up in the idea that he's finally caught/trapped her, that he doesn't see how scared she is. He doesn't see how much she doesn't want this. Claudia, the wererat bodyguard and badass chick, has to call him out on it. He still doesn't get it. Sigh. I was so disappointed in him. I had really hoped he was making progress. 

One thing that comes out of it is that Anita realizes, with JC's help, that she and Richard struggle in part because they're so similar. I agree mostly; however, I still side with Anita. I think that where Anita is better is accepting her life. Richard is still trying to be completely human – he even brings a human to the Ballet and when things go to hell has to leave a hurt Anita because he's not "out" as a lycanthrope. He refuses to accept that Anita has the arduer and needs people to feed on. He refuses to accept that Anita is in love with these other men – she's never going to just choose one. He refuses to accept that she's not going to just stop working with the police. He refuses to accept that he is man and beast. Anita still struggles to accept things, I don't deny that, but she is sooooo much farther along than Richard is.

Finally, the book just ends oddly. Well, Anita's in the hospital, that's normal, but…  Ok. So, like I said, the Ballet goes badly (SHOCK) and Anita gets messed with by the Mother of All Darkness, aka Mommie Dearest. She's the creator of vampires and their culture. She's vampire and shifter. Basically, she's scary shit. She's been mentioned in previous books and has been messing with Anita for a while, but it just wasn't relevant enough for me to mention before.

Anyway, Anita's messed with in part because of what the head of the ballet group did, so she's talking to him about Mommie Dearest. Then she has sex with Asher and he almost kills her. Then she wakes up in the hospital and forgives him – they're just not allowed to have sex without a spotter. I shit you not, a spotter.

And that's it. That's the end. This was probably my least favorite book so far. I'm still pleased to see Anita growing and changing and trying to accept who she is - I just wish Richard would catch up - but I'm about ready for some more substantial plots.

Danse Macabre, Laurell K. Hamilton

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