Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series #10)

Narcissus in Chains - Laurell K. Hamilton I normally begin my reviews with a summary of the book’s plot. So I’m going to scrape some plot out here to write aboutAnita has, after the drastic events of the last book, decided to end her 6 month separation with Richard and Jean-Claude and re-bound the marks since without the marks being properly linked all three of them are walking around with a great big target painted on their foreheads. Unfortunately, because Jean-Claude is an incubus, uniting the marks means Anita gains the adeur, becomes a succubus and gains the mystical ability of having to have sex every 5 minutes.There’s also a new force in town kidnapping shapeshifters and making a play for Anita’s leopards, a new Nimir-Raj in town interviewing to lead the leopards and a battle that results in Anita being clawed by a wereleopard. She now has to not only rescue her leopards and keep her people safe – but deal with both the demands of the ardeur and the urges of her beast.I’m going to say something that will shock a lot of people who have read this book. This book had potential.No, really, it did. We had Anita and Richard finally realising they need to work something out with Jean-Claude and stop doing the whole running for the hills thing (or the turn into acid thing). With the addition of the new leopards we could have actually developed Anita’s connection with the leopards and actually give the Pard a culture on par with the wolves (there’s a reason why Anita keeps using the wolf words for the leopards – because they don’t have words! They even shifted from a French Heraldic naming system to a Hindi naming system). We could have had an exploration of the political implications of an alliance between the vampires and the werewolves – and even working the hyenas into the system and where that left the rats. Especially with them developing a “Shapeshifter coalition”. Part of that could be pointing out that Chimera isn’t actually much of a threat and it’s only because the big hitters abandon the weak groups. They could have developed the sheer mess Richard had made of the pack – perhaps even working with Raina’s munin rather than making it another one of Anita’s arsenal of one-off-powers we forget about until they’re needed. We could have had a greater examination of what marrying the marks meant beyond just the ardeur and even some more definition as to what powers Jean-Claude and Richard actually have. We could even have had Anita remembering she’s a Necromancer or, y’know, has a job.Because there was actually a lot more to this book than the ardeur and the endless humping, though it is the first step down the road that leads to all the books being consumed by humping. But none of it was developed – there was just a lot of random, seemingly pointless, events that didn’t develop into anything, added nothing to the characters and nothing to the plot. Damian and Gretchen being released from the coffins – not developed. Gil, the werefox, what was the point? Faust and Meng Die introduced – why? The Swan-King and the Swanmanes – added nothing. Even the core of the shapeshifter coalition could just have had Christine (a pre-existing character) turn up and say “shifters going missing” and covered everything that was needed there. Ronnie and Anita going out dancing? Pointless. Paris strutting her stuff at the Lupanar? Pointless. Richard’s angst about some werewolf killing someone on her wedding night? Pointless! Even that whole leadership challenge was covered in the damn epilogue! Chekhov’s gun,folks! Or Chekhov’s damned arsenal in this case!Wait, I’ve got to have a tangent here – by all that is holy stop resolving issues in the epilogue! An epilogue exists to tie up minor loose ends! The epilogue exists to bring some confirmation on side issues. The epilogue does not exist for you to brush over huge great big sections of the plot and world! Why set up Anita as Bolverk and have an angst ridden scene where Richard concedes that he can’t be evil enough to be Ulfric and needs Anita’s help if all of Anita’s help and all of that conflict is solved in the epilogue?!These random pointless events not only cluttered the story but also made the pointful events that were foreshadowing for future books – like Dolph’s family issues and Asher’s bitterness seem just like extra clog and filler. Even parts of the plot like rescuing and healing Gregory just dragged on for chapter after chapter with no good purpose. It’d fit if there weren’t so many distractions – but there always are.Read More