And I might make a few passing references to the Merry Gentry series, but mainly as a supporting source.
Where Did All These Vampires And Weres Come From?
This is probably the biggest problem in this entire series, because it isn't one that can really be corrected. It's right in the foundation, the world-building.
So the premise of LKH's world is that vampires and werethings have always existed in human history. This is repeatedly emphasized, with vampires dating back over a million years and weres going back roughly as long. We're told constantly how vampires like Belle Morte have been manipulating Europe for CENTURIES (no word on places like Asia, Africa, South America, etc), yet they aren't legal and have no power in governments or whatever.
But LKH doesn't treat her world as having any kind of supernatural history. Nothing in human history is different because of the vampires and weres - it's like they just STARTED EXISTING one day in the 1980s, conveniently around the time Anita was old enough to hunt and kill them.
- Movies and literature are the same in our world. As in, Bram Stoker decided to write the novel Dracula in a world with actual vampires, and it had the same cultural impact. There are vampire movies that have massive inaccuracies, just so Anita can criticize how "unrealistic" they are. Why would they have inaccuracies if they could hire experts to tell them what's what?
- There were NO LAWS in place regarding vampires and weres until Anita was an adult. They weren't generated in ancient civilizations and adapted or contradicted for modern societies like most basic laws... no, they just weren't "legal."
- The "old-timey" vampire hunters are all from the 80s. Yeah, they haven't existed since time immemorial or anything. Anita is considered to be one of the few remaining from the "old days."
- Despite having massive political power in the past, they prevented no wars and apparently didn't guide human civilization. It's like they didn't exist until Anita came along.
- For some reason, animation and necromancy are treated as a weird, esoteric practice instead of something that has been done since the dawn of time.
- Rather than preternatural cops having been a part of the police since their inception, we get new groups that aren't taken seriously or funded properly.... even though everyone is totally paranoid about the evul vamps and weres.
- The prejudice against weres and vamps is treated as a very recent thing.
- And most importantly... NOBODY KNOWS A FUCKING THING ABOUT THE SUPERNATURAL.
This is possibly the stupidest aspect of the entire series. If vampires and weres had been in secret for centuries and no mortals were allowed to know about them, or if they were a recent development like a mutation, I could buy that most people wouldn't know much about them.
But they aren't. According to LKH's own books, they have existed since time immemorial and EVERYONE knew they existed. And yet NOBODY except Anita knows even basic information about zombies, vampires, weres, etc.
Which leads us to...
Anita the Sooper-Expert Smart Person
In LKH's dreams, Anita is the foremost expert on vamps, weres and zombies, and everyone bows to her superior knowledge because she's just that brilliant.
So where did she get all this insightful, esoteric knowledge from?
A bachelor's in biology and some trade magazines.
That's it. She's not part of some secret society; she doesn't have knowledge that others don't. It's just that the entire rest of the world is TOO STUPID to read basic information that could affect their daily lives. And she's a fucking EXPERT in everyone's view.
As an example, that is like saying that if you read some history books, that makes you a historian. Or that if you watch Hannibal and Dexter then you're an expert on serial killers.
And if LKH actually went out of her way to write in that Anita DOES have knowledge that other people couldn't get - like a doctorate in a new area of the field, or time living amongst vamps/weres and stuff undercover. But she doesn't. LKH can't bear for Anita to actually be different from her. So she has a bachelor's in biology, and so does Anita. And that makes her more knowledgeable than EVERYONE about weres/vamps.
And we're not even talking about an "expert" to random schmucks. She is supposedly hired by the FUCKING COPS to offer her "expertise." So apparently the cops, who are trained to deal with dangers to the public... don't know ANYTHING about the dangers to the public. They're not taught or trained to do any of this shit. That even extends to federal agencies like the Marshals - we're supposed to think that they don't actually teach any useful information that can be easily found in publicly-available sources.
This is even more idiotic in the age of the Internet. Not only can people disseminate important information quickly, but we can find relatively obscure publications and books without too much effort. For instance, some of my school papers require me to look up very obscure information on highly specialized topics, and I can find it with relative ease.
So I find it hard to believe that NOBODY, in or out of the police force, would need a psychopathic Munchkin to tell them very basic information that can be found in TRADE JOURNALS.
The Not Very Bad Big Bad
One of the big changes in the series was when LKH introduced Marmee Noir (or "Noor" if you're hearing her say it), who is supposed to be a sort of Voldemort or Sauron for the series. In fact, I sort of wonder if the popularity of Voldemort caused her to make this character.
Here's the problem: LKH has no idea what to do with a supreme Big Bad. Marmee Noor just kind of... lies in bed for her whole stint in the series. Occasionally she metaphysically pops in to go "booga booga," but after some sex she just fades out. And of course, all her dastardly plots involve forcing Anita to have lots of sex with men she finds attractive.
Now, it IS possible to have a bad guy who is not physically present. I mean, the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy went by without Sauron stepping in to cackle evilly and twirl his nonexistent mustache. He was only present through the Ring. But the thing is, Sauron had ARMIES. He had very effective minions like the Nazgul, who were unkillable and completely under his control. What's more, the control he has over them is really horrifying.
Marmee Noor? She has... the Harlequin. Who we're told are totally terrifying, but who turn out to be roughly as scary as the rest of the weres/vamps, and quickly jump ship to Anita's side for no real reason. And their methods aren't scary or impressive.
I think she intended Marmee Noor to be more like Voldemort. The problem is.... VOLDEMORT ACTUALLY DID THINGS. Yes, he's pretty helpless/technically absent in the first half of the series. Let's break it down how his appearances went.
- Philosopher's Stone - He tries to regain his body while piggybacking on someone else's skull.
- Chamber of Secrets - His teen self somehow manifests and causes bad shit to happen.
- Prisoner of Azkaban - Doesn't actually play a direct part. More focused on his Grima Wormtongue minion.
And then in Goblet of Fire... he actually DOES come back and becomes a potent, viable threat on his own. The previous books were basically about establishing him and then giving some backstory and bedrock for what would actually be the threat. And when he does come back, he quickly amasses an army of wizards and other supernaturals.
Marmee Noor... doesn't do that. When she's killed for the first time, SHE STILL HASN'T GOTTEN OUT OF BED. There's no buildup because she never does anything. There's no giant OH SHIT moment where she rises from her slumber and walks the Earth like Akasha to cause death and destruction. There's no massing army of weres and vampires who fear and/or worship her, so they could actually be an impassible threat that the heroes would have to SOMEHOW come up with a way to overcome.
I think this is for several reasons, most tying back to Laumerita's ego:
- She doesn't want to split the glory. Anita gets to kill or take credit for all impressive kills in this series, even if the bad guys are ridiculously overpowered, like Chimera or the Earthmover. They don't even have exploitable weaknesses - Anita just has giant metal penises and they work on everything, because she's supposedly just that amazing.
But you can't come up with a crazy-powerful goddesslike villain whom everyone is terrified of and have just one person take them out. Even the Witch-King took TWO people. With both Dark Lords I mentioned above, they were taken out not just by the main character, but by a LOT of people all at once. And I can't see LKH/Anita having the humility to not think she could take God Himself in a fight, let alone allowing other people to share in the glory.
- She doesn't want to admit that Marmee Noor is actually more powerful or influential than Anita. Oh, sure, we're TOLD that Marmee Noor is so scary and powerful that she's supposedly the reason we're terrified of the dark. Not because bad things can hide in it, or because it represents uncertainty and the unknown, or because everything looks spooky in the dark.... but because we have an irrational genetic fear of some vampire who has been snoring since prehistoric times.
The problem is, LKH does EVERYTHING under the sun to make her seem... well, overhyped. We don't see her using her awesome power to do much of anything different from what other powerful vampire does.
This is because LKH doesn't have a lot of imagination when it comes to villains or their motives. All they are are sadists, and all they want to do is rape people and control people of immediate interest... which is basically what Anita does, but she "loves" her victims. There are no grand schemes, no secret motives... she can't conceive of a villain who is more complex than Anita. So when a bad guy does bad things, all they do is either kill someone, hurt them in a non-disfiguring/healable way, or rape them. They don't think ahead. They have no real plans. They don't try to take over the world!
Even Akasha, who was NOT a complex character, had more going on than Marmee Noor. When she woke, she wandered around for a while spreading terror and confusion, and then started her plan for dominating the world.
- Nobody can be loyal to her. No matter how evil or depraved a person is, they will have people who are completely loyal to them. If the bad guy has minions, they either are killed or they come crawling to Anita to join her army.
But really, it seems to bug LKH whenever someone's loyalty to somebody else trumps loyalty to Anita, or the desire to follow her. Nobody responds to the idea of joining Anita's cult by saying "No thanks" or "Betray my beloved master? NEVER!" So Marmee Noor's minions, aka the Harlequin, don't actually get to be loyal to her - they don't really support her in any way. And she doesn't get enough for an army!
- It might take Anita out of her comfort zone. LKH once said that she was dragging her feet on writing battles with Marmee Noor because... get this... Anita would have to go to EUROPE. And since Anita acts like she's crossing the galaxy whenever she goes to some other city, going to France seems unlikely.
Another problem is that LKH writes every single American city the same. Every city is full of bland, generic buildings, there are some religious zealots, almost everyone is white and straight and monogamous, etc. But Europe? Even if she treats it like one big country...
... I'm pretty sure that even LKH knows that it's actually a lot of different countries, with different languages, cultures, religions, demographics (some of them AREN'T lily white blondes!). And as evidenced by Damien the Viking (wut?!), she doesn't really like to research different cultures. And she can't just clump everything and everyone together into a homogeneous blob.
The Old Country... and America
This is one of those weird, provincial tics that LKH has: she only really focused on the United States.
And that doesn't make a series bad, really. Whole UF series go by without the main characters leaving the continental US, which doesn't make 'em inherently bad or good. But LKH barely seems to realize that places outside the continental US exist, except on the rare occasions when she wants to argue that the US is more enlightened/awesome than pretty much all other countries... while also being backward and prudish. Don't ask how that works.
And of course, the vampire power structure can reside in one of two places
- France, aka "the old country of Europe."
- The US.
Asia, a vast territory with ancient and enduring cultures where you would think a vampire civilization could thrive? Africa, where human life first came into being? The Middle-East, where civilization as we know it first came into existence? Nah. Those places don't really matter.
Even if you set the vampire seat of power in Europe, you'd expect it to be in someplace like Italy, which had major civilizations going back further than the Frankish kings. Especially since Italy also never had a Revolution that gutted its culture and monarchic government. It had city-states that actually would be really well suited to the whole "master of the city" concept.
The US: We're So Progressive
Another ridiculous idea is that she argues constantly that the US is more progressive than every other country when it comes to weres and vampires. For instance, no country in Europe has legalized weres and vampires, despite having THE SEAT OF VAMPIRE POWER and vampires who have controlled monarchs throughout history....
... but the US has. The same US that is, according to LKH, filled with insane fundamentalist-Christian bigots. Does this seem even remotely likely to you?
As a comparison, let's consider same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is not legal everywhere in Europe yet, but it's getting there. And some countries have been way ahead of the US on the same-sex marriage curve. Belgium has had it since 2003; the Netherlands since 2001. And civil unions were legal in some countries for a long time before that.
In the US? Not including some false starts like Prop 8, same-sex marriage really only became a widespread thing in the last few years, and some states are still resisting it.
So do you actually buy that the US would be MORE tolerant of super-powered creatures who have many times the strength of humans, can kill humans at a moment's notice, are incapable of working within a democratic hierarchy, have an array of superpowers including flight, mind-control, supernatural rape, etc... MORE THAN GAY/BISEXUAL PEOPLE?! What fucking sense does that make? Hell, in a world where vampires, weres, ghouls, zombies and (at one time) faeries existed, why would anyone give a damn about same-sex relationships?
I could buy weres and vampires not being legal citizens EVERYWHERE. In the Middle-East or China or some other such countries, I could see them not being legalized. But NOBODY in the world would do it besides the US? All people in Europe/France (because no other continent matters) would be okay with BURN THEM ALIVE reactions LKH only attributes to bigots? HORSESHIT.
Which leads me into...
Citizenship? What Citizenship?
LKH likes to trumpet the fact that her vampires are real people, and so the nasty bigot cops who are intimidated by their amazing sex skillz (yes, really, she wrote that) don't just get to shoot them in the face for no reason. Her vampires are "legal" and considered full citizens of the United States, right?
I don't think LKH realizes what being a citizen means. It doesn't just mean that you get to live in a certain country. It means you have certain rights that are not violated, no matter how heinous your crime or what minority group you belong to. Obviously this isn't perfect and there is still discrimination, but the attempt is at least made.
The biggest problem is the whole concept of a vampire executioner. According to LKH, Anita can randomly get a judge to give her an "order of execution" at any given time, whenever a vampire crime is committed. Not only does this allow her to kill the offender without a trial, but it allows her to kill EVERYONE EVEN TANGENTIALLY CONNECTED TO THE CRIME, or anyone she THINKS might be connected to the crime. If you're some dude living next door to the killer, and you're a vampire, she can decide that you are guilty and murder you. And there are no repercussions.
Yeah, ever heard of the "right to a trial by jury"? Apparently LKH thinks that's for bleeding-heart liberal pussies.
And that's the problem with her whole idea of citizenship: the vampires don't have all the rights associated with US citizenship. Cruel and unusual punishment is permitted, trial by jury is totally dispensed with, and vampires can be murdered if they even commit misdemeanors like shoplifting. Doesn't sound like citizen status to me.
And of course, even though weres are also human beings who are usually BORN human and only achieve furriness later in life... for some reason VARMINT LAWS apply to them. Again, they are "citizens" who don't have basic rights applied to them.
LKH has always been weird about choosing names in her books. Some of the names sort of fit (like Jean-Claude, whose name always reminds me of Belgian kickboxers) but others seem to have been chosen at random. I mean, look at the characters of Asher and Damian. WHY do they have those names? Why?
Think about it. Damian is supposed to have been a Viking raider, but he doesn't have the kind of name you'd expect from that part of the world like Olaf or Arvid or Fiske or Erik or Herleif. It's a Greco-Latin name derived from Damianus/Damianos, as evidenced by the large, large number of early Middle-Eastern and Greek people from long ago who had that name.
I'm not saying that a person from up northerly couldn't have that name, especially since it's not uncommon in places like Ireland and England. But we're talking about VIKING TIMES, about a thousand years ago. They had their own names, and they tended to use 'em.
And the same applies to Asher. Asher is the name of a relatively minor person in the Bible, namely one of the less important sons of Jacob and the producer of a tribe. "Asher" is a Hebrew name... and I'm not sure why a Frenchman from centuries would have a name that's pretty uncommon today, and was probably even more uncommon there and then. Why not a name like Philippe or Jacques or Etienne or Laurence? All of those are names that were common in that time period and place. And in the 1400s, people were more likely to name their child after a saint rather than a little-known figure in the Bible that nobody really cared about by then.
Now this was before LKH completely went off the deep end. So most of the supernatural characters had semi-logical names like Gretchen, Hannah, Liv, Caleb, Gabriel, Malcolm, Yasmeen, Colin, etc. There were some characters with odd names like Valentine or Cherry, but they weren't outside the realm of possibility.
Then she went batshit insane, and decided to give her characters names that were "cool."
Now we have characters like
- God. Yes, she thought it was clever to give one of her characters the nickname "God."
- Around the same time, she also introduced Mephistopheles.... and yes, we're supposed to unironically think that a character's parents named him a very complicated and difficult-to-spell name meaning SATAN... and he kept it. Can you think of anyone who would keep that name?
It's doubly stupid because his "nickname" is... "Devil." And because one nickname isn't enough, he has a nickname FOR HIS NICKNAME, namely "Dev." So he has the nickname Dev, which is short for Devil, which is a nickname for Mephistopeles.
Yo, LKH. People with weird, weird names don't usually LIKE it. Ask Duncan Jones, FKA Zowie Bowie. They don't think that it makes them cooler or more interesting - it just makes life harder.
- Also, his sister's name is "Good Angel." Literally. Yeah, his parents were definitely punking the world.
- Byron. Because he's British, see? And Byron was British and he was edgy and he had sex, so totally a likely name.
- Requiem. Because that's a name. It sounds dramatic, okay?
- ALL THE WEREHYENAS.
Among their names, named Ulysses, Ajax, Narcissus, Dionysius, Bacchus , Socrates, Ares, Ixion and Remus (no Romulus?). Yes, she gave two different people the names of the same deity, which is like naming your kids "Juan" and "John." Redundant much, redundant?
And it's not like these names are symbolic or anything. They're just a grab-bag of Greco-Roman names that LKH selected for no particular reason. They're not even united by a theme - she has the twin of Rome's founder, a philosopher, a few deities, a few warriors, a Titan, a few other mythological figures.
Why do they have these names, which pretty much nobody ever uses? NO FUCKING REASON. I'll give some small credit to LKH since apparently at least one of these people was GIVEN the name, and wasn't called that originally. But it doesn't explain Narcissus' name, or why everyone just changes their name.
- Haven. Have you ever met someone named "Haven"? The answer is no.
- Bibiana. Who, being a Chinese-descended woman with a Chinese title... has a Roman name. Because giving her a pretty Chinese name like Da-Xia or Lihwa would require a whole two seconds on google. Well, it could be worse, because then we have...
- Jade, aka "Black Jade." Yeah, because Asian = jade things = name a character "Jade" in English, even though she has an actual name... which might be an error. I've googled the name "Yiyú" and LKH is the only person who uses it as a Chinese name... because God forbid she use Bao-Yu or Lin.
- Cynric. This isn't a bad name in itself, and some people have it. But of course, LKH only chose this name because she thinks it's pronounced "Sin-rik," rather than "Ken-rik." The reason: she wanted to nickname a character "Sin." BLARGH.
- Pride and Envy. Yeah, LKH dropped that "deadly sins" crap pretty quickly. I guess it was pretentious even for her.
- Primo. I'm not going to talk further about this.
- Wicked and Truth. Not only are they part of LKH's apparent wish to hump on Legolas and Aragorn... sometimes at the same time...
... but they have the stupidest names in the history of literature. It's like she tried to come up with the most hilariously pretentiously pseudo-goth names ever made, and she came up with THOSE names.
The worst part is that she apparently did this just so she could give them a team name. Because "The Wicked Truth" doesn't sound idiotic, does it?
LKH has a rather unpleasant history with queer people in her fiction. Yes, there were those lesbians earlier in the series... one of whom got raped because LKH has a fixation on rape. And there was that whole triad in the past where Asher, Julianna and JC were all together romantically and sexually, and probably would have been until the present except Julianna died and Asher's face was fucked up.
Really, it used to be... well, pretty awful. LKH likes to wave the rainbow flag, but Anita's casual homophobia in earlier books is anything but tolerant.
I think the change came when Asher entered the series and apparently got past his old issues with JC. Suddenly LKH was spending a LOT of time lingering on the fact that these two guys wanted to bone each other, but were forced to just look dewily at one another and lust after Anita instead.
See, LKH is kind of like those drunken bro-douches who want women to make out for their enjoyment - she seems to see same-sex activity as fundamentally being about her and what she wants to see. So because she thinks hawt menz making out is super hawt, she writes about it. And after awhile, pretty much all the pretty menz in her series became bisexuals... and an awful lot of them turned out to be interested mainly in men, except that Anita is so damn hot that everyone wants her. The only ones who weren't on board with bisexuality (even if they were okay with two-dude threesomes) were shoved into a metaphorical box.
Of course, this bisexuality was supposed to be purely theoretical. Sure, two or three of Anita's bisexual men would cuddle up naked in bed together, but they clearly weren't doing it for the mansex. They were doing it because... because Anita might drop in and want to see their schlongs! Schlongs that no man is touching! Ever!
But then LKH became "heteroflexible," and thus Anita became that too. Because only men are bisexual.
And suddenly... a really ugly streak of biphobia entered the series. Yes, an author with a bisexual love life... is now becoming MORE BIPHOBIC. I gotta hand it to LKH: she never stops surprising me with her illogic.
Here's the ways this biphobia manifested:
- The fact that Anita refuses to call herself bisexual. It's a small thing, but very noticeable. She insists on snowflake names like "heteroflexible," even though she's now had sex with multiple women on multiple occasions.
I know this sounds like a little detail, but if you do a bit of research on biphobia, you'll find that there are a lot of bisexual people who won't use that label. Cynthia Nixon once famously declared that despite having legitimate, real long-term relationships with both men and women, she didn't call herself bisexual because "nobody likes the bisexuals." At least she's honest. Hell, there are a lot of people who consider themselves straight or gay because they lean more one way or another, so they just deny anything they feel that doesn't fit that... even though most people fall somewhere between "completely gay" and "totally straight." Especially since it means you're outside a "community" - if you have the guts to come out as bi, you don't have a "group" to cling to. I have known self-identified gay men who admitted that they had sometimes fallen for women... but they still called themselves gay because they had created an identity, a place for themselves in the gay community, and leaving that would hurt them. Many people suppress bisexual thoughts to the point where they don't even realize they have them.
Okay, enough ranting. The point is, Anita is afraid to actually admit she's bisexual, especially since she regards bisexuality as a way to get her yaoi jollies without being around men who didn't want her. So she can't be bisexual, especially after a whole series of declaring that she was the straightest straight person who ever lived.
In other words, despite multiple sexual contacts with multiple women, Anita is too cowardly to admit that she is a bisexual woman. One with a strong leaning towards men, true. But she is bisexual. And by acting as though out bisexuals are just there for her enjoyment, she's degrading them.
- The gaying of characters like Asher. Asher was always established as being bisexual. Not gay. Bisexual. He certainly seemed to lean more in the direction of men, but most bisexuals do lean more one way than another. In one book, he plaintively says that he just wants someone to love him, and doesn't care what that person's gender is.
Then... suddenly LKH has retconned the love he had for Julianna - a love that inspired centuries of anger in him after she died - and claimed that he never loved her at all, and just wanted her as "bait" for the more woman-oriented JC. Suddenly Anita and JC are sending him to a hyena pack in order to "de-gay" him by exposing him to a woman (?!?!?!?!). And he's no longer interested in women at all, except for Anita's WET AND TIGHT speshulness.
Sexual fluidity is a very incendiary topic, especially among gay people (who don't like the idea that a person's sexuality could change, because they think it will feed into fundamentalist beliefs about the changeability of sexuality). But it is a real thing - people can slide around on the Kinsey scale. Sometimes it happens frequently, sometimes only once or twice. Sometimes it means people's preferences change radically from week to week, and sometimes it just slowly swings over the course of years.
But Asher's bisexuality is denied not because he's gradually moved to the gayer end of the scale... but because Anita is pissed at him. Only men Anita is pleased with are bisexual.
- The fact that the bisexuality is ONLY supposed to be for Anita's benefit. Sometimes it's a PR move, or it's to entertain her hundreds of boytoys because even her constant sexathons can't plausibly keep them all happy all the time.
In other words, you can have sex with people other than Anita... but it better be about her somehow, not because you actually want the other person.
- She starts reinforcing a LOT of horrible cliches about bisexual people.
Bisexual people have an undeservedly bad rep in the United States - a lot of gay and straight people will basically heap hate on them for no real reason. Even worse, they will often deny that bisexuals actually exist, or claim that the only bisexuals are women and that all men are either straight or gay.
One of the most common cliches of bisexuals is that they're more promiscuous than usual, because being sexually attracted to more than one gender means that you have to have sex with all those genders or you are somehow unfulfilled. Which is like saying, "I am attracted to blondes AND brunettes, so I have to have sex with both of them. Monogamy is impossible for me!" or "I find both tall and short people attractive, so I must have one of each at all times!"
And yet, LKH pushes this idea. For instance, in Kiss the Dead Asher has a shitfit because he has been dating this guy who is bisexual. There is a great deal of relationship drama because the guy declares that he is incapable biologically of being faithful in a relationship, because bisexuality means he has to bang women as well as Asher. Asher is justifiably pissed by this claim, but is treated as a treacherous drama queen who is making life miserable for everyone else.
The guy who is justifying his cheating on his partner? Treated as totally normal and reasonable... and Anita has sex with him as a big "FUCK YOU" to Asher. Asher is kicked out of the city shortly thereafter for mildly injuring Anita's lip, but they might as well have kicked him out for demanding fidelity.
And of course, she's retconning his bisexuality at the same time. He's capable of a loving, monogamous relationship with a guy without needing a woman to bang... which means he must be gay. If he was bisexual, he would also need a woman. Because see, bisexuals can't be happy and satisfied with just one partner!
Ugh, the backwardness of this makes my head ache.
And this is pushed even further with the character of Jason and his new girlfriend JJ. JJ is depicted initially as being a lesbian, and is later retconned into a bisexual who just lives on the more gay end of the scale. That's fine! There are plenty of good relationships that last a lifetime between people whose orientations don't seem to match up, but their personalities click and their sexuality follows. It actually is a lot more common than you would think.
But of course, LKH just uses this as a way of demonstrating that sure, JJ likes sex with Jason. But NO WAY would she ever give up sex with girls to do that. Sure, girls are icky and nasty and stoopid, but anyone who is bisexual must have it all! No exceptions! Monogamy and monosexuality be bad!
As the coda to this, LKH tries to argue that Anita isn't bisexual because... she doesn't have sex with women only. She only fucks them as part of a mixed-gender orgy. So you can have all the sex you want with the same gender, but as long as an opposite-sex person is hanging around, it means you're totally not bi.
Makes logical sense.
Penis Penis Penis
This is a small, small thing compared to most of my complaints, but... I don't know why LKH can't say the word "penis." Or, for that matter, any synonym for it like "phallus," "dick," "cock," "man-sausage," "anaconda," "schlong," "todger," "tallywhacker," "dingaling," "johnson," "knob," "mancarrot," "horrible wet mushroom," and other colorful words. SHE WILL NOT SAY THEM.
Instead, she coyly talks about "him" and "his body"... which sounds a bit weird when Anita talks about putting "his body" in her mouth.
And you know, I don't care if an author won't specifically mention genitals in their book. Honestly, it usually comes across as kind of crass. But when you write very graphic sex scenes, give your heroine sex-fu powers, TMI constantly about your own sex life and talk about how much your heroine likes to gobble cock... you can't coyly avoid mentioning genitals. And yes, this does extend to ladyparts as well, since Anita persists in using words like "sweet spot" and "opening" to describe female genitals.
And yes, I know she sorta-kinda-maybe broke that streak in Dead Ice, where her characters finally say "cock," "dick" and "pussy." The problem? None of these words are said in a non-negative context. "Dick" and "cock" are only used either by unpleasant characters, or by characters repeating unpleasant things. "Pussy" is only said by unpleasant people, or as a derogatory word meaning pathetic or cowardly. Because feminism means using feminine genitals as a synonym for weakness.
And the purely technical words? "Penis" is used twice, only to refer to the physiology and medical treatment of an intersexed person who identifies as a gay man, and whom Anita clearly doesn't like. Same with "vagina," which is used once. I guess LKH is only willing to use those words if they are used in medical context. When talking about more personal stuff, like Narcissus' pregnancy or how Chimera tried to castrate him, she uses cutesy phrases like "boy parts" and "girl parts." Yes, in dialogue. Narcissus actually refers to his wiener as "boy parts."
I can only assume that this stems from LKH's rather conservative upbringing, which you can also see in other parts of Anita's attitudes (like, you can't ever be "casual" even if you're sleeping with dozens of men... and if you impulsively sleep with a guy, you "chose" him and it's a permanent thing... and you can't have sex because you actually want to, but because of an emergency or because someone badgered you into it). She's rebelled enough to write about penises and vaginas, but not quite enough to mention them. It's a lot like how LKH blogs about sexual issues - there's a feeling that she's teeheeing and coyly hinting all the time.
The lesson? The actual words for genitals should only be used when applied to medical situations. Common synonyms should only be used in a nasty way. Childish phrases should be used for all personal stuff.
And in sex scenes? Don't use any kind of real word or phrase at all! Just use inaccurate nouns and pronouns!
Why A Vampire Hunter?
This is one of those niggling problems that a lot of people seem to overlook about the Anita Blake series, even though it is a giant crack in the bedrock of the series. Why is Anita Blake a vampire hunter?
This is a pretty simple question. Every hero needs a motivation for being what they are, and doing what they do. Most of them fall into a few categories:
- Mercenary reasons.
- Personal reactions, like revenge. This can lead to...
- Idealistic reasons, believing that what you do is right.
Well, we don't really hear about Anita being paid much for her vampire huntings/slayings, and whatever she is paid is probably not nearly enough compared to the risk factor. And it's not like she NEEDS the money.
Personal reasons? Well, she's a bigot against vampires at the series' beginning, but that doesn't explain why she would go around killing them; most people are bigots of some kind, but they rarely become assassins just so they can kill members of the hated ethnic/religious group. It would be easy to write in a reason, especially given how much time Anita spends whining about her dead mother. Just have it be that Anita's mother was murdered by a vampire, and Anita chose to become a vampire hunter! That way the constant emo-wanking would be justified, and it would give her a motive.
But no, Anita's mother died in a car crash because LKH's mother did, and Anita's reason is... nonexistent.
Idealistic reasons? Not really. In fact, she wangsts regularly about whether it makes her a bad person. She clearly has no internal concepts that would make her think it was "right."
I mean, when you look at all the legendary vampire slayers like D, Buffy, Blade, Van Helsing, etc., they all have reasons for what they do. Buffy and D have idealistic reasons - she is the destined Slayer, and he believes that vampires are destined to be extinct - and the added motive that they are really the only ones who can do what they do. Blade and Van Helsing have personal reasons - both lost someone to vampires, either to madness or death.
So why does she do it?
I'm not exaggerating when I say that I think that Anita does it because she likes killing people. We see throughout the series that she likes having power over others, and I think that killing vampires and weres is just an extension of that.
Without any mercenary, personal or idealistic reasons to be a vampire hunter... the only possible explanation is that Anita likes to kill people who are bound and unable to escape her. The fact that these people are not given a trial, and can be executed for MISDEMEANORS, doesn't really trouble her.
Just remember what she said in Skin Trade: "I'll kill your vampire for you, Grimes. I'll kill anyone who helps him. I'll kill everyone the warrant lets me kill." Note the last sentence. The actual guilt or innocence of the vampires she kills doesn't matter to her. She explicitly says that she will kill anyone she can legally get away with killing... and since by this point she has about sixty vampire paramours and sees them as "people." So she's saying she will kill EVERY PERSON.
So despite all Anita's whiny waffling about whether she's a serial killer... yes, yes she is. Legalized or not, her motivation is being able to kill people for her own power-boner. I bet the real reason she doesn't go home to see her family is that the neighbors found her torturing their dogs in her backyard.