Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter (Paperback))
7 journalers for this copy...
Introducing Micah... yummy! :-)
Review found on amazon.com. Sums it up nicely:
"In spite of some critics' views, I think "Narcissus In Chains" is one of the best books in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. I want to emphasize that the degree of enjoyment one gets from this novel depends on more than a basic familiarity with Anita Blake and cohorts. Author Laurell Hamilton has developed her characters in ten books, (up until this one), over a period of eleven years. Action-packed and plot driven though the books may be, knowledge of the characters and their growth is essential before beginning this one. The series now reaches a pivotal point, in which tension, built over a long period, must be relieved and crucial decisions made. "Narcissus In Chains" is definitely not a stand-on-its-own novel. Nor is it just one in a long series of action thrillers.
Anita achieves the level of master (mistress?) necromancer here, enhances her status as human servant to Jean-Claude and acquires a vampire servant of her very own. She also becomes Bolverk of the Thronnos Rokke Clan, Nimir-Ra, (with her own Nimir-Raj), of the Blooddrinkers Pard, and a lycanthrope politician, of sorts. Now, there are those who complain that their heroine has been besmirched by a now voracious sexual appetite. Granted, there is much more sex here, of a graphic nature, than in the previous books. And I understand that this may be offensive to some. However, the series evolves and Anita is a big girl, but no longer a totally human one - if she ever has been. She has long struggled over her fear of intimacy, emotional and sexual. She took relatively small steps from a somewhat tentative sexual relationship with Richard, to another less tentative one with Jean-Claude. All the while her supernatural strengths and skills were increasing. Now the three powers merge - the master necromancer, Anita, Jean-Claude, Vampire Master and Werewolf Ulfric, Richard, marry their forces and become a triumvirate, powerfully tied to one another. Anita merges her blood and her being with two extremely vital creatures, for whom blood lust and sex are major motivators. The two preternaturals take on a touch of Anita's humanity in this exchange, and she, in turn, becomes more otherworldly - her sexuality included - especially the part inherited from Jean-Claude. She now possesses an inner-beast, as does Richard. Her ability to deal with an overabundance of additional superhuman features is just another stage in her development. Laurell Hamilton has made a courageous decision to take her protagonist over the dangerous terrain she now travels. She is definitely pushing the envelope. This will be a crossroads for Blake fans, as well as for Ms. Blake. Ultimately Anita had to deal with making a decision about Jean-Claude and Richard, and either accept her growing preternaturalism, the merger and its consequences, or look for another career.
As far as storyline and action go, the plot does not suffer, nor does the pace slow, because of the new developments. Critical moments feature: the rescue of wereleopards Gregory and Nathaniel, who are being held prisoner by Narcissus, owner of the bondage club "Narcissus In Chains;" a major battle with the nasty snake-people (beings?); the "marriage of marks;" the dramatic showdown at OK Corral between lycanthrope's at the lupinar; the raising of two coffin-bound vampires; introduction of several new characters and species; and a phenomenal conclusion with some eye-opening surprises.
For all the above reasons I rate this a 5-Star read and highly recommend it for those who have at least a BA in Blakehood - and who do not mind the strong sexual content and graphic violence. As for me, Laurell Hamilton's is a master storyteller. And her erotica is top-notch!"
Bloody Bones (Anita Blake #5)
The Killing Dance (Anita Blake #6)
Burnt Offerings (Anita Blake #7)
Blue Moon (Anita Blake #8)
Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake #9)
Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake #10)
Cerulean Sins (Anita Blake #11)
Incubus Dreams (Anita Blake #12)
Micah (Anita Blake #13)
1. Please journal the book when it arrives (so we know it's safe and sound with you), once you read it (to let us know how you liked it) and when you ship it off (so we know it's on its way to the next reader).
2. Please PM the next person in line before shipping the book off, not only for the adress, but also to ask if they are still interested in the ring! (please do that ALWAYS before shipping anything off, even if it's a book spiral!)
3. Try not to take longer than eight weeks to read the book. But we all understand that sometimes life (and bookrings...) just happens. :-) In that case, please make another journal entry to let us know that the book is not forgotten.
4. Surface shipping is perfectly acceptable.
5. And the most important thing: Have fun!
Here are the participants so far:
cathepsut (Egypt) / Intl.
Rianonne (AT) / Europe
sweetf (UK) / Europe
mikime (IT) /
CandyDarling FI / int
adeps (SE) / ???
Ulrika (SE) / ???
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Travelling via Scotland to Cathy in Egypt. ;-)
"Like the other Anita Blake books, Narcissus in Chains is about power and responsibility, and the way that any increase in personal power ratchets up a sense of responsibility - or ought to. For much of the book, Anita, necromancer and executioner of the undead, is faced with the possibility that living dangerously has caught up with her - that one of the were-leopards whose protector she has become has accidentally infected her and that she has finally crossed the line into non-humanity. Or are the new strengths and powers she is feeling the consequence of extending the bond between her and her two lovers, the vampire Jean-Claude and the werewolf Richard? There are new and dangerous players in town and Anita is no longer sure that she can cope..."
Book 10 in the series. I really enjoyed this book. I expected to be disappointed, because so many people that loved the early Anita, dislike the later one as much. I miss the early Anita. Those books were very good crime novels. Sharp, fast, witty, good and suspenseful plot. The later books are not really crime fiction anymore. I have not really decided what I think they are, they seem to be their own thing. Many people feel offended by the sex scenes. Compared to some of the paranormal romance stuff I have read recently, Anita is lame, trust me on this! You want steamy sex, I can recommend something else.
The first half off the book dragged on a bit. I think it would have profited from loosing a hundred pages, would have tightened the plot up a bit. But once past that half-way point, the story sped up nicely. I agree with others, that Narcissus was a wasted character. Popped up once briefly, looked promising, then pretty much disapppeared, only to be mentioned once again briefly. Micah is nice, Jean-Claude a bit brief as well and can we please, please get rid of Richard, he is a pain in the neck!
I am looking forward to the next book, Cerulean Sins. It is already sitting on my shelf, but I will take a break and read something else first...
9 out of 10, because the first half was a bit long winded.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Will start reading it as soon as I've finished "Touch the Dark" ..
I liked this one much better than the last two in the series! There is more otherwordly action, a nice plot and an introduction of several new characters and species which let me hope for more ...
Posting to Mikme this week.
(I''ll try and be quick, but I''m away from the 9th to the 21th, if I haven''t finished before that it''s going to have to wait, I''m afraid...sorry!)
Sorry for keeping it longer than usual, I was travelling, little time to read...
It's already on its way to Candy Darling. Thanks a lot!
After reading Obsidian Butterfly, I was eager to know what would happen now that Anita had finally decided to confront both her lovers, Jean-Claude and Richard. The three of them decide to tap into the power of the triumvirate by "marrying the marks", which has some very interesting consequences. Anita starts showing signs of lycanthropy after she is accidentally injured by her leopard Gregory while trying to save him. Will she become a wereleopard too, or is "her beast" awakened by something else? She is also infected by the ardeur when Jean-Claude feeds through her, which means she can draw power through lust, but she must also satisfy the ardeur by having regular sex.
Narcissus in Chains is the 10th book in the series, and a turning point for many readers. There is a lot more sex in this book than in the previous ones, as the ardeur takes control of Anita. I like the change so far, as Anita's hang ups about sex have always annoyed me. Unfortunately she has still not gotten rid of them, which lessens my enjoyment of reading. Sex is a good thing, why does Anita need to feel so guilty about enjoying something wonderful and completely natural? The whole deal with Anita denying she had sex because no intercourse took place, was ridiculous. I guess lesbians never have sex... Who knew?
The new character, Micah, left me a bit confused. He came in as one of the bad guys, but Anita never confronted him about planning to betray her. And even more disturbingly, the scene where Anita and Micah have sex in the shower, is a bit too ambiguous for me to be comfortable with it. Was it rape? Anita doesn't seem to know if she consents or not, and Micah is definitely pushing her too hard. But the interesting thing is, in the original hardcover version of the book, it was definitely rape:
I found I did have a voice and said, "Micah, stop, please stop."After this Micah pushes himself inside Anita, which makes it pretty clear he never received her consent. In the paperback version, this dialogue is edited to be more consensual, and can be found on pages 157-158, or here.
Micah licked the back of my neck, and I shuddered, pressed against the wet wall.
"Please, Micah, I'm not on birth control." A clear thought at last.
He bit softly at the back of my neck. "I had myself fixed two years ago. You're safe with me, Anita."
"Please, Micah, please don't."
In her foreword to The Killing Dance, Laurell K. Hamilton reveals that much of the character Anita is based on herself and her experiences. Ms. Hamilton was also raised to believe sex before marriage is sin, and she and her first husband were both virgins on their wedding night. I was suspecting something like this, and I'm glad to have it confirmed. I believe that Ms. Hamilton decided to give Anita the ardeur so that she could have sex, but not be responsible for it. I know of someone, who said that when she was a teenager, she would have rape fantasies because she was ashamed of her sexuality, and she was only able to explore her sexuality when she wasn't responsible for initiating/consenting to sex. I think there has been a similar recurring theme in the Anita Blake novels from the very beginning - even in the first book, Guilty Pleasures, Anita is forced to kiss Jean-Claude and to make out with Phillip at a party. It looks like Ms. Hamilton wants Anita to have sex, but for some reason, it can't be sex that Anita actually wants to have. I'm very uncomfortable with this, as I would love to read about Anita having sex with as many men as she wants to, as long as she really wants to.
Jean-Claude is very different in this book than in the beginning of the series. He doesn't annoy me any longer, which is good, but it's weird that he's now so kind and accomodating towards Anita. Richard I can't figure out. At first it seems he is finally comfortable with his beast, and it looks like he and Anita could have a great relationship, and then suddenly he's uncomfortable again. Anita uses her ardeur to feed from Richard, then says that Jean-Claude can't feed from her. Hypocritical much? Micah is weird, because he's willing to do anything Anita wants. And what's the deal with emphasizing over and over again the size of Micah's genitals?
Anita's powers continue to grow, and she's most definitely not entirely human anymore. She has now used her supernatural abilities several times to defeat the bad guys. It'll be interesting to see how many new abilities she will still learn...
I really liked the mystery/detective novel aspect of the earlier books, and I would love to see Anita working as an animator again. In Narcissus in Chains, there were several plot elements, but the main focus was on Anita's personal crisis. I would have loved to see a tighter, more coherent plot, and less secondary characters. There are so many wereanimals in these books, I can no longer remember who's who! I like lots of sex, but I'm bothered by the sexual violence, which in this novel, happened mostly at the club Narcissus in Chains. (The club is a BDSM club, but consent is very important in BDSM, and the sexual violence in this book was definitely not consensual.) So far, I've liked the series, and I'm looking forward to reading Cerulean Sins.
Sent the book to Ulrika in Sweden, enjoy!
Also went into fast-forward mode during most of the elaborate sex scenes. I like these books for the action and no one kicks monster butt like Anita, and those parts of the book were as good as ever! I also liked that Richard and Anita found some closure and I just hope that they don't start dithering again in the next book.