Blood Noir

I’ve had a revelation. It may not be a new revelation, but I can only read books in this series so often without my brain turning to cottage cheese, so forgive me if I’ve lost track of the various ones over the years. No, see, my revelation is about the true irritant of this series. It’s that every now and again, if I can manage to scrape enough of the crap off the pages, there’s something like a decent storyline buried in there. I mean, yes, she’s been padding things with the hypersexed “relationship” plots for a long time now, and that squeezes out all but about usually 30 pages of story. But okay, that’s the book she’s writing, and if it wasn’t for the sheer gall of the packaging, I think I’d have gotten bored and moved on a long time ago. So I can accept that for what it is, it’s not the crap I’m referring to.

Let me explain. So, here’s Anita, and her good friend Jason is having a family crisis, and needs help, which is to say, a visit home with a girlfriend so everyone will stop calling him gay (which would not be as bad as all that, except he isn’t, so it’s annoying that nobody believes him). And she agrees to go, except they get caught up in (for once) human politics, and things quickly blow out of proportion, and all of that is before the vampires get involved. And sure, you could write a whole book about that, but our author cannot because she has to leave room for the porn scenes[1] and the random friend and/or stranger (but always at least one stranger, and always at least two people) that Anita will accidentally bind to herself metaphysically[2] in this particular book.

And my point is… well, it’s this. I’m not trying to say that the actual pornography and the implausibly repetitive growth of “power” and were-menagerie via sex don’t grate on my nerves. I’m not saying that the constant mentions of things tightening low in her stomach and what just does or doesn’t do it for this or that person don’t also grate after a while, but if I’m being honest with myself, all long-form authors eventually have turns of phrase that get old. I’m saying, reluctantly, that the kernel of mystery still remaining in most of these books would be enough to keep me going in the series; well, that combined with certain intangible benefits that I get from complaining about them, volume after volume. Except, well, the writing is getting objectively worse, by leaps and bounds. It’s not enough for people that she’s been friends with for a long time to have the same thought processes as she does. Well, no, that’s not true. As written, it’s easily bad enough.

“He looked like he was thinking about ponies. ‘I’m thinking about ponies!’ he suddenly declared inexplicably for no obvious reason besides the fact that all of us have exactly the same brains and the same voices, and I wanted to be sure you noticed that by showing how my thoughts and his words match up, for some reason even less explicably than the last thing that happened earlier in this sentence. And then we talked about how ponies make me angry (if Richard was the person who was talking earlier) or about how much common love we share for ponies (if anyone else was talking earlier) or about how I’m not sure sure that ponies should be involved in my sexual life, but they flat did it for him, so I would keep an open mind (if Nathaniel was talking earlier).”

But now it’s happening with perfect strangers, because writing more than one voice is really, really hard. Unless it says things in French sometimes, I guess. There was a literal, real, I’m not making this up even a little bit moment, wherein over a span of three pages, Anita makes a metaphorical leap about the situation feeling like the Twilight Zone, then a random new chick character makes a similar metaphorical leap about an unrelated situation feeling like the Twilight Zone. (Hold on, I’m nowhere near done yet.) Neither of these situations was in any way actually creepy or inexplicable or even subtly twisted, it was just the way people talk about things outside their experience. So these two different people make the connection to the Twilight Zone from two completely different experiences, and then, in the same three pages I mentioned earlier, Anita thinks to hrself about how she and this other chick are of diametrically opposed types that could never understand each other in any way.

Perhaps I’m being unfair. It could be that when the series ends, we’ll learn that she’s been captured via vampire magnetism for a dozen years or more and that all of these adventures are things her subconscious mind came up with while it had nothing better to do. That would justify almost every ridiculous thing that has happened, you know? Except Auggie the ancient master vampire that everyone has a ton of respect for and also they call him Auggie. Nothing will ever excuse that.

[1] No, seriously, at this point you could only film these books with a porn script, with the expectation that people would need to fast forward through maybe 15 minutes of plot to watch all of the sex in the maybe 70 or 80 minute movie. Seriously.
[2] And by “metaphysically bind to herself ” I mean have a non-puritanically excessive amount of sex with, which by fiat means they are tied together forever, and that is a twisty maze of passages through LKH’s psyche, all alike, if ever I saw such a maze.

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