Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Lunatic Cafe (AB:VH Book 4)

I hope the fact that it took me over a month to write this is indicative of how little I want to write this. Honestly, I would have done it sooner, but, like, I have a life, a busy one, and it’s hard to write about shitty books when you spend most of your time juggling forty thousand spreadsheets and being elbows deep in forcemeat.* And as shitty books go, HOOBOY, this one is a doozy. I’m going to preemptively apologize for the amount of parenthetical comments I will be making. I cannae help myself, captain. I simply cannae.

On to it, then!

Upon reflection, this book is where the cast of characters begins to get absolutely ridic. Note the use of of “begins” – because it gets worse. Like, stick-my-fucking-tongue-on-the-business-end-of-a-9-volt worse. We are introduced to – count ‘em – seven reoccurring characters in this book. That’s reoccurring! That is NOT counting the periphery, characters who are introduced and then die by the end, or the already-established characters (twelve, at this point, yes, twelve). So, by the end of book FOUR OF TWENTY, there are already NINE-FUCKING-TEEN characters you mostly need to keep track of. I don’t even know how many altogether. More. A lot more. I mean, seriously? Why is that big a cast necessary, when at the end of the day, all of them are reduced to barely sentient beings who’s only real thoughts involve “I love Anita,” “I hate Anita,” “I want to have sex with Anita,” or any combination thereof. LKH’s characters are like Ikea furniture: cheap, barely functional, generically pretty, and named something stupid.

Anyway. We kick off like we do with most of her books; introduced to some dude who wants Anita to do something – professional or other, who cares. Only this dude doesn’t want zombies raised like, you know, she does -  he wants his missing werewolf wife found. There is no explanation for why this dude would go to Blake’s office with such a request at this point in the storyline, so I can only imagine it’s because her amazing magnetism is like a bug zapper for whackjobs. She’s all, fuck off, and sends him to her BFF Ronnie – let’s call her Filler, because that’s all she is, ever – who is a private dick (heh) and handles problems like missing werewolf wives (werewives?)

Later, Blake and blossoming boyfriend Richard (whom, you will be told half a million times, is HOT and ACTS LIKE A BIG BOYSCOUT and WEARS HIS HAIR BACK TO FOOL PEOPLE INTO THINKING IT’S SHORT because lord knows a ponytail is the ultimate mindfuck) take in a rousing performance of Guys And Dolls (um, really, LKH?). Richard is all “I love musicals and wear tight shirts but I’m seriously not gay,**” and Anita is all “OMG stop looking at the crowds like you’re high and they’re Funions” and at some point Jean-Claude (JC!) shows up and says JC-type stuff in Frenglish about Richard being an alpha wolf *** who needs to stop being all meh and start fighting for control of the local wolfpack, or … I don’t fucking know, the scene is so haphazardly written that it’s difficult to relay anything.

At some point during that hot mess, and following the patented LKH formula, DOLPH calls Blake and is all “I have called 20% into the novel as required with a request for you to come to this grisly crime scene and check out some shit, and I will not say goodbye before I hang up” – so she jettisons off to go wade in gore. En route, some crazy vampire bitch kicks Blake’s ass for no actual reason other than adding another unnecessary character into the fray for the later books (where she remains as useless), but I’d rather not spend any more time on that bullshit than I just did.

Crime scene, dead things, 20 pages of Blake asserting herself as a powerful woman who will persevere despite the fact that all men hate strong woman and all cops hate women in general and blah blah. Dead thing. Killed by shapeshifter. Homigod.

And because this day (yes, day, this is one day) apparently has 94 hours ****, Blake goes home and runs into a sniveling reporter werewolf (whom in my head is the nerdy pharmacist from Family Guy) that Richard The Boyfriend was all throwing down with the leader werewolf, but because of his inherent boyscout nature (see) wouldn’t kill him and now shit is hitting the fan, or something, and leader werewolf is all GET ME ANITA BLAKE BECAUSE SHE IS SOMEHOW RELEVANT TO THIS.

You know what? I can’t finish this recap in this vein. Too much happens, and none of it is actually interesting. It’s all, like, foundation work for things that matter (as much as anything ever matters) later.

Here are some key points:

-          We meet the werewolf pack and its cast of MANY characters. We find out that many of them are completely fucked up in a BDSM-Goes-Ultra-And-Lands-In-A-Pile-Of-Snuff way, and many are not. Jason & Raina show up, who are kind of relevant later, in the patented LKH way of making someone relevant but still totally unnecessary.
-          We are continuously treated to Richard whining about how much his life sucks
-          Anita is still a prude and is not putting out.
-          Edward/Robocop kills stuff. And enjoys it.
-          There’s a fucking traitorous wereswan. That’s right. I said WERESWAN. As in, A DUDE WHO TURNS INTO A SWAN.
-          Blake decides that she will just have to start dating JC along with Richard, because JC threatened to kill Richard otherwise. Which? Really? This is the premise of your relationship? And you’re not spending every moment of your dates in sheer fucking terror? To say nothing of how agreeing to this ultimatum is essentially against every single character trait we have been made to believe to this point? What’s that you say, LKH? Oh! THAT’S HOW YOU ROLL.

Anyway, the story ends with some nasty jerk cops (see above, you know, the ones that hate women) who hired the wereswan to send them shapeshifters to hunt, and because the wereswan is a dick (wouldn’t you be?), he was all “sure” and proceeded to be the ringleader of some bizarre were-poaching ring. And all the REALLY bad guys die at the end and all the kind-of bad guys live to see another shitty book.

Ta da!

I’m not linking this trash. If you want it badly enough, you know how to search Amazon.

*I am taking EVERY opportunity to say “elbows deep in forcemeat”  - how do you NOT?
** "No seriously, wait til later when gay stuff happens and I turn into CRAZY BIGOT RAGE RICHARD"
*** My thoughts: if you can change into a wolf at will and kill things, it is implied you are about as alpha as you are ever going to get
**** Or it exists in a tardis, and is larger on the inside than it is on the outside (snare drum, and there, I just won a bet about not being able to knowledgably reference TV shows I don’t watch; in your face, pal)


  1. You know, now that we are into this, I'm wondering if we made a mistake. I'm trying to slog through Bloody Bones right now, I'm 25% into (thanks Kindle) and I want to tear my hair out. I don't know if I can stick this through. WHAT HAVE WE DONE?

  2. I just finished Bullet and am like ... about to leave my life and go wander the desert for 40 days/nights, or something, to cleanse my soul of this terrible, terrible series. But then I remember that we're only four books into the reviews and ... yes, you are correct, WHAT THE FUCK HAVE WE DONE?