Welcome to A Cynic's Reading. Your quickstop guide to fast reviews. Of course, with all reviews these are a matter of opinion, and if yours differs, and even if it doesn't, drop me a comment. I'd love to get a group discussion going on in here. Or just fire my any questions you may have.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Finished: Narcissus In Chains

Narcissus In Chains, by, Laurell K. Hamilton

Classification: Supernatural urban fiction.

First Impression: A steaming pile of garbage writing trying to hide behind a lot of homo-eroticism.

Final Verdict: Decent action and an interesting story balance out bad writing moments and unlikable characters. I'm considering delving more into the series, so it wasn't god-awful, but I can't say it was great either.

Extended version: I dunno. Maybe never having read any other book in Hamilton's Anita Blake series (or any book by Hamilton for that matter) I shouldn't have started with the tenth in a series of, I believe, fourteen and counting novels. Then again, I really enjoy reading series' out of order. However, I couldn't help but feel that Hamilton was just not that good. I can see how her books would appeal to the same crowd that devours the trashy romance novels, but I never suspected that was the same crowd that loved vampires, werewolves, and violence.

Why am I being so harsh? Well the majority of her characters were really annoying. Especially the heroine Anita Blake, for some reason, Hamilton really wanted to beat the idea into the reader that Blake had a problem with nudity. Never mind the fact that she was often finding some kinky excuse to take off her clothes and get down and dirty, she still had to drive the point home that she was very uncomfortable with it. Over, and over, and over again.

I got the idea the first time she told me. Rereading it every few pages just got old fast. I suppose I should give her credit for her consistently trying to show her character's quirk, but I can't help but feel there was a much better way she could have conveyed it without such monotony.

To be honest, after six hundred plus pages I really felt like the only things Blake ever thought to herself were "I don't like getting naked" and "I'm afraid I'm a sociopath." I guess we could say I just didn't like Anita Blake, but I really feel like the reason for that was simply the author's unoriginal attempts at trying to show her struggle with her humanity, or lack thereof as the case may be. Especially because the rest of the novel showed Anita's internal struggle and her intricacies fairly well without the commentary akin to being beaten over the head with a mallet. Maybe her typical readers are used to having the same thing reiterated over and over. Maybe it's just me. I don't know...

The other thing I really could not stand about Hamilton's writing is how despite having numerous graphic sex scenes she manages to shy away from ever giving name to either the male or female genitalia. Instead of naming the parts she was so eloquently describing she would use such lovely nouns as "it" or "him". She actually managed to go the entire book without a single direct reference to either the male or female reproductive organs although she could describe how they looked. I would have even preferred something as bland as "his penis was inserted..." to a complete avoidance of the fact that these things have names. I can only read "The sight of him..." so many times, when it was clearly referring to a penis, before I just wanted to gag. That or give Hamilton a serious lecture on the importance of refraining from monotony in her writing. Either way, it felt almost juvenile in delivery. It reminded me of prepubescent school children snickering behind the teacher's back in health class when they discussed the human anatomy. I don't know how else to say it; it bothered me.

All complaining aside, however; the action and the story though not anything spectacular was entertaining enough to keep my interest despite the story's flaws. I even will go as far to say I may give more books in her series a chance later on.

That's it for me right now. I also just finished Jodi Picoult's Perfect Match I'll have that review up later.


Anonymous said...

well, 600 pages...def won't give it a try...

AmberInGlass said...

Haha, yeah, I picked up one the larger ones in the series as well as it being one of the later ones. I should have reminded myself that "what is popular is not always good..." She definitely had some thin ones though that I'd say couldn't have been over 300 pages paperback, if you're considering checking it out.

Uninvoked said...

I like this review better than some of your other completed ones. I like the fact that you give me enough detail that it feels like I've read the book myself. Please go on with your book rants!

AmberInGlass said...

Thanks, Uninvoked, I definitely plan to.

Digital Tempest said...

I don't think this was the best choice to start with. I'm an out-of-order series reader, too, but this series after--maybe--book 5 lost its steam. She started out decent, but it got ugly QUICK. Even her dedicated fans will admit that her books have hit a slump. She's trying to get out of it though. Great review all the same. :)

AmberInGlass said...

Thanks for the comment Digital Tempest, I appreciate your visit, and for the insight on Hamilton's career. I was thinking that if I was ever going to read another of her Blake series, I'd either grab the latest or the first.