Content/Trigger Warning: References to sexual violence, sex work/er shaming, and well… a snuff film in the text that I describe in medium detail. I still can’t believe it was in the book. I cover the ableist language in the title in the bonus section alongside a bunch of other stuff that I found frustrating about the novel, but that wasn’t related to my angle.
Lycanthropes are nothing if not practical.
— Anita, woefully understating the circumstances behind a snuff film released into the US Underworld. Lycanthropes aren’t practical. If anything, in the Anitaverse, they’re largely actual monsters.
While the previous Anita Blake novel introduced lycanthropes on the large scale, The Lunatic Cafe is the novel that really introduced some of the messed up facts of life as a shapeshifter in Anita’s world.
The one main question that The Lunatic Cafe appears to ask throughout the narrative is whether or not shapeshifters are truly human (like “we” are). It’s a question asked in almost all of the shapeshifter focused books in the series and one that tends to glean different answers depending on the novel and the characters essentially posing the question.
In this book, the answer is… kinda, sorta, not really.