The Great Big Anita Blake ReRead – The Lunatic Cafe

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.

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Urban Fantasy 101: Sexual Assault in the Genre – Part One

Content warnings: this installment of Urban Fantasy 101 will be dealing with sexual assault in the genre. This means that I will be quoting and talking about sexual assault with vivid and graphic language largely pulled from the books that I’m covering. This includes descriptions of assault and threats.

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There’s a really creepy conversation about “Catholic School Girls” in the latest Anita Blake book…

Content Notes: This piece focuses on a conversation about child sexual abuse (CSA) by Catholic priests and a joke about “Catholic school girls” alongside talking about rape and CSA survivors in the Anita Blake series and how they’re treated. I also reference the fact that Anita is a rapist (in general) that is currently sleeping with a character that was 16 in his first appearance and is currently 19 to her 31/32.

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The second I heard that Laurell K Hamilton was writing a book set in Ireland, I actually found myself getting worried about how Catholicism would be portrayed and I’m not even Catholic.

In the Anita Blake series, a recurring historical fact is how the Pope excommunicated all of the animators (people that can raise the dead) due to the belief that only Jesus/God had any right to raise the dead and that anyone that was doing it, was basically fueled by Satan.

Essentially, it’s not an Anita Blake book if we don’t get a kind of whiny reminder about how Anita is no longer Catholic because of how backwards the church is when compared to other subsets of Christianity and how she’s so much better than the Church because she’s ~so accepting~.

(In later books, we even got the image of Anita’s existence as a “good and just” animator/necromancer being validated by the presence of angels which is… problematic not just because of things like her sleeping with an actual teenager, her being a rapist aside from that, and so much murder.)

But I digress.

The important thing to hold on to is that from the very moment that we got the first inkling that Crimson Death would be a book set in Ireland – a book heralded by Anita and LKH’s first trip across the Atlantic – I was prepared for the worst.

And well… within the first chapter, that’s what I got.

Despite somehow being the only worthwhile vampire hunter/expert in the world, that the reason why Anita isn’t initially wanted to help the Irish police with their newest case of unexpected vampires biting people is because she’s a necromancer and Catholicism frowns upon that. So they’re basically trying to ban her from a case they need help on because of their religion.

This means that we start Crimson Death with the idea that the poor, backwards, and Catholic Irish people are more interested in protecting themselves and their own religion than protecting people.

But wait, it gets better:

Anita and her friend Edward proceed to have a joking conversation that hinges on sexualizing Catholic school girls right after talking about the history of sexual abuse in the Church.Read More »