When we last left Anita and her unwieldy polycule + Claudia and Benito, they were being homophobic as hell over one challenger to Rafael’s throne (the hella homophobic Nestor) and Rafael just dropped the bombshell that another, Hector, might be his long lost son. This, by the way, should be impossible as born-shifters are incredibly unlikely because of Hamilton’s own worldbuilding.
Either they kill the human mother partway through gestation and work sort of like a chestburster… or the shifter mother shifts during the full moon early on and just… has a period. It’s only recently (the Las Vegas book) where we found out that tiger shifters can “take pregnant women’s beasts” so they don’t shift and miscarry at any point. They only just started teaching other shifters how to do that.
We’re back at Rafael, beloveds, and I just… please tell me you see what I’m seeing when Rafael and his bodyguard are first introduced on the page after Anita escapes the bitch-off with Kane:
I was more bothered by Kane than I’d thought, since I didn’t sense Rafael’s energy with his main bodyguard, Benito, right beside him. Even without the otherworldly energy they were both tall: dark, muscled, and handsome for Rafael, more sinister for Benito. They both had short black hair and brown eyes, but Benito had deep facial scarring from something that looked like more than acne, but it wasn’t just the scars. I had other people in my life who had facial scars, and none of them seemed like a villainous henchman in a superhero movie, but Benito did. Maybe it was the fact that he worked so hard being scary as Rafael’s main bodyguard.
Y’all see this too right?
Like the sheer racist cringe on display here? It’s not as bad as the first time that we see Rafael introduced by how gosh darned Mexican he is, but it’s not actually that far off if you’re a recurring reader of the Anitaverse and can clock that this is basically just that? The bonus of Benito being described as menacing because of disfiguremesia – a brilliant term coined by my dear friend Mikaela a few years back – and because he’s Mexican… It just makes me itch.
Part of officially deciding that I’d break away from the Anita Blake series was trying to figure out another series to focus on that did more interesting things.
I wanted to tackle a series that I had positive memories of, but also know I can criticize it solidly without losing it. Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series was another one of those urban fantasy series that I kind fixated on as a teenager and kept at it until I was a younger adult.
So, I have the positive memories, but then room to criticize it.
So I’ll be covering the books five chapters at a time blending snarky sporking with the kind of criticism I wanted to return to but couldn’t with the Anita Blake series.
(Not sure how this is going to work? It’ll be something like the spork I did of “Shutdown”, but far less unkind and wordy because I’m not going to go through this book the way I did Shutdown. We’d be here all month.)
First things first here is a list of charities that you can (and should) donate to in order to help people directly affected by the government shutdown here in the US. Many of these people aren’t going to get paid even once the government re-opens and right now they’re suffering greatly. If you can donate, you can help someone get a little bit of financial security in these trying times.
In October 2013, the US government was shut down for several days as a result of the Republican congress really hating the idea of letting the United States people get anything close to universal healthcare.
In response to the shutdown and ostensibly for her readers impacted by the shutdown as government workers, Laurell K. Hamilton posted “Shutdown”, a short story (or, more likely, a deleted scene from the novel that had come out in July of the same year, Affliction) about the werewolf alpha Richard Zeeman introducing his newest human lover to Anita Blake and her main-shapeshifter squeeze, the wereleopard alpha Micah Callahan. This 7200-word story is a quick and frustrating look into the life of one of Anita’s former main lovers.
As Hamilton posted this story with good intentions and reuploaded it with the threat – I mean, promise – to figure out a sequel or original short story if the shutdown continues – with good intentions as well, I am sporking it with the best intentiions at heart. I would appreciate it if my followers/readers donated to one of the charities or organizations I linked to at the beginning of this piece.
So, now that you’ve (hopefully) donated to an organization that’s going to help folks impacted by the government shutdown, let’s start the sporking (for a good cause). The usual trigger warnings for any conversation about the Anitaverse apply here as I’ll be talking about the consent issues in the short, internalized misogyny, kink/sex shaming, and sexual violence. So read carefully if you can!