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Previous Sporkings
It just occurred to me that if you came in on this one and enjoyed it you might like my sporks of the previous two books, which start here: Affliction and here: Dead Ice. The books are still terrible, but they're terrible in different ways, somehow.

Things I will be reading to detox
Also known as "Duamuteffe Shills Some Of Her Faves" :)

Peter S. Beagle - The Last Unicorn
John Bellairs - The Face In The Frost

Those are my two favorite books ever. If you haven't read them, please do yourself a favor and pick them up. If I ever write something a third as good as the former and half as entertaining as the latter I will feel as though I have accomplished something with my life. Incidentally I was lucky enough to have a chat with Mr. Beagle and he was the kindest, sweetest person you could ever hope to meet. And I loved Mr. Bellairs other series for younger readers as a child, and I still really enjoy them as an adult. They're well worth the read- my favorite is the Johnny Dixon series, followed by Anthony Monday and and then Lewis Barnavelt third.

Robert E. Howard - The Complete Solomon Kane, The Horror Stories Of

Two-Gun Bob is my favorite author. I could go on for ages and ages about how he invented modern heroic fantasy, how he could and did write in any genre he decided to, how we were all robbed when he killed himself, and how that would be the first thing I would go and change if I was given a Tardis (or even access to one.) But I'll just say that- while I won't make excuses for his shortcomings- I love the guy, warts and all. Reading his stuff makes me remember why I wanted to write in the first place.

John Brunner - The Traveller In Black

Not as well known as his scifi stuff, but really really strange and wonderful fantasy.

Michael Ende - The Neverending Story

The movie is great, don't get me wrong, but the book is so much better.

It's Over!

That was the roughest one yet, friends. It took me nearly a year to wade through it. And I'm really, really happy I don't have to ever look at that book again. I'll do the next one, but I'm glad I have (a nebulous amount of) time before I have to deal with it. I'm hoping that with increased editing and actual direction it won't be this awful to wade through. Something might even happen in it! There might be a book's worth of plot rather than three chapters' worth and eighty chapters of filler! Well, I can dream, anyway. Thanks for hanging in there.

It's Angrying Up My Blood - Crimson Death Epilogue
The epilogue is three pages.

The Irish government "wasn't very happy" with whatever it was Nolan's team did in Wicklow. I have no idea; aside from Podward and Donnie there isn't a description of it. Nolan and Podward go to visit Nolan's family.

"When Moroven died, I didn’t feel any energy boost. Either calling the ghosts made me blind to it, or the power that was in She-Who-Made-Him has found another vessel to inhabit. I hope not. Apparently all the Harlequin really do belong to me now, or to Jean-Claude. Or at least they want me to be their Evil Queen. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I know that we can’t keep the Harlequin in St. Louis. They are starting to travel the world and police the preternatural world again. The European vampires are making noises about fighting us; after what just happened in Ireland and some rumors elsewhere, they can go fuck themselves. The vampires are not grown-up enough to be without more adult supervision. I guess that’s us for now."

As a hint, don't mention people not being adults directly after telling people to go fuck themselves. You don't have a lot of high ground as far as maturity there.

Riley and his girlfriend are fine, and Riley is now king of the seal people due to being descended from Roarke.

The Moro(ro)ven had been a fairy before becoming a vampire (one of the "Tuatha Du Dannon" - they must really like yogurt, I guess) which was apparently why the new vampires are different than most. I guess it didn't kick in until after she'd gotten the powerup from the MoAD, though.

"We took Domino’s body home. I am the true heir to the Father of the Dawn and the Mother of All Darkness, because I “married” one of my tigers. It means the commitment ceremony is suddenly way less complicated, because we only have to include people we genuinely love, but I’d willingly go back to complicated if it would bring Domino back. Nicky says I’m lying to myself on that one. I told him to keep his sociopathic logic to himself, that even I need some illusions."

Wow. I guess it's good that Anita is finally admitting that she's really rather awful?

"Asher cried when he saw Nathaniel’s hair. He also apologized to Devereux enough that they’re lovers again, though I think it’s mostly to torment Kane on Dev’s part. We’ll see."

Kane wanted monogamy. Which means if Asher is seeing other people he's cheating. Which means Dev is also purposely cheating. Poor Kane. It's not like he can just walk away, now that he's Asher's animal to call.

"Micah said yes to Nathaniel’s proposal. So we may have yet another wedding to plan; it seems to be a theme for the year."

Wait, what? I though the three of them were getting handfasted as a group? Now Nathaniel and Micah are getting legally married? I'm surprised Anita is allowing that, considering that would give them ties to each other that she can't be a part of.

"The first night we were home together the three of us, I agreed to talk seriously about maybe getting pregnant. Petting Nathaniel’s new short hairstyle makes me remember what could have happened."

Having a kid out of nagging, threats of him having one with someone else, and fear of his death is not the right decision. Period.

"Damian has joined us in the bed a lot. Micah is letting him have a spot on the other side of Nathaniel with me in the middle. Jean-Claude isn’t sure where to put him yet. We’re working on it."

This gets more attention than Domino does. At least he's away from Anita now, where he originally wanted to be.

"Ru and Rodina joined us at home, but feel totally cheated that Nicky got sex to become my Bride, but they just got a bit of magic. They miss their brother, Rodrigo, and he died well, which is just as well, since otherwise I would have had to kill him."

Did she fuck Nicky to roll him or just make out with him a little? I can't remember and damned if I'm going to wade through the mess of that story to find out.

"After what he did to Domino, there was no other option. Nicky agrees. Everyone agrees. So why does it feel weird to owe Rodrigo my life, Nathaniel’s life, and Damian’s life, and still know that I would have killed him if he had survived? Sociopath much? Maybe. Not sure that’s a good attitude for a would-be mommy, but it’s a great attitude for an Evil Queen."

That's not sociopathy. Read the damned DSM already. And how did one shotgun blast kill him, by the way? It was never explained. That should be the tagline for this book, really. In fact, I think that's where I'll end this, since that's where the book ends.

Tl/dr - It was never explained.

It's Angrying Up My Blood - Crimson Death Chapter Eighty-Three
So the seal people stop attacking after about five seconds and Anita doesn't know why. She and Nathaniel and the Harelquin triplets keep running for the jail.

" I raced toward the white light shining as if the full moon had fallen to earth. I could see it more in front of my eyes the closer we got to it."

That's...generally how vision works, yes.

"The triplets were actually behind us as we ran through the entrance to the huge stone building. If we survived, I’d make them do more cardio. A white-haired woman dressed in a long skirt and what was supposed to be authentic clothing but wasn’t quite said, “We’re closing for the day.”"

How the hell does Anita - who doesn't like other women and doesn't care about clothing - know whether this woman's skirt is period-appropriate? Does she even know what time frame they're representing in their reenactment? And how messed up is your protagonist if she has to take time out of what is supposed to be a tense scene to make snide internal comments about a woman she doesn't even know?

Apparently the vampires killed a lot of people in the jail over the years, so that means Anita suddenly has lots of angry ghosts available. Despite never having called ghosts before that I am aware of, and despite that being a power we haven't seen since I believe Serephina (correct me if I'm wrong, please, but wasn't that her power?) Damien runs in and Anita cuts his palm (stop with the palm cutting already!) and the three of them press the blood against the stones of the wall.

"The building shuddered around us, and a wind started down the hallway at our backs, not from the outside, but from inside the building. The two vampires went for the door, but a new vampire was there to stop them. He was huge by any standard, a giant of a man who had to stoop through the door and straighten up carefully.
“Damian, you shit bag. You killed Roarke!”"

Hahahahaha! Imagine him saying it in a monotone- which you have to, as there's no exclamation mark. And "shitbag" is one word, dipshit!

"“Bachman, I see she called you back from Dublin.”
“It served its purpose, for there stands the power that will make M’Lady into the new Queen of All Darkness.”
“This is the one who’s been tearing people apart in Dublin,” Damian said.
“And now that you’ve let all these people see us, I’ll get to slaughter them all,” he growled at us.
“He’s always been more beast than vampire,” Damian said."

Thanks, Basil Exposition! And so Anita didn't have to do any actual work to find the guy; he just wandered on in and showed himself. How incredibly lazy :/

Anita sends the triplets into the cafe to protect the people. (What people? The lady at the front said they were closing- wouldn't anything serving food shut a little earlier to make sure patrons left on time?) Podward turns up.

"A vampire had a man in its grasp, feeding at his throat as it rose into the air. A gun exploded near us; the vampire wavered and dropped the man, who fell heavily to the parking lot."

Did he die of a heart attack when the gun "exploded"? Or maybe it was the shock of someone's throat rising into the air on its own. :/

"A second shot, a heavier boom of a sound, and the vampire exploded in a fine red mist."

...The fuck did he shoot it with? A missile?

The description of the fight gets really difficult to follow. It seems like the author is trying to get it over with as quickly as possible. I think what happens is as follows: the Moro(ro)ven turns up and says that ghosts can't hurt anyone. Anita accesses Damien's memories of feeding on people from the jail. Bachman jumps out a cafe window with the triplets after him. He grabs Donnie, who is suddenly there apparently, and Giacomo grabs Bachman. Dev pulls Donnie to "safety" which is located I know not where, to borrow a phrase, since ghosts and vampires are fighting in the sky and there are vampires on the ground too. Anita sees Hamish. More Harlequin join in, although on whose side Anita doesn't say. Keegan has a shotgun and aims it at Anita and co, who have been holding hands instead of weapons to work on the magic. (What magic? The sudden "give ghosts the power to do...something...that Anita has pulled out of her ass.) The triplets throw themselves in the way and Rodrigo takes a shotgun blast to the chest as he shoots Keegan. Despite Rodrigo being a werecreature he's dying - maybe it was silver shot? Without knowing the distances I can't tell you if Anita should have picked up any of the shot or not, but she's damned lucky they weren't using slugs.

"The shotgun had opened Rodrigo’s chest up. His heart was trying to beat in an open wound. “I have been what a Bride is meant to be for their Groom, Anita Blake: cannon fodder.” He laughed and spat blood."

Well, at least someone knows what Brides are for. Maybe Nicky will get his turn one of these days and pare the cast down a little.

Rodrigo uses his last moments to give a detailed explanation about how the prophecy about marrying a weretiger actually meant that the person was supposed to kill them and drink their blood.

"Ru asked, “Would you ever have agreed to a human sacrifice where you drank blood?”
“Never!” I said.
“You certainly wouldn’t have agreed to one of your own lovers and moitié bêtes being sacrificed so you could watch them die and drink their blood,” Ru said, staring down at his brother, whose face looked like a mirror image of his own.
“No,” I said, but with less force."

I don't know if the author meant to say that Anita was more okay with killing one of her lovers than a random stranger but that's what we're getting from the text as is.

Rodrigo says he realized what the prophecy actually meant when he felt Anita try to roll him and succeed and then he dies and the chapter ends.

...Wait, what? There were ghosts fighting vampires and the Moro(ro)ven is here somewhere and then we just cut away from that for two pages of blather about weretiger prophecies and it's all over but the epilogue? Why does the author hate action so much?! That whole chapter was less than eleven e-reader pages and three and a half of them were other people's memories and talking about prophecies! Anita neither faced the Moro(ro)ven nor dealt with her human servant or animal to call! All she did was put her bloodsy hand on some stones with her boytoy and vampire servant and some ghosts...swarmed? Something? It's not very clear in text.

Tl/dr - The big battle scene is barely described in favor of people talking about things. Again.

It's Angrying Up My Blood - Crimson Death Chapter Eighty-Two
Hokay, going to try and bash through to the end.

"SHE LOOKED AT us, smiling, and finally laughed, “Here I come to rescue you, and I’m not sure you need it.”
“Why would you help us?” Nathaniel asked.
“Because the Lady Bitch is not our Evil Queen.”
“And you think I am?”
She looked at us and then to the floor at the bodies. “Maybe I don’t know much about being good, but I don’t think that’s it.”
I couldn’t argue, so I didn’t try. "

So, Rodina thinks Anita is more evil than the Moro(ro)ven, who carves up people for funsies. Noted. And what's all this gleefully evil crap? The best villains don't think they're evil - or they just don't care.

"“Thank you for letting me see you feed on her, Anita. I have had my fill of that pale bitch.”
I gazed into those black eyes so like her brother’s and realized, “Somehow, I rolled you when I rolled your brother.”
“Yes, the only other one that could ever do that was the Queen of All Darkness herself. I knew we had been following the wrong heir.”
I didn’t argue with her; I’d been arguing with people for months that I wasn’t the heir to the Mother of All Darkness. It was getting silly to keep protesting, so I’d stop. I didn’t like it, but I could stop playing the lady who protesteth too much."

Not "protesteth, " doorknob, "protest." And does this mean Anita is finally going to embrace her Lawful Evil nature? Because that would be a nice change from her constantly being reassured that all she does is good and right. And by nice I mean long overdue.

"We needed to move. Rodina had a backpack with tactical boots that fit me if I stuffed them with the thick socks and a black hooded sweatshirt to go over the lingerie. I had done my best to ignore how cold I was until I got the clothes on, and then I could finally shiver. "

I'm not sure how or why Anita was controlling her shivvering. Or why we need to hear about it.

So, now they have to get Damien and get out, so there will be tension, right?

"She led us up the stairs with a short sword bare in her hand. She’d holstered her gun. She told us silence was essential and we followed her, but I said, “We need Damian.”
“We’ll be lucky to get the two of you out of here. He’s still with the pale bitch and both her servants.”
“We can’t leave him,” Nathaniel said. He must have thought at Damian, because suddenly the vampire was loud in our heads. Go, he thought at us, I’ll join you in Wicklow.
“He says to leave. He’ll catch up with us in Wicklow,” Nathaniel said.
Rodina smiled. “Agreed.”"

Nope! No tension for you, reader! Anita is being led out of the fortress by one of the Harlequin who knows every passage and every guard post, so there's no reason for anyone to worry!

"I’d managed not to think about Domino until I saw Rodrigo waiting for us in the hallway just off the stairs. Then my careful compartmentalizing fell apart. Rodina stepped between us. “This is Ru, the other third of our triplet.”
He looked identical to Rodrigo until I got to his eyes. They didn’t look like dark caves or even the teasing hardness of Rodina’s. There was something softer about this one. He dropped to one knee. “My Queen.”"

Now they've got two Harlequin to guard them! In a moment there will be three! There's no tension, no worry, and no stakes, so the reader is not emotionally involved in any of this.

Rodrigo joins them, and it turns out him putting Domino's blood in Anita's mouth was what gave her the power to roll the Harlequin.
The Harelquin lead them out a tunnel to the ocean and then up the cliff. It turns out the Moro(vo)ven lives inside a cliff under the ruins of a very small castle that only existed between 1169 and 1301. But apparently she's always been there, living inside a cliff, and influencing the rulers of the castle that was only around for about a hundred and fifty years. I feel like the author didn't really read the brochure very closely.

They lead Anita and Nathaniel across to the parking lot, pretending to be couples for some unknown reason ("fitting in" is bullshit; I'm sure people who aren't couples also go to the ruins.) Anita and Nathaniel are also wearing hoodies, which is a completely different situation in the UK than it is here in the US. Here, they're comfy and everyone wears them. There, they are a whole politicized thing in and of themselves, and may have drawn the attention Anita thinks she's deflecting.

Anyhoo, Anita has no idea what to do. Rodina and siblings want to take them to a church where they'll be safe from the vampires, although there are apparently "dozens" of seal people still around. Nathaniel tells Anita to focus.

"He was right. I wasn’t thinking clearly. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, and then I did. Damian was fighting to stay with us, and not let her take him again, but he had all three of them touching his skin: Moroven, Keegan, and Roarke. He could fight off one of them, even two, but three . . . It was like they were trying to steal a piece of us."

He couldn't fight off one of them when he came downstairs before; what changed?

"“There’s no general alarm yet,” Rodina said.
“How do you know?” I asked.
“We aren’t running,” she said.
“Good point,” I said.
We were walking like two ordinary couples with Ru as our third wheel on yet another quiet, picturesque street. There was a line of boats bobbing in the water along the quay with a blue building on the other side of the road that was apparently a seafood restaurant and a shop called the Lighthouse and the Fishman, respectively. There was fresh Irish seafood, or so the signs said. We walked without running. Rodina managed to giggle at something Nathaniel said."

Tension = dead. Again. How many times has any tension that might have arisen been killed stone dead by unnecessary descriptions thrown at the reader at inappropriate times?

There's a seal in the water, and when Ru talks to it in seal language (how the hell would a humanoid throat even manage that?) it swims away. A bunch of seals launch out of the water onto the dock and change into people.

"We had to scramble over a wall to get into the churchyard, and suddenly we were surrounded by tombstones. It was a graveyard. Nathaniel grabbed my arm. “Raise the dead. Raise zombies, Anita.”
“I’m not sure zombies will rise here.”
“Try,” he said.
“I’d rather not die with our new queen, not just yet,” Rodina said. “Try.”"

So she does want to die with her at some point? What?

Anita comments internally that it's not night yet, but she slices her palm (and again, what a stupid place to cut, with all the tendons right there) and Nathaniel slices his palm (again, dumb) and they hold hands and walk a circle. They make a circle that will apparently keep out vampire, but they're in the churchyard so why do they need to keep out vampires since they've already said the vampires can't enter the churchyard?

Vampires are flying towards the town in "a mass like some Halloween witch poster." I call shennanigans. How many have been made since this spree started? A dozen, maybe? How many did she keep on site in the castle before that? What did they feed on? The seal people? I don't think there's enough vampires as stated in text to make a cloud of anything.

Anita asks the Harlequin to fight a path through to the nearby Wicklow Jail, as she can see some sort of glowing coming from it. After a bunch of blather about how they're all going to die doing it once they start going for it the next chapter begins with the seal people start yelling and falling back so they run towards it without being further attacked. I don't understand why the author hates action so much.

Tl/dr - After walking carefully in badly-chosen garments they are chased by seal people. Anita spends a lot of effort to make a circle that won't keep out the people actually attacking.

Still Another Aside
This came up in a comment thread and I didn't want the rest of you guys to miss it if you hadn't caught it. Here are three so-bad-it's-hysterical fanfics that have become modern day classics, and some of their fanmade adaptations. All of them are more fun to read than this dreck, so please go and refresh yourself with some humorous crap (instead of this dull, self-obsessed po-faced crap.) Enjoy!

My Immortal - The single worst/best piece of Harry Potter fanfiction in existence. Featuring "Goffik" Harry, mopey Draco, and Ebony (or Enoby) Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way. If you've ever wanted to hear Dumbledore curse like a sailor now's your chance :D

Additional: Some geniuses filmed the first four chapters and it is just as good as you're hoping.

Half-Life: Full Life Consequences. The author confirmed after several years that he was trolling, but it doesn't matter - this is still one of the funniest things ever written. Some knowledge of the HL series helps, but you don't have to do too deep; a plot synopsis of HL 1 and 2 from a wiki somewhere should suffice. "What has tobe done" indeed.

Additional: Another genius used Garry's Mod to film all four parts of the saga, with inspired voice acting. It's one of those things I keep bookmarked for really bad days.

The Eye of Argon - written by a Conan fan at age sixteen and somehow published in a 'zine (which is probably what we all wanted at sixteen but were lucky enough not to have happen) it became famous as the worst story ever written. It's not (see "My Immortal") but the wording is hellaciously badly chosen and there's a fantasy convention challenge where people try to read it out loud as long as possible with a straight face- sometimes on helium. When you laugh it goes to the next person in the circle. An old buddy of mine said once that getting through three-quarters of a page was quite an accomplishment.
Note: accounts vary, but the most trustworthy I can find says that the author was relatively chill about the whole thing and went into journalism instead of fiction.

Additional: I haven't seen this myself, but I'll be watching it as soon as I finish this post. It's a dramatic reading of the Eye of Argon, complete with mspaint illustrations.

It's Angrying Up My Blood - Crimson Death Chapter Eighty-One
"Nathaniel and I looked at each other. I concentrated on those big beautiful eyes of his and did my best not to look at his hair. It would grow back. It would. But if I paid attention to it at all, I was either going to start crying or screaming, and neither was going to help us."

Dear gods, woman, there are so many things she could have done to him to make her point - blinded him, gelded him, hamstrung him, started in on fingers or toes or nose or ears, or all of the above. All she did was give him a haircut! How fucking shallow is Anita that the loss of her boytoy's hair is leaving her on the edge of sobbing rather than eternally grateful that the Moro(ro)ven only took something completely superficial?

The stupid is strong in this chapter. Anita is left in the care of the two dumbest guards this side of B movies. Not only are they dumb, one of them is sympathetic. Her plan is to distract them while Nathaniel slips his chains by being "double-jointed" because apparently that gives you Houdini-like escape powers. Nevermind Houdini practiced and practiced in order to pull his stunts; Nathaniel is just going to contort a bit and get out of what appear to be historic medieval shackles with bonus magical powers. They didn't make these things so people could just shuck them at will with their limberness.

Anita's distraction plan involves loudly trying to get her hand out of the shackles and telling the guards what she's doing. She thinks her hands are small enough to get them out if she cuts them enough to bleed, but 1) blood's a pretty terrible lubricant, and 2) in a sane universe the shackles would have been chosen to fit her so this sort of thing was impossible. It's not like over the millenia the Moro(ro)ven hasn't had women prisoners, after all.

"Are you trying to bleed yourself?” Barnabas asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“Why?” Tommy asked.
They were both in front of me, between Nathaniel and myself. Barnabas glanced behind at Nathaniel, so I leaned my body weight on the manacle and showed them why I was trying to get blood. “See, it moves a little. I think if I had some lubrication that I could get this hand out. Once I get this hand free, then I can just reach over and free my other hand.”
“We’re standing right here,” Tommy said. “We won’t let you do that.”"

These are the dumbest guards. It's just more proof that the only way Anita can accomplish anything any more is to have everyone against her be even more stupid than she is. There's no work or thought put into the plot; it's just "well, they're going to stand there and have a conversation about what she's doing instead of stopping her and/or noticing the jingling that's presumably happening directly behind them.")

"I tasted blood when I swallowed. He’d busted my lip a little when he hit me, and the taste of my own blood made the beasts inside me rise like heat over my skin. They didn’t like getting hit in the face either. I was alone in my head with all my beasts for the first time ever, with no more experienced lycanthrope inside me to help me. My body felt like it was starting to catch fire, so hot."

So Anita hasn't learned any control whatsoever, then? She just coasts on having more experienced werecreatures around to direct her whenever the slightest thing happens? Jesus, she's really committed to not doing anything responsible ever! She doesn't eat, sleep, or feed the ardeur without a butt-ton of nagging, drags people who are metaphysically tied to her into danger, doesn't have any idea how to control the MoAD's power and doesn't seem to care about finding anything out about it, and now we find out that she doesn't even know how to control her metaphysical zoo without someone there to do it for her! Has there ever been a protagonist less interested in taking personal responsibility?

"I’d learned how to drain life energy through the touch of skin to skin from Obsidian Butterfly. She hadn’t meant to teach me how to do one of her tricks, but one of my gifts was that if a vampire used a power on or around me often enough, I retained it either temporarily or forever. This one was forever."

I can guarantee you that if the author ever played with a tabletop RPG group the DM and everyone else groaned audibly whenever she spoke. That is so overpowered I can't even begin to explain it.

So Anita drains Tommy of his life force while Nathaniel picks up a discarded knife and attacks Barnabas with it. And because these are the dumbest, most incompetent guards in the Anitaverse (and that's saying something!) they win.

Anita finishes off Tommy with a knife. Nathaniel uses this opportunity to laud her, because no one's done that this chapter yet.

"I stood up and offered Nathaniel the blade again. He shook his head. “No, you keep it. It took me a lot to kill the other one. You did it in one strike. I’m not good enough with a knife yet.”"

Anita did it with one hit because Tommy was a motionless mummy on the ground. Barnabas was standing and potentially able to fight back. There's a bit of a difference.

They look up and Rodina is there, holding a gun. Spoiler alert - she's there to rescue them. What are the odds that she did so in the initial version of this manuscript and the editor told the author that Anita should probably do something herself for a change?

Tl/dr - Anita and Nathaniel get free by beating some guards that make me reach for the Space Mutiny links again.

It's Angrying Up My Blood - Crimson Death Chapter Eighty
So the Moro(ro)ven kisses Roarke and Anita calls out to Damian. He snaps out of whatever it was he was in until the Moro(ro)ven touches him and he goes back to being inert again. The Moro(ro)ven says that as soon as Anita was cut off from Damien he reverted to her control, which implies that control is limited by distance, because the last few times Anita was cut off from Damien (due to either her disinterest or incompetence) Damian went nuts and had to be corralled in one of the cross-wrapped coffins Jean-Claude keeps somewhere in the Circus. (Incidentally, did Greta ever get let out?)

The Moro(ro)ven tells Damien to kiss her. Anita tells Damian not to. The Moro(ro)ven tells him to.

The Moro(ro)ven says that she wanted Anita to come to her, and that Damien was just a nice bonus. Anita asks why she sent him away, and the Moro(ro)ven replies that Jean-Claude promised to use him as a sex toy, which Damian was in terror of.

"You had men here,” I said. “You didn’t have to send Damian all the way to America for a little sodomy.”
She made an unhappy face. “What good to me is a man who prefers men? I do not collect such men. I gave him up to be tormented by Belle Morte’s prize pupil, only to find that when Damian returns home, he has a taste for men now. Jean-Claude must possess some witchery that I did not envision.”"

I think she's just trying to keep the Moro(ro)ven talking, but still - don't give her ideas, you dipshit.

"I fought to keep my face blank, because I knew it wasn’t Jean-Claude’s witchery, at all. Nathaniel was two for two, being the only male lover of two heterosexual men. "

Okay, but Damien was mind-fucked into it, so he doesn't count. Metaphysical date rape powers do not count.

"She tried to walk all the way around Nathaniel and the two Roane, but Rodina was in the way of her skirts. “Oh for Goddess’ sake, girl, rise and go stand with Hamish.”
Rodina didn’t make Moroven order twice, just got to her feet and moved over to stand with her fellow Harlequin. They might not like each other a lot, but neither of them liked Moroven at all. I wasn’t sure how I was so positive of that, but I was, and somehow I knew I was right."

You're right because the author has decreed you will never be wrong, Anita. It's not a good thing. Also, if the Moro(ro)ven thinks she's a goddess, who is the goddess she's mentioning?

"“Jean-Claude is one of the most beautiful men on the planet,” I said. “I mean, I may be prejudiced in his favor, but he is the king of seduction.”"

When did he go from being really strikingly good-looking to "one of the most beautiful men on the planet"? And why? Wasn't he good enough for Anita as he was?

"“Tempting but I did not create a near army of vampires in Dublin for fun and frolic, Damian. I was beginning to wonder what horrors I would have to unleash on Dublin before the great vampire expert would finally come to Ireland.” She looked at me and smiled.
“Are you saying that you did all that just to get me here?”
“The only power you possess that is more attractive to the Mother of All Darkness is your necromancy. It is also what allows you to control vampires, so I lured you to the only country in the world where your personal magic will not work. Now, when I kill you and take the rest of the Mother’s power into myself, it won’t linger over your necromancy. The magic will simply come to me, as it was destined to.”"

That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Not only is it unlikely that there is only one place in the world where Anita's necromancy won't work, why would it have interfered with the MoAD's power leaving her on death? The Lover of Death's necromancy didn't interfere with the MoAD's power when he died. And how was she so sure Anita would end up in IReland? She's not even remotely the only vampire "expert" in the world (and it's not like she had any answers Google couldn't have provided in the first place) and places like Eastern Europe- which has been touted in the Anitaverse as a place often hit hard by monsters- would have plenty of experts to send in case of need. There was no guarantee that Anita would ever heard of any of this except in the news except that this is the most lazily-plotted book I've read in a long time so a chain of incredibly unlikely events have come together to get Anita here, where the Moro(ro)ven plans to...what, exactly? Kill Anita and take the MoAD's power? That's pretty boring, honestly; it's just one more plot that puts Anita at the center of her universe.

The Moro(ro)ven asks Anita how she made Damien prettier. Anita replies that she doesn't know, and the Moro(ro)ven doesn't believe her, and frankly neither would I because anyone with that much power and no idea how to use it properly would have been killed off years ago in a universe that stuck to its own rules. Apparently the Moro(ro)ven can't tell that Anita is telling the truth but Hamish and Rodina can, although they don't bother to say anything.

The Moro(ro)ven tells her that she knows how to make Anita talk, and after a brief scuffle ending in Damien at sword's point they do some stuff with the chains that isn't clear at all and Nathaniel is either suspended in front of Anita or standing with his arms chained upwards in front of Anita.

"Keegan moved the chain up until Nathaniel’s face was almost perfectly in front of mine so we could look into each other’s eyes. He was hanging only about four feet in front of me, out of reach, but not by much. I looked into those lavender eyes, my flower-eyed boy, and my stomach was clenched so tight, I didn’t know if I was going to throw up or hyperventilate. There had to be a way to stop this from happening. The thick braid of his hair trailed down from his body like an auburn rope to pool on the floor."

How the hell is his hair on the floor if he's either standing or suspended? It's ankle length, correct? Braided, it should be a little shorter. So if he's suspended off the floor, it's not touching the floor. If he's standing, it's not touching the floor. And if he's hung at Anita's standing height, he's only four to six inches shorter than normal so it's still not "pooled" on the floor.

Anita tries to turn the Harlequin against the Moro(ro)ven. They seem uninterested.

"“Enough!” Moroven screamed. She walked around the edge of the wall just like Keegan had, except she didn’t make any more chains appear. She came back with a big knife in her hand. It gleamed silver, and just the way the edge caught the sunlight let me know it was sharp. I didn’t know for certain it was a silver blade except in color, but I was betting it was, even as I prayed that it wasn’t.
“I want you to look into those big, pretty eyes, at that lovely hair and that fit and strong chest, and think upon this, Anita Blake. I am going to make a nightmare of his beauty, and then I will fuck him in front of you, and when you are filled with terror at what I will do next to your two men, I will drink you down!”"

Why is every flipping villain a sexual sadist any more? At this point it's going against probability. There's no shock value in it when every damned villain throws out some sexual villainy as soon as they get a free moment.

Also, I find it interesting that the Moro(ro)ven only describes the three things Anita notices on a man - eyes, hair, and chest. It's like nobody likes asses in the Anitaverse, or anything else that Anita doesn't pay attention to. It's very jarring when every character looks at every other character with the same focus as the main character. They're all pretty cardboard cutout-y as it is without belaboring the point like this. (Note: I first typed "belaboring the pint" which strikes me as a fine idea for when I finish this dreck. Maybe a few pints. Of JD and Coke.)

Okay so friends, brace yourself. I knew this was coming, but still, this is pee-your-pants inducing laughter potential right here. This is supposed to be some kind of crowning moment of horror, but holy shit, it's so funny you could hurt yourself laughing. Be forewarned.

"Moroven strode to Nathaniel in a swirl of white skirts. Damian and I both screamed, “No!”
She grabbed the thick braid of Nathaniel’s hair like a handle to hold him steady. She moved to the side so we could watch each other. She put the blade against his hair and sawed through it. She could have done so many worse things—I knew that—but watching that long, thick braid of auburn hair fall to the floor took my breath. I sagged in the chains, because my knees didn’t hold me in that moment.
We stared into each other’s eyes, and I watched one lone tear trail down Nathaniel’s face. I screamed, not a scream of terror or sorrow but of rage. I lost my shit and cursed her, threatened her, and finally told her, “Kill me now. Because every minute you leave me alive gives me more chances to kill you first, you evil bitch!”"

The lone tear. The LONE TEAR. OMFG, I thought I was going to laugh so hard I'd throw up. Domino's dead, but Nathaniel gets a haircut and suddenly Anita is redlining and Nat's channeling Eragon. Sweet Jesus, you can't make this shit up!

Anita proves she has never evolved, accepted, or let go of anything since effectively her birth.

"I fed my anger as if it were a real fire. I fed it so that it would blaze higher, because she couldn’t feed on me, couldn’t kill us if she couldn’t find my fear. I touched that boiling pool of anger that had been inside me since my mother’s death and been fed by every horror I’d seen since, and I let her see it in my face."

I don't know if anyone's told her, but anger really isn't that scary. Especially when the person in question is tied up and doesn't have a plan besides "get angry."

"Moroven walked to Damian, who was still held between the two Harlequin. “You believe me, don’t you, Damian? You believe that I will do everything I have promised.”
“Yes,” he whispered, his eyes wide, showing too much white around the edges, like those of a horse about to bolt."

Anita has still only seen movie horses, I see. Also I think we see this simile every book now.

"Moroven turned to me with a smile. “He’s afraid for you both. It opened him to me, and now he is mine again.” She led Damian up the stairs as if he were a zombie with no will of his own. “Enjoy your last view of Nathaniel’s beauty, Anita. I give you my word that the hour I give you now will be the last time you see him whole.”"

So she's a Bond villain now. Noted. Just wheel out the damned death ray already and launch the satellite and wait for Anita to convince someone to release her. Sheesh.

Tl/dr - What is intended to be a horrifying moment is instead- for those of us not from the Anitaverse- a moment of jaw-droppingly hilarious cheese with emotional impact on par with the dramatic climax from any film Mystery Science Theater 3000 has ever made fun of. Especially Space Mutiny.

It's Angrying Up My Blood - Crimson Death Chapter Seventy-Nine
So the Moro(ro)ven does her thing and it doesn't work. Who's surprised? Anyone? Anyone? There's no immediate explanation either, since the chains are supposed to bind everything metaphysical, but Anita's just that special because the author is just that obsessed and lazy.
Anita uses her anger-absorbing powers on the Moro(ro)ven. What follows is the least intense description possible for what should apparently be a very intense event.

"I didn’t think it was a bad idea, or a good idea. I just fed on her. I fed on her hands as they cupped my face. I fed on the look in her pale eyes as they widened in surprise. I fed skin to skin, draining herdown as she held me. So—much—anger. I felt my eyes fill up with my own power. I watched her face grow peaceful as she fell into my gaze, and still I drank her rage. I’d never tried to drain anyone like this, but then I’d never had anyone who’d offered such a feast of time and ire.
Hands dragged her away from me, but she reached out to me, wanted to keep touching me, like any vampire victim once you mind-fuck them deep enough. Keegan and Hamish held her between them. Her eyes were still unfocused like a sleepwalker’s.
“Her eyes,” Hamish said, and it took me a second to understand it wasn’t Moroven’s eyes he was referring to, but mine.
Keegan looked up at me and then at the floor. He wouldn’t look me in the eyes while they were glowing. I felt like every inch of my skin should have been glowing with power, not just my eyes. Oh, my God, it felt so good."

I can only imagine her speaking this in the flat, emotionless tones of Lance Fuller in She Creature, or Mike Nelson practicing lines from Lance's book - an experience you can duplicate thanks to the magic of the internet!

So for whatever reason, the Moro(ro)ven still has plenty of hatred left and she looks at Anita with it, causing Anita to be afraid. This pleases the Moro(ro)ven, who doesn't seem that concerned with the whole anger absorption thing.

"“Why would she be afraid now?” Rodina asked, her voice still holding an edge of the fear that Moroven had caused her.
“She sees me now. Don’t you, Anita?”
I swallowed past the lump in my throat, my mouth suddenly dry. I couldn’t have explained it, but I’d never had anyone look at me with such hatred. I don’t know why, but it did frighten me. Damn it."

Well if the protagonist doesn't know, how are we supposed to?

The Moro(ro)ven decides to let Anita stew a bit in order to have more fear for her to absorb. She has some flunkies bring in Nathaniel, and I guess the reader is supposed to be concerned by this but we know for a fact that none of Anita's favorites will ever be killed or crippled, since the author has said so, and furthermore Anita brought him into this knowing he has only the least interest in self-defense and no applicable skills to the situation so she really only has herself to blame.

"I stared into his wide lavender eyes and felt unmanned. "

That's not a word I associate with women, considering Webster's 1820 edition defines it as "UNMAN'NED, participle passive Deprived of the qualities of a man." Which is, by the way, the only dictionary I was able to find a definition that goes with what she wants here. I was already aware of this usage of the word, but I'm a book nut- it hasn't been in favor for a long time and that's going to be hard on portions of her readership. All the modern dictionaries define it as something that can run without a crew of people on board, or in the British ones there's the secondary definition of a hawk that hasn't yet been trained in falconry, since that's the name for the training process. (You man a hawk, you don't tame it. You're effectively working to teach it to be gentle with humans but you are not attempting to break its spirit or change its core personality, which is why all the falconry metaphors in Taming of the Shrew make it a little less harsh than it's generally thought. But I digress.) At any rate, this is a very odd word choice for a woman to use, compounded by the lack of modern dictionary definitions for any of her readers with less literary background.

"“He’s in such good shape, Anita, so much exercise to put all that muscle on his chest and arms. All your men seem to be quite fierce about their gym routines, but then so are you, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” I said, because she didn’t seem to like silence. “Yeah, we work out.”

How the hell does the Moro(ro)ven know about gym routines but not coffee dates? And you know what would be a refreshing change? Someone indifferent to Anita's men. Because it gets so damned tiring to read over and over again that every. Single. Person. Is attracted to them, and that is damned near impossible and boring AF to read about.

"I looked at the men more closely. One had black hair with dark brown eyes; the other had paler brown hair with gray eyes. They were handsome in that traditional guy way, but with Nathaniel in the room, they just didn’t look that good to me. I was biased, but they were broad through the shoulders and looked like there was the promise of muscle under their clothes."

If Anita is commenting on the relative attractiveness of minions of the woman who is holding both her and one of her favorites hostage then the author needs to accept that the tension is dead and this specifically killed it.

Anita attempts to keep being friendly and polite. The Moro(ro)ven isn't particularly interested, citing that she plans to feed on Anita and she doesn't make friends with her food.

“Most servants of vampires can’t feed on their masters,” I said.
“Not just most, Anita, all, or all save for Jean-Claude and his new bloodline. There seems much confusion in his newfound power on who is master and who is slave.”
“We understand who wears the pants in the family,” I said.

Yeah, and it's clearly Anita. Clearly. She contradicts him in front of others, argues about his orders, he defers to her in everything - Jean-Claude is leader only in name.

The chapter ends with Roarke coming down the staircase with Damien (how wide is this staircase anyway?) while Anita tries to figure out what's going on.

Tl/dr - Anita remains a character created by the worst power gamer at your table. Nathaniel and Damien are also in the castle now.