Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Incubus Dreams" Laurell K. Hamilton

This is I believe book 12 of a series. I haven't read any of the preceding books. It's an interesting exercise to read, because I always feel like editors force authors to put in little explanations for the benefit of people who haven't read the other books, and those little gifts are annoying to me as a reader-from-the-beginning.

Well, let me tell you, those little gifts are annoying to me as a reader-for-this-volume-only as well. I wish there was a better way to work in that Marianne was Anita's therapist a little more smoothly. I feel like the editor wrote on "Introduce" or something in various spots, and the author did so in the most hostile way possible. There was no massaging. Either that, or the author was writing 1300 words per day come hell or high water in order to finish the draft and had a projected page count that was way higher than suited the plot, so it was all written stream-of-consciousness.

So the book opens with a wedding, and then our hero Anita gets called out of the reception to consult on a murder investigation. She goes back to the wedding and has sex and relationship problems for about a hundred pages, then goes to the office and meets a couple who want her to re-animate their dead (murdered) son, then has sex and relationship problems for another hundred pages. And the sex and relationship problems are special, because she's a necromancer who has a pet vampire and a vampire lover who has a psychic connection to her, and lives with a couple of WereLeopards and has a Werewolf ex.

One of my favourite passages was where she discovered thongs (the underwear, not the sandals). She went on at great length about how cold her butt felt while she was wearing it, and how she hadn't realized that the little scrap of silk or cotton was providing so much warmth. That was because she was wearing a short skirt over the thong, but anyway. TMI.

About Chapter 48, which could be summarized as I went inside and went to sleep, I realized that what the book really lacked was a sense of proportion. Every event, no matter how miniscule, is spun out into a chapter. We followed as Aniat unlocked various doors and looked in various rooms before selecting a bed to lie down in, for probably one writing day's entire 1300-word count.

And then, about page 550 or so, Anita stopped having sex all the time and actually solved the mystery. There was only one more sex scene in the whole book (actually, the fact that she could stop all the sex and do something... I'm trying not to say useful or productive, because certainly for her the sex seems to be more goal-oriented than for the rest of us... was a plot point). At work, I would occasionally describe the dreck I was reading, in my usual colourful terms, and people would ask me why I kept reading it (I get the feeling a lot of people around here don't read much at all). You know, all the sex was annoying, but the blurb from Diana Gabaldon on the back had a point: the world she's created is really interesting, and she's got an excellent imagination, and there's a lot of depth to the world, and really interesting characters with interesting problems. I just wish she had a good, ruthless editor.

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