Narcissus in Chains

  • ISBN13: 9780515133875
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.


Product Description
The “steamy” (Booklist) Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novel that took Laurell K. Hamilton to a whole new level is now in paperback.

Includes a bonus excerpt from the next Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novel, Cerulean Sins, coming in January 2003.

Recent Comments
  1. G. Richardson @ 6:16 am

    This book represents, for me, just about the final nail in the coffin of what began as one of the neatest series ever. All the things that made me love the series to being with, and kept me buying them (with increasing reluctance) as they came out, are now pretty much dead.

    Great plots/suspense/humor? There almost isn’t any. All of the fascinating and funny stuff in the early books, attempting to integrate monsters into modern American life with all the questions about the legal rights of the undead, etc.., have been pretty much forgotten.

    Great action? What made the early books so tense and exciting was watching the gutsy little human woman go up against awesome evil creatures with vast superhuman powers, and somehow come out on top. Now Anita is the mighty Queen of werewolves AND wereleopards, Master of Vampires, the greatest necromancer of all time, always right, all-powerful, and everybody, but everybody wants her hot bod ! I find myself almost rooting for her poor victims/enemies, especially now that the distinction between Anita and the “bad monsters” isn’t that clear anymore.

    Great support characters? The terrific Jean-Claude is now Anita’s faithful little pet; merely one of her many lovers, he dutifully shows up to explain stuff and help out a little when needed, and then scampers back to his coffin at daybreak with a pat on his head. What a waste! Richard, who showed signs in Blue Moon of finally coming to grips with his bad furry self, is once again the self-loathing bleeding-heart trapped in a predator’s body…. another waste! The only thing left to wish for, for those of us who cared about the Richard character, is to see him get the first cure for lycanthropy, marry the nice scientist from Blue Moon, and get the heck away from the Executioner. Our brand-new “hero”, the new man in Anita’s life, Micah? His only relevant characteristic is a you-know-what even bigger than Richard’s, but he adds nothing, since “he doesn’t mind bodies lying all around” — that is, he automatically agrees with everything Anita does. Oh, he IS something of a rapist who doesn’t take “no” for an answer, however — but that’s ok, since Anita really “wanted it”, right?

    Great heroine? Worst of all is what Hamilton has done to Anita herself — fearless in fights, but nervous and insecure in her “dating” life (which used not to necessarily mean “sex” — now that’s the only thing it means). Over the last few volumes, she stopped being likeable — now she’s not even that interesting. In Blue Moon, we found her worrying whether a magical ward against evil beings would work against her; at the end of Obsidian Butterfly, she was horrified to find out that a certain psychopathic serial killer saw her as his kindred spirit or even “soulmate”. All of these interesting concerns about the direction her life was heading seem to have suddenly disappeared, replaced by her smug contempt for Richard and HIS self-doubts. And, of course, the shy, “good Catholic”, girl who was flustered by her attraction to Jean-Claude is long gone, replaced by something of a, well, slut. The downward moral slide, which began when she violated her own most important rule — uncompromising loyalty to the people she cares about — by betraying Richard (her fiance at the time!) in the most cruel way possible, has just about hit rock-bottom now.

    Great romance/passion? In the meantime, the amazingly well-written eroticism of the early books has crossed the line into something more like porn: lots of graphic sex for its own sake. Judging from the new racy covers (even for the new printings of the older books in the series), this represents a deliberate marketing decision on Hamilton’s part.

    As I said, what a waste…

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  2. Anonymous @ 6:31 am

    I was one of the fans waiting anxiously to read NIC. I heard the opening chapters read in Dallas, and, if I remember correctly, asked for a cigarette when it was over. It was that viscerally gripping.

    The drivel that it devolved into in the finished work was a complete disappointment. I found it barely readable.

    A few of the highlights (or would that be lowlights?):

    1) The atrocious grammar, spelling and foreign language errors that have plagued the series from Day 1 were SO pronounced that, unlike in most of the earlier books (which also abounded with sloppy mechanics/editing), I couldn’t ignore them. There was no story going on to distract me from them

    2) Major characters exhibited illogical and contradictory behavior reeking of plot device (not only contradictory to their behavior in previous books, but from chapter to chapter in this book).

    3) A new major character was introduced, apparently as a continuing romantic interest for Our Heroine. However, this is one of the creepiest “romantic” characters (if he can be dignified by the term character) I have ever encountered. From his description, he sounds more like a sideshow attraction than a romantic leading man. And I DON’T mean tentacles! (Now THEY were sexy.)

    4) The endless tedious, joyless, loveless carnal acts.

    5) The Anita-who-isn’t-really-Anita. Plot device, again. It has been maintained, in various discussion fora, that, in NIC, Anita has “come to terms” with her sexuality. This is not in evidence on the page, as she continues to indulge in juvenile “THAT wasn’t sex” arguments throughout the book. The fact that Anita simply accepts certain plot devices thrust upon her is SO far outside the scope of the character’s evolution over the course of the series, that it might as well be a series about another person entirely.

    6) Beloved supporting characters’ mouths are filled with “Anita is the most wonderfullest being on the planet” pap. Virtually all the characters in this book exist to validate Anita as the best, baddest, most intriguing, alluring, etc. One that ever was. Including the bad guys.

    7) There is no context for the events in this book. What made the series gripping and entertaining was the juxtaposition of the preternatural world with the mundane one. I remember the feeling I got reading the first couple of books that I, PERSONALLY, had been awake for days, living on coffee and adrenalin, as Anita shuttled from zombie raising to crime scene to preternatural face off, with an hour’s sleep snatched here and there. I felt that THAT world truly lurked around the edges of ours. NIC lacked that spice of normalcy.

    This is an ill-crafted work that does a disservice to a writer with a marvelous imagination.

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  3. R. Kelly Wagner @ 7:23 am

    Normally, I write long detailed reviews of vampire books. I like the genre, and I like all the previous books in this series. But this one, well… If you want to see why I like the rest of the series, you can read my reviews of all of them, starting with _Guilty Pleasures_ and going through _Obsidian Butterfly_. That would give you a comparison for how I feel about this one. Let’s start by saying I’m disappointed. At best.

    Up to now, Anita has been feisty, moral, conflicted, and busy with her regular work as well as her love life. In this book, she appears to not be doing anything with her job at all – we never even hear about it, never hear from her boss, her co-workers. While for the past 6 months, and in the whole previous book, she was studying with a witch to learn to control her powers, in this book, although she refers to her time with the witch, despite all the problems she has controlling things, she never once thinks of picking up the phone and calling her mentor. And she appears to have abandoned her entire sense of moral conflict. This book brings in a new character, the male Nimir-Raj of another were-leopard pack, with whom Anita immediately has sex. And there’s mental sex, virtual sex, interspecies sex… it gets downright tiresome. You never knew sex could be this boring.

    Even the plot elements, such as they are, are inconsistent, both with the rest of the series and with each other. At one and the same time, we have a tribe of snake men who apparently aren’t weres, they are something we never knew about before, nor had anyone in the book. And then there’s a pan-were, who can turn into any species – likewise, something that’s never been hinted at before in the series, and is inconsistent with what we’ve learned about before. And then, for reasons never very clear, the snake men who aren’t weres decide as a tribe to follow the pan-were – and all of them are bad guys. Sheesh. Talk about contrived.

    What I would really like to do is believe that Hamilton wrote this book as a parody; that now that she’s got it out of her system, in the next book we will go back to where _Obsidian Butterfly_ ended, and start from there as though _Narcissus in Chains_ had never occurred. From the end of _OB_ she could take a different, more logical direction for the series, one which wouldn’t change the character of Anita Blake to something unrecognizable, one which wouldn’t include so much gratuitous sex that it offends even regular readers who are expecting the normal sexual content of the series. I will look forward to the next book in hopes it will meet this challenge – that’s my hope for the series.

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  4. megan scott @ 8:01 am

    I WAS a huge Anita Blake fan – I loved the strong fiesty female character, the snappy dialogue and the original plot lines of earlier books. However, I found this book unsatisfying and shallow. It seemed to be a bunch of loosly linked erotic sex scenes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude – if Anita sleeps with everything (and it seems only a matter of time!) thats fine by me. I was dissapointed in the poorly developed plot and the lack of meaningful interaction between the major characters and also the complete lack of a convincing, or even a mildly interesting, antagonist.

    LKH’s convenient creation of Narcissus and his bunch of merry werehyenas was just so unconvincing. The ultimate bad guy, who is anti-climatically revealed, comes across as if it was a last minute insertion in the book. I get the feeling LKH’s editor said -’Hey Laurell, this book is really flat and lacks suspense, graft on a mysterious bad guy and give it a lift!’

    One redeeming feature of this book is 10-12 pages of interaction between Anita, Dolph and Zebrowski. It reveals the reasons for Dolph’s antivampire views and also reveals something of Anita’s feelings and priorites to Zebrowski. This type of character conflict – where the ideologys and firmly held views clash – is what I have previously found so interesting in LKH’s novels, and is so absent in this one. (The scene about Jean-Claude’s long-term imprisonment/torture of Gretal and his justification to Anita is another such example.)

    The book’s ending was convinient and anticlimatic. There was no sense of surprise or suspense in the revelation of the ulimate bad guy. You just knew that the ever more powerful Anita (whats next – she will leap tall buildings in a single bound?) was in no danger.

    For me it was the emotional conflict of the ‘Anita character’ in her continuing fight to retain humanity in the face of huge odds that I find so engrossing in LKHs novels. In this book major events in Anita’s life and emotional well being were glossed over, such as the radical change in her relationship with Richard, and her calm acceptance of becoming a monster and a sexual predator.

    In this book Anita seems to have just given up, or maybe it is more accurate to say LKH has given up. One more book like this and I will.

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  5. Anonymous @ 8:32 am

    Let me just start by saying that I’ve read all the books in this series. I may have had a quibble here and there with them, but overall I like them all. And then came this book, and I simply can’t believe its this bad. Plot? Well, there isn’t much of one. I think the point of this book is Anita getting in touch with her inner-monster, or something along those lines. No more need for those pesky morals, now its just sex and killing and threatening galore, and darn it, she likes it that way !! Pass the barf bag. Its especially amusing how the author has to constantly keep throwing in characters making comments about how wonderful and special and perfect and terrific Anita is, we are even assured God still loves her (really? I wouldn’t be so sure). Its like the author had to keep reminding us “you are *supposed* to like Anita”.

    As for the other characters, Jean-Claude is relegated to bit status and mainly seems to be around to explain things to Anita, Richard is cruelly eviscerated with such malice it almost seems personal (can’t help thinking that whoever she based this character is based on pissed the author off in a bad way), and Anita’s human friends are essentially cast off as unimportant or “not understanding her”. Anita has a new man now, her instant “yes” man/soulmate, who seems basically there to assure Anita, once again, that everything she does is the absolute best (ya know, in case we forgot the other 6534 times we are told in the book). If he’s a permenant addition to the ever growing cast of characters, thats a real shame. And maybe the author should have tried to give him a personality based on more then his enormous…assets.

    Lots of unsexy sex in the book b/c now Anita has the “arduer” so she can’t help herself. Its too ridiculous a concept to even spend another minute thinking about. The book raises to the level of parody when Anita has to delay saving one of her “leopards” (who are so hapless, you’d like to push them all down a well) because she has to get in bed with 4 men for some magical screwfest. I can’t believe I used to actually like this character.

    This is the worst book I’ve read all year, and I’ve read many. Thats sad. The jury is out on whether I’ll read the next one. Think I might just read the …reviews and make my decision then. If you liked the Anita of the first books, and like the mystery/crime-solving element of the books, and enjoyed Anita’s very real struggles with morality and her humanity be forewarned, this book is probably not for you. If you’re someone that just says “Wow, Anita kicks butt and everyone wants to have sex with her, Cool!!”, you’ll probably love it.

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