Anita Blake, #23
Laurell K Hamilton
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Date of Publication: December 2, 2014
Number of pages: 304
"Enjoying pain with your pleasure is something you either get, or you don't. If you get it, then you don't really need it explained, because you know how good it feels, and if you don't get it then no amount of talking is going to convince you it makes sense."
But sometimes you have to explain the unexplainable, especially if the love of your life needs to understand, or she'll leave you. Jason Schuyler is one of Anita Blake's best friends and favorite werewolves, with benefits. J.J. is his lady love, an old flame from childhood who dances at one of the top ballet companies in New York. She's accomplished, beautiful, and she's crazy about him, too. Neither of them wants to be monogamous, so what could go wrong?
J.J. is enthusiastically bisexual, with an emphasis on the female side of things. She plans to keep sleeping with women, because Jason can't meet that need, just like she can't meet Jason's need for rough sex and bondage. J.J. doesn't understand why Jason isn’t content to go elsewhere for a need she can’t fulfil, so Jason asks Anita to help him explain.
Anita is having her own relationship growing pains with her only female lover ever, Jade. Jason suggests that J.J. might be able to help Anita with her girl problem, while she helps him with his kinky explanations. With some encouragement from a few other lovers in Anita's life she reluctantly agrees, and J. J. makes plans to fly into town for an experience that none of them will ever forget.
Okay, this isn't my favorite quote, but it is a prime example of what the book was about. I was sooo disappointed in this book. What happened to the old Anita Blake books?
Some small sound made me turn my head. Domino had moved farther away from the bed; Nathaniel had his eyes closed, body straining against the ropes, as he fought for his own control. It was Jade kneeling in the pillows at the head of the bed, tears shining on her face.
I sighed, and lay there for a second, not wanting to go to her, because there had been other times with Domino, or Nathaniel, where I’d gotten some of the rougher foreplay that I liked, and Jade had freaked. She had so many triggers that reminded her of her abusive ex-master, and most of those triggers tended to be sex that I enjoyed.
J.J. looked down at me, and I didn’t try to hide the look in my eyes. “Sorry,” I said.
“It’s okay, not your fault.”
“No,” I said, “it isn’t.” I got up so I could go and comfort the other woman in the bed, but honestly, I didn’t want to. It wasn’t that I was unsympathetic. It was that I’d been sympathetic for months and months. She wouldn’t go to therapy unless I went with her, and I’d told her, no, therapy was an inner journey and had to be walked alone, and besides, you weren’t honest if other people were in the room. I’d finally found a therapist who specialized in domestic abuse survivors, and I’d gone with her, but she had made it all about how we weren’t getting along, so it turned into couples counseling. I’d tried to bring up the abuse she’d suffered from her ex-master, and all Jade had wanted to talk about was how to make her and me a better, more workable couple. I finally told the counselor that since I was already engaged to three men, I didn’t really see how a girlfriend who didn’t like men that much was going to fit into my life. It’s not often you see a really good psychiatrist stumped, but she didn’t have a comeback for that.
I recently read someone say that the last couple of books read like therapy. While reading this one I counted more than half a dozen references to "working though an issue" with a therapist or a character going to therapy for whatever issue. While I don't think this was the author's goal, I was left feeling like the author is working through her own issues through this book.
And it left me feeling fairly... meh. I miss the early books in this series when she was hunting vamps and killing things, raising zombies, working with the police and being the biggest baddest bitch around.
Now Anita is having sex with multiple partners, male and female, and discussing what limits have been agreed upon in a particular "scene". It is no longer sexy, but reads more like a how-to-manual for the poly-amorous lifestyle. Which there is nothing wrong with that, but it's not what I want to read in an Anita Blake novel. I want action scenes, not this talk, talk, talk, inner monologue, talk some more, ultra staged BDSM sex scene, talk some more, discuss the feelings - that is happening throughout the series. Honestly, I think I am just about done with this series. :( This one was only worth 2 stars.