Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.
slithytove

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Thoughts about LKH's "Guilty Pleasures"

Back in this thread, buymeaclue said she'd like to get my reaction when I'd finished the LKH novel I'd planned to read in the near future. I finished it. So here's my reaction. BTW, although I have a sort of policy not to say bad things about other living writers' published work in public. I do break it occasionally, and since Hannah specifically asked, I'll break it this time.

Many, many spoilers for Laurell K. Hamilton's Guilty Pleasures follow.

Stuff I liked about this book:
 
Individual scenes aren't bad: intrinsically interesting, well-imagined, fairly well blocked, colorful cast, good pace.
 
Kick-ass heroine, that one suspects was an inspiration for Buffy Summers: short, very physical, willing to dive into danger, but still very feminine in traditional ways.
 
Action-oriented, killing vamps with guns and swords. (Unlike, say, Interview with the Vampire, which I would describe as 'whining-oriented', or The Exorcist, in which the protagonist spends most of the book spiritually tormented, and kills Evil Incarnate by faith and self-sacrifice rather than duking it out.)
 
Love, love, love the Big Bad. Powerfully imagined. The book kicks up a few notches when Nickolaos is on stage.
 
I like a lot that Anita has a backstory, and a history with other characters, although I wish we saw a little more of it. What exactly happened between her and Edward, anyway? Although being both an Animator *and* a vamp slayer is a little Mary Sue-ish.
 
Phillip is an interesting choice of side-kick: he's introduced as sleazy and contemptible, but a few chapters later our heroine is knocking around with him. Unexpected. BTW, the 1970s called, they want their fishnet shirt back.
 
Neutral stuff:
 
Very girly flavor: lots of attention to details of clothing, hair, eye, skin, personal grooming.
 
Stuff I didn't like:
 
The plot doesn't work, if there even is a plot. A great deal seems to happen for no reason, or leads nowhere. Major plot elements seem to be forgotten. Example: initial nightclub scene. What happens to Catherine? She's been made a vampire's slave. Anita worries about it for only a short time, and forgets completely about her sister for the rest of the book. What about Monica? Also forgotten.
 
What's the point of the were-rats? What's the point of the vampire junkie party? What's the point of the vampire church and Malcolm?
 
Motivations are usually incoherent. Why does Nickolaos go to great pains to recruit Anita, then abuse and threaten her, and let others do so as well? If she wants to find out who's killing the vamps, why not let Anita do her job? Why is Zachary killing high-level vamps? Why not kill pipsqueak vamps, whom no one would care about? And how is he even able to do so, high-level vamps being so powerful and all? Why does Phillip defend Anita from Nickolaos?
 
Worldbuilding doesn't work. How can vamps exist in this world, tolerated by humans? They've got be feeding on humans. That's not going to be tolerated, any more than armed robbery or auto theft are tolerated.
 
Same problem as BtVS: working Christian elements in a non-Christian world. Holy water burns vamps, as do crosses. But the heroine never attends church, or even thinks about God, Christ, or theology. This is sort of like using a computer but not believing in electricity. I'm an atheist, but if I lived in a world in which holy water and crosses had demonstrable physical effects on the undead, I'd seriously reassess the possibility of God, and try praying a little. To, you know, see if anything happened.
 
Penultimate fight scene doesn't work. How the heck does Anita figure out that it's Zachary who has been killing the vamps? There's no information in the scene to tell her this: she just suddenly announces it. Why don't Anita and Edward run for the car, rather than the shed, and just drive off?
 
In the final fight, Nickolaos dies too quickly and easily.
 
Frequent attempts at humor fall flat. Not funny, pace is off, or something else is wrong. Anita constantly tries to sound like a world-weary film noir tough guy, and it NEVER WORKS. Please, LKH, stop it, it's NOT WORKING.
 
Sentence-level writing is meh. Occasional cliches or bad adjectives ('incredible', 'huge', 'massive', etc.). Frequently word choice is off key, the lightning bug rather than the lightning.
 
--
 
Final thoughts: Not planning on reading more. Not sure why this book and this series was so popular. (Note that LKH's page is among the most frequently visited in the Fantastic Fiction bibliography database.) Perhaps I've been spoiled by BtVS? BtVS did the same shtick much better, but this book antedated that show, and the idea of a very physical young woman fighting vamps with weapons may have been fascinating to a reader who first encountered it here.




NOU

ko(i)

meaning: thick, deep, rich

濃厚 == noukou == (noun, adjective that takes な) density, richness, concentration, tension, thorough, conscientious
濃紺 == noukon == (noun) dark blue




Left radical is a radical form of 'water'. Right radical is 'farming' (農), here used phonetically to express 'abundant'. This character originally referred to 'abundantly watered' farmland, leading to meanings related to the fertile soil of such land. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Rich water aids farming.'

Info from Taka Kanji Database
List of compounds including this character from Risu Dictionary

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