We have headway! I got my hands on Dead Beat for Thursday and I’m about a third through it already. Now maybe I can keep one ahead of the game. Now on to…
Blood Rites starts off with a puppy rescue and flaming monkey poop. No, I’m not joking. But it doesn’t (quite) stay that humorous, as Thomas of the vampires’ White Court has a favor to ask of Harry. One that smells of family drama in more ways than one. On top of that, the Queen of the Black Court (yep, more vampires) has dropped into town. While Harry attempts to cut her off before she can cause too much damage,he ends up paying in a big way – and I don’t just mean Kincaid’s bill.
Since I mentioned him, I’ll start off by saying that I was so excited to see Kincaid again. Admittedly, I missed Ivy, but it was also really nice to see him outside of his role as her protector too. Plus just imagining this big, touch mercenary relaying her message to Harry was all sorts of entertaining. (Won’t spoil it for you, it is too giggle-worthy.) I like it when side characters get fleshed out a bit in later books, since it makes it feel like remembering who they are was actually a worth-while effort.
Speaking of characters who got some good development (wait for it, there is a bad piece of development ahead too), Thomas was amazing in this book. He got to be all serious and it really brought home that some of that playboy/party-hard image is a facade he wears to protect himself from his feather. It also served to reinforce how human he still is even among the White Court, compared to his older sister Lana or his father for example.
Plot-wise, it wasn’t anywhere near the tangled mess of some of the earlier books. I was able to track it a lot better, and the cast of characters was both condensed and tagged well so that I never lost my grasp. Some long-awaited moments finally happened, such as Bob being a sneaky little devil and Harry doing more than verbally threaten him in response, meeting some of Murphy’s family and learning more about that part of her life, and delving into some much needed history of both Ebeneezer and Harry’s mom. Oh. My. God. Harry’s mom. Not even the big, important thing but… HER NAME! I just got her name with this book. Margaret LeFey. Morgan Lafay. AHHHHHHHH! (*explosion of squeeing*)
… *coughs* Okay, now that all of that is out of my system… On to my problem with this book. Murphy. On one hand, she was another good point. We actually got to see her aikaido, see her struggle with what it meant to be in the loop of magic’s secret existence. Even if the situation with her sister and mother was slightly outside of believable for me, I was totally going to give it a pass since it looked like Butcher was finally figuring out how to balance “Murphy is a cop” with “Murphy is a girl.”
And then we get to the final battle with Lord Raith. Let me firmly establish this – I do not like rape as a plot point at this time in our culture. It has become all too easy to use it to degrade and/or destroy a powerful female character. And it is only used against female characters. There is no male-only equivilant, and until we as a society learn how to handle rape without blaming the victims (though I’ll join the bus and say survivor is a better word) or doing even more harm to them, we need to keep it out of our plots.
Butcher hints at it but doesn’t go that far, which would ever so slightly appease my rage. Except for how it is telegraphed that the rape would go down. That Murphy would enjoy it, even though she had already CLEARLY said “no.” And then he proceeded to show how that would happen with Raith’s powers. Not Okay. Not in any circumstances, fantasy world setting or otherwise. Why? Because there is this thing called writer responsibility. Even though Raith is the antagonist and a vampire, he’s also given enough humanity in him that he could easily be considered “cool” by someone who will then want to model themselves after him. Even if they don’t, it spreads the idea that women can enjoy being raped to anyone who is excellent at taking things out of context to suit their own needs. (Don’t believe me on that front? Look at every hate group or group of college students trying to get their own way and how they take information out of context to make their point.)
It was almost enough to make me “black list” this whole series. This book was full of some decent highs and one devestating low for me. What did anyone else think?