I recently went through LKH's Danse Macabra, analyzing it as I'm wont to do. The book turned out to be 98% sex (and not even good sex) and 2% plot, if you could call it plot. For sake of thoroughness this is what Publisher’s Weekly had to say about it:
The uniquely complicated life of Anita Blake, the St. Louis–based necromancer, gets even more complicated when Anita discovers she may be pregnant in the 14th novel in bestseller Hamilton's vampire hunter series (Micah, etc.). Her sexual magic powers require multiple lovers, so there are six potential fathers. One possible dad, werewolf Richard, has trouble understanding that, baby or not, Anita's still a federal marshal who raises the dead and executes vampires. In addition, terrifying, life-threatening obstetrical challenges are involved, since the maybe-mommy has to deal with vampirism and several strains of lycanthropy coursing through her veins. That Anita has no detecting to do may disappoint some fans, but playing hostess to a gathering of North American vampire Masters of the City, ostensibly in town for a performance by a vampiric ballet troupe, keeps her plenty busy. When the vampire ballet takes the stage toward the end, several new plot elements emerge. The very lack of a finale suggests that there's no end in sight for this fabulously imagined series. (July)
There are several things that I’d like to point out here, one the “sexual magic powers” and two the “Vampire ballet”. In Hamilton’s earlier books, the ballet would take precedence over the sexual magic powers, which is she needs to have sex to have magic. Strange but true. There would be something mysterious and crime related happening in the ballet, which Anita would need to solve because she’s the one that deals with vampire crimes. The sex would have come second. Not so in this book.
Also, being a nitpick, just because there’s a sequel doesn’t mean you don’t need to make a final. Every book needs closure or else the reader feels cheated.
This is not what I wish to talk about. Instead it’s Hamilton’s portrayal of homosexuality, or how it doesn’t really exist. Blake is Hamilton’s stand in, her self insert, so anything that Hamilton feels, so does Blake.
Anita is grossed out by homosexuality. She readily admits it. However when she’s finally in a tryst with two men she feels like this:
Sucking on [Auggie's] nipple raised his upper body off the floor, tore a yell from him. His eyes were wide, surprised, his hands reaching for something to hold on to. Someone grabbed one of those reaching hands, and I knew who it was before Auggie drew him into my line of sight. Auggie drew Jean-Claude into him, as he lay back against the floor, and I worked lower on his body. I licked and bit along his stomach, as he drew Jean-Claude down for a kiss. Something I did raised Auggie up off the ground as their mouths touched, so that I had a good view of it. I had never seen two men kiss, not like that. Not with lips, and tongue. In the months that Asher had been in our bed they had moved toward each other a time or two, but stopped. I had never asked whose sensibilities they were saving, mine or theirs. Now, watching Jean-Claude cradling Auggie in his arms and kissing him so thoroughly ... it tightened my body so hard and fast that it was like a mini-orgasm. I'd been told by a very smart friend that to keep saying that I didn't like to be in bed with two men at once was a little silly. A case of the lady protesting too much. My body reacted for me; the sight of them kissing just flat did it for me. I've been told it's how a lot of men feel about seeing two women kiss. Why should I be any different?
This is the first time she’s seen men kiss and at the same time they’re having sex with her. Asher (mentioned above) and Jean-Claude used to be lovers, but as later it’s mentioned that they don’t have sex any more unless they’re with Anita because they’re afraid she wouldn’t want them any more. These men are forcibly denying their own wants and desires because they’re afraid of losing Anita. They can’t have sex with themselves anymore. They need Anita to be with them, thus turning them from homosexual to bisexual. At least in Hamilton’s mind.
She doesn’t see that they’re not really bisexual but instead being forced to give up their own needs to please Anita for some reason. The reason given is that Jean-Claude loves her. The reason why Asher is in her bed is because he doesn’t want to not be with Jean-Claude. But even in the moments of passion they still have to repress their love for each other and desire to touch the other and use Anita as a substitute. They’re not trying to save their own sensibilities; they’re trying to keep Anita happy so that they can be together.
To me, this is a form of rape, something that happens all through the book, because Asher is forced to have sex with her when he doesn’t want to. He wants to be with Jean-Claude. Anita is the cost for being with him.
No one in Danse Macabra is allowed to be gay. They all must have sex with Anita and they all must want to have sex with her. This is wrong on so many levels yet no one seems to realize this. The Weekly Publisher review proves this. They don’t see the repression of desires and the forced sex that permeates the book. Since the prose and author don’t point this out, they don’t see it. They can’t read between the lines and look at what’s not being said.
This, to me, is the greatest tragedy.