Review: Jason by Laurell K. Hamilton

Some time ago, author Laurell K. Hamilton came out as polyamorous and bisexual. This information is for all the people out there who don’t read the highlights of her life… lucky jerks.

Normally I wouldn’t comment on the personal life of an author in a review of one of their books, but that almost impossible to do that when it comes to Hamilton’s second Anita Blake side-novel, “Jason.” This novel is effectively part of Hamilton’s ongoing fictionalization of her real life. Unfortunately, that means it’s full of “kinky” and “edgy” sex as imagined by a sheltered evangelical Christian grandmother who only vaguely knows what BDSM is.

Jason has a problem — he’s in an open relationship with his lesbian-leaning bisexual girlfriend JJ, but she’s not fulfilling his BDSM wants. She is totally okay with him having someone else do that for him, because she isn’t into that. Yeah, the “problem” in this book isn’t really a problem, but for some reason we’re supposed to think it is. The real issue that is a single person in the vast far-reaching web of Anita’s lovers’ lovers is NOT into BDSM orgies. God forbid!

And of course, since JJ is bisexual, she needs to have both male and female lovers. Because we need one of the most harmful stereotypes of bisexuals, presented casually as a fact.

Jason wants Anita to educate JJ on how sex in the Anita Blake series works, which is that everyone must like the sex that Anita likes. So Anita is going to have sex with JJ, among other people, while also forcing her lover Jade to do things that terrify her, then blaming her when she doesn’t like them. Effectively, Anita now has a white girlfriend, so she doesn’t want the Asian one anymore.

Here’s the problem with “Jason,” as well as most of Hamilton’s recent books — nobody is allowed to be anything but what she is. According to her, you are an awful person if you are monogamous, monosexual (in practice or in sexuality), don’t like painful sex, aren’t okay with “sharing” or don’t want to participate in orgies. God forbid she accept that different people express their sexuality in different ways.

It also takes place in a parallel universe where all people ever think or talk about is sex. Seriously. One character laments that she doesn’t like taking showers because “you can never take a shower without a man thinking you want sex.” Maybe on Hamilton’s home planet that is true.

And anyone hoping for vampire hunting in this “Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter” novel will be bitterly disappointed. The characters spend the book either:
A) Having sex
B) Talking about sex

Both of these are absolute torture, especially to anyone who doesn’t like Hamilton’s very specific fetishes (such as having her private parts “worried” as if by an angry terrier) or her tendency to talk about sexual body parts with the passion and eroticism of a half-asleep octogenarian schoolmarm. And it’s full of cringeworthy things that she thinks are cool — for instance, after some group sex, Nathaniel and Jason fist-bump like a pair of frat boys.

And you could play bingo with the tired, overworked Anita Blake tropes on display — casual misogyny, biphobia, hatred of blondes, random rage, bashing Richard, Nathaniel being creepy, Anita whining about her dead mom/ex-fiance/looks/anything imperfect like Jason not drinking his coffee, and pages and pages of descriptions of clothes and hair.

But the most hideous part of the book is how the character of Jade is treated — since Jade is wildly androphobic and won’t “get over it” for Anita’s convenience, Anita decides to FORCE Jade to have sexual contact with males. She does this, sobbing and terrified. So we learn that Anita wants a girlfriend to emphasize how she’s “edgy” (in the pop music “I kissed a girl and I liked it” sense), but doesn’t want to be bothered by actually caring about an abuse survivor. If ONE therapy session doesn’t “fix” her then she clearly isn’t willing to be fixed.

Needless to say, Anita now comes across as more evil than your average Bond villain — all she needs is a shark tank for people who have displeased her. Anyone not “therapied” into a happy polyamorous Stepford wife is tormented, and she now demands that people sit in order of how much she likes them. Most hilariously, she has to be massaged into sexual bliss to avoid blowing up during a conference. She’s like a mad monarch, but less impressive.

“Jason” manages to be disgusting, unintentionally hilarious AND grotesquely boring — an impressive feat for any paranormal romance, especially one that doesn’t even have a plot. Dodge this silver bullet.

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