So the book in question (Skin Trade) came out in 2009 and Anita’s relationship with Cynric is STILL creepy as hell almost seven years later.
In Skin Trade, Anita is between her mid twenties and mid thirties at the very least. Even though she doesn’t look her age (thanks to her metaphysical connections with multiple vampires and shape-shifters) and supposedly looks like she’s in her early twenties, she’s still CLEARLY too old to be having sex with someone who was sixteen when they were first forced to have sex.
And okay, LKH gives Anita (and her readers) an out where they were both “mind-rolled” and couldn’t consent in Skin Trade, but like… Anita metaphysically bonds with Cynric as a result and once he turns seventeen (which is apparently the age of consent in St. Louis), is shipped to Anita in order to serve as one of her lovers.
So she’s older than me and sleeping with a kid who’s not only going through his senior year of high school in at least one of the books he’s in, but who has Anita and Jean Claude (his lover and their mutual master, respectively) serving as parental figures and going to PTA meetings as his guardians.
I guess LKH wanted to make Anita all sexy and edgy in a way she hadn’t before. I mean, she made Anita a rapist – I mean, succubus – and shacked her up with multiple shape shifters who she fucks in their part-shifted forms, and writes her indulging in incredibly violent sex that we’re told is sexy and that she enjoys even as she literally says otherwise in the text of the books.
I mean… I actually expected that she’d hook up with someone too young to vote before the series was done. I just wasn’t expecting her to then take the kid in her home and like… half-assedly raise him while sleeping with him.
(In the newest book Crimson Death, it looks like LKH retconned the second part where Cyn was 17 when he joined Anita’s merry band of mind-wiped sycophants, but aging him up to 18 at their second meeting REALLY doesn’t erase the weird and gross relationship that Anita has with him considering the age gap and how Anita uses her powers against him and the other tiger-shifters she owns.)
I was going to like… paste in the description of Cyn in that book just so y’all could see how he’s written in this gross gaze but I felt like giving y’all a break and not traumatize y’all with LKH’s objectifying description of that teenager.
I’ll be talking about sexual assault in the Anita Blake series (and how Anita always gets away with rape by virtue of not being in control) in the next Urban Fantasy 101 series (because I kinda put a pause on the monomyth installment) but then when I eventually make it to Skin Trade and Kiss the Dead in my Great Big Anita Blake Reread, I’ll talk more in detail about Cynric and how his whole character arc is a hot, problematic mess caused by LKH kinda not knowing when too much is enough.