The end of the year is upon us and it’s time to wrap up things that can be wrapped up. One of them is my participation in the Anita Blake reading challenge.
I am really glad I participated as I loved Anita since I read the first book about her and I don’t think that will ever stop. She is such a particularly unique character in the world of books that everyone who reads Laurell Hamilton’s books has strong feelings about her (either good or bad, but strong). Which in my opinion says a lot.
I expect I will re-visit the series again as I like the books a lot and feel like a glutton when reading through them (no stopping me). Since this was my second time around, and this time I didn’t have to wait for books to come out but could read the whole series through, I feel I got a better idea of the complicated inner world in which Anita battles each day, as well as the world of politics and metaphysics where she is forever trying to find a stable position. Even though she is a strong character (and ruthless when called for), she has a sof spot in my heart (and I know she has one in her heart due to all the love and friendship she displays throughout the books).
I know she is an imaginary character, but still she managed to show me how to be strong and persistent in the face of adversity, how much value should be put into true friendships and that love is always generous.
Hope you get to enjoy the series if you still haven’t and here is the list of books I read.
1. Guilty Pleasures
2. The Laughing corpse
3. Circus of the Damned
4. The Lunatic Cafe
5. Bloody Bones
6. The Killing Dance
7. Burnt Offerings
8. Blue Moon
9. Obsidian Butterfly
10. Narcissus in Chains
11. Cerulean Sins
12. Incubus Dreams
14. Danse Macabre
15. The Harlequin
16. Blood Noir
17. Skin Trade
P.S. I just didn’t read that one novella that I still can’t remember the name of and which isn’t listed on L. Hamilton’s site as a standalone work (all these are).
Who thought Mother of all Darkness was dead?!
I for one didn’t. I mean there’s no way they were going to kill her so easily. Turns out that was true and boy, is it going to be even more difficult killing her now.
But, they do have a plan by the end of the book, one that requires a lot of metaphysical pondering for us readers (I for one just went with the flow and didn’t try thinking it through). I mean it really sounded complicated who had what powers and how they kept each other in check, and who went behind whose back in order to keep thing relatively even and then who is going to get killed slowly and painfully because of what they did… Anyway, I just wanted to get to the action so I just read through it and didn’t try to find my way through the maze of political/metaphysical labyrinth.
One thing I can say for Mrs. Hamilton more than for any other author I’ve read is, she can sure take you a bit beyond your comfort level. Although I’m no longer surprised by that and it doesn’t deter me from finishing the book.
At the beginning of the series, it was all the gore and gruesome killings with some incredibly awful creatures. Then it went into sex and we’re still in that territory but this time around, there are some man on man situations that might not be for everyone (and a bit girl with girl). Not much really and in my opinion not badly done. The one thing that surprised me though (and quite a lot as I still cannot really understand it but then again I could never understand Anita’s mind) is the fact that she doesn’t get jealous at one point in the book where I got the feeling it would be required. Although it’s best for everyone that she doesn’t.
I steered away from the Mother of all Darkness but there’s not much else to be sadi. After realizing the mess they are in, the rest of the book is about what needs to be done to deal with it. And at the end of it, almost everything is in place for the next book to take us to war.
I’ve been a bit disappointed when I first got that book but that was because it’s not the standard Anita Blake size. It’s a novella so I got to enjoy the excitement of Anita Blake’s life for only a third of the usual story. Oh well, at least I got some.
I’m going to give some spoilers so you know not to read on if you don’t want them. 🙂
I was a bit surprised to see that Anita got a bit more relaxed in her dealings with men, so much so that she flirted a bit with a waiter until the bad stuff started happening.
This time there is no Mother of all Darkness (she got killed in the previous book, but I mean, who ever believed that was the end of it?) but Anita’s everyday work (raising zombies) is what gets her in trouble. Anyway, she is kidnapped and forced to cooperate unless she wants her lovers killed and I’m not going into details how it was all set up but it works. The group that kidnapped her took into account everything except the fact that she carries weretiger strain of lycanthropy as well. That’s all I’m going to say on the subject.
The good thing about this book is that there’s not too much sex and Anita’s musings on how she’s a bad little Christian and battling with her own conscience. What needs to be done that everyone is safe, needs to be done, even though the consequences are a bit grey (to say the least).
It doesn’t really happen that often that I cannot remember what the book was about or that I actually forget I read it. I was completely sure when starting Skin Trade that I never read it before. Which was ok because I felt like reading it for the first time (even after I remembered some parts but didn’t remember how it ends).
So, Vittorio from Incubus Dreams (that’s where we met him first) sets a trap for Anita in Las Vegas and she has no choice but to get there (while Jean-Claude is still asleep so cannot argue against it). But since this is an already known vampire serial killer, Edward, Olaf and Bernardo also come to play. This is where we get to see Olaf trying to get more quality time with Anita (from his perspective of course).
Spoilers ahead again. 🙂
And since Master of Las Vegas animal to call is a were-tiger and Anita is carrying the top were-tiger lycnathopy, there is a whole new set of problems with that. Standard stuff of the last several Anita books. 🙂 While trying to find the resting place of Vittorio through the were-tiger that is helping him, they also seem to realize that there was not only a vampire problem the police in Las Vegas was dealing with but a demon as well. That turns out to be a lesser problem because Vittorio is not just an ordinary master vampire. He is Father of the Day to Mother of all Darkness who she stripped of some of his powers but they seem to be returning in this book. Of course, Anita is there to deal with that problem. 🙂
What interests me more is what happened with Marmee Noir? I mean the vampire council feared her waking so much that they blew up her resting place. But for some reason I cannot believe that was the end of her. 🙂 You don’t get rid of the mother of all vampires just like that. We’ll see.
First time around I thought this book was kind of plotless. Now I’m wondering how in the world did I get to that? Probably because it felt it was just Anita and Jason visiting his dying father and getting tangled up in his childhood problems because of a really big wedding starring a guy who looks exactly like Jason. Which of course leads to a whole bunch of problems on top of which Marmee Noir makes a surprise visit out of which Anita comes out with a new animal to call and loss of memory. Richard also makes an appearance, again causing problems for everyone but at least he gets to lose Anita’s rage he inherited through the triumvirate and Anita learns how to feed ardeur through something else than just sex.
You know, there is a lot of parts in all the books when Anita is trying to explain metaphysics and magic to people (usually police) who are not sensitive and cannot imagine what it is like. That also serves as a good reminder that the readers might have problems with getting the idea but I cannot say I had that problem. I just accept whatever comes up as the part of the world in which Anita lives. Although sometimes I do wish people around her wouldn’t get that terribly hurt (including her).
I shouldn’t be mentioning their name, should I? I haven’t received a mask, meaning it’s forbidden to discuss them. The vampire policing band of seriously old and powerful vampires. And they’ve arrived to St. Louis under pretense of checking the Church of Eternal life.
Spoilers ahead. 🙂
That was the official line. When actually the head of the Harlequin just wanted territory for himself before Mother of all Darkness wakes (that would mean some kind of protection which I managed to foget what actually it was). Too many metaphysical explanations to keep them all in my head. Anyway, Anita and company manage to deal with them. Company this time includes Edward and Olaf. 🙂 Olaf being the serial killer whose type of women are exactly what Anita looks like. Yeah, her life is never easy. But since Anita knows what Olaf is like, she tries to keep contact to a minimum, until the end of the book when she practically fulfills Olaf’s fantasy with him (meaning he is now seeing her as an attractive partner and not prey). Which will get more obvious in Skin Trade.
You know, I wouldn’t be writing about each of the books in the series if I didn’t participate in the Anita Blake challenge. I am glad I decided to read them again, those books make me feel brave and ready to face the world. It’s because Anita is a character that is at the same time fragile and extremely brave and tough. I’m sure she would get angry with me if she were real and saw this. 🙂 She, along with Harry Potter are the two characters that feel most real to me. As if they really could exist in this world. Or, and this is worse for me, as if I could get lost in their worlds forever and never want to leave. There are some books/series that make me feel like that. Like I need to learn to live my life again ince I’m done with them. Which is at the same time proof that the author in question does some excellent writing and a problem for me because I tend to want to go back and feel a bit depressed that I can’t. One more book that does this is The Lord of the Rings.
One last thing about the book. It’s even more vampire politics complicated with spies, rules, council politics etc. getting all mixed up in the story. I should have paid more attention when reading it because I got a bit surprised in the end with trying to figure who did what and why. 🙂 Well, I am on a vacation after all. 😀
Is it just me, or do other people get lost among the titles of Hamilton’s books? I mean this one and the last two (I’m not including Micah here) get mixed up in my mind. Oh well.
I’m behind writing about the books again (vacation will do that to you – make you lazy I mean). So today I want to go through those I read and then it feels like I’ll be able to retain my writing schedule – I read a book and I can write about it.
Danse Macabre is the book where a vampire dancing troupe comes to St Louis to visit along with other Masters of City who want to offer people to Anita to choose another pomme de sang (apple of blood even though she is not that kind of vampire). You get a lot of vampire politics, machinations, metaphysical surprises (which are almost by definition related to sex), some gay sex with Anita at the same time (so be warned). The one thing that I remember this book by the most is the part where Asher and Anita are not allowed to have sex alone after it. I won’t say why now, if you read it you’ll know, if you didn’t, it’s better like this.
One thing I realized while re-reading this series is that it’s really not in the author’s/series’ best interest when you have to wait for a year to read the next one because you just forget so much. And reading through the progression of Anita’s powers (not just the ardeur) and reading a bit interviews with LKH, made me realize that Anita’s world was always about violence and sex even though at the beginning it might not have appeared so much in the novels. But I think the idea was always there for LKH. And if you are a prude, these books are so not for you (Danse Macabre is the book that will make you figure out if you aren’t sure). 🙂
I’m already quite late in writing about Anita Blake novels so I decided to group these two together because honestly, they are mostly about sex and Anita’s problems with the ardeur.
Before I go on, there are going to be spoilers ahead so if you haven’t read them, be warned.
Cerulean Sins brings us into vampire politics territory. Belle Morte has sent her envoys who have arrived too early and all manner of problems are occurring – one of them is that she wants Asher back (who of course doesn’t want to go) and unless he is sharing Anita’s and Jean Claude’s bed, he will have to. Of course that Anita and J-C defeat all the problems they face with both their enemies and people who should know better (Richard and Dolph who bullies Anita because of her ties with the “monsters” since his son wants to marry a vampire). Told you there would be spoilers. 🙂
I don’t want to go into details but Marmee Noir makes into the story and the start of the Anita’s pornographic ardeur trip starts. There’s been a lot of talk about how the series have downgraded from here (and honestly, re-reading the series I kind of got stuck in the middle of this book because I just didn’t feel like reading through so much self-torture done by Anita through her I’m a lousy Catholic and shouldn’t be having so much sex with so many people attitude). So I finished Cerulean Sins after reading some other books in the mean time. And then I went on to Incubus Dreams.
Which goes deeper into the whole ardeur=food=sex territory but is less problematic to read (unlike Danse Macabre I’m reading at the moment where there’s so much ardeur philosophy and sex that it feels there is no story underneath it).
Although honestly, I just now take the books in the series as they come. I just hate it when people trash authors for taking the characters and story to a territory not approved by some of the readers. I mean, if you don’t like, write your own books. Or just don’t read them. There is really no need to add to the negativity we are surrounded with in our everyday lives. I love Anita Blake world even though it’s darker and more pessimistic than I usually go for but it still displays that one should stick to one’s own ideals and character even when it means going against the world. Because good is the choice one should take even though it would be so much easier to go the easier route. And faith is something we should never question or presume to know what the deity in which we believe thinks of our lives. We try. That is the best we as humans can do.
Ok, so, this has nothing to do with the story. 🙂 But it seems I have some strong opinions about the series.
Well, again a lot of problematic sex. A new triumvirate. Richard eases his way back into the original triumvirate but is still making problems for everyone.
It just feels like the crime stories in these two are there just as the backdrop for all the sex. I know this sounds awful but it’s still the truth. It’s not that the books are bad, quite the contrary, they are easily read (ok, maybe some sex scenes are not for the faint hearted – ok, not maybe but for sure) but it still lacks the darkness and seriousness of the first several novels.
The interesting thing is, everyone (or almost everyone) who got hooked on Anita through those first books will forever read any story in her world because we are waiting for her to master that ardeur and start dealing with serious crime. And well, it’s not like the sex is bad. 😀
Pic by: http://www.laurellkhamilton.org/
Yes, I did manage to through another Anita Blake novel without reading anything else in the mean time. But it seems the urge is slightly lessening (and some other interesting books have found their way toward me) so I might be reading something else soon (after I finish Cerulean sins first).
Narcissus in Chains is interesting because we learn more about Jean-Claude’s past and by that I mean more of the sordid details of what he had to go through to become what he is. Anita has to learn to deal with a bad side effect to being a vampire servant – and this is the book where the sex starts appearing everywhere and with some new people (the number of people is just going to grow from now on, so if you decide in this book it’s too much, stop reading the series). 🙂 I don’t mind – especially because – SPOILER – it is going to be Asher’s time soon.
Narcissus from the title can be attributed not only to the head of werehyenas (he is called Narcissus) but to several characters who are either chained in this book for real or chained i life by circumstances.
We also learn that werehyenas are matriarchal and that there exists something called a panwere – a were person who can change into several animal forms.
And even though Anita seems to contract the leopard variant at the beginning, which leads to serious problems with werevolves who consider the possibility of Anita becoming a wereleopard as losing her as the lupa. And of course Richard being Richard has led to some serious problems inside the pack.
Of course, all these problems are resolved by the end of the book, except for ardeur which is here to stay and Anita isn’t terribly happy she needs to feed it by sex regularly. Especially since she cannot feed on the same person all the time.
But more on ardeur in the following book.
I like it that still in this book we are following again two parallel stories that end together and there is quite a lot of happening – you never get bored reading through Anita’s life.
Yes, I was late writing about Blue Moon, so I’m doing both books at the same time.
Since Obsidian Butterfly is still so fresh in my mind (I only finished it yesterday), I have to say I think this one is up to now the most aggresive, gory and horror-like book in Anita series (and that series is among the genre the goriest in my opinion).
This is also the book where we get to know Edward better. And Anita is not communicating with either of her beaus until the end of the book, and then only with Jean-Claude.
This time around, the vampires are of Aztec origin and think of themselves as gods, they also come with some seriously scary monsters and powers.
As you can guess by now, there is never only one situation Anita is involved in, but in the end they always seem to be connected.
And not only is this book extremely violent, Anita gets to be the recipient of quite a lot of that. Good for her she is not your regular human otherwise she wouldn’t be alive anymore.
Anyway, the book ends up with Anita having another guy thinking she is the woman for him (actually soulmate) and hoping she never gets to see him (not gonna happen). 🙂
This is just the beginning of the series of man that are going to get into that same situation. Oh, so much more problems are ahead for our little necromancer (only in stature and nothing else).