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Saturday, May 15, 2010

To read or not to read? - PROMO - Anita Blake #19 'Bullet'

My name is Anita Blake and I am back in St Louis and trying to live a normal life - as normal as possible for someone who is a legal vampire executioner and a US Marshal. I have my lovers, my friends and their children, school programmes to attend. In the midst of all this ordinary happiness a vampire from my past reaches out. She was supposed to be dead, killed in an explosion, but the Mother of All Darkness is the first vampire, the dark creator, and it's hard to kill a god. She has reached out to me here - in St Louis, home of everyone I love most. She has decided she has to act now or never, to control me, and all the vampires in America.

The Mother of All Darkness believes that the triumvirate created by master vampire Jean-Claude with me and the werewolf Richard Zeeman has enough power for her to regain a body and to emigrate to the New World. But the body she wants to possess is already taken; I'm about to learn a whole new meaning to sharing my body, one that has nothing to do with the bedroom. And if the Mother of All Darkness can't succeed in taking over my body for herself, she means to see that no one else has the use of it, ever again. Even Belle Morte, not always a friend to me, has sent word: 'Run if you can …'

I said back in February that I was done with Laurell K Hamilton’s ‘Anita Blake’ series.

I went into ‘Flirt’, the Anita Blake novella (and unofficial 18th installment in the series) with sub-zero expectations. The same lowly outlook I’ve taken since the series nose-dived with book #10, ‘Narcissus in Chains’.
Hamilton did not fail to not disappoint. She once again delivered a smut-heavy, non-existent-plot, derivative novel. Hamilton’s recent installments have been made even worse by the lack of fan-favorite characters like Jean-Claude, Asher and Richard Zeeman (no matter how douchey he’s become) while random boy-toy secondary-characters have been added to Anita’s harem… turning the series into a convoluted mess of second-rate mysteries and unnecessary erotica (‘so tight, so wet’…so *yawn*).

But amidst the tired sex, chronic descriptions of character physicality’s and deflated mysteries, there was one bright spark. One plot-arc with the potential to pull Anita out of her slump and return this series to within an iota of its former glory. Marmee Noir.

Marmee Noir (the Mother of All Darkness, the first vampire) was introduced way back in book #14, ‘Danse Macabre’ when she started appearing to Anita in dreams…. She was drawn to Anita’s necromancy, the pull she had over Jean-Claude and his cachet of vampires. In Anita, Marmee Noir saw reason to wake from her millennia-slumber.

Truthfully the only reason I read books 15–18 was in the hopes that Marmee Noir’s storyline would be developed. It was, sometimes, but only in drips and drabs and always playing second fiddle to the more contrite ‘whodunnit’ plot arcs (and sex, so much sex). Marmee Noir is in fact only mentioned in ‘Danse Macabre’, ‘The Harlequin’, ‘Blood Noir’ and ‘Skin Trade’.

Honestly, the main reason I like the character and potential plot of Marmee Noir is because it feels like the perfect conclusion to this flailing series. Not only a conclusion…but a BANG to end ‘Anita’ on, rather than the whimpering of recent novels.

Marmee Noir feels epic enough that it could, plausibly, span several books and draw-out the end of Anita Blake.
And really, I can’t see any reason to continue the series once Marmee Noir’s arc is finished. Where do you go once you’ve had the ultimate villain in the first vampire? (for all you Buffy aficionados, think ‘The First’ in the seventh and final season of the show).

So, having read the blurb for book #19 ‘Bullet’, I find myself silently bargaining with Anita Blake/Ms. Hamilton. I will read this book (despite promising myself otherwise). I will give Anita one last chance. I will hope that Laurell K Hamilton appreciates the awesome potential of Marmee Noir and writes to the best of her ability (and that her editors feel brave enough to suggest she goes easy on the erotica).

I will read ‘Bullet’ and that will dictate whether or not Anita and I continue our reading relationship.
But this is it. The last stand. Guns draw at dawn. The point of no return.


  1. I must confess I barely finished the first Anita Blake book as I thought Anita is a bigot when it comes to vampires. She rates them all as evil and in a world where vampires are accepted into society with equal rights, that's something I can not believe is true. Maybe her opinion chances in later books, but a character trait like that really puts me off a series.

    Now I'll go hide somewhere to avoid the objects thrown at me by the fans.

  2. You don't like Richard? He's my favorite guy! I totally want Anita to end up with Richard at the end of the series - I think he gets a bad rap.

    I didn't read Flirt yet....but I will *sighs*. I'll also read Bullet...I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.

  3. If I could get the UK cover I would buy it but because I'm in the US, I have no intention to spend money on this series anymore.

    @ Sullivan - Anita is that way but that's where things get interesting because she is forced into situations where her views have to change. Anita is worth giving a shot but I say after book 10 it isn't worth buying. If you can get them from the library, you should. Narcissus in Chains, book 10, is one of my favorite books ever.

    I hate Richard too lol. I think in a normal human setting he is great but not so much for Anita's life.

  4. @ Sullivan - Yesenia is right, in the first book Anita definitely sees the world in black and white. But by the second book she's bending her own rules and by book #10 she's undergone a complete character transformation and is even involved in romantic relationships with vampires and werewolves. That's why books 1-10 were so good, it was fascinating to read the changes in Anita and her world view.

    @ Patti - I used to like Richard, until Hamilton did a character assassination that turned him into a clinging, whining he-man who was hell-bent on procreation and self-destruction. But when you consider that Richard was based on Hamilton's (ex) husband, and his character started spiraling the same time her divorce went through.... it's not hard to connect the dots, lol

    @ Yesenia - I know! The UK covers are gorgeous, the US ones are trying to make the series look grown-up and gritty, when in face they're just poorly written erotica. lol

  5. You make some great points luv, but Im with Patti as a glutton for punishment... I'll keep reading as long as the series goes on...

    I agree with you that the transformation Anita goes through in the first 10 books is awesome... and even though there are some things that annoy me at the later books, like the growing amount of man she has sex with (I drew the line of crazy when she did Raphael, WTF!) and the sex is def getting in the way of the plot...

    and even though Flirt was weak... I really though Sex Trade was an improvement to the books before it =)

  6. @ Larissa - I was in the same camp as you and Patti, and I always said I'd keep reading up until the sex became too much for me. Anita pretty much crossed that line in 'Skin Trade' when she had sex with a 16-year-old boy. And then I read the opening chapter of 'Bullet' and it has Anita discussing how that boy (now 17) will be coming to live with her. Hmmm... looks like 'Bullet' may be my Anita bon-voyage after all. Ick.


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