From the BLURB:
When Anita Blake meets with prospective client Tony Bennington, who is desperate to have her reanimate his recently deceased wife, she is full of sympathy for his loss. Anita knows something about love, and she knows everything there is to know about loss. But what she also knows, though Tony Bennington seems unwilling to be convinced, is that the thing she can do as a necromancer isn't the miracle he thinks he needs. The creature that Anita could coerce to step out of the late Mrs. Bennington's grave would not be the lovely Mrs. Bennington. Not really. And not for long.
This is bad. Just, bad. So bad, in fact, that this will be the last Anita Blake book I buy. To be honest, I’m shocked that I’ve depleted my wallet and toughened the series out this far. From now on I’m either chucking in the towel and never reading another ‘Anita’ book, or relying on library loans.
‘Flirt’ is just one big ego-trip. It may as well be one of Ms. Hamilton’s blog posts for its pointless narcissism.
‘Flirt’ has 171 pages. But in actuality the Novella is 158 pages, and in a bout of truly worthless ego stroking, Hamilton has included a 13-page ‘afterword’. In this afterword Hamilton answers the question ‘where do I get my ideas?’ and then proceeds to detail an incident from her life when a waiter serving herself and her (apparently very attractive) friends became distracted and stuttering. Hence her idea for ‘Flirt’ – and incase Hamilton’s recount of these events isn’t enough to convince you of her awesome flirtation prowess, she’s also included a 10-panel comic strip.
Oh. My. God. Somebody deflate this woman’s ego, pronto!
It’s all well and good to read Hamilton’s blog posts and point and laugh at the self-absorbed world she lives in, but when you fork out approx US$20.00 for her hardback you really resent having to pay for the privilege of reading what she blogs for free.
Most authors would have rewarded loyal fans and made ‘Flirt’ a FREE online novella – but that’s too generous for Hamilton.
At this point the ‘Anita Blake’ series has nothing worthy to offer. The stories are flat and uninventive. Hamilton’s books are the literary equivalent of porn, with weak storylines that sluggishly move the characters toward derivative and repetitive sex scenes. This has been the case since ‘Narcissus in Chains’, when Anita’s ardeur made it necessary for her to have multiple sexual partners and participate in orgies at inappropriate moments. And it happens again in ‘Flirt’ – only this time it’s worse. Anita doesn’t just have sex with a stranger in this novella, she has sex with a stranger who has kidnapped her and threatened her lovers. So of course her response is to fuck his brains out. Of course. Totally reasonable and not at all disturbing.
I was willing to give ‘Flirt’ a chance because Hamilton’s previous novella, ‘Micah’, was bearable. I don’t mind Micah as a character (despite the fact that he’s as boring as a plotted plant) and I thought ‘Flirt’ would be half-decent if it was about one of Anita’s men who still peaks my interest. Nathaniel. Jason. Jean-Claude. Richard, etc. But while ‘Flirt’ does have Nathaniel, Micah and Jason making cameos, the novella is about Anita and random male were-lions who Anita sees fit to add to her cadre.
Anita was once an original and kick-ass heroine. She was also a walking contradiction – a tough-as-nails Marshall/Necromancer whose personal morals were a guiding light in the seedy supernatural underbelly of St. Louis. Now she is a cardboard cutout of her former self. This is made abundantly clear in ‘Flirt’ when Anita rehashes old personal issues – like the fact that she is annoyingly modest about her beauty because she thinks herself to be the ‘black sheep’ in her blonde-haired-blue-eyed family. And that her college fiancée dumped her because she wasn’t blonde-haired and blue-eyed, which left Anita with poor self-esteem (but something tells me her multiple beautiful bed partners is fixing that little confidence problem). Sound familiar? That’s because it is. In every ‘Anita’ book we manage to get a page or two recounting why it is Anita is so utterly beautiful but completely unaware of it. And as we do in every ‘Anita’ book, our flagging heroine also gives extensive (and pointless) descriptions of what Nathaniel, Jason and Micah look like.
The same way Hamilton repeats her sentences, especially in sex scenes (‘so tight, so wet’, ‘so hard, so eager’) she has reverted to repeating huge chunks of paragraphs by re-hashing physical descriptions and Anita’s romantic history.
Hamilton’s agent and editors need to take off the kid gloves when dealing with her. Hamilton needs a swift kick up the butt and for someone to explain why it is her readers are disillusioned with this once great series. And for the love of God, can her editors please explain to Ms. Hamilton that by book #18 her readership does not need yet another description of Nathaniel’s purple ‘Easter egg’ eyes or Micah’s short but muscled stature.
The ‘Anita’ series looked to be taking a turn with recent books introducing uber-villain ‘Marmee Noir’; the mother of all vampires. This is a promising storyline, but I really don’t think Hamilton is good enough to follow-through. Her kick-ass protagonist who once single-handedly faced down the Vampire Queen of St. Louis is a shadow of her former self. The storyline isn’t progressing and her character isn’t evolving. Each new ‘Anita’ book is just an excuse to write the same-old sex scenes, and Hamilton is too narcissistic to absorb reader complaints and save her series. I’m done. ‘Flirt’ is the end of the road for me. Maybe I will pick up her next (full-length) Anita book ‘Bullet’, but I won’t be paying for it and I won’t expect much.