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Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series has gotten a bad name in the world of fiction. Set in a world where vampires and were-creatures exist, it's most recently gotten bad press because of the amount of sex that has entered into the storyline. But the first books, or so I was told, weren't anything like the modern ones; focused on paranormal activity and the darker side of St. Louis's nightlife, Anita is a necromancer and vampire assassin, used to execute vampires and bring people back to life to settle their estates. The problem is, however, that the lines between professionalism and personal scores to settle are blurred when you happen to know lots of lycanthropes and the master vampire of the city.

Rather than a detailed commentary on either or both books, I'm going to just say that both Guilty Pleasures and The Laughing Corpse are amusing romps through Hamilton's world. Certainly Anita is a form of wish fulfillment on the part of Hamilton, but it never feels like she's overdoing it or creating for herself a perfect world where she gets everything; Anita is flawed, neurotic, and almost so "devil may care" that she puts herself at risk. The other characters are amusing and in many cases, hard not to love, from the Rat King to the master vampire of the city, to the sleazy new-vampire manager of the comedy club Laughing Corpse.

The plots aren't fantastically well thought-out and have their plot holes, but Hamilton balances amusement with horror and makes her dark tales just dark enough to cast shadows, not to terrify. The gore isn't too much to handle, and overall, they're fun.

I intend to read at least up until book five or six, when plot is replaced with sex. Good characters are the one thing I crave, and good characters is what the series (almost accidentally) has in spades.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 27th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
Read through book #6, skip 7 & 8, but be sure to read #9. It's probably the best book of the series. But for the love of gus, stop after that one! (I'm a masochist and I still own & read them in hard cover, but that's me)

I can't read the beginning of the series anymore because I get kind of irate about what LKH has done to the series. It had so much promise!
Oct. 27th, 2008 09:14 pm (UTC)
Which one is number nine? I know that L told me at one point.

It's just so miserable that such a good idea -- and it is so good, and original, and clever -- gets messed up by Laurell wanting her mouthpiece to get every guy in the series. L's sent me various bits and bobs of the later book, and it's really like Anita has become the whore of Babylon.

And I didn't even hate her right at the start.
Oct. 27th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
#9 is Obsidian Butterfly. Definitely a great book! Lots of action and vampire huntery-type stuff, no Anita-is-now-the-sexual-plaything-of-every-other-worldly-being-in-the-Midwest.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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