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Monday, June 22, 2015

Kiss The Dead (Anita Blake) - Laurell K Hamilton

I stumbled upon this review from 2012, before I had my blog and it never got put up here. :)

When a fifteen-year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her. And when she does, she’s faced with something she’s never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people—kids, grandparents, soccer moms—all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving a master. And where there’s one martyr, there will be more…
But even vampires have monsters that they’re afraid of. And Anita is one of them.

** spoiler alert **

Okay so back when I was working at Walden Books in 2001 I picked up a large silver paper back with a steel/blue butterfly on it. I enjoyed the back description, used my employee discount and bought the novel; I then spent the evening devouring it page by page. It was Obsidian Butterfly by Laurel K Hamilton. I then set off to the find and buy all the novels before it.

Within a week my eager mind had eaten up the words of Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, Circus of the Damned, The Lunatic Café, Bloody Bones, Burnt Offerings, The Killing Dance and Blue Moon. They were brilliant; I could not wait until the next in the series…

Until Narcissus in Chains… Yuck…. Now I have nothing against sex, hot dirty awesome sex, I write erotica. But I do have issues when it is not erotica and the plot line suffers because of too much sex and magic bull shit. Cerulean Sins and Incubus dreams were not much better, vampire politics over rule anything else and we stop seeing any of Animators Inc and fun characters I’ve come to really love and much more of Anita’s cootch and all the guys she’s suddenly stupping.

Then there is Micah, this was a good little short that gave the readers a bit of a pallet cleanser, and honestly until Skin Trade the other books just kind of blended together for me, death/sex/sex/sex/magic/death blah blah. I mean Dance Macabre had the pregnancy scare, which I thought would have been better had she actually been pregnant, maybe a miscarriage? But again her succubus tendencies rule the novel.

Harlequin wasn’t bad, but kind of a gray book for me, not much I remember. And what was the point of Blood Noir and Flirt? I just rolled my eyes at both. Bullet, eh, whatever. Now Hit List, we get back to what I love about this series, and there is almost no sex, until the end when she does like….everyone. I am always happy to see my beloved Edward.

So to sum up… Skin Trade and Hit List are the only books I’ve enjoyed at a 4-5 star level since OB. Too much Anita over analyzing and over thinking her stuff making everyone around her miserable, including herself.

So it was with a heavy heart I bought and began to read Kiss the Dead. So these are the things I noticed the most.

1) We started right in with the action. This was pretty awesome, the story started right up with a bang.

2) The vampires called Anita the Executioner, but also one of the Four Horsemen, war… I’d never heard that before, it was pretty cool.

3) I am sick of her morality issues and over thinking things. By book, what, 21? We should be over some of her “I’m a monster,” “I’m screwing too many people” issues.

4) Why does Anita always allow bad guys to get under her skin? She is always willing to see the worse in her lovers. It like she expects them one day to pop out and say Boo! I really am as bad as everyone thinks.

5) I love Zerbrowski, he is hilarious, I also like the new Marshal, Brice. And LKH has made him gay so we don’t have to worry about Anita screwing him, not that she does normal breathers.

6) Cynric is playing on a Preternatural School Football team, this was a pretty cool idea and she explains it really well, even talks about it going college level or professional. It is these glimpses of brilliance that allow me to remember how awesome she is. Even though the idea of Cynric is frigging disturbing, he's like 18.

7) "You know I hate the knick name.” So, Cynric, the baby blue tiger, wants to be called Sin….So what? But I swear I read this sentence 8 times in maybe two chapters, okay honey, we get it, it makes you uncomfortable to fuck a 18 year old, but get over the name thing, would ya?

8) Asher- now I love Asher, have from the beginning and it kills me to see her writing him like a mean whiny douche bag. And in this book Jean-Claude finally kicks him out to see if he can become Master of the City in some new, unnamed town. I think this was just her way of trying to thin down the amount of people screwing Anita… What’s next a huge battle where several of them die?

9) Richard? Mentioned but ummmm, not around…At all.

10) Okay, so the first sex scene shows up in the middle of the book, which was nice…But the second one is not too far afterwards and it is 21 PAGES LONG That’s ridiculous, though at least her sex turns me on, unlike that crap Charlaine Harris writes. And then BAM! Anita is doing Dev in like the hall and not only are we subjected to yet another slutty Anita moment but some crudeness where they fall asleep together and the condom gets stuck and just yuck…. The best part was Micah laughing at Dev and Anita, because really it would be funny.

11) Why is EVRY paranormal woman jealous of Anita? Would you REALLY want her life and the men in it? They are all so damn hot DAMAGED It is so stupid, Arnet is a lame character and I am sick of it, look at what she did to Ronnie, why can’t Anita have normal human friends.

12) LKH is sure a fan of making Anita’s “friends” turn on her, Ronnie does, Dolph does and now Larry has. At least Dolph is done being a dick head; random much when did THAT happen?

13) The ending, was rushed that’s all I can say about it. Not much else really happens, something about a bomb and then it is over. Fairly lame, even her ending sum up (which I am not a HUGE fan of) was even lamer than normal.

So…. I really think LKH should wrap this series up, end it please before the innocent suffer!!! a baby, terminal illness, Anita taking the fourth mark, just a general, “sometimes things suck, but I have my lovers and even if there are guns and death I have sex and love to see me through it.” This is getting two stars… And it PAINS me to do so. Though it has sparked in me the need to re read and review these books, after I get done with Sookie Snatchhouse and the Adventures of her Magical Va-Jay-Jay

Dead Ice (Anita Blake) - Laurell K Hamilton

1.5 Stars, graciously

Anita Blake has the highest kill count of any vampire executioner in the country. She’s a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since she and master vampire Jean-Claude went public with their engagement, all she is to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancée.

It’s wreaking havoc with her reputation as a hard ass—to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, she’s still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.

Someone is producing zombie porn. Anita has seen her share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother her. But the women being victimized aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signaling voodoo of the blackest kind.

It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And Anita’s own soul may not survive unscathed
(Lies the whole summary of this book is lies!)

I have been reading Anita Blake for a long time and aside from Jason, have read every story. I did the love of the first books (until Narcissus in Chains) the hate and disgust for the porn they called the middle books, and had the hope for the last four or so.

After finding out the author herself is in a poly-amorous relationship I have given more leeway about Antia being in a serious relationship with at least five people, while fucking about 15 of them .Laurell writes what she knows and since 2013 she has been married and living with another couple.

I also found out her long time editor retired after editing this crap shoot, so maybe now she will get a new one that will actually edit her crap back to a three star level and stop pushing it through just because she's been published since the 90's. I find Anne Rice, Stephen King and Neil Gaiman all have the same issue. When you write for so long, eventually they stop caring what is actually IN the novels.

This book was a different kettle of rotten fish; where the last four (not Jason that is simply erotica) tried really hard to bring back what I loved about the first 9 books, this novel FAILED. It opens so boringly with Anita describing what she is wearing and what two FBI agents are wearing, and getting her matching bra and pantie set in a twist cause the lady FBI agent is excited about Anita having a fairy tale wedding. Then it gets to the actual case. Which is interesting. (Illegal Zombie Porn)

Then it moves on to pages and pages of Poly relationship drama; who sleeps with who, vamp politics and a bit about rings for Jean-Claude and Anita's wedding as well as the commitment ceremony between her, Micah and Nathaniel. We also have to deal with Anita's horrible inner dialouge where she is so "I AM PLAIN AND NOT PRETTY" which at this point turns into: I really want everyone to feel bad for the poor little ugly girl and shower me with compliments. YOU DON'T KNOW YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL song insert here. Then there is the first sex scene, not bad, only about four pages long.

Finally we kind of get back to the plot; Manny and Larry Kirkland (who we haven't seen in ages) show up and there is a couple of pretty cool scenes where Anita raises a zombie that turns into a flesh eater. (Seriously though, 576 pages and this was like tops 100 of them.)

Then we spend the next three hundred pages with more poly drama, dealing with Asher's bad life choices, again. Everyone trying to push on Anita it's ok for a 30+ year old woman to live with and fuck a 19 year old high school senior, and her exclamation that the Mother of All Darkness raped both her and Sin and that's why she can't stand to touch him and how much guilt she feels after being forced to take his virginity at 16. I have SERIOUS issues with Anita's character having sex with a 19 year old but I guess it's ok cause now it's consensual and legal? Ummmm...riiiiight.

We deal with Nathaniel having a pity party over not getting a big romantic proposal, Anita showing dominance to everyone she comes in contact with, debates over who Anita will add to the commitment ceremony so that everyone is happy (and it needs to be a WOMAN). Add another five page long sex scene that creeped me out cause it was pretty much bestiality and then BAM! We finish the novel with about 50 pages (that's generous) of Anita finally finding the bad guy and putting a stop to the Illegal Zombie Porn, then a traditional Anita Blake slapped together summary epilogue (which honestly I have ALWAYS hated).

There was more drama in this book that a college sorority or high-school locker room. This book set the series back, the other novels at least TRIED to bring back the vampire hunting/police work I loved and enjoyed, in this it was a joke. This series needs to end, preferably with Anita dying during child birth.