Sunday, July 15, 2012

{Series Sunday} Anita Blake by Laurell K. Hamilton

"Murphy's law is the only true dependable in my life most of the time."
- Anita Blake, Guilty Pleasures

The Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Publisher: Jove Fiction
21 volumes, ongoing.

Anita Blake is set in a world that's pretty much ours--if we were to wake up tomorrow and all of the things that go bump in the night were to be real. And, in America, the court case of Addison v. Clark passed two years ago redefining what qualifies as life and what doesn't. In the United States, being a vampire is now legal. But you can't exactly just lock up any vampires who don't. 

"There was no such thing as a life sentence for a vamp. Death or nothing. No prison can hold a vampire. California tried, but one master vampire got loose. He killed twenty-five people in a one-night blood bath. ... Crosses don't work unless you believe in them. And they certainly don't work once a master vampire has convinced you to take them off. "
-Anita Blake, The Laughing Corpse

Enter Anita Blake--an animator (read: necromancer) with an innate partial immunity to vampires. Her "day job" is raising the dead for a living, for final good-byes, court case resolutions, and questions of inheritance. But she's also a legal vampire executioner. However, she's not quite what you'd expect. At a petite 5'3", she's not exactly what you would expect from a vampire executioner. play by the rules. 

"A very ex-boyfriend once described me as a little china doll. He meant it as a compliment. I didn't take it that way."
-Anita Blake, Guilty Pleasures

She's also a preternatural consultant with RPIT, the police unit dedicated to crimes involving magic, vampires and lycanthropes. But working in the male-dominated arena, Anita has a definite chip on her shoulder and an attitude which allows her to stand toe-to-toe with the big boys. Part mystery, part horror, definitely supernatural, with a little (and later a lot) of romance thrown in, Anita Blake has something for every vampire-lover.

The Review: Anita Blake was my first foray into vampires in literature while I was in high school. I read the first four books in four days (yup, one a day each). Anita is very relatable for me--she's a girl who doesn't really do "girl" very well and recognizes it. She's snarky, super-sarcastic, but she's also very competent. 

"If you keep a gun in your purse, you get killed, because no woman can find anything in her purse in under twelve minutes. It's a rule."
-Anita Blake, Guilty Pleasures

Verses a lot of recent female characters who seem to have chips on their shoulders and being b***hes for the sake of being b***hes, Anita is a b***h because she's a pretty, petite woman trying to pull her weight in an arena typically dominated by men. She's a tough broad (and I mean that as a compliment). She's also realistic about what she is and isn't capable of. 

"I don't care how many times you've seen women carry guns on a thigh holster on television, it is damn awkward. You walk like a duck with a wet diaper on."
-Anita Blake, Guilty Pleasures

When a friend first recommended these books to me, I was a little hesitant because Anita is an animator, which means zombies. And despite my plethora of friends who think zombies are awesome, I'm rather anti-zombie. However, the world and the characters created by Laurell K. Hamilton are so strong that I really had no issue with the zombies, even when they're prominent. 

Now, if you read reviews for recent books (and by that, I mean books 11-21), you're probably going to see a lot of mixed reviews. For some reason, around book 10 the flavor and focus of the novels takes a pretty dramatic turn towards sex, violence and pure vampire politics. For a lot of early fans, this is a problem. They miss the more mystery and plot-centered early books, feel the cast of characters has grown too large, the books focus too much on sex and they don't like the character changes Anita goes through. I, however, adore well-done characters and although I'll admit she has a *lot* of them, I enjoy them enough to continue reading every one that comes out (and there are now 21). 

That being said, the first ten books are more than worth reading, even if you don't care for the later novels. I've given them to more than half a dozen friends who have raced through the first ten and thoroughly enjoyed them (I've actually had to replace my copy of the second book--the spine broke so badly there are pages falling out). 

And because all the things that go bump in the night live in Anita's world, later books include and even focus heavily on the lycanthropes, so if you love your shape-shifters, you'll also enjoy these books. As a matter of fact, I love her take on them so much that they are the standard I tend to hold lycanthropes to (and why I tend to be rather picky about them). 

Anyone who is a devotee of vampires should totally have Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series under their belt. 

Did I mention that Anita is now in comics?

"You're The Executioner?"
He laughed [...] "You're not big enough to be The Executioner."
I shrugged. "It disappoints me, too, sometimes."
-Anita Blake, Guilty Pleasures

The books (in reading order): 
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 
13) Micah
14) Danse Macabre
15) The Harlequinn
16) Blood Noir
17) Skin Trade
18) Flirt
19) Bullet
20) Hit List
21) Kiss the Dead 

---Kelly Coffee
"A Toast to a Story Greater than the One Before"

All of the Anita Blake images used in this post were sourced from google and belong to their owners, no copyright infringement intended.

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