Review: The Anita Blake Series by Laurell K Hamilton

10 March, 2011 Reviews 20 comments

Review: The Anita Blake Series by Laurell K HamiltonGuilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: ,
Published by Berkley Trade on August 3rd 2004
Pages: 306
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

Anita Blake may be small and young, but vampires call her the Executioner. Anita is a necromancer and vampire hunter in a time when vampires are protected by law—as long as they don't get too nasty. Now someone's killing innocent vampires and Anita agrees—with a bit of vampiric arm-twisting—to help figure out who and why.

Trust is a luxury Anita can't afford when her allies aren't human. The city's most powerful vampire, Nikolaos, is 1,000 years old and looks like a 10-year-old girl. The second most powerful vampire, Jean-Claude, is interested in more than just Anita's professional talents, but the feisty necromancer isn't playing along—yet. This popular series has a wild energy and humor, and some very appealing characters—both dead and alive.

Okay, so some of the girls asked that I do a review of the Anita Blake series because I mentioned some things that intrigued them.

It’s not a finished series and usually I would reserve judgment on a series until it comes to its conclusion just in case the author was going somewhere I wasn’t expecting.

Kind of like that scene out of Austin Powers where Austin’s in the bathroom stall with a bad guy and a big Texan man is in the next stall and can only see Austin’s feet. He hears Austin Powers grunting as he fights the guy, saying, “Who does Number 2 work for?”

The Texan guy, thinking that Austin is taking a crap, decides to pitch in and give encouragement to someone who is obviously struggling.

“That’s right! Show that turd who’s boss!”

Well, that’s what reading Anita Blake is like.

You’re sitting in the next stall with someone who, nine or so books ago you thought was really nice and normal. Suddenly they start to struggle and you want to be encouraging, or you want to tell them to give up, take a laxative and come back later. The thing is, at first you’re wary to because maybe something else is going on. Maybe a brilliant struggle for life and death is happening but you just can’t see it. Maybe at the end of the series, you’re going to come out, see what’s left over in the stall and proudly proclaim:

Jesus Christ, what did you eat?

The first 10 books are filled with mystery and intrigue. They’ve got great characters and really interesting storylines. They’ve got action. DAMN have they got action! Obsidian Butterfly, in my opinion, the last good book is such a thriller in so many ways.

They’re a little bit sexy and you find yourself wishing a little more sexy would come your way because it’s kind of really hawt.

But then something happens after book 10. It happens so quickly that you’re kind of in a headspin, looking around going, “Am I still reading the right series? Have they printed a different book under the same name?”

Because suddenly, they’re no longer mysteries. There’s no longer any real edge-of-your-seat suspense. Suddenly, you think you’re going to go a little crazy if you read another freakin’ sex scene. Suddenly the writing is so poor, so transparent! The characters are so unlikable and so unrelatable that they might as well be from another galaxy.

You’re just walking along one day, admiring the view, when suddenly – OH CRAP! ANITA JUST HAD SEX WITH A WERELEOPARD IN ANIMAL FORM!!!!

You’re minding you’re own business, enjoying a cup of coffee when – FUCK! SHE JUST HAD A THREE WAY WITH TWO MEN! ANALSEXANALSEXANALSEX!!!

You were about to get ready for work when, out of nowhere – CROTCHBUCKETS! SHE’S JUST HAD A MASSIVE GROUP ORGY AND BEEN ‘SPITTED’ BY TWO MEN! FAAARK!!!

Then you wonder if you can still walk into a church after reading these books. They become so appallingly bad that you wear them like a badge of pride. “Oh, you think THAT book is shocking? Has she ever had sex with an animal while a whole room full of people look on?” “Oh! You think THAT’S shocking? Did that character ever have seven consecutive boyfriends and nine casual fucks at the same time?” “Really? That character is THAT powerful? Did they ever defeat an evil villain with the power of their crotch alone?”

Speaking of which, this is one of the major, MAJOR flaws of Anita Blake. Her Cooter. The Crotch of Doom as some of the girls call it. Almost every man she comes across, she has to sleep with. And then he loves her. He’s addicted to her. He can’t get enough of her. It’s ridiculous. That girl had better have a TV screen in her forehead, beer leaking from her nipples and a bellybutton that dispenses sandwiches. Otherwise I just ain’ buyin’ it!

She amasses power like it’s spare change. She goes from being a powerful animator of zombies, to a necromancer who can control ALL dead things (including vampires), as well as being a lupa (Queen of the Werewolves, Namira-Ra (Queen of the wereleopards) having six strains of were in her but none of the downsides like actually changing. She becomes a succubus. She is a human servant part of a powerful Triumvate. Then she makes her OWN triumvate with her own Vampire to call and an animal to call. It’s just RIDICULOUS! You’re wondering where it stops!

This stops her from having any character growth. I thought Anita Blake’s flaws were going to be dealt with at some point. I thought her pride, arrogance, lack of impulse control, insecurities etc were going to be addressed through circumstances and a learning curve. No. She just becomes so powerful that it doesn’t matter anymore.

And the books are just basically sex. That’s all that happens. Everyone has sex. All the time. And then they all argue. A lot. Anita wears a skirt, so three out of seven of her boyfriends take issue with that and then argue with Anita and amongst themselves. Anita chips a nail, so at least five of her boyfriends go mental and start blaming each other.

I really don’t know why this mess continues. It’s beyond ridiculous. I think LKH just wants to see how much she can shock us now. What more can she do to play with our heads? So Anita has brain sex with another woman. So Anita has sex with a sixteen year old. It doesn’t matter anymore. In the end, Anita never takes responsibility for ANY of it. She never really sits down and says: “Regardless of everything – I want to be with THIS person and THAT person. I want to do THESE crazy sex acts because that would get me hawt. Then I want to try it with five men at once.”

No. It’s always the situation. She’s always “made” to do it. This makes me lose so much respect for both the character and LKH. You want fantasy smut in your story? Fine. Put it in there. But don’t make it so that the character never CHOOSES the fantasy smut. Don’t make it so that each and every time, the character is forced by circumstances to do these crazy, smutty things. WTH?

And lastly, don’t push feminist bullshit down our throats when every other woman in this series is either a bitch, psycho, cow or pathetically weak! If Anita was a real woman than she’d stand up to a little damn competition. Instead she fights with every other woman around like it’s some kind of damn pissing competition.

I kept thinking that maybe LKH was behind that stall, doing something that didn’t seem apparent to me. From what I could see so far, she was struggling to get something out. I kept wanting to yell at her for it, but then I thought, maybe there’s something epic happening. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s just because I can’t see enough from my stall in the bathroom of life.

No, my friends. In this instance, she’s not wrestling a man into a toilet bowl for information. She’s not leading us through some epic, well thought out drama that’s going to unfold brilliantly if we just hang on and keep reading.

She’s just shitting with us. Well and truly, and enjoying the money we pay her for the pleasure of reading this crap.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

20 Responses to “Review: The Anita Blake Series by Laurell K Hamilton”

  1. Lyn

    This is extremely amusing. And totally true. Perhaps LKH should end this series. It was good when it started out, a hard nosed bad ass female with interesting flaws and principals until the ARDEUR came to pass. Ruining with sex, sex and more sex and don't even get me STARTED on Micah going, you know you want to have sex with me and Anita saying, I don't want to have sex with you. And he's like, oh, yes you do, and she's like, no I don't, and he's like, *has sex with*.GRRRRR!!!!So I give up.

  2. Tricia

    LOL your reviews are so awesome! I've only read the first few of Anita Blake, and maybe I should keep it that way. SO not a fan of bestiality. :/

  3. Desrae1

    While most of your review holds true, I still enjoy the series and look forward to reading more!

  4. CuddleBug

    Lyn, I think I just snorted milk whilst reading your comment!Tricia, best stop before book 11 – that's when shit really gets weird.Desrae1, glad you still enjoy the series!

  5. Lesley

    I am so with you on this. I really liked the early books. It’s a cliche to say it, I suppose, but they were nothing like anything I’d read before. I guess they were how I thought vampire books SHOULD be, but honestly, since the whole thing with the needing to feed on sex for power thing (it’s got a name but I can’t for the life of me remember what they called it) it’s become so awful that I’m just not reading them anymore.

  6. arianrhod80

    Yeah, I gave up on the series right around the time Micah came in… I had been having a hard time getting through each book a bit more and more, but that book was when I said: “sod it, if I want sex with no real proper plot I’ll just read erotica!”

  7. Ig

    Wait….I used to read anita Blake, I don’t recall her ever having sex with an animal or a were in their animal form. Which book is that?

    Seriously some of the things on their sex sequences are just over the top!

    I’m interested now in knowing which book occurred in.

    Has the series really ethos down hill?

  8. Elizabeth

    I’m on cerulean Sins and I’m seriously struggling to finish it without snarling and hating Anita more and more. Only now I dare to look up reviews of the books and thank god I’m not alone!! How repetitive can she be?? How many times do I need to read about the “look” she gives big and bad new comers that try to stare her down and then either be afraid of her or respect her. It has really gotten rediculous!!

  9. App

    I’m late to the party (that is finding this page). I agree that her last good book was Obsidian Butterfly, and then it turned to trash. I stopped reading her books around 2007 or 2008 (I forget, her books were a miserable read so I kind of blocked that out). Anyway, great review!

  10. Sarah

    Totally agree!! I’m starting the series over again and really excited for the first part of the series but I have a feeling I won’t be able to get through Micah. I believe that’s where I stopped reading last time.

  11. Krista

    I completely agree with ALL you said! The sex scenes have gotten monotonous. There’s no real plot line anymore, it’s just really lazy writing. It’s completely unrelatable and Anita has no redeeming qualities. I’ve noticed in the latest books (I thought since I had read it to that point, the new ones would be better…my mistake) that everyone around her does everything to make her happy. Almost as though their redeeming qualities will somehow make her more mature and a better person . I miss the writing from the first books – the gritty, sexy, bad ass chick that actually got stuff done. Great review! I agreed with every point. After this I’m done, I’m not reading any of her books again.

  12. WhiteRose

    I have never read a review which I have completely agreed with until now; I started reading this serious during my mid teens. I always liked supernatural fiction and necromancy is not often a ventured Avenue, thus it was a fresh take on the vampire sub genre that I found extremely interesting. I enjoyed the fast hitting action, mystery and intrigue! As I had found the book in my local library, the only other book of the series that was available was from much later on in the series; you can only imagine the utter shock I felt as my 14 year old self was unknowingly delving into some woman’s vicarious outburst of hardcore erotica. I have never been so utterly disappointed in a series which I thought held so much promise, definitely a complete let down.

  13. Meow Meow

    Yes! All of it. I started reading the series about twenty years ago and was hooked. I loved the different characters in Anita’s world. Zebrowski with his good natured teasing, Willie with his bizarre outfits and of course Edward with his general bad ass self. And then…
    Super snatch became a thing! One snatch to rule them all. Anita and her all powerful, all seeing, all knowing, commanding (and let’s not forget better than every other woman who’s ever lived) technicolour dream snatch!
    I’m not the slightest bit prudish but a bit of plot to go with the porn would be nice. Telling us that Jason’s eyes are the colour of spring skies for the 50th time doesn’t count as plot. Nor does outfit descriptions of the most awful fashion choices I think I’ve ever read about. Never mind humping the furries, someone get this woman a stylist. NOW!
    “A sparkling dildo with my own face atop my head completed the outfit”
    It’s quite obvious the series is dead. Obsidian butterfly was the last decent book and it went downhill from there. I found myself flicking through whole chapters and the only progress was that anita had moved from the foot of the bed to the top and they were all still discussing how they would have sex, how so and so would feel about it all, how such and such would react, what it meant and how Anita was best at everything in the whole wide world. Boring, repetitive and silly.

  14. Antonia

    These books are fun until the ardeur appears on the scene (that is, until Obsidian Butterfly). Narcissus in Chains is the first romantic trash book or should I say vampire soap opera? To be fair, since Skin Trade perhaps, Hamilton has started to combine his earlier plots of police investigations and his later books that read like the script of an adult movie. Some of them, like Skin Trade, Hit List, Dancing and Affliction are kinda good even if not as great as her earlier writings.
    Rating: 3 stars. Several stories (especially the early books) are great indeed and even in the latter ones, there are quite exciting chapters and parts (except in Jason which is sub-par, a long and flat sex scene).

  15. SHAN

    This review had be cracking up! I stopped reading the series a years ago! My last book was # 15 or 16. I kept waiting for things to change but low and behold they didnt. Couldnt take anymore. She seem to be mimicking these books after her life choices. It’s her choice how she choose to live, but she should have started a new series for that and stayed true to the original Anita Blake.

  16. Tage

    I’m sad, she should just retcon them commic book style.

    If I want smut I’ll read questionable fanfiction.
    I loved Anita for her strength and morals etc.

    The first 6(?) From memory are amazing. It’s been awhile though so I can’t vouch for further titles.

  17. Nanner

    I am reading kiss the dead now and I am So Sick of hearing how much a monster she is and how badass. It’s like half the book is her whining about her choices and never ever moving forward in her character, she’s so stuck it’s getting redundant and hard to read. I enjoyed the first books so much I’m determined to finish but it has gotten pretty hard to get past the monster, monster, badass eyes, whining about choices, super vag, no one can touch her cuz then she will addict you to her. Gah!

  18. Hilary Brian

    Why does the woman who reads the audio books always default to a Minnesotans accents for side kick characters? Larry kirkland is from university of Washington, why does he sound like ronnie and nathanial? I’ve listen to 4 of them now and read them all. She needs someone else to read them! Please she’s ruining my personal guilty pleasure.

  19. Alana

    I was so disappointed with the later books. I vote we make books 1-10 canon, and ignore the rest.

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