Thursday, January 28, 2010

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton (audio)

Book Description:
Introducing Anita Blake, vampire hunter extraordinaire. Most people don't even bat an eye at vampires since they've been given equal rights by the Supreme Court. But Anita knows better--she's seen their victims. . . . A serial killer is murdering vampires, however, and now the most powerful vampire in town wants Anita to find the killer.

Desperate for another series that left me breathless like the Gardella Vampire Chronicles by Colleen Gleason or Karen Marie Moning's Fever series, I thought I'd give Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter a try. I'd heard rave reviews about this series, there are upteen books in it and I figured it must be good.

How wrong I was!

I could barely finish it. I have to give myself a pat on the back for simply getting through it, fortunately it was short, only about 9 hours long. At least I know now what it was like, but I'm amazed that it's received such accolades and is such a favorite.

First of all, I didn't like a single character in the entire book. Anita Blake, our heroine comes across as a kick-ass girl who can take care of herself in a world in which vampires are accepted, she is also an "animator" by profession, someone who can raise zombies from the dead. Zombies are a sideline in the book, the main gist of the book is a master vampire that is over one thousand years old wants Anita to find out who is killing the vampires. Yes, even though vampires are already dead, they can be killed for good by stabbing them with stakes in the heart or injecting them with silver nitrate, or even cutting off their heads and the rest of their bodies into little bits - a messy business. I longed for the clean "poof" of staking vampires from The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, nothing but ashes to show for a kill!

One of the annoying things I found about Anita was she was always scared of things, yet she was supposed to be the "executioner" to the vampire world, they were supposed to be afraid of her! And often I could not understand her motivation for what she did. For example, it was never clear why she was willing to sacrifice herself to help a zombie she helped raise from the dead. Was it some sort of motherly protective thing? She was willing to let Nikolaos lick her bite (from the hapless Philip, see ahead) to save this zombie that should have meant nothing to her yickh!

Speaking of Nikolaos, she is the master vampire that was supposed to be the biggest and baddest vampire ever and it was laughable! She was this pipsqueak childlike vampire with a high childish laugh and voice (even worse on audio) that scared Anita to death. I'm sorry, but I could not get into it or take it seriously, I kept thinking how ridiculous it was. It was just so bad! I guess Nikolaos is supposed to be like a Claudia from Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire? Not even close!

Then, there were all sorts of other characters, one of whom was supposed to be utterly handsome, dripping with sex appeal, yet covered with vampire bites. He was a vampire stripper and a "freak" that got off on being bitten by vampires. This was the hapless and doomed Philip. I'm sorry, I didn't have much sympathy for him or anybody else in the book. I kind of liked Edward, who was a sort of hired assassin and a friend of Anita's, but even he had his faults. Jean-Claude was another master vampire that bit Anita and made her drink his blood and then disappeared for the rest of the book. I take it he becomes important in the rest of the books and a possible love interest? Unfortunately, the narrator Kimberly Alexis, gave him this high voice with a French accent that made him sound more gay than anything else, certainly not a love interest to Anita. Another gripe I have about the audio version is the cheesy music that is interspersed into the plotline. Dream and action sequences have this organ synthesizer kind of mood music that I found more distracting and annoying than anything else. I think it was supposed to set the mood and make things scarier - I don't know!

Then, there were all the different monster type of characters in the book besides vampires. I really laughed out loud at the wererats - man rats that try to attack Anita and later become her friends. The image of these giant rats wearing bluejean cut offs running around in dark tunnels was not scary to me at all (and I hate rats!) I merely smirked and kept listening, I kept hoping the book would get better, but it only got worse! The big wrap up at the end with the big battle to kill Nikolaos and her underling vampires was anti-climatic.

Sorry for all of you Laurell K. Hamilton fans who love these books, I won't be reading more of them. I'm scratching my head over the appeal, but to each his own. I'm still on the lookout for something close to the Fever series with a romantic interest, so if anyone has any suggestions, please speak up!



Danielle87 said...

The closest resemblance to the 'Fever' series, with regards to the main character's love/hate steamy relationship is definitely Ilona Andrews 'Kate Daniels' series. Author Richelle Mead is also a fan of dueling love interests, and in all of her series (Georgina Kincaid, Vampire Academy and Dark Swan) the romance has that heated spark. Also Kim Harrison's 'Rachel Morgan' series, though that relationship is still being teased out 7 books later.

I really wish I could defend Laurell K. Hamilton. I really do. But to be honest it's best you not get involved with her. Around about book #10 her series takes a serious nose-dive and she alienated a lot of fans by replacing plot with erotica. And not even good erotica. Just pages and pages of repetitive grinding, writhing and moaning. It is laughable. If I was going to recommend you read anything of hers, it would be her blog. She is the most narcissistic, pompous ego-maniac of a writer and her blog is a car crash you can't look away from.

Anesthezea said...

I agree with your review and the above comments from Danielle. The rest of the series, I'm told, just gets worse. I think I stopped with book 2. Hamilton has a few entries over at Fandom Wank. She is rather infamous at fan alienation and ridiculousness.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Danielle - thanks for the books that I might enjoy, I'll look into them, though I am wary now. But I think you get the idea of what I'm after. I went to check out her blog and I could barely navigate around it, seemed like a lot of broken links!

Anesthezea-thanks for the affirmation of my own feelings, glad I'm not the only one to feel this way!

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