Review of Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake Series

I have recently finished reading the third book in the Anita Blake series, “Circus of the Damned”, by Laurell K Hamilton.

I started reading these books to research urban fantasy. I ended up buying the first three Anita Blake books instead of just the first one, because the book shop only had the first three available as an omnibus, rather than individual editions.

The series started well. I like the character of Anita Blake. As a kick-ass action heroine, she’s just my kind of girl. She kills vampires, she pokes her nose in where it’s not wanted, she gets shot at and beaten up a lot, she knows her own mind and she refuses to let men hold the door open for her. And there are lots of gruesome deaths. So far this checks all the right boxes for being an enjoyable read for me.

However, I think I’m going to leave the series after the third book because I’m beginning to get disappointed in it. Anita runs around raising zombies and going after vampires. The plot has the potential of becoming tired, but this isn’t really the issue. More of an issue is she’s spending less time killing vampires and more time lusting after them. The Big Bad vampire, Jean-Claude, has been trying to seduce her since Book 1. In spite of Anita’s insistence that she’s not going to sleep with him, because if she does he will own her soul, she lusts after him in a big way and it’s fairly obvious that she’s going to succumb eventually (I don’t know what will happen with the whole soul-owning thing). The chance to kill Jean-Claude – and thus get rid of the problem (he is a vampire, after all) – has been presented to her several times now, but she always backs out. She doesn’t want to kill Jean-Claude because really, it seems, she probably is falling in love with him.

So far, there’s been no sex between Anita and a vampire, or for that matter any other supernatural beastie (though she ends the book dating a lycanthrope so it’s only a matter of time). But I have it on good authority that this changes fairly soon, and by book 6, so I have been told, there’s more sex than plot going on. Well, I know some people like plenty of sex in books, but it’s not my thing – I’d rather have the blood and guts, frankly.

At the point I’m at now, there’s still a lot of unanswered questions about Anita. We know her grandmother was into voodoo – Anita has inherited the skill of necromancy, but she’s a Christian so she has turned her back on voodoo and attends church, calling herself an animator in a world where there is a demand to legitimately raise corpses from graves (mostly to do with will disputes, it seems). But although Anita is human, she moves too fast and possess rather too much strength for an ordinary mortal, and the reason for this has not yet been explained. Maybe it will be later on, but I guess I’m going to have to live without learning the rest of Anita’s story.

When a series that you enjoy begins to disappoint, I always think it’s best to quit while you’re ahead. I’m going to stop reading Anita Blake now, happy in the knowledge that I really enjoyed the first two books, and the third was OK.

circus

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