She Said: Anita Blake Kicks Ass


I like action flicks. Gimme some sex, some violence and a few gaping plot holes and I am a happy camper. Which also explains why I like the Anita Blake books by Laurell K. Hamilton, a series which follows the adventures of an intrepid and sarcastic Vampire Executioner through the streets of St. Louis and beyond. In her world, vampires and werewolves are legally recognized as American citizens, which at times complicates AnitaÂ's life in ways that only the soft porn industry can truly appreciate.


Hamilton writes pretty clunky dialogue, and likes explaining things too much, but she pens a good action scene, and Anita is exactly the kind of heroine I like to root for – confident, dangerous and an incurable smart-ass. SheÂ's not a perfect, capable action hero – she doesnÂ't like what the violence is doing to her emotionally, she wishes she could have the white picket fence and a life that doesnÂ't involve constant blood and mayhem, but she goes on doing what she has to, in order to keep the people around her safe. Hamilton does a great job of making Anita human and vulnerable, even as her supernatural arsenal expands. SheÂ's grown and changed as a character throughout the series, and thatÂ's what keeps me coming back for more.

Well, that, and the growing stable of gorgeous men that Anita has in her bed. The earlier books focused more on AnitaÂ's dayjob as an animator (someone who raises the dead) and preternatural advisor to the police but as the series progressed, things have – well, changed. Her powers grew, her morals corroded, and Anita started boffing everything that moves. All for a good reason, of course, nicely explained through the wonders of vampire powers and AnitaÂ's growing involvement with the nightlife of St. Louis. Not that I care. When an author starts using words like Â"throbbingÂ" and Â"slickÂ" more than once a page, we all know why weÂ're reading the book, donÂ't we? LetÂ's be honest, romantic literature is porn for chicks, and Hamilton has built a large and loyal readership based on this knowledge.

She also still includes everything that made the earlier books good – great characters, an interesting premise (legal vampirism) and a world that continues to evolve in ways that are both intriguing and make sense. I prefer the books where Anita works with the cops to try and solve a supernatural crime, but Hamilton has her doing less and less of that as the darker side of AnitaÂ's life evolves. There is the feeling that each book travels farther into that world, shoving Anita further down the path to being a sociopath. This exploration of AnitaÂ's human weakness and her growing doubt about how much humanity she has left is what is really interesting about the books. In one of the most recent, Obsidian Butterfly, Anita manages to keep her pants on for the duration, and the storyline didnÂ't suffer at all.

DonÂ't let that stop you from checking them out – the latest from Hamilton is chock-full of kinky supernatural hanky panky, although I find that when she cuts loose on the sex, she tends to neglect the story. You may not notice; Anita Blake books are crafted much like action flicks, hurtling toward the final showdown with the energy and speed of a Fedex package sent Overnight Air. Um, forget that last metaphor. What I meant to say was that Cerulean Sins is a fun ride, using sheer momentum to keep you from realizing that very little actually happens. Anita learns a bit more about what a big bad nasty girl she is, we see some yet more powerful opponents pop up to test her, and she tries to sort out her love life. A simple equation, but it works.

IÂ'm not going to direct you to or anything of the sort. I think books should be bought in bookstores, so go out and get them there. ThereÂ's eleven of them now; the first is Guilty Pleasures.

- Hoochie


Vampire$ by John Steakley  is in a similar, but perhaps for manly, vain. Not to be confused with the retched movie that was based off it the book is a pretty fun read and has many of the same characters that where in Armor, a world removed to be sure. Actually I think that was just Steakley mocking himself but whatever.

There is something just right about going into a book store and getting a chance to look at the cover art, bend the pages. get the whole vibe off the book... course it takes me ten times longer to buy anything from a book store and they rarely have what I want when I look for more obscure texts. Even so a book generally is the only way I will try something new in scifi/fantasy. I just can't trust an unknown author when ordering on-line for some reason... well that or somebody to pick my groceries either, but I ramble.

The Anita Blake series is one of the many Hoochie has introduced me to over the years. The sex and violence is top notch and there is usually a good, meaty mystery in there as well. Excellent "popcorn books" when you want something a little lighter to read between larger more involving reads.

Vampires and werewolves are citizens?  Are werewolves wolven at will or the typical once a full moon?  Or are they once a full moon but the human form has heightened senses and abilities?

Are the vampires night denizens? Or do they walk freely in the sun?

How they handle the vampires and werewolves might pique my interest.  Any background information on this would be welcomed.

Weres (there are more than just wolves - leopards, bears, hyenas, you name it) have to go furry on the full moon, but can also change at will.  They have heightened senses and superhuman strength at all times, though many conceal it so as to keep their jobs and/or families.  Legally, weres and vamps are citizens, but there is widespread prejudice.  Not every were has the same strength/power/abilities - some are more kickass than others, and the top dogs (ahem) are called Alphas.  Anita is recognised as an Alpha by pretty much everyone, even though she's not a were.

Vamps are night creatures, and their powers are too numerous to go into - suffice it to say, there are many bloodlines, all with their own particular quirks of power.  There are also witches, necromancers (very powerful animators - Anita is one), voodoo queens, trolls, faerie, and many other paranormal types.  The main focus of the series is Anita's dealings with the vampire and werewolf communities in St. Louis, though she tangles with all of the above.



Sounds really cool!

Animators animate the dead for a limited time?  If her gimmick is to animate for instance a murder victim to eye witness the killer that sounds really cool!  Like you have to be top notch, super powerful just to summon for a few minutes.  Or if you make a mistake the corpse wont be fully funtional and there are no second chances.  That could make for some interesting plot points.

Does the prejudice go both ways?  Weres and vamps with superiority complexes and jealous or frightened bias from normal humans.

One more question... If we gloss over the sex parts the author didnt inject major plot points in them i hope?