Does your busy life keep you from picking up all the books you want? Do our (mostly) spoiler-free reviews leave you scratching your head at what you missed? Don’t worry; PoP! is here to fill in the blanks on the stories that were TL;DR
Last week was the first part of the Anita Blake TL;DR. The first ten books in the series were all summarized nice and clean for you, with as few spoilers as possible. Now it’s time for the next ten, culminating in the newest novel Hit List.
When we left Anita Blake in Narcissus in Chains, She had just slain Chimera, a panwere. He was a rare shapeshifter with the ability to manifest more than one animal form. She also met one of the more stable men in her life, the wereleopard Micah. He is a true Leoparrd King, Nimir Ra, to Anita’s Nimir Raj. Micah and his people had been enslaved to Chimera, and now they owe their safety and happiness to Anita.
Another serial killer is targeting the shapeshifters in St. Louis, and Anita Blake is on the case. Adding more peril is the recently arrived Musette, Belle Morte’s second in command, and a truly frightening power in her own right.
This book starts to really take a closer look at Anita Blake’s relationship with the RPIT, and her relationship with Dolph. It seems to be crashing around them both. If Anita keeps playing with the monsters will she be able to keep working with RPIT? Or will a line be drawn in the sand?
Musette and her entourage bring to life some of the St. Louis crew’s worst nightmares. The child vampires Valentina and Bartolome are some very creepy additions to the series. The evil in such small packages mirror Jean Claude’s old master, and yet amp it up to the Nth degree.
At the end of the book, Jean Claude is revealed to be even more powerful than even Anita had suspected.
At a club just over the state line strippers are ending up dead. Dead with vampire bites. Anita is confident that the killers aren’t Jean Claude’s vampires, but they aren’t the only vampires in town.
Malcolm, head of the vampire church is not blood oathing the vampires that hold fealty to him. Anita has Warrants of Execution for two of his vampires, but are they truly the guilty parties?
In this novel we see the further deteriorating relationship between Anita and her one time mentor Dolph. His personal demons are spilling out into his professional life. He accuses Anita of not being able to hunt the monsters because of how close she is to them, yet his own problems are causing him to not see the whole picture.
This novel deals with the relationship between Micah and our heroine. Micah maybe the relationship that Anita has the hardest time dealing with, because Micah is almost perfect. She’s constantly waiting for the other foot to drop, and yet it never comes.
Anita is called away to fill in for another animator in Philadelphia. Micah tags along, and it’s the first time they have had any time alone since they’ve met. There has always been someone else along with them, and now Anita is seeing more of Micah and his personality than ever before. Do cracks begin to show in Micah’s armor, or is he just as perfect as Anita sees him?
One of the scariest times for a woman can be when she has an unwanted pregancy. Anita is no different. A pregnancy where Anita is not sure who can be the father brings all of her relationships to bear. Each character acts to their own natures, and things come to a head.
The pregnancy is just the backdrop to one of the most entertaining novels in the series. Jean Claude, Master of the City of St. Louis, and vampire entrepreneur, has invited an all vampire ballet troupe to St. Louis, and with it, various other Masters of the City, and all the vampire politics that one could bear. Think Cirque de Soleil with vampires. Even those Jean Claude considers allies are dangerous to him and those that are his. What Jean Claude once thought would be a consolidation and show of his power turns into a mess that he and his human servant have to navigate and fix.
What is the mystery of the ballet itself? How bad can it get?
Clothed in blank masks of legend, the Harlequin, the bogeyman of the vampire world come to St. Louis. The Harlequin are the police and assassins of vampire society. Unbelievably ancient and powerful, the Harlequin only owe allegiance to one, Marmee Noir, the Mother of All Darkness, the first vampire.
The Harlequin are foreshadowed in the Anita Blake novels before they arrive. Their power levels are nothing that we have seen outside of members of the vampire council. Their whole mythology is adeptly told in this one novel. The tale of them destroying the vampires of London is the stuff of nightmare.
The question of why they have come to St. Louis, the home of Anita Blake is as complicated as any on the series. How the characters all react and deal with the situation is uniquely Laurell K. Hamilton. Another very good entry in the series.
One of the characters I have not been able to mention yet is Jason Shuyler. He’s a werewolf and Jean Claude’s pomme du sang. A pomme du sang is a vampire’s favorite feed. It’s not a position of shame, more it’s a position of affection and trust. Jason is also one of Anita’s lovers and friend to Nathaniel. Jason has been estranged from his parents for a very long time. When Jason’s father lies dying of cancer in North Carolina, his mother begs him to come home. If Jason has a girlfriend to bring with him all the better. Jason’s father is under the assumption that Jason is a homosexual, and if Jason can assauge his father’s problem before he dies and bring him peace, his mother would at least like him to make the attempt.
Of course Anita agrees to go. The story gets a lot more complicated with Jason’s family, and local vampires.
One of the more mundane of the novels, it does flesh out the characters in the series more. Each of the main characters have a different reaction to Anita and Jason’s trip, most of them regret their familial relationships, and this brings it all to a head.
Vittorio, the vampire serial killer, has surfaced in Las Vegas, and Federal Marshalls Anita Blake and Ted Forrester arrive to end his reign of terror. Edward brings back Olaf and Bernardo just in time to help Anita deal with Vittorio, and weretigers.
This novel ends the Vittorio subplot and furthers along the Olaf and Anita beat also. The additional weretiger story is also very interesting. I’m personally happy whenever Edward shows up. Bernardo is a lot of fun too.
Olaf on the other hand may be one of the darkest characters in the series. Olaf is just about as evil as a human can be. He’s scarier than a lot of the “monsters” in the novels. Laurell K. writes the character so well. Whenever he’s on page you feel a sense of dread and anticipation. It’s also interesting that no matter how scary he is, he has a respect for Edward, and feels like he is the one line that he can’t cross.
Anita is approached by a client that can’t take no for an answer. Tony Bennington is a rich man that can offer Anita whatever she wants if she will just raise his recently dead trophy wife from the grave. Anita doesn’t understand love, but she does understand loss. She’s sympathetic to the man’s plight but can’t raise the zombie for what Tony wants.
Not accustomed to being told no, Bennington hires mercenaries to target Anita’s lovers. If she won’t return his, Bennington will take Anita’s from her.
This book introduces a pride of werelion mercenaries. They’re a little more than what Anita is used to dealing with, and bodyguarding isn’t really her forte.
This is the shortest entry into the series. It’s a true novella, and quite well constructed in that format. I wouldn’t suggest skipping this chapter in the story just because it’s the shortest. It’s one of the best written in the series, and introduces some characters that seem like they will be with us for awhile.
Marmee Noir is stepping up her plans to awaken, and take Anita’s body as her own. Even Belle Morte is scared of the Dark Mother and tells Anita to run if she can.
This book has a lot of sex, probably the most of the series. I’m not a prude by any means, but in this book it takes away from the story.
That said the parts of the book that aren’t all hot and steamy are really good. Anita knows that assassins are coming for Jean Claude and her, yet doesn’t know who or what they will be.
The plot that has been brewing with Haven, the werelion affectionately known as Cookie Monster is also dealt with. It’s a tragic note that will haunt Anita for a long time to come.
All the attempts on the unlife of Marmee Noir so far have failed. Now, manifesting more of herself, she sends the Harelquin still loyal to her after Anita and hers. But first she instructs the assassins under her control to slaughter the weretigers in America. What is it about the weretigers that the Mother of All Darkness sees as a threat?
Anytime the Harlequin are dealt with there is a huge body count. We come into the story with Anita, Edward, Bernardo, and Olaf already knee deep hunting the Harlequin across the country, trying to stem the damage.
This is a return to form for the series. The sex is minimal, and doesn’t take away from the story, as much as enhance it. The story is all action, and has consequences that range far and wide for most of the characters in the series.
At the end of the book there is a huge change to Olaf. One of the scariest characters in the series already, what happens that could make Olaf scarier, and a bigger threat? With ending one huge subplot in the series, the author starts a new one, and I can’t wait to see what happens.
This series of novels is so immense and immersive it’s been hard not to spoil the entire thing while doing these articles. This is one of the few series of novels I still buy in hardcover, and don’t regret doing so.
It’s sad to me that more people don’t know of Anita Blake. Sookie Stackhouse is an interesting character, but her world isn’t the same. Some people seem to feel if the read the Sookie series, then the Anita series isn’t worth reading. Their loss in my opinion, because almost everything in this series is superior in every way.