Monday, 4 June 2007

'Danse Macabre' - Laurell K. Hamilton

When I was little, I was always scared of vampires. They’re nasty horrible things that drink all your blood (and make you their slave forever) and there’s not a lot that you can do to kill them. At least that’s what I thought until I read Laurell Hamiltons latest Anita Blake novel. Having finished it this morning I am now in the position to tell you that vampires aren’t really interested in drinking your blood at all. No, they would much rather being having sex with you and then reeling from the angst of it all. And that’s just the vampires! For a vampire hunter Anita Blake does no vampire hunting at all, she is in love with the Master Vampire and has as much sex with him and his minions as Hamilton can fit into 500 pages. This is because Anita is infected with the ardeur, a weird kind of sexual energy that must be sated every six or seven pages and this is essentially the premise of the entire book. Jean Claude (the Master Vampire) has arranged a big meeting with all the other Master Vampires and before this can happen it needs to be determined whether Anitas ardeur will affect his guests. With this in mind, a lot of experimental sex with vampires and various were-creatures takes place before the big meeting. The only problem is that Hamilton concentrates so much on the sex that there’s only a couple of pages left for the main event and this comes across as a real anti-climax. A couple of the main protagonists also make brief appearances, perhaps foreshadowing events to come, but again Hamiltons concentration on the sex ‘theme’ means that they are not developed beyond this (which is a shame). One of the consequences of all this unprotected sex is that Anita finds that she may be pregnant. While Hamilton does a good job of exploring Anitas feelings around this, I found that I had no sympathy for a character who admitted to excessive promiscuity at the start of the book and was still going at it while she was deciding whether to buy a pregnancy testing kit!
I’ve never read any of the Anita Blake books before so starting with the thirteenth book probably isn’t the best way to get an idea of the series as a whole. Having said that though, I was unimpressed (to say the least) with this offering. If you’ve read this far then you will probably enjoy this book and look forward to the next. I for one found Hamilton’s apparent willingness to stifle her own story with excessive graphic sex just plain tedious by the end. At least I think there was a story in there somewhere…

One out of Ten.


Just Like You said...

You know it's both good and bad that you started the series this late. Bad because books 1-10 were excellent. Good because now you won't be filled with the rage and disappointment that long time readers felt when Anita Blake Vampire Hunter was destroyed and replaced by Anita Blake Doom Crotch.

Graeme Flory said...

That could very well be the best name for Anita Blake ever... :o)