I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Mine was busy, busy, busy. Work, and Sprite's Hawaiian luau birthday party (can you say "bacon wrapped chicken kabobs? Of course you can!"), and a lovely ride with hubby on the new Harley closing out our Sunday afternoon.
Almost lovely enough so I hardly feel bad about having to go to work this afternoon.
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Anita Blake and Jean Claude, and the gang - double, triple YAY!
I finally broke down and read Bullet. I've been avoiding it, because I heard someone close to Anita dies, and I was dreading finding out who. Jason? Nathaniel? Micah? Richard?
The number of men that Anita loves has grown huge - and throughout the series, we've gotten to know a number of them quite... ah... ahem... intimately.
So yes, I was worried.
But since I recently won Hit List (the book that follows Bullet) in blog giveaway at Fangs, Wands, and Fairy Dust, I did, indeed, have to bite the bullet.
I know, I used that joke already, like last week - but I LIKE it, and I still think it's funny. Sort of like the all-you-can-eat-Chinese-buffet joke - You go now. You been here too long. That's always funny, too. Can you hear me now?
So lately I've read quite a few complaints that the Anita Blake books have become all about sex, sex, sex. Too much sex. Sex all the time. Anita's having sex with everybody.
Which is true.
And at the beginning of the series, Anita was kind of a prude, so the fact that she's now sleeping with EVERYBODY is kind of hysterical. It's also kind of poetic justice. Whether Anita wants it or not, her powers have grown tremendously, and sex feeds her power.
The only thing I feel a little sad about in this area is that Anita seems to have out-powered Jean Claude, and I have to say - I always loved that she was a little afraid of him, and there's a decrease in tension now that she's the more powerful between the two.
She does have some rumination about what makes a monster a monster - and does being the most powerful being of all the powerful beings make HER the monster?
If you know Anita Blake, you know that she never wanted to be considered one of the monsters.
She didn't raise any zombies in Bullet. And when a big, bad, icky nasty vamp was running wild in Atlanta killing everyone in sight, and Atlanta law enforcement was begging for help, Anita -- ***BLEEP BLEEP SPOILER BLEEP BLEEP*** -- well, never mind. I don't want to ruin it for anyone.
So there was sex. And there was some more sex. And my only complaint about the sex and more sex parts were that sometimes Anita repeated the same thoughts she had with one guy while she was with a second guy, which I thought was sloppy. (There's a crude joke in there - can you find it?)
But even that was just a minor thing, noted by me only because I enjoy Anita, each and every time I taste her.
Richard did an odd and quick turnaround by way of attitude adjustment. This has happened before, though, and I never fully trust Richard. Is that just me?
There wasn't a whole lot of action in Bullet, to tell you the truth. There was some character advancement, though, and, as always, this was a fairly complete installment of the series, with a rather odd beginning, a very angsty middle, and a super-fast tell-don't-show wrap-up ending.
I have to tell you, Hamilton must have read the same "tips on writing" tutorial thingy that I just read, where the author points out how many fictional characters walk around in stories naked and barefoot because the author neglected to tell the reader what they were wearing.
Now... I don't know about you, but I'm not much of a clothes whore. If a character is pretty much down to earth in their interactions with the other characters, my brain automatically dresses him in jeans and a tee shirt, underwear, socks, and boots or tennis shoes. I probably don't add accessories like a boa, or a baseball cap, or a cowboy hat, or a facial piercing, or a ferret - unless the author tells me about them outright.
What I don't do is imagine him naked. Unless the author tells me he's naked. Then I perk up a little.
So what I'm getting at here is... Hamilton described clothing, hair color, and eye color in incredibly fine detail for oh, about ONE HUNDRED CHARACTERS.
Or at least it started to feel like a hundred. Sometimes I felt like I was reading the emcee notes for a fashion show, rather than a novel.
Give me too much sex in any book. I far prefer it to too much clothing. Especially when the clothing ends up blood soaked, or ejaculate soaked, or gross-fluid soaked because a were-person unexpectedly changed into their beast. All of which tend to happen around Anita Blake.
I've read some reviews where the reviewer was able to get a word-usage count on their Kindle, so I was a little sad that I bought Bullet in paperback, because it would have amused me to count how many times the words "eyes" "clothes" and "dressed" appeared... but alas. I really love Anita Blake, so she makes my "mass market paperback" stash list.
And WTF was the whole extended opening with the dance recital crap? If this had been a book by an unknown author, I would have never made it through such a long and creepy prequel. And after making out with every guy in sight, she makes some comment that Nathaniel dared to touch Micah (maybe? or was it Jason? Stephen? God, I couldn't keep track), which not only pissed off Asher to no end, but was also pretty wild behavior down there in the deep south an' all.
Bullet will go on my physical books shelf, because Hamilton's Anita Blake series is a total keeper... but this book is lacking a lot, and I feel like my faith in Laurell K. Hamilton is desperately shaken.
I remember when a book about Anita opened at a cemetery, where she's about to raise a zombie for a really important, or at least extremely interesting, reason. Sometimes the zombie would escape, or offer some kind of clue, or the raising would be interrupted by bad guys, who don't want the zombie blabbing its secrets.
Remember those days? In the course of investigating, or killing Really Bad Guys, Anita would flit in and out of her incredibly complicated personal life. And sometimes some part of that became a sub-plot - Richard wants to marry her, but she's more than half in love with Jean Claude, Jean Claude wants to Mark her to increase his power (and because he's always been incredibly intrigued by her ability to resist him), but Anita IS ABLE TO RESIST because she doesn't want to become one of the Really Bad Guys. So this push and resist piece in her personal life would become part of the story because they would add to the overall story questions.
Story questions are what grab the reader's attention and keep them turning pages. They're sort of like soap opera sound-bites:
Is the zombie going to incriminate the head of the police force's acceptance of bribes from Really Bad Guys?
If Jean Claude overcomes Anita's defenses and convinces her to have sex with him, does Anita become one of the Really Bad Guys?
If Anita has sex with Jean Claude, will she lose Richard forever?
In Bullet, Anita mentions that she still works as an Animator, I assume at Animators Inc. or where ever it was, where she had a boss and a secretary, and all of the daily drivel. Which was more interesting than the drivel of the daily grind for the rest of us because, ahem. We. Don't. Raise. Zombies. We don't just not raise zombies for a living, we don't raise zombies AT ALL. So it's very fascinating stuff.
So in Bullet the story questions are:
Will Anita have sex with a bunch of people, including more species of were-animals so she can suck up their power?
Will having sex with a whole bunch of people solve the HUGE and INSURMOUNTABLE metaphysical crises facing Anita and Jean Claude and everyone else?
Because according to Hamilton and Nickelback, sex is always the answer.
Should Anita leave the Circus for any reason whatsoever?
HELL NO. THAT WOULD BE DANGEROUS. AND IT'S NOT LIKE ANITA IS SOME MAJOR KICK-ASS URBAN FANTASY HEROINE. SHEESH. WHAT KINDA BOOKS HAVE YOU BEEN READING?
I've got Hit List. I'll read it. But if things don't improve, I'm going to have say a wistful and bittersweet goodbye to Anita Blake.
Have a great week, my friends!