I started this series after my “love affair” with the Sookie Stackhouse novels, came to a reluctant end. I was desperate to get involved in another series that had a ton of already published books (so that my journey wouldn’t be cut short), and was thrilled to discover that with the “Anita Blake” novels, this trip wouldn’t be over quickly.
Although there were mixed reviews on a few of the 15 books that make up this lengthy expedition, I thought I’d give it a try, anyway, and I’m happy to say it’s been pretty fun so far. While I admit, the mood and tone of the stories change significantly, midway through the series, I had already become quite attached to many of the characters, and therefore I wasn’t so quick to disregard future story lines.
The 1st novel of this series introduces us to “Anita Blake”, a pretty, petite, hard-ass type (strapped in guns) that works for both an “animation” company (as in “raising the dead” – she is a necromancer), and for the FBI on “supernatural” murder investigations (and as a Vampire Executioner for murderous vampires not abiding by the law). You see, Vampires are now legally considered citizens, and well, raising the dead is just another necessary service available to the public (you know, to raise possible witnesses for court cases, or help in legal proceedings for contested Wills and such).
Anita is not fond of Vampires (she considers them “Monsters” – simply “walking dead”). Although she is partially immune to their powers, she still mistrusts them completely, and won’t look them directly in the eyes (they can “roll” you with their eyes – mind control). She slightly prefers Lycanthropes (shape shifters/werewolves, and other wereanimals – yes – they exist and are legal citizens too), and she believes it is not their fault they caught “Lycanthropy”. They are still half human, after all. Anita, along with the rest of society, has a slight prejudice towards them, as regular humans fear “catching” their disease.
During a “bachelorette party”, Anita finds herself dragged to a strip club called “Guilty Pleasures”, featuring male Vampires, and Lycanthrope strippers. It is owned by Master Vampire “Jean Claude (tall, lean and French. Simply gorgeous, and exactly what you’d expect a beautiful Vampire to look like – long dark hair, lacy frilly shirts, leather pants and boots, and a voice that is dripping with eroticism).
After things go awry at the club, Anita finds herself suddenly entrenched in the Vampire world, as she realizes they have used her friend (by bespelling the bachelorette) as a bargaining chip to force Anita’s hand to help them (Vampires are being murdered, and the police investigators are not having much luck solving the crimes).
Anita (considered a Vampire expert) is essentially kidnapped, and somewhat brutalized by some of the vampires involved (The Master of the City – Nikolaos and her flunkies), however Jean Claude curiously has a deep affinity towards Anita, and finds himself protecting her.
Horrific battles ensue, as Nikolaos, the Master Vampire proves to be pure evil. Despite her (forced) promise to Nikolaos that she will solve the Vampire murders, Anita soon finds herself constantly battling for her own life, as well as the innocents around her.
This book was a great read! Lots of action, beautiful detail, and a good introduction to many characters that we would soon find ourselves rooting for in future works. Although no real sexual interactions, there is plenty of sexual tension, and an interesting foreshadowing of what was soon to come…
Quick sidenote: I found an artist online, who has drawn the most BEAUTIFUL (and in my opinion, accurate) renditions of the characters described in Anita Blake novels. I have actually made a paper bookmark featuring her drawings that I have used personally, throughout each book. It helped me figure out who was who while I was reading, and I always love to have a good visualization of what a character looks like. It makes them more “human” to me, (haha – funny choice of words here) vs. simply having a vague idea in my head. My favorites are her renditions of “Jean Claude”, and of “Asher” – wow! Making someone (Asher) who was so scarred look so handsome (as described in later books), is quite incredible!
Take a look. You will not be disappointed! http://wycked.deviantart.com/gallery/
Check out the entire series reading order guide right here ——> Laurell K Hamilton – Anita Blake Series Reading Order