Showing posts with label Anita Blake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anita Blake. Show all posts

Monday, December 26, 2022

An Anita Blake Limited Edition Lot Find I REFUSED to Leave Behind

Okay. Okay. Okay. So, Anita Blake and I have beefed back and forth for years. I stopped reading the series for a few years, jumped back on, stopped again, and recently decided to jump back on to catch up on Blake's (and Hamilton's) latest offering with 2020's Sucker Punch and 2021's Rafael. I had some deep, ripping issues with 2018's Serpentine; I welcome you to find the video in which I shared my concerns.

Nevertheless, my continuing to read Hamilton on and off is driven chiefly by the state of nostalgia her work generates. Summer of 2007. Just discovering how the urban fantasy/action woman stories stretched outside Buffy meant everything during that time. Not to mention how incredible the first nine Anita Blake books were (though I've gradually become accustomed to the tone change after book nine).

Thursday, January 10, 2019

(2) Last Year's Disappointing Reads | Serpentine by Laurell K Hamilton

I.  Have.  Got.  To.  End.  Reading.  This.  Series.

Serpentine (Anita Blake #26) by Laurell K. Hamilton
"A remote Florida island is the perfect wedding destination for the upcoming nuptials of Anita’s fellow U.S. Marshal and best friend, Edward. For Anita, the vacation is a welcome break, as it’s the first trip she gets to take with just wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel. But it’s not all fun and games and bachelor parties…  
In this tropical paradise, Micah discovers a horrific new form of lycanthropy, one that has afflicted a single family for generations. Believed to be the result of an ancient Greek curse, it turns human bodies into a mass of snakes.  
When long-simmering resentment leads to a big blowp within the wedding party, the last thing Anita needs is more drama. But it finds her anyway when women start disappearing from the hotel, and worse, her own friends and lovers are considered the prime suspects. There’s a strange power afoot that Anita has never confronted before, a force that’s rendering those around her helpless. Unable to face it on her own, Anita is willing to accept help from even the deadliest places. Help that she will most certainly regret—if she survives at all, that is…"


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Find My Kill Switch | Surviving Dead Ice

I’ve been meaning to get back to you guys on my experience with Laurell K Hamilton’s twenty-fourth Anita Blake not-so adventure, Dead Ice. The truth is I had to cleanse my reading pallet with something else in the meantime.  Now if you will, think wasabi level pallet cleansing. Anyway, this particular entry didn’t take months to read, so score one for energy drinks and those pulled pork sandwiches I mentioned in a previous post. Nonetheless, it took damn near two weeks for me to finish.  Insufferably so?  Yes, mostly toward the middle and end.  Though it suffered from the standard uselessly overtaxing furry politics and relationship soap operatic melodrama–that continuously killed the crime thriller buzz–it didn't totally shrivel up and suck.  But it didn't collect any prizes either as it continued to circle the drain.  I have a wagon full of things I want to snark about; foot jittery to serve you with them all. However, to try to sum a bit of it up, Hamilton’s camel clutching way of making her readers undergo Anita’s solar system size ego (which doubles as bloating insecurity) remains one.  Also, Anita continues to talk a very good game, but is mostly dense at the end of her barking. The many vampires, aliens, poltergeist, zombies, and animals in her life remain noncommittal. Seriously, I can’t think of one of Antia’s lovers who sparks the slimiest sense of concern or welfare inside of me. 

However, I do believe the character of Asher is now the punching bag the character of Richard once was.  Which is lame because his "issues" are obviously pulled out of somebody's ass just so Anita can have someone to fuss with, while pumping page counts on the tired subject.  The details are hardly worth getting into, as it's just daytime TV types of drama anyway.  With a supernatural spin, of course.  Nevertheless, that doesn't shake off the weariness it creates. The truth is every male character’s life only revolves around Anita's conjecture and vagina (or milky breast, or throat pulse, or whatever). Even so, in the general, I’ve long conceded that this series has turned into the author’s high school fantasy gone wild. I just can’t seem to see it any other way.  I've also long since learned to unhook myself over the majority of the relationship mumbo-jumbo-gumbo-humbo-dumbo-tumbo. 

There’s no need to get invested; all roads of angst, politics, and quarrels on sex/relationships lead simply to Anita’s vagina monologues. Again and again.  And in the infamous words of Cyndi Lauper–though nowhere near as ingeniously expressed and told–"time after time."

Nevertheless, I keep reading. It’s a thing where the real joy comes from the post snarking. What I can say is Dead Ice kind of did a throwback to my favorite book in the series (back when it was engaging, for me anyway). That book would be book number two, The Laughing Corpse.  That, I will say, was a nice touch despite long overdue.  So in keeping with all I've said, I’m not going to go any further. The truth is if you’re familiar with this series, you either share pieces of my view or don’t at all. And if you’re new to this series, I would suggest you not even bother getting to this point. So no sense in my trying to hearten anyone. 

Eventually, you’ll probably find yourself like me; jade, unconcerned, and still wondering what happened to the series after book nine. Now! This post is for those who found themselves rolling their eyes through the majority of Dead Ice. God people, I though I was going to have to get my eyes checked after this one! And the way Hamilton repeats everything to the reader page after page did not help the situation.  Not to mention her obsession with gyms and fitness. Anyway, let’s get to where I rolled my eyes, shared through a few lines taken from the book...
*Activating Kill Switch*

I fought the urge to sigh.  If you're a cop and a woman, never date a celebrity; it ruins your reputation for being a hardass.  I was a U.S. Marshal, but ever since we'd gone public with our engagement I'd become Jean-Claude's fiancee, not Marshal Blake, to most of the women I met, and a lot of the men.  I'd really had hopes that the FBI would be above such things in the middle of crime-fighting, but apparently not.
Two pages into the book and this ever so common subject comes up right on time.  Why does the author always–and I mean always–have to bring up Anita's obsession with gender role constructs and the this-versus-that of being a woman in her career field.  A field, which I believe, she should be removed from because of potential bias in the face of her assignments.  The truth is she does sleep with all the vampires and wereanimals in the city of St. Louis.  She's involved in their power plays and politics.  She's, essentially, the center of the supernatural communities' attention.  Yet, she gloats about the FBI needing her to kill supernatural creatures case after case, year after year.  Meanwhile, her vagina is up on the table (often pimped out by the city's master vampire, Jean-Claude) should any supernatural creature need a power boost.  Somebody, fire her!
'She said, these rings would be worthy of Helen of Troy, another raven-haired beauty [indicating Anita Blake]'
'Raven-haired means black hair,' Lisandro said. [Duh, dude. Duh.]
'Are you saying she compared me to Helen of Troy?' [Asks Anita Blake]
Nice try!
You are not Helen of Troy, Anita.  Cease this degree of madness, Hamilton.  Anita's not on that kind of level and never will be.
'I can't imagine a world where I didn't get grief for looking the way I do as a man.'
The insipidity boring (not to mention emasculated) Micah character states this because he's so short and so "beautiful."  Needless to say, the cringe for me was so real.  This line seemed shot straight out of somebody's fantasy delusions. 
'But the only reason I'm with Jade is that she's my black tiger to call; we're metaphysically tied to each other.  We didn't exactly choose each other.  I'm all full up on vampires.'
Is that a fact?
'I did, because what if by refusing to risk screwing up my own happily-ever-after, I cause the Great Evil to rise again and destroy not only you, Nathaniel, and Jean-Claude, but everyone and everything?  The destruction of civilization as we know it seems a high price to pay for not wanting to add another person to our commitment ceremony.'
Did you just read the same thing?  Micah states this, and I've finally come to the conclusion that he irritates me more than any of Anita's other were-posse members.  Evidently, Anita has to add two were-tigers to her harem in order to keep the Mother of all Darkness–or the reportedly mother of vampires–from reviving.  That, of course, means finding two tigers for Anita to sleep with so that the Great Evil doesn't destroy civilization and mankind via some joke of a cosmic prophecy. Really.  Just step back and really, I mean really, digest Micah's statement.  It sums up the series beautifully.   I actually went to clean my bathroom after this one.  Priorities, man.  Priorities.
'I'm sleeping with all of you, so sex with all of us would work, but we're talking about a lot more than just sex.'
I vanquish you and your petty lies in the name of truth and justice!
'Lazarus was dead only a few days.  You've been dead a lot longer than that, Mr. Warrington.  Do you truly believe that Anita can do what our Lord and Savior never dared?'
First, resurrecting and raising zombies are two different things.  Resurrecting is bringing someone back to life.  Zombie raising is waking one's corpse up from the grave.  Now, obviously Mr. Warrington is a zombie Anita raised.  So let's look at it, though.  According to this piece of dialogue, Jesus couldn't resurrect the dead over an extensive period of his or her death.  As it concerns this dialogue, he wouldn't dare try.  However, Anita's power is suggested as having the strength and ease to do so?  To, quite implied, step into realms of resurrection that Jesus wouldn't even touch.  Just let that shit marinate for a second.  Got it yet?  Great.  So is Hamilton trying to use her Anita avatar to square with Jesus now?  That's only slightly not weird.
'I'm sorry, Susannah, really sorry; that must have been awful.'  And just like that I had my lesson.  I shouldn't assume that every woman a man bashes gave him a good reason to do it.
Girl, what!?
Cringe!  Anita states this.  Are we reading this correctly?  Is she saying that if a men beats on a woman it's usually with good reason?  Yikes!
'I don't understand any of this.'
She and everybody else says this a lot!  And I mean a lot!  It's actually a recurring answer within the past 5 or 6 books.  "The wall is painted purple."  "I don't understand any of this."
I studied his profile, because he was the only one looking away now.  'So, you're not apologizing for almost killing him, really; you're apologizing for accidentally almost killing him.'
Get the hell outta here with this nonsense!
'Don't apologize for not being little; you'll be able to lift weights that I can't even imagine lifting.'
This is Anita talking to a damn lycanthrope of some sort.  Or shapeshifter.  Anyway, it's a creature that can shift into a humanoid version of an animal.  So why oh why is this conversation necessary?  I can only guess Hamilton's gym obsession again.  Otherwise, I hardly see why a shapeshifter should concern him or herself with building muscle.  Or is that just me?
'Your eyes better stay on my face, Benito, because one rule across all were-animal cultures is that if someone is just nude and not trying to be sexy you're suppose to ignore it.'
Anita and her mouth again.  She knows she likes the attention and she knows she wants it.  Who is she kidding?  A housefly?  Something in which she'll never sleep with.  It's attitudes like this that really screws with the inconsistent of Anita's already cruelly flawed character, from a developmental standpoint.  She demands and obsesses over her need for adoration, praise, sex, attention, and every golden sparkle she wants; however, she loathes and gets snotty by the backwash.  If this was explored correctly in Anita's development, I would accept it.  But since it's just a key-in-a-hole-to-turn piece of impulsive Mary Sue drivel, I can't.  Even the whole "rule across all were-animals" is pretty dumb when you consider they all fight to have sex with one another as power plays, and sleep naked in groups.  Per this series world-building, of course.
'The hell you're not; you come in here threatening to kill one of your own people because your lover chose him over you.  If you were all human, that would be first-degree homicide.  You threatened to kill Asher so that Jean-Claude will agree to you becoming my hyena to call; it's like threatening to kill someone unless a woman agrees to marry you.  Again, that's a crime; marriage under duress isn't legal, and threatening to kill people, well, the cops frown on that, too.  Then you threaten to pull out all of your hyenas and go to another city, knowing that we didn't have enough muscle to protect the city from other preternatural baddies without our guys unless we play with you.  That may not be illegal, but it's still not honorable.  But wait, there's more, you threaten to use all the soldiers at your beck and call to declare a preternatural war of a scale that hasn't been seen in this country since the 1800s.  Dozens, maybe hundreds, would die, and threatening shit like that is what makes gang task forces bust your gang up and take the leader off to jail.'
 Oh, dear. So self-righteous when it conveniences her.
'Sometimes, but it's more you are so powerful psychically that you just bull your way through everything, so subtle energies are lost to you because you give off so much of your own energy it makes you blind to other practitioners.'
So basically Anita is so powerful and wonderful that she overshadows everybody else in her business.  So much so that even she only sees herself.  Heh.
'I think they need to kiss everybody, not just me, to see if there's a spark, because I do not want to have another woman in my life who doesn't work with the men in my life.'
My blood pressure at this point.
'...The longer we keep him on [a video chat line], the better chance we have of our techs tracing this to its source.'
'You mean where they're filming?' I asked.
Nooooo, Anita.  Where they're quoting scripture and eating cold hot dogs.  Like, WTF?  Of course where they're filming–Ms. Badass Federal Marshal!  This dumb question coming from the necromancer whose power overshadows everyone else's.
Enough.  I'm done. BOOM! 

Friday, June 12, 2015

#Friday Read | Surviving Another Go at Anita Blake

Do not judge, but this is totally happening...

According to Goodreads:

Anita Blake has the highest kill count of any vampire executioner in the country. She’s a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since she and master vampire Jean-Claude went public with their engagement, all she is to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancĂ©e.

It’s wreaking havoc with her reputation as a hard ass—to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, she’s still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.

Someone is producing zombie porn. Anita has seen her share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother her. But the women being victimized aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signaling voodoo of the blackest kind.

It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And Anita’s own soul may not survive unscathed . . .


I’ll see this series till the very end.  End of story.  Throughout all the sex and relationship vomiting and diarrhea combos this series produces (and fosters in me), I’m invested.  I don’t know what it is, but Anita Blake’s spell has yet to be broken by me.  It’s like nosy lurkers on your social media profile; I have to piece together her character from a distance, and understand how it has devolved over the series (while simultaneously bleaching my brain).  Well, that’s an awful perception, but a true one.  Nonetheless, it’s too complicated to make sense of, only that I’m a fan; severely troubled but loyal.  And possibly looking for more reasons to despise this series until I can finally get it out of my system.

Such a negative post, this is.  Wonder how steep my final thoughts of the book will also be.

And that’s the catch!  I gotta read it to know it.

So this is my Friday Read: Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton.  I’m off today and tomorrow (this may be the one time I wish my job would call me to come in).  So I can stay up late with my energy drink and pulled pork sandwich (add the slaw and vinegar), and pray I don’t fall over dead from either the book or my survivalist binge eating.  Yes.  You read that right.  Survivalist.

This time I'm hoping I don't drop the book for eights months like I did the last entry in the series, Affliction.  That's right.  I started Affliction in June and didn't finish it until January.  Lesson, evidently, still not learned.

Pray for me, folks.  I'm going in...

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