on June 26, 2004
Once again, Laurell K. Hamilton hits a home run with this exceptional novel. The Lunatic Cafe is the fourth Anita Blake installment and my favorite thus far. Though this one has a bit of a slow start action-wise, it has a far more compelling plot that centers on Anita's personal life. Anita is dating Richard, something that doesn't sit well with Jean-Claude, the vampire Master of the City. Jean-Claude wants Anita as well and he, too, wants to date her. She's always said she wouldn't date one of the monsters, yet she is involved with a werewolf. But Richard has great human qualities. He is a schoolteacher, a genuinely nice guy, a boy next door of sorts -- minus the small fact that he's the leader of a pack of shape shifters with a secret and animalistic penchant for a mixture of blood, sex and violence. Jean-Claude is the proverbial bad boy -- a fearful leader and a shameless seducer who doesn't bother to hide his monstrous side, but irresistible all the same. In order to keep Jean-Claude from killing Richard, Anita acquiesces to his proposal of dating both men at the same time. But the reader knows that Anita is attracted to Jean-Claude, no matter how much she denies it. If this interesting little love triangle isn't bad enough, she has to find out why eight shape shifters and lycanthropes are missing. There are various twists throughout the novel...
This is the most exciting part of the series I've read thus far. Laurell K. Hamilton keeps you in suspense from beginning to end. Richard is a great character, but he's nowhere near as compelling and sensual as Jean-Claude. I am still hoping that he and Anita will get together. The building of tension is so slow it's torturous! But the aforementioned tension is delectable beyond compare. The characters are always excellent. The most interesting character in this series is Edward. He's a caricature of a character with an unreadable personality. Perhaps this is intentional, but I'm not sure. I hope to get to know this character in a deeper level in the future. Anyway, as said earlier, this is the best Anita Blake offering. I cannot recommend The Lunatic Cafe enough. A great summer read to enjoy resting on a hammock overlooking the sunset.
on June 4, 2004
Anita Blake is a definite favourite of mine. But Anita! You really disappointed me in this one. The story and the storyline was, as usual, great. Anita has to deal with some horrible murders with a distict supernatural touch, and from the beginning it becomes clear, that this book is not so much about vampires as it is about shapeshifters. There is something wrong about these murders, apart from the supernatural aura about them. Someone or something is on the loose, and pretty soon, Anita is too close to the trail for comfort. And on the same time, she is having major second thoughts about her boyfriend Richard. In the last book, she found out that he was a shapeshifter, and in this book, she is trying to deal with that fact. Another reviewer has written about Richard and the difficulties for the reader accepting him as Anita's boyfriend. I agree. I find Richard disgusting, no matter how beautiful he is supposed to be when not being a werewolf. This is why I can 'only' rate this Anita Blake book with 3 stars. But, apart from this, Lunatic Cafe is a light, funny, scary and good read.
on May 10, 2004
Up until this point, the main character in the series, Anita Blake, has been staying away from love. Anita is an animator and vampire slayer, who has been wooed for quite some time by the master vampire of the city, Jean-Claude. On the previous book, "The Circus of the Damned", we saw Anita moving away from the enchanting vampire to start searching for love in what she thought was a normal human. She was surprised when, after a vampire tore out the throat of his suitor, he did not die. Richard is a werewolf, and Anita is trying to reconcile this information with her own feelings for him. Anita's reluctant acceptance of love may have to do with the moment in time in which Laurell K. Hamilton wrote this book, since she was pregnant and delivered a baby girl named Trinity.
With each book, the reader gets a clearer idea about what the place in which Anita lives in is like. For example, we find out that there are creatures that we did not know existed in this world, like dragons, gargoyles and trolls. Also, we learn that discrimination against lycanthropes is illegal but existent nonetheless. In this case, everything starts when the husband of one particular lycanthrope shows up at Anita's office looking for help, since his wife is missing and he cannot go to the authorities for fear she will be fired if the "secret" comes out. In addition to this, Dolph, who works with the preternatural unit of the police department, summons Anita because there has been a murder of suspicious nature. Anita determines that the murder was committed by a shapeshifter, denomination that includes werewolves.
Besides the "usual" type of situations Anita faces, she has to deal with her relationship with Richard, and his battle for the leadership of the wolf pack with an alpha male called Marcus. Jean-Claude will not go away without a fight, and he is trying to get Anita to date him instead of the werewolf. To complete the picture, there is a female vampire that is in love with Jean Claude and thinks that the only way to get her prize is to eliminate her competition. Anita describes this situation perfectly: "Bully for me!"
Hamilton is perfecting a world and a character that grab the attention and the heart of the reader without letting go. As the story progresses, we learn more about Anita's past, her relationship with her mother, her previous experience with love, etc. Also, the reader comes to cherish some of the characters that at first seem unlikable, like Edward, the "gun for hire". A friend told me that the series will get kinkier as it progresses, and I already saw this happen in this book, but this change in tone matches perfectly the mood of the main character. The truth is, I cannot get enough of Anita Blake!
on December 24, 2003
As with the previous three books in the series, this book is a tremendously fun read, mostly because the character of Anita Blake is one of the best characters in fiction since Randall P. McMurphy in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest". The background world, the other characters, the plots and such are all okay, but nothing particularly out of the ordinary. It is Anita that makes this series work, and boy, does she.
This book was at least as good as the first three in the series, although I suspect that some fans will feel that it spent too much time (that is to say, any) on the soap opera that Anita's personal life is becoming, at the expense of the cover-to-cover action that we've come to expect. Others, myself included, will find the closer look at previously unexplored aspects of Anita's character fascinating, and will point out that there is no shortage of action here.
Although this is book four of the series, and I have read the previous three, I have the impression that one could read this book without having read the others without being hopelessly confused. Hard to say, though. Probably best to start with "Guilty Pleasures" and be safe.
on October 31, 2003
A Review by Rachel
Anita Blake has fallen in love with the leader of a local pack of werewolves but the master if the city (vampire) will not let it happen. Anita tries to keep them from killing each other and keep her self out of line of fire and try to find out what happened to eight missing lycanthropes.
I loved how this book had no drags and that almost every little thing led to something big so it had no wasted time or drags. All the characters had an important role that made the story really came a live and with Anita's wits I really got inspired by the fact she looks out for her self and doesn't let a man do stuff for her even if she is having a hard time with it. The third best thing about this book was that there was not only a few high points here and there but they were every ware. Danger and suspense incased this book and won't let you go until you pass out from lack of sleep.
I would recommend this book to any vampire, lycanthropes, and mystery and romance lovers. It's a real adventure to read and it is very smooth to read.
on September 12, 2002
Lots of people like this series. After reading this book I must say I'm not one of them, though I haven't read the other Anita Blake books. I knew who the bad guys were the first time Hamilton introduced them,which I always find annoying, and after the initial chaos of acclimiting to Hamilton's world and characters I found that events followed rather predictably. This is because no situation is ever resolved. Anita, the heroine, simply handles the crisis of the moment, never addressing the actual problem, so it comes as no surprise when the problems recur. The rest of the book is smut. Not even good smut, you understand. Anita also lends credence to the whole your-lips-say-no-but-your-eyes-say-yes thing. Well, if that floats your boat it is fine by me, but like I said it isn't even good smut.
I did like the world Hamilton has created. I found myself most interested in how all these supernatural creatures had merged into modern society, and I loved the idea that weres would have legal protection. There wasn't a lot of detail about this, which I thought was a shame. Even with that, I would not pickup another book of this series.
on June 17, 2002
I like this series, don't get me wrong - I just think it's false advertising to call it "romantic." There is no romance in any of the books I've read, thus far! The author and her fans love graphic violence, but not romance, or the eroticism that stems from love.
It's all guns, knives, dismemberments, disemboweling, and beating the "bad guys" senseless - but add a little emotional risk into the mix, and Anita bails like a big wuss. Anita Blake is such a contradiction: a tough-as-nails character who isn't afraid to maim/kill anything that crosses her, but is absolutely petrified to allow herself to be vulnerable enough to feel love, or even requited lust. Take away her guns and Anita is a wimp.
Why create a character like Jean-Claude, and then have him yearn for macho yet cowardly Anita? I wish there was a spinoff series that starred him, and explored his dark eroticism; I frankly find his character to have more depth, strength, and interest than Anita's.
I know the books are primarily thrillers, but the author teases deeper relationships between characters that she never delivers upon. This is a big disappointment, in my humble estimation, and one that detracts from my emotional investment in Anita and the series. Why advertise as "romantic" and devote chapter upon chapter to building up the idea of a romance, then never deliver upon it? Too much sizzle and not enough steak.
If you like the paranormal and murder mysteries, you'll like these books, but don't expect much in the way of love or lust - you won't find it here.
I must continue my search for both.
on April 15, 2002
LC is the fourth book in the Anita Blake series. In this book, Anita has her hands full with things other than Zombie raising.
She sees herself falling in love with Richard, an alpha werewolf who is next in like for "top dog", but finds out that he is having problems facing the fact that he has to kill the Ulfric to take over his post. This makes her very angry.
Next, she finds herself being called in by the police to help solve a potential lycanthrope attack. After getting to the scene, she walks into a turf war with the two police departments involved. Fun Fun Fun.
NEXT, Anita goes home only to be drug into a meeting with the current Ulfric, Marcus. He wants her to find out what has happened to 8 missing wereanimals. She reluctantly agrees to help him where upon she is introduced to the dark world of thier lives.
And that is just the beginning!!
This book is jammed full of situations that Anita has to work with.. including a jealous female vampire who is in love with Jean-Claude who is, in turn, in love with Anita. It was a great book that shows Anita at her best!
on March 22, 2002
Life is tough when you are the best animator and registered vampire killer in the St. Louis area. For one thing, the police keep calling you in the middle of the night. When Anita Blake settles in for a big date with werewolf Richard Zeeman, the interruptions are non-stop. The first is from Jean-Claude, the jealous vampire Master of the City. In the middle of dealing with the enraged undead, Anita is saved by the pager when she gets her second interruption. She's wanted at the site of a suspected preternatural attack to help the police investigation. What Anita finds at the crime site is no better than what she left at the theater. The evidence she finds points to a rogue lycanthrope - mean, nasty and very hungry.
Heading home she is interrupted again. This time it's Marcus and Raina, leaders of Richard Zeeman's wolf pack. They and the leaders of every other family of lycanthropes in the St. Louis area as well. She is hardly sympathetic when they explain that someone is stalking the weres of the city. Eight shapeshifters have disappeared. Concerned about Richard's own safety, Anita undertakes the investigation.
Done yet? Nope. Back at her apartment Anita finds that her buddy Edward the bounty hunter is back in town. His assignment this time is to track down the makers of a snuff film. A particularly gruesome snuff film that starts a werewolf, a were leopard and a very short-lived human. With badness going on in every direction Anita must find the solution to all these crimes before she, Richard, and many innocents become victims as well.
Aficionados will recognized the usual intricate Hamilton plot. What they will not be prepared for are the complexities introduced by her love for Richard Zeeman. Forced to deal with Richard's own nature she must realizes she must find he own definition of what is monster and what is not. This new twist adds considerable depth to a complex tale.
How Laurell Hamilton manages to pick up all these threads, tie them together, and rush headlong to a pulse-stopping conclusion is something that must be read to be enjoyed. Once again Hamilton pushes at the boundary of the typical girl meets monster story to create something that is the best of horror and romance. Readers will be delighted, as usual.
on March 21, 2002
"The Lunatic Cafe" is Laurell K. Hamilton's fourth Anita Blake - Vampire Hunter novel and it is an enormously entertaining and fun-filled read. Non-stop action, stylish horror, and sensual delights mix seamlessly to create a page-turning novel readers won't soon forget. A word of warning though - all it takes is one visit to Anita's violent and seductive world and you'll be hooked. This addictive series will leave you craving more, until you've bought all 10 Anita Blake books regardless of whether you can afford them or not (it happened to me!).
This instalment in the series finds Anita, hard-boiled necromancer, animator, and vampire executioner, enjoying her budding romance with Richard Zeeman, junior high science teacher and alpha werewolf. But when she finds out that Richard is involved in a life and death struggle for leadership of the pack, she is furious with him for not telling her about it. However, Anita doesn't have long to dwell on it because, as always, more trouble comes her way.
The police beep Anita, requesting her expertise on a preternatural murder, but on her way to her car, Anita has a nasty run-in with Gretchen, one of Jean-Claude's vampires. Gretchen is hopelessly in love with the incredibly sexy Master of the City, Jean-Claude, and she sees Anita the one thing standing between her and her true love. Anita manages to get away, but not before Gretchen has promised to kill her!
Anita finally makes it to the murder scene, where the deceased appears to be the victim of a lycanthrope attack. Unfortunately, however, Anita has walked right into the middle of a police turf war between the local sheriff's dept. and her squad. Guns are drawn and harsh words exchanged before they come to a tense agreement and allow Anita to see the body.
Arriving home ready to end her night, Anita is forced into a meeting at the Lunatic Cafe with the current werewolf pack leader, Marcus. Surrounded by dozens of other were-creatures, Anita doesn't feel too secure, but Marcus has a strange request for her. Eight shapeshifters (lycanthropes) have disappeared recently, and Marcus wants Anita to find out what happened to them. She reluctantly agrees to look into it, and quickly becomes entwined in the strange and violent world of lycanthrope politics.
The story really takes off from here, sending the reader on a fabulous adventure alongside Anita as she deals with the two men in her life, fights off Gretchen the jealous vampire, helps the police solve their murder, and tries to find eight missing lycanthropes.
With so many different things happening at once, one might think that the book would become confused and hard to follow, but Hamilton skilfully ties all the different threads together into one fantastic story. Anita's adventures are always thrilling and suspenseful, sometimes quite sensual, and will keep readers glued to the pages.
Every visit with Anita and the gang is like a holiday to a magical new world, where you can forget all your troubles and get completely caught up in the alternate reality Hamilton creates so brilliantly. With its compelling characters and red-hot storylines, this is a series you do not want to miss. "The Lunatic Cafe" is a fabulous chapter in this exceptional series, so buy it today!