on July 14, 2004
Anita Blake is involved in vampire politics in Burnt Offerings. She meets the vampire council and its quite unconventional methods. The council, especially Yvette, wants Jean-Claude to replace Oliver (from Circus of the Damned), but for sinister reasons. To make matters worse, a pyrokinetic (someone who can call fire physically) has burned various people and vampire establishments with the hope of illegalizing vampires again. Anita and Jean-Claude have to put a stop to this before it is too late. But first Anita has to deal with Fernando, a wererat and son of a sadistic vampire. Fernando is the kidnapper and rapist of various were-leopards and other shape shifters. By doing so she has to become the were-leopards' leader and protector -- something that does not sit well with ex-boyfriend Richard. He decides to make her as miserable as he has been since she broke up with him. Her hands are quite full. Will she be able to save the monsters, even those who aren't worth saving? There various twists throughout the novel...
Several interesting things happen in the seventh installment. The most important part is that there are a few new characters. The ones that I think will play important roles in the other novels are Asher, Jean-Claude's former best friend and nemesis, and Nathaniel, a were-leopard with submissive tendencies. Asher is the one that intrigued me the most. Hundreds of years ago, he and Jean-Claude had loved the same woman. Asher blames Jean-Claude for Julianne's brutal death. This is a great subplot -- one that I hope Ms. Hamilton delves deeper into in the other novels. I wonder if this love triangle foreshadows the future of Anita, JC and Richard. Asher is gripping, almost as sensual as JC, and I look forward to reading more on him. I don't yet know what to make of Nathaniel. I'll have to read more on him, though I must say that I'm not crazy about the aforementioned character thus far. Another good thing about this installment (other than Asher and his subplot) is that we are reacquainted with some of my old-time favorite characters, like Larry and Dolph. Though others were notably absent (I missed Edward!). And, of course, I was happy to read that the relationship between Anita and Jean-Claude has solidified into something loving as well as sexual. They're so cute together! Also, there are a few semi-erotic scenes in this novel and I think I know where LKH is headed. Burnt Offerings is another great installment, but it didn't grip me the way the previous six novels did. There are things that I did not like about this one. The thing that bothers me most is that this book has far too many subplots. I felt that LKH was going around in circles, not really stopping to delve into a particular subject. The story was hard to follow at times. Also, I don't like the direction the characters Richard and Dolph are headed. Richard is understandably hurt and angry with Anita, but his ranting and whining are too over the top for me. And since when did Dolph become a vampire hater? His attitude with Anita has changed since she started dating Jean-Claude. I do miss their friendly banters. Other than that, this is another great Anita Blake novel and I look forward to reading the next one.
on September 30, 2001
As ususal, great characters, good character development and nice circumstantial detail on the world of Anita Blake. Unfortunately, the plot is not as strong as usual.
Representatives of the Vampire Council roll into St Louis ostensibly to investigate The Master of the City's activities, but in practice the point was more to perpetrate the various atrocities Ms. Hamilton had dreamed up between novels. It's not hard to imagine that "living" a few thousand years would up these folks' entertainment threshhold, but at times they seem like the S&M Frat Boys (and Girls) from Hell.
Overall, the novel seemed rushed and to lose it's way. Plotlines appear and are then discarded with annoying frequncy reappearing only as afterthoughts in the conclusion. Where I normally have no problem suspending disbelief with Hamilton's work, some points dealing with human/monster political relationships in this novel really rang false.
Not Ms. Hamilton's best work.
So, why do I still rate it a 4? Many points important to later novels are revealed here and even a mediocre effort by L.K. Hamilton is a darn entertaining read.
After Anita Blake finally made a choice between Jean-Claude the Master Vampire and Richard the Werewolf in the previous volume, I was expecting there to be a let down of some sort in Laurell K. Hamilton's next book in the Vampire Hunter series. Certainly, "Burnt Offerings" tries to top what has gone before, as several members of the Vampire Council arrive in St. Louis intending to deal harshly with Jean-Claude. Remember back when Anita killed Oliver, the ancient vampire who wanted the U.S. to strip away the rights given to vampires? Well, it seems Oliver was a member of the Council and Jean-Claude has refused to take his place as custom dictates. Plus, the triumvirate established between our heroine and her two paramours is also potentially threatening to the Council. Then there are a couple of vampires with mondo grudges against our little group. Meanwhile, there appears to be a pyrokinetic arsonist running around and the anti-Vampire groups are escalating their attacks.
This seventh volume in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series continues the recent trend of providing graphic sexual violence as Hamilton continues to up the horror ante. But her novels continue to end the same way, with Anita discovering she is more powerful than she or anybody else thought and turning the tables on the bad monsters at the last minute. Each time this trick gets turned it becomes less and less impressive, and if Jean-Claude or Richard or someone else were to save the day once it would not be a bad thing since it would break what is becoming the standard formula of these novels. The political intrigues of the Vampire Council are quite interesting, and the powers of the Traveler and the Master of Beasts suggests bigger and badder vamps yet to be met. Or maybe, horror or horrors, Anita's dad will show up (he is not at all happy about Jean-Claude). In the end, "Burnt Offerings" is an average book in this series, which remains the premier horror series of our time. Of course, you have to be sure you read these in order.
on August 24, 2000
I have read and re-read of all of the Anita Blake books and turned many friends on to same! The bathtub scene from Killing Dance is the hottest, sexiest scene in contemporaty literature! I really enjoy the new/old character Asher and would love to see Laurell write a "pre-quel" and tell the Asher, Juliana, Jean-Claude story! Like many, I find Richard annoying and strangely violent with Anita (see both Killing Dance and Blue Moon), whereas Jean-Claude is tender, loving and non-demanding...also, surprisingly monogamous, unlike Richard. Richard is that seeming great guy, with the dark-side, whereas Jean-Claude is the evil one who really is not such a bad guy! My husband is jealous of my new obsession with JC. Good thing he isn't real! But he is definitely the reason I keep reading! Have already pre-ordered he next book due in October! Re: this book, I too was put off by the multiple rape scenes. And with Obsidian Butterfly, Ms. Hamilton crosses I line I with which I was completely uncomfortable. You'll recognize the scenes when you get there. It's the on book I would never re-read, for that reason.
on May 17, 2000
This is a great book for people who enjoy reading about strong heroines and undead people with raging sex drives. Frankly I wasn't particularly impressed with the first book in this series (Guilty Pleasures) but the books are getting better and better. It should be noted that Ms. Hamilton is not particularly adept at developing an original plot - her books generally follow a predictable course. 1) Anita Blake is called in to help with a case involving gruesome murders and mutilations. 2) Anita Blake meets unbelievably powerful supernatural beings (with or without master vampire sidekick). [Note - the order of these events may be reversed] 3) Anita Blake impresses the hell out of everyone she meets and/ or pisses them off. 4) Anita Blake kills time by searching for clues and/ or schmoozing with master vampire/ alpha werewolf. 5) Anita Blake confronts/ is attacked by Evil People. 6) Anita Blake and (at least) one sidekick get hurt. 7) Anita Blake gets Angry. 8) Anita Blake kills all Evil People. [Note: Bouts of angst appear at strategic moments in novel.]
Was that a bit harsh? Sorry! I don't pull my punches. Now let's get to the good bit. The main reason I liked this novel was that the relationships between Ms. Blake and her friends/ lovers are explored well. I really enjoyed the playful dialogue between Jean-Claude and Anita and the way her relationship with the shapeshifters is developing. I liked the humour and the new characters who were introduced. I really liked the sexual tension in many of the scenes. I'm not sure I like the way Anita is becoming all-powerful but that is just a small annoyance. What is interesting is that it becomes clear in this novel that Jean-Claude (unlike most male characters in this genre) is weaker than Anita and that his current elevated standing is due more to his foresight in picking Anita and Richard as his partners than to raw power. Lastly, Ms. Hamilton is leaving open the possibility that Anita will eventually be involved in a cozy threesome with Richard and Jean-Claude, which I would really like to see happen. That outcome is more than hinted at in this novel with the appearance of Asher (who shows that Jean-Claude has had prior experience with a three-way relationship), Jean-Claude's own statement that it is in his best interest to keep Richard happy and a suggestive bit of dialogue between Padma and Richard near the end of the novel. All in all, a very good installment of the series. I urge you all to read it and am eagerly waiting for more.
on May 22, 1998
I am a big fan, and I really enjoy Hamilton's series. I have to agree, though, that there were a few to many plot lines. The Warrick/arsonist/pyro maniac angle would have made a great book all on its own. Speaking of Humans First, what about Jeremy Reubans, from Circus, who founded it? My problems with this book, besides the tangled plot lines, were all of these powers. Anita's a necromancer. Suddenly, she has these all purpose powers for any occasion. Its getting a wee bit extreme, I think. Also, the constant weird sexual situations were unnecessary. The scene with Nathaniel in particular bothered me. Anita used to have a bit more modesty and self-control. I'd also really like to see Manny, Burt,and John Burke a little more. And how about Anita's family? I've got a ton of questions from previous books I'd love to have answered. I love the Edward character. Actually, I love all of her characters. They're all well-developed and believable. Although all of the novels are written from Anita's viewpoint, a prologue from Jean-Claude's view might be interesting.
on May 9, 1998
My housemate and I are reading the books in tandem - it kills me to have to wait till she is done before I can talk about them!
This is the fastest that Anita has gotten neck-deep in aligators - and it is non-stop. From the first, she is busy rescuing and kibbitzing and nudging - all things she does so well. This is both good and bad; the plethora of plotlines was not something I had a problem with - the fact that everything happens in about 48 hours was something that bugged me. Not only that, but she doesn't ever go to sleep during the entire book. Now, in previous books, Anita would kvetch about being tired, but no mention is made here... I am left feeling as if this *might* be a result of the vampire marks, but there is no clue given about that.
I think her necromancy powers were wonderfully explored - she raised dead in more ways than one. I suspect her ... newfound 'lupa ability' (I don't want to spoil it) has as much to do with her affinity for the dead as her being part of the pack-gestalt.
Anita is DEFINITELY loosening up, even if she feels herself to be a 'slut' for it. My housemate and I keep speculating on exactly *what* will make her break down and finally integrate Richard into things - we suspect that Asher is going to have a strong part to play in that. And it is clear that Jean-Claude and Asher used to play footsie, as it were - if Jean-Claude can tell that Anita is doing something, she will be able to tell when he lets loose with Asher...
WHEEEE!!! Problems with the book: Too compressed - the action should have taken a week. Anita never sleeps - no explanation. They SHOULD have saved Warrick; he was too delicious. What IS Dolph's problem, and why is HE in charge of the Spook Squad? I expect that to be revealed in future books. The firefighting stuff should have been more in-depth. Richard and Anita and Jean-Claude still being a problem - get it TOGETHER, girl! Richard looking for a new lupa... and being a DORK about Liv's activities with Sylvie.
Delights: A! sher, and how Anita brought him over. Anita finally realizing her main problem with the pack is fear of her own darkness. Jean-Claude as a person, with REAL character development. Richard apologizing, AND Richard playing himself up - he needs to be less of a boy-scout! Yet Another Triumvirate!
In closing - I think that if Anita is still alive in, oh, 30 years - The council should invite her in as a member. With Jean-Claude as the FLUNKY!
on April 24, 1998
About a year and a half ago I discovered the Anita Blake books. I have been buying them ever since and loaning them out to friends. I have the entire collection and they are now looking very worn.
Of all of the books, Burnt Offerings is not the best. I do agree with many other people on that, but I think it had great potential.
My problems with the book are not too numerous, and probably not as important to anyone who was not an english major. But here they are.
As anyone who has read the books will know, every title has been taken from and building in the story, as it was in Burnt Offerings, but what purpose did Burnt Offerings actually have to the story. Which leads me to a point which many others have mentioned, the numerous plots.
Jean-Claudes trouble with the Vampire Council shoudl have been the only, or at least more central plot. I believe that it was the the primary plot but it got a little lost in places. Hamilton tried, and did a good job, to realte allof the plots and tie them together in the end. I just thought the ending was a bit rushed.
Everything is settled (Except the ongoing things, like Richard and Jean-Claude) at the end. Hamilton does this often, and I do not mind usually, but in this case I felt the book just ended too soon.
Even with the minor troubles of Burnt Offerings I would recomend it, along with the rest of the series, to anyone. The writing is fantastic as is the research Hamilton must put into her stories.
Hamilton and her wonderfully realistic characters have become favorites to me. I am captivated by the books and story lines as much as the characters. I hope the series and Hamilton will go on for much longer.
on October 21, 2000
I'm pushing my comfort level a bit with all the nasty stuff in Hamilton's books, but if you're a fan of the horror genre, I'll admit she does it very well. Anita Blake has to be the toughest heroine I've ever run across, yet she maintains her humanity, and it's possible to at least somewhat identify with her. You get a lot happening in an Anita Blake book. The pace is frenzied, although this one takes more time between the action than in her other books. I thought that was okay, I wanted to take the time to get to know the characters a little better. Unfortunately there seemed to be a great many characters, and maybe it's just me but I had a hard time keeping track of who was a human, who was a vampire, who was a werewolf, and who was a wereleopard, let alone who outranked who. But we don't read horror stories to analyze them, we read them for immersion in an alternate and macabre world, and the Anita Blake books do a great job of providing that.
on October 25, 2000
I read a review here that said that this one was the dud of the series, and that one might as well skip it completely and go directly to Blue Moon. I disagree heartily! Granted, the supposed main plot, the fires, quickly fade to the background, and I thought the fire man would play a bigger role, but the Vampire Coucil was more important. Plus, it is traditional for the initial case of the book to fade into the background for the bulk of the book, and then pop back up toward the end.
Asher was an incredible character, and I really look forward to seeing more of him. I hope he develops well. I also hope for more development of Anita's abilities, which she uses to great success. The wereleopards are going to be important, too.
And the council? Well they can be summed up in Anita's words. "Incredible power, near eternal life, and they were petty. How disappointing."