on March 17, 2002
this is a great book... i think, even better than the laughing corpse, since the plot is believable and relevant to the whole story.
bad news #1:
this time it's a group of rogue vampires that is making a big, red, bloody splash around st. louis... and it's up to spook squad and anita to solve the crimes
bad news #2:
AND it directly involves jean-claude. not good... considering that anita is trying her best to avoid seeing him at all cost. silly girl if you ask me. and she's adamant not to be the human servant of jean-claude.
bad news #3:
*somebody* else is planning to do away with jean-claude - and wants anita to be *his* human servant instead!
mr. oliver - a very, very and i mean *very* powerful vampire, has his own perverse agendas...
a new love interest in the form of richard zeeman ... yummy? yes... problem free? no. just how blind can the girl possibly be? very, judging by the way the story goes...
add in a couple of angry human mob, a freaking giant of a cobra, a possibly feral vampire and a vampire coup in-the-making, and you get the gist of what circus of the damned has to offer.
personally, i find that this is a rather trying read. not so much because of the plot, which is excellent, but the way anita dances around the subject of jean-claude. hell, she knows that she can't resist him - at all - and she's trying to confuse the issue with richard. i think in this particular novel, we can see how she won't admit that there's more than just lust between jean-claude and her... but noooo... she had to be real obstuse about it all.
other than her vacillations, the plot is tightly executed and the characters well developed. although i think to a certain extend the baddies are quite cliched stereotypes of hell-bent-world-dominating types... not really original if you ask me.
as usual the writing's not that evenly paced. a bit slow in th beginning and only interesting about half the way through the book... geez, i seem to say this in every book of hers (lkh) that i've read...
and the spook squad? you just gotta love them!
all in all this is a good read, i think mucho better than lunatic cafe... but please read the previous books so that you'll be able to appreciate this book better.
on May 18, 2001
I usually reserve four stars for items that I truly love that lack the fine sheen of perfection, but I found myself no choice but to give this four stars even though it is not a favorite of mine. I gave the first two books in this series three stars, they were average, sometimes enjoyable, but I never found them truly involving. At a friend's insistence I continued on through the third book, and although there are some major plot holes here and there, there were truly gripping moments for the first time in the series. The undauntable vampire slayer/necromancer finds herself going up against the oldest vampire she's ever faced, dancing around the edges of romance, and still warning off the master vampire that wants her as a servant and/or lover. In the mix are strange serpentine creatures and werewolves and lots of bloody battles. The conflicts in this book, while hardly believable since they all include vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters, are still compelling and sympathetically written. The plot holes, while sometimes jarring, are kept to the details (Blake wrecks her car, but then is driving around the next day and only later is it revealed where she got a car). Still, this is better than either of the two prior books and deserves higher marks although I will admit that reading the other two books is necessary since the relationships do develop over time.
After her great success in "The Laughing Corpse," one of the finest horror novels I have ever read, Laurell K. Hamilton tries to reach the same heights again in "Circus of the Damned," the third volume in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. For the first time the focus is primarily on the vampires, although Anita's job as an Animator has always been more accurate a description than Vampire Hunter. Once again she is the target of every character in the novel: Jean-Claude the Master Vampire of St. Louis wants to put his final two marks on Anita to make her his human servant, but so does Alejandro, an even older vampire who wants to take Jean-Claude's spot. On top of that there are two other master vampires in town this time around: Yasmeen, who simply wants to rip Anita's heart out, and Oliver, who wants to slaughter humans so that this nonsense about vampires having legal rights will come to an end. Meanwhile, over on the human side of the equation, the leaders of Humans First want to take out Anita for not helping them slay the Master, Edward is back wanting the name from Anita so he can do the same thing, Dolph wants her help in tracking down a pack of vampires that are killing humans, Bert wants her to train Larry Kinkaid the college student turned animator, and just to make things really interesting, Richard, the middle-school teacher who hangs out with Jean-Claude at the Circus of the Damned, wants to go out on a date with Anita where they spend the day spelunking.
While we do find out a bit more about Anita's discovery that she is a necromancer and the issue of her being the human servant of a vampire is finally (?) resolved, the conclusion of "Circus of the Damned" is a bit too reminiscent of the climax of the previous Anita Blake novel. However, Hamilton scores points by continuing the exploring the "real world" implications of her America where vampires have legal rights and the characterization of Anita Blake continues to develop nicely. There is plenty of action and the book is not as gory as its predecessor, but is still one of those "may be too intent for younger children" type reads. Do not come here expecting Buffy.
on December 8, 1996
Anita Blake is the only human being who will go a-visiting to a vampire master of the city when there is obviosly a crazy vampire master on the loose. She is also the only one who manages to strike a relationship with a master werewolf while dealing with a gigantic, poisonous and magical cobra and her wanna be vampire master. And did I forget to mention the fact that her first date with above mentioned werewolf ended up in an emergency trip to the same vampire master? We wouldn't want to live Anita's life. It seems to have such a limited expectancy.
If you like to read about vampires, werewolves, raising zombies, politice investigation, or human (and parahuman) interactions try CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED.
on January 12, 2001
So far I have read three of the nine Anita Blake books and I have not been diappointed so far. This third novel is exciting to the core. Even though you sense that Jean Claude will not be killed in this novel you still find your-self wondering how Anita will get herself out of this particular jam. The author keeps adding interesting characters. Richard and his story line seem promissing. Edward adds a dangerous touch. I must admit to being a Jean Claud fan.I read books 1 to 3 extreemly fast. I was just too excited about what would happen next. I am now waiting for books 4 to 9 to be deliered to my door. Let's hope the rest of the series is half as interesting as the first three.
on July 13, 2000
My wife has been pushing and pushing to get me to read one of these books.
Heh. I'm pretty impressed. New readers to the series won't find this to be too bad of a starting off point. Everything is pretty nicely explained, and the action is fast and grisly.
There's plenty of violence and lust to go around. Anita is portrayed pretty vividly, and it's clear that she makes some pretty tough choices as she goes along. She's got a great narration voice.
The ending is a little pat, and it doesn't really explain why Anita puts up with Bert, her boss, but otherwise, this is a pretty fun book.
on April 16, 2002
I really like this series because it is about the paranormal, and features a very strong female character. My one problem with this series is the character of Jean-Claude, or rather, with the way Hamilton always chooses to dress him. He is almost always wearing lace and see-through shirts. That's just a little too effeminate for me. And there are way too many descriptions of his nipples. Sorry, but I am just not a nipple girl. I think Anita should forget Jean-Claude and go for Richard or Edward.
on August 4, 1998
I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. The writing style at times leaves much to be desired. However, the humor and the originality in the story far outweighs the writing. I found myself laughing out loud in many places. Anita Blake is a character whom is brave and funny. The book is filled with humor, yet there is something seductive about the vampire Jean-Claude being in love with Anita. This is great light reading, and it sent me scrambling for more of Laurell K. Hamiltons stuff!
on August 3, 1997
In this, the third of the Anita Blake - Vampire Hunter series, Anita finds out what it is to become one of those dolls that stretches when you pull on their arms. Jean-Claude wants her because he is intreigued by her. She can look into his eyes after all and not fall for his spell. And she did help him defeat the last Master of the city, didn't she? But Alejandro just wants her to get to Jean-Claude.
Again, which is worse? A vampire in love with you or a vampire who want's to use you
on August 8, 1998
While reading "Guilty Pleasures," the first book in this series, I so enjoyed this author's writing style and the story that I ran out and purchased the next four books in the series. I just completed Circus of the Damned and it was as good as I would have expected. With this author, I'm not afraid of being disappointed. If you're even remotely interested in vampires and the supernatural, as well as a good suspenseful, and action-filled story, try this series of books.