on June 26, 2003
I say that half-heartedly though. The laughing corpse was just the beginning. It was necessary to learn more about Anita's necromancy and only later did LKH saturate her books with her delicious characterizations. However, most of what made me lock myself in my room for hours to read her books was gone from this. The otherwordly elements (vampires, shapeshifters), her strong, coursing relationships with the leopards, wolves, and ahhh Jean-Claude--all gone. And though I love Edward, I feel his prescense was more haughty and strangely complete, when he made cameos. When he was just that guy who was mysterious, deadly, in it just for the kill and an inticing plage upon the books and to the readers. However, in this novel, there was too much. He lost some of his edge (mainly because Donna was...well, not too bad anyway). Though I thought Bernado was great, I was bored. Painfully bored. Perhaps if I had read this book standing by itself with no previous novels, I would have enjoyed it--the suspense and the gruesome descriptions--perhaps, I would have been more intrigued. But with the stunning characterizations and the obsessive ties I found with them, I was just not as impressed as with every other book. The next one was much, much better!
on February 7, 2002
This book is a little different compared to the previous books in the Anita Blake series. This time Anita is called away from her normal turf in St.Louis to help Edward - a stone cold hitman that she has worked with occasionally. The story revolves around Edward, and we get to know a lot about him and his relationship with Anita. As far as the usual colorfull cast of humans and monsters go, they are mostly absent, and the ongoing plotlines from the previous books are left untouched.
In fact one of my feelings after having read the book was, that the author used this book to give herself a break from Anita Blakes rather complicated life in her hometown, while pondering the future of the character. You cant help missing Jean Claude, Dolph, Richard, Bert and all the others.
Another feeling was that the book was too long. Laurell K. Hamiltons writing style seems more mature and elaborate in this book - something which doesnt always fit the story well. The author often seems to use too many words in the wrong places, and for instance after having read several loooong descriptions of how tough Anita and Edward are, I felt like shouting "YES! I KNOW THEY ARE TOUGH! Now can we move on with the action please?".
Conclusion: Though this book is a side-track from all ongoing plots and really a non-essential chapter in the Anita Blake saga, I will recommend it to fans of the series,- especially Edward fans. Newcommers to the series should steer clear of this book and pick one of the previous books, like Guilty Pleasures.
on December 28, 2001
Obsidian Butterfly is my first Laurel K. Hamilton and my first exposure to Anita Blake. Honestly, I didn't expect much. I am not a particular fan of the whole vampire/ghoul writing genre and tough female protagonists are becoming as common as right handed Americans. I also didn't know the whole back story to Edward, Anita's mentor/male imago or her whole menage a trois with a vampire and a werewolf so all of these pieces were interesting.
The novel starts out with Anita arriving to assist Edward on a case of mass mutilations and murder. Edward, some sort of Black Ops Spook, gone private bounty hunter who is hiding out under an alias has also insinuated himself into a fatherless family that is so sickeningly saccharine they have dogs, Peeka and Boo. The great part of these books was how disgusted Anita was by this whole guise Edward has put on and her genuine concern as to how she'll separate a psycho from an All-American family. Then Edward has back up for them in the form of Bernardo, who spends so much time being sexy that he has little time for anything else and Olaf/Otto who is a serial killer.
What set this book apart for me was that there are werewolves, vampires, killers, vampire executioners, cops, witches, wiccans, shamans, necromancers and so on running amok in Hamilton's world, all seamlessly accepted as existing. The question is not who or what is "bad" but to what degree and she spends a considerable amount of time delving into Anita's psyche as she asks some hard questions about being such a hardcase vampire executioner and necromancer. That was really refreshing, Anita doesn't shrug off the knowledge that she's as cold and tough as Edward, who has a fixation on her as his soulmate that would only be weirder if they were a sexual component. By the end, Anita is "soulmate" to Olaf/Otto who has witnessed her killing an Aztec "God". This is all laced together with Anita's blunt sexual cravings for several of the men around her and her denial because eof her link to her werewolf and vampire back home. That was really well-handling, her sexuality, her sexual interests and cravings and why she acts and doesn't act on them. There's a good balance to Hamilton's exposure of her character to other characters in the novel so that I felt she came across to everyone but Edward, who knows her better than anyone, as exactly the veneer she reports in her brisk, observant first person style throughout the novel.
A nice dodge in the whole thing was the twisted/minimal sexual tension between Edward and Anita, he truly views her as an equal and stands up to anyone and everything to remind them of that. A sexless, genderless equality.
The mass mutilations, they almost occur in the background as these intense character studies go on and by the time it's cleared up the connection between a wolfpack, the wolfpack's resident warlock/necromancer and a Vegas style Aztec show run by vampires and human/animal beings all lead by the decidedly underused Obsidian Butterfly, it feels forced. Obsidian Butterfly is a blind dodge, a deus sex machina set-up for another story, another time, fascinating but related on culturally to the real monster that's mutilating people by literally ripping off their flesh, including genitalia but all of the other physical and mental monsters in this novel are so impressively layered and textured that the real bogeyman comes off a little forced by the end. I personally thought that the handsome cop Hernando would turn out to be the bad guy, that would have had a nice gut wrench as Anita was getting close to him but he wasn't, so there wasn't.
Was it a worthwhile read? A nice introduction to the series (I think there are like 8 other books and I will read them, I chose this one because it was the thickest on the shelf) and I would recommend it as a seemingly strong introduction mid-stream to a complex world. However as a thriller stand alone it doesn't hold all of it's water. Four stars for its' connectivity, three stars for the main plot let down and another four to character development and presentation. Call it three and a half, buy it paperback and pick up a couple more around it to make it work as a series. It would make an interesting film series if all of these wild elements could be balanced.
on April 20, 2001
I found this a rather frustrating book to read. It's not because the central idea of the story was bad, but because of the over-elaborate descriptions the author is using in every scene.
The early books in this series were essentially mystery novels - now they are pyschoanalysis and soft porn. This must be one of the few novels I've read where it can take a whole chapter for the author to write about getting out of an airport and into a car and another whole chapter to get out of the car into the house. Every single utterance in between is of earth shaking significance (or so you would be lead to believe).
The characters surrounding Anita keep telling her the violence is too much, to get out of it and settle down. I have to agree - at this point even reading it is burning me out.
On the up side, it was interesting to have Edward aka Ted fleshed out and to see how Anita works outside St Louis (a mixed bag). It bring the focus back on Anita which I think is important. However, having said this, I've also come to the conclusion that this is NOT a book I'd read again, and the whole series has just become too stung out for me now and I don't think I'll be reading anymore.
It's not a terrible novel, but it's not really inspiring either.
on December 6, 2000
While waiting at another airport after another plane delay, I picked up this book. It appealed to me b/c I had a long flight and it was almost 600 pages...enough to take me across several time zones.
I read the book through its first 400 pages non-stop and the flight attendant actually complimented me on my endurance. She said that I was the only person to ever stay awake during this flight...not only was it long, it was also a red-eye. I told her I couldn't put the book down. Having been newly introduced to the world of Laurell Hamilton, I was fascinated by how she merged the fantasy world with our definition of reality.
I must admit that after finishing the book, I started reading up on the rest of the series. I unfortunately didn't do it in order. Reason being that some sounded better than others and that's how I chose to read them. I've finished the Lunatic Cafe and The Killing Dance so far. I can honestly say that Obsidian Butterfly is not the best of Hamilton but it will get you hooked on reading the rest of the series. I found that the Killing Dance was the best and I think many people will agree with me.
To conclude, Obsidian Butterfly is a lot of action and horror with some suspense. Anita is as heroic as always but some parts did drag on. I would recommend this book after you've read some of Hamilton's other books first. The only thing about this book is that the teaser at the end makes you anticipate her next book. Anita finally succumbs to her desires...but to whom?
on August 7, 2000
First off I want to say that I enjoyed the book. But I was disappointed that there was so little mention of Jean Claude and Richard. The tension between these two men and Anita is what makes the story lines interesting. I didn't realize that this book would be devoted solely to the character Edward. Once I read the book,(in 3 days), I felt a bit let down. Edward is a psycho with a soft spot for Anita. This book gave him more humanity than I wanted him to have. It seemed a bit unrealistic that he would be able to hide himself so well from the girlfriend, and why would he want to get involved with her in the first place? I want to know more about Jean Claude and Richard, but as it evolves through their interactions with Anita. I think that focusing on any one character is a mistake. She is exploring the opportunities her powers give her, yet trying to retain some sense of humanity. That conflict is interesting. I do think that returning to St. Louis would be best for the next book. There will be another book?
on June 15, 2000
Have been a long time fan of Nancy Collins Sonja Blue series since Sunglasses at Night so I picked up Obsidian Butterfly quite by accident and haven't decided whether I like it or not. I'm approx. 50+ pages deep into the book and while the characters are 'real' enough to make me care about them, I have to wonder what the deal is with Anita Blake. She's a really strong female character but to the point where if you didn't know you were reading about a female vampire executioner, then one would tend to think this character was a male in drag. Anita must have a Y chromosome floating around in her DNA or something, but I digress. Storyline is entertaining and the unraveling the Edward character is amusing, particularly since he seems to be caught up in his own pretend non-sociopathic persona as Ted Forrester. Will the storyline get any better remains to be seen. Thus far Edward & Anita and the two "backups" Edward hired are still trying to figure out who or what is perpetrating supernatural acts of human torture. Hope it picks up soon.
on March 6, 2000
I'm a huge Laurell K. Hamilton fan and avid reader, so I was waiting eagerly for this latest installment of Anita Blake's strange strange life. I must say this is the first book of hers that has really left me disappointed.
There are revelations to the characters that I can chew on later and think "Wow..that's a neat turn!" but it wasn't the writing that I'm used to. The book seemed hurriedly done, with very sloppy editing and lots of typos that detracted from the readability. OB listlessly slithered onwards for 3/4 of the book at a pace that made it seem drawn out and dull. Anita has always made comments about her moral dilemnas, but in this latest installment, nearly the entire book is her repeated insights into her own moral standing. If I had to hear "I felt nothing, and that scared me." at the end of one more paragraph I was going to give Anita Blake up as dead and gone, burn the book and leave. I wonder what was different with this book...perhaps Ms Hamilton is tired, or perhaps the strain and deadlines of her first hardcover took its toll. I hope to see Anita Blake go back on track, with the quality of writing I'm used to, the characters I love, and the latest details and insights that could be salvaged from OB.
I'm a big Edward fan, and for that aspect, the book offered plenty of him. More than I've heard him say the entire series.
Overall the book *was* an Anita Blake, which is an endorsement. The violence was over-the-top, the characters bountiful. Some of the history of Edward and Anita, his feelings towards her, their friendship was built on and revealed this book, which was neat to see. Unfortunately, the packaging for that story seemed stilted and awkward in its writing. Definately a shame..can't wait for the next one.
on February 21, 2000
Fans of Ms. Hamilton are very familiar with the world that her character, Anita Blake, dwells in. It's our present day world, the only difference is that monsters, ie...Vampires, werewolves, zombies, are a natural part of everyday life. To say the "Anita" world is highly creative and immensely entertaining is an understatement. I couldn't read the series prior to this book fast enough.
This novel, however, I did not find as fasinating as the prior installments. Dealing more with Edward, one of Anita's human friends, the plot, though well developed, was not the gripping adventure that I'm used to seeing in her books. Also, I must point out that Edward is not one of my favorite characters. He is the least well defined, and also hard for me to learn to like, even though, in this book, he is a little less cold blooded.
I also have to say, being a fan of her prior stories, that I do miss the regular characters that normally bring humor, action and interest to storylines. Even though Anita is the main character, I'm a little more fond of some of the "monsters" than of Anita herself. I also happen to be a Jean-Claude fan, her main Vampire, and his absence in this book was keenly felt.
This book is an interesting read, but it is also quite violent. The other books have also been very violent, which I don't have an adversion to, as it normally fits well within the story. I think I just noticed the darker side in this book was thicker because the characters were less easy to like or understand.
For those who are familiar with the Anita universe, I would recommend reading this book. For those that are not, I would recommend starting with the earlier books to understand Anita and her world a little better.
on January 20, 2000
If you are a first-time reader of Laurell K. Hamilton I would not suggest that you start with this book. Without, the background, motivations, and context of her series you would be lost. For those who have read the series and have become addicted to the fast pace, action packed, sexy dialogue, I believe this book will come as a disappointment.
There are portions of the book that do not ring true. By the last vampire slayer book, Anita could do everything from, thinking a heart into exploding, raising hundreds of vampires and dead at once, able to heal almost any injury, and having some werewolf powers -- in this book she seems to have forgotten that she has any power at all. The book also states that she has been able to stay away from her two main love interests for six months, which is not believable considering in previous books, one or the other refused to leave her alone for a day. Also it is not believable that Anita was able to get out of being Lupa, head of the were-people, and a vampires human first by just deciding she needed a break.
However, despite reviews, if you are an avid fan, you will still read this book. It is a change of pace to see Anita with totally different book characters as a change of pace. A few self-discovery points by "Anita" might come in handy "for context" when reading the next book of the series. Also, one or more of the characters of this new book look poised to show up in future books of the series.