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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2004
Having now read seven (and most of the eighth) of the Anita Blake novels, I can't help but come to the seemingly paradoxical conclusion that Laurell K. Hamilton is one of the most INARTICULATE authors I've ever read. In writing about characters who are supposed to be charming, mysterious, worldly, etc., the dialogue she puts in their mouths is exceedingly clumsy. Ms. Hamilton is in dire need of a good editor to clean up her style (not to mention her bad grammar -- that would be nitpicking). Hamilton's main strength, if one may call it that, is in plotting stories and coming up with a new set of supernatural features in every novel. This strength is far outweighed by her flat inability to put together sentences that manage to create a cohesive impression. Her novels are like very long high school essays, with lots of sex. And, oh the sex (cringe!). Hamilton is trying, I suppose, to write horror romances, but the romance aspect of the writing is so juvenile, one is tempted just to skip over it to get to the violence. And her protagonist, Anita Blake, is written as being so bullheaded and impulsive that it's a wonder that she has lived as long as she has -- she just can't hold her tongue, which isn't a wise choice for someone dealing with dangerous forces. Last, but not least, is Hamilton's habit of going into excruciating detail on irrelevant matters, such as the layout of certain St. Louis suburbs or what colour brassiere to wear with firearms. It's like she's just using whatever random details reside in her memory to pad things out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2004
As the starting novel in the Anita Blake series, it was pretty good. Although, I couldn't get over the fact that she was scared all the time. I mean if you're scared of someone, then I don't think that you should crack stupid jokes. Nikolaos is the wrong one to piss off. For a thousand year-old vampire, she does not have a sense of humor. The dialog, however, was a lot better than the other books. Aubrey and Theresa are really well thought out characters and I like that. I also liked the scenes between Anita and Jean Claude, they brought a little romance to the book. The end has a nice twist to it that I wasn't expecting. What I didn't expect was for the next book to be so SORRY, but enough about that. If you like vampires, ghouls, and zombie's, then this is a good book to start with. It's not an excellent book, but it'll get you through the weekend.
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Having read a virtual smorgasbord of books across all spectrum of subjects, I happened into a copy of Ms. Hamilton's GUILTY PLEASURES on the recommendation of a friend ... and I have to admit that I don't understand what all of the fascination is about.
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter (which she really isn't, by her own admission), goes about her business of serving the living and the dead, as the world has descended into a place where even zombies can have a Congressional lobby. While this might seem a bit of fun for some readers, I found the humor to be lost on a style that's all to reminiscent of the FLETCH series of books.
If Ms. Hamilton accomplishes anything with tremendous depth here, it is to underscore that the seminal rule taught by high school grammar teachers everywhere ("do NOT write sentences in fragments") doesn't apply to hot-selling authors, as GUILTY PLEASURES is easily 65% fragments. It's not so much style as it is 'smartass,' and, after a while, I found it more distracting than inventive.
Still, the characters are lively drawn, if not derivative of works elsewhere. Anita Blake is a wonder to behold ... or not, depending upon what your tastes in a woman are.
Minimally, I think Anne Rice and the fine folks behind BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER might feel '...' if they were to happen across these GUILTY PLEASURES.
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on July 31, 2000
I'm wondering why so many other people are giving this book so many stars. Perhaps it is just a question of taste, I dunno.
The dialogue and prose is pretty bad. The world is not very consistent. The plot is incredibly thin with an awful lot of plot devices.
Anita has nightmares of one vampire who tried to kill her but another similar near death experience is mentioned casually in passing. The introduction of the vampire Valentine was pointless, anyway.
There is no explanation that I could make sense of for why people hate vampire killers. There is also no explanation for why a vampire can kill 23 people before a court order is given for its extermination. There is no explanation given for why killing vampires is so hard given they are defenseless during the day and how easily Anita and Edward dispatch several of the city's most powerful vampires.
There is too much explanation. Like we're really supposed to believe that Edward, monster hunter extraordinaire, knows nothing whatsoever about ghouls?
There is no explanation for why the other animator lures them to the graveyard and wants to kill them. There is no explanation for how he managed to do it, either. There is no explanation for why Edward met with the church vampire.
The "mystery" is extraordinarily stupid and essentially nonexistent.
Those are just the problems I can think of off the top of my head.
The book isn't quite as bad as I may make it sound. It was vaguely enjoyable, which is why it gets two rather than one star from me. But I don't understand how anyone could give it more than three stars.
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on February 10, 2003
The idea behind this series is a good one, but I'm about four books in (very easy read) and the execution just isn't that impressive. I find the character of Anita Blake to be generally unpleasant- she's the cliche hard-as-nails detective, and just because she's a woman, I don't find it any less cliche. In spite of this, the supporting characters are far more interesting and amusing, and make the books palatable, but they're still somewhat two-dimensional. In addition, the dialogue is a little flat. Lastly: There are about ten thousand better ways to convey sarcasm than writing "Ri-ight" at the end of every third paragraph. To sum up, they'll pass the time, but there are much better books.
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on April 16, 2001
The other reviewers who gave this book 2 stars or less have already summed up the weaknesses of this book nicely. The storyline definitely had potential but lacked that depth that makes for riveting reading. I finished the book but only just (wanted to see "who dun it!).
On the whole, I did not find the undead legions in this book very scary or evil (when compared, for example, with the exquisitely horrific vampires in Brian Lumley's books). I won't be reading any more novels in this series.
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on May 10, 2000
I bought this book based on the back cover description which promised a mystery. The author spends the first two hundred pages introducing everyone and trying to scare us with some vampire rituals, then casualy says "oh, yeah, the killer is....", and then goes back to the rituals. I was hoping that the idea of solving a crime where vampires were the victim would be an interesting idea, and I still do. I hope that one day someone writes that book.
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on January 13, 2002
I didn't know this was a lady's room. As a male reader, I just couldn't relate to any character in the book, particularly the heroin, Anita Blake. She is always so tense, so angry, I failed to see any depth in this character. As for other characters, well they are nothing but stereo typical B-movie characters. This is the first of the Anita Blake books and characters may develop as the seriese develops, but I am not attracted enough to try find that out.
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on March 3, 1999
Oh, my what a waste of time. I loved Sonia Blue, and tried this because it seemed there was extensive cross-pollinization between that reader group and this one. So I gave it a shot, and was rewarded with plastic characters, a transparent plot, and uninspired writing. I give it two stars because it did keep me interested until the end, mainly to see if it would get any better and because I do enjoy the genre. Just not this telling of it.
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on September 30, 2002
I had read all the books in Hamilton's series except this one-and I am quite disappointed. Don't get me wrong, she is a great writer, but I wouldn't waste my money on Guilty Pleasures. The plot was weak and VERY predictable, from the first chapter I could tell you how it would end and who would die. If you want a really good read, and haven't read the Anita Blake series yet, start off with Circus of the Damned.
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