on February 21, 2011
There was virtually no plot, limited character development, and no suspense. The first few books in this series were excellent - creative, unique, and focused around a strong female heroine. Somewhere in the middle all that got lost, and the books have been getting progressively worse. I've kept buying them, as I keep hoping they'll get better, but after this one, I'm finished. And I find it annoying when Ms Hamilton repeats memorable phrases (eg "vampires can bench press a Toyota" is mentioned multiple times in a few of the books. Then Ms Hamilton switches from Toyotas to elephants, and repeats that phrase several times.)
Ruthless murders, treachery and a potential civil war among the vampires. Can it be... plot returning to the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series?
In a word... no. Laurell K. Hamilton's infamous Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series is obviously running on fumes in its nineteenth book, "Bullet" -- she just strings along one messy subplot after another, and tacks on some magical orgies and bickering about feelings to beef it up. It's like being shoved headfirst into a steaming pot of rancid bodily-fluids.
After a dance recital that has nothing to do with ANYTHING, Asher throws a fit over the fact that everybody is getting some man-loving except him. Can't say I blame him.
The obvious solution is to talk about people's feelings, then have an S&M foursome with Richard, Anita and Jean-Claude -- which is interrupted by a pair of far more powerful vampires who are trying to destroy Anita. It seems the supervampire Marmee Noir is not quite dead, and has apparently possessed the entire Vampire Council and is preparing to attack Anita and Co.
But instead of dealing with that, Anita makes some phone calls and then starts an all-out battle with the local werelion Rex, who has annoyed her in some vague way. To make matters worse, somebody has put a contract out on Anita and her vast harem, and there's a rotting Master of the City who's causing trouble.
In theory, "Bullet" has a plot. But once you actually sit down and read it, you'll find that the "plot" is just a string of sloppy subplots that have nothing to do with each other. It's just a big, messy, incoherent stew of S&M sex, wangst, whining, sexist snipes and Anita generating new powers like a gumball dispenser.
And honestly... it's BORING. Anita and her harem just sit around playing Metaphysical Tug-o-War and occasionally chatting on the phone. Occasionally there's actual fighting, but it's very brief and usually smothered in "metaphysical" stuff. And since there's no solid central plot, Hamilton crams in lots of stuff that has nothing to do with anything else -- dance recitals, Haven's meltdown, and a very unsexy mass orgy.
Hamilton's writing is grotesquely clumsy (Anita admiring the "creamy goodness" of her "mounded" breasts), and it gets worse when she tries to be poetic ("She offered her power to us like a dark wind" -- huh?). And endless pages are devoted to Anita's boytoys' clothes, hair, and hot bodies -- but I honestly don't care what color eyes Generic Vampire #7 has or how tall WereThug #39 is.
As usual, Anita is crude, self-important, crusty and demanding -- when she isn't sitting around having effeminate bishies wait on her, she's amassing new superpowers and setting herself up to become queen of yet another werespecies. Hamilton also fumbles some of the other characters -- Asher is suddenly a whiny, vindictive jerk; Richard has become a brainwashed buttkisser, and Haven (reportedly based on Hamilton's ex-bodyguard) has become a possessive maniac.
"Bullet" is a sagging, dribbling stew of sex and supernatural powers, and Laurell K. Hamilton devotes the few flickers of plot to... whatever will happen in the next book. I can hardly wait.