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on December 16, 2014
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on October 21, 2010
This book was exactly what I have come to expect from the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. It didn't blow my socks off but it was a good read with plenty of action and paranormal goodies. However, Skin Trade did stray slightly from the typical pattern of a book in this series. Mostly because Anita was in Las Vegas the whole time helping the police with an investigation and for once she didn't have her men in tow. She intentionally left them at home. So the usual Jean-Claude, Micah, Nathaniel and Richard orgy was missing. Which wasn't a bad thing!

In Skin Trade Anita teams up with Edward, Olaf and Bernado; her fellow executioners to investigate a series of murders that are similar to ones that happened previously in St-Louis. They go into the investigation already pretty confident on who the villain is. Anita is forced to go to the master of the city and his wife, queen of the L.A. tigers for leads and that's when things get weird as is typical of these books.

I really like Edward (a.k.a Ted) as a character in this series and I especially enjoy the camaraderie between him and Anita. They compliment each other very well as partners and nothing surprises them about each other. These two executioners have each others backs no matter what. The interaction between them is always fun. Anita can't really joke about her line of work with anyone else because well... it's just morbid. Their friendly competition on who's the better vampire hunter makes light of an otherwise rather dark career.

The thing that caught me a little off guard in this novel was the lack of sex. Normally that's one of the main parts of the later books in this series. There's still plenty of sexual tension and dirty jokes but Anita doesn't actually get it on with anyone until the last 150 pages. However, once the ball starts rolling she definitely makes up for lost time! Jean-Claude's presence was minimal in this book and was comprised of a few phone calls between him and Anita. I found that to be a little disappointing as he's one of my favorite characters not to mention hot! (see my meme list of my top 10 fictional crushes).

In conclusion, Skin Trade is a great book that aligns perfectly with the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. If you're more of a fan of Hamilton's earlier books stay away as she hasn't reverted back. Kinda hard to do that now what with how the story has progressed! But if you've enjoyed her later books, you know what to expect and this one is more of the same. It's not a page turner from beginning to end but it's a solid book packed full of paranormal greatness. I don't gobble these books up like candy but I do keep coming back for more and have yet to read a really bad one. There's a reason why Hamilton is a role model for many authors in this genre: she knows her stuff!
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on December 30, 2009
Anita teams up with Edward, Olaf, and Bernard in Las Vegas hunting down Vittorio. More action then in the last few books. i do like her books there were a few that left me flat and Richard did get on my neves. You must read the books in order it real is important .
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on June 22, 2009
Okay, so I have to say I was given the first books by a dear friend of mine who thought I would enjoy them- I was hooked, I enjoyed this powerful a$$ kicking Anita; until....Richard became and a$$, Jean Claude a whiner. Then Micah appeared and I'm still unsure of where to place him- (I'm not even going to mention Jason and Nathaniel.)

The events of this book take place months after the events of Blood Noir. Which apparently no one talks about at ALL. Previous to this book Anita is essentially mind-rapped by MOAD and forced into a 3 day long orgy bender- but I digress....
Anita now lives with Jean Claude at the Circus, something she hates because she misses her lovely, cuddly 'wearcats.' While at work Anita gets a package from Vegas; a severed head. Vittorio the bad guy from two or three books ago who got away, taunts Anita into comming to Vegas...Trying to prove her independance Anita leaves without telling Jean Claude or anyone else for that matter except for Jason, in a scene reminisent of an angsty Dawson's Creek episdoe.
As Anita gets off the plan she is greeted by a bunch of muscley men from Vegas- who happen to also be practioners- Their supernatural SWAT team if you will. While trying to prove that she is one of the boys, by bench pressing 250 Lbs, Anita gains some of their trust, but remember she will always have that reputation that she sleeps with anything that moves.(That doesn't happpen yet)
Tracking down the bad guys suck, especially because she keeps bumping heads with the guy in charge- because he thinks she's weird and will sleep with anything that moves. Edward, Olaf and Bernardo are there for the ride too- Anita makes some friends with the local were tigers, finds out she's afire with weretiger and accidentally causes a rucus with the Master of Las Vegas and his wife.
I was pleased to say that there were no overly sexual scenes in this book, that was until I got to the last 8 chapters. Hamilton makes up for it here, Sex with Wicked, sex with Truth, sex with some other guy, and a weretiger, and some one else... so much so that I loose count. Then in the most anticlimatic ending ever, MOAD is blown up by some assassin just as she is about to take over Anita's body again. Anita returns home the end.
There is no Richard, which I was okay with as his existence in the novels have really only come to serve as a way for Anita to feel ever more like a monster, and there is one whiney phone call from Jean Claude, which in his passive agressive nature is pissed that Anita left without telling him. She wears the pants in that Vampire Family, but needs to put on a show for all the other Vampires out there. It is a throw back to have Edward, Olaf and Bernardo in the mix but it falls flat- especially now that we know Olaf is willing to give up his creepy life as a serial killer to date Anita.
I liked the series and I find myself still reading the books, hopeful for some of the original creativity and style that made the first ones so well read. There are definate good parts to the book, and it was great to see some parts remincent of earlier books.

If you have read the other books in the series read this one, it will give you some closure. Hence the 4 stars. I read it over a weekend, when I didn't have a whole lot to do- it did what I thought it would do- but I was neither excited or dissapointed with the book just bah.
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on June 5, 2009
I have read all of the other books in the Anita Blake series. I really, really liked the first six books. I liked the characters and their development, the feel of the story telling and I found the plots to be very entertaining. I especially liked the romantic triangle between Anita, Jean Claude and Richard and the character of Edward was mysterious and fascinating.

With the exception of Obsidian Butterfly, which had an incredibly imaginative and vivid plot, the next few books fell flat. The new characters introduced in these books and the character development was intriguing enough to convince me to continue with the series. I didn't like the repetitive sexual descriptions which, while they may not have been irrelevant, I don't think they all had to be described so that they took up about half the book. There was also a tendency for too much whining and the plots weren't that great.

That said, Skin Trade was great. We didn't see many of the regular characters of the series, but we did see a lot of Edward, Olaf and Bernardo. The plot and the characters did their job. I found that the issues I had with previous books in this series were no longer an issue and I enjoyed this novel as much as the first ones in this series.
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It sounds pretty hardcore: a severed head appears on Anita Blake's desk, and she goes on a hunt through Las Vegas for a depraved, insane vampire serial killer. For most authors, it WOULD be hardcore.

Guess what Laurell K. Hamilton does: sex, angst and endless bickering. The seventeenth Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter novel "Skin Trade" starts with promise and has moments of potential brilliance, including a menacing new villain. But between those points, she packs it with icky sex, endless whining and bickering, rancid misogyny, and constant reminders that her Mary Sue is the most awesome person ever.

Anita receives the aforementioned head in the mail, and learns that it's from Vittorio, a vampire she allowed to get away because she was too busy having sex. He's killed a bunch of cops, and he wants her to come to Vegas for a showdown.

So Anita heads to Vegas with her arsenal of phallic weapons, the assassins Bernardo and Edward, and psychopath Olaf. Of course, the local cops and SWAT team are unimpressed by her and her reputation as a lover of all things furry/undead, but naturally Anita silences all critics with her manly demeanor and snarky remarks. And when she investigates the bodies (with Olaf's revved-up help), she senses the presence of tiger in the wounds.

It's a pretty touchy situation, since the tiger queen of Vegas wants Anita to have sex with some new tigers -- and Anita's rainbow of internal tigers is selecting hotties left and right to feed the ardeur. Unfortunately the MOAD is also on Anita's doorstep, intent on getting a new body since her old one is broken -- and it turns out that Anita has underestimated Vittorio's true power, and his ancient nature. Cue sex.

"Skin Trade" is one of those books that sounds awesome in theory, but the actual plot (what little there is) is tissue-paper thin. While Hamilton sprinkles in some metaphysical disasters and supernatural threats to keep things interesting, most of the book is long chapters full of bickering, whining, and Anita proving that she is the Biggest Toughest Strongest Butchest Macho Man ever to squirt testosterone out her ears.

And halfway through, the plot dies. Instead we get a steady stream of sexual negotiations, icky sex scenes with a half dozen new boytoys, and Anita's endless whining about her internal zoo (very Freudian!). The chapters leading up to the climax actually introduce a genuinely spooky new villain, and a potent thread to Marmee Noir... but apparently Hamilton gets sick of actually having a villain, so she flushes a promising storyline right down the tubes.

And her writing has gotten no better -- the weretigers' powers are described as having "crunchy goodness" like a Snickers bar, and her dialogue ranges from pompous ("The grenades aren't what make me scary, Shaw." "What does?" "That I'm willing to use them") to hilariously horrible ("My Queen, if by my flesh or my seed I can feed you, then feed" -- like a pornographic version of "Lord of the Rings").

And Hamilton dials the rancid misogyny up to eleven: all women are evil and/or nasty, lines like "Stop being a girl!" are casually tossed off, and the one strong woman we see is degraded and tortured. But the most disgusting event in this book is a weretiger orgy where Anita has sex with a sixteen-year-old... which, Hamilton claims, is okay because he's "legal."

As always, Anita has all the charm of a power sander (but fewer brains), countless convenient magic powers, seething hatred of both men and women, and a tendency to snarl accusations of sexism if someone even looks at her wrong. Hamilton tries to give her some fears and vulnerabilities, but these are forgotten almost instantly -- she's clearly more interested in letting us know that her Mary Sue is the rarest kind of tiger there is, AND the potential queen of them all.

None of the other characters really seem like more than cardboard standouts, especially since none of Hamilton's regular characters makes more than a cameo appearance at best. As for the vampire brothers Wicked and Truth, they seem to be there to fuel Hamilton's fantasies of a threesome with Legolas and Aragorn.

"Skin Trade" has a few moments of potential brilliance, but their presence only makes this sad drippy swamp all the more desolate. Disgusting, boring and frequently laughable.
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