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on January 1, 2003
The paralells between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Anita Blake series are virtually infinite. Both are tough, slim, short hot girls whose main goal in life is to free the world from the baddies. Both seem to have more than their fair share of relationships with some of these supernatural "baddies". Both of them love weapons. And both of them kick major .... while cracking tongue in cheek jokes.
I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And I love these books.
I read several reviews pertaining to the lack of sex in this first book. Well if you want sex, read on....the series soon becomes permeated with it. Ms. Hamilton seems to either give us too much or too little. Personally I prefer too little. I'm more on the ride for the action and plots, not the sex. If I want sexual satisfaction from a book I'll read a romance novel. This is not a romance novel.
In the same way Buffy the Vampire Slayer has become more and more "sexual", so do Hamilton's books. Since it is a series, some of the books are more for setting the scene and creating sexual tension than supplying a release for it. I would say on the whole though this series (taken as a whole) has something for everyone. Humour, Horror, and lust.
An easy writing style and a killer character make this book a must read for anyone who likes things along the line of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
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on June 4, 2004
Having read and loved A Kiss of Shadows, I decided that it was time I gave the Anita Blake vampire series a whirl. Guilty Pleasures is a fast-paced, enthralling horror novel that kept me turning the pages until the wee hours of the night. The series starts out when Anita, a professional vampire executioner, is forced to investigate the recent murder of various vampires. But Anita's job is to execute vampires, not help them, but the master vampire Nikolaos is not someone you can turn down. There are various twists throughout the novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat...
I love Anita's narration and the story's steady motion. There isn't a single boring moment in this novel. I can see why so many people have become addicted to this series. Laurell K. Hamilton is a great talent of paranormal fiction. There is plenty of horror and suspense throughout the novel, but there isn't a trace of romantica. That's the only thing I didn't like about the first installment. But I was told that the romance and erotica come along later in the series (and I hope that Jean-Claude, a dark and sensual vampire in the story, will be part of said romance and erotica). Even though I prefer vampires as sex gods rather than evil, this is one series that I intend to read from cover to cover. A great start to the Anita Blake series! This novel is definitely a guilty pleasure...
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on April 4, 2004
I know Hamilton's books have become one of the more staple vampire novels, but compared to so many out there they have a fresher, more unusual take. Guilty Pleasures, the first novel in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, is no exception.
Despite its short length (compared to Hamilton's other novels), there's a lot packed into the book. It sets up the character of Anita Blake, a short, no nonsense animator. She raises zombies for a living. She just so happens to also be the Executioner, a legal vampire killer. She thinks of vampires as monsters, and vows not to get caught up with them, although through this book (and the following ones) that changes.
While I avoid horror novels, this really doesn't qualify as one. Sure, there's blood and gore, and she doesn't hide it, but it's not overly so. The plot overshadows the horror aspect so you don't get hung up on it.
The character of Anita Blake is more than just interesting. She knows interesting people, she's done things that have left scars, she has a gift that's unusual, and she has flaws and weaknesses. Instead of being the uber powerful, perfect vampire slayer, she's short, not that strong, and bears scars from times she should have been killed. She feels real, like a real person you could meet and talk to.
The vampires in the novel are interesting as well, but in this book they're barely discussed. Jean-Claude shows himself as a formidable force, but aside from him and Nikolaos, the villain of the book, the rest of the vampires are only briefly mentioned.
If you enjoy vampire novels and don't mind blood and gore, this is a series worth checking out.
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on January 11, 2004
I avoided the "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" novels for a long time for the same reason I didn't watch "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" until the third season - it sounded too cheesy to be any good. Of course, "Buffy" became one of my favorite shows, and "Anita Blake" is really starting to grow on me, too, and for the same reason - the strength of the characters, particularly the secondary ones, which outweighs the corniness of some of the plots.
Naturally, anyone is going to make comparisons between Anita and Buffy - look, see, I just did - but in truth, they're not all that similar. Both feature short, but very tough, women who hunt vampires, yet carry on a tortured love affair with one. Beyond that, though, there's not much in common. In Anita's world, vampirism is legal. She's the Vampire Executioner for the St. Louis area - called in by the police to handle vampires who break the law. Beyond that, she's an animator - a zombie-raiser (another paranormal business conducted out in the open), and a police consult for supernatural crimes. Naturally, all these job descriptions invariably collide in each novel.
Sometimes the dialogue (or monologue, since they're told first-person) gets a little stilted. Hamilton pushes Anita's "I'm small, but I'm tough" routine a bit too far sometimes, and the endless repetition of exactly which guns and/or knives she's wearing and how she's carrying them gets a little tedious. And a few books in, when you realize the pattern of 3 different subplots all being related somehow, (ie, monsters hire Anita to find menace threatening them, strange client hires Anita to raise the dead, Anita's love interest has a deep dark secret), it loses some of its punch.
Nevertheless, I *like* Anita, and I like a lot of the secondary characters, too - even if most of them are on the side of the monsters. The stories are both fun and gruesome - a nice balance, somewhere between fluff beach reading and gnawing-on-your-fingernails.
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on December 13, 2003
I first discovered this book by accident one day in my local used book store, and boy am I glad I did! If you pick up these books and think your going to read a poor-man's Buffy, then think again. While there is certainly a similarity, especially with kick-ass heroines, there is also a major difference. In Anita's world, vampires and other creatures of the night are known to exist in the real world, and live along side human beings. Anita Blake is a tough, gritty heroine who doesn't take crap anyone, either living or dead. This book also introduces us to the best vampire since Lestat, Jean-Claude. There were many times I found myself chuckling at his flirtatious behavior with a vampire hunter who would gladly stake him. One of the great things about this book is that it is based in a St. Louis that I know well (without the vampires, of course), and that adds a sense of reality to this lush, vampire fantasy. Anyone looking for sophisticated, action-oriented, vampire fiction should read this book.
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on October 2, 2003
STORY: As one review so simply put: "Anita Blake, full time animator of the dead and part time vampire slayer, has been hired by the thousand year old Master of the city to find a serial killer who's been knocking off the undead"
1) SETTING: This is an alternate world where what appears to be 20th century humans coexist with vampires and other supernatural creatures. There are even laws that give vampires certain rights in this new world. Our brief glimpse of the world created is teasing in its possibilities and enjoyable.
2) CHARACTERS: Anita Blake is our main protagonist. She is a female version of a smart-mouthed detective from some stereotypical gumshoe story. She is a character who proudly displays her stereotypes but also enjoyable has a couple of traits that add something memorable. I liked the character enough that she is more the reason why I would want to read the next book than because the plot was maybe fabulous.
3) PLOT: Speaking of was a nice little mystery. I didn't feel that there were enough clues to who the "bad" guy was but the story had enough unexpected events that I kept reading. Story was overall handled well though I would have liked to see more "action" scenes vs. scenes that were potentially eruptive in action...if you know what I mean.
4) CONTENT: This book would be rated R for gore and violence. The "sensual" scenes were handled very professionally, were brief and were NOT graphic sexually...which I appreciated. I wanted a vampire, action, mystery and that is what I got.
OVERALL: I liked this book and if someone likes to read vampire books and have a mystery I'd recommend this in a heartbeat. Just because the covers of this series and the titles of the books may imply this is erotic horror, this book wasn't. If the rest of the series is, I don't know. But this was a fun little read that I really enjoyed.
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on July 22, 2003
Well, this series was recommended to me because I liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I hate that Buffy seems to be the definitive model for everything dealing with vampire slayers. That's not the point here though.
I'm also a long time lover of vampire lore, and that was another reason--if not the main reason--for me to pick up this book. I enjoy reading vampire novels, and enjoy the vampires (of this story) I did. This story introduces us to Anita Blake -- full time animator, part time slayer. Basically, she's been "tricked" into helping the city's head vampires find a killer that's been offing their kind. Anita doesn't like vampires, and they surely don't like her, but she has no choice.
I enjoyed reading this. I thought it was a promising start to the series. I think Anita is a symbol of "girl power", but that the same time, she could come off as annoying to some (I start to like her better as the series progresses). Some of the lesser character such as "Edward" (the violent as I like to call him) are more interesting than the main character herself. I, also, liked the premise for Anita's world such as vampires being recognized as citizens, etc. It's a very colorful world full of life and diversity.
This book also has underlying themes that can be applied to our own world. Such as, there seems to be this underlying theme of acceptance and tolerance. You have these creatures who are recognized as citizens, but there's still this hatred toward them because of who they are -- very much like things happening in our own world (minus the supernatural aspect).
The only major grip I have with the book is this: There's nothing about the character that we don't know, and there's that habit of going into explicit detail about every little dislike and like she has. I know with the first person perspective the writing is going to be more indepth than usual, but it's like everything is spelled out by the main character. Why do I care what her checkout boy looks like? I don't. Therefore, her breath shouldn't be wasted on telling me he was 5'5 with russet eyes and blond hair that fell to his shoulders in waves (I made this up, but you will find a lot of that in this book).
All in all, good beginning novel. I enjoyed the series as a whole, and I hope to get around to reviewing other books in this series.
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on July 11, 2003
I've just started reading this series and am quite impressed with this first book.
Anita Blake does remind me a bit of Spenser. There's much of the toughness along with the Spenser type humor.
For an introductory novel, there are a lot of references & questions concerning the past. That's not too big a deal though.
In an alternate world where vampires walk among us, Anita Blake becomes involved in finding out who's been killing vampires in St. Louis. Through this, she encounters the master, and this is one of the creepiest supernatural villains I've met. She's plunged into a world of real horror, of very dangerous creatures and those who are controlled by the master of vampires.
Once the story gets started, there are many grisly situations all viewed through Anita's eyes. The horror is somewhat filtered through the heroine's wryly humorous nature. And there is an erotic feel although, at least in this installment of the series, there isn't any real sex described.
All in all, recommended to those who enjoy the combination of detective and horror genres.
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on July 7, 2003
I can say that I enjoyed reading this book. I was at first a little uneasy about reading a book that involved investigation and vampires. I tend to think that this is an overused idea that ends up being a little too cliche, but my overall appreciation of the book was very high.
The high pace of the story, and the storytelling ability, is the first high point of the book.
The second high point of the book is the involving story with characters that make sense. You can understand the reason behind everything that all characters make and this helps to make the whole setting and characters more engaging.
The only low point is that the story started and ended a little too fast. There were lots of things, in my opinion, that could be developed further. A better explanation of the world where vampires and humans coexist was something I was looking. But I guess I'll have to read the other stories to see if I can get a better idea of that!
Overall, I recomend the book for everybody that enjoys the genre of high-paced vampire inveestigation and action stories.
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on June 2, 2003
Laurell K. Hamilton does a great job on Guilty Pleasures of laying the backdrop for the series. There are definite parallels with other vampire tales (Buffy, The Vampire Chronicles) - However the fun twist on this one is the political aspect:
what would American life be like if we walked side-by-side with the undead? Would they have the right to vote? How do you create laws governing people with preternatural powers? What would happen to religion if we all had eternal life and the power to raise the dead?
Hamilton creates a very cool heroine who is strong, smart, witty and has a very real internal monologue. We listen to Anita's thoughts, and they are an awful lot like our own: How can you be a slave to fashion when you have to find clothes baggy enough to hide your gun?
This series is easy to read, and has just enough twists to keep you guessing. Most of the plotlines are predictable for the avid mystery reader, but it's OK, 'cause the characters and scenery are rich and believable.
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