on April 16, 2003
I was so wrong. If you have read the previous reviews, then you may see a pattern forming. If you liked Narcisus in Chains then you will love this book.
In point of fact it's apparent the author is happy with the direction the character developement is going.
I am not. One of my favorite characters, Richard the nice guy turned badass self loathing alpha werewolf, is as angst ridden as ever, suicidal and pining away for Anita. The way she killed this character is just utterly derpressing.
I miss the old Anita, the one with some morals. She still kicked [hiney], and the blossoming sexuality in the books isn't too bad. But my god! Richard is a neurotic and damn near suicidal.
Anita practically runs the city, as she is this Federal Marshal now with powers over the police apparently.
I can't read this anymore. The love triangle was a great, but now it's just deteriorated to this mess of everyone loving Blake. It's everything that I hated in NIC, and more.
I am glad I didn't buy this book, and sorry that I read it. My favorite characters are reduced to subserviant suicide watch victims. It's sad.
Those of you that like the direction the series is going, enjoy. I for one hate this.
on September 18, 2003
Ok, I love Hamilton's books. Her creativity is boundless, and her characters fly off the pages. But this book was so one-dimentional and I was really dissapointed. I gave it two stars because even though it's kind of a let-down, it still manages to nudge the story along and you should read it if you want to keep up with the series. But it's a total "filler" book. There is tooooo much pointless sex, (most of which is totally pointless to the story). Enough with the ARDEUR crap! If Hamilton wants to write porn, she should just get on with that. And don't get me wrong, I totally love good sex scenes, but in this book they took over to the detriment of a decent story line. Hamilton's signature preternatural crime hook suffered badly here, becoming almost an afterthought to the Anita's being in constant heat. I mean phleaz! Get the woman a vibrator already....
on April 14, 2004
I have been avidly reading the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series since I first discovered Guilty Pleasures around Christmas time 2003/2004. I have literally been reading the books one after the other and It seems like they are going downhill! Anita used to be more of a PERSON, someone that readers could relate to in some ways, and now she is just a negative, overwhelming, bitter person, that is hard to like. I don't like what has happened with Richard in the last two books of the series, and I am not very happy with Micah's character. (...) I couldn't believe there was a two page descriptive of Anita giving Jean Claude Oral sex! I was shocked! Anita needs to stop calling herself a Christian too...She doesn't act like one, behave like one, or inherit any characteristics of being a Christian in any way! She's a hypocrite! She seems to be getting in way too many arguments and conflicts that are totally unnecessary and her personality has really started to suck! I like the old Anita better...this new, (...)Anita has way too many issues and It's utterly mind boggling to keep up with her various personal problems. I am dissapointed in this book and am HOPING that the next book brings us back to a more likable, relatable, familiar Anita.
on March 7, 2004
I am a big fan of vampire/lycanthorpe novels. I have quite a collection I have gathered over the years. Of course no collection is complete without the Anita Blake series by Laurell Hamilton. I still remember when I first read "Guilty Pleasures" I fell in love instantly with Anita Blake's world. How she worked part-time with the police dept., how she raised zombies for her money hungry boss; and even though she was tough as nails, she still had a heart and felt for those around her. Once I read the first novel, I immediately went and bought the entire series. Now as a fan of vampire novels, the first four novels cannot be beat. But once you reach no. 5 on, you start to feel as if you are part of a very bad soap opera. Still, there's always hope so I continue to buy her series.
This latest novel is downright "disappointing." Anita is pretty much a whore. This novel should not be in the vampire category or even in the romance category, it should be in the xxx rated/erotica category. This novel is not about romance and not about vampires. It's about orgy sex, sex with strangers in showers, sex standing up, sex in bed, and sex with anyone who is in the room when everyone else she usually has sex with is not in the room. That's pretty much the plot for 400+ pages, and I am not exaggerating.
And what's worse, throughout the novel you are led to believe while she's sleeping her way through every male in the novel, that this is not her fault. Also, when she's not having sex, there's even one point in the novel where she actually has the nerve to whine about how the one true love in her life "Richard the werewolf" abandoned her. If you have been reading this series you would know that Richard (who she was engaged to marry) became angry with Anita for sleeping with Jean Claude (a vampire) after she ran from Richard because he killed one of his biggest enemies, Marcus (who Anita had been begging Richard to kill for at least two previous novels). The night he kills Marcus as soon as she leaves the man she is going to marry she sleeps with another man. So they break up. And from then on they have sex and break up again and between their sex and break ups Anita finds more men to have sex with.
Finally, Richard walked out on Anita when he wouldn't allow her to feed on him. And Anita whines about this even though she doesn't allow anyone (including Jean Claude) to feed on her. Of course, as usual with Anita her values changes depending on who she is having sex with, and once its acceptable to her, everyone else around her should follow her lead and think its acceptable too.
What I loved initially about this series was Anita's strength of character. She had a huge inner battle to face as she fought the monsters while not trying to become a monster. Very understable. My empathy for Anita has dissipated by the number of times she has had sex with strange men. She is not a likeable heroine anymore. I hope Laurell decides to start a brand new vampire series. This one had disappointedly run out of steam.
If you are looking for a good "fresh" vampire series try Charlaine Harris' Dead Series (Dead Until Dark; Living Dead In Dallas and Club Dead). This has a likeable heroine with a believable heart of gold.
on December 18, 2003
Well, many have told you the story so I won't do that. If you are new to the Anita Blake series and just picked this books up it might be okay. It could easily stand alone as long as you didn't have prior knowledge of the characters involved and how they have developed over previous books. Cerulean Sins goes into my pile with Narcissus in Chains because both of them are so far away from the other book in the series.
Don't get me wrong in a series where you are dealing with the same characters there should be growth and change, but not so drastic and not so far the other way. Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter is what we are paying for, but it is becoming Anita Blake vampire hunter only if I don't like you or you upset me in some way.
This volume of the series is heavily graphic as previously mentioned by many others so BE WARNED! Don't let your kids get hold of this book. I don't mind sex in my books. An Erotic vampire/werewolf/human story okay, no problem. However, Laurell K. Hamilton who is a great story teller must have had this book cut down in the editing process. You are left to wonder about crucial moments only to go into more sex.
I have read some books that made me blush before, but this is the first time I have read a book with sex scenes in it that actually made me want to skip over them because they were so tedious.
Some people didn't like Anita's wishy washy can't make up her moral high horse mind about sex. Personally it was more believable than this book is. She might have got on your nerves before but if you've read the other books you just sit back and say "What is going on?" I found myself digging out the other books to make sure I hadn't missed something a long the way.
Jean-Claude was the sexy, sensual vampire and he's turning into just another blah blah character he still stands out but he's lost what made him great.
Richard don't even get me started with him. I loved him. However, I do not believe in a werewolf community he would be top dog, so to speak. To be Alpha you have to be strong and forceful. He's turned into a simpering, whiny guy, okay, maybe he was whiny before, but not to this extent. He was sexy and the story was this triangle of AB/JC/RZ. Now, LKH has thrown all these characters in that add nothing to the story and in my opinion lose the whole heart of the story. Which is what would you do if you had all these moral hang ups but were still in love with a Vampire and/or Werewolf?
Situations and relationships that were built up in the previous 9 or 10 books have been shattered in these last two. This book Anita miraculously gets another power that gives her this nympho lust she has to sate or else.
These books are for fun and LKH did a fabulous job of building the world through 9 previous books. I gave Narcissus in Chains a chance and thought it could stand alone and work. Cerulean Sins however is too much of nothing.
No matter the argument as a character Anita Blake the character that has been created for this series was absent from this book and in her place is someone you wouldn't even recognize from previous editions.
I do look forward to the next one, but if more of Cerulean Sins I doubt I'll be back for the next one. I know sales are important to publishers, but geez give us a break. Most of us do like the story. If we didn't we wouldn't be buying books.
So for this book I recommend one of two options:
1. Read the other books first so you can see the changes and write your own review so maybe the publishers will get the message.
2. Read her Merry Gentry series instead.
on November 14, 2003
...but it does in this case. I have read all of Hamilton's Anita Blake series, most of them with great pleasure, and in several hour marathon sittings. But I found myself actually falling asleep and losing track of the storyline while reading the lastest novel in the series, Cerulean Sins.
The sex is so constant that it distracts from characterization and plot. I adored the Anita novels in which hot, exotic sex scenes broke up the crime-driven and supernatural explorations of the book, and in which the sexual tensions between the primary characters were sometimes explored and relieved. Then there was enough romantic suspense to keep me hooked. But this book was like a glutton's feast -- far too much, and far too over the top, to the point that the writing actually numbed me out.
I would so much more enjoy a novel in which Anita truly explored her relationships with and feelings for Jean-Claude, Asher, and perhaps Richard (despite Richard's rather irritating constant self-pity), the most compelling romantic interests Hamilton has created for her heroine. All the rest, in my opinion -- Micah, Jason, Nathaniel, etc. etc. just make Anita look less conflicted than like a sex addict. This in turn makes the ardeur seem an excuse for Anita to abandon her earlier sexual ethics while still paying them constant, tiresome, self-excusing lip service. While she may, for example, admit that insisting on Jean-Claude's monogamy is "monstrously unfair" when she has several lovers and semi-lovers at any given time, Anita does not do much to change her attitude. Even when a much-awaited and potentially hot, hot, hot menage-a-trois finally develops in this novel, it is strangely unsatisfying for all the characters as well as for the reader, precisely because Anita still refuses to let herself truly explore or emotionally process the event. Thus reader excitement is abruptly followed by irritation and disappointment -- and atop it all, Anita gets around her moral qualms by messing around with one man in the menage, but not "going all the way", and the two male characters in the menage do not have sex with one another despite powerful attraction. So, Anita is still maintaining her double standards for her men and still splitting hairs without accepting the true nature of her desires, or accepting the complexities of her lovers' needs, or paying more than lip service to her "monstrously unfair" hang-ups. I'm not sure what Hamilton plans to do with this for her future novels, but this angst, and these double standards have gone on for so long now that I want to yell at all the characters and tell Jean-Claude to get together with Asher or Richard and simply give up on Anita Blake.
If this continues, I am going to give up on the series. It's becoming tedious, in my opinion, and I can't see all this character development some reviewers have mentioned. We learn more about Asher, Jean-Claude, and even Richard's personalities, but we mostly learn more and more and more and more ad nauseum about Anita's libidinous desires and adventures. It does her no good to realize things about herself but then do nothing about them. That's not character development; it's making a token gesture toward a promise of future character development. I do hope it is not an empty promise. If there's not definite change in the next installment, I won't be buying any more of the series.
To be fair, Hamilton does have Anita briefly realize she has relationship issues, when she is forced to confront the possibility that she's afraid of full emotional intimacy and commitment with one man. But like too many other occasions in these novels, Anita's realizations lead to far more angst than action. And in this respect she and Richard are perfectly suited.
Also, there is strange potential foreshadowing in the book about someone thinking Anita must be pregnant -- but she's not. Perhaps this is what Hamilton intends for the next novel in the series. If so, God help Anita Blake, who quite possibly would have no way of knowing who the father of her child really is... And if this happens, I do hope she will finally make a full commitment to *someone*, even if it is to a baby. Yet that seems very difficult to imagine, so I doubt Hamilton will choose that sort of plot development -- the domestication of Anita Blake. Therefore, I wonder, what in the world was that strange scene all about, anyway? If it's not foreshadowing, it's really confusing writing.
on October 19, 2003
I've been follow Ms. Hamilton's Writing for some time now. She started off very strong, with strong characters, impelling plots and morbid humor. When she started up her Fae series I saw another side of her writing. It's not that I do approve of her Fae series just that I wish she would have kept her two main subject matters seperate. I worked for a bookstore for over a year and the main sections I took care of were the Relationships and Fiction. Bookstores have policies of placing the sexual fiction books in the relationship sections where they can keep an eye on them. Those under 18 are not allowed to review or buy the overt sex books at all. Unfortunatally, Ms. Hamilton's fiction series is reaching the point that if I still worked for the bookstore I would place them in that section. Please bring back the action and humor that you had In your earlier writing Ms. Hamilton. I felt when I was reading the book that it was a few lines of talk between sex scenes. If I wanted to enjoy an x-rated book or video I would have bought one.
on September 28, 2003
Only 3 story lines - all of them too weak and undeveloped.
The crimes - fit Olaf, but he is never even mentioned.
Lack of connections to earlier books.
She no longer carries guns.
A LOT of POINTLESS talk, litle action.
Most of the time she spends in bed - ... and being sick after it, instead of doing something useful with her time.
The [physcial activity] is impressive, but no amount of [that] can capture you for 405 pages. And if I wanted just [[physcial activity], I wouldn't be paying [money] for Anita books.
The big threat of the story is not convinsing at all. Just not scary. And almost doesn't do anything.
Jean-Claude became a boy scout!! Toothless, No evil plotting, no nothing. In general - "All Anita Wants Anita Gets", and "I Won't Do It Because You[Anita] Would Be Upset"!!!! IN EVERY SITUATION!
Discussion of the 4 mark - ten lines! No real discussion at all.
Story line with the Were-Pards - almost non existant.
Basically - She should have worked on the book for at least 6 more months. It's undeveloped.
DO HOPE THAT THE NEXT BOOK WILL BE MORE WORKED ON!
on September 14, 2003
I was disappointed in this book and regret that my first review of an Anita Blake series novel will not be flattering. To offset this, I will revisit the earlier novels and write a more apt review for the series.
First off, I found this novel less entertaining than Narcissus In Chains. The plot was weak, non-directional, and did nothing to develop the main characters. The only redeeming quality it had was to leave the door open for future story arcs. This, in and of itself, is something of a weakness also, as it leaves the resolution of the story is somewhat flat.
The basic plot of Cerulean Sins does not even follow a previous model, as nothing really happens. Oh, there is the office scene at the beginning with Anita interviewing a rather unsavory client that Bert sent her way. In this case though, there was little follow up to it, even though she initially took the case.
There seems to be a lack of focus, almost as if it was rushed to publication, without regards to direction. There is not a good supernatural mystery, as so little time is spent developing the story, almost as if Hamilton was sleepwalking through the composition. This is not to say there isn't a supernatural mystery, it is just that it is more of an afterthought than an important aspect of the plot. There are some new characters but they lack the depth of character development that was present in earlier novels.
Overall this was a weak effort on Ms. Hamilton's part. It is perhaps an indication that she is losing interest in this series, or perhaps an indication that she is very busy with her new series. Though I will purchase this book, when it arrives in paperback, I can not honestly recommend this book to anyone but a truly hard core Anita Blake fan, and even then I can only recommend it in the hopes that it is a prequel to a better novel, a deep breath before you plunge in to icy water.
Some Plot Items
- not really spoilers -
Some baddies come to town threatening Jean-Claude's power base.
Richard continues in his self-righteous meanderings, but seems bent upon self-destruction.
Some people tail Anita.
Anita questions herself about her own monstrosity, though not convincingly.
Anita gets angry and threatens some people, disregarding the political situation.
Edward does not show up.
Ronnie does not show up
Some more plot items
-- may contain spoilers --
Sergeant Zebrowski is more professional than Lieutenant Storrs.
Anita does not kill a master vampire.
Jean Claude begins to come into his own.
Asher and Jean Claude are again intimate.
Anita is forced to take another partner.
on July 31, 2003
Anita Black was a great series for a long time. It was funny, sexy, action-packed, and creepy. Anita was a cool tough chick who did things her own way with style and self-effacing wit. That was the good old days, all right, up through Obsidian Butterfly.
But something's changed. The books are no longer sexy, but just sexual. Anita is under a curse ("ardeur") that forces her to do something sexual every twelve hours. It's absurd if you think about it--what if she's on a long plane trip? What if she gets hurt and has to stay in the hospital? What if her family comes over to stay with her for a couple days? But the author takes this curse, which seems more like a cheap porn setup than an actual plot, with deadly seriousness.
The end result is sad. Anita, once tough and in charge, is reduced to a porn cliche, sleeping with people she used to hate, writhing about on the floor and begging every man in St. Louis for more, more, she must have more sex! I liked the erotic bits in the previous books, but they coexisted with action and horror--as erotica alone, the series just doesn't work.
The usual murder mystery plot takes place entirely in the first 10 and last 10 pages of the book, and is ignored completely in the intervening 390. Too bad. It's got potential. The vampire-politics plot runs all through the book, but it's paced at about a development every five hours, so good luck staying awake.