Customer Reviews


7 Reviews
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Harlequin come to town in the best Anita Blake novel in years
"The Harlequin" is Book 15 in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series and the first one to come out since Marvel started publishing its comic book adaptation of Laurell K. Hamilton's first book in the series, "Guilty Pleasures." That graphic reminder of how good those early novels were, when the emphasis was more on horror and a whole lot less on sex, made me a bit wary...
Published on July 2 2007 by Lawrance M. Bernabo

versus
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "What's a little sex between allies?"
The Anita Blake series started off well, continued for awhile, then took a sharp plunge down into the literary abyss of bad porn.

Well, "The Harlequin" scrabbles PARTLY back out of that abyss, but Laurell K. Hamilton's fifteenth Blake book still suffers from a surfeit of squickly sex, constant sexual ramblings, and a promising plot that gets swamped by the...
Published on June 6 2007 by E. A Solinas


Most Helpful First | Newest First

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Harlequin come to town in the best Anita Blake novel in years, July 2 2007
By 
Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
"The Harlequin" is Book 15 in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series and the first one to come out since Marvel started publishing its comic book adaptation of Laurell K. Hamilton's first book in the series, "Guilty Pleasures." That graphic reminder of how good those early novels were, when the emphasis was more on horror and a whole lot less on sex, made me a bit wary when I started reading "The Harlequin," especially given how disappointed I and countless legions of fans have been in Hamilton's recent novles (and not just the Anita Blake ones). But while I have to admit that it could be a case that things have been down so long it looks like up to me, bottom line is that I found "The Harlequin" to be the best Anita Blake novel in years. We also have the nice little irony that in this novel she actually lives up to her title of being a Vampire Hunter, which has rarely been the case in the series.

In virtually every novel our heroine manifests a new power, from the ability to raise an entire graveyard of corpses to forming her own triumvirate with Damien as her vampire and Nathaniel as her beast to call, which makes the main triumvirate with Jean-Claude and Richard even more powerful. Now Jean-Claude has his own bloodline and in the world of vampire politics this is a seismic event and back in the old country the Vampire Council is taking notice of what is happening in St. Louis. As "The Harlequin" begins (and this time the title refers to people rather than a place), somebody is apparently doing something about it and the threat is so bad that if Jean-Claude tells Anita about it they are all going to die. Fortunately, Anita trusts Jean-Claude well enough that she is willing to take his word even though it cuts against her grain not to make her own decisions. There might not be any sex during the first fifteen chapters, but they sure talk about it a lot for people who should be at DEFCON 5 (sorry, I still think in Cold War terms: this century I should be saying Code Red using the Homeland Security Advisory System). Once the Harlequin masks start showing up staying alive is the only thing that matters and sundry reasons for getting into Anita's bed should not even be close to being secondary concerns.

My complaint about all the sex is qualitative as well as quantitative in that since it took several books for Anita to finally choose between Jean-Claude and Richard, that first sex scene in Jean-Claude's bath tub was ultra hot and it has all been downhill from there. The sex scenes in "The Harlequin" are relatively few, short, and to the point: there is way more talking about sex than having sex this time around, and while it is a welcome change and the discourse often touches as much on the vampire politics involved as it does on Anita's feelings, it does slow down the action a bit, which matters since they are in the middle of a major crisis. I understand that at this point Anita Blake has to have sex to feed the ardeur the way Jean-Claude has to drink blood and Richard needs to bitch and moan, so any novel that takes place in more than one day is going to have to have a sex scene. But if the Harlequin are coming to get you I think discussions about whether Anita can give Nathaniel what he needs when it comes to being dominated during sex can wait until the crisis is past. Anita was always a talker and part of the problem is that she has so much more to talk about these days (although she actually manages to put off several conversations in this story, believe it or not). Still, on balance, things are a lot better in this latest novel in terms of the sex as far as I am concerned.

After all the sex stuff my biggest complaint about recent novels would be that the climax, so to speak, almost always involves Anita pulling a new power out of a hat, although at this point I have to admit there are so many dimensions to her power that I am having trouble distinguishing between the old ones and the new ones. I know that it all has to do with Anita being a necromancer and that whatever she is going to be when all is said and done, she is not there yet. Consequently, "The Harlequin" is another part of a bigger game in which Belle Morte will figure prominently. It reminds me of when Anita owed Edward a favor and we waited several years for the bounty hunter to collect, and that was a pretty good payoff. Another strength of this novel is that Edward is one of several familiar faces that pop up again, along with Peter, Olaf, and Dolph. More importantly, unlike the previous novel "Danse Macabre," this time we actually get to the payoff and things hit the fan. Because the end game involves what could be a welcome change in the ardeur and a moment that has been a LONG time coming between Anita, Jean-Claude and Richard, I was tempted to rate this novel even higher. However, despite my enthusiasm for these welcome changes in direction, Hamilton would have to prune down the sexual discourse to truly justify a five-star rating like in the glory days. Still, "The Harlequin" proves that when it comes to sex in these books, less is more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "What's a little sex between allies?", June 6 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
The Anita Blake series started off well, continued for awhile, then took a sharp plunge down into the literary abyss of bad porn.

Well, "The Harlequin" scrabbles PARTLY back out of that abyss, but Laurell K. Hamilton's fifteenth Blake book still suffers from a surfeit of squickly sex, constant sexual ramblings, and a promising plot that gets swamped by the sex-with-Anitacentric politics of vampires and weres.

First a vamp cleric tells her of a threat so terrible that he can't name it, then a movie night with Nathaniel leads to a strange warning -- a white mask. Jean-Claude reveals that it's the warning of the Harlequin, a cruel vampire police who can warp their victims' minds. And apparently Anita and her string of adoring lovers (plus the still-upset Richard) have upset them.

And the politics of the situation are getting quite nasty, with alliances between weres and vamps getting nasty as they try to all have sex with Anita for power and influence, and Anita repeatedly getting hit by her various "beasts." And if they don't manage to kill the Harlequin soon, then Marmee Noir will reawaken -- and the Harlequin will be working for her.

"The Harlequin" sounds promising at first -- it's almost a hundred and fifty pages before Anita has sex with anyone. It's been several books since Hamilton could boast a length like that, and at first glance it seems to be promising a return to prior form.

Unfortunately, the sexless parts even duller than actual sex would have been: talking/remembering/agonizing about sex. There's two long chapters devoted to Nathaniel wanting Anita to tie him up and hurt him during sex, and Anita getting squeamish about it. And about halfway through, she starts having public ardeur sex, bloody sex, lesbian vampire dream sex, feathery sex, and Hamilton seems to be paving the way for sex with Edward's sixteen-year-old stepson.

None of this would matter quite so much if the plot were good -- and some parts of it are excellent. Edward's family vs. job struggle, the were politics and their tenuous relationship with the vampires, the fight between Richard and Jean-Claude, and the whole threat of the Harlequin itself is pretty thrilling, and pared down, it could have been a truly excellent book.

Unfortunately, these promising plots are bogged down in -- you guessed it -- sex. Everyone wants sex with Anita, and chapters of arguing about who gets to is just stupefyingly dull. As if that weren't bad enough, Hamilton takes another jab at her former fans, by announcing disdainfully that, "God hasn't forsaken me; it's just that all the right-wing fundamentalist Christians want to believe he has." Nice that now Anita is God's mouthpiece.

And though Anita doesn't come across near the levels of arrogance in books past, she still comes off as annoying, hypocritical (she likes bloody sex, but gets squicked at the idea of tying a guy up?) and ridiculously superpowerful -- turns out that she's also superpowering anyone she has sex with. And few of the long-haired, animeish femme-men do much but adore Anita, and the few who don't are either banished again (Richard) or are pale shadows of their former selves (Edward).

"The Harlequin" takes some baby steps back toward quality, but the obsession with sex and long-winded arguments drown the promising plot points. Better keep the mask on this one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Used Book: The Harlequin, Aug. 2 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I ordered this book used from awesomebookscanada and it came in about a week. It was described as "Used-Good" and I am satisfied with the condition it came in. The pages are pretty clean, spine intact. The dust jacket has some wear around the edges and back, and the top of the pages when the book is closed is a touch dirty. Considering this was used I am more than happy with my purchase.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What's a little sex between allies?, Jan. 24 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
The Anita Blake series started off well, continued for awhile, then took a sharp plunge down into the literary abyss of bad porn.

Well, "The Harlequin" scrabbles PARTLY back out of that abyss, but Laurell K. Hamilton's fifteenth Blake book still suffers from a surfeit of squickly sex, constant sexual ramblings, and a promising plot that gets swamped by the sex-with-Anitacentric politics of vampires and weres.

First a vamp cleric tells her of a threat so terrible that he can't name it, then a movie night with Nathaniel leads to a strange warning -- a white mask. Jean-Claude reveals that it's the warning of the Harlequin, a cruel vampire police who can warp their victims' minds. And apparently Anita and her string of adoring lovers (plus the still-upset Richard) have upset them.

And the politics of the situation are getting quite nasty, with alliances between weres and vamps getting nasty as they try to all have sex with Anita for power and influence, and Anita repeatedly getting hit by her various "beasts." And if they don't manage to kill the Harlequin soon, then Marmee Noir will reawaken -- and the Harlequin will be working for her.

"The Harlequin" sounds promising at first -- it's almost a hundred and fifty pages before Anita has sex with anyone. It's been several books since Hamilton could boast a length like that, and at first glance it seems to be promising a return to prior form.

Unfortunately, the sexless parts even duller than actual sex would have been: talking/remembering/agonizing about sex. There's two long chapters devoted to Nathaniel wanting Anita to tie him up and hurt him during sex, and Anita getting squeamish about it. And about halfway through, she starts having public ardeur sex, bloody sex, lesbian vampire dream sex, feathery sex, and Hamilton seems to be paving the way for sex with Edward's sixteen-year-old stepson.

None of this would matter quite so much if the plot were good -- and some parts of it are excellent. Edward's family vs. job struggle, the were politics and their tenuous relationship with the vampires, the fight between Richard and Jean-Claude, and the whole threat of the Harlequin itself is pretty thrilling, and pared down, it could have been a truly excellent book.

Unfortunately, these promising plots are bogged down in -- you guessed it -- sex. Everyone wants sex with Anita, and chapters of arguing about who gets to is just stupefyingly dull. As if that weren't bad enough, Hamilton takes another jab at her former fans, by announcing disdainfully that, "God hasn't forsaken me; it's just that all the right-wing fundamentalist Christians want to believe he has." Nice that now Anita is God's mouthpiece.

And though Anita doesn't come across near the levels of arrogance in books past, she still comes off as annoying, hypocritical (she likes bloody sex, but gets squicked at the idea of tying a guy up?) and ridiculously superpowerful -- turns out that she's also superpowering anyone she has sex with. And few of the long-haired, animeish femme-men do much but adore Anita, and the few who don't are either banished again (Richard) or are pale shadows of their former selves (Edward).

"The Harlequin" takes some baby steps back toward quality, but the obsession with sex and long-winded arguments drown the promising plot points. Better keep the mask on this one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Getting worried about this series., Oct. 14 2008
By 
GinRobi (Timmins, ON, Canada) - See all my reviews
As a reviewer, I try to give a brief rundown of the book so that those who read the review who plan on reading the book get a small inkling of what's going on, to explain what I liked, disliked, etc...

I can't do it this time around. That's how disappointed I am.

While I admit this one was better than Danse Macabre, it wasn't by much. At the beginning, it seems like we're back to the basic form of Anita and her job, Federal Marshall Anita Blake with one, soon to be two, orders of execution. Didn't last long, very much to my dismay.

While I admit I liked the whole `Harlequin' angle, I thought it original enough, it just turned into the same old-same old. Dull to the point of not wanting to continue. Very little in the way of investigation or fact finding. More explanations that could have used fewer words to get to the point. And while I praise that the sex didn't overrule the entire book like it did in Dance Macabre, there was still too much of it, especially the last third of the book. There's got to be a way of feeding the `ardeur' in as close as a manner but not everytime! Good grief! The repetitiveness of it is getting to be too much. I read a discussion earlier where someone posted, and I quote: "I was reading on her blog recently that she no longer was going to feel guilty about so much sex in the stories because some other author pointed out to her that it could be used to progress the story or define the character's relationships with one another." Okay, I'm sorry, but I didn't see any definement between characters. And Richard's same old-same old "unable to accept it" is getting very, very stale. Constantly running away instead of talking it out, of getting anything more out of it, he high-tails it, no pun intended. It's getting old, boring, and repetitive ~ I wanted to jump in the book and give Richard a good thrashing, even if only to ease my frustration.

I do, however, really like how the end of the book came about. More action, something new to think about. *sigh* I guess I'll have to wait and see what happens in Blood Noir. While this novel gives me hope after Danse Macabre, I want to see if the series is headed on a downslide. *shrug*
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost 5 stars, Feb. 17 2008
By 
Alexandra Gignac "fantasy-eater gal" (Quebec, Qc Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Reading Hamilton's Harlequin gives me hope for the novels to come. In this 15th book, the author actualy come back to the reasons I enjoyed reading the serie to begin with: shifters and vampires' politics, power battles and some slaying. I agree with many who said that the last novels were more about Anita's emotional and sexual maze than anything else.

In Laurell Hamilton defense, I'll say that after reading The Harlequin I've come to put those novels in perspective. I think that, since Anita gained the ardeur, it all have been about her growing powers, its nature (which is sexual thanks to Belle Morte bloodline) and the chain-reaction of consequences that is a result of that power. Consequences on the daily organization of her life, on both of her jobs (zombie raising and helping the cops), on shifters' and vamps' politic, etc. When you think about it, few months seems very little to make it all work.

There's a point in Danse Macabre where Anita says to Jean-Claude that when it comes to the ardeur she either goes through it all the way or no way. She simply doesn't know how to "use" it any other way. In fact, at the end of The Harlequin, that's exactly what she does: she learn how to direct that power differently. I think that in the next novels, it's going to be more about using power effectively than always be a submissive victim of it. It has already started. The sex/ardeur is no more just a downside of their triumvira but a power to negociate with.

Some have complained about that "sex between allies" stuff. If you ask me, I'll say that considering that most of their powers are sexual by nature, it is logical that some of their "treaties" include sex. You deal with the kind of coin you have. In my opinion, that kind of sexual situations makes a lot more sens in the serie than many we've read up until now.

My verdict? Thumbs up for Hamilton's Harlequin: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter seems to be back on track.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A five-star read!, July 10 2007
Having been a fan of Ms. Hamilton for a long time, I was thrilled to read her latest Anita intstallment! And I was definitely NOT disappointed as this latest book in the series takes so many twists and turns, I was never bored or found myself reading ahead. I thought it was awesome in that respect and totally recommend it to anyone who loves this series as much as I do. Along with it, I also liked, as far as vampire romantic books go, "Dead Sexy'--Kim Corum.

All in all, a good read that I'd recommend without hesitation!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Harlequin,The(CD)Libr(Unabr.)
Harlequin,The(CD)Libr(
Unabr.)
by Laurell K. Hamilton (Audio CD - June 7 2007)
CDN$ 146.95 CDN$ 117.56
Usually ships in 3 to 6 weeks
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews