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Showing 1-4 of 4 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on February 11, 2009
I don't even know where to start with how absolutely horrible this book was. Laurell K. Hamilton is a disgrace, writing all about what seems to be her own silly, boring fantasies, where she is wonderful, marvelous, beautiful and all-powerful.

The series started with such promise and while the author has always really needed to edit her books, her created world was rich and immersive. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, Anita stopped being a vampire-slaying zombie-raiser and began to be a whining, egocentric pseudo-rapist. Gone is the suspense and anticipation, swallowed by yet another long, drawn-out and poorly written bland sex scene interspaced with enough of Anita's dull personal baggage to put the most polite shrink to sleep.

I THINK the novel tries to be BDSM erotica, but the author seems to have done little to no research into the BDSM lifestyle. Instead, she gets things horribly wrong (ignoring a safe word?!) and totally misrepresents the scene (not all masochists were abused as a child, Laurell).

The men make me cringe. These are strong, independent alpha males, yet Anita seems to always have them reduced to a quivering mass of lust and insecurity. She practically rapes every man who makes an appearence in the recent novels and blames it on the "ardeur". And of course, being a pathetic biography of the author's own desires, the men all become enamoured of her sexual prowess. Frankly, I find the sex scenes to be mediocre at best, merely light porn written, perhaps, by a teenage boy trying out his story-telling skills for the first time.

If you must read this book for whatever reason (like maybe you keep hoping against hope that Laurell will stop writing drivel and bring the old Anita back) then do NOT buy it. Get it from the library. And for Goddess' sake, make sure you don't return it late! This book isn't even worth paying a day's worth of late fees.
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Imagine the horribly malformed love-child of "Days Of Our Lives," Anne Rice and some really bad Mary Sue fan fiction.

That is the most accurate description I can think of for "Blood Noir," the fifteenth novel in the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series. Since it's a rather lame little novella pumped up to novel size, Laurell K. Hamilton spins up artificial drama and endless sexual angst that never really goes anywhere or does anything, but fills up plenty of pages. By the end, you'll be wondering what the point is.

Werewolf stripper Jason drops by Anita's house to whine that his estranged dad is dying, and he's broken up with his girlfriend because she wanted monogamy. Three guesses which is considered more traumatic -- monogamy or cancer.

So Anita comforts him the only way she knows how, and then agrees to pose as his girlfriend so he can prove to his dad that he isn't gay. Apparently his family is more worried about his sexuality than about his being a werewolf. But when they arrive, Anita finds that Jason is one of several look-alike men in his hometown, and one of them is a wealthy engaged stud who is having an affair with the wife of a local Master vampire. This, needless to say, stokes up lots of bad feelings.

It also causes a few personal crises, as Anita finds out that weird tabloid rumors in St. Louis are jeopardizing Jean-Claude's position, and local vampires are gunning for Jason because he looks just like his cousin. Unfortunately this is only the start of her problems, since the ancient vampire matriarch Mother of All Darkness is waking up -- or I should say, STILL waking up after several books -- and causing yet more trouble for Anita.

For your information, "Blood Noir" was originally a novella. But while the page-count has expanded to that of a full-length novel, Laurell K. Hamilton fails to expand the story along with it -- it still has a novella-sized plot, which appears to have been cribbed from the wastepaper basket of a hack TV writer. We've got lookalikes, confusion, family drama, and embarrassing headlines. Even the name of Jason's cousin -- Keith Summerland -- sounds lifted from a soap.

And Hamilton is pretty clearly making it up as she goes along, throwing in plot twists and contrived crises whenever the slow-moving plot starts lagging. Unfortunately she doesn't actually deal with the fallout of these twists -- most of them just putter out and never really get dealt with. Presumably Hamilton either got tired of writing and wanted to wrap up the book, or she didn't want to write any dramatic scenes that don't involve lots of orgasms and bodily fluids.

While there isn't as much plotless sex as in some of Hamilton's other books, sex is still the sole driving force of "Blood Noir." Breakups, personal crises, metaphysical problems and threats are all handled by Anita having sex with somebody -- and even in the sex-free portions of the book, the characters' sex lives are what propel things onward.

Anita continues to be a standard Mary Sue self-insert -- she's abrasive as a power sander, smart as a cinder block, adored and feared by all around her, and develops a new supernatural power every time she sneezes. Comically enough, her sex life is apparently the stuff of national interest now, despite the fact that she basically doesn't do anything to warrant anyone's interest except collect vampires and werebeasties for her expansive harem.

Thankfully that harem is rarely glimpsed in this book, and it's soon obvious why this is a good thing. The supposedly suave Jean-Claude has become needy and clingy, the appallingly creepy Nathaniel acts like a pimp, and Jason has been transformed into a self-absorbed slut who treats non-Anita women like sex toys. And Hamilton takes yet another pot-shot at Richard, dragging him into the plot just so Anita can remind us why we are supposed to hate him. Doesn't work.

"Blood Noir" is neither noir nor bloody, and the thin plot is stretched to the breaking point with lots of bad sex, whining, and plot twists that stupefy rather than shock. Truly ghastly -- and not the good way either.
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on August 19, 2008
This book fails on so many levels it is hard to know where to begin. Ms. Hamilton gave up writing anything interesting in this series about 8 books ago. If not for her fan base it is doubtful she would be able to find a publisher for this book. Blood Noir is another mind numbing excuse for the character Anita Blake to appear in print. The book doesn't even know where it is going, it is not romance, not erotica, not mystery, horror, science fiction, suspense or otherworldly, what it ends up being is terrible. There is no story here. If Ms. Hamilton had killed Anita off during this book I actually might have woke up enough to think hey what a great idea! Unfortunately that doesn't happen, instead we are subject to a cobble together version of what I believe the author has come to understand is plotting. I kept waiting to see the line "It was a dark and stormy night." to signify that Ms. Hamilton was now attempting to become the worst writer ever.
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on September 19, 2008
This series has been failing for a long time and this book merely reflects all that is wrong with it. Someone at Ms Hamilton's publisher should sit down with her and take a serious look at what constitutes a good plot, why sex scenes need to be used sparingly (they slow the plot), why whining characters are not interesting, why your characters need to evolve, and that preaching a defence of deviancy over and over becomes uninteresting very quickly. That you have so many attractive men falling all over themselves in love with a woman who is essentially a horrible bitch is fantasy at the most extreme. The character Anita, while never completely likeable, has become pathetic. Guns do not make a strong woman. They don't make a strong person. Being callous and anti-social and wading around in your own interior baggage constantly doesn't make for strength. Anita never seems to get past anything. It simply gets turned over and over in an endless litany. If it is the role of an editor to get the best out of a writer someone at Berkley is not doing their job. There is a sense that the author is bored with the storyline. There are many other authors writing alternative reality fantasy and doing it much better. Before the series gets written into a permanent literary grave both author and publisher should take a serious look at what is wrong and how to fix it.
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