- MP3 CD
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Library edition (June 7 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1597378909
- ISBN-13: 978-1597378901
- Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.3 x 19 cm
- Shipping Weight: 68 g
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,858,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Harlequin,The(MP3)Libr(Unabr.) MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
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From Publishers Weekly
At the start of bestseller Hamilton's solid 15th adventure to star vampire hunter Anita Blake, Malcolm, the priggish head of the Church of the Eternal Life (the vampire church), is so desperate for help in dealing with the Harlequin, a troop of vampire enforcers and spies so feared vampires are forbidden to speak its name, he turns to those he considers sinful and corrupt—Anita and her sweetie, Jean-Claude, St. Louis's Master of the City. The Harlequin may have targeted Anita and the powerful triumvirate she has forged with Jean-Claude and Richard Zeeman (aka Ulfric of the werewolves). According to the rules, the Harlequin must make contact through delivery of a mask—white to indicate they are watching, red for pain, black for death. Anita receives a white mask, but the members of the Harlequin aren't playing by the rules. Shorter and more tightly structured than the previous entry in the series, Danse Macabre (2006), Hamilton's latest should prove more satisfying to longtime fans with its straightforward supernatural politics and steamy (but not extreme) sex.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Laurell K. Hamilton is the New York Times bestselling author of the Meredith Gentry novels: A Kiss of Shadows, A Caress of Twilight, Seduced by Moonlight, A Stroke of Midnight, Mistral’s Kiss, as well as fifteen acclaimed Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, novels. She is a full-time writer; she lives in a suburb of St. Louis with her family.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.