Apparently the love triangle between Richard Zeeman, Anita Blake and Jean-Claude isn't QUITE over, despite Anita dumping the werewolf to boink the French vampire. Lovely.
But apparently the melodrama is not over yet in "Blue Moon," the eighth novel of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. Laurell K. Hamilton does succeed in creating some suspense and some intriguing supporting characters with their own woes and worries, but her writing alternates between choppy and painfully florid, and her heroine rapidly ascends the ladder of Mary-Suedom -- she's allegedly smarter, sexier, stronger and more powerful than anyone else.
Anita receives a call from Richard's brother -- Richard is now in jail in Tennessee, accused of raping a local woman. So Anita heads out to Tennessee with a band of vampires and weres, including Asher, Damian and Jason. They're all intent on proving Richard's innocence, and there are only a matter of days until the "blue moon" exposes him as a werewolf.
Oh yeah, and because of Anita's charming and polite personality, the Master of the City regards their arrival as an act of war. Can't blame him, considering what a reasonable, diplomatic person she is. Uh huh.
Unfortunately Richard's frame-up is at the center of a town-wide conspiracy, and a search for an ancient artifact using illegal means. And Colin (aforementioned Master) is determined to mess with the invading group, even to infecting one of the weres with a corrosive decay, while a werewolf first-one-to-catch-Anita-gets-to-rape-her jaunt in the woods leads to a new encounter with Richard. Unfortunately, his family has gotten drawn into this mess.
"Blue Moon" is one of those novels that is overflowing with promise, but only turns out mediocre. It actually is quite strong for the first half -- obviously-untrue rape charges, a sinister town conspiracy, and brewing tensions between two groups of werewolves and vampires. You can almost overlook Hamilton's obvious contempt for women, cops, and anyone who doesn't live in a major city (according to Hamilton, Tennessee is entirely populated by misogynist racist rednecks).
Unfortunately, halfway through everything comes unravelled -- instead we get an endless stream of absurd situations that emphasize one thing: "Anita is the awesomest most powerful person ever, and everyone wants to have sex with her." Rapist werewolves, sneering at her ex-boyfriend's new woman, being possessed by sex-mad werewolf ghosts, and magically fixing everything just by being so awesome and loving. It's actually pretty nauseating to read someone so spectacularly Mary Sueish.
And Hamilton's writing isn't up to saving the story either. The more hardboiled bits are pretty passable although rather choppily written. But when she tries to wrap that hardboiled prose in lush, sensual prose the results are laughable and appallingly awkward ("The two of us knelt bathed in power. A wind trailed Damian's hair across my face, and I knew the wind was us"). And it doesn't help that Anita constantly tosses off clunky fortune-cookie witticisms ("Love sucks. Sometimes it feels good. Sometimes it's just another way to bleed") and appalling similes (a vampire sucking blood is "like a feeding thing." Well, what else would it be?).
The biggest millstone is Anita: abrasive, arrogant, absurdly hypermacho, and pulls superpowers out of her butt at least twice a day. She's also as airheaded as a ping-pong ball. She causes all the plot's problems by howling verbal abuse at the Master of the City, but it never seems to occur to her that this trouble might be her fault. And it's hard to sympathize with someone who whines about how angry it makes her that her ex-boyfriend, whom she cheated on, is having sex with someone else.
The supporting characters are far more likable -- the fragile vampire Asher manages to be far more endearing than Anita ever does, and the werewolf Jason is quite charming at times. Unfortunately most of the vampires are either there to be ego buffs to Anita (Jean-Claude) or damsels in distress (Damian).
"Blue Moon" is a solid urban fantasy riddled with cracks -- and the Grand Canyon in the middle is the alleged heroine. It's a decent light read if you can focus on the supporting cast and the creepy noir moments, and ignore everything else.
on April 4, 2001
I have been a fan of this series for some time, and so I find this a very difficult book to review. To me, this book represents a shift in genre. It is also possible that I simply mistook the genre I though they were in. Originally, Lauren Hamilton wrote what I would call vampire adventure stories. I loved them, and love them still. Hamilton has tremendous writing abilities. Her heroine, Anita Blake, was a superb job of characterization. Dialog and narrative were sparkling. And, truth be told, this is still quite true.
But these are no longer simply vampire adventure. The sexual theme that has previously created some interesting character dynamics has suddenly become a strong, primary focus. The book is ostensibly about Anita coming to the rescue of Richard, her werewolf more-than-friend, but it is much more about Anita's changing sexuality. This is quite intense, and really makes this book into a kind of tough girl's romance story. There's nothing wrong with that, just not what I expected.
If you are considering trying this out as your first Hamilton novel, get some of the earlier volumes and read those first. Hamilton starts right in the action, and too many of the references will be confusing without some background.
Is this a well-written book? Yes. But I think the focus on sex (and I'm not talking missionary position stuff here) weakens Anita's character. Hamilton seems still a bit awkward with this material, but makes up for a lack of slickness with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm.
Romance fanatics and those who are not put off by a lot of sexuality will no doubt love this book. Those who are a bit more timid and just wanted a great vampire/monster novel need to approach Blue Moon with more cautious expectations.
on May 29, 2001
I enjoyed this book, but could have done w/o all the sex. While LKH did eventually grab me w/ the story, I found myself tiring of Anita's constant sarcastic humor. I kept wondering when she'd get a little maturity and stop being so snide and more understanding. I felt disconnected from the characters in this book more so than in the others. I really enjoyed the last 7 books, but for some reason found myself bored w/ the usual "meet some monsters, worry (constantly) about whether she should be w/ JC or Richard, kill some monsters, put on black and red and weapons, feel power wash over her," etc., etc., etc. We've been there, done that in the past books; now it's time to explore her powers and what exactly she is and can do w/ the marks and her necromancy, as well as develop characters more -- enough about Richard being a boy scout (which I don't really believe); let's have some character development. I'm encouraged by Anita's training from Marianne; perhaps her character will mature and develop in further books. All that said, I still enjoyed the book, and am looking forward to reading Obsidian Butterfly next. I hope that future books will be as good as past ones have been.
on October 22, 1998
Blue Moon is as exciting and satisfying as all the others. Ms. Hamilton is such a talented writer that she pulls you into her world and before you know it, several hours have passed, your are finished reading the book, and hoping the next one will be out soon. The only thing I didn't like about the book was Anita's growing relationship with Richard. I used to like Richard as much as Jean Claude, but beginning in the Killing Dance (and continuing in Burnt Offerings) when Richard became physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive towards Anita, I lost all interest in him. In Blue Moon, he's still being emotionally abusive towards Anita, but in a more subtle way. Richard really isn't a very nice guy and he has little respect for Anita. Richard has also put celibacy behind him in a big way in Blue Moon. In fact, he shows a singular lack of discrimination in his choice of sexual partners(Are you female? Are you breathing?). I really don't see that Richard's got much going for him besides a great body, and lucky for us, there are a lot of handsome guys running around in Ms. Hamilton's universe, so why bother with Richard? Besides the Richard thing, this is a great book. We get to know Asher, Damien, and Jason better. I love Asher almost as much as Jean Claude(maybe more), and Damien and Jason are turning out to be pretty interesting guys too. And, finally, Anita has stopped trying to ignore her powers and is beginning to learn about them (Hallelujah!) All in all, this is a great book, the story is fascinating and I enjoyed learning more about some of the people we've come to know and love.
on November 18, 1998
First of all, don't even think about reading Blue Moon without reading the other seven books in the series first. You don't want to miss all the history and character development preceding this story. That said, in Blue Moon Anita Blake once again finds herself "ass deep in alligators," this time in Tennessee where she's gone to get one of her two "preternatural studs," Richard, out of a phony rape charge. Between her own growing powers, trouble from the local bands of vampires and werewolves who don't know what to make of her, and the escapades of the vamps and wereanimals Jean-Claude sent along to help her, and you've got a fast-moving story with plenty of plot twists and turns. Anita is a fascinating character; a human whose powers as necromancer and one-third of a triumvirate with Jean-Claude and Richard have lately caused her to question her humanity; a woman whose ability to kill without blinking keeps her and her friends alive while at the same time appalling her. Like any truly well-crafted character, Anita Blake is growing and changing. One hopes Laurell K. Hamilton will continue to let us share Anita's journey.
on September 26, 1999
I have read every single book in the Anita Blake series and I whipped through them in a day at least. This book was completely different. First of all, it took me about three months to finish it. Second of all, the only way I could finish it was because I had nothing to do (stuck in a school for all-region band contest) for an entire day. This is one of those books that you can only read on an airplane, when you have nothing to do, no one significant to talk to, or another book to read.
Also, the book made no sense. There was no plot. First is was all about this stupid rape charge, then it was all about these meetings in the woods, then it was about the infamous spear, and then something weird happened and somehow Richard's mom was kidnapped and Anita went batty. I can't even remember the end. All I know was that it had blood, a naked Anita, and I think one of the wereleopards was involved somehow. This is definitely the low point in the series. If these books can get any lower I'll be surprised. Perhaps the author should look back at what she's written and build on that rather than boring us to death with how Anita is so superior and better than her monster counterparts. And lets hope we never hear another plot, or lack of one, similar to this book again.
on January 26, 1999
I usually love all kinds of vampire/supernatural stories and, to begin with, the Anita Blake series was no exception. The basic premise of a world where all the legendary creatures were real and believed in if not accepted, was very tantalizing. Add to that a hard-hitting, smart-aleck heroine who is the vampire executioner, well it sure sounded good to me! And, for the first couple of books, it WAS good. A little bloody at times but that's what happens when you mix vampires, werewolves and zombies. Anita's inner torment over whether or not to sleep with the bad guys was kind of boring but didn't get in the way of the plot too much so it was OK... Until the last few books and especially Blue Moon. Blue Moon was absolutely the worst book of the genre that I have ever read. I agree with other reviewers who say that the violence and sex was the entire plot and that Anita has become an unreal heroine -- supernatural powers, sex appeal to attract any living (or non-living) creature within a hundred miles, and an attitude which besides being hypocritical, is very boring. I hope Hamilton will give her urge to write erotica a rest -- she isn't very good at it -- and go back to the basics. Get rid of the whining were-whatevers, keep the charactors who add more than sex and violence to the plot, and, for heaven's sake, take Anita down a few notches to make her believable -- and maybe even likeable (which she currently is NOT) once again.
on December 18, 2001
Who is Anita? What does she believe in? What does she live for? Herself? God? Who?
In Blue Moon, Anita is at a crossroads. The Point of No Return. Can she live with herself, the things she's done, the things she's pushed to do? Is her faith and love enough? What does Anita want-out of life, love and living? No more putting herself second.
Hamilton gave us non-stop action and constant motion of her characters and plot line. Now, it's a slower, leisurely pace; in other words toned down. Not as much killing, gore and the like, a little more sex.
It's the book that stops and makes Anita examine herself; it is something she can no longer ignore. What is she becoming, the monster within the monster unleashed? She can no longer tell the difference when goes down south to aid Richard of a bogus rape case. The story line isn't that strong, but it's the moral development that really catches you. She's accepting her place as nimir-ra to the wereleopards, and master to Damian. She's changing, in more ways than one and in more ways than is told in the book.
Anita is a crisis with herself and her beliefs. It was bound to happen sooner or later and it's a great place to continue with it, it's more addressed than the last one where it just starts to begin. Ignore those readers who don't understand character development. If Anita continued as before, she'd just become
1-D, rather than 3-D. A real person would most likely go through some self-crisis. Granted, it won't be a favorite, but it's still a really great read. I gave it a five because I love that Anita is questioning herself and its an important step and part of the story; it's something I would have done if I were in her shoes (yeah right! ;))
on May 24, 2001
I've read most of these reviews and noticed something significant. Most of the bad reviews are generated by the reader's distaste of Richard, annoyance at "romance", or a general preference for vampires and/or Jean-Claude. None of these reasons address whether or not it's a good book.
I've re-read this book at least 5 times. There are so many layers here, that I, for one, think that Hamilton did an exceptional job of bringing it all together. As with all the books, bad guys abound and the action is fast-paced and intense. Meanwhile, Anita is dealing with self-doubts about her morality and how far she may or may not have slipped in God's graces, both in regards to her violent actions and her choice of partners. If that wasn't enough for her to deal with, she also has to deal with unresolved love/lust for her former fiance--a man that she feels that she cruelly betrayed. Hamilton brings all the angst and conflict to a head, without sacrificing the action or suspense of the story. That, in and of itself, deserves kudos.
I want to clear up a major misconception that just reading the reviews could cause, as well. All those people that are so offended by the book's erotic content make it sound like she's sleeping with every shapechanger and vampire to come down the pike. She has sex once, period. There maybe a lot of sexual tension beforehand, but that's all it is. Let's look at this realistically, after all. We're talking about a bunch of young, prime physical specimens running around here through all of these books and if there were no sexual tension whatsoever, it would be completely unbelievable. It's not like it's the entire plot--it's a subtext and always has been. (I thought another reviewer made a very good point that no one objected to the graphic violence in this or the rest of the series, but they complain about the sexuality.) It's important to remember that the whole series is definately R-rated at the very least. Some of the depictions of the crime scenes that Anita investigates would generate an NC-17 in my book.
No, this isn't the first book in the series that you should read, but it is a fantastic book. A truly gripping read!
on January 24, 1999
I love the series, and I love Anita. But, it seems that this story is rather anticlimactic. First of all, there are a lot of loose ends and it seems at many times, odd situations are thrown in to make characters do things as if it were a desperate attemt to push the story along.
First of all, since our pristine Anita can't be sex-obssessed, we have Raina inhibit her body so she can be a nymphomaniac against her will. But instead of hot and steamy, we get droll and boring.
Jean Claude does a complete 180 by suddenly turning desperate and pathetic. He begs Anita to stay with him, which is completely a non-Jean action. JC's supposed to be cocky, suave, and a seducer, not husbandly and immature. Lots of the characters' original convictions and traits are thrown out of window (Richard's respect for women, as he sleeps with a lot of them; Anita's chastity; and Jean Claudes cool), and leaves me confused in reading it. "What happened?" I wonder.
LKH doesn't take this opportunity to develop Richard. We know everything about Jean Claude, but Richard is still left rather two dimensional. It seems a waste of plot usage. I think that the lack of depth in Richard is the reason this book seems more like a comic book. This edition is a little shallow and underdeveloped. The only characters that get developed are Cherry, Zane, and Jason.
I hope the next book focuses more on the characters than action and sex. It was the depth of emotions of the characters that made the action exciting and the steamy scenes sensual. Without this foundation, this book really does read out to be more like a comic book with raunchy sex and too much gung-ho action.