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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 6, 2013
I have made it my rule to only review items that I purchased at Amazon. Even though I own the first 16 books in this series (purchased from another source-except book 3) I will only review "Circus Of The Damned" here, until I get to book 17 which I will buy on Amazon.

That said...the first two books were incredible and were read in two days each. Book 3 was even better! Hence my 5 star rating. I won't give anything away, but the climax "battle" at the end was out of this world! It was thoroughly captivating, and read in one sitting. This book was so good, in my opinion, it is hard to imagine how book 4 will compare.

I know the book takes place in a different universe than ours (obviously) but it is strange to see Anita with a "beeper" and looking for a phone booth! I found out this book was written mid 90's....but didn't we have cell phones etc. at that point. Maybe this universe just didn't.

Extremely well written and fast paced. I can't wait to dig into the rest of the series.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon July 19, 2006
In this, the third volume in the Anita Blake, vampire hunter, series of books, the author does not disappoint the reader. Anita, our intrepid vampire hunter, is once again called upon by the St. Louis police to assist with some unusual murders. It appears that someone or something is killing humans in the city, and it appears that it may be a renegade pack of vampires that is doing so, hell bent on challenging the power of Jean Claude, the vampire that reigns supreme as Master of the City.

Moreover, Anita is footloose and fancy free, notwithstanding her attraction to the Master of the City, when she meets Richard Zeeman, a hunky junior high school science teacher. The only thing is that Richard has a secret that may impact on how Anita may feel about him. Their budding romance, however, is never the focal point of the story. Rather, it is a sustaining and tantalizing backdrop to the adventures of Anita, as our feisty, tough talking heroine tries to save the city of St. Louis from a fate worse than death.

Once again, the author holds the readers' interest with her richly detailed alternate universe, where vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other monsters are part of the landscape and live side by side with humans in a somewhat uneasy alliance. The plot is fully fleshed, as are most of the characters, and the dialogue is crisp and snappy. This is a fun, fast-paced series of books, and I look forward to reading each and every one!
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on June 18, 2004
I've become addicted to this series! Laurell K. Hamilton knows how to keep you turning the pages all the way to its staggering conclusion. Circus of the Damned is the third part of the Anita Blake series and the best one thus far. A pack of vampires has murdered several people. Anita has to figure out who is in charge of the crimes. What ensues is a battle between various vampire masters who want to replace Jean-Claude as the Master of the City, and Anita is right in the middle of said battle. Jean-Claude and Alejandro want her as a human servant. She has to choose between the two -- something she isn't prepared to do...
Circus of the Damned, like the first two novels, is action-packed from beginning to end. Hamilton does not allow any breathing room between the horror scenes. Her novels are riveting and suspenseful from beginning to end. What I like most about this novel is the progress, however small, between Anita and Jean-Claude. Anita has reluctantly caved to Jean-Claude's charms a bit. I love Jean-Claude! He is a great character -- mysterious, complex, sensual. The reader also gets a glimpse of erotica in this offering. The building of tension is second to none. The action, horror and suspense aspects are better than ever. I recommend this series and I cannot wait to start on the next one.
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on May 8, 2004
Anita Blake has a full time job animating zombies (to serve as witnesses, finalize their estates, or comfort families), but she can't escape her part-time job as paranormal advisor to the police and vampire hunter. When she gets a police call about a murder, she suspects vampires--but the scene of the crime reveals something much worse--multiple vampires attacked. It can only mean one thing--a rogue master vampire and his servants is loose in St. Louis. And a vampire pack requires frequent feedings. Anita knows that the killing will be only the first in a series--unless she can stop it.
The thing is, a rogue master vampire should be impossible. Jean-Claude is master of the city and no master vampire should be able to enter his domain without his being aware of it. But the invader isn't some weak and fresh corpse--he's the oldest, most powerful, and deadliest vampire Anita has ever faced. And he's intent on ending the current rules that treat vampires as citizens--even though it means he'll have to overthrow Jean-Claude first.
Anita faces a dilemma. Jean-Claude is gradually turning Anita into his human servant--something she doesn't want despite the sexual feelings she has for Jean-Claude. But does she fear him enough to turn him over to his enemies? Complicating her feelings toward Jean-Claude, Anita meets Richard--a too-good-looking science teacher with a secret and an obvious desire to date Anita. Then there's her fellow vampire killer, Edward who just might have to kill Anita to get at Jean-Claude. The poor girl isn't having much luck with her love life.
CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED is an early novel in the Anita Blake series. In CIRCUS, the lines between good and evil are faded, but they still exist. Vampires are evil and must be killed. Some can become temporary allies, but they can never be trusted. And Anita dare not put herself in any vampire's power--even if the alternative is her death. Although CIRCUS is sensual, it lacks the outright sexual orientation of more recent Anita Blake stories.
Author Laurell K. Hamilton always writes compelling action and CIRCUS shows the young Anita as she battles through waves of vampires, vampire-hating fundamentalists, and snake people. It's exciting and compelling stuff with just enough sexuality to entice the reader and make us wish for more.
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on April 12, 2004
After the second book in the Anita Blake series I was hoping that the series would keep up its quality. That would have been more than enough for me, but I was surprised by a book that is even better than "The Laughing Corpse". Anita, the animator / vampire slayer / necromancer, returns in a fast-paced, riveting thriller that does not let the reader go, not even for a second. For those fans of the series, you will even find some new elements in this book, like a new creature called lumia, but I will let you find out for yourself what its "features" are.
After some rowdy encounters in the last episode, Anita finds herself contacted by Inger and Mr. Reubens, two former human against vampires (HAV) members who are now part of a more radical group. In the eve of a new era, where the legislators are considering giving vampires the right to vote, Reubens and Inger are looking to kill every vampire in USA, starting with the master of the city. Naturally, the master of the city is none other than Jean-Claude, the vampire who has marked Anita twice and only needs two more marks to convert her in his human servant. Anita refuses to help the former HAV members and as usual will face unorthodox persuasion methods. In the midst of this problem and in her capacity of police advisor on vampires, zombies and the like, Anita is faced with a murder victim that shows fang marks from several different vampires. This is a clear indication that there is a rogue master vampire on the loose and that he is extremely dangerous. There are a couple of vampires that fit the "description", including Jean-Claude and Malcolm, but there also are new guys in town!
There are a lot of connections to previous events in the series, and even though certain explanations are given to allow those the are encountering Anita for the first time to follow the story, it is much better if the reader is familiar with what happened in the past: Nikolaos, Phillip, Edward, Jean-Claude and the marks he gave Anita, etc. Compared to the previous books, I found that this one has more humorous moments and sexual tension, while maintaining the level of action and gore. For those that like vampire stories this is a series that you cannot afford to miss.
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on March 9, 2004
This is Laurell Hamilton's third book from her amazing vampire series (be warned after about book 5 the storyline becomes a soap opera). Also, in my opinion the later novels are just plain awful.
Still, as this is the third book in the series, in terms of great vampire fiction, this can't be beat. Meet Ms. Anita Blake, necromancer (she raises zombies) and vampire executioner. She is 5"3", packs all different types of weapons, and is pretty darn tough. She is also caring and very loyal. She works part-time for her money hungry boss raising zombies and is also on loan to the police department helping them solve murders. Anita's world is becoming difficult. First, she has Jean-Claude, the Master Vampire of the City, who wants to make Anita his human servant (even though Anita hates monsters and has no intention of becoming a human servant to anyone). What's worse is that even though Jean Claude drives her crazy, she is attracted to him. You are also introduced to Richard, a very handsome man that Anita is attracted to, but she has no idea why he would want to hang out with Jean-Claude.
Anita gets pulled into a new case by the police dept. There has been a murder, with a body drained dry by as many as five vampires at one time. The problem with this is that vampires don't hunt together unless a master vampire is involved. As Jean Claude is the only master in town next to another vampire that owns a church, Anita has her work cut out in trying to determine who the killer is, why still trying to remain alive.
This is an excellent excellent story. Very highly recommended.
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on November 28, 2003
i read this book because a friend of mine had bought it but had not gotten around to reading it, so i did. i'll start with the bad things. It was way to much action. It seemed like it was just one big action scene after another. if your an action guy then this is a good book for you. if on the other hand you like your books with a little more depth and insight, then this would be a wasteful read. it also doesn't have a lot of character analysis and you dont have any sympathy or empathy for any of the characters. The ending was bit cheesy as well. It was unreal and it could have been played out better. Plus the author writes vamire lore to her liking to go along with the story, not with what is more widely known.
What i can say for the plus side is that i was into the story and couldn't put it down (i finished it in 2 days and missed a days worth of classes.) the action scenes were well written as well and the author is very descriptive.
i personally think that it would have been better if the book was longer so that we could get to know Anita Blake and the people invovled in her lives a little better. also it would allow a little breathing time between the action scenes. again, if you like action then buy it. it just wasn't in my taste of books.
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on November 20, 2002
This third book in the Anita Blake series was a major disappointment after the first installment, "Guilty Pleasures".
Admittedly, the character of Anita is still enjoyable to watch in action, and the writing style, first-person narrative from her perspective, is still enjoyable. But for one thing, the quality of the writing wasn't nearly as good as it was in the first book; I found as many sloppy errors in this book as I've come to expect in a mass-market paperback; this, after finding NONE in the first book. For another thing, there were numerous flaws in plot continuity; what ever happened to Edward's contract on the Master Vampire of the city, that suddenly, he's fighting with Anita on Jean-Claude's side, no questions asked? Was this just a case of Edward showing faith in Anita's judgement, and he'll get back to that later on? We're never given a clue.
But the biggest problem I have with the plot is the concept of the super-master vampire, so old he's not even of homo sapiens stock; if a 1000 year old vampire is notably more powerful than a 500 year old, then a million-year-old vampire does NOT need any help from Anita to find and kill Jean Claude. He automatically knows the name, address, and zip code of every vampire on the continent. Nor can he be killed as easily as all that; if he can be killed at all, it ought to be at the end of an epic struggle. Further, if he CAN be killed that easily, he HAS to be smart enough not to put himself in that position; if he wasn't brighter than that, he'd have died about 985,000 years ago. At least.
The book's fun, but not particularly good. A shame; I hope the rest of the series more closely resembles the first.
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on June 14, 2002
This go around Jean-Claude is being challenged by a centuries, perhaps millenium old vampire. Ok, this is where Ms. Hamilton has her biggest problem. Could a toddler kick an adults [rear]? I think not. Ms. Hamilton unfortunately uses action movie cliches----the villain must die for the battle to be won. She's losing the profit of a Rogue's Gallery that represernt a serious threat to Anita, Jean-Claude, Richard and their assorted friends and minions. If someone shows up in an Anita Blake book as a villain, you know a few things. They die, she probably shoots them and they aren't ever on the line of a true villain. I mean the line of morality. Though Anita often worries about morality and spiritually, her world is too black and white. Win or lose. Good and evil.
What these books need is a reason to keep going back, threats lurking around corners, and possibilities that in a new world where such mythology and lore is commonplace, the old morals don't mean as much. Anita attacks her personal decisions which put her between a sociopath and a prude, which don't mesh but rarely are we given a perspective on this world that is being created. There is constant mention of a Federal Act to announce vampires as "real" and give them full rights. But if they're walking and talking are they truly dead? There seems to be the underlying push of fundamentalism religion challenging the vampires and Anita but it's an argument that doesn't hold water. In order for it to do so, there should be more intimate knowledge of a world perspective on this. Who's president in Anita's world? What does the government think of all of these superhumans running around. Ms. Hamilton foreshadows often but doesn't deliver real answers on this partially because of my stated problem with Anita Blake novels. The first person POV. This kind of widespread mayhem needs to be shown popping up on plenty of radar screens in teh media, government and so on in this world.
The story shows all of these people but rarely does it show how they're actions ripple outside of Anita's sphere. At the end of this novel, it becomes a comic super team fight between Anita's folks and the villains. I'm not saying they can't win, I'm simply saying that if someone has been alive thousands of years and has powers untold from being a vampire, would a bullet really do anything to him, a stake of wood. Unfortunately none of these long lived people are imbued with wisdom which is what so many years would bring. And their motives are so out of line with someone of advanced years that it makes you wonder, the throwing around of teh age of a vampire, does it mean anything. It's suppose to be impressive but if a twentysomething Anita can kill them so easily are they really all that tough?
I would like to see Anita and pals measured against others yes, but the others, villains or whatever have to be taken as seriously as the protagonists for their danger to mean anything.
This book is good as another brick in the wall, but its one fo the weaker bricks.
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on March 17, 2002
this is a great book... i think, even better than the laughing corpse, since the plot is believable and relevant to the whole story.
bad news #1:
this time it's a group of rogue vampires that is making a big, red, bloody splash around st. louis... and it's up to spook squad and anita to solve the crimes
bad news #2:
AND it directly involves jean-claude. not good... considering that anita is trying her best to avoid seeing him at all cost. silly girl if you ask me. and she's adamant not to be the human servant of jean-claude.
bad news #3:
*somebody* else is planning to do away with jean-claude - and wants anita to be *his* human servant instead!
complications #1:
mr. oliver - a very, very and i mean *very* powerful vampire, has his own perverse agendas...
complications #2:
a new love interest in the form of richard zeeman ... yummy? yes... problem free? no. just how blind can the girl possibly be? very, judging by the way the story goes...
add in a couple of angry human mob, a freaking giant of a cobra, a possibly feral vampire and a vampire coup in-the-making, and you get the gist of what circus of the damned has to offer.
personally, i find that this is a rather trying read. not so much because of the plot, which is excellent, but the way anita dances around the subject of jean-claude. hell, she knows that she can't resist him - at all - and she's trying to confuse the issue with richard. i think in this particular novel, we can see how she won't admit that there's more than just lust between jean-claude and her... but noooo... she had to be real obstuse about it all.
other than her vacillations, the plot is tightly executed and the characters well developed. although i think to a certain extend the baddies are quite cliched stereotypes of hell-bent-world-dominating types... not really original if you ask me.
as usual the writing's not that evenly paced. a bit slow in th beginning and only interesting about half the way through the book... geez, i seem to say this in every book of hers (lkh) that i've read...
and the spook squad? you just gotta love them!
all in all this is a good read, i think mucho better than lunatic cafe... but please read the previous books so that you'll be able to appreciate this book better.
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