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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on February 12, 2016
This book had me hooked from the very beginning. Anita Blake is a total bad ass. This series would make a great television series. Hello FX or Netflix? The whole series is awesome, and every book is equally as good as the next. They are never dull and keep you coming back for more.
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on March 5, 2004
Having now read seven (and most of the eighth) of the Anita Blake novels, I can't help but come to the seemingly paradoxical conclusion that Laurell K. Hamilton is one of the most INARTICULATE authors I've ever read. In writing about characters who are supposed to be charming, mysterious, worldly, etc., the dialogue she puts in their mouths is exceedingly clumsy. Ms. Hamilton is in dire need of a good editor to clean up her style (not to mention her bad grammar -- that would be nitpicking). Hamilton's main strength, if one may call it that, is in plotting stories and coming up with a new set of supernatural features in every novel. This strength is far outweighed by her flat inability to put together sentences that manage to create a cohesive impression. Her novels are like very long high school essays, with lots of sex. And, oh the sex (cringe!). Hamilton is trying, I suppose, to write horror romances, but the romance aspect of the writing is so juvenile, one is tempted just to skip over it to get to the violence. And her protagonist, Anita Blake, is written as being so bullheaded and impulsive that it's a wonder that she has lived as long as she has -- she just can't hold her tongue, which isn't a wise choice for someone dealing with dangerous forces. Last, but not least, is Hamilton's habit of going into excruciating detail on irrelevant matters, such as the layout of certain St. Louis suburbs or what colour brassiere to wear with firearms. It's like she's just using whatever random details reside in her memory to pad things out.
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on March 8, 2016
The first in the Anita Blake series sets the tone from the get-go. Her character is just beginning to perfect her cynical attitude about people, both preternatural and human. One sees the possible growth in Anita, and can understand why she does eventually think differently about vampires. All the better for future storylines.
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on September 5, 2015
The series starts off reasonably well, with the first nine books being decent, but not exceptional, urban fantasy. After that, however, it degenerates into a porn-laden shagfest wherein the formerly strait-laced protagonist morphs into a self-loathing succubus. The author seems to be determined to have Anita railed by every male character in the series, often in groups.

Internet rumor has it the abrupt change in direction coincides with the author's divorce and possibly the onset of menopause, and it certainly reads like a defense of her own alternative lifestyle. But regardless of whether Hamilton's writing is therapy or bragging, it's still unreadable rubbish.
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on October 2, 2002
The Anita Blake series, which began with this novel, is an entertaining light read about an "animator" (someone who raises zombies from the dead for a living, for eg. to check the details of their will) who also is a legal vampire slayer - she's sent out with a court order to slay vampires who break the law. As you can guess, this series is set in an alternate reality where fantasy creatures exist and vampires have recently gained legal "human" status.
Anita herself has some interesting personal conflicts - she is a committed Christian who works with dark forces and kills a little too easily, and a very dainty and pretty-looking person who considers herself to be "tough as nails" (it makes it hard for the bad guys to take her seriously).
Each of the books is loosely based around a supernatural mystery and the ongoing story of Anita's life (she's 20-something at the start of this book). The writing is a little sloppy, but quite compelling, and the series steadily improves for the first few novels (the later ones get a little bogged down with Anita's issues).
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Vampire fiction is a dime a dozen, especially the goofy variety. But Laurell K. Hamilton managed to create something a wee bit out of the ordinary in "Guilty Pleasures," the first book of her Anita Blake series. Vampires, werebeasties and kick-butt policewomen abound, and the result is... yes, I'll say it: A guilty pleasure.

Anita Blake, a petite smart-alecky vampire hunter/necromancer, is known as the "Exterminator," and is feared by the vampires who have been lucky enough not to run into her. But at a bachelorette party, Anita is tricked into going to a vampire strip club, presided over by the sexy French vampire Jean-Claude. Soon a friend of hers is being held hostage. She'll stay alive if Anita works for the vampires.

Jean-Claude takes her to see the master vampire, the malevolent little girl Nikolaos, who tells her that vampires are being brutally killed -- including some of the most powerful in St. Louis. Now Anita is racing against the clock to find the killer, and keep from being killed by the very vampires that she is there to help.

The early books of the Anita Blake series are fun, sort of your typical detective stories with a bloodsucky twist. They also have the advantage of a strong female lead, some weird sidekicks, and a mild "freshening up" of your average dark fantasy/horror staples like vampires and werebeasties.

There's not a lot of actual innovation here -- werecreatures, vampires, and petite heroines who kick their butts. And Jean-Claude and the girl-vampires Nikolaos seem suspiciously close to classic Anne Rice characters. And I can only read so many pages of Anita detailing every outfit and weapon she wears.

However, Hamilton adds plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor; Anita has many of the best one-liners in the book, and there are some entertaining questions, such as whether a person can remarry if their dead spouse becomes a vampire. There are also some darker new twists, such as "freaks" (vampire junkies) and vampire groupies. The content is nothing new, but the handling is.

Despite her nymphomaniacal turns later in the series, Anita is strong, tough and in charge here. Hamilton gave her plenty of insecurities, but also the guts to live and fight despite them. The other compelling character is Jean-Claude, who is the very image of an enigmatic vamp. It's never quite clear what he's thinking, but Hamilton hinted at the actual personality under his suave charm.

Don't think it's a classic, or even a minor classic. "Guilty Pleasures" is no more and no less than its name -- an entertaining action-mystery filled with vampires and werebeasties.
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on August 10, 2015
I just loved this book, couldn't put it down, that at different times, I've reread the story again about 10 times, or more. It is one of my treasured story books in my collection. Along with it being one of my favorite authors I've ever read. I recommend this book.
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on January 1, 2003
The paralells between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Anita Blake series are virtually infinite. Both are tough, slim, short hot girls whose main goal in life is to free the world from the baddies. Both seem to have more than their fair share of relationships with some of these supernatural "baddies". Both of them love weapons. And both of them kick major .... while cracking tongue in cheek jokes.
I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And I love these books.
I read several reviews pertaining to the lack of sex in this first book. Well if you want sex, read on....the series soon becomes permeated with it. Ms. Hamilton seems to either give us too much or too little. Personally I prefer too little. I'm more on the ride for the action and plots, not the sex. If I want sexual satisfaction from a book I'll read a romance novel. This is not a romance novel.
In the same way Buffy the Vampire Slayer has become more and more "sexual", so do Hamilton's books. Since it is a series, some of the books are more for setting the scene and creating sexual tension than supplying a release for it. I would say on the whole though this series (taken as a whole) has something for everyone. Humour, Horror, and lust.
An easy writing style and a killer character make this book a must read for anyone who likes things along the line of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
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on July 6, 2004
As the starting novel in the Anita Blake series, it was pretty good. Although, I couldn't get over the fact that she was scared all the time. I mean if you're scared of someone, then I don't think that you should crack stupid jokes. Nikolaos is the wrong one to piss off. For a thousand year-old vampire, she does not have a sense of humor. The dialog, however, was a lot better than the other books. Aubrey and Theresa are really well thought out characters and I like that. I also liked the scenes between Anita and Jean Claude, they brought a little romance to the book. The end has a nice twist to it that I wasn't expecting. What I didn't expect was for the next book to be so SORRY, but enough about that. If you like vampires, ghouls, and zombie's, then this is a good book to start with. It's not an excellent book, but it'll get you through the weekend.
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on June 4, 2004
Having read and loved A Kiss of Shadows, I decided that it was time I gave the Anita Blake vampire series a whirl. Guilty Pleasures is a fast-paced, enthralling horror novel that kept me turning the pages until the wee hours of the night. The series starts out when Anita, a professional vampire executioner, is forced to investigate the recent murder of various vampires. But Anita's job is to execute vampires, not help them, but the master vampire Nikolaos is not someone you can turn down. There are various twists throughout the novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat...
I love Anita's narration and the story's steady motion. There isn't a single boring moment in this novel. I can see why so many people have become addicted to this series. Laurell K. Hamilton is a great talent of paranormal fiction. There is plenty of horror and suspense throughout the novel, but there isn't a trace of romantica. That's the only thing I didn't like about the first installment. But I was told that the romance and erotica come along later in the series (and I hope that Jean-Claude, a dark and sensual vampire in the story, will be part of said romance and erotica). Even though I prefer vampires as sex gods rather than evil, this is one series that I intend to read from cover to cover. A great start to the Anita Blake series! This novel is definitely a guilty pleasure...
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