Okay first of all let me give you a brief introduction as to why I chose to buy the Anita Blake books in the first place.
Ever since the Supreme Court granted the undead equal rights, most people think Vampires are just ordinary folks with fangs.
I know better.
But now a serial killer is murdering vampires – and the most powerful blood sucker in town wants me to find the killer...’
This will be a general overview of the book with my opinions thrown in for good measure, as if I were describing it to a friend who was interested in reading the books. (Possibly with a few spoilers). I am going to try really hard not to spoil the books for people who haven’t read the books.
There’s Were-Hyenas, Were- Leopards, Were-rats (gross), and others that come up in later books. She’s been assigned to this squad because she’s a necromancer and also a vampire hunter. But she refers to herself as an Animator (someone who raises Zombies). This is run by Sergeant Rudolph Storr (Dolph), and she helps them by providing them with information at crime scenes.
So she has to leave the hen do (and she’s real disappointed), and has to go visit a crime scene. Upon Anita’s return Catherine is on the stage at Guilty Pleasures and is in a deep trance, so
deep that the vampire in question can summon her whenever he wants. It is however a ploy to get Anita to work on the Vampire murders and Monica was in on it! (Bet that puts her in the bad books). Anita reluctantly agrees to work on the murders if they guarantee Catherine’s safety. Jean Claude takes Anita to meet Nikolaos.
Who locks Anita in a cellar where she is attacked by wererats, at Nikolaos’ command! (What a lovely lady, a simple please would have probably worked better). She also informs Anita that there have been more murders and introduces her to Zachary who has a witness. He is also an animator (and Anita recognises him from somewhere). The witness is a Zombie who he abuses and causes it to be a useless source of information. Nikolaos lair is beneath the Circus of the Damned and whilst leaving Anita discovers one
of her henchman is a Vampire called Valentine who she had a run in with a few years previously. She poured holy water on him and he broke her collarbone.
Their encounter is covered in the graphic novels (of which i have only read one, because I refuse to buy any other comics/graphic novels than the Buffy related ones)(LBC - WHEDON!!!).
There is quite a lot of back-story to these books that you need to read the graphic novels to find out. When we meet Anita she has already been raising the dead professionally for 4 years, she already knows Jean Claude and she already has a LOT of scars. She is also very into weaponry and Laurell goes into a lot of detail with gun types, gun care etc. I won’t mention the weapons a great deal in the reviews as although they feature quite heavily I don’t want to go into detail with them and upset people who know about guns as I know naff all.
Anita returns home from the Circus of the Damned to discover Edward is at her apartment.
He is just referred to as Edward or Death quite a lot in the early books but he gets more character development as the books go on. Let’s just say Anita knows him and there is more to their story than is covered in the books. He wants the location of the resting place of the Master of the city (Nikolaos). But at this stage she is reluctant to reveal that she knows. He lets it lie for now but says he will be back.
So Anita is now investigating the Vampire Murders and she enlists the help of her friend Veronica Sims, who is a private investigator to look into Vampire hate groups.
Anita investigates a freak party and feels a Zombie raising close by. She goes to be nosy and discovers Zachary attempting to raise a Zombie, but he can’t do it as he is too old. But then Anita finds out where she recognises him from... his funeral!
In this book we also come across the Church of Eternal life for the first time. It’s basically described as a church led by Vampires. Humans can join and also be turned into Vampires. We do learn more about it as the series goes on.
Anita attended the freak party with a stripper from Guilty Pleasures called Philip and Nikolaos feels Anita has turned him against her and so captures him, she has also discovered that Jean Claude in his attempt to heal Anita the first time she visited Nikolaos he gave her the first two marks towards making her him human servant. (We don’t really discover a lot about this in the early books hence the reason I have skimmed over it here). But Anita is helping Jean Claude to sustain himself without realising it. So Nikolaos is very angry. She has Philip killed and Anita in return kills one of the Vamps who murdered making Nikolaos even more angry.
Not very good at motivating people is she?! No wonder Anita’s not on Team Vampire!
Anita’s angry so she recruits Edward to help in destroying Nikolaos and also tells him about Valentine the vampire they thought was dead still being alive. Before Anita and Edward can go hunting Anita has to lay a Zombie to rest. So her and Edward wind up in a cemetery, but uh-oh they are attacked by the Vampire murderer.
Luckily they are able to get away (good job or this would be the only Anita Blake book). Anita recruits the Wererats help in getting into the Circus of the Damned through some tunnels. They are able to kill Aubrey and Valentine but unluckily for them Nikolaos isn’t confined to her coffin by daylight!
A lot of fighting takes place and Anita kills Nikolaos, but not before first revealing that she knows who the Vampire Murderer is. She then kills Zachary and frees Jean Claude, who reveals that he knew Anita could solve the murders and destroy Nikolaos. Jean Claude is now the new Master of the City.
The book concludes with Anita going back to her normal(ish) life and Jean Claude chasing after her for a date.
On the whole this is a good book. It’s sets up the whole Anita Blake world nicely. Revealing enough to whet your appetite and leave you wanting more. It is essentially a murder, mystery style book with supernatural beings thrown in.
Laurell is a good writer who has done her plenty of research on the subject matter that she has been able to. She also has a degree in Animal Biology so she actually knows her animal stuff and isn’t just guessing. I urge all those who have read Twishite to give this a try and then burn Twishite!
And all those who are fans of Buffy give it a go.
If you have never read Vampire fiction this is a good place to start.