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text SPOILER ALERT! 2016-10-13 17:11
A Few Early Thoughts on Crimson Death

I've been very critical of both the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series written by Laurell K. Hamilton, and deservedly so.  Coming late to both, Anita Blake started out as an entertaining slice of Urban Fantasy- one of the early entries into the genre (despite Hamilton's protestations, she didn't *pioneer* things).  There were some interesting ideas and scenarios despite the gaping holes in logic and worldbuilding and well as the kinda obvious MarySue aspects.  It was something you could roll with.

 

 

Then the hubris set in.  Popular wisdom has it that Hamilton suffered something of pre-midlife crisis and art began imitating life.  Hamilton's personal issues and positions began creeping into the series and Anita became less a character and more a caricature.  Hamilton's own mouthings and social media responses confirming that Anita Blake is her avatar- a true vehicle for the author to lecture & educate the masses about the glories of polyamory (Hamilton openly lives with her husband and another couple), gym workouts (though vamps & weres don't even need this shit) body shaming (anyone woman who's athletic or slender is a 'boy with breasts' and guaranteed to be a hater, while having big funbags and curves is feminine and means they'll end up on Anita's side) and guns, lots of guns via her books. 

 

Merry Gentry took it further; whereas AB started out as the simple wish fulfillment of being a badass mofo, wheras from the outset Merry was her skewed version of the Madonna Whore complex- an ethical, moral & honorable savior of the Fae race who happily fucked anything that moved.  It wasn't until later in the series that Anita began her descent into bodily fluid baths.

 

To paraphrase Chuck D: this stuff is really bad, I'm talkin' 'bout RAPE!

 

I know, I know- this isn't anything new to the Anita Blake series.  Who can forget the introduction of Micah, one of Anita's true loves, who ignored her protests and forcibly took her in the shower.  It's an indication of just how bad this was that the scene was completely reedited in the paperback version into more of 'not expressly saying no' kind of thing. 

 

There's a lot of filler and nonsense in Crimson Death- almost 700 pages worth and it takes literally the first half of the book before the plot gets in gear.  But this is where all the sexual politics and dilemmas occur.  For those familiar with the series, here's a breakdown:

Damian, vampire daywalker, former Viking and member of Anita's second Triumverate along with Nathaniel, has been having nightmares that leave him literally sweating blood and turns to Anita for help.  Adding to this his lover, Cardinale, has been less than supportive of his issues, and knowing Anita's proclivity for having sex with her inner circle, turns into a jealous harpy even though Damian's been faithful to her.  After Cardy's kicked to the curb, Damian needs some emotional support and decides to have sex with Anita and Nate.  Next morning Anita doesn't really remember what happened, though Nate is well pleased with himself.  Turns out he somehow managed to glamour Anita into a few more rounds of sex than she wanted and even coerced Damian- who isn't gay or bisexual- into topping him a few times. 

 

They turn to Jean-Claude for help, who isn't quite certain either, but is happy that this means that through this he can somehow become more powerful than everyone's favorite frenemy, Richard.  Nate's protests amount to he kept asking them if they wanted this even as he was exerting his influence upon them, so they never did anything they didn't agree to, so it's ok.  Anita agrees, because hey... it's Nate.  And they fully expect Damian to be ok with things, too.  Turns out he's fine with it because hey- it's Anita and Nate.  So thanks for showing him a side of himself he never knew existed.

 

Nathaniel's only regret in all this is that in the heat of passion they forgot to use condoms.

 

If you want the crib notes, follow the link to where my buddy, EA Solinas is posting bullet points of the book. Bullet Points for Crimson Death (spoilers, DUH)

 

There's also a couple of forum discussions about Trigger Warnings and Rape.

 

Problem is this stuff is par for the series- longtime readers will recall the swanmares who objected to Anita trying to strongarm them in sexual servitude and she concluded that they 'were ours to rape' (sic) and proceeded to force them into it.  Or when the local Rex of the lion pride didn't want to have sex with Anita and stay faithful to his wife so she withdrew her protection from him.  Or how Peter, Edward's teenaged stepson, lamented how his girlfriend didn't like what had happened between them and Anita chalked it up to 'buyer's remorse'.  And let's not forget (how can we?) Cynric the weretiger- whom Anita got roofied into having sex with when he was sixteen (which is legal in Las Vegas, where he lived).  Granted, it wasn't their fault (!) but at eighteen his own parents sent him to Anita to be his ward so she could sex him into his full glory.  Because in this series sex is somehow now tied to your metaphysical powers, you see.  In other words, she attends his PTA meetings during the day and then fucks him at night. 

 

Think I had a couple of dvds like that.

 

I've no idea what Hamilton thinks she's accomplishing with all this.  Her sales are tanking, readers are constantly noting how she seems reluctant to even continue either series and when she finally gets dragged kicking and screaming to the publisher these are the results. I'm kinda done trying to psychoanalyze this shit; I'm just gonna take it at face value and call it for the bullshit that it is.

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review 2016-10-10 23:29
Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #25) by Laurell K. Hamilton
Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter) - Laurell K. Hamilton

CRIMSON DEATH by Laurell K. Hamilton is another amazing book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series.   I started reading the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series years ago.  I am impressed with how Laurell K. Hamilton includes topics from books that happened early in the series.  The characters have grown but stayed fundamentally true to themselves. 

In this story, Anita and a select group head to Ireland to help Edward solve a case possibly involving Damian’s maker.  I love the Fae aspect of the story and how the land is different due to the magic there. The Selkies were a fascinating group. I also found the difference between the US and Irish police interesting.  This case is both captivating and thrilling.

 

A lot of things are happening simultaneously in this novel, including: changes to the Anita’s, Damian’s, and Nathaniel’s triumvirate, wedding planning/commitment ceremonies, and the ever-changing drama of the polyamorous relationships.  Among the drama, you had Asher’s groveling for forgiveness, Damian’s and Cardinale’s relationship, and Harlequins’ attitudes.  I love that we are kept up to date on the many characters in the series.

 

I enjoy how everyone’s powers change throughout the series.  For example, the fact that Jean-Claude’s line of power progressed from feeding on lust to include love.  I appreciated that Sin’s earth powers are developing and look forward to seeing where that goes.

 

I like how Damian and Nathaniel grew in this story, making the triumvirate more powerful.  I also enjoyed Dev’s involvement in the story. He is both thoughtful and insightful.

 

Laurell K. Hamilton is an exceptional writer.  She does an amazing job tying things together.  CRIMSON DEATH is thought-provoking and spellbinding.  Followers of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter will not want to miss this book.  If you haven’t read this series, I highly suggest starting with the first book, GUILTY PLEASURES.  Laurell K. Hamilton continually references and includes situations that happen in prior books.  If you read the series from the being, you will definitely be more invested in the series.

 

After twenty-five books, I still love this series.  Laurell K. Hamilton does an amazing job of keeping the series fresh. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. 

 

Complimentary copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-10-09 21:32
Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #25) by Laurell K. Hamilton
Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter) - Laurell K. Hamilton

In her twenty-fifth adventure, vampire hunter and necromancer Anita Blake learns that evil is in the eye of the beholder...

Anita has never seen Damian, her vampire servant, in such a state. The rising sun doesn’t usher in the peaceful death that he desperately needs. Instead, he’s being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats.

And now, with Damian at his most vulnerable, Anita needs him the most. The vampire who created him, who subjected him to centuries of torture, might be losing control, allowing rogue vampires to run wild and break one of their kind’s few strict taboos.

Some say love is a great motivator, but hatred gets the job done, too. And when Anita joins forces with her friend Edward to stop the carnage, Damian will be at their side, even if it means traveling back to the land where all his nightmares spring from...a place that couldn’t be less welcoming to a vampire, an assassin, and a necromancer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brother husbands, sister wives, constant repetition, oh my!

Almost the entire book were conversations that were repeated and echoed by every character which tended to be between five and ten men all needing to screw Anita and her repeating the same thing to each one of the guys she was with over and over again.

Anita was in conflict with her relationships for about a couple chapters where stuff actually happened then the ending came with a sum up in a nutshell in less than a couple chapters which resulted with me feeling like the entire book was a constant conversation constantly repeated a hundred times over just to get Anita open to being a mother which by the end felt a little too instant - 'ding dong I'm ready'.

I didn't really care for all the 'Anita should be my toy' debates because after 50 pages of defending the same stance by multiple people you just started with just to repeat it with someone else it just got old. It was like okay, I get it already, everyone wants to screw Anita, everyone hates Anita, everyone is jealous of Anita, screw me, screw him, screw them, no fair no fair whaa whaa whaa. Men leaving their girlfriends to be with Anita, men having to juggle their relationship with Anita to make room for more men so they can screw her too.

Anita is the one doll in the toy box all the children on the playground want to play with. She loves all the attention being focused on her but only with its convenient for her, even though she wants everyone to be happy she's very defensive of her poly relationships but she spends all her times dissing any and everyone who isn't a part of their poly world, she spends the rest of her time wanting to focus on her main poly group but she still has tantrums about her orgies and gang bangs not being laid out for her, she says how shes conflicted about having to be a leader and yet all she does is bark orders at people and take control of situations she's in.

Almost the entire book had person after person fighting over who wants, who should or shouldn't have Anita so much that you forget that there's even a plot going on in the book because you only get maybe 5-10 pages of actual story. The rest is the repeated conversations between Anita and her lovers. It distracts from the fact that there's a mystery to solve because there are so many arguments about Anita's poly relationships and her defending it, there are so many conversations between her lovers and her negotiating who gets what and when and how many times and who is allowed to do what when and how it changes the dynamic of their sexual encounters by adding more men to her already endless list of partners.

The other half is spent talking about how others feel about her lovers or how people who want to be her lover feel about her not being their lover too or letting them in on being her lover or how she doesn't care about how anyone feels about the fact that she has all these lovers or that she cuts other people out of the power triangle by not letting them sleep with her.

The people is a couple pages here and there with actual plot the rest of poly- defense with some emotional debate and non - poly member bashing.

Between the whining and the blaming and incessant rambling it was hard to care about the emotional scenes because I was exhausted after all the monotonous poly drama constantly being dictated over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

There were however several mentions of the power shift going on and it was a big deal but I didn't really feel like Hamilton really tapped into it very much.

I would have liked to have gotten more development on that but when the scene came between them and their enemies it just felt silly and not that worth mentioning to begin with.

By the time we get story at the end the book is over and I forgot what the point in it all was. Crimson Death didn't give me that excitement buzz I was hoping for.

There is a lot going on character wise though, the cast involved is massive which was interesting and complicated and often very confusing because there were points I literally had to write down who was who and who was arguing what because there were so many of them talking and the multiple identities, lovers, friends, foes, secondary characters all speaking in one conversation that I had to re-read several sections and keep notes just to remember who was saying what. 

Ireland also added another dynamic to the whole journey Anita and her lovers were on as well which felt a little off to me. Anita is starting to feel more like a man and the men are starting to feel more like women to me. Hard to explain the personality shift that's going on but that's just the vibe that I got off it.

The journey also allows Anita to defend her power position and her poly relationships again to a whole new base of characters after it kind of felt like okay we've said this five hundred times lets move on its echoed all over again.

Anita gains both new allies and new enemies - or should I say OLD enemies in this book which opens new avenue for more arguments and battles for them to face as well as new lovers and pets to add to the already growing number she has to balance in her life.

As a whole I really don't know how I feel about Crimson Death. If Hamilton cut out all the poly arguments the book could have been a 20 page novella with actual story in it and it would have been really great but as it is it just felt like too much of the same to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                

 

 

 

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a print copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a print copy in exchange for an honest review from Berkley/Penguin Publishing

 

 

 

 

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If any of Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews has been helpful please stop by to like or let me know what you think! I love hearing from followers! Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2010-01-07 00:00
Cursed to Death - L.A. Banks This series is no longer holding my attention. It feels like the same stuff over and over and over. I'm also annoyed with the constant "ghetto" speak.
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