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review 2017-07-17 00:48
Crimson Death (Anita Blake #25) by Laurell K Hamilton
Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter) - Laurell K. Hamilton

Dear gods. I’m almost stunned. This is gonna be a long one.

 

This was, quite frankly, the worst Anita Blake book of the entire series. Yes, I’m aware of the very rocky road of this series. I have followed it from its early moments of awesome as it careened every downwards, occasionally showing sparkles of hope but ultimately plunging deeper into the abys and hitting rock bottom and then positively wallowing there

 

Well, this book went deeper. At rock bottom it pulled out mining equipment and made a spirited effort to reach the centre of the earth. And may have achieved it. If I was not already 25 books into this series I would have DNFed this book so hard, formatted my tablet, exorcised said tablet, burned it and then scattered the ashes over at least 3 different bodies of water. I honestly don’t even know where to begin because there’s just so. Much. Awful.

 

Ok, let’s start with the rapetastic, misogynist, homophobic shitstorm that is Damian, his partner Cardinale and this utter trainwreck of awful

 

Firstly, we have to remember that all women in this series are terrible if they are not Anita. Oh, since the very very very straight Anita who is still straight decided to start having sex with women in the straightest way possible there are some female names following Anita around pretending to be full characters while fawning and serving but not exactly existence (And, hey, I’m generous about calling Anita Blake characters, characters-I’ve even accepted Micah as a character rather than a walking penis). Fortune, Echo, Magda – they’re just names that drift around behind her without actually doing anything – which is lucky for them

 

Because when we actually have a woman? They become a parody of awfulness – Cardinale is presented as utterly irredeemable, unreasonable, incapable of being professional or mature or sensible. Her every attitude is treated as utterly unacceptable – the idea the she actually wants a monogamous relationship with Damian is considered not to be love but “obsessive jealousy” (this applies to anyone who wants monogamy in this series because Laurell K Hamilton has decided this is a sign of deep emotional damage and evil); she is violent, emotional, uncontrollable – and literally says she would rather Damian be dead than with anyone else. She commits the unforgiveable sin of decorating their shared room with flower prints (how dare she be so female!). She also literally loses her shit because Damian has the temerity to LOOK at other women and feed on them (he is a vampire, she is a vampire). She is incapable of doing her job properly because she can’t stop stalking Damian.

 

Oh and she’s thin because she’s starving – just in case you thought for a second Anita was saying something almost complementary about her. And in case we weren’t clear we have this:

 

Cardinale is like the ultimate drama queen, an extreme girl. Let’s not be subtle about the misogyny, let’s just lay it out there.

 

Of course Anita, we’re reminded repeatedly, is “one of the guys” and Damian, a man who is literally a thousand years old, says “You don’t think like any woman I’ve ever met”. She’s not like those other terribad awful women, guys! Don’t worry!

 

She also coins the phrase “girl trap”. This is when terrible, manipulative, awful, emotional, unstable woman asks mean unfair questions of her long suffering man who cannot possibly give a good answer so is being set up for an argument. She uses this phrase a lot.

 

So having established that Damian’s long term monogamous girlfriend is the absolute worst, we throw in some woo-woo reason why Damian absolutely has to have lots of sex with other people (monogamy is evil!) and we run into the next great trainwreck of this book – rape.

 

Damian agrees to sleep with (non sexually) Anita and Nathaniel because of their woo-woo bonds which means if he doesn’t he gets terrible nightmares (remember, this is the series where if you don’t consent to all the sexy times, the magic will force it on you and absolutely no-one is allowed to ever say no to sex). Nathaniel is bisexual (this book, it tends to alternate depending on the author’s mood) and wants to have sex with Damian – Damian is described as “very heterosexual” and “homophobic” because he doesn’t want to have sex with men (yes, as we’ve seen repeatedly before, while Laurel K Hamilton is happy to include the shit storm of homophobia we’ve seen repeatedly, and continually degrade and demean gay men and lesbians, she also thinks homophobia means “not wanting to have sex with your own gender”. Which is, y’know, what “heterosexual” actually means.) So to get past that hurdle Damian borrows Anita’s magic to mind control Damien to having sex with him.

 

Let’s repeat that – Nathaniel uses magic to rape Damian. Not only rape him but he uses this magic to change Damian’s sexual orientation so he’s bisexual (for Nathaniel only – of course – because these books never deal with LGBTQ orientation, only as a fetish – which I’ll come to).

 

Anita’s concern about all this? Is how hot she finds two men together – and concern about the lack of using condoms. They don’t have the slightest concern that Damian has just been raped and his sexual orientation magically converted (which is revolting and terrifying).

 

What’s almost ironic is through this Anita has finally acknowledged that the Mother of All Darkness raped her and several weretigers by mind controlling them with mystical woo-woo and into an orgy they don’t remember. Excellent that this is finally acknowledged as rape and Anita has issues form that, especially about having sex with the men who were involved – except we go from that to her cozying up with Micah who raped her on first meeting and no-one even coming close to acknowledging that Nathaniel did the same thing in this very book to Damian and Anita, including forcing Damian to completely discard his sexual orientation – and there’s not even a second of acknowledgement of this even while labelling the previous rape. How can someone not draw the comparisons?

 

Of course Damian isn’t mad or upset or even slightly perturbed by this because why would he be about a rape that Anita is getting off on? He even recriminates himself for daring to have issues about having sex with another man (how dare he not wanting to have sex with someone he’s not attracted to!)

 

We end up with Nathaniel being sad that Damien may be angry with him so Damien gives his rapist a hug – and then keeps on hugging and comforting him. He even strips off in front of Nathaniel, his rapist, to turn him on. And he says this:

 

“I love that you both want me”

 

This. Is. His. Rapist. Not one day after the rape and he’s stripping off in front of him and saying how much he loves that his rapist is turned on by his naked body.

 

Anita notes “I wasn’t sure I’d ever seen him so relaxed and happy before”.

 

Hahaha, yes isn’t it wonderful how rape and mind control totally help with centuries of abuse! Dear gods I need a drink with this… Damian has been RAPED INTO HAPPINESS aaarglebaaargleeeaaaaar

 

We also continue the theme of no-one having a right to say no to sex. See, Jean-Claude is concerned about sexual contact with Cynric because when he joined them he was under 17 and he’s still under 20 – Jean-Claude sees him as a child an even calls him “nephew” because that’s how he envisages that relationship (which I prefer to Anita’s “I’m having sex with this boy and also going to parent’s evenings as his guardian at school” approach. Because uckies uckies uckies). Well clearly Jean-Claude has to get over that because how dare he have sexual reservations about anyone?! Nope that is now allowed in the Anitaverse so we have an awful scene of them bringing Cynric into a foursome with Jean-Claude, Anita and Nicky – because Jean-Claude cannot have any boundaries, no-one can.

 

 

Read More

 

 

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/06/crimson-death-anita-blake-25-by-laurell.html
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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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