I'm a big fan of this series, and had been eagerly anticipating the next installment. I was not disappointed, and was unable to put this book down once I'd started.
I've been following the series since Guilty Pleasures was published in the early 90s and have introduced a number of friends to this series, who have all become huge fans of Anita and her creator, Laurell K. Hamilton. Characters, plots, settings and the one-liners have all remained strong throughout, and the world in which the stories are set has become a favorite place to escape to.
For people not familiar with the series the premise revolves around Anita, a vampire executioner and necromancer. Her line of work is pretty dangerous to say the least, and her personal life isn't any better. The two men in her life are Richard, a gentle werewolf, and Jean Claude, the master vampire of St Louis, and she's been finding it hard to decide between the two.
This book gets back to the focus of the series following the interlude with Edward in Obsidian Butterfly. Namely, the triangle between Anita, Jean Claude and Richard. I won't spoil things by saying what happens, but Laurell K. Hamilton is at her very best in this book, which finally reaches some resolution after the twists and turns of the previous books.
Again, Anita's morals are tested beyond their limits, and she has to decide whether becoming one of the monsters is an acceptable trade for protecting loved ones. In this book, it is the shifters who are the focus of a malign entity, with the vampires taking on a more peripheral role.
The opposing views of Richard, the pacifist, and Anita, who is more practical (or ruthless?) on how to organise shifter society continue to put strain on their relationship. The introduction of new characters complicates things further, until you have to keep reading just to find out whether Anita and Richard's love for each other will prove strong enough. And what of Jean Claude, and the bonds between all three of them?
These questions are answered in this book, but a teaser in the closing pages ensures that Anita Blake will be back. All bets were off in Narcissus in Chains, and who knows what will happen in future installments! So now I'm back to square one, eagerly anticipating the next Anita Blake tale, knowing that Laurell K Hamilton has the imagination and talent to keep the characters going for even more books in my all time favorite series.