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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anita Blake vampire hunter
Anita Blake is an Animator, an animator is not someone who draws cartoons but rather a person who has the innate ability to raise the dead. Anita and those she works with raise zombies to settle will disputes, have abused people resolve their feelings and other things -- all for a reasonable fee. On the side of this most prolific of professions Anita is a vampire hunter...
Published on 16 Sept. 2009 by Kindle Customer

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A guilty pleasure
Once upon a time, before the Anita Blake series became cheap porn with well-endowed vampires and werethingies, there was "Guilty Pleasures."

Laurell K. Hamilton's breakout debut was one of the early urban fantasy stories, though by no means the best. It's an amusing, gorey story with some unusual twists, but it often seems like a goth teenager's daydreams of...
Published on 24 May 2010 by E. A Solinas


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anita Blake vampire hunter, 16 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Guilty Pleasures (Paperback)
Anita Blake is an Animator, an animator is not someone who draws cartoons but rather a person who has the innate ability to raise the dead. Anita and those she works with raise zombies to settle will disputes, have abused people resolve their feelings and other things -- all for a reasonable fee. On the side of this most prolific of professions Anita is a vampire hunter -- she's nicknamed 'the Executioner' by the vampires and (obviously) isn't too keen on them. In fact, she loathes them and there's references to her and Edward seeing all supernatural beings as monsters. The fact that Anita is also a christian may factor into this view, although I never felt like Hamilton was too heavy handed with Anita's religion it's just sort of there... In 'Guilty Pleasures' a vampire master named Jean-Claude is shown as being interested in Anita. Much to her chagrin, and not only this but he's keen to make her his human servant.

Hamilton's world is well conceived and boasts an interesting array of characters. I found Anita a little difficult to engage with at first because she was so tough-minded, and came off a little cold. But after a fashion I started to really adore her -- she has a wonderfully peculiar sense of humour and a penchant for stuffed penguins. Another character I loved was the ruthless Edward; he in particular seemed interesting. Jean-Claude the master vampire was a little under-developed but I liked him nonetheless. Guilty Pleasures is written in quite a hard-boiled manner and is nice and gory (proably not one for people who dislike blood) -- this book is definitely gritty, as urban fantasy's go. You can really see how a lot of other UFs have been influenced by this series. Indeed, the best thing about this novel and the series as a whole (the early books anyway) is that it's dark and unafraid to lean towards perversity and uncomfortable matters.

The main plot of the book is Anita being asked by the Master of the City to find out who is murdering vampires. In this world vampires are legal citizens and as a result, killing one without a court order of execution is considered murder. Thus, despite Anita's reluctance in this matter she is drawn in to solve the case. If she doesn't she'll probably be in for a world of pain. Something she wishes to avoid at all costs.

The plot was well paced and wasn't bogged down with too much emotional baggage and annoying romance; I liked the bitter-sweetness of the ending and found it quite 'realistic' in the context of Anita's world. This series does become poorer as times goes on -- I've read books 1-9, but would only recommend 1-6 and skip straight on to the ninth book 'Obsidian Butterfly' which is a fantastic 500 page epic to finish on (a must read if you like Edward). I do feel like you'll get the most out of the series from reading those: those are the books where Anita faces the monster in the mirror as well as those down the barrell of her gun. She's conflicted, she has complex relationships with those around her and realises there's little she wouldn't do to save herself and those she wishes to protect. Edward acting as the mirror to her changing morality all the while. It's good stuff, books 10-17? Not so much.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A guilty pleasure, 24 May 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Guilty Pleasures (Paperback)
Once upon a time, before the Anita Blake series became cheap porn with well-endowed vampires and werethingies, there was "Guilty Pleasures."

Laurell K. Hamilton's breakout debut was one of the early urban fantasy stories, though by no means the best. It's an amusing, gorey story with some unusual twists, but it often seems like a goth teenager's daydreams of vampire romance and superpowers.

It takes place in an alternate universe where werecreatures and vampires live amongst us openly. Anita Blake is a vampire hunter -- known as the Executioner -- and an animator, able to raise zombies from the dead, but she isn't too fond of vampires or weres. So when a vampire comes to hire her, she turns him down. But at a bachelorette party, she soon finds herself hip-deep in vampire politics, courtesy of the sensual club-owner Jean-Claude.

Things only get more complicated when she ends up facing the Master of the City, a deceptively sweet-looking little vampire who wants answers about the murders right away. Anita is going to end up facing a dungeonful of wererats, zombies, vampire groupies... and possibly the seductive Jean-Claude.

Admittedly there's not a lot of innovation here -- there are foppish, sensual vampires in the Anne Rice style, attack zombies, an army of werecreatures, and a Buffy-style heroine. It's a bit of a horror mishmash, and Hamilton never really adds much to the equation.

Nor does she add much to the simple murder mystery that the plot revolves around -- take your basic crime thriller, and add a few supernatural characters. Bang, you're done. But Hamilton loads it down with gore, violence, mystery and some unusual twists, such as Anita visiting a "freak party" full of vampire groupies and junkies.

As for her writing, Hamilton will never win a Pulitzer, but it's sparky and colourful enough to maintain a reader's attention. However, Anita's scenes with Jean-Claude needed work. While they have a sexual snap, some of them reek too much of a fourteen-year-old goth's fantasies of vampire romance.

Despite her goddess-of-the-universe turns later in the series, Anita Blake is a more compelling character here -- flawed, blunt, and very scarred. And Jean-Claude is fascinating when he's being manipulative to everyone... and much less so when he's awkwardly flirting with Anita. All other characrers more or less range from two-dimensional (the cartoonish Nikolaos) to the bittersweetly realistic (Philip).

With no hint of what was in store, "Guilty Pleasures" is nothing more or less than what its title suggests -- a lightweight adventure story with vampires and a Buffyesque heroine.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, 5 April 2005
By 
Vittani (Castleford, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Guilty Pleasures (Paperback)
Like any person i started my love of vampire fiction with Anne Rice's absolutely delishous Vampire Chronicles. She was and is still the Queen of that Genre and i never would have thought that another author could match her. Laurell K Hamilton has to be called a co-ruler, at the least. She is as good as Anne Rice. Dont believe me? Then read Guilty Pleasures and you'll see. As I cannot yet speak for the whole series yet, having just finished Guilty Pleasures I cannot compare the whole of the series with the Vampire Chronicles. But Guilty Pleasures can hold its own against any one of the chronicles including the enigmatic Interview with the Vampire and the seductively brilliant Vampire Armand.
Now so much for the introduction, Guilty Pleasures is one of the best books I have ever read not many books can leave you emotionally drained like this. The only other books that have ever done this to me are: Mercedes Lackey's The Last Herald Mage Trilogy and Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire. The begginning of the book is brilliant and a few pages in when you see the words 'Welcome to Guilty Pleasures' 'The only Vampire Strip Club', you have to be hooked, the entire concept of Vampires stripping made me laugh for ages, but in a most delighted way. And upon the first mention of his name and manner 'Jean-Claude' the master vampire will have you completely and utterly enthralled. I have never read a book with a character so intensely seductive that you have fallen in love with him before even reaching the end of his description. And his devotion to Anita Blake is beautiful and obvious, I am not strong like Anita I would have yielded within moments, gods. And speaking of Anita the heroine and main character, who's view point is taken throughout the book, she in her own way is as delighful, her narative does not enthrall you in the same way as Louis's in Interview with the Vampire, but it captures you completely because of the sarcastic humour and honesty. a girl who throws the odd quote in from doctor seuss or from the wizard of oz is truly entertaining. By the end of it i was emotionally drained, because of the love and fear that she felt. Her books and Anne Rice's to me are not horror but are the struggles of one person or more trying to succeed in whatever they choose to do and to be happy. And if killing Vampires makes Anita happy who are we to argue...
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anita Blake doesn't date vampires--she kills them, 6 July 2004
By 
Lawrance Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
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"Guilty Pleasures" is the first Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novel by Laurell K. Hamilton, but when you read it you will wish that it was not. What I mean by that convoluted sentence is that Anita is well into her career as an Animator when this book opens and the more you find out about her backstory the more you want to learn. One of the most important things in this story is when the master vampire Jean-Claude puts the first two marks upon Anita, which links them psychically and makes her somewhat immune to the mental powers of the vampires. Obviously this will have long term repercussions in the series, but it is not as momentous a change since this is the first novel in the series; when it happens Anita has talked about killing vampires, but we have yet to see her ply her trade. If there had been a prequel to this story, in which Anita earned her reputation as "The Executioner" and we learned the rules of the game in terms of vampires and this brave new world they inhabit, then her transformation in "Guilty Pleasures" would have the weight it deserves. Similarly, the idea that the thousand-year-old Master Vampire of St. Louis wants to hire Anita to solve the sudden rash of vampire murders also has less impact than it would if this story was told further down the line. Hamilton comes up with some excellent ideas in this novel, but you can imagine how much more of an impact they would have if this was the third or fourth Anita Blake novel instead of the first. However, Hamilton gets high marks for giving us the feel that we have stepped into an ongoing story, always a laudable goal. You have to be quite optimistic about her ability to up the ante as the series continues.
The world of Anita Blake is one in which the Supreme Court has granted the undead equal rights, so that you cannot kill a vampire without a warrant and you can just imagine the legal morass involving zombies, ghouls and were-beasts. Hamilton has created a world in which the undead are still creatures of the night but have become a part of society, which runs the spectrum from vampire strip clubs such as the Guilty Pleasures of the title to the Church of Eternal Life where becoming a vampire can help you achieve that particular goal. This is a thoughtful look at the "realities" of such a world and although you will recognize elements from Stoker and Rice in this world, Hamilton has constructed one that stands on its own. As for our heroine, she is also extremely realistic: Anita Blake has horrible scars on her body from her battles against the undead, her dreams are tormented by what she has seen and done, she is terrified by her current situation and does not know who she can trust or turn to for help. The fact that she feels fear, cries, gets sick to her stomach, add to her heroism because despite all these obstacles, she gets the job done. There is a much harder edge here than what you find with other vampire slayers. Anita Blake is not a two-dimension character, which is why once you read "Guilty Pleasures" you have to move on to the next novel in the series. All in all, this is an excellent start.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A really good book!, 5 May 2003
By 
J. Pouteaux "Jules" (Guernsey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Guilty Pleasures (Paperback)
Ok, it's the first in the series of the 'Anita Blake: vampire hunter' novels, and a must read for the rest of the series to make sense. Compared with Hamiltons' later books in the series, this one is uncomplicated, and sticks to the sterotypes, although Jean Claude is hinted at being deeper than he appears (thankfully!).
Don't go in expecting too much, because this series takes a while to get going, and without Richard (werewolf b-friend introduced in book 3 (circus of the damned)), it doesn't feel quite complete.
But still a good read overall!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Review for the series; From promising urban fantasy/mystery to cheap and nasty rape porn, 9 Jun. 2013
By 
FantasyWriter (Bonnie Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Guilty Pleasures (Paperback)
Review for the Series: From promising Preternatural Mystery to Nasty Violent Rape Porn.

Books 1-8 of this series are excellent supernatural whodunnits which, like all great urban fantasy, combining the elements of crime, mystery, and even a little spy thriller (well, to paraphrase Terry Pratchett, these books are so choc full of weapons specifications that I am surprised that at least one novel does not have a greek letter in its title) and fantasy with a strong female lead. The world-building shows promise with some original twists and turns. The mysteries flow from chaos to order, and these early novels are a satisfying read. The world-building feels a little underdeveloped and the reader might feel tempted to read on in the series to see how the universe Hamilton creates develops. Don't.

After about book 8, or 9 (honestly, they're all starting to merge) the series generates sharply as the near virginal heroine embarks on a page by deathless page accounts of various twosomes threesomes, foursomes where the author attempts to indulge a harem fantasy. And possibly a rape fantasy, but not in the way you think. Hamilton switches genres entirely from urban fantasy/mystery thriller to, well, violent porn. Porn in which magic is used to `drive unwilling male characters into unwilling sex with a heroine. If the gender roles were reversed, these books would be recognised for what they are: descriptions of rape set up for entertainment. This is wrong, just wrong, as wrong as it would be if the main protagonist was male and not female.

The switch in genre is a seriously bad editorial move; since the readers who loved the early series, or at least enjoyed it, enjoyed it for the mystery, and the world-building, and the twist of the plot, will be turned off by the way the series develops. Personally I find nothing sexy or satisfying about reading about rape. The final straw for me was the decision to kill the leader of the were-lions because tried to avoid being raped by the "heroine". The later books in this series (I have read up to Book 14 but will not be reading any more) are basically endless sex followed by the heroine wondering if she's a slut, but never wondering if she is a rapist. My advice is to read the early books in this series and not bother with anything past book 9. I cannot give this series anything other than one star, and would give it minus if I could - not for how it starts, but for how it develops.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic start to the series..., 10 July 2009
By 
AyJay (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Guilty Pleasures (Paperback)
This is the urban fantasy series' that started it all; meet Anita Blake aka The Executioner.

Each character is carefully drawn, and I genuinely cared what happened to each one; good, bad, human, other... I stayed up to 2 in the morning to finish the book, a sign that I was fully immersed.

Sadly the later books have dropped the mystery and suspense in order to leave more room for (pretty bad) sex scenes, but I highly recommend books 1-9.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 21 Sept. 2010
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Guilty Pleasures (Paperback)
This series has had very mixed reviews and I'm afraid I'm in the 'no' camp. The idea of a grown-up Buffy appealed but I found Anita to be irritatingly jaunty with her supposed wise-cracking and yet at the same time almost impossible to pin down as a character - but not in a complex and interesting way, just as a not very well-thought out personality.

The plot flounders around, the pacing seems a bit haphazard and the sex is very, very gratuitous (e.g. the 'freak' party, like a wife-swapping party for vampire lovers which goes on and on for chapters but doesn't add anything to the plot). I liked the idea of Jean-Claude, the sexy vampire master, however typical he might be, but then he spends most of his time locked away in a coffin.

Hamilton's style of writing will probably either appeal or irritate - and I'm in the latter group: it's very staccato. Full of short sentences. Hardly any clauses. And boring to read.

I love Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books and there are many, many similarities in the two fictional worlds (vampires 'out', sexy master vampire who owns a bar/club, were animals, vamps 'marking' their humans and bonding with them etc.) but the atmosphere and tone are quite different. Harris will never win a prize for the quality of her prose style but she does succeed where, in my view, Hamilton doesn't and that's in creating a world which we feel we can inhabit with real characters for whom we come to care and who change over the series. Perhaps Hamilton's characters do develop later but after slogging my way through this book I'm afraid I won't be giving her another chance to persuade me.

Overall, very, very disappointing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The worst book I have ever read, 13 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Guilty Pleasures (Paperback)
I can not state adequately how awful this book is, it is absolutely terrible. The writing is just atrocious, the tense will change mid-sentence for no apparent reason. The same thing happens with the perspective, first person to third at the drop of the hat. The main character is so inconstantly portrayed I thought maybe this was a trick the author was playing in the same vain as fight club, but no just terrible, terrible writing. I don't know if her editor was so how compromised because it seems as though it hasn't seen a lick of a corrective pen. The scenes will flip from one to another without thought of continuity or flow, as if something cool just popped into the authors mind and she decided to just start writing about that instead of the scene she was previously writing. I cannot urge you enough do not buy this book. Her similes are so achingly bad and the vocabulary so small you're at dragged out of the admittedly adequate story, to stare at the writing in scorn, I cannot tell you how frustrating that is. Just don't do it to yourself, you are, everyone is better than this bit of literary detritus. Worst novel ever!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An appropriate title!, 4 Jan. 2004
This review is from: Guilty Pleasures (Paperback)
If you like Buffy, then you will probably like Anita Blake, although the parallels between the worlds created by Whedon and Hamilton are few and far between both characters wisecracking sense of humour are quite similar.
There are some fundamental flaws in the makeup of Blake's world, where vampires have attained a legal status that means they have a right to live and work among humans. I would like to have seen more of the socially acceptable face of vampires (as you can probably guess, being a vampire hunter Anita Blake doesn't come into contact with this kind very often!)
Havind said this, the book was absolutely unputdownable. You DO see other humans' differing reactions to vampires within their society. Also, unlike Buffy, you do feel every one of Anita Blake's wounds/bruises and Hamilton seems to have attained a well balanced character in that she has 'powers', but is not so indestructable that she can just shrug off a bone-crunching right hook from a vampire.
Even with it's flaws, Hamilton's vampire society has great potential and I've already ordered the next few in the series.
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Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter)
Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter) by Laurell K. Hamilton (Audio CD - 20 Aug. 2009)
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