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24 of 25 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 Sep 2009 by Persephone

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18 of 19 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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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anita Blake vampire hunter, 16 Sep 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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18 of 19 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 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
"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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18 of 19 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
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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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
(REAL NAME)   
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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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
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing, 17 July 2010
By 
A. Watts "aceofspades2345" (Bournemouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Guilty Pleasures (Paperback)
I'd heard lots about this series, and am a fan of several other similar series (I heartily recommend the Dresden files books by Jim Butcher), but really didn't enjoy this book. I just felt the characters were really poorly drawn. I couldn't care about them, and had no feeling for what they were like as characters. The leading lady, Anita Blake, was pretty annoying. A mixture of "quirky" tics (a predilection for stuffed penguins, asking sarcastic questions in her mind and following it by "naw" or "Right" as one word sentences), and jarring self narration, she's never convincing, and mostly uninteresting.

The narrative was sadly predictable, poorly paced, and to be frank, badly written. I'm a huge fan of anything vampirical, and always have been, but have never read about such uninteresting ones as in this book. There was just nothing to them. The main vamp was a little girl who hadn't aged due to vampirism, and had grown strong and evil through vague means over time. That is the extent of her character development in 350 pages. Seriously, I defy any reader of the books to expand about her any more. There were no moments of tension, all the main bits were telegraphed to an almost painful extent. Most of the action seemed like filler, not driving the story forward or seemingly achieving anything.

My recommendation would be not to read this book, and I shan't be reading the later ones.
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not entirely convinced, 22 Mar 2010
By 
Smee (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Guilty Pleasures (Paperback)
I agree with another review which stated that the beginning was quite confusing - it felt like there had been a couple of previous books as I wasn't quite sure what was going on but I stuck with it and found it an ok book in the end.

The writing style is different and difficult at first to get used to - the sentences are very short and almost seem like a series of bullet points instead of an actual constructed sentence but getting past that I started to like the book.

I think that there could've been more details about the way things work in this Vamp world - how the master vampire managed to be so powerful for example, was it just because she is so old? Or how to turn a human into a vampire - there seems to be various stages or blood giving/receiving where the person could end up being a human servant who lives for a long time but not as a vampire or they become a vampire or they could just die!

I have the next couple of books so I'll give them a go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not totally sure but not ready to give up on series yet!, 3 Mar 2010
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This review is from: Guilty Pleasures (Paperback)
No, certainly not too sure about this series yet. I found this book very difficult to get into at first. Mostly because if felt as though I had started at book 2 or 3. It seemed as though so much had happened to the main character, Anita Blake, already that I had missed the beginning. I actually checked on the internet to ensure I had indeed bought the first book in the series!

The author could have done a much better job at introducing the main characters, Anita, Edward, Jean-Claude, without losing the pace of the book and, indeed, making the reader much more comfortable with what was going on and why. Some characters that were introduced, like the vampire Valentine for example, were completely wasted in their parts as they fizzled out fairly abruptly with little or nothing to do. The author just didn't seem to know what to do with them and the promised climax of their story (big fight, threats galore and major redemption) just didn't happen, which was a major disappointment.

The main adversary, the little girl vampire, whose name I can't remember was somewhat of a joke. There was no explanation on how/why she was so powerful. If it was due to her very old age, a 1000 years or more, it would have been good to explain how this works in vampire land. Or did I miss it! Mostly she just came across as a stroppy pre-teen who flitted around and threw a hissy if she didn't get her own way. Apart from the fact that Anita kept saying how scared she was I didn't feel she was in much danger and could just send Miss Preteen Undead to her room without any blood.

Don't get me started on the Ratmen! Hahahahahahahaha. No, they weren't supposed to be funny but terrifying. Ahmm.

Apart from all that I did enjoy most of the book. Anita is a feisty, fun heroine (collects penguins!) who has a real sense of her own mortality and why she does what she does with little or no regret. I will read the 2nd book in the hope that the series improves as I'm not quite ready to reject it totally. I'm curious to see what happens next with Anita and Jean-Claude, the Animators Inc. Agency and Edward so the author, despite all the flaws, must have done something right.
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Guilty Pleasures
Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton (Paperback - 14 May 2009)
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