Top critical review
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A definate improvement, but not a return to form for Hamilton
on 26 August 2007
Despite my increasing dissapointment with the Anita Blake series I decided to buy the latest book. The first 9 books in the series are still to this day some of the most enjoyable supernatural/fantasy books I have ever read and I must have read them at least a dozen times each. What really hooked me was Hamiltons ability to write really sexy male characters and then build massive amounts of tension between them and Anita. With the introduction of the "arduer"- a need for Anita to feed through sex rather like a vampire feeds on blood - the series rapidly spiralled into barely disguised porn with very little plot.
So I was pleasently surprised with "The Harlequin" which had a great deal more plot than the last couple of books at least. This book was also much better edited than the last one, although I was confused to find that the name of one character kept changing between "Mercia" and "Columbine" in what I can only assume was an editing mistake since one doesn't appear to be an abbreviation of the other.
Some disspointments in this book are that Dolph Storr (head of RIPIT the supernatural police division) is now truly a one dimensional character. He was quite dynamic and strong in the early books and now all he does is turn up in these books to demand a list of how many monsters Anita is currently shagging and then having a temper tantrum. Jason makes an appearence in name only and Hamilton makes a great deal of pages from the same tired themes that are brought out with each book. Anita's worried she's sleeping with too many men, she's upset that the police don't like her anymore, she's upset by Richard.....it really feels like Hamilton is getting very repetitive to sell more books when really she ought to have put this series to bed by now (no pun intended).
So am I recommending this book then? For die-hard fans it's at least more readable than the last two. For newcomers to Anita, I advise you to rush out and buy the first 9 books and then pretend the rest of these didn't happen. You really wouldn't be missing a whole lot.