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on 23 May 2017
This is the first time I have felt the need to write a review. Like many others I have been an avid fan of this series since the beginning and it was fantastic to read the first half of this book. The author seemed to be back on track, although a similar feel to obsidian butterfly with Anita, Edward, Bernardo and Olaf off to hunt some evil, super powerful vampire. There was a real story line and seemingly acceptance from Anita of her various powers. The detective stories were apparently back on track and it was gripping and thrilling.

Despite this, the climax (no pun intended) of the storyline fell completely flat and simply dissolved into more meaningless sex with as many men as possible. Really disappointing ending to a fantastic start. It appears Laura lost all motivation or perhaps time to finish it and so reverted to the classic fall back of more metaphysical sex, caused by a powerful vampire.

I, for one, cannot stop reading these books, but I hope they eventually get better. Personally I feel, if she wanted to be an erotic writer maybe Laura could start a new series and not ruin the bad ass executioner we all love.
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on 8 September 2013
I've stuck with the Anita Blake books despite my internal whisperings that the story, for me, has gone downhill in recent offerings. What began as an intriguing tale of vampires, werewolves and preternatural investigations has turned into a mass orgy with countless guys and more metaphysics than I ever want to understand.

Yes, in this offering Anita gets to go to LA and there is more hint of a storyline than recently. Although I did wonder at the start why she still has her zombie-raising job as she never seems to be there. In this book Anita gets to be the girl who has to prove herself with the tough guys investigating the murders, to explain how she isn't a monster despite sleeping with the monsters and deal with some metaphysical stuff... Haven't we been here before?

When I finished this one I checked out the reviews for the next books in the series but as I don't intend to pay full price for a novella (Flirt) and Bullet doesn't seem to be adding anything new, I'm sorry to say that Anita Blake and I part company here, which I am a little sad about as I really enjoyed the start of the series.
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on 24 July 2017
Really enjoyed this book in the series. This is because it was about Anita's job,which we hadn't heard about for a while. Read the book in four days but would have read it quicker if I didn't have a life! Gripping from start to finish and this is the 2nd time I'd read it.
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on 9 June 2009
I admit it, I am one of those who has actually enjoyed all the Anita Blake stories so far. I've loved all the sex, the ardeur, the love triangles and more, the new powers - all of it. I have devoured each and every story and been eager for more. But upon reading Skin Trade, it took me back to what made the series so special when I first read it. I lived and breathed this book - was scared rigid on occasion - laughed at other times - cried a number of times too. The Mother of All Darkness - the Father of Day - thank God we don't have parents like these!!

I thought the Weretigers were gorgeous; we learnt more about Wicked and Truth; Olaf the Psycho killer was back; and of course, good ole Ted. Looking back, I didn't actually miss Jean-Claude, Micah or Nathaniel - I know they're her sweeties, and didn't need to read more about them. What I really enjoyed was seeing a different side to so many things - brings a whole new viewpoint to being damaged in the line of duty.

Anyone who has read this series from the beginning will know exactly what they are getting if I say it is up there with Burnt Offerings, etc - before the sex became a staple, and it was about the powers and the supernatural. This is an excellent book and I am looking forward to re-reading it slowly, savouring it, enjoying every nuance. Well done Laurell K Hamilton.
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on 2 June 2009
If there were half stars this would be a 4.5. I read it in a day and was gripped to the second last page...
At last Laurell K. has gotten back to an actual story rather than the "porn" of the previous two or three Anita books. Blood Noir was dire let's face it, and I had promised myself that if Skin Trade was more of the same then I was giving up. Thankfully this book has 290 pages of real actual story before anyone has sex at all! (Gasps of surprise all round) and then it only lasts 3 pages, and fits into the story rather than the miniscule amounts of plot being used to link the pages and pages of sex. (Let's face it, how much "tightening" can Anita's "things low in her body" DO???) The story is twisty and turny, Marmee Noir is lurking, and it has Edward, Olaf and Bernardo thrown in, and, even better, no Richard the Whiner :-D
It is possible that Skin Trade seemed better than it is, in sheer comparison to the drivel that is Blood Noir, but even so, it was a joy to read and get back to the "real" Anita. (though she still isn't quite "herself" but that's OK, she's getting "all growed up" now)
The ending is rushed, what should have been 2 chapters is 2 pages - either Ms H's mortgage or deadline were looming and it smacks of an "OMG it's due TODAY?" moment of truth, but I forgave her - just... not sure if this one will stand up to re-reading like some of the earlier ones will, but it is SO much better than Blood Noir and that was enough for me for now!
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on 30 June 2009
RATING: 1.5 stars.

In this 17th book of the series, Anita Blake receives a human head in the mail. It seems an old foe, Vittorio the vampire is back to wreck havoc, this time in Las Vegas. So, Anita has to go to Nevada to give chase. US Marshals Bernardo, Edward and Olaf go with her.

This book was eerily reminiscent of "Obsidian Butterfly" (book 9 in the series) in a few aspects: Anita Blake travels to a new city and the characters that go with her are the same ones that appeared in book 9 (Edward, Olaf and Bernardo). This group of US Marshals is trying to capture Vittorio, a deranged vampire who once (some books ago, I forget which) left a high body count in St Louis.

At first it almost seemed like we were back in one of the first books: there was some gore, a new mystery to solve and fortunately the recurrent cast of characters were left behind (which I hoped would cut back on the endless relationship-related talks and angst).
But it got bad real fast. You know how this book has about 496 pages? Well, I think that if the author/editors had cut down the paragraphs and paragraphs describing weapons and it's uses; the scenes where Anita Blake bitches at men and women to "prove" that she's better than everyone; the boring sex and the endless info-dump-ey or just plain meaningless conversations, the book would have roughly 200 pages. And that would be a good thing as it would make the book a lot less boring and the story more coesive and interesting.

Also, I didn't see any improvement on the part of the main character (Anita Blake) after 17 books. She is still the same woman she was when the series first began in the early 90's, where it concerns gender roles and sexism. There is no evolution and that is why the character is still having manly staring contests with male police officers and other assorted military. I think this attitude is... a bit outdated.

Another thing I didn't like is how Anita Blake was all powerful (has been, really, for the past 5 or 6 books). I dislike those kind of characters, because who wants to read about them? I actually prefer to read about people who win against the odds. Humans going against vampires and other supernatural creatures and having to really fight their way through; not just wave their hands around and beat all the villains.

The ending was pretty ridiculous too. This was mostly a waste of time. Still a bit better than the latest books, even if there were some parts that I thought were a bit creepy and possibly poor taste.
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on 13 June 2010
I thought Skin Trade was a great read if you have followed the series so far and are considering stopping - DON'T Skin TRade is a brilliant book.
I have been a huge fan of the Anita Blake novels since i first read Guilty Pleasures (one of my faves) I love the characters & Laurell K Hamilton's enthralling style of writing keeps me hooked from start to finish.
The book is about a big bad vampire killing strippers and personally calling our Anita out to play. It involves the much loved Edward (edward isn't my favourite character but i like what he brings to the stories and he might just be one of the only characters she won't end up sleeping with)as well as the unnerving Olaf and Bernado for some comic relief.
The story is about a murder case, i forgot how much i liked those original books about cases Anita takes on as a US marshall, as well as bad guys, metaphysics going wrong, the mother of all darkness throwing a spanner in the works and the obligatory sex scenes.
Basically Skin Trade is good :D
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on 24 July 2009
I've been a fan since the early books and quickly devoured each new release as it came out. Until the sex took over and they started to read like trashy romance novels with extra bits of sex and the non-human.

This is a step in the right direction, back to hunting and mystery solving. It took quite a while to get to any graphic sex, and she has toned it all down, thankfully.

Anita's character needs to grow and change a bit more. In my mind's eye, she's still a young 20something girl with something to prove. She's progressed beyond this and the character development for her needs to reflect this.

However, all of that being said, if you've been turned off by the over-eroticism of her recent books but love the originals, give this one a try. It whets your taste for the early books, and gives hope she'll get back to those engaging stories.
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on 3 June 2009
Let's face it: if you are reading the seventeenth book in a series, you are going to be a fan of it and will have read the previous volumes. You will be familiar with the characters, the milieu and know what to expect - or think you do - and will be plunging in to the novel's world to catch up, and see how the author moves the overall plot forward. The question you will want answering is: does this installment do what you expect? Does it surprise, or disappoint? Well, the answer to these two questions in the case of 'Skin Trade' is a little bit of both.

Laurell K. Hamilton has taken her heroine, Anita Blake, on quite a journey in the course of the previous sixteen books: while remaining an indomitable and courageous crusader against evil in all its forms, Anita has changed from a lonely single woman who went to sleep clasping a stuffed penguin in the first volume, to a mortal succubus who literally has to have sex frequently to survive. Luckily, she's also blessed with a succession of improbably gorgeous lovers who are only too willing to oblige. The novels have changed from relatively 'straight' horror adventures at the outset, to erotica, to explorations of the intricate relations between Anita and her lovers, and between the various groups of vampires and shapeshifters with which Hamilton populates her world. This has led to some criticisms from fans that the more recent books haven't been true to the initial vision - there is some truth in this - but, people mature and change as they grow older, and it would be tedious for Anita to remain ever unaltered, like an insect in amber.

In 'Skin Trade', however, Hamilton breaks away from the relationships, political and otherwise, and takes Anita back to straightforward vampire hunt. Vittorio, a vampire serial killer, who last made an appearance in book twelve, 'Incubus Dreams', sends her a macabre invitation to come find him in Las Vegas, in the form of the severed head of a murdered vampire executioner. Anita has no choice but to go after him, even knowing it is almost certainly a trap. Once there, she has to handle hostility from the police, machinations by the local weretiger queen, who would like nothing more than to see Anita married to her son and part of the pack, and relations with her fellow vampire hunters, among them her long-time friend and mentor, Edward, and the serial killer Olaf, who has developed an unhealthy interest in Anita herself, and actually tries to court her, in his own twisted way. All this, while also trying to locate Vittorio, and find out what other supernatural surprises he has in store, and resisting the continued attempts by the Mother of All Darkness to possess her.

With everything that Hamilton has packed in to this volume, it makes for an involving read, and the absence of both most of Anita's steady lovers and the political to-ing and fro-ing makes for a refreshing change after the last few books. I wouldn't exactly describe it as a return to form, but it is closer to the type of tale that made so many people fall in love with Anita Blake in the first place. Hamilton has also toned down the quantity of sex somewhat - a disappointment for some, I'm sure, but a relief for others. Anita is as tough as ever, ready to do whatever it takes to protect the innocent - human, vampire or shapeshifter - while struggling with the conflicting nature of her dual roles as vampire executioner and human servant to a Master of the City.

Hamilton's writing is as good as ever, although the novel lacks some of the more visceral descriptions and images of the earlier books, and most Anita fans won't want to put the book down until they've finished it, I'm sure - I know I didn't. If I have any criticisms, it's that the denoument seems a little anticlimactic, with a major plotline which has continued over several of the previous books seemingly disposed of in a couple of sentences. Then again, I wonder if that is truly the case...

In conclusion, then, 'Skin Trade' is a welcome addition to Anita's adventures, and a promising sign for volume eighteen, for which I'll definitely be putting in a pre-order.
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on 8 October 2009
Laurell K Hamilton started off as a fantastic author. However, as the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series has progressed, the story seems to have lost it's way. In the beginning, Anita was a well defined character, and the descriptions of each man were individual and competent. Now, the last few books, which includes this one, have been very similar in that we don't get to know most of the men, there are far too many characters being added into each book, and Anita's character and personality changes don't seem very real at all. All scary situations are described as 'absolutely terrifying' and the bedroom scenes are so similar now, emotionally and physically for the character, to come across as the same but with different men, instead of the vast range of emotions, scenes and results we are used to seeing from LKH. The story seems very tired and repetitive now, with none of the vibrancy of the earlier installations in the series. Buy this book if you really wish to keep up to date with the series, but it is sadly an average piece of writing. I would recommend the Merry Gentry series that LKH writes however, as these are still fresh and well written.
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