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Customer Review

on 16 September 2009
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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