Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Way Back Wednesday - Guilty Pleasures

With the current release of the 17th book in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton, I felt the urge to go back and review the earlier books in this series.

Guilty Pleasures was originally released in 1993 in paperback format and introduces the character of Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter and her world of magic, vampires, werewolves and other supernatural elements.

Anita is a zombie animator (able to raise dead people from the grave and then put them back again) and licensed vampire executioner (with legal sanction to kill vampires that break the law). This book gets its title from the Strip Club/Bar owned by the second most powerful vampire of St. Louis, Jean Claude - Guilty Pleasures is the only legal business for vampires currently living in St. Louis.

In this book, Anita investigates a series of vampire murders and comes into contact with many of the supernatural creatures that fill this alternate world. The city's most powerful vampire, Nikolaos, is 1,000 years old and looks like a 10-year-old girl. In dealing with Nikolaos, Anita must also fight off the romantic intentions of Jean Claude, who feels a powerful connection to the vampire executioner.

What makes this series unique is the strong-willed, tough-fighting character of Anita. Before Guilty Pleasures, vampire stories rarely had female leads, so Hamilton's character helped to fill a void. Her characters are in the same vein of Anne Rice - beautiful, deady, but morally just.

Jean-Claude is my favorite modern romantic vampire, easily winning my heart long before Edward Cullen was conceived. He also has qualities of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Spike with easy to look features and style.

This book is fast paced and filled with a mixture of horror, suspense and supernatural experiences. There is a steady sexual undercurrent, although the first books in the series are lacking the sexual exploits of later books in the series. Guilty Pleasures it is an effective plot device that keeps the heat turned up. If you are a vampire fan, I cannot recommend Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series highly enough.

With the current bestselling success of the Anita Blake series, the original six books have been reprinted in hardcover format.

Books in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series:

Guilty Pleasures (1993)
The Laughing Corpse (1994)
Circus of the Damned (1995)
The Lunatic Cafe (1996)
Bloody Bones (1996)
The Killing Dance (1997)
Burnt Offerings (1998)
Blue Moon (1998)
Obsidian Butterfly (2000)
Narcissus in Chains (2001)
Cerulean Sins (2003)
Incubus Dreams (2004)
Micah (February 2006)
Danse Macabre (June 2006)
The Harlequin (2007)
Blood Noir (2008)
Skin Trade (June 2009)

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