Quirky Chaos (gnomenapper) wrote in bookish,
Quirky Chaos

My thoughts on the Anita Blake Series

Have you ever read a book and been so angry you wanted to track down the author and smack them upside the head a few times?
How about a series of books? Do you ever sit back and shake your head, wanting to ask the author "How the hell do you put your name on this crap and sleep at night?"

The Anita Blake Vampire Series by Laurell K. Hamilton pretty much pushed me over the edge into writer rage last night. I can put up with a lot. I used to be a book snob (it needed awards and excellent writing, or historical accuracy for me to read it) but being a Manager in a large book chain store in Canada cured me of that. I learned the joy of reading just for entertainment. I stopped disdaining Manga and Romance novels and realized that everyone has different reasons for reading. Not all of them have to be cerebrally stimulating.
In essence I grew tolerant. But even I can't defend the complete and utter tripe that LKH has created of the Anita Blake series. I've stuck through for 16 books, and I firmly believe that gives me the right to explain just how she mind rapes (yes I went there) her readers.

Why am I so outraged? Because the series started off so well! I instantly fell in love with the spunky, outspoken, kick ass, hellfire LKH had created in Anita Blake. She's tough as nails, raises zombies, kills vampires and was damn good at her job. LKH introduced interesting characters: Anita’s boss, Jean-Claude, Richard, her best friend Ronnie (and the list goes on) into her gritty alternate universe St. Louis. The world was dark, gritty, captivating and full of great elements that kept me hooked. I couldn't stop reading. It was fluff- but a great take on vampires and entertainment.
I wanted to see what happened next!

I can't remember what book I was on when I realized things were going downhill fast. I do know I started being leery of the entire thing when Anita's core values started to change. One minute she's saving herself for marriage, the next she's sleeping her way through the male population of St. Louis. Even beyond that- I started to hate Anita Blake herself. She can't have a conversation with anyone without arguing, she's angry all the time (something the author later tries to deflect away as saying the base of Anita's power is rage- nice save there LKH *rolls eyes*)  Character growth is one thing, a complete shift is another. Growth is Anita seeing the vampires less as monsters and more like people, shift is Anita becoming an almost different person.
(I'm going to stay general to avoid any plot spoilers)

I found as each book went on the formula became apparent. Anita has sex with lots of people, gains a new power, adds another boyfriend to her male harem, kills someone and voila! book over.
I think the moment when I truly wanted to smack LKH was when Anita gained a vampire ability called the "ardeur" which essentially forces her to have sex with random strangers (when one of her 7 boyfriends aren't around) at any given time. The books became all about Anita having sex, than any real plot. I'm no prude by any means, but COME ON.

I grew to really like certain characters: Micah, Asher and Jean Claude for instance, and yet instead of giving depth to any character in the novel (even Anita is two dimensional) LKH insists on bringing more and more characters in to shabbily write and discard with no notice. Apparently she bases many things off her real life- and for that I am truly sorry to her friends.

This brings me to the writing. The writing. *tears hair out* I am not expecting anything award worthy I promise. I had high hopes for LKH because in the first few books, she was capable of coming up with some great one liners, witty remarks and observations (on behalf of her characters of course) but somewhere along the way she stopped trying. She decided to use a mad libs page to write her sex scenes. Her conversations between characters are long, drawn out and boring. She spends 100 pages on nothing that actually works back to the plot (someone being hurt by something and Anita needs to save them usually) in order to give us complete drivel about feelings and situations that don't actually need to happen.
We know Richard can be an asshole driven by convictions. We know Micah is a yes-man, Ronnie is afraid of commitment, Nathaniel likes bdsm and had a tortured childhood and that Asher is jealous of Jean Claude's devotion to Anita.
Anita needs to have sex every two hours. WE GET IT. We're not dumb, despite giving you money for 17 books- your readers are not the unintelligent idiots you make us out for. WE GET IT ALREADY.

It's embarrassing to see someone who obviously doesn't want to end her cash cow series. I think what is most embarrassing is LKH's obvious lack of pride in her work. Hamilton has let it degrade into complete crap, but as long as the reader's keep paying money for them, she'll churn them out to buy her next car. Shame on you Laurel K Hamilton. Your readers seem to be reluctant to stop reading based on exactly what I said earlier- it started off so good! We're hopeful you will buck up, do the right thing, and write a final book that ends the drivel you've reduced this could have been great series to.

I may forgive you one day and read another of yours series; but for now you need to end the Anita books (and end them WELL) and do right by your readers already.

The most aggravating part is that LKH ARGUES with her feedback. She calls her dissenters "prudes" and says we just "don't get it". What we get LKH is that you are throwing every fetish, fad and desperate plot distraction you can to cover up your inability to write anything original in the Anita Blake series.

I'm not alone here. There have been some amazing reviews written by readers on Amazon who say what I have said (and better):


Anita is Not back
Bloody Bad "Noir"
Why the Hell do I bother?
My Time and Money are Too Valuable

cross posted to my personal journal gnomenapper
Tags: xxx author last name: a-h

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