“We only give names to the ones that we fear. She is the Executioner…”

Kiss the Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton

 

 

From my perspective, the Anita Blake saga is arguably one of the most significant series in the history of genre fiction. In the last two decades, this series has irrevocably changed the landscape of genre fiction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Was I a U.S. Marshal, or Jean-Claude’s human servant? Was I a Marshal, or Micah’s Nimir-Ra? Was I a police officer, or Nathaniel’s sweetie? Was I an officer, or Nicky’s master? Was I a cop, or the new Mistress of Tigers of Sin, and Dev, and Jade, and Ethan, and Crispin, and… Could I keep being a cop and be everything else?

 

 

This novel also had its fair share of memorable noir-nuanced one-liners:

 

“There’s only so many times you can scrub blood out from under your fingernails before you start going all Lady Macbeth and stop believing the blood is ever gone.”

 

“Because all bad little vampires see me in the end.”

 

“Dead, down, done.”

 

 

 

 

Bottom line: LKH’s Anita Blake saga is literary history in the making. It’s been a long, strange ride since 1993 but I, for one, can’t wait to see where LKH ultimately takes Anita and company.

 

 

Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. 

 

 Keep up with all of my blogs – as well as all of Barnes & Noble’s exclusive reviews, authors interviews, videos, promotions, and more – by following @BNBuzz on Twitter!

Comments
by on ‎06-14-2012 09:56 PM

Paul,

 

Thanks for the review I am still waiting for my turn at the libraries copy but I do plan on reading it.  I have tried to stay out of the controversy because I know that reading a book or author is my own personal choice and I will make up my mind about it as I am reading it.

 

Toni

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎06-15-2012 09:26 AM

OH MY GOD Paul, I can only say one thing about your wonderful bold blog post

BRAVA!!!!!!

 

Don't be surprised when LKH comes knocking on your door.

by Lizzy_Funk on ‎06-15-2012 10:23 AM

There was a moment in the series where the books wandered away from the Anita the readers met back at the beginning.  She became something the ardeur controlled and that is the moment that some of the fans got upset.  She wasn't this hardcore, no nonsense, powerful woman - she had turned into this woman controlled completely by her libido.  That was when it was hard to read.  I am a die-hard fan of this series.  I have bought each book in hardcover. I stuck with it through the time where even I was shaking my head wondering what was happening.  BUT ever since the end of The Harlequin I began to hope again.  

 

The next three were iffy but Bullet had me again.  It was then I saw Anita back again.  And in Bullet, she truly started questioning who she was, what she was, and ultimately at the end of the day who she wanted to be to those around her.  That is when I began to smile again reading the series.  She was growing up, she was changing, and it was only the changes that could come from growing, maturing, and full self-actualization as a person and a woman.  

 

Kiss the Dead is far away from the books in the middle of the series, the ones which had fans questioning their loyalty to the series.  Kiss the Dead is the book Hamilton needed to write for Anita, for the fans, and maybe even for herself.  There comes a time in a long series where the main character (the protagonist for you literary folks) MUST grow and change.  If they don't the series becomes stale, tired, and ultimately conversations ensue beginning with "...well I loved the series until book number [insert number] and then it went so far off the rails and it was the same stuff over and over and they didn't change or learn anything from all of the other books, it's too bad, it used to be amazing..."

 

An author never wants their books not evolve.  The readers grow up, they grow with the series, and if the storyline remains the same, the readers will grow AWAY from the series.

Hamilton "returns" to the kick ass woman readers met in Circus of the Damned, but this is the older, smarter, and more self-aware version of Anita Blake.  This is the Anita her fans have been waiting for:  the Matriarch of St. Louis - the role she has been gearing up for from the very first book 

 

by Rontar ‎06-15-2012 11:56 AM - edited ‎06-15-2012 11:57 AM

For me the first seven or eight books were the best paranormal mystery books I've probably ever read, bar none. LKH is a wonderful writer. But, then things changed, and it got to be too much for me to stomach. I'm not talking about the sex scenes either. I'm talking about how everything came to revolve around sex. The characters would always find themselves in a situation that could only be survived through some sort of sex act. Or a monster gang bang would commence for no reason whatsoever. That is when LKH lost me as a reader. But, I've heard here and other places that things have changed so I may just have to see for myself if I can go back to enjoying these books.

by Qwillery on ‎06-16-2012 02:06 PM

I've sort of kept up with the series and intend to read the Anita Blake novels that I have in my TBR at some point. What lead me to read Anita Blake was the writing of Elaine Bergstrom.  Her Austra Vampire series (which started in 1989) is according to Elaine "Sci fi/romance/dark fantasy." It cemented my life-long love of dark fantasy and made me susceptible to reading LKH and others.

by Tess75 on ‎07-26-2012 11:44 AM

I just finished the book not that long ago. It really blows my mind how LKH started a series that has now grown to 21 books. I don't know about any one else who has accomplished this, and been able to keep her fans waiting for her next installment in her series. Although after reading her last one it makes me wonder if she's coming to the end of the series. Only because now Anita has started questioning how she can balance her career and her love life. She seems torn.

 

Has any one else felt this when reading her last book?

by Moderator paulgoatallen on ‎07-26-2012 11:50 AM

I agree, Tess – I think that the end is in sight as well. But – wow – how do you fittingly end this series?

by Tess75 on ‎07-26-2012 12:03 PM

I have know clue. Every one of her books keeps you waiting for more. I keep getting this bad feeling that something bad happens to Anita. If so I hope Edward is around for it, and really kicks some butt. Who knows maybe LKH will then do a take off and start a new series with Edward as main character, starting with evening Anitas demise!

 

Ok maybe I'm a little bit ahead of myself, but OMG there's going to be a lot of unhappy fans:smileysad: