If you’ve never read this series of books by Laurell K. Hamilton, you should. We have all of the books in the series and I’ve read them all and, recently, started reading them again just for the fun of it. Laurell, wow, this chick can write her ass off and this series not only deals with vampires, wereanimals, and other spooky things, but Laurell can bring the noise when it’s time for her characters to get naked and get busy.
Anita is a necromancer by birth – she raises the dead for a living and her side job is hunting down and executing rogue vampires and is one tough, no-nonsense, gun-toting and, often, cold-blooded bitch… but not really. Early on, you learn that the devoutly religious Anita – a necessity so that when facing a vampire, your cross will work – is also the biggest prude I’ve ever seen in a book; while she doesn’t believe in the picket fence and 2.5 kids and a dog thing, she doesn’t believe in premarital sex and is a one woman, one man kind of girl.
Until she eventually runs into Richard and Jean-Claude; Richard’s an alpha werewolf, Jean-Claude a master vampire and Master of the City of Saint Louis and from there, the shit really hits the fan for our plucky heroine. I just love the way Laurell gets Anita into all kinds of predicaments, things that run totally contrary to what she believes and then makes her deal with them, often in rather spectacular fashion. Anita, also known as the Executioner because she has more legal vampire kills than anyone in the country, will put a bullet in you without even thinking about it… but when it comes to her abilities, love, and sex, sheesh, she’s so deeply in denial that as I re-read the series, I keep rolling my eyes and fussing at her because she does understand what’s going on with her… but she refuses to accept it.
As a character in a book, Anita just gets on my last good nerve at times! She’s tougher than most men… but she’s also such a naive little girl at times and, well, it’s just fun to read how Laurell makes this contradiction work – and it does work. It’s probably chick lit… and if it is, it’s the only chick lit I’ll ever read.
Laurell brings to the table a lot of good shit, from heterosexual sex to poly relationships, with a good dose of D/s and other BDSM things tossed in for good measure and, oh, yeah, there’s gay sex in there as well and even if you, as the reader, don’t believe in such things for yourself, I’ll go out on a limb and say that you will find these particular predicaments Anita gets herself into rather delightful to read.
The one thing that stands out to me is the internal conflict she has regarding monsters. She hunts them and kills them… but some of the monsters become her friends and lovers… and, oh, yeah, given what she does for a living and the powers she has, she’s one of the monsters, too… and she never quite gets her head around that – again, she understands that she’s never really been human in that sense… but in the early parts of the series, she just refuses to accept it, can’t deal with the true nature of her power as a necromancer and, when the powers of her lovers, Jean-Claude and Richard, are added to the mix, oh, man, I just love the way it all fucks with her! She sees and understands the necessity of all of this… but accepting it? Oh, man, she drives me nuts with this, and it makes me give Laurell very major props for her ability to weave a story and characters so well that it makes me want to slap the shit out of them at times.
If you’ve read the whole series, read it again; if you haven’t read it, I recommend that you do, chick lit or not. If you like magic, zombies, vampires, werewolves, and other creepy things, you can get your fill of them by reading this series. The only thing I have to say ‘bad’ about the series as it progresses is that Laurell tends to focus more on the relationship/sexual aspects of Anita’s life than her powers as a first-class necromancer – Anita doesn’t raise the dead enough to make me happy because the way Laurell writes it, man, it sounds so damned cool!