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Anita Blake by Laurell K. Hamilton

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Anyway, LKH predates almost all the other writers of this style of literature. Possible exceptions are Mercedes Lackey's Diana Tregarde novels and Tanya Huff's Vicki Nelson. I'm unsure if the Tregarde novels are female gothic, I haven't had the chance to read them yet. The Tregarde novels were also canceled after three books because they weren't selling well, and lack of success does not start a style change. The Anita Blake books seem to have done well from nearly the beginning. Huff predates Hamilton by two years and one book. Huff is less prolific (she's written only five books and assorted short stories) and took long breaks between books, but her works are still popular. Since the two ladies are contemporaries, it seems they both deserve credit for the change in writing style/sub-genre. Sometimes LKH seems to pat herself on the back a bit over it, but her claims about her impact on modern literature are true.

I actually really enjoyed Tanya Huffs Vicki Nelson series...It seems more like something I can get behind because it's easier to understand. Vicki's like your typical nWoD mortal, just getting herself introduced to the world of the supernatural, whereas Anita's already somewhat seasoned to it and look! the world knows vampires and werewolves and such exist! Somehow they're okay with the idea of vampires on a general level (except for the groups of humans who really don't like vamps), though not the lycanthropes at all. Maybe if LKH had done a little more explaining on how the vamps got the people to accept them so wonderfully (for the most part), I'd be fine with it, but it seems sometimes that she just wants us to accept that the world knows they exist and is fine with it.

Vicki also seemed like more of a badass to me, somehow. Failing vision and all.

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Donor

For those that somehow missed it, there's also a comic book adaptation of the Anita Blake books. You can see some scans here:

Scan from Issue #1 of Guilty Pleasures:

Scans from issue #6. Still on Guilty Pleasures: (current issue)



MY EYES! That chick has thighs bigger than her torso. MY EYES!

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Donor

Huff is less prolific (she's written only five books and assorted short stories) and took long breaks between books, but her works are still popular.

Well, only wrote five novels of modern female gothic literature. She's written over 30 novels in total, many of which share similar themes. Plus she's Canadian and a good friend of a close friend of mine, so I think she's extra nifty.

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Ack! Bad adaptatation. Who is "she" on page two? Why do we only find out her name is Madge on page 3? why is there no description of her until then? How about a reason why the black chick fits in the 'I'd die first' category? Bad adaptation. Don't copy the book word for word! Techniques do not always translate well between mediums.

I know Fenris commented to me personally that Edward looks too young, but I think I have a semi-explanation for that. Madge is supposed to be over 40 and she looks way too young as well. I'm guessing characters don't look the right age until they hit 50-60.

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Donor

Overall most comics do a terrible job with the 25-55 age range. Everybody tends to be either young or old, nobody's in the middle. Even character with kids that are definitely in that range end up looking either really young or really old. There's some comic artist that do a decent job, but overall they tend to end up exagerated to either end.

Partially it's Edward's outfit here, but he looks like he should be off updating his myspace page and complaining about how much his job at Starbucks sucks and how hard his English class is. The full length drawing isn't so bad, but the half shot of face on same page he looks REALLY young. It's disconcerting since he's supposed to 10 years older than Anita.

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Please give me a series or even a single stand alone book she wrote that follows a female protagonist. I'm mostly familiar with her Vampire series, which does not fit the criteria. I know she wrote a series about witches, but I can never find a summery of what the books are supposed to be about. If you are only looking at modern female writers who write in the gothic genre the agreed upon reigning queen is Daphne Du Maurier.

Let's see. As I recall, there's Violin, Pandora, and the Mummy. And I think the Mayfair Witches tended to lean toward the female side.

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Curator

I have become convinced that this is what Laurell K. Hamilton wanted to write all along, it's just taken her this long to spring it on us because it's all part of a ploy to get people hooked on her books before turning them into porn.

It's also likely her editor turned to her and said something like "Aw, geez, your readership's just going down the pan, Laurel. Can't you spice up your books with some bonking? Otherwise, they're gonna go straight to the remainder bin."

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JadeMage @ Apr 20 2007, 11:41 PM)

Let's see. As I recall, there's Violin, Pandora, and the Mummy. And I think the Mayfair Witches tended to lean toward the female side.

Thanks! I will look at Violin again, I swear I checked it out the other day and it was mainly centered on a male protagonist. I think Pandora is the one I was looking for recently, but I couldn't remember the title.

The Mayfair Witches is the one that I'm always looking at, but no one will ever tell me what its actually about. I hate seeing reviewer blurbs slathered all over a book. Alright the book is great! But maybe I'm not interested in reading it. I don't know. From what I gather the witches are a family chronicle thing and that's about it. Which is cool, but also seems to be more along the lines of the traditional gothic than anything new and modern.

(Libra @ Apr 21 2007, 04:20 AM)

It's also likely her editor turned to her and said something like "Aw, geez, your readership's just going down the pan, Laurel. Can't you spice up your books with some bonking? Otherwise, they're gonna go straight to the remainder bin."

That's what everyone says, which kind of confuses me a bit. Hordes of readers have left because the bonking is boring. Is that kind of thing really attracting more readers when they could go to any Romance or Thriller/Western section in a book store and get better written sex?

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Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter

The First Death

Okay, I caved on my not reading any more Anita Blake to try out her released-in-comic-book-format-only Pre-Guilty-Pleasures short story. I was sadly underimpressed.

The plot was promising, and it is supposed to include the first appearence of Edward. It also has the first appearence of Jean-Claude (which I'm a bit sketchy on because I thought the first meeting was in Guilty Pleasures, but maybe my memory is playing tricks on me). It also seems to have the first meeting with Zabrowski (i think that's the spelling). Anyway, a lot of firsts, with no time given to any of them so far.

And, other than the cover art which displays mysterious and irritating hair problems, I like the art style on Anita. Perhaps this is a good thing, since the original artist is supposed to be leaving and this is the first book by the second (better) artist.

First of all, its not the first death, we catch up with Anita midway through the case. Nor is it the first time Anita has killed vampires, so I've no idea where the title came from, though admitedly I've only read half the story since it's being released in two books.

Secondly, the dialogue is awful. I've been reading through LKH's Blog collecting references my research into the Gothic and first got wind of the comicbook story there. It included comments on how easy the whole thing was because she only had to write 30 pages of dialogue and ship it out. I think the comicbook two-shot is missing the critical step where an editor looks at it, points out its not so great, and asks her to punch it up a little bit. It provided nothing new and failed to be witty, which is a trademark of the early Anita.

All that said, I will probably pick up the second one to a) see the new artist's take on Edward since the first artist's version was pretty bad B) complete the set since its only two issues anyway and c) see if they got rid of all the retreaded mush in the first half and the plot picks up any, since the plot itself wasn't a problem.

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I think i'm the only one who likes Richard.
But maybe i haven't seen that horrible side of him yet that may or may not come out in a book i haven't read.

I was incredibly disappointed in Anita when she slept with Jean Claude but in that point of the story, it stupidly fit. I don't blame Richard for dumping her after that, i really don't.

I've read the first 6 books, and loved them. I doubt i'll be reading any more. Maybe the next one.
Where should I be stopping? Obsidian Butterfly? Narcissis (whatever) in Chains?
But I'm not into the porn that I know is coming...

A shame... The first half-dozen were great stuff. The faeries in I think #5 were good reading, too, I was surprised to see them thrown in, but it worked, and I liked.

... and now, what's this? Comic book adaptions? That's um. Scary. Yeah.

And, like most, I have no interest in elf-porn-orgies, either, thank you.

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(Lethe @ Sep 19 2007, 09:47 PM)
I think I'm the only one who likes Richard.
But maybe i haven't seen that horrible side of him yet that may or may not come out in a book I haven't read.

I have a very simple reason that I hate Richard: He's a sucky alpha. He has a great vision, but he's unwilling to take the responsibility for the less tasteful parts of seeing the whole thing through. And then he makes Anita take the moral/mental/psychological hits for him by making her do most of the dirty work. There's a great scene in I think its Blue Moon where Anita comments about needing the more inhuman things she's done hurt her rather than one of her cadre of allies. If Richard weren't trying to be alpha I probably would not mind him as much. And in the later books he's bitter and whiney. Bitter is fine since his girl slept with someone else. Whiney is inexcuseable and pathetic.

I also didn't like his intro as appearing as a normal guy. He was naked in a vampire's bed but doesn't seem to be a fangbanger and doesn't seem to like Jean-Claude all that much. That should have been ringing alarm bells all over, but Anita apparently ignored them. I don't like it when Anita is purposely made to be an idiot for the sake of plot, and some of that dislike carried over onto Richard.

(Lethe @ Sep 19 2007, 09:47 PM)

I've read the first 6 books, and loved them. I doubt i'll be reading any more. Maybe the next one.
Where should I be stopping? Obsidian Butterfly? Narcissis (whatever) in Chains?
But I'm not into the porn that I know is coming...

Narcissis in Chains comes before Obsidian Butterfly. Skip it. Just read Obsidian Butterfly and then stop if you want to avoid the porn. OB is something of a stand alone focusing on Edward, so you aren't missing any plot ties. I haven't read NiC in a while (hated it) but I can't remember how bad the porn was in that one. It might be tolerable or my sense of tolerable may just be confused by Cereulean Sins which came afterwards and which I threw across the room because the only thought I had mid-way through was 'Someone's just making shit up to force Anita to have to have sex.' Which I then thought was silly since the whole thing was made up. And then I realized that LKH had broken my suspension of disbelief as far as her world was concerned.

(If you haven't read them before, you may want to try Charlaine Harris's Dead Until Dark if you try to chance the Anita porn. Charlaine at several points appears to be parodying Anita and her social failings with Sookie's comments on how a lady should behave. It's hilarious and theraputic post-Anita.)

I may or may not try Harlequin, her latest novel, in the hopes that the real Anita has returned. I've heard some interesting things about it.

(Lethe @ Sep 19 2007, 09:47 PM)

... and now, what's this? Comic book adaptions? That's um. Scary. Yeah.

Yes, her books are scheduled to come out in comic format, they're on Guilty Pleasures. They've got a two-shot prequal which I mentioned. They may or may not do others. I figure they are probably going to release the first 8 books in comic format, or at least could get away with it. Not so sure if they'll keep up with later books or not.

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I was updating my timeline of modern Gothic authors on the Gothic chicks thread and I thought i'd put the list up here as well since people usually seem to be looking for other authors either because they can't wait for the next Anita book or because they've given up on Anita. So, in chronological order, here's what what I've found. I only list authors with series that follow a single protagonist:

1989 - 1990 Mercedes Lackey
1991 - 1997 Tanya Huff
1993 - 2008 Laurell K. Hamilton
2000 - 2008 Jim Butcher
2001 - 2008 Charlaine Harris
2003 - 2008 L A Banks

2003 - 2008 Rachel Caine
2004 - 2008 Mary Janice Davidson
2004 - 2008 Kim Harrison

2004 - 2006 Charles Stross
2005 - 2007 C. E. Murphy
2005 - 2008 Carrie Vaughn
2006 - 2008 Patricia Briggs
2006 - 2008 Vicki Pettersson

2006 - 2008 Lilith Saintcrow
2006 - 2008 Jeanne C. Stien
2006 - 2008 Keri Arthur
2006 - 2008 Kat Richardson
2006 - 2008 Karen Chance
2006 - 2008 Rob Thurman
2007 - 2008 Marc Del Franco
2007 - 2008 Illonia Andrews
2007 - 2008 Rachel Vincent
2007 - 2008 Phaedra Weldon
2007 - 2008 Carole Nelson Douglas
2007 - 2008 Jenna Black

Bold are authors I have read. Italics are for authors I would recommend.

I will recommend Douglas unread because I've read other things by her. Mercedes Lackey, Tanya Huff, and Charles Stross are supposedly done with their series. I'm recording C. E. Murphy as finished simply because she's taking a break of a year or two from the Walker Papers to produce other projects. When she gets back to it I'll fill in as if nothing happened.

Happy reading!

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Okay, I bought the 2nd half of First Death. Apparently its the book where all the plot occurs.

It was better and more interesting plot-wise than the first half of the release, tighter writing. Also better than the full length novels she's been releasing lately.

Still had some major problems.

After being touted as the first appearance of Edward we find out that no, Anita already knows Edward and how and from where are not described. I loved the new artist's rendering of Edward however. Now Edward looks of an age to be buying his own beer.

There's no explanation of how a particular vampire got so much power when he's still beholden to another vampire and is pretty much just a fledgling. Yet he's doing mind control stuff. Ok. It doesn't really feel like this is finished.

We get to see Manny! yeah! the art and characterization of Manny are actually quite good. This also turns out to be Manny's last mission before Laughing Corpse (?) with Anita. My memory's a bit scrambled on order, but i think he actually appeared in that one.

Anita gets the cross scar burn from the human servant. It's not as impressive a torture scene or fight as I would actually want for her. Manny gets beat an awful lot, Anita gets a burn. It really doesn't balance out writing wise, she basically should have taken much more damage.

As good as Edward is at his job, I find him saving the day at the end to be over-the-top. Perhaps I'd believe more if the action scenes were shown, but we sit outside with Anita.

I'm not too keen on Anita's interaction with Edward. She denies him help for no visible reason. Perhaps I just need to reread the first Anita books, but it seems out of character and just designed to make Edward's job difficult. Edward himself is spot on though.

If you're going for the complete Anita Blake collection, the two comic tale may be worth picking up. The second half has its good points, and seeing the artist renderings of Anita and company is fun. The varient cover for the second issue has Anita raising superhero zombies such as Spiderman and the Hulk, so for entertainment value I really love that cover.

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OB is something of a stand alone focusing on Edward, so you aren't missing any plot ties.

MMMmmm Edward goodness. He needs his own series, I think.

Thanks!

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No problem.

As to Edward getting his own series, I both agree and disagree. I love Edward, but I don't think he could sustain his own series if written in the first person, as LKH writes both her heroines. I think part of the thing with Edward is his mystique: that no one knows precisly what's going on in his brain.

I think he might be able to sustain his own series if he was given a companion (possibly his semi-stepson) who could give us first person narration. He needs a Watson to his inscrutable Holmes.

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Even though I have only read up to Bloody Bones so far, my friend has read them all and, together, we are going to embark on a huge project - re-writing the Blake novels into oWoD chronicles.

Has anyone else thought about doing this?

So far, we have got an idea about the Vampire's but so have got a bit stuck on the Were-critters. Obviously we are starting with just the Thronnos Roke clan and then moving into the rest of them. Don't know how we are going to do the Were-swans, Kaspar and Donovan, but thats the good thing about being an ST, you can make it yourself.

Would anybody be interested in lending a hand with this? If so, PM me. Would also be great to hear your ideas.

Another thread for this is running here.

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"The Girl Who Was Infatuated with Death" short story in the anthology Bite.

I hadn't realied this short story existed, and got the anthology largely to read Charlaine Harris's entry, so I was surprised to see LKH pulled out an actual story and not just advance chapters of her book for this one. Though it was written in 2005, the tale is classic Anita baiting Jean Claude set between Blue Moon and Obsidian Butterfly, and the style actually matches the earlier books.

The plot of the tale apparently exists solely to get Anita to talk to JC. The idea of the plot was interesting (mother wishing to prevent runaway underage daughter from becoming a vampire, meanwhile the underage daughter has cancer and mom is going to make her chop her leg off in a week, and possibly the other one later on), but erbrowski and Ronnie actually do all the footwork in the background, with Malcolm bringing up the rear with his assistance. The tale could have stood another page or two to tell us what happened to the mom and daughter once the daughter was caught.

The interaction between Anita and JC was very relationshippy/sex-oriented at a point when they're not having sex. Fortunately the writing is tight enough that this is not a problem and instead makes me long for those early days between the two of them when they actually seemed to be aiding eachother's character development rather than just having sex to feed the awful arduer. It's actually not the boring relationship talk.

I give it 3 3/4 stars, the deductions mainly being for not going back to the beginning and tying up the plot. Now if only she'd write more short stories like this.

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I think that mantle really goes to Anne Rice.

100% absolutely agree, Rice really redefined the genre. While Im a fan of her vampire chronicles (the first 3) Im not a huge fan of vampire/urban fantasy pseudo erotica. However, her novel Witching Hour is absolutely brilliant (if long).

(zenten @ Apr 17 2007, 10:35 AM)

Please give me a series or even a single stand alone book she wrote that follows a female protagonist.

Hm, Dr. Rowan Mayfair, protagonist of Witching Hour.

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Donor

Not sure the thread would be complete without this:

20080602.jpg

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Donor

So am I the only one who thinks she's trash, has always been trash, and puts way too much of her personal ilfe in this Mary-Sue protagonist/sexbot?

I hate this shit and tend to distance myself from people I know who think this is 'quality fiction'. I've read the first book. It was shallowly written, with overwrought prose and while she crafted interesting background characters, they ended up overshadowed by the Mary Sue that was Anita Blake, who was not engaging and rather aggravating to read because she's anti-feminist in the extreme and miserable to endure. (She's also a rapist now, too; but that's okay if she used her 'arduer' to force people to ahve sex with her; she's the heroine, and her personal god said it's okay!)

For heaven's sake, if you want good fiction, find it. It's not hard. I can't even condone reading Anita Blake as light/twinkie books. If I want slultty, sex-heavy fiction, I'll pick up Jacqueline Carey's stuff. I've never HAD sex and I can write a more evocative intimate encounter and I know I can craft better dialogue and plot.

In fact, it gives me both fear and hope that shit like this gets published. If someone's dumb enough to buy this drek and say it will sell (and be sadly correct), by God, my stuff should SMOKE her.

Someday.

If I could ever complete a project.

Oh, self confidence, why do you fail me.

(PS: For more LKH hate, go to: http://lkh-lashouts.livejournal.com/. AWESOME stuff with lots of background information on why this woman is fully, completely nuts and lives vicariously through her writing and fans.)

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Donor

Wow are her books really that pornographic? I never knew...sure ive heard of her but havnt read her...shit if i'd had known there was werewolf sex in there I would've read her long ago

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Second the LKH Lashouts comm.

And the werewolf sex isn't all that great. Richard is merely an avatar of her ex husband, who shows up in the story pining after Laurenita and getting pissed that she's humping every male character in the story. Every sex scene is the solution to every problem in the series now. The comm has actually given Anita the title "The Doom Crotch" because there is no way she'd be as "tight and wet" that you'd hear of every 5 pages after having so much sex. That and after any character that has sex with her, they turn into mindless slaves only wanting more. But its all for fufilling the arduer, which has kept Anita homebound these last howeverymany books. But LKH has recently said she's changing the ardeur because she wants Anita to go to a city (I forget where), simply because the ardeur that LKH created has caused Anita to remain pretty much surrounded by her harem and has sex nearly every hour. So basically LKH is tired of the humping machine she has created, and now wants to completely rip asunder her own story because she doesn't like it any more, after having ignored the hundreds of screaming telling her it was a bad idea in the first place. Dear Negative Reader, anyone?

And just to throw this out there, it was alluded by Merry that if she stopped having sex with her men, they would all turn into raveging, mindless beasts. *rolls eyes* Oh my, however will they go on without you? Lets totally forget here that they've not had sex for thousands of years. But she's the avatar of the all powerful Goddess who gives everybody sparkly, magical sex that can go on for 3 pages just describing someones wings (wings!).

</soapbox>

Sorry... it's just LKH and her rabid fangirls get under my skin. So much potential... wasted. I would be interested in reading any re-writes, though!

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