Kathy Davie's Reviews > Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The First Death

Anita  Blake, Vampire Hunter by Laurell K. Hamilton
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's review
Sep 02, 2010

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bookshelves: urban-fantasy, manga
Read in May, 2010

A graphic novel prequel in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter urban fantasy series revolving around Anita Blake, necromancer.

I've changed my mind about The First Death's usefulness...

My Take
This is a very useful short (and I don't think it's available as anything but a graphic novel)as the basis for the series is set-up: we meet Dolph, Zerbrowski, Manny, Edward, Jean-Claude, and, Buzz.

This short includes the pivotal attack on Anita that results in that broken collar bone and the cross burn while Edward flares out with his flame thrower---all issues that come up again and again throughout the series.

At the end of the short story, there's a sort of guide to the characters within the book with a biography on each of the major players and quotes from or of them from the various books.

As much fun as it is to visually see someone's interpretation of how the characters look---and Anita and Jean-Claude do look as I have imagined them---I greatly dislike the excessive melodrama. It doesn't run true to Anita's character.

The Story
Children are being brutally killed by vampires and Sergeant Storr has called Anita in to help track them down. Seems Edward also wants Anita's help in tracking down a bounty he's chasing---and they are not yet friends! Eeek!

The Characters
Anita Blake is an animator bringing people back from the dead temporarily to resolve legal, business, and family issues. She also consults with the police who draw on her experience with supernaturals, and she performs legal vampire executions. The vamps call her The Executioner. Manny Rodriguez is the vampire hunter and animator who taught Anita the ropes.

Jean-Claude is a master vampire, fifth in power under the Master of St. Louis, and he manages a strip club, Guilty Pleasures. Buzz is vampire security for the club. Adam is one of the strippers.

Sergeant Adolphus Storr is the head of the Regional Preternatural Investigation Taskforce (RPIT). Anita figures he must have annoyed someone... Zerbrowski is one of his detectives, and he's the master of the snarky remark.

Edward, a.k.a., Ted Forrester, is a bounty hunter who has graduated from chasing human criminals to hunting down the monsters: he prefers a challenge. He's also a sociopath who leads two lives: a professional assassin, he'll kill whoever he's paid to kill, and as a licensed vampire executioner, he'll do it legally as well. The vampires refer to the results of his finds as Death's work.

Brian Dickerson is one of the child victims.

The Cover
The cover is actually very spare with its gradiated cover with the light focus on Jean-Claude and Anita. Don't be fooled by their body positioning. Jean-Claude may have maneuvered himself into holding Anita, but it's not by her choice.

My guess about this title is that it's a metaphor for Anita's first introduction and seduction by Jean-Claude, The First Death if you will.

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