Nenia *Genghis Khan soaked in sherbet*'s Reviews > The Harlequin

The Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton
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Mar 06, 14

Read from May 11 to 13, 2011

The Harlequin are the vampire equivalent of the secret police, and they've just gotten interested in Anita and her posse. All the members dress up in costume when they meet with people, and they hand out masks as messages. White means they're watching you, Red means they're going to punish you, and Black means death. It's a good premise. I love the idea of a bunch of evil theatrical vampires who dress up like harlequin characters from old plays and hand out masks as calling cards. It's very Phantom of the Operaesque.

Anita Blake is getting so annoying, though. It's getting to the point where the only thing that moves the plot along is her dialogue and interactions with her twenty-something lovers and the only reason I'm still reading is to see how bad it gets. As one of the characters in the book ironically says, "It's like a train wreck, I just couldn't look away." I actually lost count of how many men (and women) Anita slept with in this book. She collects lovers the way other people collect stamps or foreign coins. In this installment, she adds to new ones to the list: Rafael the Rat King, and Donovan, the Swan King. Plus, there's a sixteen-year-old boy who's seriously messed up from being raped who has a crush on her, and a serial killer who also kind of has a crush on her. She really knows how to pick 'em, Anita does.

It's so sad, because the first few books in the series were really good. Dialog pumped the plot along but it was good dialog, and relevant to the plot. It was just as dark and just as bloody, but not gratuitously. The villains were terrifying, but they actually got air time. And Anita Blake didn't just sleep around! In fact, I remember a time when she actually didn't want to sleep with Jean-Claude because she was afraid he just wanted her around for sex. What happened to that Anita Blake? She wasn't a prude, but she wasn't the whorish Mary Sue she is now, either. She was just a young woman with ONE cool power who also had weaknesses, and dealt with her problems alone.

In adding so many characters, Laurel K. Hamilton has also given Anita a huge dependence on them. I don't like the fact that she calls for help at the first sign of trouble, especially since she's usually naked when trouble comes along because she just finished having sex. I used to think people were exaggerating about how badly the series was deteriorating, but now I see that their complaints were justified.
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