Elizabeth's Reviews > Blood Noir

Blood Noir by Laurell K. Hamilton
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's review
Jun 21, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: recently-read, paranormal
Read in June, 2008

I wouldn't say this continued the downhill drive of the Anita Blake books, but perhaps it hit a plateau. It has the same flaws as most of the recent books in the series- poorly written erotica, far too much navel gazing, not enough meaty plot- but the flaws seem to have been acknowledged and have been worked on.

There were only two of the over-the-top erotica scenes, both with Jason (although one included Nathaniel), although I could have done without the preceding chapter of discussion of who, where,why, and how the sex was going to take place before each scene. There was a third scene that is only alluded to, which is even more pleasantly surprising. I don't think we can expect a change from the multiple partners and graphic yet not sexy scenes- that seems to, as Anita would say, "flat do it" for LKH- but at least she seems to be using the scenes and lifestyle reasonably.

As far as the plottiness of the book is concerned, it was a little light until the end. Mostly, there is a lot of introspection and wibbling from Anita about her relationship with Jason, and a lot of background on Jason, his hometown, and his family... and then wham! Quite a bit of action at the end. Still, we haven't seen a lot of Marshal Anita Blake in recent novels, so it was nice to see those elements re-emerge. It gives me hope there may be even more in the next novel, as from what I understand, this was intended to be more of a "side" novel ala Micah. Anita even references both of her jobs, as federal marshal and reanimator, so maybe eventually we'll actually see her do them again.

As you can expect, there is of course a lot of wonky ardeur complications, Marmee Noir antics, and ever more were-animals insinuating themselves into Anita's life. However, in the plus column, although we see the usual wanky Richard, we also see Richard as he was in the early days. Dare I say I have hope for his character, too?

All in all, it seem that LKH has heard her fans' concerns, and is addressing them to some small degree. I do believe that some things will never change, and those that keep reading the series will have to live with the ardeur and the "his-em", as I have heard LKH call Anita's bevy of men, as well as Anita's continually growing powers. I think the best we'll get is a blend between old Anita's action-packed adventures and new Anita's erotically charged ones. I guess I can live with that.

ETA: Reading reviews, I remembered a couple other little quibbles I had. First, the dialog. My god, these characters should not be tossing "like" into their sentences like teenage MySpacers, especially when it's inconsistent with their speech patterns from previous books. As well, every time Jason referred to someone as "soooo hot," it yanked me out of the conversation. I know he's supposed to be a bit frivolous on the surface, but really; again, he's not a thirteen year old girl. I like Jason, he's one of my favorite characters, so LKH, please, stop undermining him.

Second, complete FAIL on understanding how birth-control works. One missed pill should not create the pregnancy angst and drama that it did in this book, especially since Anita's pregnancy "scare" a few books back was a complete false alarm.

Ahem. Anyway. Two stars. Or, for Anita and company, like soooo two stars.

ETA 2 (last time, I swear): This is a response I posted to a review that assumed that those of us that are critical of the book are prudes and should just stop reading if we hate the books so much (you know, the typical "troo" line of thinking):

"I don't think it's fair to call fans disappointed with the series "prudes" or "whining wankers." I'm personally a fan of romance and erotica, so the sex isn't the issue for me. It's how the characters have changed so drastically from where they started off. Re-read Guilty Pleasures or The Laughing Corpse and then re-read Danse Macabre. It's barely believable that this is the same protagonist, and the same series. That's the issue most of us have. Yes, I understand character development, but the series has become something completely, totally different than where it started, and many of us, who still consider ourselves fans, miss seeing Anita working at Animators Inc and solving crimes, which has gone missing in favor of the long, involved, detailed sex scenes. That's the problem, not the fact that the sex is present at all. I cheered when Anita initially slept with Jean-Claude after so many books of sexual tension. I didn't cheer, however, when Micah raped her, or the swan-mane changed on top of her, or when we had a whole book with no action (DM). YMMV. That's the nature of reading and forming an opinion. Just don't call it prudery."

I keep reading because I remember those first 8-10 books, and hope the series will return to its full potential. I don't know about you guys, but that's why I don't just stop reading.
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