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Anita Blake is small, dark, and dangerous. Her turf is the city of St. Louis. Her job: re-animating the dead and killing the undead who take things too far. But when the city’s most powerful vampire asks her to solve a series of vicious slayings, Anita must confront her greatest fear—her undeniable attraction to master vampire Jean-Claude, one of the creatures she is sworn to destroy...

266 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 1993

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About the author

Laurell K. Hamilton

320 books23.7k followers
Laurell K. Hamilton is one of the leading writers of paranormal fiction. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Hamilton writes the popular Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels and the Meredith Gentry series. She is also the creator of a bestselling comic book series based on her Anita Blake novels and published by Marvel Comics. Hamilton is a full-time writer and lives in the suburbs of St. Louis with her family.

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5 stars
59,962 (41%)
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27,606 (19%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,222 reviews
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.2k followers
June 19, 2010
Okay, so some of the girls asked that I do a review of the Anita Blake series because I mentioned some things that intrigued them.

It's not a finished series and usually I would reserve judgment on a series until it comes to its conclusion just in case the author was going somewhere I wasn't expecting.

Kind of like that scene out of Austin Powers where Austin's in the bathroom stall with a bad guy and a big Texan man is in the next stall and can only see Austin's feet. He hears Austin Powers grunting as he fights the guy, saying, "Who does Number 2 work for?"

The Texan guy, thinking that Austin is taking a crap, decides to pitch in and give encouragement to someone who is obviously struggling.

"That's right! Show that turd who's boss!"

Well, that's what reading Anita Blake is like. You're sitting in the next stall with someone who, nine or so books ago you thought was really nice and normal. Suddenly they start to struggle and you want to be encouraging, or you want to tell them to give up, take a laxative and come back later. The thing is, at first you're wary to because maybe something else is going on. Maybe a brilliant struggle for life and death is happening but you just can't see it. Maybe at the end of the series, you're going to come out, see what's left over in the stall and proudly proclaim:

Jesus Christ, what did you eat?

The first 10 books are filled with mystery and intrigue. They've got great characters and really interesting storylines. They've got action. DAMN have they got action! Obsidian Butterfly, in my opinion, the last good book is such a thriller in so many ways.

They're a little bit sexy and you find yourself wishing a little more sexy would come your way because it's kind of really hawt.

But then something happens after book 10. It happens so quickly that you're kind of in a headspin, looking around going, "Am I still reading the right series? Have they printed a different book under the same name?"

Because suddenly, they're no longer mysteries. There's no longer any real edge-of-your-seat suspense. Suddenly, you think you're going to go a little crazy if you read another freakin' sex scene. Suddenly the writing is so poor, so transparent! The characters are so unlikable and so unrelatable that they might as well be from another galaxy.

You're just walking along one day, admiring the view, when suddenly - OH CRAP! ANITA JUST HAD SEX WITH A WERELEOPARD IN ANIMAL FORM!!!!

You're minding you're own business, enjoying a cup of coffee when - FUCK! SHE JUST HAD A THREE WAY WITH TWO MEN! ANALSEXANALSEXANALSEX!!!

You were about to get ready for work when, out of nowhere - CROTCHBUCKETS! SHE'S JUST HAD A MASSIVE GROUP ORGY AND BEEN 'SPITTED' BY TWO MEN! FAAARK!!!

Then you wonder if you can still walk into a church after reading these books. They become so appallingly bad that you wear them like a badge of pride. "Oh, you think THAT book is shocking? Has she ever had sex with an animal while a whole room full of people look on?" "Oh! You think THAT'S shocking? Did that character ever have seven consecutive boyfriends and nine casual fucks at the same time?" "Really? That character is THAT powerful? Did they ever defeat an evil villain with the power of their crotch alone?"

Speaking of which, this is one of the major, MAJOR flaws of Anita Blake. Her Cooter. The Crotch of Doom as some of the girls call it. Almost every man she comes across, she has to sleep with. And then he loves her. He's addicted to her. He can't get enough of her. It's ridiculous. That girl had better have a TV screen in her forehead, beer leaking from her nipples and a bellybutton that dispenses sandwiches. Otherwise I just ain' buyin' it!

She amasses power like it's spare change. She goes from being a powerful animator of zombies, to a necromancer who can control ALL dead things (including vampires), as well as being a lupa (Queen of the Werewolves, Namira-Ra (Queen of the wereleopards) having six strains of were in her but none of the downsides like actually changing. She becomes a succubus. She is a human servant part of a powerful Triumvate. Then she makes her OWN triumvate with her own Vampire to call and an animal to call. It's just RIDICULOUS! You're wondering where it stops!

This stops her from having any character growth. I thought Anita Blake's flaws were going to be dealt with at some point. I thought her pride, arrogance, lack of impulse control, insecurities etc were going to be addressed through circumstances and a learning curve. No. She just becomes so powerful that it doesn't matter anymore.

And the books are just basically sex. That's all that happens. Everyone has sex. All the time. And then they all argue. A lot. Anita wears a skirt, so three out of seven of her boyfriends take issue with that and then argue with Anita and amongst themselves. Anita chips a nail, so at least five of her boyfriends go mental and start blaming each other.

I really don't know why this mess continues. It's beyond ridiculous. I think LKH just wants to see how much she can shock us now. What more can she do to play with our heads? So Anita has brain sex with another woman. So Anita has sex with a sixteen year old. It doesn't matter anymore. In the end, Anita never takes responsibility for ANY of it. She never really sits down and says: "Regardless of everything - I want to be with THIS person and THAT person. I want to do THESE crazy sex acts because that would get me hawt. Then I want to try it with five men at once."

No. It's always the situation. She's always "made" to do it. This makes me lose so much respect for both the character and LKH. You want fantasy smut in your story? Fine. Put it in there. But don't make it so that the character never CHOOSES the fantasy smut. Don't make it so that each and every time, the character is forced by circumstances to do these crazy, smutty things. WTH?

And lastly, don't push feminist bullshit down our throats when every other woman in this series is either a bitch, psycho, cow or pathetically weak! If Anita was a real woman than she'd stand up to a little damn competition. Instead she fights with every other woman around like it's some kind of damn pissing competition.

I kept thinking that maybe LKH was behind that stall, doing something that didn't seem apparent to me. From what I could see so far, she was struggling to get something out. I kept wanting to yell at her for it, but then I thought, maybe there's something epic happening. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it's just because I can't see enough from my stall in the bathroom of life.

No, my friends. In this instance, she's not wrestling a man into a toilet bowl for information. She's not leading us through some epic, well thought out drama that's going to unfold brilliantly if we just hang on and keep reading.

She's just shitting with us. Well and truly, and enjoying the money we pay her for the pleasure of reading this crap.
Profile Image for Christine (AR).
753 reviews28 followers
September 5, 2007
(This is a massive pan. Just a heads-up.)

I've finally given up on this series, though I'm embarrassed to say it took me about ten books to get there.

This is another of those books where I loved the premise, but the execution made me gag. Anita is insufferable, self-centered and judgmental, and her self-justification for her transformation from noli me tangere virgin to super-slut is laughable. (God apparently told her directly that it was okay. Whatever.)

The appeal for me was always Richard the werewolf and Jean-Claude the vampire, whose relationship was obviously the true love story about to happen, but in later books they don't even appear. Contract problems? Scheduling conflicts with other projects? Why on earth would the author replace the most compelling characters with a series of beta males who Anita can control like she controls every other aspect of this world?

Well, obviously, because this is Hamilton's fantasy, isn't it? Right down to the creation of a character that is the male version of Anita, so she can make love to herself. Yuck.

Profile Image for Shannon .
1,221 reviews2,165 followers
February 18, 2008
I finally got around to reading Guilty Pleasures, the first Anita Blake book, and can at least see why they're not in the Romance section: it's gory and the author doesn't seem to like vampires at all.

I know Hamilton's very well established and has a huge fan base, and I know there are lots of other people who don't like her books, so I feel pretty confident I'm not going to get lynched by saying I'm glad I only spent $2 on this book.

I really didn't like it. This is partly because I was so often confused, partly because I was very bored, and partly because there's simply no one to like in this book. I didn't like Anita, I was very distracted by the way she dresses and the things she thinks about; I didn't like any of the humans or other characters; the vampires were portrayed in the non-romantic cliche way (as opposed to the romantic cliche), and I didn't like all the guns. The plot is slow and dull and Anita misses some glaringly obvious things - and doesn't ask very good questions. There were many scenes where I kept thinking "What the hell is going on?" It often didn't make much sense to me at all and seemed to contradict itself, and I am not a stupid person. It's like, during the rewrite stage, things got cut out that should have stayed.

Also, what the hell is a "hubba hubba" motion with your hand supposed to look like??

I have never skimmed a book like I did with Guilty Pleasures. Jean-Claude was intriguing but hardly in it at all, and I didn't start properly reading it again until the end. I don't like skimming, I never usually do it, and it's a very bad sign if I do. It gets two stars for Jean-Claude and the interesting thing about not being able to properly envision or understand a character until you get to see their eyes.
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,726 reviews673 followers
November 25, 2009
Reread. Back in the day, when Anita wasn't a power hungry, nympho :(

This book reminds how great the Anita Blake series once was. Here Anita Blake has a job as an animator (raising the dead for information for the police force) and isn't spending any of her time lazing in bed with her posse of wimpy beauteous men, she even has girlfriends and we are introduced to an intriguing character named Edward (I had forgotten all about him!).

This is the book where she meets Jean Claude whose charms she is easily able to resist. Vampires are being murdered and master vampire, Nikolaos (sp?) demands her expertise to track down the killer. Here Anita is still known as the "Executioner" and lives by her words "I don't date vampires. I kill them." In order to get more information into the secret underground vampire scene she pals around with vampire junkie Phillip. Phillip is the first inkling into Hamilton's obsession with weak-willed, beautiful man-boys who show up and take up residence in later books. Phillip's character is more than physical perfection though, he is sympathetic in a way and a useful tool to progress the plot of this book.

The Anita in this book is strong-willed, independent, judgmental and abrasive but has a wicked barbed tongue which I find missing in later books. The black humor lightens up the darkness and makes Anita approachable while in later books there is little, if anything, left to like about the character who is obsessed with power, sex and is often just plain mean. I may reread the first few books but will stop when the ardour makes its appearance.
Profile Image for Shannon.
891 reviews225 followers
April 27, 2014
Anita Blake is a vampire hunter/slayer among other dealings with the undead/occult and she's only in her early twenties. Story is told in a first person P.I. style which means there's some wry humor as well as a focus totally from the main character's POV.


(1) Fast read;

(2) Vampires are similar to the legends but have enough unique differences where we are dealing with something new and enticing;

(3) Anita is a nice mix of male and female which means she should appeal to both genders;

(4) Well plotted; hardly any gap holes of logic; pacing is well done; and

(5) Big finale climax at the end. Satisfying if you like things settled, well, violently. Heh.


(1) Her early books are great. I would warn that by book ten she starts to spend too much time in the lovemaking which slows everything down. Not an issue in this novel but will be later if you fall for the series as I did.

CHARACTERS/DIALOGUE: B to B plus; ACTION SCENES: B plus; STORY/PLOTTING: B; SETTING/TONE: B plus to A minus; WHEN READ: 2006 (revised review mid November 2012); OVERALL GRADE: B plus.
Profile Image for Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣.
651 reviews403 followers
February 10, 2017
That was... something. Right, I guess it was ok.

How did vampires become common knowledge? I understand they became legal 2 years prior to the action in the book, but why? How?


And who is Anita Blake? I could not connect with her at all. She felt shallow... No, not shallow. I really can't find the word right now... She felt not real, but someone that simply went with the flow, with no actual starting point, or purpose. I would like to say she felt like a character in a book, but I love books, so that would be insulting to them.

And how on Earth


Anyway, something good did come out of all of this as I started re-reading the Night Huntress series.
Profile Image for Navessa.
Author 11 books7,526 followers
September 6, 2013
This book. I loved it the first few times I read it. And then. Not so much. I blame reading Fever right before. Also. There was something. I could not quite put my finger on. At first. What was it? The writing style. Everything was fragmented sentences. And strangely formal speech. Instead of I’m, we get I am. Instead of I’d, we get I would. Every. Time. Even when it does not fit. It is like LKH has not yet met an apostrophe. I am one of those people, you know the ones.

Once I see something, hear something, NOTICE something like that, I cannot un-notice it. I’ll stop with the annoying fragments and the non-apostrophes now as I can’t even bring myself to write them for an extended period of time, let alone force anyone to read them…unlike someone else I could mention.

Okay, in all seriousness, don’t do what I did. Don’t read this book after reading Fever because you’ll be trying to absorb descriptions of Jean Claude and then the Jericho Barrons that’s taken up residence in your head will look out through your eyes and laugh before giving you a heart-stopping look of possession that makes you want to spike this book on the ground and flounce back over to Barrons Books and Baubles for a quickie.

To be blunt, Jean Claude seems like a total wuss compared to JZB (I know, I know, who doesn’t?). The dude wears lace-trimmed shirts and tight leather pants tucked into hooker boots, which would be fine (maybe) if I hadn’t just read about a man that hasn’t fully pulled himself out of the primordial ooze and could murder JC and his entire city.

While smiling.

And then we have Anita. What a biased, narrow-minded, holier-than-thou misogynist. Her fashion decisions will make you silently long for Mac’s lengthy descriptions of her pastel colored outfits and the affinity she feels for others of her own sex. I really didn't like Anita this time around. But if I remember correctly, she does get better as the series progresses. That is until it all starts to unravel around book ten or so.

I still liked all the blood and guts and the fact that vampires were vampires, not the glittery kind, the monstrous kind. I still enjoyed the plot and Anita’s necromancing. I really enjoyed the flawless world building.

Still, I think I’m going to wait to read the next until after I successfully manage to burn the memory of Barrons from my mind. FML.

Profile Image for CJ.
58 reviews46 followers
March 26, 2008
The engaging start of a wonderful series that morphs into erotica partway through.

If you like V.I Warshawski, Kinsey Milhone,and other female gumshoes, and you like some fantasy, you will definitely like this series in the beginning. Normal world, normal woman, except that vampires (and other supernatural critters) are real, some have civil rights and coexist with humans more or less peacefully, and the protagonist is a 5'2" gun toting butt kicking necromancer. Her day job is raising the dead for a company that specializes in it so that answers about wills, etc., can be settled once and for all. Her other job is a vampire executioner which makes her a federal marshal, because you can't just run around and stake some poor vampire on sight unless you want to get arrested. The monsters are living among the humans now, and Ms. Hamilton does a wonderful job of looking at exactly what that would entail. What about mixed marriages? What kinds of jobs would vampires have? How would the ACLU fit into this? What about religion? And so on and so forth. At this point, Anita Blake's world is black and white. Vampires bad. Humans good. There are no shades of gray for Anita. This book reads like a decently written female detective book with the small twist of the kind of world the detective exists in and how that impacts her investigation and her life.

You must start with the beginning in this series or you'll miss some fascinating twists and turns as Anita's world starts to acquire shades of gray and she starts to grow up a little bit. What happens when the monsters go out of their way to rescue you from the humans who want to kill you? What happens when the scariest thing in your world is a human, not a monster? What happens when the monster thinks you're kinda cute and asks you out on a date?

Later in the series, Ms. Hamilton gets so busy exploring the social interaction side of things (what happens when ALL the monsters want to date you. At the same time.) that the mystery solving part goes bye bye, which is a shame. And right around Narcissus in Chains, Ms. Hamiltin abandons any pretense at plot and starts writing not so vanilla porn. But the series right up to that point is a solidly written, engaging and nicely layered series that can be addictive.

And the fact of the matter is that not one of the other authors who have picked up on this oh so popular genre of female with unexplored powers doing something dangerous in a supernatural world has come close to what Ms. Hamilton managed to accomplish with Anita Blake.
Profile Image for Adina ( A lot of catching up to do) .
827 reviews3,247 followers
February 6, 2017
It was ok, I guess.

Before Kate Daniels it was Anita Blake. However, it is one of those rare instances where the copy cat is much better than the original. Anita is a raiser of the undead and killer of vampires. She is coerced to help a powerful vampire queen and to investigate the murder of several powerful vampires. The main problem with the book was its heroine. She was so unlikable, so proud of herself that she does no drink, doesn't have sex and is such a good Christian. Oh, she is so judgemental. Taking in consideration that the series will turn into a porn fest after book 6-7 I call her a hypocrite. Also, the humour and the fight scenes did not work for me. Kate Daniels, on the other hand is a fun, likeable, kick ass character. Even the character Ilona Andrews copied from Guilty Pleasures, Rafael, is so much better.

I might try the next one in the series but I am in no rush to do so. This was one of the first UF-PR books so it might wort a try if you are interested how it all began.
Profile Image for Cassa.
235 reviews7 followers
July 28, 2008
If I read "naw" one more time, I'm gonna have to slap a bitch. That has to be, to me, the least intelligent-sounding word to come out of anyone's mouth--doubly so if you're answering your own rhetorical questions, Anita, as though the reader is too stupid to realize that no, the vampire probably won't let you go.

Anita's a stone cold bitch; in all three hundred pages I think the only real concern she had was for a character we barely met whose name I've forgotten. (In fact, this review had one star, but just remembering this fact made me remove it. No stars for you, Anita.) I get the feeling that Anita's just in this job to kill vampires legally. Her entire feeling towards vampires seems to be summed up as "I hate them all and want to kill them but I guess Jean-Claude's OK because he's kinda cute."

I wanted more, lots more, of Edward. He was the most interesting character in the book, and he was clearly a sociopathic killer with no real emotions or empathy. When that's the best character in a story, something's gone wrong in putting him in a sidekick role.

Half this book could have been eliminated if clothing and gun details had been removed. Every chapter seemed to have a lengthy description of just what Anita was wearing to hide her super cool, heavily detailed guns and knives. I only need to know once that she's wearing something that will cover her weapons and it's gonna be hot because of it. Briefly mention how the guns are special and then just call it "the gun." I don't care to begin with and I won't care the third time you reference a gun I've never heard of.

I'm still amazed that I read three hundred pages and not once was there any explanation of the vampire myths; the most we got to explaining how any of these creatures came to be was a vague "no one really knows" for the ghouls that was poorly explained later in a way that was supposed to be definitive but never actually explained anything. Three hundred pages in a world where vampires are possibly getting the right to vote and you're not going to explain where the heck they came from? That's a severe lack of detail. I wanted to know how vampires came to be, why they have a pulse and can bleed, what exactly is going on with the mind connection and "four bites"; all these things are so drastically different from any other vampire myths that they need to be explained. All Anita's concerned with is killing them--some expert; if she does know anything about vampires (and all she seems to know is how to murder them), she doesn't bother to let anyone know. I get the feeling she knows just enough to hate and that's all she wants to know. Her loathing for the Church of Eternal Life was palpable and insulting; her attitude there as well as elsewhere seemed to be "How dare people be different from me? They should all die, the monsters."

This book needed less of Anita's bigotry and demeaning attitude and more explanation of vampire origins and how they came from feared monsters to nearly getting the vote.
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,164 followers
November 2, 2015
You know when you have someone who is constantly trying to get you to read a certain book because they KNOW you will love it? Well, that is why I decided to read this one. BUT, after I read it and told her that I liked it, she told me that this is NOT the series she was talking about. oops! haha, too bad! I like this one, so far, and now I guess she will have to wait (and nag me) even longer until I get to the series she meant for me to read. (Dark Hunter?)

Also, she warned me to only read this series for around 8 books because then things take a left turn and it's all porn and no story.

I don't know why she's so happy about it, but okay. Whatever floats your boat.

That seems odd to me since there was absolutely no sex in this book at all. But, I'll take her advice. The person in question is my daughter. If she warns her mother about porn, then I guess I've done something right. ;)

So, everyone knows about Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter. Do I really need to tell you what it's about? No.

I'll just tell you what I liked about it.

First off, there is tons of action and blood. I like action and blood. Within a couple of pages we get our hero stuck in a dungeon with a bunch of vampires that may or may not kill her. I was pretty optimistic that she would live considering she has an entire series devoted to her, but still. Dungeons are cool - especially when they contain killer-wererats, a homicidal vampire child, and an evil circus going on upstairs. Of course, in my opinion all circus's are evil. I mean, come on---clowns. *shiver*

Clowns have streets named after them in Hell

Secondly, I liked that Anita is a smartass who makes jokes at inappropriate moments.

A lot of people don't get my jokes. If I was less secure, I'd think my jokes weren't funny. Naw.
I can relate to that. My jokes don't always land. I've heard the phrase "too soon" many a times.

Anita is no Kate Daniels - the benchmark for all smartass heroines in my book - but she is amusing. I love characters who make me laugh.

And, lastly, I liked the world with all of its scary creatures set in our modern times. Although, when I say "modern", I am using the term loosely. These books were written a while back and Anita actually has a pager and uses pay phones. O_o

So, I will keep reading this series for a few books.... until I start hearing bowm-chicka-bow-wow. Then, I'm out.
11 reviews1 follower
December 28, 2007
All of Ms. Hamilton's books have erotic undertones, but this is toward the beginning of the series, before those undertones turned into overtones, sidewaystones, diagonaltones, and all those other tones that we can't discuss in polite society. At this point and through book six or seven, you can still call them action novels, rather than "action" novels, at which point you're just turning the pages thinking MY GOD, WHAT A HORNBALL THIS WOMAN IS.

Anyway, if you like the supernatural and action heroines (read 'babes with guns'), and don't mind a few (read 'dozens of') bloody scenes, there's something about a French vampire, a lesbian werewolf, and a 5'3" heroine that I found captivating. Give it a try if you're in the mood.
Profile Image for Sammy Loves Books.
1,131 reviews1,439 followers
January 16, 2019
I Just Popped my Anita Blake Cherry and it was Good!!!

"I know who and what I am. I am The Executioner, and I don’t date vampires. I kill them."


I have a new book girlfriend and her name is Anita Blake!
She's a strong heroine with common sense, a sense of humor, and she's packing heat!


I loved the characters...especially the evil ones! The action and fight scenes were very entertaining and the writing flowed so smoothly. I can't wait to read more of this series!!!

I also hope to see much more of that sexy Jean-Claude

Profile Image for Lianne.
248 reviews21 followers
May 1, 2012
This was a complete waste of time. The obscenely poor writing drove me crazy. If it hadn't been a library book, there were several occasions when I would have thrown it across the room. ("Bully...naw...dammit...goosebumps marched up my arms...")

Hamilton never took the time to set up the world we're reading about, or give any sort of motivation to the characters' choices/actions. This was confusing and annoying.

The lazy editing was incredibly distracting; I found at least four typos in the book.

I didn't like a single character in this book. Was Anita Blake supposed to be endearing? Cute? If so, I disagree. She alternated between insufferable bitch and whiny adolescent. Was Jean Claude supposed to be sexy? Was Edward? Was Phillip supposed evoke sympathy? I think that was the intention, but I was just disgusted with them all.

I don't understand the devotion so many people seem to have to this author/series. Needless to say, I will not be wasting any more time on the following books.
Profile Image for Argona.
169 reviews257 followers
June 9, 2016
I started reading this series long time ago. I Specially have very good memories from reading the first book of this series, which is why I will always cherish these books. But I will not ignore the fact that this series has some serious faults and flaws that in my opinion, are getting out of hand! This series started strong and remained that way for several books but suddenly took a turn for worse.

This series captivated me because of the vampires. I have a thing for vampires and in this series, compared to many others, they are classy, dark and manipulative. The bad vampires were really bad, cruel and even psychotic and the good vampires, while not as bloodthirsty as the bad ones, had their own moments of cruelty and were also mean and cold. You know, old school vampires! The type that burn under the sun light and don't sparkle! Vampires that have actually grown to enjoy being a vampire.

I still continue to read this series because I want to read more about my favorite vampires (Jean-Claude and Asher) but sadly, each book continues to add more and more male characters and there is hardly any space for the old ones. This is one of those flaws that I mentioned. I was surprised when Anita first started to create a male harem for herself because I simply wasn't used to stories with multiple partners. I did get used to it and I even came to like her harem, but as the story progressed, her harem continued to expand and now it simply refuses to end! In each new book, we have less action and more and more pointless sex! There is less and less mystery, there is hardly a plot and there is almost no suspense! Why? Because we have ANITA!

I liked her much better at the beginning of the series, when she wasn't a power hungry bitch or the most powerful creature in the entire world. Honestly, these days, I know what happens at the end of each new book before reading it. A very powerful villain will appear that everybody fears, the world might actually come to an end, but no worries, we have Anita! she will discover a new power, defeating all the great villains by herself! Other characters are just lurking around to provide her with sex. If this is feminism, I don't get it.

Anita wants to a be a strong, level-headed and unique woman but she comes out as an annoying bitch who doesn't appreciate being a woman and actually wants to be a boy and belittles other females. When she wants to describe herself, she claims to be one of the boys! I really really hate this in a female character that's supposed to be strong. In my opinion, this is not a strong woman but a whiny sexist woman who has identity problems! There! I said it! And the way she acts like she loves all the men in her harem...I don't think she really loves any of them anymore. Maybe she did at the beginning but not anymore. You don't love your boyfriend or girlfriend as much as you used to, when you get a second one...and a third one...and a fourth one and this goes on and on...!

Now, I do understand that Anita needs a harem because Jean-Claude is from the house of lust and they need to feed this lust to gain strength, but enough is enough. Oh, and there isn't a single man in the story who isn't in love with her or who isn't dying to sleep with her! Seriously...what the hell?

Last but not least, most of the powerful male characters are actually really good people, while most of the powerful female characters are evil monsters, all with the exception of Anita.

This series is still unfinished and at this point, that doesn't really matter to me anymore but to be honest, I may continue to read it despite all my nagging and complaining simply because I really really liked this damn series at the beginning! I have given these books high ratings since I enjoyed reading them in a certain period of time that I had nothing else to keep me distracted from life. I am simply trying to remain loyal to those memories.
Profile Image for Beth.
917 reviews104 followers
June 19, 2022
I first came across Anita Blake in the early '90s when the first books were coming out. I was living in St. Louis at the time, and my small circle of friends were all excited to see a series from a local author on the bookshelves, and with a unique take on fantasy: set in our own city, with a badass woman as the lead character. After a few volumes, I had gotten a little bored with the series and the new books got backlogged on my shelf, and then I stopped buying them at all. A few months ago, I decided to pick up the audiobook of this first of Anita's adventures... probably because it was cheap.

As we here in the 2020s know, there are a few things about this series that haven't aged well in the intervening 30-ish years. Let's get the worst out of the way: parts of it are quite rape-y. Many of the creatures of the night are not big on consent, whether it's Jean-Claude's putting a kind of territorial marker on Anita, or the actual threat of rape. Anita ends up afraid or terrified a lot of the time, and it's kind of cool that she isn't a stone-cold badass 100% of the time. But since so many of the horror situations are like this, it's an uncomfortable way of showing vulnerability in a character, to put it mildly.

Urban fantasy existed before Guilty Pleasures, but it didn't get huge until after Anita's debut. It isn't a genre that's aged all that well, or maybe it's more accurate to say it was a fad subgenre for a while but isn't anymore. The "girly ghetto"--the genre or category that women authors get shunted off to and then sneered at for writing same-y crap--has moved from UF to YA in the meantime.

And let's give an ironic salute to the cover. I switched to this version of the cover because it's the one that was used on the first edition (which I still have in a box somewhere), and it is so awful. It's evident throughout this book that Anita is reluctantly attracted to Jean-Claude, and here he doesn't look attractive at all. And that purple bar at the top of the cover makes the book look like it's under a romance or YA imprint. It has a cheesy charm, I guess. Speaking of things that haven't aged well, in the book Jean-Claude looks like a glam rocker, with shoulder-length hair and lace at his cuffs and collar... well, we thought that was pretty sexy at the time.

Moving on to other things. Anita has a kind of noir-ish narrative first-person voice. Since I haven't read any noir myself, I have to take other people's word about this. Anita inserts a lot of snarky quips into her narrative--"peachy," "bully for me," etc. She also uses lots of similes, some of which don't make much sense. She also says "dear God" a LOT. (and the narrator always delivered that line in a throaty voice which amused me more than it made me sympathize with her shock.) St. Louis has its fair share of night clubs and underground monster lairs and spooky graveyards, and a lot of the story takes place at night, so it does have a feeling of a dark or secret world that ordinary people only see if they end up being victims of it.

At the very beginning of the series, Anita's main power is that she's an animator, someone who can use animal sacrifices to raise the dead. I like how this power causes an internal conflict for Anita. She is religious enough that she can carry a cross around and have it actually affect vampires she comes across, since in this world holy symbols only work on vamps when one has strong faith. Since she believes that one's soul leaves this world after death, she considers vampires as non-human, as walking corpses. She sees her attraction to Jean-Claude as his attempting to control her emotions, rather than an attraction to a dead person, coming from within herself. There's a character she meets during this book who ends up dying and being brought back to life, and there's a scene that I found very affecting where she sends this zombie, who she knew personally during what ended up being the last part of their life, to their eternal rest.

I haven't said anything about the mystery in this book, and that's because I tend to think of mystery plots in UF as unimportant, or at best secondary to getting to know the characters and setting. Aside from Jean-Claude, who's a real standout in my opinion, there's Edward a.k.a. "Death," and Nikolaos (sp?) the thousand-year-old head vampire of St. Louis. Ronnie is a good supporting character for Anita, especially since it seems she doesn't get along with women all that well otherwise. Setting-wise, I didn't get a very strong sense of St. Louis as I remember it. Just a couple of images felt unique to it, the cobblestone streets of downtown being an example very early in the book. Maybe the city will be filled in with more detail later in the series.

The audiobook kind of bothered me at first. The producers added this really cheesy music during scenes with action or suspense, and it distracted me from the story. But once I got used to it, it was fun and made Anita's adventures feel like an entertaining B movie. I further amused myself by wondering if they'd break out some porn sax for the sex scenes later in the series. The narrator's silly accents for Jean-Claude and others added to the campy effect. The occasional times that things got a bit sexy or serious were done well, though.

I intend to keep listening to the audiobooks for a few more volumes, though I doubt I'll ever be up to date with the series, whether by listening or reading. There's the possibility of my having some kind of personal revolution where I make it past the first handful of volumes of a long series, but considering what I've heard about the quality of "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" after volume 10 or so, it's unlikely to be the one that starts that revolution.
Profile Image for Foxy11814.
2 reviews8 followers
April 12, 2008
I never really had any intention of reading this series, but a close friend of mine insisted that I buy the first novel when we were roaming the shelves at Barnes and Noble. Yes, the book grabbed my attention, but I'll painfully admit it was because of the subject matter rather than anything truly engaging that the author wrote.

The truth is I don't really care for Anita Blake's character. Anything she takes any time in describing is pure agony reading. Her continuous lectures on guns is annoying, and it leaves one asking, "Who cares?" And, let's not forget to mention that we get these same descriptions of other characters, guns, clothes, etc. in every single book (at least from the first three I've read). It seems like every novel, after Book One, repeats what has happened in every other book. While I realize it serves the purpose that anyone can pick up any of her books and be brought up to date with the plotline, it demeans the fans she's accumulated. They know what happened in previous novels, and they know who her main characters are. And, for goodness sake, they know what kind of weapons she uses. So, why the tidious repetition?

The only character that holds any interest for me is her would-be vampire lover, Jean-Claude. His interests in Anita, a vampire slayer, and his slow seduction of her is far more interesting than Anita herself. Jean-Claude is what made me read the first three novels of the series. (I bought Books One through Six, so I'll read the rest, because of him, as well. I'm undecided if I will continue the series at that point.)

Of course, this is supposed to judge Book One on its own accord, and with that being said, it isn't horrible, because you don't get the sense of repetition, though you do still have to endure her descriptions. It's a quick read if you just want to waste time, but I forewarn you, you're not going to get a lot out of it.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,922 reviews69.3k followers
August 13, 2009
I am a die hard fan of three different series. Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden, Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson, and Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse are (in no particular order) my favorite characters to read about. I am now going to have to add Anita Blake to that list. Wow! I very rarely love the first book in any new series. I tend to cut them some slack though, because I know there is a lot of background info and world building that the author has to pack in to the first one. However, once I picked up Guilty Pleasures, I couldn't put it down! The whole book was action packed and totally engrossing. I haven't been this excited by a new book in a while, and I am looking forward to reading the next one!
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,453 reviews7,563 followers
January 20, 2021
I know who and what I am. I am The Executioner, and I don’t date vampires. I kill them.

Gaaaaaaak! I was doing so well keeping up with a review for everything I had read so far this year . . . .

Okay, so I’m about 57 years late to the Anita Blake party, but once again . . . .

And my chance to win free shit from the library so I channeled my inner Barney Stinson and said CHALLENGE ACCEPTED by fully embracing the theme “Show Me State” (for those of you who aren’t tavern trivia champs knowledgeable in state mottos, this year’s suggestions either take place or are written by people from Missouri). Miss Anita is a character from St. Louis so she fit the bill perfectly and finally got me off my keister to give this series (or at least this first volume in the series a go).

So the story here is about Anita Blake, an “animator” (think less Disney and more Walking Dead) who gets hired by a big muckity muck vamp to investigate some slayings. There’s a little of this . . .

And absolutely zero of this . . . .

And I’m also happy to report that when it comes to this question . . . .

The answer is 100% no. This is true urban fantasy with zero salami hiding but plenty of action. I was really surprised at how well it stood the test of time and has no references or anything at all to age it. Not bad. Not bad at all. And now I’m one step closer to my coffee mug : )

Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,865 reviews370 followers
July 19, 2017
***2017 Summer Lovin' Reading List***

Another title in what seems to be morphing into my Summer Vampire Reading List. I liked this one and will probably read on, at least for another book or two, in the series.

These are old-school vampires, susceptible to both crosses and holy water, something fairly uncommon in current urban fantasy. Anita knows that she is opposing evil, not just being prejudiced against a new segment of society.

There was also, I thought, a nod to Anne Rice's vampires, specifically Claudia. The biggest, baddest vamp in Anita's town is actually a 1000 year old little girl!

I'm not exactly sure why, but Anita reminds me of Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock. I think it may be a matter of kickass attitude, but Jane is much more comfortable working for and around the undead than Anita.

Anita needs a woman friend right away!! She can't continue to lean on the psychopathic Edward (although I must admit that he has a treasure-trove of weapons, making him a handy kind of guy to know. If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy). Anita also has an unexplained talent for resisting vampire glamour which I will be interested to learn more about. Plus its pretty obvious that Anita is riding for a fall when she declares, "I don't date vampires, I kill them." I predict she'll be dating one in the next book.
Profile Image for Xabi1990.
1,973 reviews850 followers
March 5, 2019
¡Igualdad, igualdad, IGUALDAAAAAAAAAD!
Que ya está bien de que se quiten la camiseta hombres, vampiros o lo que sea y nos apabullen unos pectorales y abdominales escultóricos. Que no hay más que macizos buenorros sueltos por esas páginas y la prota es una menudita con aspecto aniñado. ¡Que los varones lectores tb queremos que se quiten las camisetas las chicas de la novela y salgan macizas buenorras!.

Coñas aparte, la novela es muy entretenida de leer. Vaya por delante que no he leído casi nada de esos vampiros tan de moda. O en general de seres sobrenaturales sueltos entre nosotros (creo que las de Jim Butcher iban e un rollo parecido, ¿no?), así que la novela ha sido refrescante de leer, por la temática. Simplona pero efectiva, le doy cuatro estrellas un poco escasas porque tres era quedarse corto.
Aquí desfilan vampiros, hombres de 600 años, algules, zombis y hasta alguna persona “normal”. Y tíos buenos. Y para una vez que aparece alguna fémina con poca ropa encima, o está más que pasada de carnes o la escribe con un pecho que excede la normativa. Cachiiiiiiiissss, qué mala es la autora.

Lo dicho, que se puede leer. Voy a meterme otra de la saga al Kindle por si me apetece en el futuro leer algo desengrasante.
Profile Image for pinkgal.
173 reviews47 followers
March 9, 2007
Well. I'd made the mistake of picking up one of Laurell K. Hamilton's later Anita Blake books and reading it first. I had to stop halfway because to be frank, it sucked. It really, really sucked. I couldn't believe people were paying money for that garbage. But many of my friends insisted that the first few books of the series were actually pretty good and not quite so wlsh fulfillment-esque. So I read the first book.

... it wasn't bad. In fact, it was a much better scale than her later books. But I still couldn't like it. =( In this world, vampires and lycanthropes and all the supernatural live side by side in wary acceptance. As long as one doesn't try to cross to the other. That's actually a bit interesting. A bit.

Vampire fiction is overdone and often overwrought. I think the times of Buffy and Anne Rice are over; I just couldn't bring myself to care in the least bit about the characters, not even the enigmatic Jean-Claude. And the less said of Anita, perhaps the better. I've skimmed the later books to get a feel of where Hamilton is going with Blake's character and it's not good. Not good at all.

It was disappointing because so many people adore the series and I totally though I'd love it. But alas, that was not to be.
Profile Image for Kimberley doruyter.
813 reviews92 followers
August 6, 2022
if you had to be someone in this world you could not do better then being anita blake.
as cool as buffy and witty to boot.

i will admit that this is one of my very own guilty pleasures
Profile Image for Donna.
68 reviews6 followers
September 14, 2008
Summary ~ Anita Blake may be small and young, but vampires call her the Executioner. Anita is an animator and vampire hunter in a time when vampires are protected by law--as long as they don't get too nasty. Now someone's killing innocent vampires and Anita agrees--with a bit of vampiric arm-twisting--to help figure out who and why.
Trust is a luxury Anita can't afford when her allies aren't human. The city's most powerful vampire, Nikolaos, is 1,000 years old and looks like a 12-year-old girl. The second most powerful vampire, Jean-Claude, is interested in more than just Anita's professional talents, but the feisty necromancer isn't playing along--yet. This popular series has a wild energy and humor, and some very appealing characters--both dead and alive.
Introduces: Edward the hyper-violent bounty hunter/freelance killer of the supernatural. Ronnie, best friend/private investigator; Phillip – stripper/vampire freak, soon to be zombie, eventually dead and buried for good; Irving Griswold – reporter by day, werewolf by – well all the time. Note: foreshadowing, Louie, a wererat, is briefly mentioned; he will later play a much larger role in the series
Notables: Jean Claude has given Anita the first two vampire marks.
Bad guys: Zachary – vampire murderer, Valentine
Big Bad kill ~ Anita kills Nikolaos by taking off her head with a sword
Reviews ~ "Guilty Pleasures" is the first of the Anita Blake series. What makes the series unique is the strong, tough-minded character of the heroine and narrator. Before "Guilty Pleasures" vampire stories rarely had female leads, let alone one with the hard-nosed style of Anita Blake. She is a professional animator (one who raises the dead) and a licensed vampire killer in an alternate earth where vampires have come out of the closet (coffin?) and are active participants in American life. She is also on contract to the police - the "Spook Squad" which investigates crimes in which the supernatural beings are suspected to be the criminals or to have played a part.
Hamilton's vampires are of the Anne Rice genre. They are beautiful, deadly and follow their own code of ethics. Many humans have become enthralled with them, but many are deeply suspicious. Many of the vampires work for or in nightclubs; the city of St. Louis in this universe seems to have a really kinky nightclub district! The vampires do drink blood, human, and by no means necessarily from consenting adults. The drinking of blood doesn't have to be associated with sex, but sometimes is. To Anita they are monsters who, when they go out of control, must be killed. But U.S. law protects vampires that behave themselves. Even so, when someone starts killing the vampires of St. Louis, authorities make little progress. Angered, two of the strongest vampires in the city, Jean-Claude and Nikolaos, convince Anita to hunt down the killer.
Jean-Claude is one of the modern romantic vampires, easy to look at with fine manners and style. Nikolaos, on the other hand, is a thousand year old sadistic horror in the body of a thirteen year old girl. Her powers are unimaginable and dark hungers hide under her innocent looks. The vampiress takes an immediate dislike to Anita's feisty style and our heroine spends as much time dodging Nikolaos' efforts to injure and enslave her as she does seeking the killer. 400+ yr old Jean-Claude comes under attack as well as he tries to help Anita.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Becky.
1,339 reviews1,634 followers
February 27, 2012
I remember my best friend reading these years ago, and really enjoying them. Maybe if I had read them then, too, I would have liked it better. Reading it today, it just didn't work for me, and I quit before halfway.

Being that the story is in first person, I expect it to be easy to follow, having access to all of Anita's information and thoughts, etc. Except that it wasn't. Instead of seeing this, or being shown things through Anita's eyes, instead we're told things, and it's like it's too much trouble for Anita (or Hamilton) to tell us everything, so she just gives us the minimum and we have to fill in the rest. It was very choppy and harder to follow than it should have been. There was a lot of context missing to frame the information we're being given, so it's just jumbled stuff that presumably will come together once we have all of the pieces... and the time to put them together.

The writing was really, really hard to follow when it came to action scenes. In the fight scene in the dungeon cell, I envisioned a stone, underground room with a locking door. That's it. But then no, there are stairs... with a ledge? High enough to do real damage should something fall off of it? Since when? Since it was convenient? Then there's a tunnel - conveniently unnoticed before - and it's just OPEN, so things can come in and go out, but that's where they put Anita to make sure that she can't escape. Huh?

The scene with Nikolaos made no sense at all to me. I get that she's the Master, and the whole power trip thing, but exactly what was with the wind and the blue light and the freak out? Maybe that's explained in the 2nd half of the book I didn't get to, but if a character is going to run for their lives, I generally appreciate being let in on the secret of just what the danger is.

Speaking of being let in on the secret, just about all of the conversations I read involved stuff that the reader isn't privy to. The participants of the conversation know what is being talked about, but the reader is left in the dark. Why is it a big deal that Anita wants a bagel before 10am? I dunno, but apparently it is. Then there's the enigmatic Edward conversation, in which all sorts of unspoken things are discussed, and again the reader is left wondering. Again and again... If I'm seeing things from Anita's perspective, I want to know AT LEAST what she knows, or suspects, or thinks or assumes or whatever. Play fair - don't string me along. I don't have the patience for it.

I'm not saying that this is a bad book. I'm sure it works for many people, but it just didn't work for me. Anita's sarcasm just didn't work, and I'm a sarcastic person so I usually appreciate it. It just felt off to me. Like Anita doesn't really have a sense of humor, but uses sarcasm for lack of anything else to say. Maybe that's the case, I don't know. I just know I wasn't feeling it.

So this one is a no-go for me. Disappointing, because I've wanted to read these for years, I just had never gotten around to it, and now when I finally did, I just couldn't get into it.
Author 2 books56 followers
December 29, 2011

Laurell Hamilton was completely new to me. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. I love her work! I flew through the Anita Blake series. On average, I read a book a day. And on a super lazy day, one and a half.

Guilty Pleasures. Anita Blake. She is an animator. She raises the dead for a living and occasionally consults the new task force that covers all possible paranormal homocides.

Surrounded by monsters, dodging the manipulatice powers that continue to attempt to lure her farther into their world.

Anita is an arrogant and rude character. Apparently, she never developed the filter between her brain and her mouth. Hilarious! She is brave and bold. Adventurous and loyal to her friends. Although, in the beginning, her morals were black and white. As the book progressed, monsters became unclear. Lines were being crossed.

Jean-Claude is a master vampire, a seductive and sexy man who gets under her skin. He is a monster. But his charm does not elude her. He owns the club, Guilty Pleasures, a vampire strip club. Below is one of his opening lines to the audience that is eagerly awaiting a sexy performance.

“Have you ever wondered what it would be like to feel my breath upon your skin? My lips along your neck. The hard brush of teeth. The sweet, sharp pain of fangs. Your heart beating frantically against my chest. Your blood flowing into my veins. Sharing yourself. Giving me life. Knowing that I truly could not live without you, all of you.”

Anita finds herself in an angry situation when she learns that one of her friends has been betrayed. A life changing and unbearably perverse relationship is formed, forced upon her friend. Anita confronts the betrayer, and below is what she declares to that person.

“I will cut out your heart.” I was still smiling, I couldn’t seem to stop. “Then I will burn it and scatter the ashes in the river. Do you understand me?”

Treacherous vampires. The Master vampire of the city demands obedience from all those beneath her.

“Get out of here before I kill you. Take the woman and see her safely to her car. If you fail me again, large or small, I will tear your throat out, and my children will bathe in a shower of your blood.”

This book is a must read. The mystery kill continues to elude the police, and Anita. She struggles to solve the crime and unveil the homocidal serial killer of vampires.

Her friend’s life depends on it.

Profile Image for Lena.
1,145 reviews244 followers
June 24, 2022
“You do what we want or I will peel your mind away like the layers of an onion.”
- Nikolaos
“If you fail me again, large or small, I will tear your throat out and my children will bath in a shower of your blood.”
- Nikolaos

4th Re-listen: I needed that.
3rd Re-listen: This is my guilty pleasure ;)
2nd Re-listen: Yes, it gets better every time.

Is it possible for a book to get better each time I read it? It feels that way. Maybe it’s because this is my first audiobook read but I’ve enjoyed it immensely.

Here were my casting decisions:

Why no Anita? Because I always picture myself. Anita Blake is the only time a character’s physical description has resembled me. But hey, if you only get one I scored!
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