I have read all the Anita Blake books. All of them. I really enjoyed the first ones, where Anita is battling against what she wants, and who she wants, and who she is. Where the bad guys make sense, and she has to really fight, to use all the resources at her disposal to win. When did that stop happening? And why? Finally I feel like the author is giving us actual plot again, not just erotica, but this may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. I may be finally fed up with Anita Blake.
A phone call out of the blue from the mother of one of Anita’s lovers, Micah, leads Anita, Micah, Nathaniel, and a small group of bodyguards from St. Louis to Boulder, Colorado. Micah’s father has been bitten by something, and now has what some of the nurses are calling the zombie plague. Flying out immediately to be with his estranged family at his father’s deathbed, Micah brings Anita for comfort, but she ends up battling against something that she doesn’t recognize. Anita knows zombies – she’s the resident expert in zombies, but these zombies don’t make sense. And while the clock is ticking down for Micah’s father, it is also running out for the whole town, as others are attacked and killed by the creatures.
Who here knows what a Mary Sue is? For those of you who are less familiar, a Mary Sue is an idealized character that generally represents the author, a self-insertion as it were. Anita Blake is a Mary Sue. She is practically the textbook definition of Mary Sue – no significant flaws, beautiful (usually exotically so), is loved by everyone, excepting only the bad guys and the jealous, and someone that basically every available character falls in love with. To draw some comparisons: Anita has pale white skin and dark wavy hair (beautiful), has basically a harem of men who want to be with her and/or are in love with her (desirable), doesn’t get on well with cops and most women (they are jealous of her), the strongest animator/necromancer/vampire hunter/fighter/whatever in any group she is in (no flaws). Basically her main flaw is her self-confidence – she doesn’t think she’s pretty, much less beautiful, and I think that is supposed to be endearing. And while I have no problems with reading about BDSM and sexual situations, Anita has some very, very unsafe sex. And I am not talking about the safe sex lecture everyone gets, I’m talking more about the kind where you could end up truly damaged, or dead.
But aside from my issues with the main character, there were a few with the book itself that got on my nerves. Many of the conversations were more like filler than actual dialogue – at one point, Anita herself says she is delaying what she has to do next. Well, get with it! The reader would like something to happen now, please. Having pauses between the action bits is one thing – it gives the characters and the reader a chance to breathe. But there is a fine line between breathing space and a full break in the storyline, and I felt that this book crossed it just too many times.
And when we get to the end, the fight against the big bad is over in about 3 pages! After over 500 pages of set up, it’s fairly anticlimactic. Of course Anita wins! She’s always the most powerful, so there is never any question as she gears up to go against the enemy.
Not everything about the book was terrible. There were some interesting conversations about the philosophical and ethical issues surrounding the legality of vampires and other paranormal creatures in this world, as well with how people like Anita deal with them. The battle scenes between our heroes and the zombies were well done, and satisfyingly plentiful, especially the one in the hospital basement. And I liked seeing the aftermath as well – not everyone can deal well with the apocalypse, after all.
So, yes, I may read more Anita Blake books. But I find a perverse enjoyment in reading (or occasionally watching) bad stories for the fun of it. If you want to try some Anita Blake, read the first nine. Those were good. At this point, only lovers of erotica and die-hard Anita fans need apply.