Why We’re Obsessed with Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter

(Reader comments on the series and Dallas Schulze’s DIK Review)

Carol #1 [email protected]:
This, along with the “In Death” series by J.D. Robb, was absolutely addictive.

Actually there is a great deal of similarity in between both the characters Anita and Eve and Jean Claude and Rourke.

I just wish Laurell Hamilton wrote as quickly as Nora Roberts. Like Dallas Schultz, I devoured the entire series quickly and have been wishing for more ever since.

Carol #2 ([email protected]):
I hope she keeps both men – the suspense of who will she choose adds to the story.

However, if I had to choose only one it would be Jean Claude. He has no illusions as to who and what Anita really is – a “lean, mean killing machine” who is not particularly burdened by conscience. Jean Claude totally accepts her. I would never expect JC to have a little morning after chat with Anita about the necessity of last night’s killing spree. His attitude is what is – is.

Richard on the other hand deludes himself. He is a really nice guy who was brought up in an “Ozzie and Harriet” household with good old fashion American values. Had he not been a victim of disease, he would never find himself in the company of such as Anita and Jean Claude.

He is appalled at some of the situations he finds himself in and doesn’t want to really take a good look at Anita (or himself for that matter). If he ever does, he will never be able to accept her.

While some of Jean Claude’s reasons for being with Anita are self serving, I do believe he loves her and will always be there for her.

Back to the Carol (#1) ([email protected]):
While Jean Claude’s interest in Anita may be self serving, I do believe, nonetheless, that he does love her.

Richard on the other hand deludes himself as to what Anita really is. (He is a really nice guy who was brought up in an “Ozzie and Harriet” household with good old fashion American values. Had he not been a victim of disease, he would never find himself in the company of such as Anita and Jean Claude. ) Richard claims to love her, and I believe he loves the image of her that he has in his head. He really doesn’t want to see what Anita is. She doesn’t place anywhere near the same value on life as he does. If he ever takes the blinders off, he will never be able to accept her. With Anita’s attitude of I am what I am – accept me or not – the long term survival of their relationship is in doubt.

But let’s hope that’s a long way off.

AAR Reviewer Rachel:
I started off liking this series very much. I know that most people probably like the series better as it progressed and became more complicated and more sexual, but I think I liked the first few books best. When Anita’s only complication was Jean Claude and the stories were not as gory. Also, I feel that Anita is perhaps getting too complex and too powerful. She’s almost like a goddess in the later books. Invincible.

As to which monster I prefer, I think I’d go with Jean Claude over Richard just for the elegance factor. He’s more confident, more arrogant and that makes him more compelling to me. But the triangle thing isn’t my bag, and his blatant self-interest is rather a turn-off. If he loves Anita, he shouldn’t be willing to share her in any capacity, even one that furthers his own cause. Perhaps this is a simplistic thought, but it’s mine as a romance reader, and I own it.

My favorite book in the series was surprisingly Blue Moon because I thought that the interaction Anita had with her werewolves and wereleopards was so, so fascinating. And though I didn’t like the complications that resulted from the midnight run, that scene was HOT!

Anyway, it was worth it to read the books just to explore the dark, magical world that Anita inhabits.

Katherine Kehoe ([email protected]):
What a wonderful review. I’m of the SF/F reader category and I love all the LKH books.

I completely agree with Dallas’ assessment of Anita’s problematic love life and and hope that she does keep both men.

LLB:
I have gone back and forth on Anita’s two choices so many times it feels like the inside of my brain is watching a pingpong match!

Oddly enough, I tend to favor Jean Claude because he accepts himself while Richard does not. In real life I’d probably go more for the Richard type, but there aren’t too many vampires and werewolves knocking down my doors.

When I talked about this w/AAR’s reviewers, most prefer Richard. If Anita weren’t Anita, I’d say he’s definitely the guy, but since she is the way she is, J-C seems a better choice. It feels selfish, but there you have it!

On the other hand, and I know I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here, but isn’t Richard the kind of guy who’d give you a back rub when you had a PMS backache? That’s a terrific kind of fantasy man in and of himself, and let’s not forget how many times Anita has had to bail out Jean-Claude.

But back to the other side of my mouth – since Anita isn’t the settle-down kind of gal….

Jennifer:
I myself am probably the biggest Jean-Claude fan that ever there was. I’m not sure if it’s that bad-boy image of his, all those sexy outfits, his downright compelling sexuality, or simply b/c he was there in the series first, but he just sends me! (probably all of the above)

Another thing that attracts me to JC is simply that he accepts Anita for the way she is, and even encourages her to further explore her powers. OK, so he’s doing the latter as part of his own power play, but being a preternatural creature is all about power, so I don’t blame the guy!

As for Richard, well, while I’m sure he would give backrubs and fetch Anita tea when she has PMS, and they love to watch musicals together and all that, there’s just something lacking there. Maybe it’s the fact that he can’t seem to accept his own monster-ness (is that a word?!) or that he gets squeamish when Anita is ruthless or he needs to be merciless. In the beginning, I think he served Anita well by helping her stay in contact with the human side of herself, but now, I just don’t know where he’s heading.

I must confess that I found out what goes on in Blue Moon, and was so not looking forward to the change in lovers that I actually put off reading it for the longest time! And that excerpted scene seems to dash my JC hopes for the future as well, although with LKH and Anita, you just never know.

P.S. I also find myself comparing Anita, JC, and Richard to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, Ranger, and Morelli — anyone else do that?

Krissy:
I actually think alot of people do. Personally I think LKH has handle the threesome much better than Evanovich, only because I know I will just cry when Stephanie hooks up with Ranger. With Anita and the boys, while I didn’t like her being with Richard it worked out OK, because of how J-C accepted it as inevitable and also encouraged it because it added to the power of the triumvarete. Joe will kill Ranger and Stephanie when he finds out(that is if JE hooks Ranger and Stephanie up).

I’ve just never really understood the appeal of Richard. It’s probably because I most definitely have the bad boy syndrome. I’ve just always had a thing for the bad boys, and J-C is most definitely a bad boy.

Richard is definitely a “backrub” kind of guy. He’s also the guy I’d take home to my Mother.(What mother wouldn’t approve of Richard?…well as long as we ignored the werewolf part ) Maybe that’s why J-C is so appealing to me. He is so not the man I’d take home to Mom (he’d probably try and seduce her).

J-C is just a guy. And for me to able to say this about a character who dresses in lace and tight pants is saying alot.

I’d also love for her to admit she loves Jean Claude instead of always says I think I love J-C. This just annoys me, because she never has to put this qualifier on about Richard. *argh*

Jo-Ann ([email protected]):
She’s had to bail out Richard too! Though you’re right, I would prefer Richard’s back rub in that situation to Jean-Claude’s. His type of comfort is what would be called for there, while Jean-Claude’s would just make you want to make love/have sex/whatever. Guess you can tell who I root for?

Anyway, I think they both can provide Anita with some type of comfort. Richard, because she’s closer to her humanity with him. Apple pie, fireside chats, long walks in the woods, cozy, comfortable… He keeps her from believing she’s one of the monsters. He’s the more normal monster.

Jean-Claude on the other hand is more like her, so she gets to be herself around him, which is a relief and a comfort in itself… to be yourself. The trick is that you have to like yourself enough to want that and I don’t think Anita is yet. She is afraid she’s becoming less human (and she is, as evidenced by the power she has accumulated), and fears Jean-Claude will just hurry the job along. That he’s the monster with the agenda.

I root for Jean-Claude for Anita for the simple reason that Richard is not strong enough for her and deep down she shares more of the same values as J-C.

I never thought I’d say a man who dressed in lace and ruffles, was a total hunk (not counting Jo Beverley’s Georgians!).

It’s wearing thin that Anita can’t make a little more of a commitment to Jean-Claude when she can turn so easily to Richard. I’d have to say she’s just using him as a safety net. Alright, not just as a safety net, but that definitely plays a part there.

I wonder if LKH has an ending in mind?

Sharon ([email protected]):
I have the terrible feeling that Richard ain’t going to make it. It’s hard to be human and an idealist when you live with ‘monsters’ I can picture somewhere down the road Richard sacrificing himself for the pack and/or Anita. however I love this series because I’m never sure where the author is going to take me. I love alpa heroines. I think we can all name some alpha women in real life. I hope she gets to keep both guys.

More from Jo-Ann:
I had really mixed feelings about Obsidian Butterfly. On the one hand, I thought the story was good enough without Jean-Claude and Richard, but as a romance reader, I also felt it was a waste of time, since that is a major part of my enjoyment of the series.

Then there was the whole Edward thing, which I felt was a disappointment, since I’m not afraid of him anymore, but maybe that was LKH’s intention. But I don’t think so.

However, I did get a kick out of his two co-horts on that case, especially the one (can’t remember name, began with an “O”?), who hated Anita for so long, and then ended up with a crush on her. At the moment I find it very amusing, but I have a feeling we’ll be seeing him again, and it won’t turn out to be so funny then.

Still, I’ll be glad to have the “boys” back.

More from Krissy:
It wasn’t until after I finished OB that I realized how much I missed the boys. I actually think it’s good thing she took a break from both of them. I think it gave Anita a chance to come to terms with all the changes in her life(i.e. all the power her necromancy and the triamvurate(however you spell that))

I agree with you about Edward. I’m not exactly afraid of him anymore, but I still don’t think I’d ever invite him in for dinner. I’m sure we’ll be seeing the crush guy again(I can’t remember his name either, wasn’t he german?) That will be a very scary episode in her life, but it’ll great to watch Anita kick butt.

Karen ([email protected]):
What is a nice girl like me doing reading LKH? My idea of keepers are Julie Garwood, Joan Wolf and Laura London, for Pete’s sake?

How could I get so sucked in that I bought (me, a librarian) every single title in the series? I glommed as I’ve never glommed before. I keep them in my nightstand drawer for easy access. I think romance readers appreciate, need, crave alternate realities. Take me to the Scottish Highlands, the pirate-infested Caribbean, Regency England, etc. Give me a dashing duke, a lost Viking, a space-traveling warrior.

Simply put, LKH has created the best “other world” I’ve ever read. It is compelling, unpredictable, intense and romantic. It features the heroine I want to be and the world in which I want to live (sort of). I have gone over to the dark side and not looked back.

As for the boys? Whiny, insecure Richard vs. Jean-Claude in the bathtub? Nuff said.

More from Jennifer:
Oh, I feel the same way! Although I read Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, I always steered clear of horror-type books (got suckered into Rice with the novelty of a rock-star vampire…and still love Lestat) and never watched horror films (still don’t). I slept with a night-light until I was 17, for goodness sakes! What am I doing addicted to a vampire-guts-and-gore series?

I think it’s Anita’s snappy humor, and the matter-of-fact way that LKH portrays said guts and gore, ie, not drawing it out so much and so melodramatically that I’ll have nightmares, that got my attention.

Then there’s Jean-Claude. Oh, yum! The ultimate bad boy, every brash Highlander, arrogant duke, and go get ’em cowboy hero rolled into one delicious package…(oh, geez, going to short out my keyboard with drool!)

I was also surprised to find myself drawn to the whole love triangle thing, and here, I should refer folks to the review of the series – the reviewer’s thoughts and mine on the love triangle pretty much coincide.

Not sure which I loved more — the bathtub in The Killing Dance, or the chance to come home and find Jean-Claude in a froth of bubbles and rose petals, as in Burnt Offerings…!

Ellen ([email protected]):
I love how LKH is able to take a page from the Brothers Grimm and turn it into possible twenty-first century life. What would happen if all those bogeymen tales were true? What about trolls? Werewolves? Vampires? Zombies? She is able to make the implausible plausible. I personally vote for Richard as Anita Blake’s permanent love but for now, a girl can play, can’t she?

Maria ([email protected]):
I lean toward Richard – something about the furry parts, I guess – but I really want her to have them both. Their power together is nothing to sneeze at…and this is probably the only time I’ve thought this kind of threesome would work out!

Deena ([email protected]):
Take them both! These books really did become addictive! I was able to read all of them except the very last from the library. I had my wonderful local librarian do a state wide search and slowly but surely we got them all!! BUT… we had to get them in order!!! Well, I turned the librarian onto the series…. I gobbled them up as quickly as I could… I write romances in the paranormal vein (ouch! LOL) and just loved LKH’s ability to create a world so solid and real yet populated with such “unreal” creatures! What an example for those of us who are attempting this genre….can’t wait for the next book in the series. Read her new book and liked it..but not as much as yet as Anita’s world

Return to Dallas Schulze’s DIK Review/ArticleYou’ll find all our links for Laurell K Hamilton following our interview with herFind a list of all the titles in this series before and amazon.com order links after our DIK Review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Guilty Pleasures