Book in series sparks interest in new readers

June 24, 2011 Review Print Print
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When choosing a book to take to the beach, or to read on the front porch as the sun goes down this summer, look no further than Laurell K. Hamilton’s latest Anita Blake novel, “Hit List.”

Released June 7, “Hit List” is one the of the best Blake novels to hit shelves in some time.

The series follows the life and adventures of Blake, a vampire hunter who has become romantically involved with a master vampire.

The romance has, by this point, spread out to include a massive polyamorous relationship comprising a couple dozen characters that are intimately or romantically involved with Blake.

And all of them are vampires or shape shifters.

 

In previous books, Hamilton took a few shortcuts, focused more heavily on the sex aspect of Blake’s polyamorous relationship, and solved problems by slowly turning her main character into deus ex machina.

At the same time, Hamilton ignored many of the personal issues that made Blake a sympathetic character, causing the character to slip slowly into being a two-dimensional sociopath with godlike powers.

Fortunately, Hamilton seems to have come to her senses, because “Hit List” is everything fans of the series love.

This novel follows Blake as she works in her official capacity as a U.S. Marshal to hunt down the Harlequin, an ancient order of supernatural spies and assassins who are killing were-tigers to allow for the rise of the series’ greatest threat, the Mother of Darkness.

Blake’s personal issues come back into the picture, though with a mature and melancholy acceptance that she has them, instead of the sometimes whiplash mood changes and angst that marked the character’s problems in previous novels.

Edward, the bounty hunter and hitman that the vampires call “Death,” comes back into the picture and we get to see new depths and sides of the character that keep him fresh, and allow him to grow.

The powers that make Blake deus ex are downplayed for the most part, and it’s usually Blake’s allies that save her bacon.

That makes “Hit List” one of the first novels in the series in some time that doesn’t showcase the character powering up and stomping on everything while the supporting cast twiddles their collective thumbs.

All in all, this is one of the best novels to come from Hamilton’s pen in a while.

Fans of the series can breathe easy knowing that it’s getting better and Blake won’t just become a goddess.

First-time readers can definitely kick off with this one, as it makes enough explanation of what’s going on to avoid losing someone who’s never read the other books.

But new readers be warned: “Hit List” may have you wanting to read the rest of the series and there are a total of 19 books before it.

Still, Hamilton has once again penned an exciting and heartfelt novel that reminds readers why they love her work.

And it’s about damn time.

Rating: A

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