These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Anita Blake
Acceptable Targets: Blonde women, doubly so if they are tall and thin. Hamilton's distaste for them seems to grow throughout the books.
Alternative Character Interpretation: Anita is either an empowered woman in charge of her own destiny who protects those she cares for, or a whiney sadistic bitch who doesn't so much care for those she "loves" as she uses them for her own ends when she needs them and ignores them when she doesn't. Either way, she's a borderline sociopath who insists on making everything about her.
Many fans jumped the ship after "Narcissus in Chains", another bunch stayed around waiting for it to get better or just to enjoy hating it, while another segment of the fan population likes to read porn, and some people genuinely still enjoy the books. A lot of this difference in opinion depends on just when the individual fan realized that Hamilton is nowhere near as talented a writer as they thought when they began reading the books.
Also this "loving" parody. And this one. Both are actually pretty accurate recreations of how most of the recent books have gone.
Complete Monster: Dominga Salvador (aka the Senora) from the comic book. In order to stop the rampage of a zombie killer, Anita tries to enlist the aid of this powerful voodoo priestess, but discovers she has been taking souls and forcing them back into their dead bodies to stop the process of rotting, but at the cost of leaving the souls painfully aware of their situation in an And I Must Scream scenario. To prove her theory, she explains to Anita how she returned the soul to a zombie, then took it out to leave it to rot, then put it back into the body to see if it will stop decaying. Not only does she use these zombies to make money in the prostitution ring, under the excuse that she has legal possession of the bodies from families who paid to see them suffer, but plans to sell her knowledge to the highest bidder.
Anita, who can do anything if you have sex with her. She even has her own religion now. A vampire church has been blood-oathed to her, and they seem as interested in worshiping her as she does.
In one book, she reveals that she, unlike any other were-creature, can turn into any of a huge selection of animals (most weres only get one form). She then goes on to exposit that there is no real way that she should be able to do that, but she can. She doesn't offer any explanation beyond "I just can."
Micah comes off as a bit of a Purity Sue, himself. Not only is he exceedingly well endowed, he's first in Anita's harem—despite several others being more devoted to her and having done more/sacrificed more for her—he always knows just what to say to please her or make her feel better, he works for a charity to help lycanthropes who are being persecuted by society, etc. He's supposed to be so wonderful and dreamy that it's likely he'd be a Creator's Pet even if the circumstances of his introduction were better.
Growing the Beard: Since after Micah the balance between the sex scenes and actual plot and action has been tilting back to where it's now back to a real story with some graphic sex scenes rather than graphic sex scenes connected by a sentence or two of story.
Although, many readers still believe that's little plot to found and most of it is now just filler. With Bullet and Kiss the Dead, the sex scenes seem to be on the rise again.
Anita insists she is this because she isn't a tall willowy blonde, despite the depiction of her as a curly-haired Lara Croft. Mostly later books, beforehand she mostly said she was just more muscular than current standards allow.
Asher is a partial example, since he is genuinely attractive, but also used to be much more attractive before the holy water (think acid) scars on almost exactly half his body.
The fact that every dude in this universe is bisexual doesn't hurt, but since Anita insists on chaining every dude to one-way monogamy with her, they all have to cast longing looks and rest heads on shoulders, because otherwise she'll dump them.
Les Yay: There are hardly any women left in the series anymore, but Anita has bucketloads of Les Yay with the interchangeable Mother of All Darkness and Belle Morte. Both of whom, interestingly, look just like her.
Nightmare Fuel: Every time Anita goes to a crime scene and finds all kinds of ripped-up corpses.
No Yay: There's a scene in "The Harlequin" where Anita and Edward are forced to share a bed. Normally, this would be pretty damn funny, but it comes across as forced, as if the author is trying to convince us there's nothing between them even though this has been established ad nauseum in the previous novels.
A large portion of the fanbase has also bestowed the title on Richard—somewhere between The Killing Dance and Narcissus in Chains. Though, to be fair, it wasn't his fault but rather the author's as his character was based on her first husband. One divorce later and suddenly Richard is an unbearable asshat.
On oh-so many accounts. One of the most noticeable ones is when Anita has sex with Jason in werewolf form in Incubus Dreams. Anita recalls that Olaf, the psychotic killer from Obsidian Butterfly who also returned in The Harlequin, allegedly masturbated in front of her with his hands covered in the blood of a dead vampire. Also when Anita gives oral sex to a random poor guy as torture and then goes crawling toward the Big Bad with her breasts hanging out covered in semen.
The constant descriptions of how the characters have sex as vampire and werecreature form, along with the IKEA Erotica.
Anita screwing a high school boy on its own was bad enough, but in Kiss The Dead it's revealed that she's been simultaneously acting as a Parental Substitute to him by attending PTA meetings.
In Kiss The Dead, Anita and one of her many lovers fall asleep while still positioned for intercourse. When they wake, his penis is glued inside her vagina due their body fluids adhering to the condom. Gross.
It seems like the series goes out if its way to make her sex life as repulsive as possible. Think about it: sex done right involves sweat and other bodily fluids. Anita is constantly having sex, often with multiple men, in times and places where post-coital clean-up just isn't possible. At one point, she has sex in her office that stained the carpet and left her sopping wet to the knees and then went right back to work. Good Lord, this woman must smell.
Strawman Has a Point: This series is full of this. Richard (the avatar of the author's ex-husband) frequently rants against the murder, rape, hypocrisy, greed, and general bad behavior of the Mary Sue protagonist, allegedly to show what a self-hating mess he is. The author is apparently unaware that he's the only one who makes any kind of logical, intelligent points about the heroine — and she doesn't even dispute the things he says.
Anita thinks she's nothing special when it comes to looks, but only the gayest of supernaturals doesn't want in her pants. Even then, the gayest of supernaturals want in her pants, when those supernaturals are female.
Tear Jerker: Surprisingly, there are examples of this both before and after Jumping the Shark: the ending scene of Bloody Bones when Serafina burns to death and Anita relives the death of her mother and Jason's reaction after confronting his father in Blood Noir.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Many fans and anti-fans would like to see more of Asher even though after his introduction, he got sidelined for other members of Anita's harem. Part of this is his interesting backstory, visible bisexuality, and his willingness to argue with Anita Now he's been villainized and Put on a Bus.
To begin with, despite having a lot of sex, the series is actually pretty sex-negative.
Anita rarely willingly chooses to have sex - she has to be forced into it somehow. The first time Anita sleeps with Jean-Claude, she’s just undergone a trauma and is emotionally vulnerable and we all know he’s a Manipulative Bastard who'd been aggressively pursuing her for years by that point. The first time with Richard she was under a magical compulsion. Another character said outright to Richard that having sex with her now was comparable to rape. And let’s not get started on Micah, who completely ignored Anita telling him “no” several times and LKH’s insistence that this was not meant to be a rape scene. And then we get the Ardeur, which is basically a date rape drug that forces people to have sex. All that talk about how Anita is a liberated woman? Not so.
It gets even worse when you realize that even before the ardeur business, not a single book goes by without featuring a sexual predator of some. Even when it adds nothing to the plot, we always have to have someone being raped, molested, sexually assaulted, coerced into sex, or threatened with any of the above. There are hardly any sexual encounters that are not dubcon at best.
In the The Harlequin, Anita immediately dismisses the potential rape of two teenage girls as "buyer's remorse," even though she's hearing the information second hand from a third party. However, Anita regards male rape victims sympathetically.
Another bad rape example: in Blue Moon Richard gets accused of rape. Despite all the monstrous behavior she's seen from werewolves by now (including, at one point, Richard getting sexually aroused by a gruesome snuff porno film depicting a helpless woman devoured by weres), Anita refuses to even consider the woman's side of the story because Richard is SUCH a nice guy and would never do such a thing. We also know that she is lying because Anita does not approve of her slutty outfits. Also, it's perfectly understandable if the family of an alleged rapist might want to confront the accuser in public and threaten her. Actually, she WAS lying, but the evidence pointing to that is the same victim-blaming garbage rape survivors get in real life.
If you enjoy BDSM, you’re either a monster or emotionally damaged.
The portrayal of GLBTQ characters. Many gay male characters end up with a woman regardless. Vampire Byron has amazing sex with Anita despite being gay. Policeman Brice starts to date a female coworker as his beard with a couple chapters of admitting his sexuality to Anita. And Asher, a bisexual who prefers men to women, is demonized and shipped off for contrived reasons.
This quote from Laurell K. Hamilton, in which she insinuates bisexuals can't have monogamous relationships (emphasis added). (Interestingly, Hamilton is friends with fellow writer Yasmine Galenorm who is openly bisexual and also has been married for over a decade.)
LHK: We have a couple of the guys getting steady girlfriends in this book. In fact, Jason's friend from Blood Noir, J. J. the dancer, is visiting in Bullet. Since she's bi-sexual and Jason only has one set of parts neither he, nor she, want to be monogamous so he's still free in St. Louis, and she's still having her own social life in New York. It seems both these fun-loving, free-of commitment, people may have met their match.
Any feminist message from the books is undermined by all other female characters being completely useless in comparison to Anita, and the continuous narration that anything remotely feminine is "weak" and "girly", and that it's better to be masculine.
Add to this the fact that Anita's entire life revolves around men. Her interactions with other women are always marked by hostility or jealousy. It even pre-dates the Ardeur business: you see it already with Dorcas Bouvier and Sergeant Freemont in Bloody Bones. If you're another strong-willed, independent woman, you're either a villainess or an object of Anita's disdain.
Dominga is a voodoo priestess who also happens to be ethnically Mexican. Anita, despite being lily white, is also half-Mexican. However, she describes Dominga as "the Mexican grandmother of [her] nightmares." Furthermore, Anita's ignorance of Hispanic traditions is treated as proof that she has not succumbed to her "Latin darkness." Lastly, the practice of voodoo is primarily attributed to the Caribbean Islands or West Africa. Mexicans practice a derivative of voodoo, but it's not quite the same. It's as though the author thought that an ethnic priestess would automatically practice an ethnic magic without giving thought to the individual traditions of the ethnicity.
Wangst: Anita is the poster girl for this trope. Her backstory is relatively sad—dead mother, father remarried a somewhat cold woman, her fiancee dumped her in one of those crushing scenes, and the first guy she seriously liked after him got murdered—but she seems to think that her problems are the worst that ever existed despite the fact that most of her harem have far worse lives than hers. Therefore, her constant whining comes across as major Wangst that gets worse with each book.
Asher. Poor guy has been disfigured, tortured and revenge-obsessed for centuries, and now that he's finally made up with his ex-lover, said ex-lover has pledged himself to one-way monogamy with someone else. To make matters worse, his only request is that he have someone to love him exclusively... and he doesn't get it. You just wanna hug him.
The in-universe woobie, Nathaniel: Nathan basically has had nothing else to do but be people's boy toy sex toy and Nathan's such the super-sub he can't say no so everyone has to protect him from being taken advantage of by well... everyone. Nathaniel has been pimped out to people who sliced him up with no care for his survival—bad enough to nearly kill him, a shapeshifter. Plus, as mentioned above, mindfucked by the previous leader until he was incapable of saying no.
Depending on the book, a lot of the male characters become this. Before Richard descends into Jerk Ass territory, he had a few moments, Jason becomes this a couple times, Philip definitely had his share of moments, so it really depends on the plot.