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Reviews Comments: Guilty Pleasure turned into Awkward Morning After Anita Blake whole series review by callsignecho

The main page explains quite a bit about why her fanbase is broken, and my reasons for giving up the series are pretty close to those listed, but I'll try to cover some new ground here.

I suppose Narcissus in Chains is a good place to say it Jumped The Shark, though I think it may have been a bit earlier. Obsidian Butterfly is still one of my favorites in the series, and—perhaps significantly—she doesn't have sex in that book.

Here's where I differ from a lot of other reviews: I don't think Anita changed all that much. The world around Anita began to warp and distort bizarrely, and all the other characters began to behave completely OOC. Let me demonstrate in lazy bullet format.

Anita is:
  • An Action Girl—which is always fun.
  • A bit too Straw Feminist; but she recognized that—and even tried to moderate it a bit—which made her realistically flawed.
  • A Chaste Hero, who struggled to resist temptation—which made her sympathetic.
  • The Pesci; short, short-tempered and snarky, but people called her on it all the time—so it was just kind of entertaining.

Then THIS happened:
  • Necromancy vanished. NO ZOMBIES for the Zombie Queen.
  • The ardeur forced Anita to have sex all the time with every male character that every appeared in the series. The first love scene between Anita and JC evoked "Thank God! At last!" in the reader. Now it's just passe.
  • Magic A Is Magic A disappeared. The rules of preternatural life change at the speed of plot.
  • All the other female characters disappeared.
  • PLOT disappeared. There is no longer any plot. Anita rarely gets out of bed, let alone slays anything.

So there it is. I don't blame Anita. She's the same amorous, short-tempered, hard-working, good-intentioned, Deadpan Snarker she ever was—it's just that Hamilton has reshaped the world around Anita into this looking-glass land where Anita is always right, has tons of sex (without any moral dilemmas because it's Mate Or Die) and gets everything she wants at no cost to herself. What kind of person would you be in that world?


  • Kyoko
  • 26th Feb 11
(applause) Well-said.
  • Cheshire
  • 28th Feb 11

IMHO, my main problem with Anita is that she's an Author Analogue — Anita's self-justifications, sense of entitlement, hatred of tall blond women, and lack of self-awareness grate, mostly because they're LKH's, and LKH is writing the world so that Anita will always be right. If LKH wrote so that it was apparent that all tall blond women weren't necessarily back stabbing, stuck up hoes, or so that there was a chance that Richard was right that wanting to protect people doesn't mean you have to become a monster, it would be a lot more interesting. Also, although not as much as Merry, Anita has a fetish for survivors of sexual abuse, which, um, squick.

My secondary quibble is that Anita's the narrator. Unless you grant that she's a Cannon Sue, I'm not sure you can take Anita's word that the world has changed in such a way that she's always right, all the time.
  • callsignecho
  • 1st Mar 11
I may be alone in this, but I don't think Author Avatars are automatically bad. Anita, for instance, was interesting to me in large part because of the dissonance between her idea of feminism and mine. I could read one passage and say "Yeah, go girl!" then read the next and say, "Okay, that's a bit far, dear." It was almost like having a debate with Hamilton through a third party. It was fun!

Of course, as the series progressed, her nearly crazy fixation on dominance and establishing "who's in charge here" got a bit out of hand, but I think even as far as Blue Moon it could have been salvaged, if only Hamilton had let someone reality-check Anita.

Where the series let the fans down was that Anita started out promising us that she would never become a monster. She might have monstrous elements, but her strength of character...okay, her pathological stubborness would be what let her find a middle ground. That's what we were promised. Hamilton set us up to think that maybe Anita was strong enough to resist the temptation of sex and power, and remain a bastion of purity and unabashed Christian values in the story.

But that's not what happened. The Monster Underworld swallowed Anita without a burp, and it doesn't take a great deal of imagination to picture Anita taking the fourth mark, and being The Dragon some several hundred years from now, when a bright-eyed idealistic slayer decides to take down Jean-Claude.
  • Jezzer
  • 8th Oct 11
And let's not forget the self-righteous TAKE THAT Laurell K. Hamilton shot at her critics (and former fanbase) by way of a conversation between Anita and her former best friend, Ronnie the P.I. Veronica admits to not hanging around Anita any more because of her FACE HEEL TURN in regards to monsters and personal morality, and Anita delivers the most self (i.e. author)-serving monologue ever.
  • CasualBanshee
  • 6th Jul 12
@ Jezzer

LKH's Author Tracts are incredibly heavy-handed and annoying. In the latest book, she has one with Anita as her mouthpiece, calling a couple of investigators "misogynists" who hate Anita for her "sexuality of polyamory." Apparently, being poly isn't a lifestyle choice anymore, it's a sexuality!

@ callsignecho

I agree that an Author Avatar is not necessarily a Canon Sue, but I feel that Anita is a good example of how one can lead to the other.

I also concur on the "rules" and morals in the series: it all changes once Anita is involved. It's as though LKH is afraid of giving Anita shortcomings and flaws.

One thing remains consistent, though: BLONDES R EVUL HORES!!!!111

I respectfully disagree with your statement that Anita's character hasn't changed. She's no longer the tought, fiery woman with ethics and standards, lines she would never cross. She's almost an unintentional example of He Who Fights Monsters. Of course, if it were Anita, she would thank us for referring to her as a "he" rather than a "she", because to her, women are fundamentally disgusting and weak.

I personally think she is different. Raping London and readdicting him to the Ardeur (Sp? LKH spells it six separate ways.), having a man killed for his refusal to sleep with her, callously disregarding any possible/legitimate female victim of rape while coddling the males, walking around in stripper gear and complaining when people stare at her, hanging out at vampire clubs all the time and complaining that other cops question her loyalties, screwing a high school boy while also attending PTA meetings, and falling in "love" with her rapist. These are actions she never would have condoned or committed at the beginning of the series.

Anita's attitude about other women and her scorn of feminity have only worsened instead of developing, while she remains unable to let go of her grief for her mother's death, which I believe took place over two decades ago, now. It's strange that Anita still mourns her, because at one point she stated she couldn't even remember her. It's notable that LKH also lost her mother while she was very young, so I wonder if she's projecting through Anita?

One aspect of Anita's character I've never understood is why she (and LKH) insists she loves each man she sleeps with. It's obvious that Anita doesn't (See her treatment of Asher, all the time), and besides, shouldn't an empowered woman, as Anita has been lauded, be capable of unattached, casual sex?

  • MichaelKatsuro
  • 20th Oct 12
Y'all are gonna have to fill me in on how Anita Blake is an Author Avatar. I mean, does she ook or behave like Laurel Hamilton? She's a supernatural creature who hunts vampires and has lots of sex, and I just don't think that seems like Hamilton, though I don't know Ms. Hamilton and I could be wrong about that. She seems more like a wish fulfillment fantasy than any sort of fictional copy of Hamilton.

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