Reviews: Anita Blake

Guilty Pleasure turned into Awkward Morning After

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?

Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter- A Feminist Perspective

The Anita Blake Vampire Hunter franchise is often lauded for its supposedly “feminist” protagonist, a role model to women everywhere. I hope to dispel this falsehood: Anita Blake is not a role model for feminists or anyone else.

  • Throughout the entire series, Anita displays a nearly pathological hatred of blonde women, apparently rooting from her father’s remarriage to a blonde woman. If a blonde walks onto to the scene, there’s a good chance Anita will monologue about the woman’s incompetence, malevolence, or femininity, which is often linked to weakness. The reader assumes Anita would overcome this prejudice in time, but the author seems to be only interested in perpetuating this petty dislike for blonde women. The majority of other women are also villainized to varying degrees, as if to convince the reader that Anita is the best woman out there.

  • Anita’s internalized misogyny rears its ugly head again when the stepson of her friend Edward is unofficially accused of raping his two teenage girlfriends, one of whom was said to be a virgin. A U.S. Federal Marshall, Anita immediately dismisses their claims, callously stating that the virgin must be suffering from “buyer’s remorse.” Anita's lack of compassion toward female sexual assault victims manifests again as porcelain-pale but apparently African-American Vivian recovers from a violent rape and subsequent beating at the hands of a Vampire Council member and his followers. Upon looking at her, Anita can only think to adjust her body posture because "[ehe} doesn't want to huddle like Vivian," with the suggestion that Anita thinks being fearful after a sexual assault and battery is a show of weakness.

  • Anita's "liberated" sex life is problematic. The first issue is the sheer hypocrisy of forcing the members of her harem to swear monogamy to her, while she is free to engage with whomever she pleases, an arrangement which lasted until Bullet. The other problem is "the Ardeur." Anita is openly sexually with various men, but her consent is dubious due to the Mate Or Die scenario. Anita isn't sexual because she's a willing participant- "the Ardeur" forces sexual feelings onto her, and she literally risks death if she doesn't have sex. She can use "the Ardeur" to gain magical powers- but that leads to the questionable equivalent of sex to female empowerment.