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Literature / Anita Blake
aka: Anita Blake Vampire Hunter

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Once upon a time, there was a necromancer/animator/vampire executioner living in The Unmasqued World. She was a Chaste Hero who moved among the various vampires, werewolves, fairies, other were-animals, etc. in her world, solving crimes and kicking ass. Though she repeatedly said "I don't date vampires, I kill them" (well, vampires who are getting up to terribly bad things, anyway), she ended up being blackmailed into dating one, as well as a werewolf, leading to an infamous Love Triangle. First she slept with one. Then the other. Then she took some time off to think about things.

Then came the novel Narcissus in Chains, which turned Anita into a living member of Belle Morte's line. Books after this one usually require Anita to sleep with her male harem.

For most of the books, the basic storyline is as follows:

Anita is at her "day job" and meets up with a shady, suspicious character that she suspects is up to no good, who tries to hire her for something. Her unscrupulous, proudly 'grey hat' boss coerces her into taking the case, while Anita threatens him and the client with either quitting or doing them grievous bodily injury. Anita speaks with her various love interests. Anita is called to a crime scene by the RPIT squad (or other law enforcement, if she's traveling) for some gruesome crime scene that will turn out to be relevant to her own case later on. At some point, she'll need to raise a zombie for something; this may involve using her own blood as a sacrifice in replacement of her preferred (chicken). Anita tries to reconcile being a Christian with being a necromancer. The plot goes on for a while longer before Anita finds out that the person who hired her in the beginning is the real Big Bad. She kills a bunch of vampires/monsters/people, overdoes her new magical ability, and wakes up in the hospital. In the later books, expect sex to be included somewhere, as Anita essentially becomes a succubus.

As of 2021, 28 novels have been released in the Anita Blake series.

  1. Guilty Pleasures (1993)
  2. The Laughing Corpse (1994)
  3. Circus of the Damned (1995)
  4. The Lunatic Cafe (1996)
  5. Bloody Bones (1996)
  6. The Killng Dance (1997)
  7. Burnt Offerings (1998)
  8. Blue Moon (1998)
  9. Obsidan Butterfly (2000)
  10. Narcissus in Chains (2001)
  11. Cerulean Sins (2003)
  12. Incubus Dreams (2004)
  13. Micah (2006)
  14. Danse Macabre (2006)
  15. The Harlequin (2007)
  16. Blood Noir (2008)
  17. Skin Trade (2009)
  18. Flirt (2010)
  19. Bullet (2010)
  20. Hit List (2011)
  21. Kiss the Dead (2012)
  22. Affliction (2013)
  23. Jason (2014)
  24. Dead Ice (2015)
  25. Crimson Death (2016)
  26. Serpentine (2018)
  27. Sucker Punch (2020)
  28. Rafael (2021)

As Merry Gentry now has its own page, please put applicable tropes there. The spoiler tags below are sporadic. Be warned.

Tropes found in this work:

  • The '80s: The earlier books are set there. As of Bullet, it's modern day.
  • Action Girl: There's no doubt that Anita's good at killing things.
  • All the Good Men Are Gay: Anita brings this up at the end of Circus of the Damned, and her version of the issue.
    "Most women complain that there are no single, straight men left. I'd just like to meet one who's human."
  • Anti-Hero: Anita - Unscrupulous Hero. Edward started out as a Nominal Hero but since acquiring a family seems to be dropping into Unscrupulous Hero as well.
  • Anti-Villain: Jean-Claude, shading into Pragmatic Hero later in the series.
  • Artistic License – Biology: It is stated repeatedly in the series that a lycanthrope's "beast" (that is, the animal they turn into during the full moon) can and does influence their behavior. Unfortunately, the way most of the lycanthropes are portrayed makes it seem like Hamilton decided on a basic model (the werewolf model of a "pack" led by an alpha male, with junior alphas and betas behind the senior alpha in authority) and just applied it slap-dash to every single type of lycanthrope in the series. She even did this to the weres that were based on animals that do not form "packs" or "herds" or "troops", but rather prefer to live singly or in pairs, only coming together to breed. She claims that this is a result of the lycanthropes' human sides messing things up, but this fails to explain lycanthropes preferring to gather in massive groups, being unusually power-obsessed and predatory toward their own kind.
    • In some of the books it is stated that lycanthropes (especially, but not exclusively, the werewolves) avoid interacting with the police because the cops take issue with dominance fights that leave behind corpses. While this makes sense, it ignores the fact that most animal species whose males engage in dominance combat (including wolves and leopards, and hyenas, the three most common types of lycanthrope in the series) do so ritualistically rather than lethally. (For example, deer lock antlers to wrestle, leopards fight with sheathed claws, wolves nip rather than out right bite, and so on). This is especially prevalent in K-selected species such as humans (that is, species which produce few but long-lived children, and often invest many resources into protecting them). Combat lethalities in such contests would thus be almost unheard of, with the winner of the fight getting to breed (with that female, that time around) and the loser having incentive to live to fight again (possibly somewhere else) rather than escalating to a fight to a death.
    • Hamilton portrays the werewolves as living in a single polygynous pack. Actual wolves mostly mate for life and live in nuclear families.
    • As noted above, leopards are solitary animals that do not form packs or prides. They generally come together in pairs only to breed or to fight for territory, and then separate to live singly again. Hamilton has them acting just like the wolves. She also does this with bears (another solitary species) and swans (a species that forms bonded pairs mated for life).
    • The were-hyenas are portrayed by Hamilton as having a pack structure similar to the wolves, but matriarchal in nature, with a dominant female leading a group of beta females and submissive males. That's precisely how real hyena groups work. This is the only time she perfectly matches the social structure of the lycanthrope type to the the real life animal.
    • Hamilton claims that women can get pregnant with hybrid animal/human fetuses due to the male partner's lycanthropy, but a human woman's body would simply reject animal sperm rather than make use of it. However, it could be an early manifestation of lycanthropy - something like the wolfman/lionman/etc forms, only when it happens in an unborn fetus it makes said fetus non-viable.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: There are several characters with medical expertise in the series. Not one of them consistently gives accurate medical advice. Notable examples include ice being used on burns, people with serious injuries left outdoors with no one treating them, and trying to cure comas with damp cloths.
    • Some of the examples can be justified by characters not being human so their bodies don't quite react the same. Human healing, for example, is not helped by cuddles, but lycanthropes heal better if they can sleep (literally) with other lycanthropes of their same animal.
  • Author Appeal: Becomes more obvious as the series progresses.
  • Author Avatar: Anita is an avatar for Hamilton, to the point where the latter brags in her blogs that she's so "creative" she forgets that she's not Anita and confuses their two lives. She seems to think this is awesome instead of creepy.
  • Badass Normal: Edward and the RPIT squad.
  • Becoming the Mask: "Ted" started out as just another of Ed's aliases. Not so much anymore.
  • Big "NO!": Morte D'Amour ("The Lover of Death") in Affliction.
    Morte D'Amour: "My body! You're destroying my body! No! Noooo! Half the Mother's power dies with me! NNNNOOOOOOOO!!!"
  • Blade Enthusiast: Anita isn't exactly nutty over her knives, but she sure likes them. She usually wears two silver-and-steel-alloy knives in shoulder sheaths, even with evening gowns; in later books she adds a machete-like weapon on her back.
  • Broken Bird:
    • Presumably Anita, with her dead mother and broken engagement, is supposed to be one of these—more obvious in later books. Others have it worse, too.
    • Every were in Anita's harem has some tragic backstory or another. It's a running joke with anti-fans that Anita likes to collect broken men so she doesn't have to do the work herself.
    • Cherry: She was a nurse, until she was outed as a wereleopard. A swift boot followed, as well as a major personality shift.
  • But Not Too Bi: As of Crimson Death, the men in Anita's harem are not bisexual, but "heteroflexible." Except Nathaniel.
  • The Casanova: Jean-Claude, until he met Anita, who made him (mostly) monogamous and Master of the City. He still plays the part at his club, though.
  • Catchphrase: Anita is somewhat fond of the phrase "(brownie) point for X". Also "bully for X."
    • A lot of phrases get repeated two or three times between books with slight variation.
  • Character Development:
    • In Obsidian Butterfly, Edward's character gets much more attention than in previous books where Anita describes him as Batman (he swoops in, saves your ass, and then disappears). It turns out that the cold-hearted perfect killer has found himself trapped because of his alter-ego, Ted Forrester. Ted had been in a relationship with a woman named Donna: a widow with a little girl named Becca and a teenage boy named Peter. Edward had gotten so caught up in pretending to be Ted that he got engaged to the woman only to realize he was engaged to the woman. However, Anita later discovers that a small part of Edward actually wanted to be part of their family despite knowing better.
    • Jason Schulyer has received considerable amounts of development. He starts out as a Handsome Lech and somewhat of a Jerkass but as the series continues, he matures and actually becomes a responsible, reliable friend/lover to Anita all while still being genuinely funny and charming.
  • Chaste Hero: Anita, until "The Killing Dance." Then after "Blue Moon" she was having sex with both Jean-Claude and Richard. After that it was no longer that way.
  • A Chat with Satan: Anita has a gut-checking chat with the Dark Lord in just about every book. Sometimes he's a conscienceless hitman, sometimes she's a necromancing grandma, but every time they try to hold up the mirror.
  • The Chessmaster: Looking through the books, it is very rare to find one that ends with Jean-Claude worse off than he started, and whenever we find out one of his goals, he achieves them. Including Anita.
  • Cold Sniper: Anita doesn't actually use a rifle, but alternatively broods about and revels in her ability to gun down potentially innocent people in a public setting with a completely empty mind, afterward feeling no trace of regret or pity.
  • Creator Provincialism: The narrative focuses on Hamilton's hometown of St. Louis, but supernatural events take place all over the world, and Anita frequently travels for her work, especially later in the series.
  • Dismembering the Body: A standard procedure for powerful vampires where after they get 'killed', the head and heart are taken from the body and all burned separately and then the ashes scattered over different bodies of water.
  • Double Standard:
    • Anita can have sex with just about anyone to slake the ardeur, but none of the men can have sex with each other, only Anita. This is later changed due to Anita's newly introduced bisexual feelings and she enjoys watching all the guys in her harem get it on with each other while she watches and has one of them servicing her as well.
    • Anita uses the ardeur to coerce men to have sex with her, and this is portrayed as acceptable. Yet when a woman tries to do the same to Anita, the woman is villainized for doing so.
    • Anita starts out happy or at least calmly willing to execute vampires for crimes they had no choice in. Initially, she is very hesitant to kill humans who have definitely committed horrific crimes. However, she has in more recent books helped push for laws that protect vampires forced into crimes by stronger vampires. It's suggested that she's also backing work against a three-strikes law that slates any vampire caught in three crimes for execution, whatever the crimes are. One woman got a warrant on her for three shoplifting convictions.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Anita repeatedly uses the ardeur to force men to sleep with her or give sexual experiences by proxy. There are multiple occasions where Anita chooses to delay until she has no choice with someone unwilling or outright rape people for the sake of convenience. London, in particular, screamed and begged for her to stop. This is not always entirely Anita's choice: The ardeur can act as a metaphysical date rape drug on all parties involved and having a metaphysical hunger for sex creates a great deal of pressure. However, every time Anita uses the ardeur to do that it is always treated like a normal, consensual sexual encounter.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Micah, Nathaniel and Jean-Claude, among others, have long hair, low muscle bulk and delicate facial features.
    • Nathaniel had to change his workout to stop bulking up, as it made him less flexible.
  • Emotion Eater: The Ardeur forces Anita to have to feed on sex the way certain vampires do, even though technically she isn't one.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Seems that way sometimes. Everyone except Anita, who may or may not be in the closet (especially when you consider how much she worries about being a good Christian...). At least until Bullet where Anita embraces bisexuality as well.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier if French: Jean-Claude and his entourage.
  • Extreme Doormat: Nathaniel. Who said all weres were badass? Not this one; he's so pathetic he can't ask for ketchup on his burger. Until he eventually gets all ballsy and dominant... because Anita likes Tuff Manly Men, and he wants to have sex with her. And then he rushes back to the kitchen as soon as he gets the sex.
  • Face Your Fears: When asked why she chose to become a vampire hunter, Anita says that she wanted to face down the things that scared her.
  • The Fair Folk: Seen occasionally as background characters, but has been retconned out of the series. Presumably in Bloody Bones, the title character was some sort of magic-using trickster.
    • Put back in as of Crimson Dreams
  • Fashion Dissonance: Most vampires dress in what has been aptly described as "Ren Faire porn" and Anita herself thinks it is still The '80s.
  • Fantastic Legal Weirdness: Anita's day job as an animator often involves raising the dead to settle estate matters. Zombies can be raised to settle things like disputes over which version of a will is accurate or not, but they make terrible witnesses in court cases, since they can really only respond to the animator who raised them, and the animator has to ask very specific questions, thus opening to objections for leading the witness. Zombies are also useless when they've been murdered, as a murdered zombie will, no matter how powerful the animator who raised them is, beeline straight for their murderer and attempt to kill them. Might be useful for the police to track down the killer, but not exactly admissible evidence in a court of law (to say nothing of potential countersuits for siccing a mad zombie on someone without due process).
  • Fantastic Racism: There is considerable prejudice against both vampires and weres, and in some cases between lineages of vampires and species of lyncathropes (for example, werewolves regard wererats as inferior, some weretigers aren't too fond of any other species or even those fellow weretigers who aren't a purebred color, etc). One character develops a near murderous prejudice against vampires when his son becomes engaged to one and being infected by lycanthropy will generally get you fired if you're a teacher or in the medical profession even though it's technically illegal to.
  • Finger in the Mail
    • In Blue Moon, A vampire flunky delivers a pinky finger to Anita as notification that Richard's family has been abducted.
    • In Bullet, A severed head is delivered to Anita's office at Animators Inc.
      • And again in Skin Trade.
  • First-Person Smartass: Anita, who seems to think that inner thoughts are the best place to show what a witty badass you are. In the early books she makes fun of it herself sometimes; "If I was less secure I'd think I just wasn't funny...nah."
  • Fur Against Fang: Vampires and weres don't always get along so well especially as many vampires can control weres.
  • Ghost Amnesia: Zombies need a little time to get their bearings. Even then their memory of when they were alive isn't perfect, and the longer they were dead the harder it is for them to remember.
  • Gratuitous French: Jean-Claude and Asher are terribly guilty of this, as is Anita with the addition of the Ardeur.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Anita rules the vampires and all the local "were" groups, directly or indirectly. She mostly does this through terror, threatening those who get on the wrong side of her with cold-blooded murder with a sprinkling of physical fighting, rape, torture and seducing opposing leaders.
  • Good Ol' Boy: Edward plays this in one of his oft-used disguises. ...And is Becoming the Mask.
  • Grandfather Clause: Briefly brought up when discussing Jean Claude's club. With vampires, it matters.
  • Guilty Pleasures: The title of book 1, the name of a vampire-fetish bar therein, and probably a little wink from the author about the nature of the series. (And boy, do a lot of readers agree, especially since the big change.)
  • Gun Nut: Anita's friend Edward collect all sorts of lethal weaponry. Anita herself spends much time describing her guns during the early books.
  • Guy on Guy Is Hot:
    • Anita Blake since Danse Macabre, at least. Two men kissing, while having anal sex with each other, just gets her off.
    • Belle Morte. When her men aren't having sex with her she entertains herself by having them have sex with each other.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Everybody around Anita, and at times she herself, will admit she qualifies. It's pointed out enough to almost be a running gag that she's only comfortable when angry at somebody and the only way to coexist with her is to always let her have everything her way and try to never say anything she might be uncomfortable with (the term "mine field" has come up). The men in her life tend to consider this part of what makes her so desirable.
    • Although she is now in therapy - first informally with her magic mentor Marianne and then with a true therapist - and working on this. With some improvement.
  • Handsome Lech: Jean Claude, but that's a given since he's the charming Magnificent Bastard. Jason is infamous for this trope, but Zerbrowski may count as well because according to both his description and his comic book incarnation, he's not a bad looking dude.
  • Hates Small Talk: Anita Blake repeatedly mentions how little she likes small talk, and how much she appreciates those characters who don't indulge in it either, like Dolph and Edward.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Anita is always having to assert her straight-edge iron straightness...until she's not.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather:
    • Everybody wears leather. Lots of leather. They wear leather fedoras, miniskirts, boots, trenchcoats, fetish harnesses, etc.
    • Not to mention leather tuxedos and pants; it makes you question if there are any cows left in the Anitaverse.
  • Hemo Erotic
  • Heroic BSoD: During Blue Moon, Anita and some of Richard's wolves torture a man for information, and end up in this. Jason snaps her out of it by reminding her that it doesn't matter if she becomes "one of the monsters" as long as she can protect the people she loves and that he would do the same.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: If Oliver hadn't instructed Alejandro to turn Anita into a human servant, she would not have been immune to Oliver's mind control powers, and she wouldn't have been able to kill them both.
  • Hollywood Law: The various vampires and werewolves and other supernatural creatures (except for demons) are all supposed to be taxpaying US citizens. Okay, fair enough. But then Jean-Claude regularly has people summoned to his presence by the expedience of sending a heavily armed thug (Anita) or a powerful vampire (Asher) to retrieve them, often against their will. That's kidnapping. But no one ever thinks to call the cops afterward.
    • Likewise, the entire idea that a vampire or werewolf has to get "permission" from the local vampire lord or werewolf pack leader before moving into a new territory is also a violation of civil rights. One can imagine a vampire or werewolf who is new to the Saint Louis area, and who has been harassed and/or threatened because they didn't get approval first suing Jean-Claude or Richard Zeeman for their entire net worth because of civil rights violations.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Strangely enough, Anita is spared from this. Richard is the poster boy for this trope. It starts off pretty reasonable, but then he decides to dump her a second time in Narcissus in Chains because he "doesn't want to be with someone more at home with the monsters than I am."
  • I Love You, Vampire Son: Has Belle Morte turned you? Congratulations.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Books are frequently named after businesses in the universe.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Olaf falls for Anita after seeing her kill.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Jean-Claude says essentially those exact words to Anita.
  • Immortality Inducer: Zachary's gris-gris. He's actually a zombie, and needs to feed his charm with vampire blood to stay alive.
  • Interspecies Romance: Vampires and werecreatures and humans and harem.
  • Intimate Healing: Raina the werewolf can heal, usually during sex. Trouble is, Raina is a sexual sadist to the monstrous degree...
  • Jerkass This list could go on forever.
  • Kiss of the Vampire
  • The Lad-ette: Anita, especially earlier in the series, is a more hygienic version of this. She makes it very clear to anyone that will listen that's she's One of the Boys.
  • The Lancer: Edward and Ronnie seem to be Anita's human lancers. Jason seems to be her non-human one.
  • Lesbian Vampire: Belle Morte, who has lesbian vampire dream-sex with Anita. Also Mother of All Darkness.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: A rare non-video-game example. A triumvirate of a vampire, a lycanthrope, and a necromancer has much more power combined than the sum of their individual powers. But for it to work, all three have to be very fond of each other. A triumvirate doesn't have to be menage a trois (although, it implied, it often is), theoretically the triumvirs could just be very close friends.
  • Life Isn't Fair:
    No, life isn't fair, but I try to be.
    Try harder, honey.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Edward and Anita, which is much appreciated seeing as she fucks every other male character around her save Zerbrowski and Dolph, but Anita feels the need to point this out repeatedly in every novel as if we don't believe her, and so it gets old after a while. Especially when you consider Edward's fiancee Donna still manages to be jealous every time they go on a mission together. Perhaps the lady doth protest too much.
  • Long-Running Book Series
  • Love Triangle to Love Dodecahedron: It started out as Richard/Anita/Jean-Claude, but is now Anita/Richard/Jean-Claude/Asher/Nathaniel/Micah/etc...
  • Magic Pants: Averted.
  • Mate or Die: Pretty much modus operandi of the ardeur. Comes in two flavors. First, the ardeur needs to be regularly fed by having sex (or absorbing someone else's arousal, which is hard and requires certain amount of experience); left without feeding, it starts to suck the lifeforce out of ardeur's holder and his/her mystical servants. Second, having sex can give a magical boost through the ardeur, and often it saves Anita's skin in a crisis.
  • Might Makes Right: The approach of most preternatural groups. Also Anita.
  • Military Mage: People with psychic or magic abilities (in this universe, acknowledged as the same, the only difference is if you need a ritual to use it) in the military, and also the police force, are called "wizards". They are normal soldiers or cops, but just have a 'special skill', the same as 'snipers' are normal soldiers, they just have sniper training that other soldiers don't. There isn't much information as to what they do in the military, but their primary purpose seems to be sensing enemy magic users or preternatural creatures and what they are doing with their magic, since magic in this universe is much more subtle than others (hurling lightning bolts is not a thing that most magic users can do). Some also have special talents to help them sense what others have experienced or if someone is telling the truth, which is helpful in investigation. Wizards are also expected to know more about preternatural creatures and magic users so they are the go-to person in their unit for information on how to deal with them.
  • Mindlink Mates: The default state of a vampire and his/her human servant and animal to call appears to be a menage-a-trois, meaning that the Psychic Link it constitutes is this in practice.
  • Monster Progenitor: The Mother of All Darkness may be this. Or she may be not the first vampire, but a creator of all now-existing vampire culture and society. It is hard to tell, and even Vampire Council members have different opinions on the subject.
  • Must Be Invited: Par for the course for vampires.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: Anita, after Narcissus In Chains. In fact, if Anita goes for a few pages without sex, her boyfriends start chastising her and reminding her to let more guys bang her. In fact, saying no is now verboten. If she tries to insist that she doesn't want to have sex with X, Y or Z, then the guys start telling her that she's ruining their lives and must have sex with them to ensure their happiness. The whole risking-death of herself and other people may have something to do with it.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Anita, even in early books—she was and is still growing. In the most recent novels this is handwaved as an explicit power of Anita's that allows her to duplicate supernatural powers which have been used upon her if they were used on her during the right set of circumstances. (These circumstances seem to be "when it happens in the course of a novel".)
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Marmee Noir, the oldest existing vampire, was also a were-sabertooth and, presumably, a necromancer.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization:
    • Anita's assorted rapes are considered okay because the ardeur intoxicates/overwhelms her victims. Though, not always by her.
    • Anita herself. The times she actually wants to have sex with the people the ardeur forces her to have sex with could probably be counted on one hand.
  • Occult Detective: Anita is quite insistent that she isn't one, and recommends that people engage the services of Veronica "Ronnie" Sims instead, who is an actual Private Detective. But in practice, since she's the main character, she ends up as the one who solves the supernatural mysteries she encounters.
  • One of the Boys: Particularly, early Anita, aggressively so. One apt reader points out how Anita's gun is like a substitute penis. I.e, the only way she feels she can ever get respect is by having it with her at all times. She also insists that no one call her "girl" or "ma'am" and is actually happy when someone calls her a guy or a "son of a bitch." When she starts sleeping with Jean-Claude, she starts using make-up, wearing silk underwear and displaying other feminine traits, only returning to self-conscious macho behaviour in male-dominated environments.
  • One-Hour Work Week: After Narcissus in Chains Anita almost never goes to work at her supposed job at Animators, Inc. In the books prior to Narcissus in Chains, she regularly went to work and got in fights with her mostly unethical boss Burt, but after NiC, she pretty much just shows up once in a blue moon to argue with potential clients. In true form with the trope, we're told her zombie-raising skills earn her bucket loads of cash so that's why she never has any money problems.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • Vampires grow in power the longer they've been dead, up to a certain limit which is different for each vampire. Additionally, some vampires are "born" (or made) with the potential to be a "Master Vampire" which:
    • Allows them to continue to exist (if not practically live) without being oath-bound to a master (whose power allows regular bound vampires to awaken (reanimate, really) each night).
    • Gives them a handful of powers which, while unique to that particular vampire, are usually influenced by their vampiric "ancestors".
    • Gives them a particular type of animal they can control, which gives them a limited degree of mind-control over were-animals of the same type.
    • Allows them to make a human "servant" via supernatural bonds which gives advantages to both the vampire and the human, including immortality for the human servant (which resolves any Mayfly–December Romance issues if the servant is their lover).
    • If their human servant is an animator/necromancer and they bond supernaturally to a were-animal of the type the can control (in a similar way that they bond to their human servant) then the three of them will form a "triumvirate" which can be used to generate a great deal of supernatural energy.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: There are many different kinds of werebeasts in this book. In addition to werewolves, there are wereleopards, werelions, weretigers (including blue, red and black tigers in the last book), werejaguars, at least three weredogs (their abilities are inherited not infection), weresnakes (at least 2 species cobra and anaconda), swanmen (some are cursed, others inherit their abilities like the weredogs), werefoxes (at least one lives in St. Louis, with the bulk of them hiding in China), wererats, werebears, and werehyenas.
  • Papa Wolf: Do not mess with Edward's family. You WILL DIE.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Anita's father married a pretty tall blonde, who went out of her way to mention that Anita was her husband's previous (now dead) wife's daughter, presumably to explain why Anita looks like she came from an affair.
  • Polyamory: What Anita's harem has now evolved into, although the size of the group is large even by poly standards; they're still working on some of it but things are definitely on a more even keel with no one expected to be monogamous. Though the newer lovers are largely picked with the goal of them fitting with everyone in the main group. The main group is Anita, Jean-Claude, Micah, Nathaniel, and Nicky, with Cynric and Dev (and probably Damian as of Crimson Dreams) closest to the core.
  • Plot Archaeology: The events of book 11 resulted in the vampire serial killing group Anita was after not actually getting caught. The next few books didn't mention it at all, and then in Book 17 LKH went back to it and we finally get to confront the Big Bad.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: There is a lot of mirroring, which makes the hypocrisies more obvious. A notable example is that Asher feeding on Anita against her will is portrayed as terrible—but when Anita does the same thing to Richard, then Richard is unreasonable and cruel for being angry. Due to the first person nature of the books, it can be hard to be sure when Anita's hypocrisies are Hamilton's protagonist centered morality. Anita changes her mind about the morality of several things during the series, but it often seems as though they are things that Hamilton changed her mind about (femininity, polyamory, BDSM, etc.).
    • Anita threatening or hurting people for not obeying her is OK, because that is how preternatural groups are ruled.
    • Anita killing people in dominance fights is OK, because she's not as physically tough as preternaturals, and because a lot of lycanthrope dominance fights work this way.
  • Purple Prose: Hamilton slips into this on occasion.
  • Resurrection Revenge: A zombie raised from a murdered person will always and immediately make a beeline for their killer and try to kill them.
  • Rhetorical Request Blunder: Anita angrily says she wants a woman's "head in basket." She is shocked and horrified when it is delivered. Worth noting that the punishment for the person was execution anyway, Anita the head.
  • Romanticized Abuse:
    • Preternatural power structures
    • Jean-Clude's stalker-esque early courtship
    • Nathaniel seems to consider Anita keeping him for sexual purposes and denying him the things he wants from her to be romantic, at least in the short term.
    • The "four marks" enable a vampire to turn a person into a "human servant", whether the person wants to be or not. There's no way to break the bond without killing the person, either. This removes the person from normal society into the might-(and-undeadness-)makes-right vampire society, effectively making them slaves to the vampire. And there's no controls on a vampire marking people beyond the whims of their superiors. On the contrary, such permanent slavery is generally regarded as a good thing for the human servant.
      • Redoubled with "Brides".
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: Anita has never had sex with the villains, but Jason once agreed to have sex with two villainous minions for the greater good.
  • Self-Insert Fic: The title characters of both of Hamilton's series look like idealized versions of her.
  • Sex Equals Love: Anita insists that she truly loves each and every man she has sex with. This, however, has not been the case since Skin Trade.
  • Sex Magic: A protagonist who can cast great works of magic through sexual acts.
  • Sexual Karma: Despite the series' reputation for raunchiness, the vast vast majority of the sex—at least among the protagonists—is more tame than a lot of stuff you could see on the Playboy channel. The bad guys, meanwhile, tend to have penchants for rape, snuff, pedophilia, or BDSM of a level that leaves the floor awash in blood.
  • Shady Lady of the Night: The eponymous character needs some information from someone who happens to be a prostitute — she was previously a suspicious man's mistress. It takes Anita quite a while to convince her that, really, yes, she really, truly, actually wants to talk.
  • Shapeshifting Lover: Again, way too many to keep straight.
  • Shapeshifting Squick: Due to above. Look into the anatomy of some of them.
  • Slutshaming: Anita is an active participant on a regular basis- she often sneers at women for wearing revealing clothing while she frequently dresses in some very Stripperiffic outfits herself.
  • Snuff Film: Anita investigates weres making these.
  • Sparing the Aces: Jean-Claude's reasoning for not turning...well, almost anyone.
  • Squick In-Universe:
    • Anita is in love with Richard, Richard is in love with Anita. The final stumbling block before they agree to engagement is that Richard insists she can't know the true him until she sees him shapeshift... but refuses to do so in front of her. As she has seen another werewolf shift before and found it gruesome and creepy but acceptable, Anita is baffled and irritated. Anita badgers Richard through the entire book until, at the end, Richard pins her down, changes right on top of her, and then eats someone in front of her. Anita is freaked out, especially since she can psychically feel not only his desire to eat someone, but the entire pack's desire to eat her. She bolts, traumatized, to Jean-Claude for comfort, which switches from huddling in shock in a bathtub, to sex. She regrets the sex and losing Richard in the morning, but starts dating Jean-Claude anyway.
    • In The Harlequin, Anita has to cut out the heart of a powerful human servant, but she is very weak and cannot grab it properly. Olaf helps her by thrusting his hand in the open wound, taking her hand and grabbing the heart together, and caresses her hand in the process. Anita gets the heart out and vomits immediately after.
  • Staking the Loved One: Anita gets asked to behead the body of a teenage girl before she rises as a vampire. The request comes from the girl's parents.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Jean-Claude in the early books, who refused to accept "No."
  • Strictly Formula: The novels are immensely formulaic. Just read the description at the top of the page. The sex scenes also follow a general formula: Anita is propositioned by one or more people, but refuses on moral grounds. The ardeur takes over, hair is pulled and mutual screaming orgasms are achieved.
  • Stripperiffic: Many characters, most notably Anita and her harem.
  • Stuffed In A Fridge: A rare male version. The very first love interest Anita has in the books, Phillip, ends up getting tortured, eviscerated, and throat-slit by the villains — who then bring him back as a zombie just to twist the knife a little deeper. To top it off, as an animator, Anita's the one who has to lay Phillip's zombie to rest. The experience wrecks Anita emotionally — they weren't a couple, but Phillip had sacrificed himself for her, and she'd failed to keep her promise to save him. Later, Richard's resemblance to Phillip makes her hesitant towards a relationship with Richard.
  • Succubi and Incubi: The Belle Morte bloodline of vampires is a mix of vampires and succubus. Not only do they have Sex Magic abilities, but they also don't feed on blood, but rather on sex and emotion.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: It's a human servant thing.
  • Technophobia: It's mentioned by Anita that really old vampires can be technophobes. They just aren't used to, don't trust and don't understand new technology.
  • There Are No Therapists: So much of the recurring cast could use some couch time, especially Anita, who admits she's not happy if she's not pissed about something, Nathaniel, who has no real will of his own and Asher who still bears physical, mental and emotional scars from pretty much everything.
    • Averted with Richard, who actually comments about being in therapy, which eventually leads to his character development.
    • Averted further in Crimson Dreams, where not only is Anita in therapy, she states that she broke up with her ex-lover Jade in large part because that lover refused to get therapy.
  • Three-Way Sex: that's practically the minimum.
  • Time Abyss: Mr Oliver is at least a million-years-old vampire. Anita pegs him as a Homo Erectus.
  • Too Many Love Interests: Let's see, there's Jean Claude, Richard, Jason, Nathaniel, Micah...
  • The Unfair Sex: Already noted in all of the mentions of one-way monogamy, but Richard gets a special mention. Anita runs off and sleeps with Jean-Claude while she and Richard are still in a nominally normal, theoretically monogamous relationship. Later, after Anita and Richard have broken up, Richard bragging about sleeping around with other women is intended to show what a Jerkass he is now.
  • The Unmasqued World: While vampires officially "outed" themselves some time ago, the world clearly has a long history of the masquerade taking a hit or being thin in some areas.
  • Unwanted Harem: Anita's stated preference is monogamy, but the plot will not let her just pick one boyfriend. Heck, she has to sleep with everyone around her, period. Or else everyone included in the harem, Anita included, dies.
  • Urban Fantasy: Laurel K. Hamilton credits herself with "inventing" the genre. While certainly one of the Trope Codifiers, the Old World of Darkness beat her to the punch by a narrow margin (calling their modern-setting-classic-monster milleux "Gothic Punk"). Arguably, so did Joss Whedon.note 
  • U.S. Marshal: Anita is one, and she waves the badge every time she has half a chance.
  • Vampire Monarch: Marmee Noir, Mother Of All Darkness, leader of all vampires, and head of the Vampire Council, the first (or one of the first) vampires in existence.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Belle Morte is the Sex Goddess in the vampire world, with her sexual prowess being legendary, to the point she's said to be singlehandedly responsible for the rise of "sexy vampires" in the Anitaverse, with her bloodline being associated with it. Belle Morte vampires are known to be supernaturally beautiful, amazing lovers and have all sorts of unique powers related to sex, such as the Ardeur.
  • Vampire-Werewolf Love Triangle: Anita/Jean-Claude/Richard, in the earlier books.
  • Vapor Wear: On occasions, Anita and Jean-Claude.
  • Wakeup Makeup: In the comics, Anita keeps having blood-red lips in every single panel, even after bathing and sleeping. What makes this even more ridiculous is that she once even states she doesn't wear makeup except for parties. Unneccessary to say, her party makeup doesn't change her looks much.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: most vampire masters get one kind of animal to control (with limited control over respective lycanthropes): rats, wolves, snakes... When Warrick becomes a master vampire, he gets butterflies. Subverted in that Warrick is overjoyed: he is The Atoner and considers his butterflies as a sign that God has forgiven him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Anita will occasionally get called on some of her bullshit, and she'll even, very rarely, acknowledge the validity of these criticisms. And then, by the next book, it's like the conversation never happened. Two or three books on, she might do something about the issue, but by then something else has gone wrong. It's realistic that she should keep relapsing or denying her issues, but not much fun to read.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Anita often wonders about this trope in regard to Edward, who has shown up with derringers, tiny throwing knives, flamethrowers, homemade vampire killing bullets, etc. The question is answered initially because his legal alter ego is Ted Forrester, a bounty hunter, but Anita still maintains that Edward is just secretly Batman but with lethal force.
  • Wolverine Publicity: As shown in that page's image, one issue of the comic book featured Wolverine on the cover, despite the fact that the comic isn't set in the Marvel Universe.

Alternative Title(s): Anita Blake Vampire Hunter