Nineteen of anything is a lot, especially in a fiction series. Although I suppose one of the benefits of writing the same character for twenty years is a longevity of fans and, if you’re lucky, a moment in time when you become relevant and you finally get published in first run hardcover.
There are some drawbacks to Hamilton’s writing style. Descriptions of all the gorgeous men in Anita Blake’s life are long-winded. Men are poured into their very tight pants – often leather – and the older vampires wear silk ruffled shirts that expose chiseled chests. That kind of thing.
There is a lot of sex in the romance novel fashion. Plenty of time is spent on the logistics of all the paranormal sex due to Anita’s short stature and some of the men turning into animals. I actually find myself skimming the descriptions and moving ahead to when a plot point is happening. A bit surprising since all the sex and violence is one of the reasons to read the Anita Blake series.
Hamilton has said in interviews that she writes each book as a stand alone story with a central mystery to be solved. I’m starting to find the mysteries more flimsy with each installment and the repetition of interpersonal dramas a little boring.
Richard is the werewolf king and one-third of the triumvirate of power with Anita and Jean-Claude, the vampire master of St. Louis. He appears in Bullet willing to solidify their power base which, of course, means sex. This has been an ongoing issue due to Richard’s unwillingness to fully claim his werewolf identity and a tinge of homophobia.
On the same night – duh – the triumvirate is visited psychically by the soul of a bat-shit crazy vampire who has taken over the bodies of other power vampires. Bat-shit vampire wants to break the triumvirate and potentially take over Anita’s body to rule the world. Or something like that.
At least she gave the ardeur a bit of a break in this one.
Well, not really. Anita needs to gain control of the various weretigers (there are many colors, blue even) and in the midst of attempting to do this (through sex, surprise!) bat-shit appears again and the ardeur protects them all. Protects them from being taken over by the old soul but maybe not from unprotected sex; no one remembers what happened. They just wake up in one naked heap.
Then Anita gets pissed. And she helps the police. She gets more pissed and runs a couple of laps. Some more tigers show up. You get my drift.
The ending is quickly wrapped up in a final short chapter, like always. I’m not exactly sure what the mystery was in Bullet. Maybe how Anita was going to gain the loyalty of the tigers. The next installment has certainly been set up. Bat-shit vampire is still out there, awaiting defeat.
I wonder if I prefer to read series back to back. That is how I first read Anita Blake – something like the first fifteen or so within a couple of months. The slow character development didn’t feel so slow with thousands of pages all together. Reading number nineteen several months after the previous novel doesn’t feel quite as satisfying.
Although, as always, it’s nice to visit with characters I’ve gotten to know very well.