Thursday, January 20, 2011

Books without a point [Circus of the Damned, AB:VH, Book 3]

As usual, the story starts off with Anita at work, interviewing potential zombie-raising clients. (Look! Anita has a job doing stuff! This is a reminder that she is a regular person! Also serves to present a unifying theme!) This time, these clients don't want to raise a zombie, they want Anita to help them kill a vampire. Specifically, the Master of the City (they are not aware that this is Jean-Claude and Anita ever-so-politely declines to tell them). Dudes Jeremy and Karl are part of an anti-vampire group called Humans First that wants to kill all vampires despite the legal protections that vampires now enjoy. Anita tells the dudes to fuck off, she's not interested in helping. Mostly because their plan sucks.

Anita gets called to assist Dolph (his name is Randolf, why does no one call him Randolf? Oh, right, everyone in these books is quasi-German) with a murder investigation. Male victim with multiple vampire bites is found on someone's lawn. Anita identifies that the victim has been bitten by multiple vampires which rules out the possibility of him being turned. Anita doesn't believe that this murder is the work of Jean-Claude (him being such a nice guy and all) but goes to see him to find out if he has any information about the attack. At the Circus of the Damned (it really is a circus, if a circus could be said to smoke massive quantities of crack) she meets a couple of shifters, sees a giant snake, and has a confrontation with a psychotic lady-vampire. Then the giant snake goes berserk and eats a few people. Anita, Jean-Claude, various shifters, some Naked Dude, and Psycho Vampire fight the snake and kill it. Jean-Claude tells Anita that he does not know who killed the Murder Victim but would she please stop fighting against the vampire marks he placed on her against her will and also, get naked for some sexy vampire loving. Anita tells Jean-Claude to please STFU and proceeds to plan a date with Richard (previously known as Naked Dude). Then there is a pointless interlude with Edward "I love to kill things" Nolastname and one with Ronnie "I exist to fill page space" Sims.

Later, another Murder Victim (this time a lady) is found with multiple vampire bites. When Anita firsts shows up at the crime scene, this lady is merely dead. After a little while Anita notices that the lady is now dead AND pretty. She realizes that the first Murder Victim must by now be turning into a vampire. Because, apparently, a powerful enough vampire could turn someone even with bites from many vampires. Anita remembers reading this in an article, but neglected to mention it at the first crime scene (where she assured everyone that the victim was really really dead). There is another pointless interlude at the morgue where the NOW-NOT-DEAD dead man has been sent. There is much mayhem and carnage.

At Anita's behest, a new animator is hired by Animators, Inc. ( the zombie-raising firm Anita works for). New guy Larry is sent out by himself to do some zombie raising. Anita meets him at his 3rd job, where he has over-extended himself and proceeds to save his ass. She gives him a TOUGH-LOVE talk. As they are leaving the job site, Anita and Larry are attacked by Humans First. Then they are attacked by a group of vampires. Then they are saved by Karl(of Humans First). It turns out that the vampires who attacked are the rogue vampires who have been biting people a lot and the master of this group, Alejandro, wants to be Master of the City of St. Louis. He has placed the first vampire mark on Anita in an effort to weaken Jean-Claude's power. AND THEN it turns out that Karl is the human servant of Mr. Oliver who also wants to be MotC. And Mr. Oliver is a million years old. Literally. And he has a pet Snake-Lady who is also immortal. Mr. Oliver offers to free Anita of all of her vampire marks if she tells him who the current MotC is. She tells him she'll think about it.

Snake-Lady later comes to Anita and tells her Mr. Oliver wants to see her and gives her a ride to some cave in the middle of nowhere. Melanie (Snake-Lady's name, wtf) then tries to kill Anita. She gets bitten by one of Melanie's snake buddies but manages to escape and is picked up by Edward (just in case your brain has not yet turned to mush, this is merely another implausible coincidence in a series of implausible coincidences) in THE MIDDLE OF FUCKING NOWHERE. Now Anita nearly dies from the poison in her bite but is saved by Jean-Claude giving her yet another vampire mark. This makes Anita very angry and she tells Mr. Oliver who Jean-Claude is. Then she finds out that when Mr. Oliver takes over as MotC, he plans on a very public killing spree to force vampires back into hiding. So she calls Jean-Claude to tell him she has betrayed him. Jean-Claude tells her that Mr. Oliver has already challenged him to a duel. Then there is a giant fight at CotD. Alejandro (who is nominally working for Mr. Oliver) forces the last vampire marks on Anita. She uses her extra-special super-sort-of-vampire strength and rips Mr. Olivers spine out through his neck and also stakes Alejandro. Anita and Jean-Claude both survive the epic battle. And then Anita re-schedules her date with Richard. Oh, and Richard is a werewolf. A very sexy werewolf.

Here's something that annoys the piss out of me: each book reads like Anita is telling her story to herself but then WHAM, all of a sudden she's talking to the reader or asking the reader questions. This juxtaposition is both off-putting and obnoxious. But mostly it's obnoxious. Talk to the reader or talk to yourself. PICK ONE.

I have some advice for authors too: continuity is really important. Characters should not be described as having longish hair and then 10 pages later described as having short hair. Unless you have specifically mentioned them getting a haircut. Also, don't make a point of saying that people can be turned into shifters only by the violent attack of a shifter-in-animal-form and then say that they can also be turned by a bad vaccine. Hire an editor. Pointing out shit like that is their JOB. Continuity might not make your story GOOD, but it will make your story better. I PROMISE.

Here's a link. But please remember that I read this so that YOU DON'T HAVE TO. Save your money. Or better yet, use your money to buy me a present.


  1. You know, I totally commented on this like 3 days ago. WTF.

    1. This made me happy, but then made me sad because now I have to do the fourth one.

    2. THE FUCKING EARTHMOVER. What a great concept! Yet another reason this series BLOWS. She kills off every good idea she's ever had.

    3. Edward, in my head, is played by Peter Weller (Robocop), which is both hilarious and really distracting.

  2. Robocop as Edward? Not Peter Weller, but Robocop. ZOMG. This will never be the same.

    Yeah, good concept, but it doesn't work later in the series. How old is Mommy Dearest supposed to be? She's never described as Neanderthal.

    Have fun with Lunatic Cafe.

  3. I was thinking like Odyssey-5-Peter-Weller, but now I'm just going to see Robocop.

    Mommy Dearest is supposed to be like, pre-time. Like primordial ooze, or something. I thought it was a pretty lofty concept to just kind of lightly throw into the middle of all the blood-letting and/or shapeshifter fucking, but, you know, that's me. I'm guessing she comes back later and I CAN'T WAIT.

    And that site you sent me? With the dialog? I swear I can't read an Asher scene without thinking "This ass ain't gonna rail itself, guys."