Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Clearly, I must be a masochist [Guilty Pleasures, AB:VH, Book 1]

Just for background: Urban Fantasy is not my favorite genre. Give me some epic Fantasy and I’m a happy camper. Six or more books in your series? 800+ pages per book? Dragons, swords, and magic? I AM ALL OVER THIS. But I do like vampire stories. And I really like werewolf stories. And, sweet mother of Christ, do I love fairy stories. Or faerie, if you prefer.

When I read Guilty Pleasures for the first time, some of it troubled me but it didn’t make me want to eat my own face off. Everything was just interesting enough to continue reading the series. The writing wasn’t great, but a lot of that is just the headvoice. Anita Blake has all the scholarly learning and emotional complexity of a febrile guinea pig. I blew through 16 of what was 18 books in 4 weeks. By book 6, I was pissed. By book 12, I had permanent RAGE FACE. It’s impossible to think about each book individually now because I know what’s coming next. And it isn’t pretty.

At any rate, Anita, oh Anita Blake. I wish, really wish, that I liked you. You are all sorts of things that I like. Bad-ass lady? Check. Majorly independent? Check. Weirdly idiosyncratic? Check. Plus, you raise zombies. WHY DON’T I LOVE YOU? I should be all with a case of puppy dog love. But somehow, all of these things together conspire to make me utterly loathe you. The bad-assedness, and the independence, and the penguins!!! Christ, you are trying SO HARD to make me feel sympathetic towards you whilst pretending not to give two shits about my opinion.The thing is, I like the world you live in. Vampires are citizens? You can become a shifter because of a bad vaccine? Zombie raising is an acceptable business venture? This is awesome. And a lot of the reason I’ve read all nineteen books. But instead it’s all about YOU. Which fine, whatever, the goddamn series is called Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter. But it’s written in your own POV, which I hate. Because your head is not a good place to be. You say things like “naw” which makes me want to body-slam a cactus. You talk about your clothes. I DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU COLOR MATCHING THE SWOOSH ON YOUR NIKES TO YOUR T-SHIRT. Socks are socks, and nobody cares if the stripe on the side is “tasteful”. IT’S A FUCKING SOCK. You have lived in St. Louis, presumably, for your whole life. Why are a penguin t-shirt and running shorts the only clothes you have to camouflage your guns in the summer? YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL. And then, the penguins. I think the penguins are supposed to make you relatable. Like “I’m a bad-ass with 30 guns and I’m covered in scars but look! I collect stuffed penguins! Aren’t I cute? Don’t you want to be my friend?” NO, Anita Blake, YOU ARE NOT CUTE. And I would rather be friends with flesh-eating bacteria.

Since I’m supposed to be talking about Guilty Pleasures, here it is: Something is killing the vampires in St. Louis. And not just the ones on the bottom of the pecking order, but powerful vampires. Willie the vampire (what the fuck?) tries to hire Anita, known as The Executioner, to find out who or what is killing the bloodsuckers. She refuses but is coerced by Jean-Claude, super-supremo-sexy vampire, into accepting. Jean-Claude and Willie the Vampire are working on behalf of Nikolaos, who is Master Head Honcho Vampire Princess of St. Louis. Anita starts digging around, pisses off a lot of people, including Nikolaos, and raises a zombie. There is some fighting, an appearance by were-rats (holy fucking hell), then an undercover sting operation with a vampire-addicted stripper, some more fighting, BUILD-UP, more build-up, final fight scene, the end. Also, Jean-Claude starts the process of making Anita a human servant, which is like a super-special gold-star vampire lackey who has many of the strengths of a vampire and few of the weaknesses. Sounds like a sweet deal, but Anita is not happy. She never is, but this is especially sad-making for her. Even though, despite a one-thousand year old vampire trying very hard to make her dead, she is very much alive because of Jean-Claude and his vampire marks.

Go ahead and read it. But I’ll just say I told you so now.

Note to editors: A garter belt is not the same thing as garters. Why someone would wear garter BELTS is beyond my comprehension. It sounds monstrously uncomfortable. And one person wears one leotard. Their legs are not covered in leotards. I guess you could layer them, but really, that makes no sense. Also, tireder? This is not acceptable. Not even in your own head.

Edited for formatting 

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