Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

As per my agreement with myself, and with my best friend and her husband, I am reading the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton from the beginning.  It’s a twenty book series to date, and that doesn’t include the short stories that are apart of it.  It’s been slow going but finally I finished the first book in the series, Guilty Pleasures which is 266 pages long, was originally published by Ace Books in 1994, and was also featured in an anthology with the second and third books called Club Vampyre.  Now, keep in mind that this is not the first time I’ve read this book, nor would it be the second or third time.  Honestly, including the comic adaptation I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it.  The first time was when I was fourteen and had already read the fifth book of the series first.  I don’t know if I can review it without letting my love of the rest of the series cloud it, but I will try to for those of you that have yet to read it.  Just to make it clear though I was neither given this book nor given any sort of compensation to write a positive review of this book.  The book is my own and the opinions about the book are also my own.  Everyone clear on all that?  Onward then, to the review!

Guilty Pleasures is a book about Anita, a licensed vampire executioner and animator (zombie, not cartoon).  In Anita’s world Vampires are not only real, but they are legal in the USA.  However if one gets out of line, there’s no jail sentence, they’re too dangerous.  That’s where Anita comes in.  Only this time the vampires want her help.  Seems there’s someone that’s been murdering a lot of vampires.  She is on retainer for the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team (or RPIT) and has already put in her input, but the master vampire of St. Louis wants Anita to look more closely into it.  She doesn’t work for vampires though, and turns down the offer.  Unfortunately the Master does not take no for an answer.  She makes an offer Anita can’t refuse.  Between vampires terrorizing her and her friends, a hit man threatening her for information, and the person behind the murders trying to get rid of her when she gets too close, Anita has her hands full.  To top it all off, the sexy vampire Jean-Claude is constantly in a battle of wits with her, trying to seduce her to his side.  Too bad though, Anita doesn’t date vampires, she kills them.

Laurell pulls the reader in with her first-person narrative.  You feel like you are inside the main character’s head, there to hear every cynical and smart ass remark.  Laurell’s use of prose is still developing but shows promise.  The main character misquotes sometimes, though it could be intentional to reduce the amount of cliché.  Jean-Claude as the sexy vampire “love interest” may seem overdone in this post Twilight scene, however taking into consideration the date that this was first published, the vampire thing hadn’t really been done that much.  Certainly the idea of an evil prepubescent female vampire was done with Anne Rice back in the mid 70’s but her movie hadn’t come to the screen until the year after Guilty Pleasures, so one can’t really say that she was copying that character either.  The book was well researched for the mundane as well as the arcane lending to the horrific realism at crime scenes and grave sites.

In my opinion, it’s worth it just to read the description of Jean-Claude’s half bare chest and yummy French accent.  Would I recommend it?  Certainly!  However, to really appreciate the characters you have to read more of the series, they grow over the years, and though some don’t go the way you may want, the character development over the years is believable and entertaining.

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About Cici Brown
I'm a happily married mother of two and a half. I'm usually pretty bubbly and in some cases, according to my husband, too open about everything. I am and always will be a gamer geek, though I haven't table-top roleplayed for many years. I still manage to hit an MMO or two. My interests include most things geek and Vampire fiction, though not the sparkly kind, that's not vampire fiction. I have goals towards publishing that have yet to be fulfilled but one day...

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