Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Book Name: Dead Ice
Series: Anita Blake
Blurb: Anita Blake has the highest kill count of any vampire executioner in the country. She’s a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since she and master vampire Jean-Claude went public with their engagement, all she is to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancée.
It’s wreaking havoc with her reputation as a hard ass—to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, she’s still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.
Someone is producing zombie porn. Anita has seen her share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother her. But the women being victimized aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signaling voodoo of the blackest kind.
It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And Anita’s own soul may not survive unscathed . . .
Review: We get to see more of Anita Bad Ass in this book and not just Booty Call Anita, which is a huge improvement over the last book. Bad Ass Anita is the Anita that drew me into this series in the first place, so I was really glad to see that here.
While we did get to see the mystical and police side of Anita, it felt a little like she wasn’t all that relevant to the investigation until it impacted her personal life. It was also only about 1/3 of the content of the book. All the rest focused on the relationship aspects of Anita’s life. What mystical side we saw, either zombie raising, police related or even relationship wise, was still very minimal.
Earlier in the series, it was Anita’s uniqueness and powers that began to draw in the different people that she ended up in relationships with and the focus on the mystical aspects of those relationships helped to make the huge number of people she got involved with work. It was a stretch, but it worked.
Now, after it has been mentioned in several books that she has way too many bed partners and should figure out a way to pair it down, especially since there is a need and desire to have commitment ceremonies and an actual wedding, we end up adding more, not narrowing it down. What makes this even worse, is that these new people don’t have any kind of a mystical or emotional connection. They are just being added in an effort to keep everyone satisfied in bed. That alone takes away the believability of this huge poly group that supposedly has deep emotional and mystical connections and makes it more just a whole bunch of people who have sex with whoever they want for reasons not even remotely related to anything other than physical.
To top it all off, they are now being forced to try and add another person to the commitment aspect of the group to satisfy a prophecy. In an effort to do this they are meeting with potentials to see who may work, not because there is anyone that they may care about, let alone love, but because they feel they have to. This goes against what the characters claimed in previous books that they wouldn’t add anyone to the commitment/marriage that they didn’t love just to soothe hurt feelings. It smacks of arranged marriages and breaks down the importance of what emotional relationships do exist.
I’m also not thrilled with the amount of pressure that seems to be put on Anita to have sex with so many people that she really doesn’t have any connection with. She has become so much more the Booty Call Anita rather than the Bad Ass Anita. I don’t know very many women that would feel all that good about themselves by being passed around as a sex object just so other people can get a power boost or political connections or via emotional blackmail just because they feel left out. It is no longer about love and commitment or even mystical connections, it is just about sex.
I have really enjoyed a lot of the relationships that Anita has had in the past. And like most fans, have my favorites, but with the direction the series seems to be taking, those relationships begin lacking in emotional depth and realism when so many other people start getting involved. Especially when those people just do not seem to be involved for any real good reason other than to have another person to have sex with.
Also, when the focus of the story leans so far away from what we loved the most, Bad Ass Anita, her powerful nature and her close loves, towards so much more of these superfluous relationships and the petty drama that a good 50% of the story is no longer interesting, but tedious to read through, it lessens how much I like the characters I do like because they are so willing to put up with crap that anyone with an ounce of self worth would have walked away from a long time ago. Asher, Jade and Domino are really good examples of characters that are really just whiny brats that like to throw little fits. The fact that ANY of these supposedly strong characters are willing to continue to tolerate them makes me like them so much less than I did in the past.
This book was better than the last, absolutely, because we get to see more of what drew us in in the first place. It was still a disappointment. As a series, though, it is really starting to suffer in my opinion. Part of what makes a really good piece of fiction work is the author’s ability to get the reader to suspend their disbelief and find that fiction to be real for the time they are reading the story. As this series has moved forward, that suspension is breaking down more and more often. There is only so much a reader is going to bend their brains, no matter how much they may want to, before it just no longer works for them. Each book in this series is taking us closer and closer to that point. Because I have loved so much of this series in the past, I’m really, really hoping that it gets redirected before it gets to that point.