Dead Ice: Anita Blake Series, Book 24

Dead IceAuthor: Laurell K. Hamilton
Book Name: Dead Ice
Series: Anita Blake
Order: #24
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Rating:  Good
3+stars

 

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.

June 2015 Releases

June has quite a few new titles that I’m looking forward to.  Not all are on my purchase list, but they are definitely books that I’ve been anxiously awaiting their release.

Shards of HopeAuthor: Nalini Singh
Book Name: Shards of Hope
Series: Psy-Changeling
Order: #14
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date:  June 2, 2015

 

 

Dead IceAuthor: Laurell K. Hamilton
Book Name: Dead Ice
Series: Anita Blake
Order: #24
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date:  June 9, 2015

 

 

Song of Midnight EmbersAuthor: Dana Marie Bell
Book Name: Song of Midnight Embers
Series: Maggie’s Grove
Order: #4
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date:  June 22, 2015

 

 

Ride SteadyAuthor: Kristen Ashley
Book Name: Ride Steady
Series: Chaos
Order: #3
Genre: Romance
Release Date:  June 30, 2015

 

 

Jason: Anita Blake Series, Book 23

JasonAuthor: Laurell K. Hamilton
Book Name: Jason
Series: Anita Blake
Order: #23
Rating: Mediocre/Didn’t Like
Genre: Fantasy/Romance

I really debated on whether or not I actually wanted to write this review.  I dislike saying or writing negative things, especially when it comes to something I normally would be raving about.  In this case, I just couldn’t help but say something.

I really didn’t like this book.  For so many reasons.  It was a huge disappointment.  It just did not live up to the existing standards set by the rest of this series. While we got to see some familiar and well loved characters, there just wasn’t a story in there at all.

I’m all for hot and steamy love scenes, no matter what combination of men and women, no matter how many are involved and in most cases, not even the level of kinky, when it is wrapped inside a great story.  Sometimes I’m even good to read something that is nothing but those steamy love scenes, story or not, but please, do them well.  Don’t make them fumbling and awkward.  I get that in real life, steamy doesn’t always come across as smooth, but come on.  When I read a book, a big part of the reason to do so is to live a bit in the fantasy that the author creates.  If you aren’t going to make it so that a reader can get sucked into what you are writing without being thrown out of whatever mood you are trying to create, then what is the point?  I’m pretty sure that in some ways, awkward was the tone that was trying to be set, but it was so wrong and so didn’t work, that for the first time ever reading an Anita novel, I was really tempted to put it down and not finish.  When I finally did finish, I was still wondering why I even bothered.  If you have to force yourself to finish a book, then why even consider reading the next one?

As a whole, I have really enjoyed the series thus far, but with this addition and a couple of the other more recent shorts and additions that I’ve read, I’m wondering how long I’ll continue reading the Anita Blake series as what I’m seeing lately just isn’t all that entertaining.  Like I said, I’m all for steamy, no matter what my own personal preference is.  It is like any other kind of art, while I may not like it personally, I can totally appreciate what goes into it and how someone else might enjoy it and can enjoy it from that perspective. But apparently, even in my reading and enjoying the fantasy from that other perspective, I do have limits to what I can find sexy, even peripherally.  Up until this, and I have read more than my fair share of all kinds of steamy, I hadn’t found that boundary.  Apparently I have been pushed past that and just couldn’t find what I’ve been reading sexy or interesting or entertaining in any way.

The only reason I didn’t rate this book as garbage was because I have liked this series and the characters so far and am hoping that this isn’t an indication of where the series is going from here.  I will be waiting until the next book is in the library rather than spending money on something I’m not sure will be any better than this one.  I am glad that is how I read this one because I do feel like it would have been a waste of money.  I’m sad to say, that if the next isn’t any better, it may just be the last.