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Laurell K. Hamilton
book cover

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 10
2001, Oct hardcover

Who recommends: Shelley, Barbara, Robin, JW, Linda
Who discommends: Danielle

WOW. I think this is going to be a favorite of mine. I do not really want to go into the plot - a lot happens and there are lots of potential spoilers. It is very action packed, deals with the relationship issues in depth, and has some major changes Anita has to face in herself. Basically, IMHO, it is a pivotal book in moving the series forward. Although a lot happens, and a lot is resolved, there is still great potential for further books and much new material to be explored.

Laurell K. Hamilton did the foreshadowing very well - she did not leave you dangling, but definitly let you know there was still lots of avenues to be explored.

Definite recommend on this one! I read NIC in one sitting because I *had* to know what was happening next.--Shelley (10 Oct 01)

I had to spread reading NARCISSUS IN CHAINS one over two nights. Things progress in somewhat anticipated and unanticipated ways. All the things that people say about Anita - tired of her eternal attraction and maybe she has lost direction. Gory, little plot - these are more character driven stories that make you consider things you thought you were sure about. Not for light reading.

Now I really hate it when someone tries to explain a book to me - I mean, if the author is good, you should get it without someone else explaining it, right? Like in English and the teacher's kept looking for meaning in Tennyson's poems and you ask the question, "Could it have been the only word he could think of that rhymed?"

If you didn't pick up the little freebie from Waldenbooks on Laurell K, you missed the reprint from Locus entitled "Death and Sex". Some things she puts in that piece explain a bit about her voice in Narcissus - and I choose selected parts ...

Her mother died at age 29 in a car accident, very suddenly. "I learned that not only do people I love die, but that other adults couldn't keep them safe." In Narcissus, we see Anita realizing this - that she can't keep some people safe - or from dying.

Another part of the piece talks about writing for a living as a "distancing device, a step back... In real life, if you cross the street and get hit by a truck, it's not a big plot. In fiction, with a plot, someone had it in for you. You can hunt them down and have your vengeance... When I write, I try to put order into chaos, to make sense of things. One of my themes is dealing with death and loss. The other is corruption."

And she continues to talk about Anita in the beginning at 24 and how black and white the world was but now it's become gray. She refers to vampires looking like humans so Anita risks her own psyche - ability to balance good and evil - when she kills something that looks human. The first books had the zombies, the obviously supernatural creatures that were for Anita and us "safe" to kill. In NARCISSUS, we have Anita coldly shooting a werewolf who is in human form - wasn't Marcus in wolf form when his demise was met in KILLING DANCE?

"... One of the things I was really looking at was, was it too late [for Anita] to stop being a sociopath? ... The thing is, can you stop if you're still living the lifestyle that caused you to become the sociopath in the first place? It's not like she's a combat vet sent back home or a policeman that changed jobs."

And interesting enough, she talks about fans from romance and after a long explanation of the violence, she addresses adding sex to the books. She asked for some recent romances, her last one being a harlequin in high school. Wow, she thought, can they do that? "... I'd written myself into a corner because I'd spent books not flinching on the violence. What did it say about me that instead I flinched at the sex scenes?"

Where does that leave NARCISSUS IN CHAINS? A pretty serious look at how things become less clear as experience is gained. That people aren't always the good guys and monsters aren't always the bad guys - that sometimes things that look human and beautiful aren't - that sometimes it's not clear what the next choice should be. Things can't always be controlled and be kept safe.

There is one section where it seemed like Richard and Anita really understood each other and were able to understand the other's viewpoint - an excellent part when they need to get Gregory out of the oubilette. We all have our strengths - we all have our points to prove to ourselves.

Expect the unexpected.--Barbara (11 Oct 01)

I just finished LKHamilton's NARCISSUS IN CHAINS. One word. Wow! I was not fond of OBSIDIAN BUTTERFLY but this one had me by the throat. I read it in two days and was up until 3 am on a work night. It took me a week to read OBSIDIAN BUTTERFLY. The boys are back and more things are happening. I don't want to risk any spoilers.--Robin (04 Nov 01)

I also give a high recommendation to NARCISSUS IN CHAINS, although I'm kind of surprised that I'm still enjoying this series. Normally the romance lover in me would abstain from a book in which the heroine seems to have so many love interests. As far as Anita's love life goes, I was only happy with some it. I still can't stop reading LKH's stories, though, as they have me hooked. :-) Still, I'm not going to add NARCISSUS IN CHAINS to my picks of best sfr books because the love story in this book has just gotten so bizarre that I don't think it would be what most think of as a romance.

Anita has changed so much and there are just so many surprises in this book that I am just amazed at LKH's imagination. Anita's relationship and protectiveness toward the wereleopards is fascinating. I was afraid NIC might be the last in the Anita Blake series but then I remembered that Anita still has that psycho admirer from the last book that has to show up some time.--Linda (14 Jan 02)

Secondly, I finally read NARCISSUS IN CHAINS last wee and frankly, my reaction was a big "ehh". Nearly launched it across the room when I reached the fifth sex scene while nothing (much) had happened to advance the plot. And I even found the sex boring, because none of it was just hot sex - it always had to have some kind of magickal [foofy spelling intentional] power.

It was saved from being a total discommend (but only just) by the fact that some actual changes occur in Anita's relationships with Jean-Claude & Richard.--Danielle (26 Feb 02)

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