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Laurell K. Hamilton
book cover

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 09
2000, January, hardcover

Who recommends: Barbara, Shelly, Shelley, Linda, Preeti, Lynn, Suzanne, JW, Robin, Lori
Who discommends: Laurie, Tanya

The description is superb - we really get the feel of Santa Fe and Albuqurque, the land, the gory death scenes, houses, clothing, everything done to make you feel you can feel it/smell it/taste it.

Anita is her usual wise-cracking self - in this case, she travels to Santa Fe to help Edward. Lots of plot twists and minor sub-plots. Which I'd like to gripe about. You see, I think the main plot is about murders that Edward called in Anita to help with. But we spent a lot of time developing sidelines that eventually kinda did a loose-weave of pulling together, but I really wish the main plot had stayed the main plot, not developing a side plot which supported the main plot. Does that make sense?

This is NOT IMO a RomSF. Jean Claude makes one appearance in a dream, Richard is off stage the whole book. The plot progresses by evaluating Anita's relationship in their absence. Excellent tactic to use Anita learning more about Edward and using Edward as a mirror of Anita.

OTOH, while not a RomSF - I don't think she kisses anyone the whole book - I certainly had a few scenes I was fanning myself on. Forget Anita, I'd like to claim a few of the bit players in the book. Of which I think there were too many. All well drawn and pretty distinctive but just one or two too many in the plot.

Several scenes which were gripping but left me thinking, okay that was to show me rather than tell me ... What? Great scene but what was the purpose? So I think the book could have been shorter and tighter.

Watch for a very intriguing development that I have a feeling will show up in St. Louis.--Barbara (10 Jan 00)

Story: Anita Blake is a feisty little woman who hunts vampires and raises the dead for a living. She's the toughest thing on two legs in St Louis. Her friend Edward is tougher. When he phones from New Mexico calling in a favor (Anita had killed one of his men, so she owed him), she goes. However a few things are making her nervous: Edward sounds nervous and he's never sounded nervous before; there's a killer on the loose that skinning some people alive and dismembering others; and one of the backups that Edward brought in is a serial killer who likes to do the same thing, especially to women who look like Anita. And to top it off, she hasn't had sex in 6 months. Need I tell you that a nervous Anita is a dangerous Anita?

This is classic Anita Blake. She has to go through hell but always comes up swinging. The action was non-stop, the plot terrific, and we get to know a whole lot more about Edward than we knew before, and more about Anita too.

There is only a brief appearance by Jean Claude, so don't be expecting a continuation of that romance in this book. The next book will, according to the end of this one, have her dealing with her boys. She does add to her list of conquests though, and this one's a doozy. The next book is going to be something else. Great book.--Shelly (13 Jan 00)

I am really looking forward to the next one - where she will be dealing with Richard and Jean Claude again, but I found this one very good. Lots of adventure and I really liked watching Edward be un-Edward like. I am an enthusiastic recommend for this one even if it is romance light. I did find all the internal dialog about her love life interesting.--Shelley (24 Jan 00)

I also just finished THE OBSIDIAN BUTTERFLY and couldn't stand to put it down but did have to once because I didn't want to stay up ALL night.<g> I enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend it. It was so good I didn't even miss Richard and Jean Claude too much.<g> I think because I had already been warned and had accepted it. I haven't been as hep on Edward as everyone else but I sure am now. I really enjoyed getting a glimpse of his personal life more. And I had no trouble with the different threads taking away from the main plot. I found them all fascinating. Of course I can't wait for the next one either.<g>--Linda (26 Jan 00)

Okay, get the tomatoes ready!

I got OB, finally, and have to reluctantly admit that it was my least favorite of the entire AB series. It took me *forever* to finish it and I found myself putting it down very easily. Is something wrong with me??!! I'd been waiting for this book for eons and when I finally get it I don't want to read it. I've never been a big Edward fan so maybe that was the trouble. Or maybe it was the too gore heavy plot (and I'm the horror fan here!). At times I felt like I was reading an early Clive Barker novel (ahhhh, and the innocent babies!!!! Isn't this woman a mother for God's sake? Was that type of description really necessary?!) Of course it didn't help that neither Jean Claude or Richard were a part of the book and I found Ramirez (was that his name?) a big old bore. The big bad monster at the end was also a let down. Guess I'm truly jaded, sigh, but this book just didn't thrill me at all.--Laurie (12 Feb 00)

In my previous tirade I forgot to mention that Anita's usually wisecracking mouth and much needed humor was sorely missing from OB. Also, I hope she doesn't continue to write about the harming of children. As a horror fan that is about the only thing that I just can't stomach. Blood and guts - let 'em at me - but don't harm children please or at least don't describe it. There are other ways to prove that the evil monster is evil . . . End of tirade. Really.--Laurie (12 Feb 00)

I liked Obsidian Butterfly a lot. I thought it was a lot more sophisticated than the last couple and am looking forward to the next AB.--Lynn (12 Feb 00)

I read it a week ago and loved it. It addressed and resolved many of the problems I'd begun to have with the entire series. It regrounded Anita. Also, I didn't mind the distance from Jean Claude and Richard because it will allow new readers to jump right in and catch up on Anita's life without having to read eight other books.

One of the problems I thought OB addressed was that lately Anita (supposedly through Jean-Claude's mark) became a lust object for every paranormal creature around her. To the point of ridiculousness. In this book we get away from that scenario.

Another problem I thought the series was having was that Anita kept increasing her powers in every book as the situation demanded. How convenient for Anita, but a letdown for me as a reader. In this one, Anita was less of a superwoman. Instead, she had to rely on partners and they saved her butt plenty of times.

In the series we barely ever saw her friends and human mentioned anymore. In this one, all her close human contacts are mentioned because Anita actually thinks about them and decides to reinitiate contact with them. It was refreshing from the almost claustrophobic social world Anita inhabited in the last few books of the series.

Anyway, I thought this was provided the necessary stepping back and reevaluation of where the series was going, and just in time too. This one was a right old adventure, lots of blood and gore and fighting. Wisecracking too, though perhaps less than in earlier books in the series. I enjoyed every word. I wasn't an Edward fan before this book, but he was fascinating in OB. What an interesting romance for him.

I know someone, Suzanne?, thought that Anita needs to choose Jean-Claude. I'm not sure that's a given for Anita based on any of the books. I love Jean-Claude but she's always loved Richard and pretty much been sexually fascinated by Jean-Claude.

Okay, enough about this book. You can tell I really liked it.--Preeti (21 Feb 00)

I just finished it too. I liked it, but didn't think it was up to the standard of BLUE MOON, which I think is LKH's best so far (just because of the emphasis on character rather than the sort of hackneyed same plot that seems to appear over and over in her series. Not that I haven't enjoyed these hackneyed plots of course; I'm definitely an Anita fan - just have never been quite sure why). One thing that bothered me, and I think this has been mentioned, but the editing was so atrocious in this book. I think LKH deserves to be published in hardback, but what is going on that the book was so carelessly edited? Tosseled hair? And lots more - including this weird "Valley Girl" speak, as in, "I so don't want to blah blah..." A good editor would have gently persuaded the author that we *so* wouldn't like this turn of phrase to be used over and over in the book.

I liked it too, for the reasons I like all the Anitas. But poor Edward. To lose so much of his mystique -- and in such a pedestrian way. I did like the way his feelings for Anita were brought out. Calling her his soul mate, because if there were such a thing as a soul mate, it wouldn't be lovers who would could claim that title because a soul mate would have to be someone exactly like yourself. That was a particularly nice observation. I don't think I agree with those who have complained that there's no mystery left to Edward - she left plenty of stuff up in the air about his past and where he's going - it's just going to be hard to get past ole Donna. There were other goodies in the book too. I liked the kids, but still can't fathom why Edward's sweetie would be written the way she was. He doesn't deserve such a fate.--Suzanne (22 Feb 00)

This does contain spoilers ...

I was finally able to finish a book, and it was OBSIDIAN BUTTERFLY. Overall, I enjoyed it, though it is far from my favorite of the series.

Random thoughts --

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but I'm not sure I would've thought it worth the hardcover price (this was a review copy). It was good, but less enthralling than some of the earlier ones. (I think it's because the Jean-Claude/ Richard scenario was one of the things that most fascinated me.)

I agree that it is a good one for new readers to jump into, but since I'm not a new reader that's not a big advantage to me.

I missed Jean-Claude and Richard. I wish Anita would just get used to the idea of having both of them. I wish Richard would get used to the idea of being in a threesome. I missed the sexual/romantic tension. The cover blurb from Krentz called OB "erotic". I must have missed that, because I didn't find it erotic at all. I reckon she was thinking of an earlier book (maybe didn't read this one before giving the blurb?).

I really enjoyed learning more about Edward. Was not an Edward fan before, but found him fascinating.

I didn't like the way Olaf was made to be ... if not likable, perhaps compelling. Big yuk factor there.

I find the domination/submission theme, the cruelty mixed with sexuality (or sexuality mixed with cruelty) that always turns up when Anita deals with vampires, shapeshifters, and the like, distasteful. I have in previous books as well, so this is nothing new, but in this one the scenes seemed to have even less relevance to the story and/or character development than ever.

I liked the fact that Anita was vulnerable...I found the ending illogical. How did this vampire get so powerful, and if so powerful, wasn't it ridiculously easy to kill? Who or what was its servant and how did he get his powers? The whole thing is built up to be massively powerful and dangerous, and then woooof -- it's gone. I want to know who/what/when/where/how. I like my fantasy/magic to be internally consistent, and the Anita Blake books are not. But they are fun ... --JW (25 Feb 00)

Not as good as the others, more's the pity, but not really a discommend either. My brother said that if it was the first book of her's that he'd read, he wouldn't have read any more of hers. I think I agree.--Robin (10 Mar 00)

Finished OBSIDIAN BUTTERFLY yesterday: while it was quite a page-turner, I didn't especially like it. Is it just me or are her books getting nastier and darker? I could have lived without the torture scene(s) ...--Tanya (30 Apr 00)

I read OBSIDIAN BUTTERFLY, and (having been warned that Jean-Claude and Richard don't really play a part), I enjoyed it. For an odd comment, how's this: I got to the point where Anita was describing her feelings about flying, and how she relied on a particular author to get her through. It was a bit jarring, because LKH had mentioned Sharon Shinn in the preface. It stood out a bit too much. But the funny thing is, I have some of the same problems flying. (In addition to the fact that if I don't take something, the takeoffs and landings feel a bit like I'm on an amusement park ride--something I really do not like.) But the author who was able to take my mind off one such flight was LKH.--Lori (16 Oct 00)

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