Friday, June 15, 2012

Kiss the Dead by Laurell K Hamilton - Review

Kiss the Dead is book 21 in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by author Laurell K Hamilton.  This book is a step forward in the life of Anita and a definite step in the right direction for the fans of the series.  For the past several years there was loud discontent with the series; it had changed so much and become something loyal fans couldn’t understand.  The change in the direction of the series began to flare up in the legions of fans of the series.  Where was the Anita Blake the fans loved?  Where was the woman who looked into the face of Death and merely smiled?  Where was the Executioner?

There was a moment in the series where the books wandered away from the Anita the readers met back at the beginning.  She became something the ardeur controlled and that is the moment that some of the fans got upset.  She wasn't this hardcore, no nonsense, powerful woman - she had turned into this woman controlled completely by her libido.  That was when it was hard to read.  I am a die-hard fan of this series.  I have bought each book in hardcover. I stuck with it through the time where even I was shaking my head wondering what was happening.  BUT ever since the end of The Harlequin I began to hope again.  

The next three were iffy but Bullet had me again.  It was then I saw Anita back again.  And in Bullet, she truly started questioning who she was, what she was, and ultimately at the end of the day who she wanted to be to those around her.  That is when I began to smile again reading the series.  She was growing up, she was changing, and it was only the changes that could come from growing, maturing, and full self-actualization as a person and a woman.  

Kiss the Dead is far away from the books in the middle of the series, the ones which had fans questioning their loyalty to the series.  Kiss the Dead is the book Hamilton needed to write for Anita, for the fans, and maybe even for herself.  There comes a time in a long series where the main character (the protagonist for you literary folks) MUST grow and change.  If they don't the series becomes stale, tired, and ultimately conversations ensue beginning with "...well I loved the series until book number [insert number] and then it went so far off the rails and it was the same stuff over and over and they didn't change or learn anything from all of the other books, it's too bad, it used to be amazing..."

An author never wants their books not evolve.  The readers grow up, they grow with the series, and if the storyline remains the same, the readers will grow AWAY from the series.

Hamilton "returns" to the kick ass woman readers met in Circus of the Damned, but this is the older, smarter, and more self-aware version of Anita Blake.  This is the Anita her fans have been waiting for:  the Matriarch of St. Louis - the role she has been gearing up for from the very first book 

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