Sunday, July 16, 2006
Why did I Bother?
So I just finished reading "Micah", in theory the second to last current novel in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton. I say in theory, because calling this a novel would be far more than generous.
Oh it measures out to 250 pages; and I'm a fast reader; but one generally doesn't finish a 250 page novel (barely more than a novella really), in 90 minutes. There is basically one slightly long short stories worth of content here.
This was maybe 1/4 of a book, maybe a bit less (call it three chapters); stretched out to the minimum length for a mass market paperback release. If it had been a standard print hardcover, I don't think it would have been much more than 100 pages. I'm assuming she wrote this for contractual requirements, or as a little side money, because "Danse Macabre", which just came out a few days ago (and is on its merry way thanks to Amazon), is a 500 page standard print hardcover, about standard for the series.
Not only was the content thin and light, it was even more smut than usual. The series started off as a straight up detective fantasy; but as the supernatural romance genre got going good; and as Hamilton herself got more into the "Scene", the books have just gotten dirtier and dirtier.
Of the 250 pages, I'd guess 1/3 were sex scenes, and another third were Anitas internal emotional monologue; with what little was left going to the story. The entire story itself consists of less than one full day for gods sakes; and 90% of that day is fucking, or flying from St. Louis to Philly.
I don't know if Hamilton has just decided to keep the pot boiling for as much cash as she can milk; if she doesn't care; or if, as I'm hoping, Danse Macabre will actually be of the quality last seen in book 9, "Obsidian Butterfly".
Essentially with the introduction of the "Ardeur", an the character of Micah, the series has become nothing more than sexual fantasy fulfillment. Not only that, but in the four books I've read since (Danse... will be Five) the story line has only advanced a few months, and had essentially zero real development, or much of anything really to hold it together.
Narcissus in Chains was at least an interesting story, and had some good characters; plus the old Anita was still in control there, but Cerulean Sins and Incubus Dreams both only moved the story a few weeks, and were also almost entirely sexual.
I'm hoping for more here, I'm hoping for more guns, more character development, more story, less fucking, and less sulking.
Give us back the Anita Blake we love Laurell, you'll sell just as many books with the good Anita as with the trashy romance novel crap, believe me.