The Harlequin (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #14)
Laurell K Hamilton
Orbit (Hachette Australia), 422 pp
I’ve been an Anita Blake fan for a long time. I’ve read many of the complaints by readers as the series – and indeed – the main character, changed significantly over the course of the books. I’m not sure I agree with all those complaints, but I have had my concerns about the growth of the character, which has been exponential to the length of the series. The concern has been about the sustainability of this growth. Every time she comes up against a more powerful creature, Anita seems to gain some new power in order to defeat the enemy. How long can this go on? Anita is a supernatural being herself, but she doesn’t fit any of the “rules” that other supernatural creatures adhere to. She has also lost many of her inhibitions and now “dates” at least six men, and has sex with more, sometimes MANY more, in the course of the novels. Some of the past few books have been more about the sex than the story, and readership has supposedly dropped off because of it.
Interestingly, in this story, Anita is trying to come to grips with a more emotional block, as opposed to the sexual ones that we’ve been bombarded with in the past. The plethora of sex that has been a concern to many fans, is wound back a bit in this novel (although there is a bit of girl on girl for what I think might be the first time), and the character development takes a step forward. And Edward is back – yay! He’s one of my favourite characters, and I love how his relationship with Anita has changed – I read him like a big brother figure to her, although I’m not entirely sure I should. Continue reading