1.5 Stars, graciously
Anita Blake has the highest kill count of any vampire executioner in the country. She’s a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since she and master vampire Jean-Claude went public with their engagement, all she is to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancée.
It’s wreaking havoc with her reputation as a hard ass—to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, she’s still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.
Someone is producing zombie porn. Anita has seen her share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother her. But the women being victimized aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signaling voodoo of the blackest kind.
It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And Anita’s own soul may not survive unscathed
(Lies the whole summary of this book is lies!)
I have been reading Anita Blake for a long time and aside from Jason, have read every story. I did the love of the first books (until Narcissus in Chains) the hate and disgust for the porn they called the middle books, and had the hope for the last four or so.
After finding out the author herself is in a poly-amorous relationship I have given more leeway about Antia being in a serious relationship with at least five people, while fucking about 15 of them .Laurell writes what she knows and since 2013 she has been married and living with another couple.
I also found out her long time editor retired after editing this crap shoot, so maybe now she will get a new one that will actually edit her crap back to a three star level and stop pushing it through just because she's been published since the 90's. I find Anne Rice, Stephen King and Neil Gaiman all have the same issue. When you write for so long, eventually they stop caring what is actually IN the novels.
This book was a different kettle of rotten fish; where the last four (not Jason that is simply erotica) tried really hard to bring back what I loved about the first 9 books, this novel FAILED. It opens so boringly with Anita describing what she is wearing and what two FBI agents are wearing, and getting her matching bra and pantie set in a twist cause the lady FBI agent is excited about Anita having a fairy tale wedding. Then it gets to the actual case. Which is interesting. (Illegal Zombie Porn)
Then it moves on to pages and pages of Poly relationship drama; who sleeps with who, vamp politics and a bit about rings for Jean-Claude and Anita's wedding as well as the commitment ceremony between her, Micah and Nathaniel. We also have to deal with Anita's horrible inner dialouge where she is so "I AM PLAIN AND NOT PRETTY" which at this point turns into: I really want everyone to feel bad for the poor little ugly girl and shower me with compliments. YOU DON'T KNOW YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL song insert here. Then there is the first sex scene, not bad, only about four pages long.
Finally we kind of get back to the plot; Manny and Larry Kirkland (who we haven't seen in ages) show up and there is a couple of pretty cool scenes where Anita raises a zombie that turns into a flesh eater. (Seriously though, 576 pages and this was like tops 100 of them.)
Then we spend the next three hundred pages with more poly drama, dealing with Asher's bad life choices, again. Everyone trying to push on Anita it's ok for a 30+ year old woman to live with and fuck a 19 year old high school senior, and her exclamation that the Mother of All Darkness raped both her and Sin and that's why she can't stand to touch him and how much guilt she feels after being forced to take his virginity at 16. I have SERIOUS issues with Anita's character having sex with a 19 year old but I guess it's ok cause now it's consensual and legal? Ummmm...riiiiight.
We deal with Nathaniel having a pity party over not getting a big romantic proposal, Anita showing dominance to everyone she comes in contact with, debates over who Anita will add to the commitment ceremony so that everyone is happy (and it needs to be a WOMAN). Add another five page long sex scene that creeped me out cause it was pretty much bestiality and then BAM! We finish the novel with about 50 pages (that's generous) of Anita finally finding the bad guy and putting a stop to the Illegal Zombie Porn, then a traditional Anita Blake slapped together summary epilogue (which honestly I have ALWAYS hated).
There was more drama in this book that a college sorority or high-school locker room. This book set the series back, the other novels at least TRIED to bring back the vampire hunting/police work I loved and enjoyed, in this it was a joke. This series needs to end, preferably with Anita dying during child birth.