Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Personal recommendation: don't go into this expecting much of anything, and then you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Of course, after the last book, where I got so frustrated I actually gave it a single star and a rant, where I told myself I was stopping the series altogether, I fully didn't expect to pick up this 25th book at all.
Especially because we were going to have to deal with whiney-boy Damian as a main character.
But. Haven't I invested so much time and energy loving this series as a whole? But. If I can just ignore the constant insert part A into part B endless sex scenes, wouldn't this be better? But. If I can ignore the fact that so much relationship drama is dragging me around as if I had a noose around my neck and some cowboy was riding away holding the other end of the rope, can't I just focus on the police procedural and the supernatural goodness?
Yeah. I can. I have been for so many books, now, ever since right after Obsidian Butterfly, admittedly my favorite book of the series.
So, yeah, this wasn't so bad.
Damian and Nathaniel and Anita were the first complete triumvirate. They were the weaklings. They were also the first solid power base that Anita had since all the crap between Richard and Jean-Claude. I hoped to see a lot better stuff between them, but then Damian's thread was just marginalized and the author turned him into the ugly red-headed step-child. Literally. For more than a dozen books. And all the while, Anita collected men (and now women) as if they are trading cards and those relatively solid storylines and wealth of opportunities with her supernatural power base just kinda slipped away.
Until now. Hell. I was very worried it'd be just another whiney whiney Damian story, but no, he's actually starting to grow up and take responsibility, which is about time since he *is* a 1000 year-old vampire. I was relieved. It felt like some of the good times I had before Obsidian Butterfly, when Anita was backed into a real corner and she had to dig *really* deep for some hidden juice. And she does, once again. The supernatural stuff in this one was great. It's the main reason I keep on reading the series.
Ireland. The leadership of the Harlequin. What does Mommy Darkness's shards of power mean for Anita's fate? I mean, the American Vampires are just consolidating their power, now, but there *is* another whole world out there. I'm glad that this issue is being addressed, finally. I hope to see even more of that. This book is actually establishing a very solid reason to do so.
Damian's old master, the lady of fear, is an awesome reason for Anita to go on a political duck-hunt across Europe and beyond.
As for the tragic death of a main character? Well, what can I say? It's about time. And no, it's not Damian. As far as I'm concerned, he's golden again. It's nice to have the hints of an actual triumvirate that WORKS. You know, rather than just using relationship drama to limit the overpowered monstrosity that is Anita Blake, we might actually get back to core issues like Ethics and Other Overpowered Monstrosities. :)
So yeah, if I ignore those things that annoy the shit out of me, I have to admit that the rest of this book was pretty damn cool. This is the Ultimate Flawed Novel, but I can't help but think that we need to have a cheat-sheet for readers of the series. Something like an Anime Filler List for tv episodes that don't follow the Manga, but in this case it'd be pages we can successfully skim or just plain skip because of relationship drama or tired sex scenes.
Yeah, Um, you can skip pages 23-68, 74-82, 112-150, etc., etc. :) (Not real pages you can do this with, I'm just citing an example.) :) We need this for the whole series, then. Let people enjoy a really awesome UF, sometimes skipping whole Character-Named books entirely, and love it as much as some of us have, but without the angst. :)
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