Preternatura Book Club Looks at: Kickass Heroines, Modern #UF (& C*ntest)

Welcome back to the Preternatura Book Club! We have an ambitious fall reading schedule but a new twist–while I encourage everyone to read along with the chosen books, you can still contribute to the conversations and win one of the giveaways. We’ll be talking about topics that are related to the book we’re reading but are general enough for you to pipe up and voice an opinion.

Each book read will last four weeks, which is a much faster schedule than we’ve done on previous books. We begin today with the first twelve chapters of GUILTY PLEASURES, book one in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton.

The remainder of the fall Preternatura Book Club schedule looks like this:
September 15-October 15: SKINWALKER (Jane Yellow Rock Book 1), by Faith Hunter
October 15-November 15: STORM FRONT (Dresden Files Book 1), by Jim Butcher
November 15-December 15: SPIDER’S BITE (Elemental Assassins, Book 1), by Jennifer Estep
December 15-January 15: DARK LOVER (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1), by JR Ward

Today’s giveaway will be your choice of any of our upcoming reads: Guilty Pleasures, by Laurell K. Hamilton; Skinwalker, by Faith Hunter; Storm Front, by Jim Butcher; Spider’s Bite, by Jennifer Estep; or Dark Lover, by JR Ward. (Not to influence you or anything, but I will say that Butcher’s Dresden series is my favorite urban fantasy, and JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood is my favorite paranormal romance. Just sayin’.)

Okay, so let’s talk Anita Blake. Back in the olden days…oh, about 15 years ago, my friend Meg said the infamous words: “You’ve gotta read these vampire books.” Now, at the time, Meg was into cozy mysteries with or without a little paranormal twist, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when she dumped Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, and Circus of the Damned into my lap.

I inhaled them. They were unlike anything I’d ever read, and I think there’s a strong case crediting Laurell K. Hamilton with “inventing” the modern urban fantasy with the first-person narrative, the kickass heroine, and the romantic bad boy. Anne Rice wrote vampires before this, of course, and Lestat was sexy. But he wasn’t romantic, and there was no kickass human to keep Lestat in line. So I give Anne Rice credit for maybe getting the wheels in motion, but not quite getting us to the modern incarnation of UF.

(Anyone read Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks? I’m just starting it, but have read some arguments for that being the first modern urban fantasy. It came out in 1987, six years before Anita began her reign. So if anyone’s read it, an opinion?)

In the meantime, we have Anita. This is the first time I’ve read Guilty Pleasures in quite a while, and I was struck by several things I’d forgotten:

–The book’s “voice” is very noir, with short, choppy sentences and a rigid subject-verb-object style. It reads like a police procedural. Do you like that tone? I found it a little off-putting, so I don’t remember if I just got used to it in the later books (there are 21 in this series now, of which I’ve read 19) or if the author dropped some of that tone.

–Anita’s snarkiness feels dated. Snark has been elevated to such high levels of sophistication in UF that phrases like “Yippee” and “Naw” seem odd. I do think Anita either elevated her snark or toned it back in later books. Another thing dated this read: language. Did you notice there’s very, very little cursing in this book? Part of it is that Anita is fairly religious, and partly, I think, is the changing times. Should Guilty Pleasures be written anew today, I’d anticipate more F-bombs flying around.

–Likeability. Okay, Anita’s not always the most likeable character, especially in these early books before we get inside her head very much. She’s rarely boring, but she can be hard. Part of it is the noir tone. Part of it is the recitation of weapons. Part is the dated snark. Do you find you like Anita so far? Is she too kickass, or not enough? Are you getting tired of the classic kickass UF heroine?

–If you’ve read very far into this series, you know that the tenor of the books changed about book seven, from urban fantasy “with romantic elements” to a pretty hardcore erotic focus. A lot of people abandoned the series at that point–did you? I kept reading them until the last two, and I do have them. I’ve just gotten busy and behind in my reading. I was getting weary of the sexual olympics but have been told the last couple of books have veered back to adult UF.

–Jean-Claude. Le sigh. I thought Laurell K. Hamilton did a great job of dropping hints that Jean-Claude is more emotionally complex than Anita thinks. One of Anita’s great faults is that she stereotypes the monsters, and changing that thinking is a journey she takes throughout this series. But I’d forgotten how Jean-Claude both exploits Anita (by giving her the vampire marks) and saves her (by giving her the vampire marks). It gives him a moral ambiguity that’s appealing. Jean-Claude has always been one of my favorite vampires, and I think he has aged well. What’s your early opinion of him? 

–St. Louis. My impression of the series over the years is that it really didn’t make use of its setting in St. Louis, and I haven’t really changed that opinion. Any of you familiar with St. Louis, and do you think the book makes use of the city?

Other opinions on the opening chapters of this book? I think we’ve had a lot of setup chapters now, we’ve met the major players, and we’re ready for the meat of the story to really begin.

Leave a comment, start a discussion, and let’s see where it takes us! Anyone who leaves a comment gets entered in the giveaway, which is international, of course. I’ve highlighted some possible talking points above. What do you think?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

58 thoughts on “Preternatura Book Club Looks at: Kickass Heroines, Modern #UF (& C*ntest)

  1. I love Dark Lover’s too, love warth 🙂

    I haven’t read Anita, Laurel, St. Louis’s book before but i’ve just remember i promised Anita to give a chance to read her book, i think i’m going to check it soon *crossfinger

  2. Welcome back Book Club. I have had Guilty Pleasures in the book case for a long time. This is my first time read. I thought 12 chapters might be too much, but read them last night and it went fast. Violence, WOW, what a start. Had me worried for Anita with the giant rats! Think I will like the much faster read.

  3. I haven’t read ‘guilty pleasures’ yet, but I have read some of the later books. I totally agree about the use of swear words, it’s actually pretty tame in that respect.

    I have to say that in the later books I do feel like they are quite pornographic, especially with threesomes and the like. They’re not the sort of books you would feel happy leaving around for your grandma to pick up are they?

    I think what I noticed most though is how one conversation can comprise about a quarter of the book. Not sure if this is the same in ‘guilty pleasures’ but I remember being quite a way through one of them, and realising that the last 150 pages had been one long conversation!

    I am totally going to try and read a few chapters of this asap to try and catch up with you, my reading [ile is just a bit crazy at the mo!
    GFC – sarah elizabeth

  4. @Eli…Agree with you on Wrath–love him! If you get a chance to read this, you’ll be surprised at what a fast read it is…. as

    @Roger can tell you! Yes, that rat scene in Guilty Pleasures is one of those that I remembered vividly. GROSS! I would have had a heart attack. Also, if you decide to read further in the series, the Rat King eventually becomes a player. This is a violent series. It’s just the nature of Anita’s job as “The Executioner” and she kind of relishes it.

    @Sarah Elizabeth…I agree the later books really take the sexual content over the top. I think once Micah was introduced, a lot of readers gave up on the series, and it stopped being an “auto read” for me at about book 15 or 16, although I’ll eventually get caught up. I’ve heard from several people that the last two books have had minimal sex and more plot (as opposed to the sex being the plot–LOL). I hadn’t noticed that about the conversations, but I’ll be looking for that. I know the books do get talky and angst-filled later on in the series.

  5. Love, love, love “War of the Oaks”. Never thought about it being the first urban fantasy, but it fits.
    I have read all of the Anita Blake books, but I no longer buy them (Tulsa Public Library). I just felt that Hamilton’s writing fell off quite a bit on some of the later books. More sex scenes, less plot, which does not make me love a book. The last couple of books do seem to return to a bit more plot, as far as Anita’s job as a Federal Marshall is concerned.

  6. @Susan–Yay! Great to hear from someone who read War of the Oaks. I started it last night, and so far it’s definitely urban fantasy. I’m not far enough along to decide if I think it’s a groundbreaker for what we now think of UF. It reminds me more of the Charles DeLint style of fantasy. Maybe those were the precursors of modern UF, though.

    I’d never criticize an author for taking her books in any given direction–they’re her books and she has to write them as she feels them. That being said, I know lots of people who really objected to the turn this series took. The sex content didn’t bother me so much as the fact that sometimes it felt as if the succubus storyline had overwhelmed the things we liked about Anita to begin with.

  7. Loved War for The Oaks, Suzanne! It was very magical, but I do think it was transitional between fantasy novels into urban fantasy. It was still unsure of its footing.

    Anita however started my obsession with UF. I do love her for the first 9 books including Obsidian Butterfly, after that the quality of the series drops with every book, and although Skin Trade was more or less entertaining, the latest Kiss The Dead at last convinced me to stop the series altogether. I can not torture myself with such poor quality of writing anymore, and I’m really upset about it.

    By the way, I’m not entering giveaway (read all these books already) 🙂

  8. Ah, interesting point Kara-Karina. That might be why I’m feeling War for the Oaks is almost UF, but not quite.

    I’m sad to hear that Kiss the Dead was not good. I heard somewhere that LKH wasn’t having her work edited anymore–wonder if that’s true, and if that accounts for the writing issues? (I’d hate to not have my wonder-editor!)

  9. I’ve heard a lot about the Anita Blake series, but have never read them. I’ve heard that the series is influenced by Hamilton’s life. And I really don’t get St. Louis as the setting. I like books that take place in an area that I love or want to visit.
    I tried the BDB series a few years ago, and couldn’t get into it. I promised my best friend that I would give it another go. Apparently not loving this series is a deal beaker. 😉
    Out of all those listed, the series I’m most anxious to try is Elemental Assassin.
    Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts!

    • Wanted to clarify: When I say Anita Blake series is influenced by Hamilton’s life, I meant relationships, etc.

      Another UF suggestion: WVMP Radio series by Jeri Smith-Ready. The heroine, Ciara, is fierce and it offers a unique spin on vampires.

    • Don’t worry–you’re not the only person who doesn’t like the BDB series. People either seem to love them or despise them; not much in between 🙂

      I don’t mind the LKH series being set in St. Louis. St. Louis has some interesting and unique locales…they just don’t ever get used here, or at leas the ones I’m familiar with. I like my reads to have a grounded sense of place, even if it’s a fictional place. (Thinking of BDB’s Caldwell, N.Y., here.)

      I think Jeri’s WVMP radio series would be a great read. Adding that to my list of future book club reads.

    • Don’t worry, you’re not alone in not liking BDB. I’m one of the few. I just couldn’t get into the set up world. I actualyl used the book to highlight another book that did somethings much better, I thought. Actually, the dislike is for many of the same reasons I didn’t like the Blake series. I had no emotional connection to a single character. And like Anita, Beth felt too hollow. Which is the opposite the Elemental series since Gin seems to thrive on understanding her weaknesses as a strength tactic and why I never see Anita or Beth as kicking ass and taking names. She’s there but sometimes feels like a reader stand-in. I’ve read Guilty Pleasures and Cerulean Sin (which I read first) without liking either one. I like the kickass heroine, the alpha female that doesn’t turn into a brainless Housewives clone – hence my love of Gin Blanco.

      (Don’t put me in the contest. I was just giddy to know I wasn’t alone in the BDB non-love. I haven’t found one in the romance fandom.)Don’t worry, you’re not alone in not liking BDB. I’m one of the few I’ve found. I just couldn’t get into the set up world. Actually, for many of the same reasons I didn’t like the Blake series. I had no emotional connection to a single character. And like Anita, Beth felt too hollow. Which is the opposite the Elemental series since Gin seems to thrive on understanding her weaknesses as a strength tactic. Which is why I never see Anita or Beth as kicking ass and taking names.

  10. While I love the early Anita Blake books (not so much the later ones, except those with Edward), I’ve always felt that Mercedes Lackey’s Diana Tregarde books (Burning Water was the first one, in 1992) kind of launched the trend of “kick-ass heroine” urban fantasy. They had a witch/Guardian heroine, a psychic cop, a vampire rocker, and the tell-tale mix of modern day fantasy and noir detective novel.

    War for the Oaks definitely pre-dates the Diana Tregarde books, and while not “kick-ass heroine” urban fantasy, is still nonetheless urban fantasy in a larger sense. To me, in recent years UF has gotten defined almost exclusively as “kick-ass heroines dating hot paranormal guys” and while that can be fun to read, it is also a bit limiting. Personally, I think there is room for a lot more styles in the genre and hope we see more variety in the future.

    • I’m not familiar with the Diana Tregarde books, but they’re right in the same “age” as the Anita Blake series. I’m right with you on having UF break out of that stereotype it’s fallen into and I am seeing some of that. There’s more UF and UF/PNR blends set in rural places, and more expanded mythologies coming out (although dragons and angels have become as common as vamps and shifters now). Also, some decidedly non-kickass characters. If my wizard DJ manages to kick anybody’s ass, it’s a total fluke! LOL. She’s mostly just trying to keep her own from getting kicked.

  11. I read the first book in this series and decided I didn’t like Anita. she’s a bigot imo, hating all vampires because some of them are evil. I also think a kick-ass heroine can be kick-ass without being a bitch like Anita is. Diana Tregarde is a great example indeed.

    • I agree that Anita is a terrible vampire-bigot in this book, but that’s really her whole journey in the series–well, at least before the sex stuff takes over. She learns that the world isn’t black and white, and that sometimes the “good guys’ aren’t so good and sometimes the “monsters” aren’t monsters at all. I think it’s a real emotional journey for her, but it does progress over several books and I don’t know that she makes much progress in this one, although both Phillip and Jean-Claude get her started.

  12. I just love the Anita Blake series (and Merry Gentry as well), and have recently reread them all, so not starting again, as it takes about 3 weeks to do that. But well, I like Anita. She has reason to hate vampires, remember, she already has the scars to prove it. And Jean-Claude keeps trying his powers on her.

    I normally don’t read erotica, but it just fits the development of Anita and her life, and I don’t mind at all the way Laurell K. Hamilton writes it. Only the lesbian scene in the last book, I skipped that one. (I do the same in Yasmine Galenorn books).

    • I tried to read the Merry Gentry series but just couldn’t get into them. I like Anita too. I’m not sure if I like her a lot based on this first book, but she softens and I thought LKH did a good job of transforming her from this hard, angry, vampire-hating bitch to someone who had least saw the nuances of good and evil. Um…Yeah, I’ll be skipping that scene too.

  13. I loved War for the Oaks as well, although it does seem to be a bit more “fantasy” than it is UF.

    I just read the first 9 books of the Anita Blake series and loved them. In fact, I found it hard to sleep after reading Guilty Pleasures, because I was creeped out. Really an excellent book and Anita’s character is outstanding. Unfortunately I haven’t been too interested in reading the rest of the series, mainly because of the harem and Anita’s “Mary Sue” characteristics.

    • Not to offer up any spoilers for those just reading it, but this book definitely has a creep factor. I think Nicolaus is quite possibly one of the creepiest characters I’ve ever read. Should do that list one day: top 10 creepy characters 🙂

  14. I enjoyed the early Anita Blake books but abandoned the series after Obsidian Butterfly. I tried to go back and re-read Guilty Pleasures and couldn’t get into it.

    I’d consider War for the Oaks as a fantasy book rather than UF.

    • Obsidian Butterfly seems to be the cut-off “had enough” point for a lot of readers, Sandy. It’s early in my read, but even though it’s set in Minneapolis, War for the Oaks feels more fantasy to me as well.

  15. I have some serieous issues with Laurell K. Hamilton – Anita Blake Serie. I LOVE the early books, the first 6 and Obsidian Butterfly.But I hate the book after that….some are better than other. Still I keep reading them because I’m wishing that she come back to the style in the early one…..

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  16. I’ve never read the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. Anita sounds like an interesting character.

  17. Suzanne, I have all the books in the Book Club TBR list – Do not enter me in the contest. Nice to see so many comments. Have not read War for the Oaks, considered it Fantasy. Have the WVMP radio series so I will be ready.

    • Two others on my list for book club is the first Kate Daniels book by Illona Andrews and the first in Kevin Hearn’s Iron Druid Chronicles, which looks fabulous and I’ve been itching to read. The Kate Daniels series…I’ve tried to read it twice and didn’t finish the first book, but so many people love that series I’m determined to give it another try.

    • You will love the Iron Druid books, I think. I’m am almost finished with the 4th book, Tricked. One of my favorite characters in any book is Atticus’ hound, Oberon. He always makes me smile, if not lol.

  18. I have read all of LKH Anita and Merry Gentry books – and if you read from 1 – 21 in Anita – you see a change in style — Im not sure if its a good change or not, but I still read them and I still get them when they come out. Ilona Andrews writes a great story/character in Kate Daniels –

    Kerryjcj @

    • I suspected the style had changed, Kerry–probably a combination of changing styles in the genre and LKH’s maturing as an author. This was her first book, I think–maybe she’d done some short stories, not sure. It had been a while since I read this, so the very choppy cadence of the writing took me by surprise and I found it a little self-conscious.

      Maybe I’ll come around to Kate Daniels this time. After all, it took me three tries to read the first Kim Harrison Hollows book and it ended up being one of my top all-time UF series, and I think has been one of the most consistently good ones.

  19. Hi Suzanne! I used to love Anita Blake till about the time Narcissus In Chains came out. It seemed that after that book, we started to have less of a story and more sex (not that I have anything against hot, steamy, well you know) but I was really missing the writing in her early books. I also wanted to add something in my comment about the BDB. I really had a hard time with Phury’s story and really haven’t been able to pick them up since. I haven’t started the Kate Daniels books but it sounds like I need to get on that!

  20. Hi Barb! Yes, Obsidian Butterfly seems to have been the last book people liked before the “turn” in the series, and I think Narcissus was the one just after that.

    Re: BDB. You know I adore this series, but I will say I did not like Phury’s book. I thought the addiction storyline was well done but I just don’t like the Chosen. They’re not “real women” to me, and I thought Phury could do better. I also thought, on the whole, Phury himself wasn’t as well developed as the other guys. He was just kind of vanilla after the other ones. I really liked Rhev’s book, though. And I’m (gasp) two books behind. This writing stuff is interfering with my reading!

    • I wasn’t really feeling V’s book. The romance just seemed weird to me :/ I can’t put my finger on what exactly threw me off though. But since it looks like you haven’t read it yet, I won’t say anything more!

  21. I just finished Guilty Pleasures, and I really enjoyed it. I plan to continue on to the next book when I have time.

    I didn’t really notice the “voice” of the book. That was probably because it was my first time reading it, and I was just focused on the story. There was nothing wrong enough with it that it jumped out at me as being choppy or anything.

    Anita’s snarkiness probably was a little dated, but I didn’t notice that too much either. Definitely noticed the lack of curse words though. If I was Anita, they would have been flying out my mouth.

    Two things bugged me though….

    Jean-Claude…. I liked him…. I think…. I don’t know…. (I don’t want to say much more and ruin the book for those who haven’t finished it yet. I’ll be back at the final discussion to elaborate.)

    Anita bugged me too. I like her, but…I don’t know. She’s The Executioner, but half the time she seemed so terrified of everything that was going on. I don’t get how she loves being a vampire slayer, but she spends like the whole time scared out of her mind while trying to do her job. I know the whole being scared thing probably makes her easier to relate to, but I almost thought it was too much. With a title like The Executioner, I would think she would act a little more like a certain man she knows when she’s in the high stress situations. (Don’t want to say his name, cuz I can’t even remember if he’s shown up at this point, but I might be more afraid of him than Death. I can’t decide if I like him or not yet.) 🙂

  22. @Lyssa Anne. Glad you’re reading it! I agree the “fear factor” might be a little overdone in this book. Obviously, Anita has been badly injured by a vampire in the past and so she’s scared of them. I hadn’t really thought about it but it does seem as if it were such a fear it would impede her ability to do her job. Or why stay in a job if you’re that frightened? And can you be a true kickass heroine if you’re that afraid of what you’re fighting?

    I think her character becomes more cohesive as the series progresses (well, as everyone said, through Obsidian Butterfly). Without spoilers, I will say Edward is a recurring series character who has an interesting growth arc as well. He’s not in every book but is in quite a few.

    I think if you decide to read further in the series your feelings for Jean-Claude will gel. But again, JC is a discussion for the last week of this read 🙂

  23. i first found out this series on the 15th book, the harlequin. that’s why i have biased opinion on the early books. i love the story, but anita.. i felt like she’s so immature there, compared to how she was on the harlequin where she’s this kick-ass girl who’d what needed to be done.

    • Yes, Anita definitely grows up as the series progresses. Since I read this series in order and watched LKH’s writing progress and Anita mature as a character, it’s hard to imagine–but I guess it would sound really immature in the early books.

    • It’s a good series, Lisa, but as you’ve probably noticed from the comments, a whole lot of people gave up on it after book seven or so (whichever one Obsidian Butterfly was). Although people, including me, keep buying the books.

  24. I absolutely loved the early books in the Anita Blake series, but I eventually stopped reading the series. My feeling was that the series devolved into porn with no plot. I have no problem with sex in books. But when a formerly plot-rich series turns into 9/10th porn 1/10th plot, then I have an issue.

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    • I’d be interested in hearing if Obsidian Butterfly was the last one you read, Kelly–that seems to be when most people gave up on it. I kept reading up through Skin Trade, but you’re right–the sex actually BECAME the plot, or most of it.

  25. I started reading Anita Blake and fell in love with it some years ago. I loved her sense of humor, her attitude and all the paranormal, supernatural stuff she had to face. I loved Jean Claude right from the start….that is, until the books started to revolve around Anita having sex everywhere with everyone and the plot disappeared (which, for me, was afer the Killin Dance). I kept on reading for a while, but I’m stuck at incubus dreams and I’m not so sure I’ll continue

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    • Yes, I think that’s somewhere in the vicinity most people either quit reading or (like me) kept plowing through, hoping. I think the fact that I haven’t read the last two books yet probably says a lot.

  26. I thought the Anita Blake series was one of the best series I’ve read until things just became all about sex. It had so much potential and could have done great things. Think I will reread the first few books for old times’ sake.

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    • I still enjoy the first ones, and I might even reread the first three while I’m at it. I don’t remember which book it was, but there was a point at which I wanted to shake Richard and say, “Get over yourself, big boy,” and tell Jean-Claude, “Tell her off and make her come begging.”

  27. It’s interesting to see what everyone else has said. It’s been years since I read Guilty Pleasures and beyond, and years since I quit LKH for the same reasons as everyone else, it seems. I can’t remember the last one I read. I do know that I had bought Micah in paperback and never touched it, so some time before that. I discovered her through Sci-Fi Book Club omnibuses, so I can say I read at least the first eight books.

    I’ve not read War for the Oaks, but it sounds like Urban Fantasy to me. But I may define it differently. It’s a modern contemporary world, with magical/supernatural elements, either known or hidden from the rest of the world. To me, YF does NOT require some badass heroine (or hero). Actually I think that’s an overused trope/cliche of the genre and is part of what holds it back from evolving or testing new waters. Same goes for the protagonist being in some sort of law enforcement position. But not being too widely read in the genre does still allow me to enjoy those tropes anyway. 🙂

    (As an aside, I finished Royal Street! Thank you again!!! I want to find the time and language to go into detail, but for now, I will say I did indeed enjoy it! Well done!)

    • I have a piece going up on the Heroes & Heartbreakers blog in the next week or so (I’ll post the link on my website) where I did finally read War for the Oaks and Guilty Pleasures and decided I’d give Anne Rice the award for laying the early groundwork for modern UF, and Emma Bull for writing probably what was technically the first UF, but I had to give Laurell K Hamilton the nod for the MODERN version of the UF. That being said, I think some of the tropes she introduced–the kickass heroine, the supernatural police unit, human hate groups (which was all new 19 years ago) have become UF cliches, and I agree that UF is going to have to move away from those tropes. I tried to do that with DJ by making her so very NOT kickass, but just creative and smart. And I’m glad you enjoyed the book! Will look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    • I could add that I also believe the (overly common and cliche-in-their-own-right) cover art for many Urban Fantasies, particularly those written by women, are a turn off to male readership.

  28. I used to love the Anita Blake books, but my enjoyment of these has seriously been waning (since the book with the panwere guy) and the most recent book made me realize I can’t deal with them at all anymore and I sold all my copies to the local used bookstore. It’s not even the gratuitous sex that I can’t deal with (because that doesn’t bother me!), but rather how it’s 21 books in and she STILL thinks “oh, why do these men love me wah wah I’m insecure I have to poke and prod all my relationships.” And we waste 5 pages with her harem trying to soothe her fragile feelings. And she has like 25 fuckbuddies and I only really know or care about maybe 5 of them.
    Also, LKH’s editors need to rein her in. I’m pretty sure the last book, which was 400 pages, took place over 2 days. Seriously!? And I’m sick of how many times per book Anita says she “rolled something [usually someone’s pulse…] around in her mouth like candy.” She needs a new descriptive phrase, it’s been said at least once in all of the last I don’t know how many books. And that phrase doesn’t even make sense.
    And my goodreads review of this book, where I kinda went off on it? Got 11 likes (and that’s the only review I’ve ever gotten a single like on). So I’m guessing MOST people are done with this series.

    • It’s been interesting to read all the comments, Galena. I’d say you are most DEFINITELY in the majority. People seem to have abandoned the series…and yet they keep coming out. I have no idea how well the newer ones are selling. Maybe because of people like me who keep buying them so I’ll have the full set but who haven’t kept up with the reading.

      I have read Lover Unbound, V’s book, and was mad as hell at the whole way it went down. If you’ve read JR Ward’s (awesome) “Black Dagger Brotherhood Insider’s Guide,” she talks about how hard that book was for her to write. It was like she knew V and Butch should have ended up together but she didn’t think it would fly at that time, so it ended up being a weird book. Then she sort of tried to make up for it, I guess, with Lover Unleashed (Payne’s book), where V gets revisited. That’s the one I haven’t read yet–that and Lover Reborn. Soon…soon.

    • Oh shoot – I meant Lover Reborn which is Tohr’s book, not V’s. That’s the one that I wasn’t really feeling.

  29. I have not read any of the books lined up for the Book Club except the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series. I stopped right before Payne got her book because I started reviewing and got to many others to read. I will have to catch up at some point.

    pefrw at yahoo dot com

    • That’s exactly where I fell behind, Rachel–I have Payne’s and Tohr’s books on my shelf, but got tied up in writing my books and doing books for review. I will get to them, though.

  30. I’m one of those rare souls who’s still reading Anita Blake and more-or-less enjoying it. I don’t mind the sex b/c it’s been part of her development as a character, and the writing’s been iffy all along, so I guess I’ve learned to ignore it. Will have to go find Guilty Pleasures and give it a re-read. I remember it as being more violent and grim than the later books, and it’ll be interesting to see if I still think that or if I just got used to her style.
    As far as War of the Oaks – great book, and definitely a hybrid of fantasy & UF.