Welcome back to the Preternatura Book Club! 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. Today, we tackle chapters 24-36 of GUILTY PLEASURES, book one in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton.
Today’s giveaway will be a trio of new books: Shannon Delany’s RIVALS AND RETRIBUTION, a YA urban fantasy; Tracey O’Hara’s SIN’S DARK CARESS, an adult urban fantasy; and Karina Cooper’s TARNISHED, a sexy steampunk. So go for it!
These chapters of GUILTY PLEASURES offered a few answers, but mostly more questions, and the chapters ended with Anita heading for the big climactic scenes of the final chapters. A few thoughts:
Do you feel any differently about Phillip since reading these chapters? He’s such a jerk in the earlier parts of the book, but I think his character displays more dimensions here, and maybe you see why I think he’s such a tragic figure. Phillip makes me sad.
RELIGION! Where does speculative fiction come down on religion? I think it was an issue authors in these early urban fantasy books had to come to terms with, and is a subject I find really interesting.
In epic fantasy, stories are set in entirely different worlds, so faith as we know it isn’t an issue. In science fiction, it’s often futuristic, so faith as we know it also isn’t such an issue, or else it has been perverted or distorted in response to social changes.
But most urban fantasy is set in our world, or a in a near-future version of our world. So urban fantasy pioneers like Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, and Simon R. Green have had to figure out how they want to treat religion in their series.
Anita, we learn in these chapters, draws heavily on her faith. She’s an animator, someone who can raise the dead, and we learn that the Catholic church has denounced her kind. Rather than abandon her faith, she becomes Episcopalian, and her faith shapes who she is in the early books of this series. In the Dresden series, Harry Dresden has an uneasy relationship with his faith, often explored through his relationship with Michael, a knight of the cross. In Green’s Nightside series, John Taylor has a similar uneasy relationship with the beings of heaven.
Other series that you think have done a good job of exploring faith and paranormal?
A funny thing to me in these chapters that really dates them is that Anita has to stop and use a pay phone to call and check the messages on her tape-recording answering machine. I did laugh out loud at that! As Stephen King would say, “the world has moved on.”
We finally, in these chapters, got to see what Anita does—how she raises the dead, although it’s a skewed ritual because of Zachary. Thoughts on Zachary? I think he’s kind of gross and disgusting.
And speaking of gross and scary, Nicolaus has always been one of the scariest vampire characters to me. I think because she’s a child. She’s not the only child vampire in this series, and they’re always pretty warped and scary.
We get a glimpse of Jean Claude in these chapters, and a hint of what’s going on with Anita and her appetite. But I’ll hold that discussion until next week to avoid spoilers.
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?