Preternatura Books Club: Vampire Hate Groups (& W*n Some Books)

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. We begin today with the second twelve chapters of GUILTY PLEASURES, book one in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton.
Today’s giveaway will be a mystery grab-bag with three books from my unclaimed giveaway pile. (I know, right? You go to the trouble of entering a contest and then never look to see if you won? What’s up with that?)
Okay, so one thing that struck me as I was reading this week’s chapters of Guilty Pleasures was that Anita’s 24 years old. If she aged normally, according to book-release date, she should be in her mid-40s by now. (Yeah, see how Jean-Claude likes her with gravity and wrinkles!) I think aging characters is something all authors of long-running series have to deal with. Have you read series that let their characters age?
I honestly can’t think of one. I aged my Royal Street characters three years between Royal Street and River Road, mostly so I could get them past Hurricane Katrina and into their “new normal” lives. But the third book, Elysian Fields, picks up only a couple of weeks after River Road, and I don’t have plans to age them a year every time a book comes out. Looking at other long-running series, Sookie would be in her mid-30s now.
Of course immortal characters don’t have to worry about this (a good thing about vamps). But do non-aging characters bother you?
Those of you who are reading Guilty Pleasures for the first time might notice that Anita is eating a lot more in these chapters, and she’s even eating things she doesn’t like. Have you figured out why?
Was the staircase Anita and Zachary are fleeing out of to escape the vampires like the Longest. Flight. Of stairs. Ever?
Edward! (AKA Death). What do you think of Edward? He’s the only human Anita’s ever been afraid of.
Is Anita’s fear overdone in this book? I’d forgotten how frightened she was of vampires when this series started (she gets over it, believe me).
I’d also forgotten about the human hate groups in this series. This is a big thing in several contemporary series—the Sookie Stackhouse series and the Kitty Norville series, for example. To my knowledge, Laurell K Hamilton invented this trope. So if (when?) it turns out that there are vampires and werewolves living among us, how do you think humans would really react? I can see the murder rate rise as people freak out and kill other people, thinking they’re one of the “others.” I can see a whole new class of bigotry rise up. Do you think the government would grant rights to the undead or the furry?
Phillip was always an intriguing character to me—the vampire junkie. You just want to save him. Thoughts on Phillip so far?
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?

39 thoughts on “Preternatura Books Club: Vampire Hate Groups (& W*n Some Books)

  1. If vampires/werewolves/supernatural beings made themselves known to humans, I think that they would be rounded, locked away, and tested because as a human race, we always try to contain what we don’t know and what scares us and try to eliminate it. Fear is a very powerful motivator that can change people’s thought process around.

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    • Gotta agree, Caitlin…which brings up an interesting scenario. They couldn’t lock them all up, plus the vampires’ strength would ramp up the fear. I think we’d have quite a war on our hands.

    • I agree that there would be a war on our hands. I mean look at happened with WWII and anybody who fell out of Hitler’s idea of a perfect person

  2. I agree with Caitlin, any “non-humans” would be locked up as animals.
    I love the character of Edward & always look forward to books that he is in. I think that is why Obsidian Butterfly is one of my favorites.
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    • Agree about Edward. I loved the glimpses in to Edward’s life in OB and a few other of the later books. I’m trying to remember the name of that scary dude that Edward brought in to help him, who fixated on Anita. Talk about creepy characters!

  3. I think that when I read a series, that the characters age whether it’s mentioned or not. When Anita was eating the pizza that she didn’t like I was guessing she was just building up strength after the stuff she went thru. Still don’t know what to think of Edward. But I really don’t like or trust Phillip.

    • See, that is interesting to me. I tend to think of them as staying as they were when I met them. I guess I expect the characters to grow and mature emotionally but I don’t think about them getting physically older.

      The pizza has more significance than you know…stay tuned 🙂

      Edward, in this book, is an enigma. What am I saying! Edward is an enigma, period. He is one of those characters who isn’t in every book, but he comes in and out of the series and, in Obsidian Butterfly, becomes a major character for a while.

      Phillip, to me, is one of those characters that kind of breaks my heart.

  4. The characters in J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter series age as the series progresses. But that’s the only fantasy series that I can think of where characters age.

    • You’re right, Sandy! I hadn’t thought of Harry Potter. They aged as part of the structure of the series as each book took them through a new year at Hogwart’s.

  5. Anita’s fear really stuck with me when I read Guilty Pleasures. This was probably the first (and possibly the only) UF I’d read where no one character actually seemed safe. The book totally creeped me out!

    Also, I wondered about Anita being only 24 years old. Doesn’t that seem awfully young to have all the experience she has? Some of that is addressed in later books, but not as much as I’d like.

    • I think 24 is awfully young for Anita to have that much experience too, Rebe. But starting her out that young does let LKH age her some during the series, although not at the rate of book releases.

      I think one of the strengths of Guilty Pleasures is that, other than Anita, we don’t know if any of the characters are unexpendable. They all seem fair game to be killed at this point.

    • Eli, if you like urban fantasy, the first five or six books of this series are classics. After that, a lot of people gave up on the series because of a twist in the plot and characters that changed their nature.

  6. Great discussion! I haven’t even started this series, but I’m enjoying reading your thoughts. I can’t remember a series in which a character aged realistically, except maybe The Night Huntress series. Cat does age a few years between books 1 and 2.

    (no need to enter me in the giveaway 😉 )

    • Grrr…I was so ticked off at the end of book one. Talk about a cliffhanger! Fortunately, I’d waited so late to read this series I was able to dive right into book two and not wait. I’d forgotten, but you’re right–there was some passage of time for certain things to have taken place.

  7. I’d near really thought about the aging before but I did realize the other day when reading the latest JD Robb In Death book that though there have been what 35+ books that only about 2 1/2 years had pasted.

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    • I haven’t read those books, but there are a few other series that have in the 20-plus book range, and I’m wondering about those. I must not pay that much attention because even in series I like–the Hollows series and Dresden, for example–there is the passage of time but I think it’s story time instead of real-world time.

  8. Good questions Suzanne! I love Edward, he forces Anita to act in this book, and in the rest of the series he is a great friend. I totally dislike Philip, but I do dislike junkies, you cannot trust them. Their addiction is always more important. Though I am sorry about what happens in the end.
    As I have read the books many times, I know the answers. But I thought she was eating something like blueberry pie which she hates, not pizza?
    There is a Humans First party in the Kalayna Price books, which are totally awesome, you would love them I think.

    • I love Edward too, although like you I have the benefit of getting to know better by having read further into the series. In this book, I’m thinking I wasn’t sure what to think of Edward. That he was dangerous.

      You’re right about the blueberries. She ate way more pizza than she normally would, and then ate blueberry pie, which she hates.

      Haven’t read the Kalayna Price series yet but it’s on “the list.” (“The List” is really, really long!)

    • In a series, I do like to know where each book falls in relation to the one before. I think a lot of the series, and seems like the Anita Blake series is one of them, has each book pick up pretty closely to where the last one ended. Which is a good way to get a long-running series without having the characters age beyond what the story arc will allow.

  9. aging.. it depends on the timeline, anita’s book only run for a few weeks most and not much time elapse between each book. so it’s still cool by me. but there are books that had a non-aging characters, no matter how long the time elapse, they still same-old-same-old. and that really bugged me.

    i love edwards! he is so cool and the more i get to know him, he’s more lovable 🙂

    • Yes, I’m thinking about the Janet Evanovitch Stephanie Plum series, which is in the 20-book range now. It’s been quite a while since I read any of those, and I can’t remember how much time elapses between books. It’s an interesting dilemma in a series like that where the heroine has multiple love interests. If she bounces too fast between Joe and Ranger, for example, she really looks either slutty or indecisive.

    • Edward is a great, great character. He’s very complex…talk about moral ambiguity! I love the way this series gradually unfolds his character, though.

  10. The only series character I can think of that ages is Savannah in Kelley Armstrongs Otherworld series.

    It was a while ago that I read this, before I had my falling out with the series. It started so well. But I hear its getting better again so maybe.

    I liked Edward. There was just something about him that made me intrigued.

  11. The Harry Potter series had characters that aged.

    Non-aging characters don’t bother me.

    People probably wouldn’t know how to act if there were real vampires and werewolves.

    I follow the blog.


  12. I think on the non-aging characters it seems to be more the adult books have characters that don’t age but YA books the characters do age. Nobody would want to be stuck as a 15 year old for eternity so they age until 18 or 21 then then stop.

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  13. God, How I hate when characters don’t age. I’ve been reading series which started in the ’90, when mobile phone where not even so common, and the characters now use the latest Iphone and are just one or two years older. it’s just not believable. I’d love to see an older version of Anita. I would probably start reading the series again just to see how she copes with it!

    And Edward…I love him! always been one of my fav characters of the series cause I can’t quite figure him out. he’s fascinating and I’d love to see more of him

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    • I agree that if a character doesn’t age, they shouldn’t be experts at technology. I mean I look at my grandparents and they have a really hard time trying to learn new things but lots of characters that I read about know a lot more about technology than I do and they are hundreds of years old. You would think at least some of them would want to hold on to the old ways of doing things. I’m 24 and still hate how everyone is glued to their phones.

    • That’s so true! You’d expect them to come out with things like – ‘when I was a lad…’ and ‘in my day…’ and to possibly hate technology, hate modern music, and not dress in the latest fashions either! Just because a character looks like they’re 21 forever, doesn’t mean that their mind and opinions are. It makes you wonder if they’d really want to get involved with 17 year olds as well doesn’t it? Talk about cradle snatching!

  14. That’s one of the things that bugs me in series that features the same character. When they don’t age over several books that comes out over several years. I’ve matured and grown older and I want my characters to too. I love series books but I have somewhat dropped some of those like the Stephanie Plum books. I’ve read up to the more recent ones and after a while I feel like I’m being toyed with. Enough with it and pick a guy already and quit the back and forth. lol

  15. I’m not sure if i’ve ever really thought about this before, but I have to say that it’s quite silly. Of course characters age, and it’silly for them not to, and it’s not just authors who are guilty of not aging – I mean, how old must bart simpson be now?!
    I can’t imagine that people as a whle would be very accepting if it was found out that vampires really existed. nations find it difficult to put up with other nations when they’re human, so I can’t see them tolerating a different speciaes. Especially not if they thought the other species was higher up the food chain than them!

  16. Edward is probably my favourite character in the series
    It bothers me when characters don’t age, although I think in this case in particular, from book one to the last, 8 years have passed (I kind of got that from the character of Nathaniel. At the beginning he’s 16 but now he’s 23 or 24).

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  17. I like to see how the charather age in a series how he( she) becomes more mature, learn from past experience etc for me it’s normal but it’s true that not all authors think about this aspect while writing


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  18. It’s quite funny that we were talking about characters not aging, I just started reading ‘the dead tossed waves’ which is the second in the ‘forest of hands and teeth’ series, and the main character is the previous main character’s daughter! This means that obviously the main character has aged, although when she speaks she sounds just like she did when she was 18. I’ve yet to find out who the daughter’s father is though.
    This does at least have some character aging going on though ☺

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