Book Review: Laurell K. Hamilton’s Killing Dance

Posted July 14, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review: Laurell K. Hamilton’s Killing DanceKilling Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton
This erotic romance, urban fantasy is a paperback edition was published by Jove on September 24, 2002 and has 387 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

five-stars

Other books by this author include Hit List, Bloody Bones, Burnt Offerings, Narcissus in Chains, Obsidian Butterfly, Bite, Incubus Dreams, Micah, Danse Macabre, The Harlequin, Blood Noir, Skin Trade, Flirt, Bullet, Never After, Kiss the Dead, The First Death, Affliction, Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, Circus of the Damned, "Shutdown", A Kiss of Shadows, Lunatic Café, A Caress of Twilight, Seduced by Moonlight, A Stroke of Midnight, Mistral’s Kiss, A Lick of Frost, Blue Moon, Dead Ice, Jason, Crimson Death

Sixth in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter horror/urban fantasy series and revolving around Anita, a necromancer and totally conflicted woman.

My Take

It’s all about love. The things we’ll do for it, as Sabin has learned to his distress. I suspect Jean-Claude is a bit discombobulated over how much he loves Anita and how it changes how he handles things. I do love how Jean-Claude weasels around the truth of Anita’s relationship with him, not giving away how weak he truly is.

It is amazing how much work Hamilton has put into creating the rules and culture of her vampires. It reminds me of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s latest in her Dark-Hunter series, Styxx, and the rules she’s set up for her pantheons of gods. All the rules carefully created to prevent total mass destruction. Rules they still flout when it suits them.

Ah, yes, our Anita is always so suspicious and wary. A good thing too.

“If I believed everything I heard, I would have come with an army.”

It’s one of the things I enjoy about this series. Well, it is a pretty main part of it. And I can’t help but love how disconcerting the petite Anita is for people meeting her for the first few times. Such a tiny package to be so lethal. Lucky for us, she’s on the side of good. She’s also worrying about herself, the fact that killing is so easy to understand while relationships throw her for a loop.

Brewster’s Law is all that’s, supposedly, holding master vampires back from war. A law Senator Brewster is trying to push through to make vampires illegal again. Vampires have been legal for three years now.

I do love this thought: “He looked at her like she was the whole world…”

Do you ever wonder how one character knows how to spell another character’s name? I know, it’s a totally illogical question, but when Bob comes in and says there’s a Ted Forrester on the phone, I found myself asking how is it that Bob knows it’s Forrester with two rs? How do you think of a person’s name when you first meet them? I’m so visual that I can’t help but picture all the letters lining up and taking a bow…

It’s always interesting to read Anita’s assessment of the two men in her life. What she dreams and the reality. It’s too bad more of us don’t do this type of assessment in real life before we get married.

Jesus if this is what you call slack, then I wonder what Branswell would have done if he hadn’t gotten all these “good words” about Anita from all these cops.

This is the story where Anita picks up that long knife she wears in a sheath down her back. I do enjoy reading the list of weapons she carts around. It makes the lists in other stories I read seem, I dunno, insubstantial.

Oh, yeah, someone’s real desperate to get rid of Anita…

Interesting history lesson on the origins of the werewolf and how they arrange their hierarchy.

Gawd, what is with Stephen’s brother? He’d enjoy being sliced and diced if he’d just let himself go???

Richard drives me nuts. I love that he’s decent and honorable, that he’s willing to stand up for his ideals when the going gets tough, but he has got to wake up and smell the coffee! Hmmm, speaking of which, I gotta gets me a cup… It’s just one of many fights he and Anita have. She thinks he should kill one as an example. He thinks it’s wrong. Well, yeah. But he also needs to consider his “audience”.

As for Anita’s belief that she’s becoming or is a sociopath. I dunno. I don’t think she is one. She’s definitely gotten more ruthless, more practical. But she still cares for people. She still has a moral code, a conscience, and that’s the antithesis of a sociopath. It’s getting irritating reading all these stories where the character believes he or she is a sociopath or a psychopath simply because they’re willing to kill to protect those they care about. Gimme a break. Or, gasp, am I becoming a sociopath??

Ahhh, it’s a frustrating series. I do adore Anita, and I hate her sometimes. She can be such a pain with her weaknesses. Much like Richard. I adore him, and I’d love to get up close and personal with all his warm yummy goodness as Anita would say. But he sees the world in stark blacks and whites, and that’s not how it works. Not when you add people into the mix. Then there’s Jean-Claude. He is so very definitely sees the world in so many shades of grey, and he susses out the nuances of every move being made, ever word said. Very much a political animal. And patient. But a patience with a slow-moving bulldozer behind it. He’s the half that actually puts Anita and her feelings first whereas Richard is all about his own issues.

However, it’s these weaknesses that keep us coming back. How boring would it be if everyone got on fine, never argued. We keep coming back because we want to find out if Richard ever steps outside his role. If he and Anita ever sleep together. If he’ll win his battle (and how) against Marcus. We want to know if Anita does the dirty dance with Jean-Claude AND Richard. Will it be a ménage or separate? Will she choose one over the other? Look at the negatives, the issues that irritate you in a story. Why do they anger you? Is it an annoyance or is it intriguing you? Use it (or not) in your own story.

Whoa, Liv spills the beans on Jean-Claude’s monkish ways. And she doesn’t do it very well.

I do like that Jean-Claude is still willing and able to learn. This time from Richard’s approach with his wolves.

“Shapeshifters get killed, and its poaching. Normal people get killed, and it’s murder.” Hypocrisy, much??

I’m beginning to think Anita is right, Richard secretly doesn’t want her to want him. He proves he doesn’t know Anita with that zombie-wolf stand-off. I mean, duhhh. Anita never says what she doesn’t mean. And Marcus is such a scumbag in so many ways, a coward.

Crack me up! “…look like a biker slut from hell meets soldier of fortune pinup.”

What is it with Anita wanting her cake, but wanting to keep it as well? Gads, she pisses me off.

Oh, oh, oh, then there’s Edward’s worry: “I’m your bodyguard. If you die under my protection, the other bodyguards will make fun of me.”

The Story

Life’s just kickin’ along for Anita as she splits her time between Jean-Claude and Richard. And no one getting what they really want. If they even truly knew it. Naturally, in Anita’s life, this doesn’t hold still for long, and she gets that phone call from Ted warning her that he’s been offered “enough money to make it worth my while” to accept a contract on her.

The Characters

Anita Blake, a.k.a., ma petite, necromancer, the Executioner—the vampires’ boogeyman, is dating Jean-Claude as well as Richard Zeeman. She has a degree in preternatural biology and had seen herself as a preternatural Jane Goodall. Mrs. Edith Pringle is Anita’s next door neighbor in her apartment complex; Custard is her Pomeranian. The one who always indulges in a dominance facedown with Richard, LOL. Anita’s dad married Judith two years after her mother died. There’s a daughter, then they had Josh together.

Richard Zeeman, a mild-mannered, hunky junior high science teacher, who is the world’s biggest boy scout, is also a werewolf (we learned how he became one in Circus of the Damned, 3.) and a potential alpha to the Thronnos Rokepack. He was Marcus’ Freki, one of his seconds-in-command. Daniel is his younger brother.

Jean-Claude is the Master of the City of St. Louis whose daytime resting place is the Circus of the Damned. Liv is 600 years old and a bouncer at Danse Macabre. Damian is one of the new vampires, and he’s not very happy about it. Willie McCoy is another of Jean-Claude’s vampires. We receive our first introduction to Asher and Julianna, Asher’s human servant, via the painting in Jean-Claude’s rooms under the Circus. An indicator that ups Anita’s estimate of Jean-Claude’s true age.

Ted Forrester (the legal bounty hunter), a.k.a., Edward (supernatural hit man), a.k.a., Death (nickname bestowed by the vampires), just loves to hunt with Anita, ’cause he gets to kill so many more. Harley is a friend of Edward’s who owes him a favor. And he has some major issues…scary ones. Scary enough to scare the monsters.

Anita works for Bert Vaughn at Animators, Inc.; Craig is the very talkative nighttime secretary. John Burke is a vaudun priest and necromancer who also works at Animators, Inc.

Detective Sergeant Dolph Storr heads up the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team (RPIT). Detective Reyolds is a Christian witch who has asked to be assigned to RPIT. Detective Clive Perry is the polite one. Zerbrowski is the cut-up; Katie is his wife and wants Anita to bring Richard for dinner.

Detective Branswell investigates the shooting at Anita’s apartment; Detective Greeley is in charge at Danse Macabre. Rizzo is one of the officers in uniform guarding Anita.

The lukoi
Stephen is being forced into a porn films. Raina Wallis is the alpha female, lupa, and mate to Marcus Fletcher (a surgeon), the alpha of the Pack, the Ulfric, the wolf king. Heidi is the makeup artist on the set. Sebastian is Marcus’ new enforcer, Alfred’s replacement after events in The Lunatic Café, 4. Jamil is another enforcer, one who had been kicked out of his last Pack for causing trouble. Jason Schuyler is Jean-Claude’s pet wolf and snack, and he’s got a “small streak of what Gabriel had a big streak of”. Sylvie Barker is Pack. Neal is an idiot who loses. Cassandra is the newest wolf and one of Anita’s new guards.

Gabriel is a wereleopard with a sadomasochistic streak, the leader of the leopards in town. A perfect partner for Raina and her snuff/porn films. Dr. Lillian is a wererat and constantly on call to patch up weres. Rafael is the Rat King; Louie is one of his lieutenants and Richard’s best friend. Christine is a weretiger speaking on behalf of independent shapeshifters.

Sabin is a master vampire who is dying. Dominic Dumare is his human servant. And a necromancer.

Catherine Maison-Gillette, a lawyer, is one of Anita’s very, very few friends. It was her bachelorette party before her wedding to Bob that started events off in Guilty Pleasures, 1. Robert had been a stripper at Guilty Pleasures, now he’s the manager and married to the pregnant Monica Vespucci, a fellow lawyer, who betrayed both Catherine and Anita.

James Dugan, a.k.a., Jimmy the Shotgun, wasn’t too smart. Annabelle Smith helps with Karen, the woman Damian bespelled.

Vlad Syndrome is “the highest rising birth defect in the country”. Which seems odd when Hamilton also writes that “you can’t get knocked up by a hundred-year-old corpse”. A person whom the Pack calls dominant is someone who has earned the Pack’s respect. A Freki and a Geri are seconds-in-command amongst the lukoi, the werewolves. Fenrir (the giant wolf who kills Odin at Ragnarok), what Richard is now, is the challenger. An alpha and his lupa are a mating pair, bound for life, like marriage, and they usually do marry each other in real life. The Riverfront, a.k.a., The District, a.k.a., Blood Square, is the entertainment center for the city.

The Cover and Title

I’m going to guess that this empurpled cover is Raina’s leaf-strewn back — primarily because of the black lace panties she’s wearing. The title refers to what the lukoi call sex, The Killing Dance. Of course, it also refers to battles of succession.

five-stars

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