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    Review of CERULEAN SINS by Laurell K. Hamilton (see her website)


    William Morrow, Berkley, April 2003

    Anita Blake is trying to put some balance in her life, but things seem to keep getting worse. Werewolf-boyfriend Richard is still sulking about not getting Anita to himself. Anita is happy with vampire-boyfriend Jean-Claude, but Jean-Claude's alter-ego, Asher, wants in on teh Anita Blake action. He was content to wait until their master-vampire, Belle Morte decides to call Asher home. Anita can either add Asher to her lover list, or lose him entirely. Richard won't be happy. Vampire politics are bad enough, but a serial killer appears to be operating in the area--a killer that Anita believes can only be a were. She could really use Richard's help on this one, but the police aren't even sure that they can trust her.

    The Anita Blake stories have been getting progressively bloodier as the series progresses and CERULEAN SINS is no exception. The graphic descriptions of the serial killer's work are disgusting but appropriate for the subject, deeping the horror that Anita faces and making it clear that she has no choice. The violence associated with Anita's sexual appetites will put some readers off--but it just might be what others are looking for.

    CERULEAN SINS parallels two subplots--that dealing with the internal politics of the vampires and the threatened rise of the mother of darkness, and that dealing with the serial killer. The two subplots are only loosely connected thematically, and not at all connected from a plot perspective. Thus the novel sometimes appears disjointed. I would have preferred to see a closer link between the two major story elements.

    Author Laurell K. Hamilton (see more reviews of novels by Hamilton) is completely convincing in her description of vampires and were-creatures, in the subculture that they create and in the ambiguous (at best) feelings that they create in others. Her heroine, Anita Blake, is refreshingly cynical about the government without having given up on it. I found that some of the clothing descriptions went on a bit, but fans may enjoy the richly detailed imagery. I did find myself having continuity problems. Were things occuring all in one day, or were several days going by?

    Fans of this series will find a lot to like. Anita continues to mature, struggling with the realization that the simple rules that once guided her are not longer enough. Richard, the deeply damaged were-leader represents what Anita would have become if she hadn't changed--and the destruction he creates in his pack is a microcosm of what Anita could create in the larger preternatural community. Still, each loss of innocence has its costs and Anita must pay those costs in full--often sexually, and always violently.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 7/01/03

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