I’ve been reading Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series for many years, and Blue Moon, the book I started with, was one of the first urban fantasy books I read. I’ve devoured the author’s books since then, both in this series and her other series, Merry Gentry.
Dead Ice is the 24th book in what is an incredibly popular (if controversial) series. If you haven’t come across it, the series follows the work and personal life of a necromancer and vampire-hunter, Anita Blake – a member of the US Marshals service in a parallel world that contains all manner of scary paranormal creatures, from shifters to vampires to creatures of myth and legend, such as a Lamia (a human-snake mix).
The series attracts a lot of polarised opinions, mainly because of the evolution of the character from a single, almost chaste detective to one that lives in a polyamorous set of relationships. The first few books contained little or no sex or romance, whereas the later books have a much greater focus on Blake’s personal life. This wasn’t a problem for me – but if you don’t like graphic sex (including BDSM) or strong violence in books, this series might not be for you.
Anita Blake Book #24: Dead Ice
Dead Ice takes Anita Blake back to some of her zombie-raising roots, and catches up with several of the characters from earlier books, such as Manny, her zombie-raising mentor. There’s a big-bad that Anita needs to discover and fight, and as always, a host of personal issues that Anita also needs to deal with. And some sex. But not as much sex as some of the other recent books.
The book’s plot centres around ‘zombie sex tapes’ and Anita’s detective and law enforcement feature more strongly than in the last few novels in the series, but Hamilton also continues to explore the polyamorous lifestyle fairly thoroughly, the good and the bad.
I like Anita as a character, and I think she’s got more likeable throughout the series, as the (many) men, and now a few women, in her life have influenced her. She’s still tough as nails, which I like to see in a female character, and I enjoy the bits where she doesn’t play up to gender stereotypes.
This wouldn’t be the place to start with the series – even though a fair amount of time (too much?) is taken up with getting readers up to speed, something which is pretty challenging when you have 23 previous books – there is still a lot of complex relationship stuff that it helps to have read the other books to really ‘get’. Hamilton has created a huge world, and I’m sure it must be challenging to decide who to include in each book (and reading the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, it’s clear she can’t win as whoever she leaves out people complain!) but it can make for some messy or confusing bits.
Overall this is a fun read that I got through quickly, and I loved being back in Anita’s world and meeting all the characters again. I had it on preorder, and will have the next one on preorder as soon as it shows up.