BFMY: Anita Blake – An R-rated Buffy

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I managed to turn quite a few heads when I was at the local book store and asked for the current 4 sequels of the Anita Blake series that was out at that time, but I didn’t see any reason why men couldn’t read that series then, and I still can’t see that.

Anita Blake is a series of novels by Laurell K. Hamilton about the titular Anita Blake, an animator at Animators Inc.. As you might suspect, these novels deal with the supernatural in a modern setting, but let me remind you that this was written 15 years before True Blood first aired and around the same time Buffy the Vampire Slayer was written (not aired). In this universe it has been 5 years since the undead made themselves known to the public and 2 years since they got rights in the US.

The vampires were the first to step into the limelight, thereby breaking an oath millenniums old, when a smaller flock was tired of hiding and exposed all of them. Later came necromancers and animators, lycanthropes (humans that can turn into animals), witches and all sorts of mythical beings.

With these revelations, a businessman named Bart Vaughn saw an opportunity and took it. He was a regular human, but he managed to find a set of animators, humans with the ability to raise the dead, and started Animators Inc. to take on clients that wanted their dearly departed raised for a short time to settle personal or legal matters. Each of the animators also have other skills and functions within the firm. For example Charles Montgomery, a pacifist that just happens to be large and look imposing, who often comes with other animators on high-risk tasks for protection. In a heated situation, Charles would be the first to crumble, but his looks often ensures the situation doesn’t get heated. John Burke is probably the second most powerful of the animators in San Francisco and that has much to do with his second function as a vaudoun priest (similar to voodoo).

Anita is the single most powerful animator of Animators Inc., much thanks to her mother’s side of the family. Her bloodline has been practising vaudoun for many generations and even thou Anita never got any training and her mother took distance from the practice, she was born with a certain affinity for the dead. She can feel the dead and she can even sense the moment the soul leaves the body, which is why she is the only one that knows the soul leaves the body exactly 3 days after death.

Because she has this affinity, the county sheriff appointed her as San Francisco’s vampire slayer. The vampire slayer is the person that is appointed with “taking care” or vampires that have been found guilty of breaking the special laws put in place to protect the public, such as feeding of an unwilling victim. Since vampires cannot be incarcerated, there is only one punishment for them; death. They can get away with a lot of petty crimes because of this and those who do commit the more serious crimes are often cleared of charges thanks to their ability to charm people.

All I’ve discussed here right now is back story explained in the early chapters of the very first book and the story just gets richer with every turn of the page. This is why I like this series, even thou I am a man and the series is aimed at women.

This is not an action novel, it doesn’t try to be, it is a drama that happens to have supernatural elements in it. With that said, it doesn’t lack action. On the contrary, each book has whole chapters of action sequences, but they are portrayed in a way most action oriented books lacks. You can see the scene painted in front of your eyes, smell the smells in the air, hear the rush of blood going through your ears. This is the power of Hamilton’s words and this is why I choose to read the whole series.

As the title of this article suggests, there are many R-rated elements in this series, but it is a far throw from 50 Shades. The rating stems more from the graphical representation of the violence than any saucy moments, even if each book contain these moments as well.
To be fair, the books contain most elements you’d find in yourself. It is all spoken from Anita’s perspective, in real time. You are inside her mind the whole time and see the world through her eyes. The books are written in such a way that you rarely get any cuts through time, you are with her every step of the way and Hamilton writes in a realistic way.

For this reason, I will bring you a review of each of the first 5 books in the Anita Blake series here on The Torch, starting with Guilty Pleasures, the book where it all began. I see you next time, and remember, stay out of the dark alleys at night.

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