Laurell K. Hamilton
Published 2003 470 pages
Reviewed by Sandra
Summary (from the book jacket)
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter is not quite as human as she once was. Consumed by both the lusts of the vampire and the primal hungers of the wereleopards, her desires must be sated. But it is Jean-Claude, the Master Vampire, who needs her now.
When she is asked to reanimate the body of a long-dead corpse, it seems like just another case to Anita. What she will soon discover is that the corpse may hold the secret to an ancient crime that not everyone wants to be remembered…
In this pulse-pounding new story of suspense and sensuality, Anita will need to muster all the dark forces of her passions if she is to save the ones she loves the most.
Editor's note: Cerulean Sins in the eleventh novel in Laurell K. Hamilton’s bestselling Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series of urban fantasy novels. This book is part of a richly imagined fantasy world with a complex story arc that threads through multiple novels. New readers would probably be best served by reading these books in series order, starting with Guilty Pleasures, rather than jumping into the middle of the series. –Amanda
For the most part vampire novels are ones that can in some ways be about romance, or vampire clan politics or they can be about vampires roaming the land slaying humans in order to slake their thirst for blood. Laurell K. Hamilton takes all these aspects of vampire lore and uses them to create Cerulean Sins, one of a series of novels that make every reader want to finish reading them so they can go out and get the next one.
Hamilton has a great sense of atmosphere with her work as if you are drawn into the story and at times really there personally. That is a rare skill to be descriptive to the reader without resorting to info dump. Her attention to every detail is amazing, forming a rich tapestry of a novel.
Hamilton's use of all things occult can at times turn her novels into some of the most engaging and interesting horror books. She seems to have studied a long time about magical animals used to raise the dead. Along with her humanity, series protagonist Anita has a thing for animals, not using them in any of her voodoo rituals to reanimate the dead. Readers will feel for her earlier having to use live animals as a sacrifice, but wince at how many scars and cuts she has on her arms from being pro animal rights.
Anita has a sense of humanity about her even though she is a zombie Queen with the amazing ability to raise the dead better than any other animator. Being asked to bring back a two-hundred year old corpse is daunting to Anita, especially as the man who asked has not given a valid reason for wanting her to do it. She seems to get plenty of strange individuals asking her to raise the dead, and is never at ease with any of them.
This time around vampire politics have come to the fore, annoying Anita and the others she works with as she feels as though she is being backed into a corner, being made to obey rather than use her instincts to confront the ones causing all the trouble. Along the way Anita finds out what being a vampire is all about. There are subtle nuances she never knew in all her time being around their kind. She starts to understand the link between human servant and vampire, yet not in the way she first thought. As she is bound to Jean-Claude the Master Vampire, she had always sought to refrain from being a true servant to him, yet she never once thought of his feelings in the matter. It is up to another vampire to show her what it means to be an undead.
Jean-Claude, even though he appears a strong and controlled character has great feeling for Anita and would like nothing more than for her to become his lover as well as his servant completely, but she misunderstands his need as servitude instead.
Readers will enjoy their emotionally charged relationship, her dislike of him trying to control her, and her spiritual and emotional connection to him. Despite being a zombie Queen she does have a kind heart and hates anything bad to happen to anyone. Anita’s reluctance to become his servant leads to Jean-Claude thinking she does not have as close a bond with him as he would like.
Unlike other vampire novels this one is engaging and Anita’s character is such a believable and strong one that keeps the story running on so well after every chapter. The mystery and murder investigations give the novels a new element of suspense strengthening the story, preventing it from being just another vampire novel.
Apart from the obvious vampire and werewolf references as well as her ties to the undead there is humour from Jason who works at Guilty Pleasures a seedy strip joint. The book has enough secrets and keeps the reader guessing right up until the end. It is time that Anita takes a lover as all the way through this book she has regretted having the one man she desires yet in her heart she feels he is forbidden to her.
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