Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Harlequin by Laurell K Hamilton

Warning: Extreme Geekery ahead.

Ok, let me tell you a not so secret thing about me. I am completely hooked on Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. Completely. Have been since I read Guilty Pleasures…oh three years ago I think. No wait…that can’t be right….yeah I think so. I was reading Guilty Pleasures on the plane back from Colorado for our orientation when we switched companies. I finished the book and my sister who was sitting next to me asked me about it. “Very different” was my reply. I sat there on the plane thinking about Jean Claude (but who doesn’t?) and knew I would go get the second book.

I honestly could not tell you how many times I’ve read all the books. There is at least a year between the new releases so at least once or twice during the year I’ll pick one (or four) up and re-read it just to get my fix. The Killing Dance I think is my favorite.

Every time I’ve read one of the new books…when I start the last chapter and know the end is near there is always a moment of regret for devouring the book because they never last long enough.

So June 5th the new book The Harlequin (the 15th book in the series) hit the stores. I, of course went to the store that morning and picked up my copy. DESPITE the fact I knew it would be days before I could read it. I was in the throes of trying to get my house presentable for a family BBQ. As I climbed into bed that night I took it with me. I thought…I’ll just skim the first few pages and see who is on stage first. Nathaniel, Richard…ok maybe just the first chapter. When I turned the page to CHAPTER TWELVE I made myself put it down and go to bed. I finished Monday night at 1:30am. Then I couldn’t sleep for thinking about the book!

So here are some of my random thoughts about The Harlequin and the characters and Laurell K Hamilton.

*******WARNING*******

Spoilers ahead. If you have not read the Harlequin or all the books for that matter then you should maybe sign off the computer and Go. Read. Or something, but don’t continue listening to me blather. Go read the books…then come back mmkay?

First some background…the last several years there have been a lot of fans complaining about the direction the series. Many have claimed to stop reading the series because of how graphic (and by graphic I do mean the sex not the violence, apparently they don’t have a problem with the violence.). I really don’t understand getting on message boards and websites whining about how you hate how the series is going. If I’m not happy with a book (or series)…I stop reading it. Pretty simple. Last year when Danse Macabre came out I would say I did enjoy it more (story line wise) than Cerulean Sins. It just really seemed as if Anita’s character was starting to accept things and make her life work. Yes some of the sex scenes did seem to last a leetle bit long in this one but I liked the direction the story was headed.

Enter The Harlequin! A few people have expressed disappointment in Richard. I’m not. Like Anita and Jean Claude, I’m done and over it. Actually I was over Richard several books ago…he is the epitome of the saying “his own worst enemy”. It’s not that I don’t like his character…but his issues were wearing thin. Dolph is starting to take his place in the overly annoying department. However, I’m thinking there is story potential left for Dolph though. I also felt that Requiem was taking over Asher’s pouting roll since Asher wasn’t around much. I like the idea of Requiem…I hope his character gets fleshed out and isn’t quiet as depressing as he seems J

I (like everyone) enjoyed having Edward back in this book and even Peter and Olaf were an interesting addition. I missed not having as much Jean Claude time as well as Asher and Jason. (if you could just bottle the sexiness that is Jean Claude…Mmmm I’m telling ya!) There are a lot of new characters and it can be hard to keep up with them until their distinct personalities form so that you remember them. I like Rafael, I like that he respects Anita and her will to get things done no matter what it takes…but that was a new twist (don’t want to give TOO much away). Sampson also intrigues me…I hope he comes back in future books. I don’t know how the mermaids fit in with St. Luis but I like the idea of them. The idea of Anita, Micha and Nathaniel going to a bbq at Zerbrowski’s cracks me up.

On the message boards I’ve read a few complaints about mistakes or inconsistencies. Yeah, I picked up on them and there were a few others I saw. That being said, I understand why. There are so many characters on stage (at one time sometimes) that it is hard to keep up…and we are just reading. Can you imagine trying to write it? Especially if it isn’t in one setting? Holy Crap that would be hard. LKH juggles more characters in her books better than any that I’ve read (well I would say JK Rowling does it as well). Everyone knows what it’s like to write something and proof read it yourself. You miss the mistakes because you aren’t really reading it so much as hearing it in your head. Can you imagine a series of FIFTEEN books (in this series, not including the Merry series) with a zillion characters? Especially with the detailed descriptions LKH gives her characters! As someone who has done a good bit of writing (not for publishing purposes though) I can appreciate what it must take to keep up with the amount of characters. Particularly since so many of them are major ones that appear every book. Also, we the fans get so "into" the Anita world that these mistakes don't slip past us. This is a good thing though :)

It’s a funny thing reading an authors blog and peeking into their life and getting glimpses of their thoughts as they write a book. While LKH was writing the end of Danse Macbre I admit I was a bit worried. She seemed so frustrated with the book and ready for it to be over with. I thought the book would suffer for that. After reading it I didn’t think it did. However, the ending seemed a bit cut short and the whole plot at the end just seemed to end abruptly. That said, I loved the book and enjoyed it as I have them all.

A few more things I hope to see in future books. Another book revolving around Anita’s necromancy and a break from vampire and wolf politics. I would LOVE a novel-lite with just Anita and Jean Claude. I’d like to see Micah have more of a story line or purpose than just professionally “being there” for Anita. And of more Nathaniel and Jason because they are just so darn cute and fun! I think perhaps Nathaniel should take up knitting lol and I think Peter has great potential too as a little Edward in training.
Ok…that’s it! My rambling random thoughts about the book! I have to say I like this one even better than the last three books. If you have read the series but haven’t picked it up, I highly recommend that you do!

Amy
the book geek

p.s. I promise next time there will be knitting content!

1 comment:

Raine said...

Hi, I just found your blog by accident by doing a search for "Nathaniel Laurell K Hamilton", but I liked your comments on the series direction.

I cracked-up at the thought of Nathaniel knitting or crocheting, because I could see the kitties coming-out, and him trying to make mittens while the other leopards are trying to roll in his yarn. ^_^