SpeculativeFiction


Guilty Pleasures


Guilty Pleasures is the first novel in a long-running series. The novel is set in a world very like our modern world, with a few minor differences: primarily the strong presence of the supernatural. In fact, that presence is so strong that vampires have been granted legal rights, a vaccine has been developed for lycanthropy, and degrees in "preternatural biology" are not unknown.
Anita Blake is making her way in the world through the use of her supernatural talents; specifically, her ability to raise the dead as zombies. While what might seem a talent limited only to halloween to some, Anita (along with the other employees of Animators, Inc) has found exotic uses for her abilities. Everything from zombies testifying in court to clear up the intent of their will to abused children getting one last chance to chew out their parents has come up. But that is the most mundane part of her duties.
Anita is also the registered vampire executioner for the city of St Louis. When a fanged menace goes rogue, it's her job to track down the criminal and put a stake through its undead heart. In order to facilitate that, she works closely with the local police's preternatural crimes unit.
So it should hardly come as a surprise that Anita is at the top of the list when someone -- or something -- starts killing the local vampires. But the vampires aren't exactly human themselves, and their power struggles cover centuries. It's easier to get in then it is to get out.
Guilty Pleasures starts off good and stays there. Any fan of vampire fiction will want to drain this book dry, along with most of its followup novels. Although this is the first novel in a series, readers should not be dismayed by the prospect of cliffhanger endings or a long committment: each novel in the series is written to stand alone, while also advancing the overall plot.
The writer is a skilled descriptive linguist, capable of evoking visceral and bloody horror with a great deal of power. This novel and this series is not for the squeamish! Blood drips from walls, soaks into carpets, and corpses are eaten by supernatural beasties. But fans of subtle shading and character development will not find Anita Blake's universe lacking in either. There is much to appreciate and enjoy throughout the series, and this novel is an accurate taste of the overall flavor.
Readers should be warned to expect a significant component of eroticism to the series. In the first 6 novels, the erotic element is muted; it exists in the interplay between the characters and the nature of the vampire's powers rather than explicit sexuality. The later novels, however, border upon soft-porn and the trend appears to be consistent. If that's not your cup of tea, read the series until you find it's not worth it anymore; because each novel stands alone you won't be left with a cliffhanger to trap you into reading the next book just to learn the ending.

This entry was published Thu Oct 07 15:52:27 CDT 2004 by Matthew and last updated 2018-06-27 01:41:08.0.

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