Circus of the Damned - Laurell K Hamilton
Originally published in March 2005, on my original 52 Books blog.
This is the third installation in the Anita Blake - Vampire Hunter series. Blake is an Animator whose job it is to raise zombies from the grave, along with other duties: the occasional execution of murderous rogue vampires and work as an adviser to the police in cases where her expertise is needed. In this case, the action starts when Blake is called out to a murder scene where a man has been attacked by a pack of vampires. Blake herself soon runs into them and has a narrow escape. She soon meets an ancient vampire who wants to return vampiredom to the old order: no integration, no citizenship, just a few clever and powerful vampires against humanity, with the weak and the stupid destroyed. She plays an important part once the battle for the city - between the “civilised” vamps and the “wild” vamps - begins. Her hate/desire relationship with master vampire Jean-Claude continues to intensify, and she meets a living man in whom she is more than a little interested, except there is one not so tiny problem that may get in the way of their relationship.
The books in this series just keep on getting better and bloodier. Because it’s a series, you know Blake is always going to come out on top, and the fun comes from finding out how she does it, not if she will do it. I do have one gripe with the stories so far: Hamilton seems to be obsessed with the Nike brand of shoes. I didn’t count how often she mentions and describes the Nikes Blake and other characters wear, but it was too often. After the second mention it starts to read like not-so-subtle product placement.
Rating: A fun and gory action story with a tough as nails heroine who doesn’t take shit from anyone, be it a sexy-as-hell master vampire, an immortal and unkillable monster, a snake the size of a truck or the oldest living being on earth. 3 stars.
Note: The last book in this series I read was The Killing Dance, which completely and finally put me off reading the Anita Blake books. Afterwards I wrote myself a memo to devote a blog posting to the phenomenon of when a book series or an author jumps the shark, but I never got round to writing it. Maybe one day...