Laurell K. Hamilton
2002 reissue of 1998 release, Horror
Jove, $7.99, 432 pages, Amazon ASIN 0515134457 Part of a series
Vampire fans have another reason to be happy! With her eighth book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, Laurell K. Hamilton has outdone herself. Vampire romance fans will love this one. For fans of this series, this book concentrates almost exclusively on the relationship between Anita and Richard.
Let me explain - no, let me sum up some of the events that have happened before this story begins. Anita chose Jean-Claude, the Master Vampire of the City, as her lover over Richard Zeeman, the leader of the werewolf pack (big mistake in my opinion, but more on that later) a few books ago. Anita is still tied to Richard through marks she shares with him bestowed on them by Jean-Claude. The three form a powerful triumvirate and will always be intertwined. Anita also serves as Jean-Claude's human servant (although she is really no one's servant), as the lupa (mate of the leader) for the werewolf pack and as the queen of the wereleopards - all this in addition to being able to raise the dead and serve as a vampire executioner! This time around, Anita receives a call from Richard's brother, telling her that Richard has been arrested for raping a woman. Anita knows he would never have done it and immediately rushes to the rescue.
Richard has been studying trolls in the Tennessee hills - in addition to sleeping with several women while trying to forget Anita. While Anita tries to figure out why someone framed Richard, she tangles with the Master of the local vampires and the local cops who are not exactly on the straight and narrow. She also must find a way to deal with Richard and her feelings for him. As usual, Anita runs up against the bad guys and kicks some serious butt.
The entire Anita Blake series have contained some fascinating character growth as it series has progressed. Anita has gone from thinking vampires are monsters to sleeping with one. This time, she runs into pure evil and it causes some serious introspection. She questions her faith and what she has become. In addition, she becomes close to Richard again while sleeping with vampire Jean-Claude (who makes blessedly few appearances in this one), which causes some interesting moral dilemmas.
One word of caution. This book moves up the violence and gore level some. Anita's adventures are not for the squeamish, but that's one of the great things about her. While Anita is pretty, she's not like a normal, perfect romance novel heroine. She can be vulnerable, but is extremely strong. Anita can shoot, throw knives, and she has scars from several previous battles. Some of the books in this series are more action-oriented and some are more character-oriented. Blue Moon is a perfect blend of both.
There is more concentration on relationships in this book. I much prefer Richard to Jean-Claude. He appeals to me because while he's, in Anita terms, one of the preternatural studs of all times, he also sounds like the guy next door. He's a science teacher and acts like a bit of a boy scout at times. So, for this book to be almost exclusively about Anita and Richard and for her finally to face up to her lingering feelings for him (he's her ex-fiancee; she broke up with him when he shape-shifted on top of her) was a great treat for this reader. The character growth in Anita also makes Blue Moon stand out. Anita crosses some lines and it raises some questions she finds she must answer. We also get to meet Richard's family, a bonus for all his fans. I also liked the fact that the villains didn't dominate the story and the action like they have in some of the books.
I loved this book. I can't wait to see how Anita resolves her questions in the next one and to see if she'll finally pick Richard for good. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
-- Andrea Pool
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