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Kyle Phoenix: Cerulean Sins (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 11)
My past reviews of the Anita Blake series have been back and forth between one and three stars because the series was developing, finding it's footing and developing of the character. There are still flashes of the old problems here but it's far more under control. This book was not only good in the places but pretty much as a book as a whole. Though I will say I hedged my bet by buying it for 60% off and I will admit that there is still a lot of conversational psycho analyzing going on in the character's interactions.
There is a really interesting point of Anita having to open herself up sexually beyond simply a puritannical/Christian sense of one woman, one partner which is an interesting dynamic. Also the concept of fluidic sexualities within the sphere of people she's around, there is a true pushing towards omnisexuality. That's a great element of this book and how everyone's powers---vampires, werewolves, wereleopards, etc.---is so intrinsically linked to sex and emotional intimacy. And that the literal focal point of all of this is someone who has prudish values to such free love and sex.
While Richard, the werewolf king may seem like the stick in the mud to them truly being a team, the ultimate kind of family, I think he is the most human of them all. He doesn't like what he is, what's around him, what he's been forced to become----there was no choice in it for him and I realized in his hesitations and depression and anger he is the most human of them all. Unfortunately everyone else has made it so mandatory that he accept this whole lifestyle eventhough none of them else have regular lives outside of all of this weirdness. It would be nice if the inherent selfishness of the group is explored in that it's ok that someone doesn't want to be a part of this world.
Onto the villainess, Belle Morte!
I'm glad she didn't get a bullet in the head and is being saved as another problem for the future and this whole Mother of All Darkness is very interesting and it looks like it's part of Anita's destiny to be a link to all of these supernatural tribes to deal with this evil. What I do find interesting is how everyone is pushing in their "vampire worlds" this ultimate Uber Evil (Angel, Buffy, here) and at the same time here in the book the government (rightfully so) is taking an interest in all of these factions and using them for their own means. It's about time.
I hope thatthe series doesn't shut down after a book or two because their are international dilemnas out there. It's also a pet peeve of mine that for all of their talking and constant emotional analyzing they never TALK to each other. They talk abotu themselves and push and pull but there are a couple of times in the novel where it would've been nice for Anita to pull Jean Claude aside and sit for a couple of hours to understand the vampire rules. Sometyimes her ignorance is used as a device to tell the reader things that we don't know about this world but it also serves to keep the exposition going on for tooooooooo long.
As always the criminal investigation of the book doesn't get underway until page 100-125 which if you pay attention to the pacing of previous novels is how it always happens, the predictability caused the loss of one star. The hitman aspect of this was a little thin, thinner than most of the criminal plots of the book and more of harked back to characters that appeared in the beginning of the books to wrap up the end. That was the weakest aspect of the book in that this whole other sub-plot was developed as something that I expect will ultimate appear in future books.
I was very pleased with this book, it has much more polish and isn't as reliant on Anita being able to shoot anyone and anything to beat it. That showed a maturity of the work and it's nice to see Anita enjoying and accepting having so many varied lovers and the bonding of being part of a pack. As I was reading the book, aside from the romantic part of this and the erotica, it was great to see Anita growing and questioning why she loves as she doesn’t, why she pushed people away. It would be nice to see another female in the book to give another perspective on her---what ever happened to her best friend?
The children vampires, Valentina and Bartolome are an excellent addition to the cast of what is turning into a very unique "family". I was thinking that this sort of village living and loving would be a great thing.
Thank you for reading,
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