Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #20.5
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Reviewed by: Julia
Okay – A few good points, but with significant flaws. Library/swap/borrow if you want.
The steamy outtake that takes readers even further into Laurell K. Hamilton’s bestselling novel, Kiss the Dead.
You’d think I’d get used to seeing such a beautiful man and knowing he was mine, but it never grew old, as if his beauty and the fact that he was mine, and I was his, would forever surprise me.
With a vampire like Jean Claude around, it’s far too easy for Anita Blake to doubt her own appearance—and the hold it has on those who love her. But one hot tub and two incredibly sexy men—Jean Claude and Asher—will make her feel like the most lusted-after woman alive…or undead. Not bad for a mere human…
Includes an excerpt of Kiss the Dead, the new Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novel.
It’s been a long time since the Anita Blake series and I have been on the same page. Once the subject of many, many re-reads, the world of Anita and her boys have fallen by the wayside as of late (though Merry Gentry still gets re-reads every few years). The series’ later books have become largely internal, both in terms of the pedantic dialogue explaining the world according to Anita and the disappearance of the mundane world. I’ve heard HIT LIST is a return to police work, but I’m not entirely convinced that wouldn’t just find OBSIDIAN BUTTERFLY repackaged (How many times have we read Anita facing off with a local cop that thinks she’s either A. just a pretty face B. a vamp whore or C. a witch. Mayhem ensures). Still, it is on my TBR list for when I can get my hands on a copy, and after reading the excerpt following BEAUTY, KISS THE DEAD lands on that list as well.
When I picked up BEAUTY I expected something along the lines of FLIRT, a vignette where Anita learns something new regarding the title. For someone with several devoted lovers and magical irresistibility, I’ve long since lost patience with Anita’s self-esteem issues. So when BEAUTY opens with Anita wondering how she could have won someone as gorgeous as Jean Claude, I was worried. Luckily, BEAUTY’s shortness is an asset, that moment comes and goes. Anita and Jean Claude in the tub reminds me so much of their first, visceral scene together in THE KILLING DANCE, but this time around, there was no shaky laughter or condom packets being traced along skin, their love making has progressed to tops and bottoms and threesomes with Asher. And while Asher brings his characteristic splash of drama, things quickly progress to a ménage à trois. The mechanics of the sex scenes in Hamilton books always makes me want to draw force diagrams and marvel at technique (though I doubt any of us will need to know how to go down on a vampire who hasn’t fed recently).
To get any emotional impact in a sex scene, I prefer a particularly affecting first for the characters (like Anita and Jean Claude in the tub for the first time) or something that speaks to a particular fantasy (this one didn’t for me). The scene in BEAUTY was short, graphic, and didn’t hit either of the two milestones I mentioned. The fringe of story around the sex scene was ok, with a minimum of pedantry from Anita, but Jean Claude was the real sweet spot for me. He is just so happy in this scene, both with Anita’s comfort level and being together with her and Asher. That more than anything was the part of BEAUTY that I’ll remember fondly.
As if anticipating my wish for world building, after the “ménage à bath” there is a sneak peak at KISS THE DEAD. This excerpt was exactly what I could have hoped for: Anita interrogating a crazy vamp, along with a Dolph and Zebrowski cameo (Zebrowski entering the room in all his rumpled glory made me squee). Though the interrogation seems to point more towards a vampire plot than police work, it was great to be back inside the RPIT, if only for a moment. BEAUTY was ok at best, but the excerpt hints at a story that I might enjoy reading, once my local library has it on the shelf.