Review: Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #25)

October 11, 2016 Review 5

Review: Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #25)Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Anita Blake #25
Published by Berkley on October 11, 2016
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 576
Source: Publisher
Sexual Content: Sex scenes, references to rape.
Reviewed by: Julia
3 Stars

The 25th Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novel—from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.

“Hamilton is still thrilling fans...with her amazing multifaceted characters and intricate multilayered world, a mix of erotic romance, crime-drama, and paranormal/fantasy fiction” (Library Journal). Now, in her twenty-fifth adventure, vampire hunter and zombie raiser Anita Blake learns how far she’ll go to save someone she loves...

When Damian—Anita’s sometimes lover, servant, and friend—is kidnapped, Anita heads to Ireland. There she must face off against the vampire who created him. M'Lady, Moroven, Nemhain...under every name she brings terror and destruction. But Anita brings her own weapon to the party: Edward, the man known as Death itself...

Process nerds will find much to love and hate in the latest Anita Blake installment. While readers may tune in to solve a crime spree, that promised police procedure never materializes. Rather, CRIMSON DEATH offers an unexpected love song to therapy, to the rewards of the hard work required to maintain relationships both romantic and otherwise. For the first time in a long, long time, it is the relationship side of Anita's story that offers progress and hope.

As with many of the later Anita Blake books, CRIMSON DEATH proves that it is possible to have too much of a good thing. All the care once lavished on which color Nike swoosh graced the side of Anita's shoes now makes every chance conversation a social lesson, each walk down the hallway a roll call of body guards, lovers, and bystanders, each lavishly described regardless of their importance. By this point in the series, I'm used to tuning out when someone becomes the "voice of intolerance", or when a soliloquy on relationship hygiene is on the horizon. Anita and her honeys have grown a lot, however, which means their interactions have become less needlessly fraught. The Circus and police stations are always filled with someone who has issues, though, so don't expect to escape without a half dozen jealous outbursts or sexist confrontations.

Damian and Nathaniel's interactions were legitimately interesting, but the central police plot of CRIMSON DEATH never resolved to a meaningful payoff. Much of this book is sifting through chaff, but the core character interactions leave me with hope. Anita and her significant others have happily ever afters on the horizon, hard won and well deserved. I like peeking in to the series to see how my favorite characters have grown and changed, but I wish I didn't have to tune out so much noise to get to the meaningful heart of the story.

Series Titles:
  1. Guilty Pleasures
  2. The Laughing Corpse
  3. Circus of the Damned
  4. The Lunatic Cafe
  5. Bloody Bones
  6. The Killing Dance
  7. Burnt Offerings
  8. Blue Moon
  9. Obsidian Butterfly
  10. Narcissus in Chains
  11. Cerulean Sins
  12. Incubus Dreams
  13. Micah
  14. Danse Macabre
  15. The Harlequin
  16. Blood Noir
  17. Skin Trade
  18. Flirt
  19. Bullet
  20. Hit List
  21. Kiss the Dead
  22. Affliction - 3/5
  23. Jason - 1/5
  24. Dead Ice - 4/5
More Reviews: Similar Titles:
  • For another Paranormal Romance that develops a strong (and dangerous) romance, try Diana Rowland'sMARK OF THE DEMON.

5 Responses to “Review: Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #25)”

  1. BigMac

    Honestly I don’t get how she’s still getting paid to write these. I can’t think of a single author that has so much ruined a series by taking it off on a tangent. The first ten books are so good, such brilliant examples of a great urban fantasy and cop procedural all wrapped together in an enjoyable read. It just makes the degradation of the later books so stark.

    Every book since 10 really has just had less and less of the core themes and action, several of the books have gone from start to finish without actually resolving the initial plot and are just erotica filled relationship spam. And it’s sad because the other series of books she wrote started off like that, but is actually better because it fits the character and the stories still progress unlike these.

    I keep waiting for Anita Blake Vampire Hunter to return, and I keep getting disappointing with a lot of slightly too extreme pornography.

    • Julia

      It is an almost sociological study at this point, the evolution of Anita Blake as it parallels Laurell K. Hamilton’s life. I think I would be happier with the series if Anita herself spent less time continually navigating the shift, and I suppose that’s what CRIMSON DEATH hints at… a future where she and her poly group are happy and stable and the focus is back on Anita’s work and her powers. But then again, this is book 2 of a series. I think giving up at 10 is 100 reasonable.

  2. Kimberly

    Why can’t she just kill things again? Why must every one of these books be an ode to how wonderful her polyamourous life is? I miss when she actually solved cases instead of solving yet another of one of her lover’s intimacy/social/family issues.

    • Julia

      DEAD ICE was the closest this series has gotten to being an Urban Fantasy police procedural in a long, long time. And even then, not that close.

  3. Jessica Stewart

    This instalment of Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter is more of a disappointment than the last one. Anita, as the “heroine” of the series, has been declawed. Suddenly, she is ready to concede authority to everyone from Nathaniel, whose gripe about being”[discounted]” is actualy valid,. To her “bride” who is magically bound to do as he is told. She is told when to eat, where to go, and has fallen into the backward habit of consulting her patriarch Jean Claud before making even the smallest decisions. She is all but date raped in the shower and is fine with it. She considers rewarding a guard’s insubordination by allowing him to beat her in a fight, all to preserve his male pride. Hamilton, through Anita, reiterates old fashioned and biologically essentialist ideas about heterosexual relationships, outlining the differences between men and women and preserving the gender hierarchy. Still worse is the way Anita is blackmailed into sacrificing her livelihood to become pregnant; Nathaniel pulls the classic “if you won’t , another woman will ” strategy, inducing Anita’s epiphany and crippling her image as the autonomous take no prisoners monster slayer we have come to love. Hamilton has taken an awesome female protagonist and twisted her into a 1950’s caricature , an extended metaphor for “appropriate” womanhood that is beginning to repel even the most diehard of fans. Please, will the real Anita Blake please stand up, for herself?!