Skin Trade (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #17) - Laurell K. Hamilton

'Shut up...And can take the offer so we can all sleep.'

The Real Plot Summary:

Anita Sue: I am SO much tougher and better at this than those wimpy women in my office, who are clutching their pearls in the other room and sobbing into the Manly Men's chests! I can stare at this head in a box and be TOUGH. And MANLY. Because I'm the manliest woman. And I'm TOUGH.

*Anita Sue calls Las Vegas PD*

Shaw: You are in St. Louis and I am in Las Vegas, but I have heard how you sleep with everything with a dick. You are a slut.

AS: No I'm not.

Shaw: Yes, you are.

*Five Hours later*

AS: I'm coming to Las Vegas.

Shaw: OK

*One trip to Las Vegas later*

Cop 1: You are in St. Louis and I am in Las Vegas, but I have heard how you sleep with everything with a dick. You are a slut.

AS: No I'm not.

Cop 1: Yes, you are.

*An hour later. Shaw arrives.*

Shaw: You are a slut.

AS: No I'm not.

Shaw: Yes, you are.

Cop 1: Didn't you technically have this same argument earlier in the book?

AS: Shut up. I need to justify my sexual relationships because I don't have enough confidence in myself. And because my author has issues.

*Argument continues for 5 hours*

Cop 1: Here is the SWAT team

SWAT team member Stupid Name #1: You are in St. Louis and I am in Las Vegas, but I have heard how you sleep with everything with a dick. You are a slut.

AS: No I'm not.

SWAT team member Stupid Name #1: Yes, you are.

*Five hours later, after repeating with each and every SWAT team member*

AS: I can lift twice my weight in weights.

SWAT: No you can't.

*AS does*

SWAT: Wow, you are the manliest man that was ever manly. We will totally stand by you and take back all the reservations we had about a human servant of a vampire and her integrity with the police.

AS: That's more like it.

*Edward, Olaf, and Bernardo arrive*

Edward: Anita, you are the manliest woman that was ever manly. I have a manly man crush on you.

AS: But we totally won't end up sexual partners in a future book.

Edward: ...

Olaf: I am a serial rapist and if you had any moral compass remaining, I'd be dead. You are sexy - I'll have sex with you and TRY MY BEST not to kill you.

AS: Awwwwww, how sweet of you to say!

Edward to Bernardo: Isn't that just a bit creepy.

Bernardo: Yeah, Edward watching Bella sleeping creepy.

Bernardo to AS: Why don't you LURVE ME and want to sleep with me?

AS: Do I have to love and have sex with everyone in this series?


AS: Actually, Bernardo, you are a fine piece of ass.

Bernardo: Aw, shucks, Anita, that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me.

*AS doesn't know what to say to that, so she ignores it*

Reader: Isn't there supposed to be a plot here?

Plot: HERE I AM!! Come over HERE!

*The US Marshalls follow the plot. Shaw is there.*

Shaw: You are a slut.

AS: No I'm not.

Shaw: Yes, you are.

Edward, Olaf, and Bernardo: Aren't we supposed to be doing an investigation?

*Olaf is creepy*

AS: Olaf is being creepy, but it is MY FAULT because I let him do it.

Reader: This is making me uncomfortable...

LKH: This is a feminist book! SHUT UP!

*AS heads to the weretigers BECAUSE*

Bibiana: I want you to unleash your ardeur, because there hasn't been any sex in this book.

AS: No, I'm not doing it because the readers have complained about too much sex in these books and I'm waiting until the end to cram in the 17 sex scenes.

Bibiana: OK, I'll tell you everything you want to know. BTW, here's the jail bait, that's TOTES OK to screw because 16 is legal in Las Vegas.

Cynric: HI!!

Plot: Hello there, guys? I'm in this corner.

*Team chases plot. Each time they come upon police, same fight ensues*

Ardeur: You need to feed.

AS: Dammit, guess that means I'm having sex with Olaf.

Olaf: *is happy*

Wicked, Truth, Requiem, and a whole slew of unnecessary baggage: We are here for the sexxors.


Plot: OK, guys, we got 10% of the book left! Let's wrap this up really quickly - oh, and put away your guns and shizz, because you won't need them.

Vittorio: I am totally evil - watch me be sadistic and sexual, because that's totally what serial killers do.

*AS saves the day by the power of the cooter*

Everyone in the world: YAY! Anita Sue is the biggest, baddest, manliest woman that was ever manly!

A Bit More Seriously:

Without a doubt, this is better than the sex-obsessed "Incubus Dreams", the plotless "Danse Macabre", and the pointless "Blood Noir". That said, endless fights with the cops, repetitive conversations, and more wangst than an emo teenager's LiveJournal make this book a drag and a bore to get through.

Anita Sue continues to remain the puerile adolescent in adult clothing she's been since book 1. She still feels the need to break into a justification for her relationships at the drop of a hat and, like the child she is, will so anything to prove how awesome she is.

Lots of characters are raked through the coals. Edward is a cheap imitation of what he once was; Olaf no longer is the creepy serial rapist; Bernardo is nothing more than a sappy teenager seeking approval. JC grows a bit of a backbone and chews Anita Sue out, but at the end of the day, he's very much Anita Sue's whipping boy. Wicked and Truth are laughable; supposedly, they are the biggest, baddest warriors, but they so desperately seek Anita Sue's panties, it's embarrassing. And any police officer must give Anita Sue lots of sh!t before welcoming her with open arms - well, every officer except the "woman-hating" Thurgood (kinda rich; same description could apply to Anita Sue).

What about Richard, Micah, Nathaniel, and the million of other characters? Mentioned in passing or not at all. Geez, well, thanks for that. The LAST thing LKH needed to do was add MORE interchangeable characters to this series.

What about women? We have the "woman-hating" Thurgood, the sexual Bibiana (who is sexually manipulative like all women in this book), and Alma, Bibiana's aide, who was sexually assault. Yay for female power!

If LKH could have stuck to the story, it wouldn't have been half bad. Vittorio, Marmee Noir, the djinn - all would have made fiercesome villains. But I sadly think LKH doesn't even know how to write a book without heaps of conversations about who's proverbial dick is bigger, about people's sex life, about vampire or were politics, and about Anita having sex with someone.

And then the writing! Good God, I live for the awful writing! Here's my top five favorites:

"Fire doesn't blink long lashes at you and tries for a neutral face when its eyes give it away."

"If that was a quickie, I can't wait for a longie."

"Don't get yourself killed because of pride, Anita. That's a guy reason to die. You're a girl. Think like a girl for once."

"He fell on top of me, putting his mouth to mine, and kissed me as if he would climb inside and flow down my throat. I kissed him back. Kissed him with mouth and arms around his back, tracing his spine, spilling down to the swell of his body where waist ended and other things began."

And my favorite:

" I held him close, feeling how very naked he was in my arms. I held him and he held me back. I held him and remembered holding him while he bled. Holding him while I thought he was dying."

When people say, "Anita is back!", they are both right and wrong. "Skin Trade" is the most like Old Anita as we've gotten. There is a lot more focus on plot, and the plot is very solid. Sex doesn't appear until the last quarter.

But Anita Blake isn't back. There is way too much fluff, way too much piddling around in meaningless conversations, way too little time spent investigating and actually fighting the bad guys. It makes me wonder if LKH even knows how to write a book anymore.