Danse Macabre (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #14) - Laurell K. Hamilton If you have ever considered reading the Anita Blake series up to this point, let me save you a bit of time, trouble, and heartache by giving you a plot synopsis of this book. Don't worry, I won't spoil anything nor will I get into so much detail that it will be ruined.

PLOT:



No, really, this book HAS no plot. The blurb burbles about a vampire ballet, hints at a pregnancy for Anita, and dances around the topic of the ardeur, but nothing happens in this book. (Cover blurb author needs a RAISE.)

OK, no, I'm wrong. Stuff does happen in this book. If any one of the following is what you want when you pick up a book called "Anita Blake VAMPIRE HUNTER":

1. Women bashing.

2. Talking/whinging about a pregnancy and ignoring the real time problems of your "best friend" and proceeding to shame her into humiliation and say that SHE is the one who needs therapy.

3. Metaphysical date rape sex that is used to power up individuals like a video game.

4. Talking/whinging about all the metaphysical sex (unprotected, of course) you have with the stripper boyfriends that fall at your feet and all the complicated relationships between all 7 of them.

5. Evil overly sexualized, pyschotic b!tchy women.

6. Petty fights over the resident Mary Sue.

7. Talking about brand-new character's backstories while characters are in the nude or have just come out of the bath.

8. Bad guys who do bad guy things like talk about how much of a bad guy they are.

9. Talking about who should have sex with whom, when, where, why, and how, and whether that makes you a slut or not.

10. Having sex with two new men "because the ardeur says so" when you already have six current boyfriends. And everyone (minus the "unreasonable" Richard) is totes OK with being naked around all 6 men, being observed while having sex by all 6 men, or even being a part of a menage a trois with all 6 men.

If THAT is what you were looking for when you opened up "Anita Blake VAMPIRE HUNTER", then you are in luck! The next 500 pages are full of the plotless meanderings of Anita Mary Sue and her Dancing Troupe of Greatly Endowed Male Sex Objects (because Anita is so not into teh gay). If you are like me, and you were kinda hoping to see, oh, I don't know, maybe a ZOMBIE RAISING or a crime scene or *gasp* a vampire execution, you might as well quit now while you're ahead.

"Dance Macabre" makes "Incubus Dreams" look like a tightly plotted masterpiece (well, almost). "Danse Macabre" is the poorest excuse for a novel that I've seen in a long, long time - well, since "Incubus Dreams". It's plotless, pointless, stupid, and insulting.

Anita Sue remains the most unlikeable, worst protagonist I've read. She's rude to her friend, she's a hypocrite, she's demanding, she's sexist, she's a misogynist, she has a chip on her shoulder the size of Texas. We spend nearly the entire first chapter Anita Sue whinging about her pregnancy to Ronnie, when all she needs to do is take 5 minutes out of her oh-so hectic day (between screwing every male in sight) to get a pregnancy test. Or - gasp! - make an appointment with the doctor to be tested. There is no reason why Anita Sue must dominate the ENTIRE conversation with her drivel.

When Ronnie tries to talk about her feelings about Louis moving in and how she isn't sure she likes it, Anita Sue makes sure to let Ronnie know how inconvenient it is to talk about something other than Anita Sue's problems (I've got a really nice quote from her about Ronnie's "penis envy" that you can see in my early updates). And she tells her "friend" that A) Ronnie is just a jealous meanie who only wants to land in Nathaniel's pants and B) Ronnie ought to get some therapy. Because Ronnie is silly for not wanting to commit to Louis - even though Anita won't commit to any of her 7 men and has no intentions of doing so.


Here lies Veronia "Ronnie" Sims, a once great character massacred by the hatred and vitriol of Laurell K. Hamilton and her author avatar, Anita Sue. May she forever rest in peace.

Anita demands monogamy from her men, but she is allowed to sleep with whomever she wants. If one of the men gets mad like Richard (who is sleeping around himself), he is the one shown to be unreasonable. God Forbid Richard sleep with multiple other women, even though Anita Sue is doing the very same thing with her 7 men. Anita Sue also continues to hate on women, slut-shaming the mistress of the Master of the City of Chicago because "she's a real whore" and insulting her intelligence by agreeing she couldn't see Augie having a scintillating conversation with her. And any woman that isn't as masculine as she is is automatically evil - Thea, Meng Die, etc.

The exponentially growing cast composed almost entirely of males might as well be all the same person, given how little there is to distinguish them. Richard yells at Anita; Asher whines about not being fulfilled; Nathaniel is a doormat (except when he isn't); Jason makes lewd comments. Other than a couple of words, it's impossible to tell anyone apart!

Gone is Anita's "day job". Gone are Zerbrowski, Dolph, Burt, or anything resembling her "normal life". Instead of zombie raisings and at least an attempt at a paranormal mystery, we have lots and lots of vampire politics and new stupid rules, with Anita Sue constantly asking what is going on or for someone to explain something to her because she can't put two and two together. It's astonishing how little Jean-Claude, the man who has lived with the ardeur for HUNDREDS of years, knows about the damned thing; every time we turn around, Anita Sue uncovers some new plot device that changes the ardeur into a new brand of metaphysical date rape drug.

And don't be misled; these sexual encounters are by and large NOT consensual. Anita Sue doesn't want to have sex with Augie and Jean-Claude because that turns her on; no, of course not! We can't have a thing like pesky female sexuality! Instead, the ARDEUR forces her to have sex with them. Only afterwards does she think she likes it. The same for the scene with the new Interchangeable Male Genitalia added to her harem. The same for the menage a trois with Nathaniel and Jason. The same for sex with Asher. They are done because someone needs to be healed (or that stupid Damien must be saved - the number of times Anita Sue has to have sex to save that stupid vampire is ridiculous!) or the ardeur has to be fed or the ardeur was called. It's never because Anita Sue sees a guy and goes, "Hot dayum, I want that man on me now" and then gets permission to go ahead and do that.

Do not even get me started on the "pregnancy" thing or the "vampire ballet". Those "plots" are laughable. In one of the earlier Anita Sue books, they wouldn't have made even tertiary plots; in this book, they are supposed to carry the story. Both are done terribly; both are disappointing and a waste of time.

In some ways what makes this worse is LKH's atrocious writing. Let me share some of the gems I found:

"Hot anger can feel good, but the cold will protect you better."

"Samuel's eyes were hazel, pale brown with an edge of greyish green around the pupil. The green shirt brought out more of the green, so his eyes were almost an olive green. But they were definitely hazel, not true green. But then I had high standards for true green eyes. Samuel's eyes were just eyes."

"Your feeding on Augie raised my power level."

"...the first bite of his power flickered through the room."

"My life wouldn't work if I wallowed in every disaster, every moral quandary. I can't afford the luxury of self-doubt." (Followed quickly by Anita Sue showing self-doubt in her life to the very person she made this comment to!)

"'Don't yell at Micah!' I yelled at him. 'I'll yell at whoever I want to yell at,' [Richard] yelled."

"Now that I was only minutes away from knowing, I wanted to know. No more guesswork. I needed to know. One way I the other, I needed to know. What I didn't know was..."

"Let me be covered in your silken chains. Tie me down and let me drown in your sweet flesh."

"I touched my stomach, so nice and flat with all the exercise."

"'She is cold.' Jean-Claude's voice, his hand moving away from my cheek. Cold, yes. I was cold. So cold. Cold down to the core of my being, as if I'd never be warm again."

"He fell into that kiss and spilled over the couch."

"'I made you both fall in love with me. That's like evil.' 'If you made us fall in love with you but didn't love is back, maybe it would be evil,' Micah said. 'But you do love us back.'"

"He tried for arrogant disdain."


But by far the worst has to go hands-down to:

"Richard made a sound, and it made me glance at him. The look on his face made me look where he was looking."


And then there is the narrator, Cynthia Holloway. I'm sorry, but I just can't stand her. Her voice is grating, she reads all the sex scenes in this ridiculously cheesy "porn star" breathy voice, and she cannot do an accent to save her life. Jean-Claude doesn't sound French in the slightest; London wavered between the most cliched "British" accent to country-western to faux-French. And most of the rest of the cast pretty much sounded exactly like each other - which maybe, considering how interchangeable the cast is, was a stroke of brilliance.

I am surprised that this book ever sold, in hardcover, in paperback, or at all (well, I do get how fans might be duped into buying this - and for those of you fans who paid for hardcover for this, I am so sorry!). This book is pure torture. Did fans really want another plotless mess of a book that spent most of its time talking about sex and vampire political minutiae? Did fans clamor for Anita Sue to acquire TWO MORE MEN to her Male DingDong Dance Card? Were fans begging for Anita Sue to do fewer zombie raisings and spend more time in her underwear or completely undressed having conversations about conversations about conversations? I can't speak for them, but for me, this book made me LONG for the earlier books and the Anita Blake who would have taken one look at Anita Sue and popped her with her Browning.

STAY TUNED: Anita Blake BINGO!!