Sunday, June 17, 2007

Laurell K Hamilton

Last summer when I was in Hong Kong I picked up a book called A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton. That book was the beginning of my passionate affair with the Merry Gentry series, which in turn started me off on the Anita Blake series. I know I know… Who spends their summer vacation reading when they can go out there and see the sights?
Don't get me wrong. You can't help but fall in love with Hong Kong. The city itself is like this beautiful boy with the deep soulful eyes who never says much, but manages to charm you with his quiet yet hidden depths. Every day I would wake up with my sisters and go out to walk along by the ocean. We watch the boats sailing by, some of them looking like Chinese war ships, but interesting. We walk slowly, taking our time, breathing the wonder of being in a different country in. The endless couples can be depressing though, especially when they have a cute one year old kid. It makes a person broody and the whole time there I was obsessing about adopting a Chinese baby. My sisters are good companions like sisters generally are. They understand all your weak points and tease you about them with remarkable wit. Best of all, there's a lot of shared laughter. We get to the mall and you have to walk a long way to get there, but its worth crossing the distance. The book store there is huge and I do mean huge!! We could get lost in it for hours and still miss a few sections. My parents usually had to pry us out of there. We'd be running up and down the aisles like children at a candy store.
I picked up the book and later as we went along, shopping. I was so engrossed in it, I couldn't put it down. I was enraptured by this fairy princess who took me back to my childhood of fairy stories, only its adult and salaciously sensual. The character just called out to me. The fairy princess far from home who is half mortal and doesn't belong in either world struck a chord with me. She's a bundle of real insecurities, feelings and is just so real.

In Los Angeles, she is Meredith Gentry, private investigator. In the faraway world of fairy she is Princess Meredith, heir to a dark throne. In this realm of peril and deception, adversaries watch her every move, while the enemies of her aunt, the queen, lay in wait to usurp power.

By the time, we left Hong Kong, I had picked up the rest of the series. When we got to Thailand, I started reading Anita Blake, and now in Dubai I'm keeping the lovely staff of Magrudy busy ordering the books as soon as they come out.

Anita Blake is a vampire slayer (I can hear you moaning people and I swear just pick up Guilty Pleasures and you'll be an addict.) I can totally see Anita's Jean-Claude with Anne Rice's Lestat…*swoons* My two favorite vampires.

Here is a part from the summery I wrote for my Extended Reading class.

Guilty Pleasures
An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novel
By Laurell K. Hamilton

“With a Heroine as sharp as a stake and slick as a silver bullet, Laurell K. Hamilton sucks you into her fascinating world like a vampire’s kiss” – J.D Robb

Great books mean different things to different people. To me, the greatest books are the ones with the most memorable characters, the liveliest dialogue, and the most intricate of plots. Right now, I pick up one book after another, tearing through Laurell K. Hamilton’s addictive series. Her books have become my own guilty pleasures. I finish book after book as if they were mere chapters instead of novels. I confess that I have been so enthralled by it that I haven’t been interested in sitting down and writing a summery about any other book I originally decided to summarize.
The story is set in St Lois, which is incidentally where the writer herself lives, except in the world she creates vampires and shape shifters walks side by side with humans. The vampires have been legal for three years and have as much legal rights as an ordinary human. The titles of the books are the clubs where vampires give a show to humans. There are humans who are vampire junkies. These are people who are addicted to being close to a vampire’s power and let the vampire’s feed of them. Anita Blake is an animator. She can bring the dead to life and turn them into zombies. It’s a necessary profession, especially if the person who died didn’t have a will or their word is needed in court. She is also the vampire executioner. Of course, with the vampires being legal citizens, she now needs a court order before she can kill rogue vampires. As the story goes on, you find the character facing humans who are scarier than the real monsters and monsters that are vulnerable and in need of protection. Among the conflicts Anita faces is her love for the Master vampire of the City Jean Claude and Richard Zeeman, a werewolf. She is torn between both of them, unable to choose. Jean-Claude is a centuries old vampire with the love of the theatrical and the manners of a courtier. He speaks French and is both charming and duplicitous. Richard is a lover of the outdoors and although he is supposed to be a monster, his ideals are his downfall. Anita finds herself wanting to tear her hair out at his hesitation to kill which endangers them sometimes. Anita doesn’t even blink when it comes to killing. She feels no remorse and wonders who is more of a monster of them.
I’m currently reading the last book I own in the series. Its called Incubus Dreams. I’m wondering how long its going to take for me to order the next book, because I can’t bear waiting. It’s not the supernatural that appeals to me, it’s the character herself. I’m enchanted by Anita Blake. I find myself relating a lot to her in situations where everyone looks at her to fix the mess their in and she doesn’t know how to fix it either. Part of her wants to run away from the responsibilities, but when there are people counting on her to protect them she refuses to let them down. There are moments when she doesn’t know how to keep her sense of self in the midst of so many changes, but somehow manages to make it through. She does what’s right even when she can’t tell the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong anymore. She is brave when it comes to shooting, ruthless at killing and a frightened child when it comes to falling in love. She is more afraid of getting her heart broken than being ripped apart by claws. She is so real to me because of all her conflicting feelings, her insecurities, fears, hopes and dreams. You never get to know your closest friends as well as you get to know Anita Blake.

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