Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

On November 29, I suffered a stroke. I spent the month in a hospital and a rehabilitation facility. I was released on Christmas Eve, but I had a lot of recovery to do. To my frustration, I had to learn how to read again. And write. Much of my cognitive of my ability left me—and is gone. The doctors tell me they can’t predict how much will return, but I am optimistic that I will recover most of my ability. That I learn how to read again gives me hope. About writing, I am getting there, but I still struggle. What I wrote so far would take on a few minutes of the pre-stroke time, but now it took a half-hour, perhaps longer. I don’t understand why it takes so long, but it does. By telling you about the books read, I hope to quickly return my writing. In any case, it is time to start reviewing books again. 

I will start with Laurell K. Hamilton’s Guilty Pleasures.

Published in 1993, Guilty Pleasures is book one of Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. It’s a popular series; ten books have been published to date. Based in St. Louis, Anita works as a reanimator of zombies, but she is currently assigned to investigate a string of vampire murders. Did I say assigned? In truth, she goaded in this task by Nikolaos, the master vampire in St. Louis. Nikolaos is over 1,000 years old and has several powers unique to vampires. She flies. That took Anita to surprise! Nikolaos is bimodal or seems to be, as she struggles between needing Anita’s help and trying to kill her. Or at less, it seems. 

[Nikolaos] stood there without moving and opened her mind to me. It felt like she had opened a door that had been locked. Her mind crashed against mine, and I staggered. Thoughts ripped into me like knives, steel-edged dreams. Fleeting bits of her mind danced in my head; where touched I was numbed, hurt.

In this world, zombies, ghouls, werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural creatures exist and are made legal by United States law. The vampires gather in St. Louis, where they run tourist attractions that cater to their unique lifestyles. You know…sucking of blood. The novel begins at Guilty Pleasures, a male strip joint where vampires drink blood from willing volunteers. 

I don’t appreciate these novels where vampires are made legal. Why? Is it a human rights issues? Sorry, but human rights stop with death and blood-drinking. And no stronger argument exists that their behavior in this novel: flying through the air, entrance humans to make them slaves, and raising zombies to torture them. Vampires deserve their placement on a ban on secondary species. 

The other problem with this novel is that I found it monotone. I think there is the choice of the narrator, Anita Blakes, for I compare the text to another book by Hamilton, A Caress of Twilight, and it wasn’t monotone. Anita has a nonsense personality have her prase everything in the clearest manner. 

Despite these problems, I found Guilty Pleasures an enjoyable read. Hamilton’s joining of vampires, ghouls, zombies, and were-people inside the story is imaginative. If you think about it, why not have a cast of characters that includes all the creatures of the night? 

We sat in the blood-soaked grass. I dabbed my right hand in the still-oozing blood of the goat’s wound. I was forced to kneel to reach Zachary’s face. I smeared blood over his forehead, down his cheeks. Smooth skin, the rub of new beard. I left a dark handprint over his heard.

Laurell K. Hamilton was born on February 19, 1963. She lives in St. Louis County.

Guilty Pleasures is not my cup of tea, but there are readers who are drawn to this type of fantasy. To those readers, I’m sure you will enjoy it.

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