Thursday, January 7, 2010

This Ain't Twilight

One of the main reasons for this blog is to chronicle my reading. I have neglected my personal reading for so long because of being required to read so much academic "stuff." It's not that I didn't enjoy at least some of the academic material; it's just that once it becomes required reading, it's not fun anymore. I probably would have read most of the required academic stuff I've digested over the last 8-10 years anyway, but because it was required, it became a chore. Why reading can be so enjoyable until it's assigned sounds like an incredible dissertation topic for someone...but NOT ME!!

Once I finished my degree, I unconciously decided I would read as much "fluff" and non-academic "stuff" that I could. I am an avid reader and don't really dislike any genre. I read whatever interests me and at any given time have a pile of books that I want to devour.

I've always liked vampires and witches. When I was an adolescent, I was nervous about sharing that information about myself with others. In middle school way before the advent of the internet, I would sneak books out of the library about the Salem Witch Trials. Have I mentioned I'm 41 now...and I'm over it! I ain't sneakin' around no more!! I don't think everybody should like vampires and witches; I don't believe they exist in real life; and I am not obsessed. It's just fun reading! C'mon people!!

Anyway, I've read the classic vampire stuff...Bram Stoker's Dracula and all that, as well as the Twilight series and Sookie Stackhouse series. By accident, another reader friend of mine actually encouraged me to read the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by discouraging me from reading it. She really couldn't even tell me why and almost acted as if there was something really creepy about the course...I went out and bought one!

I've just finished reading the 16th book in the Anita Blake series called Blood Noir. Twilight is tame in comparison to Anita Blake so if you can't deal with some language, violence (these are vampires, you know), and explicit sex at times, then you won't like Anita Blake. If you can get past your hang-ups long enough to experience hard, edgy supernatural fiction, then you'll LOVE Anita Blake.

Anita is a vampire hunter who is based in St. Louis, MO...the same town, by coincidence of course, in which author Laurell K. Hamilton resides. Vampires are citizens in Anita Blake's world, but Anita is one of many vampire hunters trained to rein in any rogue vampires who refuse to follow the law. Anita is tough as nails; she has issues from her past and issues with her own supernatural existence (Anita is a necromancer, which means she can control the dead - She actually raises zombies for a living because of this innate ability). Anita ends up falling in love with Jean Claude, the Master Vampire St. Louis. Anita's relationship with Jean Claude is a true love relationship (I think) without all the sappy mess that a lot of romantic notions of true love have you believe. It is a modern relationship though that deals realistically with the needs of a vampire who has a relationship with a human. That's all I'm sayin' about that. :)

Through her relationship with Jean Claude, Anita reluctantly develops even more supernatural abilities and becomes a powerful force on her own as well as through her triumverate with Jean Claude and the Ulfric of the local werewolf clan, Richard as well several other supernatural characters. Now you think I'm really nuts, right?? Mom, if you ever read this, I'm really ok.

In Blood Noir, Anita goes home with one of her closest "friends," Jason, to say goodbye to his dying father. As one can imagine, even in a pretend world where vampires are legal, there are still many people who feel vampires are evil and should be killed. (Racism and social issues abound in Anita Blake novels; differences are differences and racism and prejudice are racism and prejudice no matter the details). Jason's father has some pretty serious reasons to hate Jason. Blood Noir focuses on Jason and Anita's relationship as it progresses from friends to family as well as Jason's need to settle things with his father before he dies. The conflict in this particular Anita Blake book stems around a group of assassin vampires who have been hired by another Master of the City to kill Jason in a case of mistaken identity that ties back to one of the main reasons Jason's father has such issues with his son. While Anita helps keep Jason alive, she also must fight off the ever growing precense of a master vampire, the "mother of all vampires," who has decided that Anita's powers are her ticket to rising back to life.

Edgy, spooky, heartpounding stuff...most of the time I have to read fast and skim so I get the story...then I have to go back and read slow for the details...yes, I'm one of those readers who gets so involved that sometimes I can't stand it and have to read the end!! I just NEED to know!!

I don't think Anita minds long as I go back for the details :)

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