In Book Reviews, Fantasy

Laurel Hamilton BookDancing: An Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Novella

Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Berkley Books, New York
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Recommended Reading: 18+

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OVERALL THOUGHTS:This novella helped me get my Anita fix while I wait another year for the next book to come out.  Certainly not a book you would want to pick up if you were not already an Anita Blake fan.  Even if you are a big Anita fan you might not be terribly impressed.  There was no sex or supernatural hijinks. I know, why even have an Anita book if there is no orgy? A good portion of this 59 page story had to be taken up summarizing background information for Anita and other characters.  I can appreciate the difficulty in summarizing pertinent information from 20 years of Anita, but at $2.99 you might find the tiny taste of new material not worth the price.

[note color=”#e5b3fa”]SYNOPSIS:For most people, summer barbecues are nothing to be afraid of. But Anita isn’t exactly plain vanilla—and neither is her love life. So it takes a special kind of courage to attend a barbecue thrown by her friend Sergeant Zerbrowski. Walking into a backyard full of cops and their families with wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel both looking gorgeous on her arm won’t be easy, even with almost-four-year-old Matthew Vespucci to break the ice…

Anita is determined to have a good time with her family, just like everyone else. But it doesn’t take long for tensions to rise among the adults and kids. And Anita will learn that gossip and innuendo can be just as dangerous as anything the undead can throw at her…


THE LOWDOWN: One of the things that I have come to enjoy in the Anita books are the domestic scenes where the author, Laurell K. Hamilton, gives us a glimpse into Anita’s home life.  We get to see how she handles her harem of men, where she lives and the other general day-to-day living she does when she isn’t having orgies or kicking ass.  This novella was purely domestic, which was fine with me.  However, Hamilton loves to go off on tangents.  Generally she will get on her soap box two or three times every book.  She is a big fan of talking about cops and how they think, the power and the responsibilities that come with the job, love and how difficult it is for Anita to accept the relationships in her life.

Finally, she tends to make a point about gender roles.  Hamilton always points out that her short female heroine is underestimated due to the sexist views of both men and women.  She also loves to show that men can be ballet dancers, men can be strippers, men can be raped by ether men or woman, men can be domestic, and men can be submissive to women.  Don’t take this the wrong way. Not all her male characters are either misogynistic turds or subservient weaklings, but she does love to flip the gender stereotypes upside down.  As a sociologist I can appreciate the points she makes.  However, it does get old after a while.  The same can be said about any of the tangents Hamilton likes to indulge in. So, why do I put up with it? The truth is, I’m in too deep.  I choke down the philosophical diatribe because I just have to read what happens to Anita next.

This novella is exclusively a story about gender stereotypes.

  1. Nathanial, Anita’s stripper sweetie, has high hopes that he will get along well with the other wives at a family barbecues Anita has been invited to. Nathanial works in the kitchen and pushes for having children.  How very progressive of him, right?
  2. He also has difficulties when the other wives at the party start ogling him and making him uncomfortable. How shocking! I never imagined such role reversal could exist (heavy sarcasm).
  3. Children at the party get in a fight because the little boys think only gay boys would do ballet.  Little heathens!

As you can see, there is a definite theme to this little novella. Thankfully, Hamilton does a good job of showing and not just telling the reader that these biases exist.  It was well done if a bit obvious and one-dimensional.  I’m glad I got a little taste to help hold me over till the next book.  If you are a true Anita Blake fan, read it.  If not, why on earth have you read to the end of this review!?  Move on to the next!

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