The Girl Who was Infatuated with Death by Laurell K Hamilton
At last I am at the last short story in the Strange Candy collection by Laurell K Hamilton. And it seemed to end just on the right note with a tale about the vampire hunter that made Hamilton famous. The story is called The Girl Who Was Infatuated with Death starring none other than Anita Blake.
So what is it about? Its about Anita Blake, a vampire hunter and a police consultant, who can raise the dead for questioning. She is hired by a woman to track a down her daughter. Her daughter has been hanging out with a vampire who has nearly turned her. The woman is hysterical wanting desperately to save her daughter and not able to bear the thought of her daughter becoming a vampire. The girl who is missing, Anita learns, is being ate away by bone cancer adding a moral dilemma into the mess. Anita investigates and to do so, she must confronts Jean Claude a master vampire, which is a tricky matter. Because Anita herself has been marked twice by him (much like the missing girl ) only to save his life, and though she does love him, being near him her feelings are amplified because of what has been done. So during the interview she must do all she can to keep herself in control. It is actually set in the Anita Blake timeline very much unlike the first short story in this short story collection. It takes place right before Narcissus in Chains. If your fans of the series then you know Narcissus in Chains is where the series derailed. At that point in the series, the stories stop being about Anita Blake being vampire hunter trying to exist in a world of monsters and turns into tales about Anita being infected with a disease that turned her into a succubus that must of sex in every other chapter. So that is where it stands. Right at the end of the series for about half of the Anita Blake fans.
So the good? Well where do I start? I used to be a die hard Anita Blake fan, so its good to see new material set before that huge turning point. The detail is fantastic. There are a surprising number of moral dilemmas sprinkled throughout the piece. Such as is vampirism right for someone young who is dying of cancer? The extreme prejudice among the population who now have to accept the vampires as citizens who have rights. Lots of stuff of that matter that gives the story so much depth. And one thing I always forget about Hamilton until I read it, is the amazingly powerful scenes between Jean Claude and Anita . The heat of the moment, thoughts, and impulses that border on the edge of erotica are perfect. I never seen someone do it as good as Laurel K Hamilton. Every word seems to be perfect and flows so perfectly. I only wish that this skill did not devour the future of the series like it did. Such a shame. Then there is the title. The girl infatuated with death plays on multiple levels. It could reference the missing girl or Anita Blake herself, who can’t keep Jean Clause out of her life. Its very clever.
The bad? There isn’t much. But I must admit I expected more action and a climax involving the missing girl. Anita’s personal problems did shove that to the back for a while, and when the climax did come, I was like, “That’s it?” But oh well. It is a short after all. I can’t expect a lot from them.
Overall, it's a fun tale marking the near end of the Anita Blake story for a lot of fans. It’s worth looking into. Its not perfect. It is nowhere near as exciting as the books, but if you’re a fan, it might worth you while. If you’re not a fan, you might still like it on a very average level.
3 ½ smoothie out of four.
Overall Rating: Anita Blake’s Last True Case Before the Series Derails