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Crimson Romance
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Skin Trade, Book 17 of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series by Laurell K. Hamilton

Publisher: Berkley / Penguin Group
Page: 486

From the Cover: When a vampire serial killer sends Anita Blake a grisly souvenir from Las Vegas, she has to warn Sin City's local authorities what they're dealing with. Only it's worse than she thought. Ten officers and one executioner have been slain - paranormal style. Anita heads to Vegas, where's she's joined by three other federal marshals, including the ruthless Edward. It's a good thing he always has her back, because when she gets close to the bodies, Anita senses 'tiger' too strongly to ignore it. The weretigers are very powerful in Las Vegas, which means the odds of her rubbing someone important the wrong way just got a lot higher.

Anita Blake, zombie animator extraordinaire, has received a special gift from a wicked special admirer, Vittorio, the vampire that escaped his execution in St. Louis. He's a serial killer driven mad by his desires, and now he's focused on Anita. He's sent her the head of the executioner of Las Vegas.

When Anita receives his 'invitation' to come and play in Las Vegas, she knows she must go and she'll need to leave before Jean Claude wakes, he'll never let her face Vittorio by herself. He can't go into Max and Bibiana's territory without permission and that will take too long. But Edward can and does, bringing Bernando and Olaf with him. They've all become legal vampire executioners now, and Olaf really enjoys his job.

Anita is put to the test. She has to control the ardeur, learning to feed it emotions instead of sex. Marmee Noir wants to control her body and soul, and if she can't, she going to try to force Anita into pregnancy and let her soul seep into her child. Marmee Noir must die. Belle Morte has her own plans for Anita, Belle wants Anita to become hers with all her special abilities. Vittorio who Anita finds out is the father of all vampires and in control the evil Djinn has his own agenda. The Day Father (Vittorio) is trying to kill Marmee Noir and take Anita instead. Marmee Noir stripped him of his powers, but he's regaining them.

Skin Trade by Laurell K. Hamilton is Anita Blake starting to get back to her roots. No raising of zombies which I always liked about Anita, her ability to call to the dead, but maybe in the next book. I felt this book was better than the last several books. I know everyone was talking about the 'rape' scene, but I didn't see it. Yes, sex was supposed to have occurred with a sixteen year old weretiger, but it wasn't brought forward in the book in detail of any kind nor was it the most important part of that scene. Anita was being controlled by Vittorio who is a sick freak in his own right. It helps her to realize the different between forced acts and free will. I think it brings a forgiveness to Anita's personality that has been missing from the books. She afraid of become a monster, but her body is conductive for the monsters to possess. There was only three sex scenes in this novel and only two with details (one with Wicked Truth and one with weretigers Crispin and Domino), a lot less that the books after Blue Moon. If you liked LKH's early work, I think you'll like this novel. Edward is the main hero in the book, but there are so many secondary characters in the book, saving Anita in one form or another, that he shares this responsibilities. He's torn between being Ed and being Ted, and one day, he's going to have to deal with his growing conscious especially since his marriage to Donna. I also thought the book was a little long and some of the dialogue, especially the inner monologue, could have been shortened; trimming down the pages. If you haven't read Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, this is not the place to start. Laurell K. Hamilton's complete book list can be found below. Warning: After Blue Moon the books are very explicit. Sexual escapades are contained in all of the novels.

Short Stories involving Anita Blake's world.
* Magic Like Heat Across My Skin (2001)
* Bite -- The Girl Who Was Infatuated With Death (2005)
* Strange Candy (2006)
* Micah and Strange Candy (2007)
* Never After (2009)

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series
* 1 : Guilty Pleasures (1993)
* 2 : Laughing Corpse, the (1994)
* 3 : Circus of the Damned (1995)
* 4 : Lunatic Cafe (1996)
* 5 : Bloody Bones (1996)
* 6 : Killing Dance, the (1997)
* 7 : Burnt Offerings (1998)
* 8 : Blue Moon (1998)
* 9 : Obsidian Butterfly (2000)
* 10 : Narcissus in Chains (2001)
* 11 : Cerulean Sins (2003)
* 12 : Incubus Dreams (2004)
* 13 : Micah (2006)
* 14 : Danse Macabre (2006)
* 15 : Harlequin, the (2007)
* 16 : Blood Noir (2008)
* 17 : Skin Trade (2009)
* 19 : Flirt (February 2010)

Merry Gentry Series
* 1 : A Kiss of Shadows (2000)
* 2 : A Caress of Twilight (2002)
* 3 : Seduced by Moonlight (2004)
* 4 : A Stroke of Midnight (2005)
* 5 : Mistral's Kiss (2006)
* 6 : A Lick of Frost (2007)
* 7 : Swallowing Darkness (2008)
* 8 : Misdemeanors (December 2009)

Laurell K. Hamilton talks about Skin Trade, Book 17


Blodeuedd said...

That is a lot of books, yikes, perhaps not the series for me. If I got hooked wow

Leontine said...

I luuurve her Meredith Gentry series but have to read like 4 books or so. Anita Blake series never rocked my pond, so weird but have same thing going on with Anne Rice, love her Mayfair Witches but have got no desire to read her Vampire chronicles.Thanks for the awesome post Dottie :)

Unknown said...

Hi B!

The first part of the series is great, and I love the Merry Gentry Series, but both are long and involved series, and each tend to focus on a sexual aspects in the later books, though LKH has backed off of it a lot in both series. Not that I don't enjoy that in a good story, but sometimes it felt like gratuitous sex.

Dottie :)

Unknown said...

Hi Leontine!

I do love the Merry Gentry Series, the fae world created is very cool, but I'm glad that the tone of both series has changed somewhat. I first started out reading the Anita Blake Series and then found Merry Gentry. I've only tried Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, so I'll have to look for the Mayfair Witches. Thanks for the recommendation!

Dottie :)

Anna said...

For me this is the worst Anita book. I never thought I'd utter those words. But I just didn't like it. The one plus was that Edward was in it.

Ooh I loved the Mayfair Witches too. :)

Unknown said...

Hi Anna!

I thought it was a little drawn out, probably could have shaved one hundred pages off the total page count and it would have been a better book. I haven't been particularly fond of the last few in this series, but I'll continue reading. I liked this because it mostly focused on Edward and hunting the bad guy vamp.

Dottie :)

Mandi said...

I have yet to read this one..I don't know why. This is one of my fav series!! The past couple have been long winded too imo. Glad to hear she is kind of turning it around a bit. I don't mind the ardeur like a lot of people, but the past couple have lacked a bit of plot. Really want to start this one soon! Nice review!!!

Lea said...

Hey Dottie:

I don't have time to read your review in full right now, but I'm going to be back cuz I want to know what Anita is up too these days. ;)


See ya later...

Unknown said...

Hi Mandi!

I've enjoyed this series, but the last few have been long and over the top. I still feel this one was too long, lots of monologue. Trim it down a bit and I would have enjoyed it more. I do love Edward, so I really enjoyed him having his story.

Dottie :)

Unknown said...

Hi Lea!

This one definitely had a better handle than the ardeur, and the gratuitous sex wasn't there. I love Edward, so I enjoyed hearing more about him and his life.

Dottie :)

Teddyree said...

I so want to try a LKH novel but the number in each series is a serious deterrent. I loved your review but if I start on these I just might not stop and then I'd have to move out of home to leave room for all my books :-)

Cecile Smutty Hussy said...

Hey Dottie!!!!
Wow what a series... #17! I have one of these books. I am not sure which one. I picked it up at a used book store. Not realizing that it was part of a long series. The book sounds intriguing in itself, but like you said... No starting here for this chick! Whenever the huge TBR pile goes down some... I may have to try to collect all those books. I did hear that the middle of the series was not as "good" as the beginning of the series. So that had me wondering... do you skip some books because of taste in a series??
Hope you are having a great day!
Miss ya!

Unknown said...

Hi Teddyree!

LKH is very prolific to say the least! The Merry Gentry Series has fewer books and it's about light and dark fae (which President Jefferson allowed to make a permanent home here after they left England). She has quite a vivid imagination!

We could always build an extra room just for your books, lol, sometimes I think I need one.

Dottie :)

Unknown said...

Hi Cecile!

I guess you could skip some in the middle, she has a quite involved world. If you get confused, I sure a synopsis of the skipped books could be readily found online, lol. LKH has quite a following.

Dottie :)

Teddyree said...

Dottie, LOL yeah if I did start on LKH I thought it would be with the Merry Gentry series, just because there’s less books lol
But I like your idea of an extra room, somehow I don’t think hubby would be quite as enthusiastic hahaha.

Unknown said...

Hi Teddyree!

hahaha!!! Mine wouldn't either (he would probably tell me to shove off!), but we sure could use one. I've been donating my hardbacks and some of the trade paperbacks to our local library, when I can force myself to part with them. I'm trying to keep the peace, cos you know I'm gonna buy more books!

Dottie :)

Ladytink_534 said...

This was the first book in this series that I didn't snatch up the second it came out. I actually haven't even bought it yet. I loved her earlier books so I'll have to see about picking this one up soon after all.

Unknown said...

Love your blog - was wondering if you wanted to do a link exchange, I do a vampire book blog, its pretty new, so any help would be wonderful :)


Unknown said...

Hi LadyTink!

I was hesitant about this book myself, but it really was pretty good. I'd read so much bad press about it, but it's LKH, had to check it out for myself.

I think the self-monologue could be shortened, but I love Edward, and this book mostly deals with Edward and his world.

Dottie :)

Unknown said...

Hi Ruby!

I was just over and check out your site, looks great!

I'll add you to my blog roll.

Dottie :)

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