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8 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2006
This is still a good series. Danse Macabre isn't quite as detailed about the characters as Incubus Dreams was, but it's half the number of pages. A good story for the summer months and very strong writing as well. Keep it up, Laurell!
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9 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2006
I wish I could have given this book five stars but I did feel like the readers were cheated out of an ending. That said, thats my only complaint. I too am so tired of people writing reviews stating how they are sooooo tired of the sex scenes. Then stop reading the books! Its clear that the sex is here to stay in this series. I don't love the sex scenes but I appreciate that its important to the plot and character existence of Anita. Also someone mentioned they couldn't follow the plot in this book. The plot wasn't about violence but the emotional trials and development of Anita. I really enjoyed this book and am so sad that I'm going to have to wait so long for the next one!!
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12 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Federal Marshal Anita Blake, vampire hunter and zombie raiser, is worried that she is pregnant. She has no idea who the father is since she is sleeping with three vampires, two were-leopards, and one werewolf. She is part of a triumvirate with Jean-Claude Master Vampire of St. Louis and Richard the werewolf leader of his pack. Together they are stronger than they are apart.

However, the ardeur, a magical essence that needs sex to nourish it is growing more powerful inside Anita and she needs to keep feeding it or it will start selecting its own victims. As Anita's powers grow, so do those of the other two members of the triumvirate, While Anita looks for someone she is not metaphysically attached to so that she can feed the ardeur, masters of the cities from all over the United States are coming to St. Louis to attend a vampire ballet hosted by Jean-Claude. Not all of the attendees are friends; some want to gauge how powerful Jean-Claude is with his two allies at his side while others want to use Anita for their own ends. Unless Anita can control her ardeur their enemies might defeat them.

Every Anita Blake book is a fantastic urban fantasy and DANSE MACABRE is no exception. Readers wonder who amongst the guests is an adversary that the trio must deal with at a time when Anita is not at her best between the pregnancy and the increasingly out of control ardeur. This is a fabulous action-packed story line filled with characters readers have come to think of as friends. There is an irony in the Anitaverse. There is very little prejudice among humans or within a species group but racism exists between the supernatural races and ordinary humans towards the preternatural races due to fear of their powers. That is a shame because the supernatural community tries so hard to get along with homo sapiens.

Harriet Klausner
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8 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2006
I must say, I enjoy the sex scene's in Hamilton's books! Without all the wimpy cuddling and crap usually in found in Romance novels, Hamilton brings the reader into a world of passion and desire.

With that being said, the newest chapter in Anita's life is not complete... the ending of the book (and many of the hints throughout) have left Hamilton with the opportunity for further expansion on Anita's adventures. Mommy Dearest and Belle are sure to make there entrance sometime soon (so I hope).

Unfortunately, with power comes pain, and Anita is working out the kinks in her magic; thus, showing she is a definate force to be recond with. I WISH the next book was already in print. I'm such an addict!!!!!

Thanks Laurell!
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11 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2006
I enjoyed this book. Yes, there is more sex and more explicit sex than what is in books 1-5. Yes, there is no tangible crime in this story, no zombie raisings, no RPIT. There are no dead bodies, outside the vampires, of course.

What there is a great deal of is Anita dealing with probably the most sinister villain she's ever encountered .... the ardeur. It isn't something tangible she can battle with necromancy or a gun; it's a condition, almost a disease, and it must be fed. How she, and the men in her life, deal with this and try to gain some control over it is the main plot and idea of the entire book. The affliction of the ardeur has side-tracked everything else in Anita's life, and I found it an interesting metaphor for how things don't always go as we wish they would in our own lives.

Enter vampire politics, one of my favorite elements of the Anita Blake universe. Jean-Claude's power base is noticeable now and others want to become involved. The ardeur can come into play and be used to manipulate these interesting new relationships as well. Use the "villain" to ingratiate, ensnare, and use other Masters. Fascinating stuff.

The much-touted pregnancy scare side story is interesting and sometimes amusing in how each of the men react to the idea. It is also a big wake up call to Anita on the possible ramifications of feeding the ardeur multiple times daily, but Anita may ultimately find just how much of her humanity she is losing while exploring this "scare."

Yes, it's a different book from the previous ones, but worth a read if you enjoy reading about Anita, her world, her men, and how she is changing in response to new elements in her life.
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15 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2006
Yes its alittle repetitive but I enjoyed it quite a bit, if you've enjoyed the books up untill now you'll like this one too most likely. If you want to whine about to much sex again oh well at least it fits into the plot line.
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13 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2006
I don't care what the naysayers keep on about. I swear some people just keep reading the books so they can get in here and bitch about them. (and bitch they do, ad nauseam) I realize the series isn't the same as when it started. Personally, I wouldn't want it to be. I'm one of the ones who came in with 'Narcissus', when the books really took off in popularity. I read all the one's before, you really need the whole story, and I believe this series has developed in the direction it was meant to go. I remember feeling a kind of impatience with the first books, wondering when they where going to get to where they really needed to go. I think the series really started to get there with "Blue Moon". It goes further each time, it's not going back to the old stuff-- been there, done that. I really do want to know more and more about what's going on day to day, the personal day to day details, it can't just be about guns and killing all the time. This book gave me what I wanted and I liked it. Of course, I'll be back in line for the next one. The wait is long and hard.

This series really took off in popularity around the time of "Narcissus in Chains", there was a big change in style with that book. The naysayers simply aren't willing to acknowledge that LKH is simply giving the majority of her fans, and we are talking an extremely large and growing number, what they want. The continued growth in popularity proves she knows what she's doing.

Anita Blake's world just keeps getting more complicated and facinating. I wait impatiently for each new installment, read it too fast and then it's back to impatiently waiting for the next one. I love this series. This book was good, the story progressed. It was another great stone in a really amazing path. I can't wait to see where we are going.
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16 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Don't just judge this book by what people say, judge for yourself. I love this series. I can't wait for the next one. I agree with the previous viewer, if you are afraid of sex don't buy it. People that have reviewed here obviously have read her early books and new where things were going so they really shouldn't give a bad review. I loved this book as I have all her books. I love where things are going with all the characters though I wish Richard wouldn't wine so much, but hey LOL, he's a man....
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1 of 15 people found the following review helpful
yes die hard fan and most of then in hardback BUT a little less on sex scences and a hell of lot more action needed badly..... noboby but edwards is better at killing but anita is becoming wishie/washie, we love her cause she will be totally heartless to the bad guys or girls...what is/who is on her list is protected. And only god can care for people/monsters who piss her off..cause only he can talk to them.!!and yes laurell is setting up some good future scences with mother dearest.and yes still can't wait for next anita book in hard back-die hard-yes
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21 of 65 people found the following review helpful
In the last year I discovered the Anita Blake series and Laurell K. Hamilton. Fortunately, I read the series in its intended sequence so that I have watched Anita grow and progress as a character/person over time. What I've enjoyed the most about the series is that Anita is flawed, judgmental, opinionated, passionate, hyper-caring (to the point of having co-dependency issues, I think in many situations), funny, intelligent and young - esp. when we're 1st introduced to her; she's just in her early 20's. In sum, Laurell has created a very human character, one with whom I haven't always agreed with or liked - but I respect because she's tried to work through the events in her "life" as they've occurred, she's courageous and appears to learn along the way (even if at times begrudgingly or having to re-adjust to choices she's previously made); again all very human and real attributes. Indeed, it's these very qualities that kept me interested in reading her story because I never knew what to expect from her and I was interested in the world that Laurell was creating around her.

I should let you know, I am not a huge fan of Sci Fi or vampire tales in and of themselves. I am a fan of an interesting, well-told story and enjoy stories with romantic, and yes erotic themes. Thus, if you're looking for more traditional Sci Fi/vampire tales with more action, less romance and likely no sex then I'll tell you now Laurell's stories are probably NOT for you - maybe her 1st 2 books but after that - you'll see Anita developing as a sensual woman - and becoming more intricately involved in a world where sexuality is very much a dominant part of the world order. (If you wonder which ones have more sexual themes - read the reader reviews, I've always found them to be helpful.)

Thus, when people critique Laurell and say that (1) she's slipped into "vampire porn" or (2) lost a sense of her character's realism, story and development, I wonder if they've (1) read the series in sequence and (2) noted that Anita grows with each circumstance and book due to the events and circumstances she encounters. I appreciate Laurell's care in taking the time to flesh out the intricacies of Anita's personal life - because that's REALITY (how we deal with our relationships very much impacts our work, hobbies, choices, and other interpersonal relationships) and it's also consistent with her obvious desire to write a character dominant story (focusing on the lives & emotions of her central characters) rather than (as it seems some of her fans/critics would prefer) have a situation/event docminant story (that focuses more on theme and action with the character studies only included as they bolster the overarching events). Both styles are good and interesting to read - yet, it's important to understand and appreciate that Laurell has chosen her style (character dominant) - and seems committed to it.

Each book has had Anita adapt to her growing powers and relationships, and each book has steadily exposed her to worlds that are more sexual than the life she had been living up to that point (e.g., Jean Claude in Guilty Pleasures was certainly a sexual character and her writing of his affect on Anita held sexual tension - that was bound to grow and be explored the closer Anita grew to him). Laurell has a wonderful handle on providing the perfect balance of details to help flesh out our imagination as we read without being overwhelming whether she's describing the effect of the ardeur on Anita or her ability to work with the dead. She brings it all to life for me so vividly with Anita's point of view (POV) flavoring it all.

While a reader may not enjoy the life that Anita is leading, I think it's unfair to say that Laurell has gotten off-course in regarding the personality and story that she's been writing and developing with each book. It's clear Anita is growing up, gaining wisdom, and learning to choose the type of lifestyle that best suits her, and the work that she feels compelled to do in the world.

Regarding Danse Macabre, the current book is a closer look at what's happening to Anita and how's she's adjusting to her new powers as a succubus and the impact that has on her lifestyle and relationships. One reader critiqued that the sex in this book lacked the emotional tension, passion and build up of earlier sexual encounters and blamed that on Laurell's resting on her laurels and losing the original story's foundation. However, I think the sexual scenes were appropriate in their frequency and description because Anita is having to come to terms with having to "feed off of sexual energy" vs. "having sex as an outgrowth of love" and thus the encounters aren't going to have the same emotional content b/c they're not meant to. Also, it's clear that the very moral, judgmental and Catholic Anita is having to come to terms with all she's known and believed to date with each "new power". I like that Laurell addresses these issues in Anita because I believe Anita would take the time to worry and focus on them and thus the fact that the entire 400+ paged book is really only several days in the life of Anita works for me. Again, it's important to remember that Laurell is developing a character and is remaining true to that development thus her reactions to the sex and even how it happens and is experienced is in support of that expression.

This is why Laurell has become one of my favorite authors, she's not lazy and doesn't cheat. No matter what she describes or discusses she's consistent to her character's POV and doesn't shy away from the difficult themes or situations just so we'll "enjoy" her writing, story or characters more. That integrity in an author is laudable and rare these days - esp., in popular fiction.

For those of you who are new to her series, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND starting at the beginning of the series with Guilty Pleasures so you can follow Anita's development and the world that Laurell is creating. Danse Macabre is a good read as a stand alone, however, I doubt it will provide the full flavor, creativity and background that I think is needed to fully enjoy it as it is intended.

All in all, I think you can tell I am DEFINITELY A HUGE FAN of Laurell's writing and her series! As we're seeing many authors are trying their hand a other worldly tales in particular vampires, were-animals and the like. Some tales are humorous, some horrific, some romantic, others action packed. I enjoy the Anita Blake series mainly because she's a fabulous writer and storyteller - so she has all of the aforementioned elements with, unabashedly, a larger dose of romance and sex than the others. It is an incredibly fast-paced fun read! I can't wait for the next installment!
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