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812 of 864 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2004
I hate to slam an author's hard work (658 pages can't have come easy) but MAN did this book suck. I have been an Anita fan since Guilty Pleasures, but found I REALLY enjoyed the series when it took a darker turn, around Obsidian Butterfly. Cerulean Sins was great, because when Anita really started to feed the ardeur, at least she was doing it (literally) with characters I had come to know and like. The pairings were interesting and compelling, and I couldn't WAIT to see how the delicious menage a trois between Anita, Asher and Jean Claude would play out, how they would battle the big Bad Mother of All Darkness, and what that would mean in their relationship with Belle Morte. So many delicious threads left dangling, and twelve excruciating months to wait....then finally the wait was over! Incubus Dreams was at last here!

Cut to 658 pages and 200 typos later, and here I sit horrified and dumbfounded. What the holy (insert Anita's favorite expletive here) was this?? It was as if Cerulean Sins never existed! All those threads I mentioned? Still dangling. No room to address them when you've got 500 pages of talky porn to write!

Yes, before Anita and her lovers (some of them strangers introduced a mere half a page before Anita goes all ardeur on them) have sex, they TALK ABOUT IT for at least TWO CHAPTERS beforehand. Perhaps Anita must feed the "talkeur" before the "ardeur". Though the sex is pretty hot, you'll be amazed that the lovers haven't talked themselves into a coma first. Like all die-hard Anita fans, I was expecting another great read. Instead, here's what I got.

100 pages of unresolved mystery story,

200 pages of psychoanalytical musings (of the "Richard loves to hate himself more than he loves to love me!" variety).

150 pages of sex with people you could care less about.

150 pages of sex with people you DID care about but now can't stand anymore.

The character work is repetitive, with only one spark of interest--Nathaniel. His character arc is nice, and is the only reason I'm giving this book two stars instead of one.

Jean Claude? morphs into an emasculated Machiavelli.

Richard? a spineless repressed prude, no matter how many three-ways he's in.

Asher? Missing in action.

Jason? Harmless brother-figure.

Micah? still a well-endowed yes man.

Nathaniel? Surprisingly still interesting.

Damian? Quickly-forgotten sextoy.

Requiem and Byron? ("Who?" you ask?) Two unknowns who get more action than poor Asher.

Save your time, your expectations and your twenty bucks. Donate it instead to Proofreaders of America, or any organization that could help LKH find a decent editor. Sorry to vent, but man am I pissed at spending hard-cover money on this! >:(
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127 of 133 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2005
.....well, the sex scenes in this book were major snoozers that's for sure! Hamilton was never a great writer to begin with and I read her AB book series for entertainment value only. No more. This book is no longer bad in the good sense, it is just plain bad. Badly written. Badly executed. Boring, mechanical sex scenes. Pretty vampires and weres that sound so gay it ain't funny. And this is what you'll get from this offering in a nutshell:

* Sex with vampires and weres

* Anita gets some new powers brought on by (you've guessed it!) sex

* Some vampire or other is killing strippers, this is supposed to be the "plot", however, the "plot" lasts for about 30 pages in the 600-plus book.

* More useless sex scenes in which Anita has conversations with her boy toys while having sex

* Inner-conflicts before and during the sex scenes (why bother? just accept that you're a slut and get it over with!)

* Rain-making, back-breaking orgasms

* Pretty boys with long hair "spilling" all over the place

* Conclusion to the vampire stripper killer "plot". A bad conclusion at that.

And there you have it. A waste of time, money and energy for a reader. SOMETHING mind-altering in a very bad way. Either Hamilton was under the influence of something while she wrote this or she didn't bother to create something that was at the very least plausible. Even for her who is not a good writer to begin with, she's obviously waaaay out of it.

What's worse, I have the sneaking suspicion that these non-plot stories are going to monopolize the series from hereon in. I read the sample chapters of her next AB novel on her website and I have already decided that I'm off Anita Blake for good. Danse Macabre will be an outstanding novel for Jerry Springer/Maury Povich fans but not for the rest of us who prefer something a little less trashy and vulgar. It is laughable when Hamilton describes her latest efforts as erotica. Erotica?? Emma Holly, MS Valentine, Lucinda Carrington..... they write erotica!! Hamilton writes cheap porn that not even Penthouse readers would be turned on by it. My advice? Don't waste your money on this garbage. If you must read it, do what I did and make a trip to the library. But whatever you do, do not spend your hard-earned money on this tragedy of a book. And if you already bought it and are regretting it, don't buy the next one. The three sample chapters were simply something horrendous that not even Danielle Steele could outdo in trashiness, and I don't think it'll get better!! Remember: say NO to crap!!
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167 of 177 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2005
Incubus Dreams represents a turning point, at least in this readers mind. I'm done with the series! A once interesting series has devolved into a chaotic mess where the author doesn't even bother trying to write a coherent plot or storyline any more.

What's touted as character growth reads more like character assignation. Anita Blake and the huge supporting cast of characters have been transformed into two-dimensional cardboard cutouts loosing all of their original uniqueness and appeal in the process.

And lastly, if the author chooses to write nothing but erotica that's fine, but market it as such and quit hiding behind the mystery and suspense elements dangled as bait in the dusk jacket.

This one time fan is done and moving on.
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84 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2005
As I find myself unable to express my disillusionment, disappointment and disgust at this thinly-plotted and badly-conceived book, I have done it instead in the style of a man more eloquent than I:

Once upon an April raining, in great need of entertaining,

The postman left me a sweet gift; a package from an online store

Which I opened, gently beaming; yearning for incubus dreaming,

But when finished I was screaming, screaming from the porn galore

"'Tis some piece of junk," I ranted, "Pointless sex shoved down my craw -

Only this and nothing more."

All that long hard day I pondered; am I mistaken, I wondered?

Did I miss the author's message, buried midst the heart of ardeur.

Staunchly I reread the writing; still I found it unexciting

Filler phrases, blood and biting; Anita's screams of `f*** me harder'

Rainmakers and domination, was there truly nothing more?

And where was the editor?

As typos mounted by the hour, with Anita's swelling power

I went searching for an answer, whence I entered Laurell's board;

Baffled by the author's reason - was it werecat mating season?

Heedless that my words were treason, I stepped among the raging horde

Others like me asked for answers; but their logic was abhorred

"Authors are to be adored"

Presently my wrath grew greater; with dissenters labelled traitor

By the author in a tantrum, I vowed to buy her books no more

There was no skill in grunting, groaning , sob stories and endless moaning,

Thickly spread character cloning, nor was there need to ignore

The pleas for editing and thought; the back story of books before.

Laziness and nothing more.

Troubled by the cold disdain flung at those who dared complain

Doubting, I could not remain to watch the praising of this hack;

Whose characters were nothing more than puppets of her leading whore;

To deify and to adore; these books were nothing but a lack

Of plot and wit, of character - an endless dreary porn attack

If I could take my folly back!

With my stomach slowly churning at the thought of deep throat learning,

And my mental eyes a-burning I hurled that mess upon the floor

"I shall no more my money waste on this bastion of bad taste!"

If only it could be replaced by plotlines and my dear amour

Edward, with a tribe of wererats, turning Micah to red gore

A happy ending...evermore.
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78 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2005
Hi, my name is Miss Amii, and I am a masochist. I keep reading Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake series even though the last five installments aren't worth reading. I read Guilty Pleasures in one day. Contrast that to the THREE YEARS it took me get passed Narcissus in Chains, and after getting to the halfway point of Incubus Dreams, I can guarantee that this book will never be finished.

People have pretty much said almost everything there is too say about this novel: no plot, ridiculous levels of pointless, skanky sex, awful characters, even more powers for the already God-like Anita... But as I closed the cover on my last book by this author ever ('cuz quite frankly, I don't care if she has a comeback later. Her treatment of this series and her fans is just too appalling.) it finally hit me why the Anita Blake series has failed. All the pointless sex is just a cover for the fact that this series has failed to evolve!

I mean in the beginning Anita was a smug, self-righteous, emotionally immature, violent and abrasive woman, but we forgave her flaws because she fought the good fight. Now just about every flaw she has been multiplied by 10, she's a hypocrite and uses people ruthlessly on top of everything else, and she only fights the good fight if she isn't busy getting every opening on her body plugged with supernatural male-private-parts.

As much as everyone giving this mess five stars crows that Anita has evolved out of her "formula" of solving the supernatural mystery she's presented with, certainly when everything Anita does is ultimately just an excuse for that stupid arduer to rear its ugly head and get Anita involved in yet another sex sandwich the novels have fallen into just a different formula. And speaking of this pattern of action, arduer, orgy, traces of the old Anita Blake series is there. It's just it seems like just when something of significance is about to happen, the action stalls in its tracks so Anita can be serviced by one of her worshipful harem members. So far, Anita has gone to a crime scene, had a meeting with clients at her workplace, and had a fight with a vampire at a night club. The ideas are there, but oops! her comes the arduer, and everyone gets sidetracked by Anita's wonderful gushing fingernail ripping orgasm, and the plot threads are never heard from again.

Seriously, this series is just going around in circles. The issues and themes this series has explored since the beginning have never been answered or resolved. "Who are the monsters?" "Am I a monster?" "Can I still be a good girl when I sleep with monsters?" "What is love?" Blah, blah, as someone described this endless psychoanalysis as the "therapy chair" these issues had been run into the ground because frankly Anita is not good at making decisions and sticking with them. I mean, what is this, the third time Anita Blake and her off again on again boyfriend Richard have gotten back together? Relationships are never resolved because ultimately Anita shoves her guys into the nice little cubbyhole where she wants them, the status quo is maintained, and the author tries to fool us into thinking otherwise by shoving major plot points aside and replacing it with something else. How else can you explain the absolute laziness of placing the triumvirate of Anita-Jean Claude-Richard on the backburner to explore a ridiculous and poorly thought-out triumvirate of Anita and throbbing twitching erections #13 and # 24.... I mean Nathaniel and Damien other than being a reason to have Anita have yet another threeway with even more underdeveloped guys.

The same bait and switch tactics I mentioned above also apply to Micah, the most wussy and useless were-animal leader ever who is Anita's empty "soul-mate". I mean what has he contributed to this series besides being a perfect lap dog (or cat) for Anita and having certain parts that would make a bull envious?

This is getting kind of long and I could probably write a book the size of Incubus Dreams to explain just how much of a burning wreck this series has become, so I'll just briefly touch on some of the other stuff that made me laugh or snort:

1) Men who cry when Anita Blake denies them access to her something that rhymes with "Carolina".

2) Not only is it the best "Carolina" in the world, it has magical powers that can make you look like Brad Pitt

3) How ironic it is that while Anita Blake bristles under the male, patriarchal establishment or the MAN, she is the biggest misogynist in this series. She can barely behave civilly around other women.

4) Anita has sex on the floor with Damien while a couple of her harem members look on. I kept hoping they'd hold up scorecards. And the description of the "mess" on the floor made me feel queasy.

5) Hamilton has a style for writing sex that I'd normally appreciate as she doesn't use vulgarity or purple euphemisms, but she has a talent for making the sex as painful as possible.
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108 of 116 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2005
Thanks to all the reviews on Incubus Dreams that have informed me that because readers don't like the sex in this book, we're obviously prudes. That is so true! I had no idea, but now these helpful comments have made it clear to me that I am, in fact, freakishly conservative, hideously prudish, frigid, let's face it--I can't handle anything other than strictly vanilla missionary-style sex in my books between married people. Thank you for showing me the light!!!!

The sex in ID wasn't horribly written and mechanical--I'm just a big ole prude!

The sex in ID wasn't boring and repetitive--I'm just a silly ole prude!

The sex in ID wasn't gross and meaningless--I'm just a mean ole prude!

Snail trails are SEXY!

Rainmaker comments are SEXY!

Pleasuring a guy without throwing up is SEXY!

Not showering between sex-a-thons is SEXY!

Having sex with strangers in strip clubs and on the job is SEXY!

Ripping off all your fingernails while having sex with someone is SEXY!

**************************

It's not the sex in the book that makes Incubus Dreams so awful. If Anita Blake, the protagonist, was even remotely likeable, was even remotely a reasonable character and not an obvious Mary Sue, then maybe the sex scenes wouldn't have been so offensive.

Unfortunately, Anita Blake really is unlikable, really is unreasonable and an obvious Mary Sue. She whines all the time. She complains about everything. She's a hypocrite. She blames others for her unhappiness. Why care about a person like this?

Other problems with Incubus Dreams:

1) No editing. Berkley ought to be ashamed of itself. This is supposed to be a professional product written by a professional writer and published by a professional house. It looks like something someone posted to the internet during their lunch break. Not good.

2) The characterization is atrocious. What happened to these people? Richard is a boot-licking, cringing apologist. Jean-Claude is weak and boring, and has some of the most embarrassing lines in the book. Jason is now a turncoat. Ronnie is now a jealous creep. Nathaniel... Lord only knows what Nathaniel is. And Micah continues to unimpress.

3) The sob stories! Listen to character after character reveal their terrible, terrible traumas to Anita Blake. Everyone has been abused! Sexually, emotionally, physically, it's all there. And the reader gets to slog through pages and pages of sob-stories, all of which (save one) are transparent manipulations to get the reader to sniffle into her Kleenex and pity the poor characters. Blah.

4) Talk, talk, talkity talk. People in the Anitaverse don't speak to each other like people in real life do. I'm not sure what this is, but it's not dialogue. It's more like page filler with quotations attached. Apparently, everyone in Incubus Dreams is an idiot, judging from the way they talk. And apparently everyone has to have long, tedious, dull discussions about having sex with each other BEFORE having sex with each other, WHILE having sex with each other, and AFTER having sex with each other. It's exhausting to read. Ugh.

5) Plot? Murder? No way! In Incubus Dreams, female strippers are being killed by wicked vampires, but Anita Blake is more upset over who she's going to have to have sex with than that people are dying in Saint Louis. Awful. Anita needs to get her priorities straight.

6) Sanctimonious nonsense. Oooh, look at the big bad stupid white male cops! Ooh, they're so sexist and racist! Oooh, look at the homophobic jerk! Oooh, he's so evil! Now, you know a book is truly bad when virtues like tolerance and diversity are annoying. Racism is horrible, sexism is horrible, homophobia is horrible--and yet, the way Incubus Dreams is written, these messages of love and tolerance are made cheap and trite, which is a true shame. Anita Blake doesn't sound like a good person, she sounds preachy, and even worse, phony. Horrible.

7) Oh wow. Everyone loves Anita. And if a character doesn't love Anita, they're either a bad, bad, stupid person or they're inconsequential. You know you've entered the land of Mary Sue when all of the characters love the protagonist and tell her over and over again how beautiful and desirable and wonderful and strong she is, and the few characters who don't like her or actively dislike her are turned into psychos and idiots. Very, very obvious. It's so obvious it's insulting. Yuck.

8) Anita Blake is all-powerful! She's like all of the X-Men rolled into one narcissistic jerk. She can't be defeated, and the book is filled with random plot devices that grant Anita even more pointless powers than before. Soon Anita will be able to shoot laser beams out of her eyes and dodge bullets. She'll be like Neo from the Matrix, only whinier. Can't wait.

*****************

If you like reading books because there is sex in them, then fine. This book might be cool. And people who have read this book and enjoyed it for the sex scenes are cool--that's good. There's nothing wrong with liking ID because it has sex in it.

However, there are many reasons why a book is good and why a book is bad, and there are many reasons for a person to like a book and for a person to dislike a book. There are also many different levels that a book can be read on. If you read Incubus Dreams on one level, the level that does not scrutinize the characters and just wants the sex scenes, then Incubus Dreams does its job. However, if you read a book on another (not necessarily better) level, the level that DOES examine the characters, the writing, and the purpose of the book, then Incubus Dreams fails at its job.

Incubus Dreams is not a "sex book." It is a novel. Judged by the criteria that make up a successful novel, this book fails on every account. It is, simply, a bad novel. A good sex book? Maybe. A good novel? No.

To those who haven't read Incubus Dreams yet, I strongly urge you not to read it. If you must read it, don't buy it. Borrow it. Then, if you like it enough to want to own a copy, by all means, buy one. Too many people are too angry with this book for too many reasons, though, for anyone to buy the book without having tried it first.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2005
I am truly saddened that my favorite author has written such a piece of garbage. This book was horrible. I had to get past half of the book, (which was mostly sex scenes), to actually find the plot of the story. This book could have been at least half the size and been much better. There was a love scene that lasted about 3 chapters.

Since I love Anita I finished reading the book. However, you may be able to skip the book and not miss anything important from Anita series. My recommendation... Borrow the book from someone so that you don't feel so bad when you read it and realize that you wasted your money and time.
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513 of 572 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 29, 2004
Unless you are interested in buying a book of erotica, DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS BOOK! Borrow your library's copy instead.

As was mentioned in an earlier review, the majority of the pages in this book have been used to impose what appears to be the author's sexual fantasies upon the character of Anita Blake, under the guise of the ardeur and of having the character "grow". This book is just basic pandering to the segment of the audience that just cares about "hot sex scenes" to the exclusion of any consideration of plot or character continuity. LKH apparently has taken the phrase "sex sells" to heart with a vengeance. The sexual activity is so frequent, and in such a short time frame that one wonders how Anita is even able to walk. LKH has finally managed to remove all sexual tension from a series where that was one of the highlights, by the sheer overuse of sex. It's almost as if she was working from a check list: "Now let's see who hasn't Anita done, and in what position hasn't she done it?". Bah!

If you are looking for the combination horror-mystery-romance, action/adventure book that was typical of the pre-"Narcissus In Chains" books of this series, you're going to be sadly disappointed. Up until page 385, there's only 10 - count 'em 10 - pages devoted to the crime that is highlighted on the book jacket blurb. The rest of the pages are devoted to Anita agonizing about her various relationships and having intercourse or near-intercourse with five (or was it seven - I'm already losing track of them) different characters. And, let's not forget the metaphysical rolling beasts - what would an Anita Blake book now be without them? Forget that the whole concept still doesn't make any sense. With the exception of the ardeur, none of the plot threads left hanging at the end of Cerulean Sins have been picked up. The Mother of Darkness is non-existent, the vampire children are nowhere to be found, Belle Morte has apparently lost interest in Anita, etc.

This book is extremely poorly edited. The pacing is very uneven. Continuity errors about, the spelling errors have become laughable, and basic writing errors are present throughout. I don't know who's at fault for all that - but there's enough blame to spread around. This is supposed to be a professional product, but it doesn't even seem as though a spell checker was used on it. LKH's favorite words and phrases are used ad nauseam, for example "spill", "meat", "pulse like a piece of candy on my tongue", and her latest "taking one for the team" (which was funny when used for the first time in CS, but did it have to be repeated at least three times in this book?).

I'm not even going to go into what was done with the various characters, otherwise I'll wind up writing an epic. Richard is still emotionally off the charts, Jean-Claude is still batting clean-up, and Micah's sainthood continues to grow. Suffice it to say, that though lip service is paid to character growth, what really occurs is further character disintegration. Anita seems to be becoming LKH's avatar more and more, parroting the statements that have been showing up in the author's recent blogs. It's a very sad day when an established character, one that readers have seen evolve in a logical manner over the course of numerous books suddenly turns into something completely unrecognizable, and actually something dislikable.

Will I buy the next book? Probably, because after all, I am hooked on the series. Am I looking forward to it? No. Do I expect less sex and more plot in it? No.

And that's sad.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2006
Most of the reviewers here seem to be longstanding Laurell K. Hamilton fans. You might find my review a fresh perspective, since this is the only one of her books that I've read. I picked it up on a whim at a supermarket, thinking that, hey, something with 700+ pages ought to keep me entertained for a while. It did... but... not in the way the author intended.

I've got enough odd friends not to be shocked by the polygamy, furries, BDSM, occultism, strip clubs, and so on. I'm not offended by any of it; though, I must warn the average reader, it's definitely not mainstream content. Still, even with my open-mindedness... a vampire federal marshal necromancer who everyone in the book wants to sleep with? Did Ms. Hamilton write cheesy online fan fics before this, or something? Anita seemed to aquire a couple of new titles as the book went along, but I would have preferred some *inner* character development.

That was the MOST annoying thing for me. Anita -- the main freaking character! -- is completely passive (angsty waiting) rather than active (initiating, planning). She never decides; she lets others decide for her. She just kept getting pushed from scene to scene, from emergency to emergency. Saying, "Hey, let's rent a movie!" would have been beyond her capabilities in this book.

In the OTHER books, this may not have been the case at all. But it was in this one.

If you can't see what I'm talking about, prior readers, then please open up the book and pick any scene to see what started it. For example:
- every sex scene is caused by ardeur, or a metaphysical emergency, or Anita's partners being pushy.
- every time Anita gets angry, it's only because someone else is angry first.
- every time there's a fight scene, someone else starts it, and Anita spends most of her time in defense.
- Anita goes to work, not because she has any ambitions in that direction, but because, apparently, she has to. (I was weirded out with how she never seemed to have planned going to work... "Oh yeah, there's people waiting for me.")
- several times in the book, Anita is practically paralyzed, and other characters have to take care of her: like hugging her to them to dance, or sitting her in their laps to heat her up, setting down her coffee before she spills it, and trading seats in the car so she won't pass out and get them all in a wreck.
- Anita asks for help every single time there's a problem, and waits for them to solve it for her. ("Um, Jean-Claude??? It's me again!")

How in the world do you write a whole book about a character with no motivation? How can every single male in the story be in love with this worthless woman, for christssake?! (Sounds like wishful thinking on the part of the author, to me.)

I did read through to the end of the book. Not because it was good, but mainly to see if Anita would ever DO something... to see if she would ever even notice that she had a life, and take charge of it. Well... no.

The sex? Hey, I like erotica as much as any other red-blooded woman, but there's a limit. I started praying, PRAYING that after each chapter break, I could read, "The next morning..." but no. For some reason, the author thinks I should hear which fluids go where, every single time. I started skipping the sex scenes at around page 250.

I wouldn't even keep this book around for erotic purposes. It's not just sex, it's droning dialogue sex. I couldn't BELIEVE it when I ended up having to skip 100 PAGES in the scene involving Richard and Jean-Claude. At that point, I actually threw the book across the room. Crap, lady, get to the STORY already!

Interested in the plot? Read till you get to Damian, let's see, about page 100, so you can find out what happens with him. The rest of it starts on Chapter 61, page 567. I'm not kidding.

All in all, though, this book was wonderfully motivating, in a reverse psychology sort of way. I want to have wishes and goals, and actually DECIDE on things; I want to avoid stupid, pointless melodrama in my life; and most of all, I want to drop everything and write a better book than this, just to show how it *should* be done. I'll keep this around, for when I get to that day. =)
--Ms. T.
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2005
Thank goodness I did not spend money on this junk!! I borrowed it form a sucker who did in fact spend $25 for the hardcover and then regretted it deeply (sorry Diane!!). This is just plain horrible. Why is it that writers go downhill after writing for years? Why do they write long pages that do nothing but repeat words and phrases all thru the book? Why do they lose their imagination?? Wouldn't it be better if they just retired gracefully or took some time off to see if they can regain their old writing glory? Again, this is the worst AB book yet! The reviewer below this one has got to be either the author or someone who works for her promoting her future work in order to ensure that her books don't sink lower in the bestseller list faster than you can say hasbeen. Namedropping the titles of the upcoming AB novels gave it away. Gee, how inconspicuous! I ain't reading no more of this nonsense and it appears that I won't be the only one. If I want a good, dark and erotic vampire story I will reread the Anne Rice books. Good riddance Laurell!
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