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538 of 576 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2011
Alright, to be fair I am a die-hard Anita Blake Fan. I LOVE all of LKH's work from Death of a Darklord, Anita Blake, and Merry Gentry. I have all her books and I reread the series at least once or twice a year. Now... I know a lot of fans have turned rabid and deeply despise the route the author has taken for Anita and the real issues from fan come sometime between Narcissus in Chains and Incubus Dreams. I've defended the characters, the author, and the series since those book were released and the 'drama' began.

I can't even argue with some of the points (such as the prevailing and all-consuming sex and harem, the every book new power gambit, the poor-me attitude, and the general lack of direction in plot). That being said I still love the characters and am usually (if not happy) content with the books. Something surprised me (in a happy way) Or I got learn a little more about the characters, or see something develop for Anita. something I was pleased about. I usually feel at least something was accomplished. Something that made a whole years wait and the purchase of the book worth it....

Not so for Hit List. I was horrified. After twenty books THIS is the best we get? YEARS of devotion as a fan and faithful purchase of the books, and we get this drivel? I respect that some liked the book. I can't imagine why, but I respect that opinion. As such I feel it is my right to say I didn't. I was sooo upset with this book I wish I hadn't bought it, and I can honestly say that I have never felt that way about one of LKH's books before.

Will I stop buying and reading her book because of this? Of course not. I still love the characters, but when I reread the series next time I may just skip Hit List all together. I wish I had enjoyed this book, I was really looking forward to it. A year worth of waiting... wasted for a book that just made me want to cry. Without giving too much away it was anti-climatic at best and not worth the pages it was written on at worst. I mean what happened to setting up a Vampire Council in the United States? WHERE are her main sweeties?

One review mocking said this was an Obsidian Butterfly-like book. Well the mocking was well deserved. We might have seen a new City (even though we saw new cities in Micha, Blood Noir, AND Skin Trade), but we saw none of the investigation that we saw in either Skin Trade or Obsidian Butterfly. It was more "OH yeah we checked out a crime scene, but there were no clues that we could use. oh yeah the body was torn into a bunch of piece, cant throw up on the body wouldn't be able to live it down. all the guys pick on me cause i'm the only girl, or they want to have sex with me, or i'm better at my job. and looking at the body and blood makes me wanna run away screaming..." blah blah blah

Okay *sighs* rant done. A whole new year to wait. Great.
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494 of 534 people found the following review helpful
*Apologies to mm and her excellent review of Bullet*

It's official now- this series is dead in the water, not even a hint of inertia. Hamilton has crushed what little impetus the storyline had left.

This is another book about nothing: lots of talking, whining, snarling, blank looks, Anita's-is-bigger-than-your's-contests with cops, etc. Toss in a couple of semi-decent but somewhat hard-to-follow action sequences and some sub-plots to nowhere, and you get Bullet with less sex and a smaller cast. I spent the whole time reading this waiting for something significant to happen, something to raise the stakes, and never got it.

Since Hamilton hasn't supplied a real plot summary yet here's one for you: The Harlequin, a cadre of vampiric enforcers under the control of the Mother of All Darkness, commit seemingly random brutal murders of were-creatures across the country in an attempt to lure Anita away from the security of her home city of St. Louis so that their mistress can metaphysically inhabit her body. Realizing it's all a trap, Anita and Edward must find a way to stop the Harlequin before they can both kill again and capture Anita.

This entire book can be described in one word: filler. From the unedited first chapter which is nothing more than an 'As You Know, Bob' infodump to the dripping-wet rag of a finale, you're treated to endless amounts of pouting, emo-sessions and rehashing of old news. Hamilton blogged recently that her agent told her that Hit List would make a great starting point for someone who'd never read the series... not a good sign this far along since it means there's a lot of old info being recycled. You'd never think that hunting down the baddest set of killers on the planet could be so damn boring. Several sequences seem like they were lifted from Bullet and transposed onto different characters- check the scene discussing Olaf's proclivities and tell me it isn't exactly the same as the one regarding Valentina.

On the other hand there are instances where Hamilton may be realizing enough's enough. She claims she doesn't read any criticisms but this book belies that statement. Longstanding reader concerns like the lack of oversight for the vampire hunters, questions about Anita's family (whom we've never seen in twenty books!), law enforcement agencies mistrusting Anita for her relationships with paranormals, even the idea of feeding the Ardeur with food instead of sex- all get some attention but then are quickly hand-waved away. Ex: Anita explains over some drive-thru that food won't be enough to sate the Ardeur anymore, it's gotta be sex. This might've made more sense if she'd said it while chowing down on Surf-n-Turf instead of fries. Guess Hamilton got tired of always saying how food could control the urges while never having Anita eat anything, but that's out the window now.

But even that's not the worst of it. Many fans have expressed sentiments about either Edward or Olaf- or both- hooking up with Anita. All I'll say to that is Hit List has those roads laid out and paved with stone, particularly for Olaf. Edward's route is more indirect but appears just as inevitable.

But wait- there's more! The ending is so flat, so uninspired, so deflating and anti-climactic the loyalties of even the most diehard will be tested. In the promotional interview Hamilton admits she wrote herself into a corner with MoAD- not only a damning statement but confirms what's long been suspected about the series. There's no endgame, no objective, no overall story arc in mind for Anita- it's all a bunch of 'whatever, whenever'. MoAD is the biggest Big Bad of the series, the driving force behind the last few books and... well, if you've read the Merry Gentry series and thought what happened to Cel was lame, you're really not gonna be happy about this one.

Hit List is another meandering mess of sub-plots strung together and padded out into a novel. It's just more self-indulgent nonsense, and there's no place for the series to go now but off a cliff, and Hamilton seems determined to push it over the edge. Please... don't be a lemming and follow.
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344 of 372 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2011
I feel incredibly let down, despite being a loyal fan. Like so many of you, I have read every book Hamilton has published through the years. Yes---Lots of people love to hate on LKH, but she still sells plenty of books. Obviously some books were much better than others, but I've never written anything, so I'm ok with that. I even usually liked her plots, and when the sex got a little gross....well, I could skip a few pages and find a little more plot, or just something that made me laugh. I like many of the supporting characters, especially because Anita's relationships tend to be rather messy, just as in real life. I'm not a prude...I can even have fun with the whole shifter sex harem idea. I like Anita tough and I like her when she's a little angsty....we all have those days!

All that aside, I think I'm really done with the entire series this time.....

As previously noted, Hamilton has drastically dialed back the number of pages she devotes to sex. Not a bad thing IMO, since I can buy porn elsewhere. The final staw for me is the way this whole mess ended....with a resounding thud.

--The one sex scene in the book seemed entirely pointless to this plot.
--Who can keep up with the 15 shades of tiger rainbow? Do they do anything for the story, besides take up page space? These faceless, formless characters are all that remains.
--The great murder mystery I had been looking forward to wasn't much of one at all.
--We hardly got even a mention of her core supporting characters. --The great Mother of Darkness was defeated in about 3 pages... No great fight, no terrible casualties or life altering struggle....just a bit of metaphysical hand holding and she's gone.

What a waste.... Yeah, I'm done.
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98 of 107 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2011
I can't do it. I can't do another straight-up review of an Anita Blake novel . . . it's too depressing. I need alcohol to get through this, the 20th instalment of a once-great series.

Let the alcohol poisoning begin!

*** Drink When . . . you read this common phrase / description; ***

* Someone's hair is `spilled around their shoulders' - 1 drink

* Someone's hair isn't just black, it's blue-black - 1 drink

* Somebody asks the conveniently open-ended question: `what do you mean?' thereby prompting Anita to spout a long diatribe, explaining everything that's happening and happened in the plot up to this point, including everyone's private motivations - 1 drink

* Anita says: naked puppy piles OR naked kitty piles - 2 drinks

* Anita says that someone has `kitty-cat eyes' - 1 drink

* Anita describes Jean-Claude as being femininely beautiful, yet still utterly masculine and male - 1 drink

*** Drink When . . . during one of the (many) sex scenes ***

* Someone says; "so tight" or "so wet" or "so warm" while they have sex with Anita - 1 drink per term or CHUG! if someone says all three at the same time.

* Someone is so big that Anita straddles the line between pleasure and pain - 1 drink

* Anita says, "I screamed my orgasm into his mouth" - CHUG!

* Anita calls all genitalia `bits', because deep-down she's still a country-girl prude, aw shucks! - 1 drink

* Anita orders someone to "just shove it in!" - 1 drink

*** Drink when Anita . . . ***

* Anita calls the cachet of men in her life her `sweeties' - 1 drink

* Someone comments on Anita's stunning good looks, and Anita deflects by claiming such praise is `girly mind games' or she is paltry compared to the handsome men in her life - 1 drink

* Anita meets an attractive and powerful woman, who is dead by the end of the book- 1 drink

* A white middle-aged cop infers that Anita is a wimp/slut, and Anita takes the negativity in stride, claiming it's a `guy thing' - 1 drink

* Anita is reluctant to have sex with a stranger because, deep down, she is still a country-girl prude . . . but she soldiers on and has sex anyway (*ahem*, to feed the ardeur) - 1 drink

* Anita blushes (usually in the prelude to sex) and a man is utterly charmed by her naiveté and ability to still be embarrassed, aw shucks! - 1 drink

* A guy compliments Anita on her large breasts (to which she all but replies, "what? These old things? Aw, shucks!") - 1 drink

* Anita tries (unsuccessfully) to justify sleeping with a sixteen-year-old boy (nope . . . still fantastically creepy and inappropriate) - 2 shots

* Anita is accused of becoming `one of the monsters' she was sworn to kill - CHUG!

* Somebody (often female) challenges Anita's status as tiger queen or Nimir Ra, and claims that Anita cannot take an animal to call . . . resulting in an orgy - CHUG!

* Anita adds a new `sweetie' to her harem (reluctantly, of course) - CHUG!

* Anita has sex with a gorgeous stranger because the ardeur needs to feed and said guy is somehow down-trodden/outcast/misunderstood etc, but he appreciates Anita's blatant arousal of him (she likes me, she really likes me!) - CHUG!

* Anita gets a new scar that she doesn't care about because she has so many already and they're proof that she survived something nasty, plus she's not a girly-girl to care about how pretty she is - 1 drink, or CHUG! if Anita recounts the story of how she got the holy-cross scar on her arm to some poor, unsuspecting paramedic who just asked her if she wanted an Aspirin?

*** Drink when Edward . . . ***

* Anita calls Edward `good ol' boy Ted', and mentions that he wears a cowboy hat - 1 drink

* Edward wonders who would win in a fight-to-the-death between him and Anita, but doesn't live out his fantasy because they're friends - 1 drink

* Discussions about how Peter wants to be a stone-cold-killer, just like his step-daddy - 1 drink

* Edward mentions that he has modified his weapons - 1 drink

*** Drink when Bernado . . . ***

* Bernado or Anita mention that Bernado has a big 'bit' - 1 drink, 2 drinks if either of them use the phrase `hung like a horse' (because his name is Bernado Spotted Horse. Get it?)

*** Drink when Olaf . . . ***

* Olaf does something utterly creepy, forcing Anita and Edward to threaten to kill him if he steps out of line . . . without ever actually pulling the trigger - 1 drink

* Anita muses to herself that one day Olaf will go too far and either she or Edward will have to kill him - 1 drink

*** Drink when, as a reader you . . . ***

* Don't have a clue who half of Anita's sexual `sweeties' are. Domino? Nicky? Bobby who? When did Anita have sex with a married guy? Huh? - 1 drink per man you can't remember reading about in previous books, but who is now a part of Anita's harem

* You grind your teeth and keep muttering `where are Jean-Claude/Nathaniel/ Asher/Jason/Micah/Richard?' - 1 drink

* You don't understand why Anita claims to miss all her sweeites so much, but doesn't even take five minutes to make a phone call home and say `hey!' - 1 drink

* You had such high-hopes for the Marmee Noir storyline, thinking that she could be the big-bad evil to turn the series around . . . only to have all your expectations dashed in one hurried and anti-climactic finale that basically ends in `happily-ever-after' - CHUG!

* You sigh and wonder whatever happened to vintage Anita Blake. The non-slutty Amazonian of yesteryear - 1 drink
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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2011
I was on a panel with Barry Malzberg a couple of years ago when he stated that the effective life of most writers is about 15 years. This startled me. I mentioned Shakespeare and Joyce and Nabokov. He countered with Mailer and Bellow and quite a few others and in the end, I had to admit that he was correct. Laurell K. Hamilton's first published novel came out in 1992 and she has clearly hit the wall. I recently took a look at her blog, wherein she states that she needs to take a break. She's been writing too much and her muse has taken a vacation (or something to that effect). She's right, but is she still capable of telling good writing from bad?

One of the comments on Amazon stated that Laurell K. Hamilton has a no-editing-for-content contract. This is usually the kiss of death, frankly. When a writer gets so big that she is able to reject editing, her work is more than likely to become a bloated mess. Thomas Wolff, Anne Rice...the tight plotting becomes overblown and full of irrelevant side trips. The crisp dialogue becomes pointless and flaccid. The books grow too big, filled with every windy sentiment that the author can think of, and then they grow too small, when the author has nothing left to say. Laurell K. Hamilton has been increasingly self indulgent for a number of years now, but in this book, she is clearly just going through the motions.

Here, Anita and Edward have joined a hunt for a group of shifters and vampires who are murdering Red Tiger shifters. Anita knows that the culprits are the Harlequin, working at the behest of the Mother of All Darkness, Queen of the Vampires, who is still trying to steal Anita's body and reanimate herself. What follows is a bunch of cliches. We have the obligatory cop who hates and distrusts Anita, which would not be so bad if the reader were not subjected to page after page of this pointless baloney. We have endless descriptions of the men in Anita's life, with particular attention to their hair color and styling. There's a lot of talking about sex, though little actual sex, and the action, while adequate, takes up far too little of this already thin volume.

There's always hope, I suppose, but I'm beginning to doubt that Laurell K. Hamilton is ever going to wise up and return to writing good books until she reaches the point where her writing ceases to sell. I hope it's soon, but I'm not holding my breath.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2011
This book is just bad...bad bad bad..there were a few moments in which I thought it could turn the corner, that the seed of a cool idea would grown into something worth reading, but as with the last half of this series it never happens..

Someone's been killing un pure were tigers in the pacific northwest. As it happens it's the Harlequin and it's Anita and Edward in their capacity as US Marshals and vampire executioners to help out the locals in eliminating the threat.

Sounds like a good plot, right? The Harlequin, an elite vampire force of spies and assassins that have been able to perfect their trade over centuries were always a good IDEA but have never seen their true potential make it to the written page. That and the fact that the plot really has very little to do with this book make it just plain bad.

Why does the plot not make itself the center point of this novel? Because it's your standard post-Obsydian Butterfly Anita Blake novel. This is what makes it so:

We have the usual local law enforcement/marshal that knows of Anita's reputation as the best vampire hunter in the land but refuses to believe it because a) she's petite and b) she's a sex toy to the undead and the furry. As a result there is page upon page upon PAGE of talking head scenes that have Anita defending her sex life to them, them not listening to her expertise because of her sex life, people getting hurt because they won't listen to her expertise BECAUSE OF HER SEX LIFE.

We have page upon page upon page of new characters being introduced only to have long drawn out descriptions of what they're wearing and how they wear their hair.

We have page upon page upon page of infuriating dialogue. Why is it infuriating? Because apparently in the Anita Blake universe every character is either hard of hearing or they're all dense with abominable communication skills. Anita can never say anything without someone saying 'I don't understand...what do you mean? You really would do that?' only to have her explain herself more in depth which leads to more questions. Even Edward and that crew run into these issues and I've found Edward just isn't as cool in a dangerous, cold and calculating killer way as he used to be.

Thankfully we're only given one sex scene. This is of course with a new character and this is of course filled with the usual pre sex conversation. At this point I'm just waiting for Anita to print out a form for new 'emergency sex' partners. Line one: You realize I could make you my bride. Line two: you realize I think you and your equipment are beautiful. Line three: What do you like to do in the sack? If she would just hand out these ditto sheets to her new 'food' that she's never met before many pages could be better used towards the practically non existing plot.

In the end the final confrontation gets wrapped up in about two pages and considering who the main villain is, calling it anti climactic is a gross understatement. Oh yeah, the book closes out with her lamenting about having to juggle sex with so many men but not being able to 'date' them all. You know, because Anita's just so sweet and swell and great in the sack, they all want her and only her.

This series jumped the shark a long long time ago and it's obvious that it's not going to get put to rights...ever.
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2011
At this point you could cut and paste her last six books and wind up with hit list. Lkh is just using all the terms and ideas from previous books to put out 300 weak pages to get money now. The drive and decent stories of her earlier books is gone.

Lkh got so popular she was able to get it in her contract that she could keep editorial changes from touching her writing and its obvious to me at least that whoever her editor was in the earlier books was the reason for their success. 320 pages is a fairly quick read for me, I could have done it in one day but it took me three because I had to keep putting the book down due to sheer irritation at her repetition of all the terms and situations that she clung to in her last few books.

Its doubtful you can go 20 pages without some form of the phrase guy moment or guy thing backed up with a chaser of how anita is the better man, the better killer, the toughest one out there.. All the other constants are in there too, you get plenty of good ol boys and aw shucks from Ted/Ed. Short with brown hair vs tall blond stepmom and all that nonsense as well.

So as not to give away anything that happens in this specific book for people who like myself will read this book against their better judgement ignoring all the poor reviews I'll just say that theres another situation in this book thats happened 3x before with the exact same side character and its just getting ridiculous seeing it unfold yet again.

Since this book happens out of state, my prediction is the next one happens at home where some group is coming after one or all of the people who stay at the circus because they're scared of all the power thats in st louis, one of the harem of guys causes tension through jealousy, anita explains she doesn't do jealousy and complains about how she has to be the strong one for all her neutered men, one of her harem gets taken or injured, everything is about to go really south and anita flips some type of sex or lust switch, the bad guy looks astonished, says that its either not possible or that they didn't understand what it was like, baddie gets rolled, she gets to go cuddle with a bunch of guys and relax the end (at some point anita has to blast somebody to death in a room full of people with guns because she has to be the one to do it too...)

Seriously, at this point I'm reading the books almost out of obligation, the last 3 at least I didn't even really look forward to, just got them because I have the rest of the series and just wanted to see it through, but I should have used the money spent on the book for pretty much anything else.
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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
In her twentieth outing Anita Blake has given up chasing and killing monsters and moved to an all talk (mostly), all the time format.

The only times the talk was interrupted was by the far too few action scenes and those few scenes felt forced into Anita's soliloquy like Hamilton suddenly realized that Anita needed to occasionally wave a gun around or run through the woods or scream her orgasm to the stars. Never has Hamilton seemed so divorced from her writing and characters, there was nothing that made my pulse quicken, nothing that piqued my interest, nothing. The only scenes where I felt Hamilton even tried to inject a little interest was the two scenes with Olaf and even then it seemed more like Hamilton was pandering to those of her fans who are clamoring for Olaf and Anita to hook up.

The plot, what little there is, gets lost as Hamilton tries out a little of this, a little of that. Anita cries cause she's not a real girl, Edward might be okay with feeding the Ardeur, Olaf wants a date and "vanilla" sex, there's a new regulation which seems to make it possible for Anita to take a few of her many men when she travels out of state...... Hamilton seems to be flailing around searching for a definitive direction to take Anita and Hit List is comprised of a number of these abortive attempts to find her way. Too bad she couldn't find one she was comfortable with and she defines far too many moments as "a guy thing" or "a girl moment". As usual, Hamilton makes "a girl moment" feel like a minor sin, something to sweep under the rug, something to apologize about. We get it, Laurell, you don't much like women and you wish that Anita was a man but you can't write a main character that isn't closely based on yourself.

When Hamilton does remember the small amount of plot revolving around the Harlequin and Marmee Noir the scenes feel like she is trying to write about something she's either not equipped to handle or she is not ready to deal with. They are either too strong or too needy and it's just-awkward.

Hit List lurches along like a tone deaf Frankenstein's monster attempting the step-pause-step-pause of the wedding march.

There is no climax to this book, more like an anti-climax as Hamilton gives us another WTF ending reminiscent of Skin Trade. In both the master villains are dumbed down making it possible for Hamilton to write an ending where Anita triumphs. And all through this bland, tired, directionless mess Anita keeps talking, talking, filling in all the empty spaces in the hope that no one, including Hamilton, notices how very tired and directionless she is...

Whatever would happen if Anita develops laryngitis?
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2011
This is only the second review I've ever taken the time to type. And this is for a good reason, this book...lacked, lots. Whatever, get over whatever sex orgy thing folks have about the series, or bitching/whining about it, I like the characters (and the sex, I'll admit it). I love Anita and even with her ever changing traits, this book sucked.

I even like Richard! I'm in the minority there too! But, holy moly the ending was abrupt, all that build up to the final battle against the ultimate evil one, summed up in one page (or is that 2 on my Kindle, who cares?).

Did I actually just read TWO chapters about her arm cut healing? Really? Best part was the hunt in the woods, and Edward with a rocket. Olaf is scary, and even scarier now (but do I want to dedicate another book to this?).

All the characters I've grown to like/hate were missing in this one. As much as I love Edward, the storyline with him was even weird (did they actually have a huge portion of conversation dedicated to how Edward would kill everyone if Anita died? Was that a chapter?)

In the end, I'm afraid I won't get the next one. I can get disappointment anywhere, man, don't want it when I'm paying for it. But then again, I have sucker written all over my face, apparently.
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73 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2011
Quick breakdown-
50% amateurish- She gave a flat stare, he gave a flat stare, everybody using flat voices. All explicitly said in order to set the scene. The descriptions read like first books written by people who do action/adventure books about the mercenaries with their own code of ethics. What's excusable in a first book is more embarrassing in the 20th book in a series. Also a lot of questioning and soul searching.
10% sex or talking about it. Negotiations, proving everyone's favorite round heel heroine isn't just the super starts-with-S-rhymes-with-putt that my wife calls her, isn't casual about her lovers. We get it. See above. 20th book in the series.
40% fairly decent. Yes. Once you get passed the flat, serious angst of the first half, and the obligatory sex scene, it picks up a bit. The action and violence seems like Anita of old. Almost exactly like the Anita of old, like retelling a favorite story, but really, after the last 14 books, that's a swing in the right direction.

The first half of the book was boring and slow and very Mary Sue. Full of angst, self-doubt and absolute ruthlessness. The bright spots were all Edward. It really seemed like Anita was so caught up in her own head that she had to remind herself to care what other people thought.

Then the interlude intercourse. That was painful. If the first part was boring, that part was excruciating. We get it, she's the girl most likely to, but not want to until she's in the middle of doing it. Then she can accept it, and loves it and is very enthusiastic. I personally find it a complete turn off. The readers who have been defending the last several books will enjoy it and wish there was more of it.

Then the last 40 percent. It reads a lot like other books have, and is strongly reminiscent of Obsidian Butterfly. The action is slammed into very quickly, almost like the author finally got the scene she needed to write out of her way, and could concentrate on the story again. It's full of action, violence and bodies pile up.

So, it's an improvement, and there has been a lot more improvement in the last couple of books. I'm not sure if it's enough to bring back the readers who gave up after Narcissus in Chains or if it could lose the paranormal erotic crowd who has been loving the books since. At this point, the books seem trapped between both worlds and need to choose a direction rather than trying to hold both sets of readers.
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