I waited patiently for a year with the rest of Anita Blake fans and picked it up on the first day, but as I read it, I was horribly disappointed. The plot line seemed weak, the characters seemed to stray from their normal personalities, and she gains yet another supernatural power with yet more consequences. Jean Claude wasn't a main factor in this book, being of little relevence to moving the story along and what little he does do is as a back-of-the-mind kind of voice in Anita's head. Richard on the otherhand is featured quite a lot and the cruel streak that had been previewed in earlier books is displayed in force to my disappointment. Nathanael's character is developed a little more but sadly his is one of the few in this book. Jason, Damian, Asher, Larry, Cherry, Jamail, Shang-da, Sophie, are either almost cameo appearences or not in the book at all. A new major character, one that impacts Anita's life is a one dimensional character, and someone that she should have fleshed out more. And a side note, as I write this, I notice there aren't many other strong female characters in her books. It seems that a character's importance hinges on how much she is attacted to them. Perhaps Hamilton feels that other really strong female characters would challenge Anita's position as alpha female too much. The plot barely exists, it merely moves them from one scene to another so that Anita can meet yet more incredibly preternatural hunky guys or to more nasty and strange villians. This lack of plot is fairly noticeable and things that could have been resolved much quicker in other Anita Blake books take three times as long because she has to wade through dozens of men all salivating over her first. And lastly she gains yet another super power making her possibly the most powerful being in St. Louis, it seems like everything wants a piece of her for either sex, power or both. This new development in her character changes her relationship with her friends, the pard, the vampires, and the lukoi. I found myself wondering how much more powerful could she get, I felt at the rate she is going, she can challenge the vampire council in four or five books or perhaps even less, which in my opinion makes Anita as a character weaker, because in the beginning, she was a very strong, independent human woman and now she is a even more strong, semi-independent, not-quite human woman who can kick anything in her way's butt. So in conclusion, if you are a major fan of Anita Blake you will have to read this book because of some of the major changes that happens in it and you'd be lost without it, but some of you, be prepared to be disappointed. I only hope that the next one will return to Hamilton's normally stellar and addictive books.