Science fiction and fantasy
by Laurell K. Hamilton
Due to the way her magic works Blake is just as likely to try to resolve issues with sex as with guns. There are some very frank discussions, and a few equally no-holds-barred scenes where she attempts to do just that. As a result Bullet is an orgy of unrestrained eroticism.
Often when there's a lot of explicit sex in a story it can remove a lot of the tension. Once the question of will they or won't they is answered we're left with mechanical descriptions of the act that hold no inherent interest. But Laurell K. Hamilton is an absolute expert at writing steamy scenes that stay suspenseful no matter how carried away her protagonists get. There's a lot of bedroom action, but for once more is more when it comes to this type of storytelling.
The Mother of All Darkness isn't the only character out to disrupt Blake's love-ins. Relationships between the master of St Louis and a beautiful but scarred vampire are dangerously fraught. And then there's Haven, a werelion who wants to make Blake his queen. Anita already has bonds with other wereanimals, but Haven demands exclusivity and he's prepared to use violence to get his own way.
Bullet is an incredibly visceral book, alternating between bloodbaths and orgies. It's gruesome and titillating in equal measure, with the strangeness of the vampire world creating an uneasy contrast with the humdrum realities of modern American life. The story is punctuated by Blake's cynical and street-smart internal monologue. She's hard-bitten and impertinent, but underneath the tough image she presents to the outside world there's a vulnerability which comes from caring about the people around her. In spite of the fact that an enviable selection of lovers come into her life and the access she has to special powers, she remains an appealing character because she does have this softer side.
The ending is less of a definite conclusion, and more like a pause in the ongoing metaphysical chaos that surrounds Anita Blake. However getting there is a thrilling journey through the excesses of fear and desire. It's not for the easily shocked.
5th July 2010
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