I could begin by saying that when I first saw this series on the shelves at my local bookstore that I was attracted to reading it by the 'glowing' (or perhaps in hindsight, 'gushing') staff review. I could also start by admitting that it took me 10 books (out of 22 to date) into the series before I just could not put up with the way the original idea had been twisted and perverted into some kind of grotesque caricature of itself. I could even link to some reviews
which voice a lot of what I felt about this series better than I could myself.
However, I've decided to be (somewhat) fair.
Instead I will review each of these books as a stand-alone, with a rating applicable to each, rather than one whole rating and review for the whole (which, if I was to do, would be so similar to Kat's review linked above as to be superfluous).
The story is set in present time St Louis, Missouri but could esily be transposed to pretty much any medium-to-large metropolitan city, making world-building a non-issue. Very few people could pick up this book and not picture in their minds eye the events happening in their own city by tansposing various areas with their own local equivalents.
The major premise is that the undead (vampires, zombies, etc) actually exist in the "real world" is, in my opinion, a fun and interesting idea. Perhaps it was also this that originally attracted me to the series?
That, however, was to be about the best thing about this book (and series)..
The protagonist, Anita Blake, is quite probably one of the most shallow, self-absorbed, arrogant.... women (Bitch?) I have ever encountered, either in fiction or 'real life'..... but I must resist the temptation to derail the review so early.
Anita is an 'animator', able to raise the dead in zombie form. She's also the local vampire 'executioner', and on retainer with the local metro police as their resident 'preternatural expert'. Hmmm. My 'Mary Sue' sense is twitch-... no, no... must not derail.
The plot for this book involves a manical millionaire who wants Antia to raise a hundred-year-old corpse (which would require a human sacrifice), a Voudun priestess who wants Anita dead, and an unknown undead creature who is killing innocent people in their own homes.
Anita works with the police trying to find and stop the undead monster, whilst simultaneously dodging hired thugs sent by the millionaire and zombies sent by the Voudun priestess. All clues are pointing to an 'animator' (like Anita) raising the undead monster and then 'setting it loose'.
Once again Anita bumbles her way around the investigation by herself (rather than letting the police do their job and just assisting like she is hired to do) before once again 'solving' (read: has all the pieces lined up in deus ex machina
style, complete with step-by-step instructions) the mystery and killing all the bad guys (again.... How this girl avoids murder, or even manslaughter, charges is beyond me.... and I'm a cop).
Once again, entertaining in its own (bizarre) way if you overlook the same galring errors I mentioned in my review of the first Anita Blake book
Once again 2.5 (rounded up to 3) stars.