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And indeed...

...katestine was quite correct in her assessment of the new Anita Blake book Micah. It was actually quite enjoyable. I think there are likely two reasons for this:

(1) My expectations were quite low, given reviews I'd seen. So I was already in the mindset to be pleasantly surprised.

(2) The plot was fairly thin, but hey, it was a short book. Length definitely appropriate. So yay to not just filling up pages with mindless, unnecessary details.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
strix_kojak
Jun. 2nd, 2006 03:30 am (UTC)
lol..thanx.
Own it, but havent read it yet..will do soon.
mikeypdx
Jun. 2nd, 2006 04:51 am (UTC)
.
No, you missed the most important element of the review: How was the, um, boingy-boingy?


Seriously, I loved Anita for a couple of books. And then came the not-all-that-gradual move to the soft-core. It has its place, don't get me wrong . . . it's just not what it started out as. Now, Obsidian Butterfly feckin' rocked. But mostly because Death is just so very very very badass cool.



[pedantic]
I'll need to dig out an essay I wrote a few years ago about one of the fundamental problems in supernatural/fantasy series. When the development of the story arc is based in the main character developing more and more power--magic, ability, skill, the Force, whatever--the stakes have to increase as well. What do you do with a fully-Jedi Luke Skywalker when he's already blown up the Death Star? Face his demons, ok, then take down the Big Bad. End of series. There's no way there could be another Star Wars movie directly involving Luke, because he's pretty much done it all. He's become powerful enough that we just don't care as much.

It's worst with epic fantasy. I likes me the Ray Feist, but I stopped caring about Pug of Crydee years ago. Yawn, he's saving the universe again, whoopty-freakin. Donaldson knew to stop--once Thomas Covenant gained actual power there was no way we would ever give a rat's ass about him ever again. But then, apparently, he's got a new Covenent series out, who maybe he's just getting soppy in his old age.

As your character(s) becomes more powerful, his challenges must as well. There's no point in seeing a 30th level barbarian killing orcs. And you can only save the whole world so many times.

Anita Blake's got the same problem, completely apart from the sex. She's now everything she wasn't in the first book--confident, sexualized, ready to kill, ready to die, balling a vamp, possesed of a fourth mark, one of the most supernaturally powerful people in St. Louis. Her triumverate can take down almost anyone in the US, and that's without adding in her allies/lovers. She's done the killing thing in a zillion differnet ways, and she's done the sex thing in enough ways now that I'm almost scared to see what Laurell will trot out next. Almost.

And really, I just don't care any more. Anita just isn't all that interesting to me. Her "I'm still shy and scared and a good girl, really, I mean it" act rings false to me. If she drops that crap, and Laurell puts her into some seriously escalated situations, I might find her interesting for another couple books.

Anyhoo. Doesn't mean I won't read Micah. At least for the squishy bits.
[/pedantic]
jalenstrix
Jun. 2nd, 2006 01:38 pm (UTC)
How was the, um, boingy-boingy?

Considerably less of it than I feared, and not too awful. ;)

Seriously, I loved Anita for a couple of books. And then came the not-all-that-gradual move to the soft-core.

Indeed - after Obsidian Butterfly, it was whomp!, let's have the plot revolve around sex now!

It has its place, don't get me wrong . . . it's just not what it started out as. Now, Obsidian Butterfly feckin' rocked. But mostly because Death is just so very very very badass cool.

Exactly so, on both accounts.

Her "I'm still shy and scared and a good girl, really, I mean it" act rings false to me. If she drops that crap, and Laurell puts her into some seriously escalated situations, I might find her interesting for another couple books.

Again, very much agreed. I was actually hoping that's where we were heading with the Mother of All Darkness taking an interest in her. I mean, if there was a Big Bad of the entire Universe (because, hey, EarthShaker totally didn't cut it in book 3), she would be the one, you know?
thewronghands
Jun. 2nd, 2006 02:44 pm (UTC)
So there's An Actual Plot? I might give it a try, then. I'd given up on the series due to the whole %s/plot/sex/g thing.
jalenstrix
Jun. 2nd, 2006 02:52 pm (UTC)
[wry grin] It's more like tantalizing scraps thrown in amongst the wildly unnecessary boinking. But they are, in fact, there. Whether Hamilton decides to actually pursue them is anyone's guess.
mikeypdx
Jun. 2nd, 2006 09:27 pm (UTC)
.
"Gratuitous" != "unnecessary."

:grin:

.
katestine
Jun. 2nd, 2006 04:37 pm (UTC)
Don't forget the guy from Obsidian Butterfly? I really want to watch Anita hunt down her serial killer stalker.
jalenstrix
Jun. 2nd, 2006 05:13 pm (UTC)
Ooh, you're right. I'd completely forgotten about that.
thewronghands
Jun. 2nd, 2006 02:43 pm (UTC)
This is a really good point; thanks for making it. I hadn't considered the problem in these terms before, but this is a good encapsulation of the problems with a lot of fantastic fiction out there. Personal growth can double for power growth, but when a character has become ridiculously good at everything, then it's much harder to present them with interesting challenges.
blogofstench
Jun. 2nd, 2006 03:40 pm (UTC)
Was that the book that was basically Anita and Micah having fun in bed? An enjoyable diversion indeed, but more like a short story than a new novel in the series...

Speaking of sexy vampires... I now have my very own LJ feed for Love Has Fangs [the Web comic with dolls, vampires, pink hair, lesbians and sarcasm...not to mention sarcastic pink-haired lesbian vampire dolls!]. Add me!

http://syndicated.livejournal.com/lovehasfangs/profile

Since I just created it, entries may take a while to appear. But there is a special bonus ep up, so you can always go to http://www.lovehasfangs.com and see it. Thank you. Having just 2 readers on my feed is looking pathetic, and I'd like to change that.

--MW
jalenstrix
Jun. 2nd, 2006 04:02 pm (UTC)
Was that the book that was basically Anita and Micah having fun in bed? An enjoyable diversion indeed, but more like a short story than a new novel in the series...

Yes, precisely. ;) Given that I expected nothing but soft-core porn at this point, I was pleasantly diverted by snippets of non-romantic Anita-life (i.e. zombie-raising and various teaser-weirdness about that).

Speaking of sexy vampires... I now have my very own LJ feed for Love Has Fangs [the Web comic with dolls, vampires, pink hair, lesbians and sarcasm...not to mention sarcastic pink-haired lesbian vampire dolls!]. Add me!

So added! [grin] Always happy to support the creator of my favorite Jareth site in any of your endeavors.

fallen_tigress
Jun. 2nd, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
Have any of y'all tried Charlaine Harris's Vampire series? I found it after Anita Blake... and I happen to be addicted to it. The main character is a telepath who has troubles controlling her ability and not eavesdropping on people. It's rather an interesting series... Dead Until Dark is the first book in the series. Hope this will help feed some of your vampire/Anita Blake addiction... there is boinking in here too, lol.

I'm in the middle of Micah right now.
jalenstrix
Jun. 2nd, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
Ah, I think I've heard of it, actually. I'll have to give it a good browse the next time I'm in a bookstore (or see if it hides in my local library, anywere). ;) Thanks!
fallen_tigress
Jun. 2nd, 2006 06:28 pm (UTC)
I have the first two books you're welcome to borrow if I see you before you go look... and not this week, but the two weeks afterwards are both Saturday night dances... perhaps we will see you there? ;)
mikeypdx
Jun. 2nd, 2006 09:26 pm (UTC)
.
I read the first one, but haven't had the time for much else. On my list, though.
.
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