Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Laurell K. Hamilton: Danse Macabre

The latest book in the Antia Blake series. Hamilton is still building towards the eventual climactic face off with the Mother of all Darkness. Unfortunately this has been building for about three or four books now. I fully understand that Anita is still not ready to face the Mother of all Darkness yet but Hamilton is running out of baddies to pit her against to get her strong enough. As is common for Hamilton there is lots of very graphic sex in this book. Interestingly although her Merridith Gentry series starts out with sex, Anita didn’t start becoming sexual until after the first six books. Once she did, it was all out and the later books are packed with sex. Danse Macabre is no exception. Since Jean Claude (Anita’s vampire boyfriend and holder of her Human Servant marks) is an Incubus and holds the power of sex as one of his vampiric abilities, Anita also gains power through sex as what could almost be described as a Succubus.

This makes for an interesting beginning to the book as it starts out with a vampire get together where one of the visiting masters is married and mated to a Siren (a more powerful form of mermaid), who wants to know if Anita has enough succubus in her to be able to awaken Siren powers in her sons. Naturally this is emphasized by the fact that Anita believes that she is pregnant. Of course as an Animator and licensed vampire executioner raising a baby could be somewhat difficult and ends up being a major theme throughout the book.

As the story progresses, the main characters continue along their personality paths that are established through previous books. Jean Claude is still trying to gain more power, Richard is still a self-rightous jerk and Micah is still solid as a rock foundation for Anita. The only one who changes is Nathanial. Over the course of the last ten books no character has undergone more change than Nathanial. He went from a former child prostitute/stripper to an hurt submissive wereleopard to an semi-confidant house(husband) to the still submissive but now confidant man that he shows in this book.

The final portion of the book is almost anti-climactic when they finally see Danse Macabre, which is an all vampire dance troupe that uses their vampire abilities to dance in ways no human could emulate. Unfortunately when the most powerful of them, one named Merlin uses his powers on the other vampires in the audience the Mother of all Darkness uses him as an anchor to attempt to manifest in the concert hall. After another battle with Anita that is again a stalemate until Anita tries some lycanthropic tricks and then has sex some more.
The book finally ends with her having sex with Asher and almost allowing him to kill her while feeding but bringing him to a new level of his own power, his own animal to call, Hyenas.

Overall a good book. Wonderfully written as all of Hamilton’s work is. The only draw back is that the story is becoming a bit cliché. It is becoming too much for Anita to just become more and more powerful, to face Marme Noir over and over again, to have the same relationship issues with the same men again, all building to this eventual climax. It is much like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series where books 7-10 are just bridge books that don’t have much plot line on their own as they simply move pieces on the board building towards the eventual climactic end.


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