Laurell K. Hamilton,
Incubus Dreams
(Berkley, 2004)

Anita Blake is no longer the star of a fantasy series, but it's not even titillating enough to be termed erotica -- it's just one long, meaningless sex scene after another strung together very loosely by plot. It's not even porn, because it tries to be a novel. It's sad, especially because bringing this book out in hardcover and paper editions is a huge waste of trees. I don't say that about many books.

I suppose Incubus Dreams is better than the "talking head" relationship angst we suffered through in Cerulean Sins. At least something happened, although writer Laurell K. Hamilton seems to have forgotten all the plot points she laid out in that previous novel. I'm honestly tired of little else but the wild thing going on in her novels. That's not what I read fantasy for. I have an erotica collection for when I want strictly bedroom olympics.

As far as Anita sleeping with anything around being "character development," I don't think so. Characters have a set of core values that generally don't change. If you read the first of the Anita Blake novels, Anita didn't approve of indiscriminant sex and she didn't approve of vampire lovers, either. Certainly Jean-Claude could have changed her mind on the latter, but I'm not so sure the former would change. Some of you might have thought her a "goody two shoes" on both respects, but I long for the days when a tough Anita said, "I don't sleep with vampires, I kill them."

I also miss the books being FUNNY. I don't smile anymore when I read this dreck.

The angst feels more like filler (Is Hamilton paid by the word or what?) and the sex in a lot of cases is pretty empty and boring. I suspect Hamilton is losing interest in her own series and is doing as much as she can to keep the money train going, thinking readers will be interested in Anita's sex life.

Sorry, Laurell, but this reader's lost interest.

I kept reading the Anita Blake novels because I cared about Anita and the supporting characters around her. No longer. I'm even getting rid of the first books of the series. It's a pity. The original series was witty, compelling and fun. I think Laurell K. Hamilton got lost somewhere in the writing.

review by
Becky Kyle

12 July 2008

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