When originally released, Anita Blake Vampire Hunter established author Laurell K Hamilton as one of the original pioneers of the Paranormal Romance genre.
Now, 23 books later, the series has taken a swift turn towards more of the Romance, but is it any good?
[WARNING] This is an 18+ rated book featuring graphic descriptions of sex, and also includes some elements that may be triggering for those sensitive to such things. Consider yourself warned.
What’s it about?
“Enjoying pain with your pleasure is something you either get, or you don’t. If you get it, then you don’t really need it explained, because you know how good it feels, and if you don’t get it then no amount of talking is going to convince you it makes sense.”
But sometimes you have to explain the unexplainable, especially if the love of your life needs to understand, or she’ll leave you. Jason Schuyler is one of Anita Blake’s best friends and favorite werewolves, with benefits. J.J. is his lady love, an old flame from childhood who dances at one of the top ballet companies in New York. She’s accomplished, beautiful, and she’s crazy about him, too. Neither of them wants to be monogamous, so what could go wrong?
J.J. is enthusiastically bisexual, with an emphasis on the female side of things. She plans to keep sleeping with women, because Jason can’t meet that need, just like she can’t meet Jason’s need for rough sex and bondage. J.J. doesn’t understand why Jason isn’t content to go elsewhere for a need she can’t fulfil, so Jason asks Anita to help him explain.
Anita is having her own relationship growing pains with her only female lover ever, Jade. Jason suggests that J.J. might be able to help Anita with her girl problem, while she helps him with his kinky explanations. With some encouragement from a few other lovers in Anita’s life she reluctantly agrees, and J. J. makes plans to fly into town for an experience that none of them will ever forget.
What’d I think?
If familiar with an author or series I will generally try to avoid reading the description of a book in an effort to not be spoiled. So it came as a shock to me when I realised half way through this, that it was entirely based around one specific sexual encounter. Those that have criticised Hamilton in the past about gratuitous sex will find all the more ammo here, and there are no vampires in sight in this one people, let alone hunting.
Your enjoyment of this novella is going to come down to why you read this series in the first place. If you like it for the kick ass action and supernatural elements, you can safely avoid this book altogether and just read the wikipedia summary. If however, you enjoy the complex relationships Anita has been building over the years, and want to learn more about how she copes with so many emotional attachments in her life I think you will find this one to be an interesting read.
It has been obvious for years now that Hamilton writes these books as a way to process and learn from the experiences she is having in real life. Dealing with polyamorous relationships (loving and consensual non-monogamy) can be hard work, and Hamilton may have unwittingly written a sexy guidebook on the topic. This is made especially difficult when one of Anita’s current lovers is a woman who is suffering psychological damage and finds it hard to trust anyone without getting triggered into oblivion.
The prose itself is relaxed and easygoing, which is one of the reasons i’ve been such a long time reader of Hamilton’s work. Like a comfortable pair of jeans that have been worn to threads, it is so easy to slip into one of these books and lose time while revisiting the attractive and often scary characters in Anita’s world.
What’s the verdict?
A short novella, Jason is going to be polarising for fans of the Anita Blake novels. If you’re here for blood and gore, stay away. If however you’re a fan of alternate relationships like polyamory and BDSM, i’d suggest giving this a read.
This book is available on the Kindle book store, often a little cheaper than the paper version. I generally read my books through the Kindle eReader or the free app on my Android phone.
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