A few months back after finishing Bullet, the 19th book in Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, I snapped and wrote this long rant about how far the Anita series has fallen. What once was an absolutely amazing series eventually turned into absolute garbage – no plot, no point, just rambling nonsense from the author and whole lot of wish-fulfillment. Anita went from being a strong and inspiring female lead to the biggest Mary Sue ever.
So, after that big bitchfest you’d think I’d stop reading the Anita Blake books, but oh no, I continue to cling onto the pathetic hope that the old Anita will return one day. And that’s what brings you today’s review of Hit List, the latest book in the series.
In Hit List a serial killer is hunting the Pacific Northwest, murdering victims in a gruesome and horrific way. The local police suspect “monsters” are involved so they call in Anita Blake and Edward, the best U.S. Marshals out there. Edward and Anita quickly realize that it’s all one big trap courtesy of the Mother of All Darkness. Ba ba BUUUUM!
As much as I wanted Laurell to bring back the old Anita she didn’t, however, she tried. That’s right, someone must have gotten through to her because yes, she actually attempted to bring that old awesomeness back. The book starts out at a crime scene, which is fan-fucking-tastic, I can’t begin to express how happy that made me. But, the happy didn’t last very long. The plot was better than the past few books, but it was still thin. What I originally thought would be a thrilling and intricate storyline turned out to be another case of Anita killing the bad guys before they kill her. No awesome crime solving involved, just the same old crap we’ve seen in the last couple of books. Parts of Hit List were practically identical to past books – Anita whining, Anita dealing with sexist men, Anita whining some more, Anita having sex with yet another stranger, Anita dealing with freakishly insecure men, Anita dealing with her own insecurities, Anita whining again, Anita being called a whore, Anita dealing with another sexist man… etc etc. Same old drivel, told in the same way. Laurell is literally rewriting the same scenes over and over.
It really bummed me out because I was actually excited in the beginning of Hit List, I thought it would be another great thrill ride, but it wasn’t. There was a lot of build-up throughout the book but the final battle was rushed and surprisingly bland and yawn-worthy. It may have been the most uninspired ending I have read. It didn’t help that loads of pointless filler was sprinkled on every other page.
Not only was the storytelling bad, but the editing was as well. Naughty naughty editor. There were a few things that needed fixing, like the fact that Laurell repeated that same thing more than once in the book. Yes, reintroducing old characters is needed to remind readers who they are, but we don’t need that introduction multiple times in one book. An editor should have caught that, I’m guessing Laurell didn’t do it intentionally.
The book wasn’t ALL bad though, there were some great action scenes in there and they made the book a little more fast-paced. There was also a nice twist towards the end involving one of the secondary characters and… that about covers the good stuff.
Overall, Hit List was another failure. It appears that Laurell tried harder with this book, but it was still terrible. The plot had no real direction and far too much old nonsense was repeated. Laurell needs to take a writing break and gather her thoughts. She needs to stop forcing these terrible books and just stop and give herself time to write a quality story. Someone should tell her publishers to knock it off with the damn deadlines.
Will I read the next Anita book… yes, yes I will. While this book was bad, it was WAY better than the last one. So maybe, just maybe, the next book will be better that this.