I’ve been reading this series for a while, but it’s taken me this long to decide whether to review it as a series or book by book. With this one, however, I decided to do a review of it. Not because I came to a decision, but because this book wasn’t just an Anita Blake novel. Instead, it’s an Anita Blake novella (Micah) and a collection of short stories by Laurell K. Hamilton (Strange Candy).
Before I get into the review of the book itself, it’s worth mentioning the series. The Anita Blake series follows the title character, a vampire executioner and animator, a woman who can raise zombies. The first novels saw her resisting Jean-Claude, the vampire master of the city. She dates Richard, a werewolf, even as her relationship with Jean-Claude grows into something more. As the novels progress, Anita’s love life becomes more complicated, drifting from the werewolf to Jean-Claude and to other men. She starts off as a girl who has only ever slept with one man, and by this point in the series, she’s had almost as many sexual partners as people who have died in A Song of Ice And Fire. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s still a drastic change.
And yet at some points, it works. The complications in her sex life arise when she inherits the power to feed from sex off Jean-Claude, after becoming his human servant. The power grows, as does her need to feed, to the point where she has to have some guy trailing after her just to satisfy her desire. And yeah, although I said at points it works, at times it just gets annoying, especially as it feels like more time is spent describing sex and everything around it than actually advancing the plot.
Micah in a way felt slightly different from this. At least at the start. Anita met Micah when she first gained the power of the ardeur, and not knowing what was going on, confused and possibly about to change into a were-leopard, she sleeps with him. At the time, it’s very out of character for Anita, but Micah soon becomes a key part of the novel. Yet, with the exception of being a were-leopard, he seems just like every other man in Anita’s life.
As in, she has a type. Clearly. Long hair. (When Richard cuts his hair, it feels like the world has ended) And big dicks. I mean, how many different ways can different men be described as having huge dicks? Plenty. Apparently. Seriously. There’s like pages of description for them. It’s…just odd.
The novella focuses on Anita’s relationship with Micah, as they spend their first night alone together. There is, of course, the main plot, where Anita has to travel out-of-town to raise a zombie, as the guy originally penned in to do it has other, more pressing problems to take care of. But for once, this plot and the relationship aspect are woven in together nicely, and actually balance each other out. Anita is, as usual, forced to confront aspects of herself in regards to the men in her lives. It’s a good novella, and ties in nicely with the series. It also offers a nice break from having so many different men in her life, as it focuses purely on Micah.
Strange Candy contains a number of short stories by Laurell K. Hamilton, including a few set in the world of Anita Blake or with Anita herself. And it’s great, really, to get a glimpse into other sides of Hamilton’s writing, as we see a woman trying to sell a haunted house, a couple who look after lake monsters, and Anita before she got all guy crazy. And those are just a few of the ones that really stick out to me, though I enjoyed all of them. Strange Candy is well worth a read, especially if you’re read any of the Anita Blake series and want to see a more varied scope of Hamilton’s writing, or even if you’re just a fan of horror and/or the supernatural. It also works nicely if you’re tempted by the Anita Blake series, but haven’t read it yet or just read the first couple, acting almost as a teaser.
Oh, and not forgetting the quirky story of two unmarrieds being chased down by cupids. Seriously. Strange Candy really is well worth a read.