Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton

Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #25)There are no spoilers in this review beyond what you can see on the back-cover blurb – not even the name of The Big Bad Monster which Anita has to kill. There are only page counts for the big showdown.
* Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter
* Anita Blake, Angst Hunter .

(If you want to skip the rest of the review, and skip most of the angst, then start the book either at 376 where Anita gets off the plane, or 412 where she gets to Dublin. (Why does it take 36 pages to reach Dublin? Hint, it’s not a traffic jam.)

If you love relationship angst, read the first half and give it an extra star. The 2nd half of the book is almost as good as the original Anita Blake trilogy.

Disclaimer: I hadn’t planned to read any more about Anita Blake, Angsting Eternal, but this book claims to have Edward (yay) in Ireland (ooh exciting), and presumably Anita will get there too.


Let us start with many many many and lots and lots and lots of pages of badly written prose (really, using the word ‘again’ twice in one sentence to say basically the same thing is basically saying the same thing.)

LKH beat her all-time angst record of getting two of A’s boyfriends into bed and needing two chapters to get A into bed with them. THIS IS BETTER. Start a chapter with a vamp sweating blood, glorious gore, and realizing he needs a shower. Then A talks to various people, including flirting, and someone offers to eat vamp covered in blood ‘not in the fun way’ (along with Anita & co, also smeared with blood) for FIVE CHAPTERS.

No, that’s wrong. In the sixth chapter the hot water is turned on, but they talk for so long that someone turns off the water so the hot water doesn’t get used up before they actually get into it. One of Anita’s sweeties is pretty smart! Meanwhile, vamp is still covered in blood.

Anita, let me tell you about this super-hot wonderful fabulous thing called a ring gag. You can breathe just fine but you can’t make words. You need one. You need a few. All of your boyfriends need them too.

Oh boy oh boy actual plot! And it’s not even page 200! (wait, 195 pages of no plot is usually not something to squee about.) Anita talks to Edward about her going to Ireland. And then we commence with angsting about who will go with her.

OMG over 150 pages from “lets get on the plane” until they get on the plane. But wait! The plane ride is long and boring, and there is time to discuss more relationships! Minor characters deserve mega page time too!

Lets see, page 195-201 Edward invites Anita to Ireland, then on page 376 Anita et al step onto the tarmac in Ireland. Can you do the math? Let me help: 175 pages. That’s like a whole book! Then she goes around and around with a cop about her Massive Non-Evolness[tm] even though she is Sleeping With Monsters [tm]. Then they get into a van and have some more angst.

Page 412: Welcome to Dublin. Can’t math, my brain is fried. Crime scenes, minor bad guys, concern over just who is the victim and who is the monster. (This one will have to go under Vampire Hunter angst, not Relationship Angst.)

646 the plot thickens, there’s an actual plot twist! It’s not a very sharp twist, more of a gentle spiral on a common trope, but the plot is moving, folks.

670 and we have accomplished the stare down. Anita has met The Big Bad who magically cut her off from contact with her boys. And girls. All of them. Can Anita beat the Big Bad on her own? I’ll give you big eyes while you figure it out. It’s girl on girl magic vs magic until the Big Bad cheats and brings in hostages. Oops. Now Anita is scared for her friends.

Then Anita (this ain’t a spoiler, you all knew it had to happen) defeats the guards, escapes, and… wait, I’m on 705 of 720 and the Big Bad is still somewhere over the horizon? Defeating the little bads (they were so cute earlier in the book) took 15 pages, and defeating the middle bads took 10 pages, and the 15 remaining pages include an epilogue.

Oh dear oh dear, the gang’s all here. Anita, Edward, and assorted others are fighting off Big Bad’s last round of minions. From the time they see the Big Bad flying out toward them until they take her down (literally, Big Bad falls out of the sky) is about 2 pages. Blink and you miss it. This is not the way thematic build-up works, LKH. The all-powerful bad guys are supposed to take longer to kill than their less-tough minions.

Epilogue: Anita confirms that she has had character growth. I don’t care.

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter vs Anita Blake, Angst Hunter showdown!

About equal pages for each. However:
* Vampire Hunter has very little time on-page during Angst Hunter’s chapters
* Angst Hunter has a little more time on-page during Vamipre Hunter’s chapters
* There is surprisingly little overlap between the two.

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