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Book Review: Guilty Pleasures

Lately, I’ve been in the mood for books with a main character who really immerses you in the book – books from a single perspective rather than alternating, as so much romance is. I’ve also been wanting to read more Urban Fantasy.

So when it was recommended to me that I check out the Anita Blake series, I (naturally) started with Book One – Guilty Pleasures. Which, let me tell you, was an interesting experience… considering I have in the past read fanfiction which crossed over with Anita Blake. Therefore, going in, I knew a lot about the characters and the world.

What I didn’t know a lot about? The plot.

In Guilty Pleasures, we’re introduced to a world where vampires were given rights in a Supreme Court Case, and therefore the supernatural is widely known. There’s still a lot of issues between humans and supernatural beings (let alone the various issues between the supernatural groups themselves), and Anita is one of those people who walks the line between the natural and the supernatural, considering she’s a human who raises the dead for a living and also works with the cops to solve supernatural cases. In fact, she often kills vampires (with a warrant, now that they have rights).

So naturally she’s dragged into a mystery about a bunch of master vampires getting murdered. And then she’s pulled even farther into the supernatural by Jean Claude, a vampire who works for the Master of the City, who she’s a bit unwillingly attracted to.

Romance doesn’t happen in this book – that’s saved for later in the series. But the first hints are here, and I can see why people really like Jean Claude.

I really did enjoy Anita’s voice, and I can see where it was one of the first female-centric Urban Fantasy books, and how influential it was on later fiction. Which is important.

And it was an intriguing universe! The St. Louis in the Anita Blake books is a world of supernaturals, with were-animals (wererats here, more in the future), vampires, zombies, and more. And there are humans on all sides of the divide – those who want to be supernatural, those who want to destroy it, those who just want to live their lives unencumbered by the creatures of the night.

Which, honestly, is very human.

The side characters are also well-done. We get the vampires, the cops, the animators, Anita’s (few) friends, the wererats, the Humans Against Vampires, the vampire junkies, all the other people who populate the world, and Edward. Who is… Edward. It’s a very complete world, with world-building galore. I can see why it became so popular in fanfiction.

It was also very clearly written in the 90s, which is not a bad thing! Sometimes it’s fun reading a book from an earlier time period and remembering how people (including me) did things in a time before, say, cell phones. You know, when you had to call around to your friend’s favorite haunts to give her important news about the vampire murders case she’s working on. Or when your job messaged your pager when they needed you to come in.

Not how things are now! But still quite fun to remember.

The mystery was well-handled and solved (and in a way that made total sense), the universe was well-built, and the romance had its first hints. It was a good book.

All in all, if you want to read one of the giants of Urban Fantasy, this series is a must-read. And it’s always best to start with Book One.

Therefore it gets a solid

Five Stars

If this is your jam, you can get it here.

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