Blue Moon - Laurell K. Hamilton By far my most disappointing read this year. I don't know why I keep picking up the Anita Blake books, but I guess it's because there's always this faint hope in the back of my mind that this series will get better despite the declining ratings and what people have told me. And for about thirty minutes there, I thought for sure things have turned around! What an awesome intro and premise -- Richard has been arrested and thrown in jail, framed on a rape charge. Anita and pals must get him out before the next full moon rises in a few days and he becomes a werewolf. This actually had the potential to be a great story. In any case, it was enough to get me fully on board.

But my excitement was short lived as things immediately started to fall apart. For one thing, there's hardly any plot in this novel. I didn't know what I expected after the intense build up of the intro, but it certainly wasn't 300 pages of Everything-You-Ever-Wanted-To-Know-About-Anita-Blake's-Sex-Life. The characters have sex, talk about sex, think about sex, and yet none of it seems to have anything to do with the story. Normally I wouldn't have minded that sort of stuff, as long as it has a point. But I honestly couldn't see one here, and that's what disappointed me. I felt like the book drew me in under false pretenses, then completely blindsided me with something I didn't ask for.

This has also soured me on many of the characters. Apparently, in the world of Anita Blake, to be a werewolf or vampire is to have the mental maturity and world view of a hormonal teenager. Everyone around Anita seems to depend on her to explain why certain things are socially wrong or innappropriate, especially when it comes to matters of sex ("You mean you shouldn't automatically jump into bed with someone just because you find them physicaclly attractive? Golly whiz!") For that matter, Anita own way of thinking isn't any better or more logical. For one thing she's constantly being wracked by guilt over her rash decisions and violent actions, and yet this hasn't made her any less trigger-happy or less apt threaten to kill people at the drop of a hat. Many times, she seems to do exactly the opposite of what she intends especially when it comes to sex or her relationships (she says she doesn't want to feel like a slut? Well, then don't act like one!)

I also realized recently that on the whole, these books haven't aged too well. Some of the physical descriptions of the characters and what they're wearing is reminiscent of 90s goth/rave attire, and while it didn't bother me so much when I read these books then, it just makes me cringe when I try to picture it today. Small nitpick, but compounded with many of the characters' naive and infuriating attitudes towards sex, they just became so unattractive in my eyes.

The only saving grace was the fact I listened to this book on audiobook, and I have to say the narrator is fantastic; Kimberly Alexis is one of the best voice actresses I've had the pleasure of listening to. If I end up picking up the next book, it would be because of her performance in this series and the fact that these digital audio titles are available to borrow at my county library. I may do it if I run out of audiobooks to listen to, but chances are I won't. I think I've stuck around long enough, and it's time to give up. I remember why I liked the earlier novels and I just feel that Anita's character has changed along with the series' direction. Life's just too short to force myself to continue with a story or characters I no longer feel connected to.