Book Review: Danse Macabre by Laurell K. Hamilton

Anita Blake has a full dance card, as a licensed federal marshal she’s earned her nickname the Executioner, she is human servant to Jean-Claude, Master Vampire of the City, queen of the local wereleopard pard, part of two triumvirates and maybe, just maybe, is pregnant to boot. Could life get any more complicated? In Anita’s case, absolutely as among other things she has just had a major fight with Ronnie, her long time friend due in part to having so many lovers she cannot be certain who the baby’s father might be.

When Anita became tied to Jean-Claude, she gained the vampiric power of the ardeur, which has effectively turned her into a succubus. As a result, she requires regular feedings, not of food but of lust, sex acts that are not conducive to maintaining a monogamous relationship or knowing who might be a new daddy. Yet this is no time for a mental meltdown, Anita and company must maintain their control in the midst of this personal crisis as Jean-Claude invited several Masters of the City to join him in a series of meetings and a media event. Additionally, many of the Masters have brought candidates for Anita to select her new pomme de sang from now that Nathanial has become her animal to call.

Between challenges from assorted masters, trying to pick out a powerful enough pomme de sang to feed the ardeur and fight off the Mother of Darkness Anita could really use a break, too bad all the lycanthrope strains she carries have decided to break loose. Now on top of all else, if she survives the transformations she might just be another panwere. Is it any wonder the age-old specter of an unexpected pregnancy is enough to send Anita into an emotional tailspin?

This is not the book to start Hamilton’s vampire hunter series with but readers familiar with her work will enjoy this latest installment in all its complexity although there are several loose ends. One cannot help but wonder how much rage Richard can contain without blowing up completely or how many more paranormal creepy crawlies Anita can turn into or seduce. In a nice change Anita’s character has finally quit spending so much time obsessing about whether or not she’s a slut and begun moving on to living with the hand she’s been dealt. There is nothing of the Executioner here, no cases to be solved or zombies raised, just plenty of vampire and to a lesser degree, lycanthrope politics interspersed with Anita feeding the ardeur.

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