Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, July 17, 2006

Doing the Danse Macabre with LKH

So,over the weekend I started in on the latest Anita Blake book,Danse Macabre,despite the warnings in Dionne Galace's review(please click the title link to read her words of wisdom)of the horrors within. I couldn't resist,especially after Little Sister provided me with a Borders coupon giving me 40% off of DM's cover price. I didn't know that the big bookstores gave coupons for a specific title(guess it's some of that co-op money come a-callin' there)which is a nice incentive. I hope smaller bookshops can do the same,it's a good way to encourage the reluctant hardcover buyer.

Anyway,the hot topic with this new entry in the Anita series has our Vampire Executioner Gal facing a possible pregnancy and not being sure who the daddy is(sounds like a regular episode of the Maury Povich show,doesn't it?)along with being the hostess of a big vampire gathering to watch the premiere performance of a vampire ballet company with several of the head honchos offering up fellas as Anita's new Pomme De Sang(sort of a cross between a Renfield and a fuck buddy). Tons of screw-ups occur,especially with that pesky ardeur power of hers that arouses the sexual attentions of a mermaid/siren who wants Anita to bring her sons into their latent siren abilities.

I'm sure that many of you are going"What the..what the what!" after that last paragraph or in the words of Little Sister"That's weak sauce,with a side of lame stew!"-hey,you try explaining the plot lines of a fourteen book series with vampires,werebeings and necromancers in several sentences or less and see how sane you sound. The Merry Gentry books(which are Laurell K. Hamilton's Angel to her Buffy)are somewhat simpler-they're about a fairy princess who has to compete for the throne with her evil cousin by getting pregnant with one of the many fairy males provided for her by her psycho aunt. Yep,there's quite a bit of sexers but it blends well because if you read up on royal families,having a heir to follow in the current leader's footsteps is always a big honking deal,even today.

With the Anita books,most of the fans are divided-see,at first,the series wasn't as sexed up as it is now. It was,to qoute a Fangoria review"an R-Rated Buffy"-the continuing saga of a woman with powers to raise the dead who lived in a world where vampires were not only real but were recognized by society at large,thus having legal rights and special laws to obey. Anita was as tough as any of the fellas or fiends she faced down and due to a romance that went sour,refused the attentions of Jean-Claude,the Master vampire of the city. Later on,she and Jean-Claude hooked up and a love triangle ensued when Richard,a werewolf,joined the mix.

As the story went,Anita's powers changed due to being bound to Jean-Claude and one of the side effects was her inheriting his incubus ability known and dreaded by many as the Ardeur(a lot of French terms are used in the AB titles)which she is slowly learning to control. While many of the faithful still flock to the book stores to grab each new offering,some are dismayed with the turn the books have taken. I'm an all day(and night)sucker for these stories but there are moments when I'm thinking,"can we chill on the sex for a couple of chapters or atleast the sex talk? Maybe,kill a few monsters or something?" LKH is selling strong(DM is climbing up several bestseller lists)but is slowly shutting down core members of her audience.

I'm not saying she has to write to please everyone but I've seen this type of resistence movement before,with Anne Rice(who I got bored with after Violin)and it looks like LKH is sniping at some of her unhappy fans like Rice did. It's not a good idea to go down that road-yes,Rice is doing fine with her shiny,happy new Jesus series but the image of wacky writer gal is sticking to her like glue(plus,dressing like Miss Haversham doesn't make it any better). Laurell,the best revenge is living well and you certainly are doing that,so don't get caught up in a grudge match with your readers. You don't want to be the literary version of Tom Cruise now,do you?

Am I going to finish reading DM? Yes,I'm a true glutton for punishment(besides it is summer rerun season on TV). Is Anita really preggers? Not saying,since I didn't finish yet and things are not always what they seem. Why do you keep reading LKH,if you have all these mixed feelings about her stuff? That's a damn good question and after a few more chapters,I'll get back to you with some sort of answer(as soon as I figure one out,that is!).

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