Strange Candy (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 0.5)
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Warnings: Vampires, ghosts, demons, & supernatural baddies of all kinds
Length: 257 pages
Related Posts: Anita Blake Book Challenge
For the purposes of my Anita Blake Book Challenge, I only reviewed the three Anita Blake related short stories that are part of this collection.
#1 New York Times bestselling author’s Laurell K. Hamilton’s first short story collection-including an all new Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter story.
Known for her darkly violent, stunningly erotic Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels, New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton reveals new dimensions of her talent in these fantastical fairy tales and lush parables as she welcomes readers to the far corners of her fertile imagination.
From a woman who marries into a family of volatile wizards to a couple fleeing a gang of love-hungry cupids, from a girl who seeks sanctuary in the form of a graceful goose to the disgruntled superhero Captain Housework, readers will revel in the many twists and turns of fortune in these unique, sometimes surreal visions. Hardened vampire hunter and zombie animator Anita Blake gets blindsided by the disturbing motives of her clients in the never-before-published “Those Who Seek Forgiveness” and in “The Girl Who Was Infatuated with Death.”
Why I love it?
Strange Candy gives us three brief glimpses into the wonderful world of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. The introductions that accompany each of the chapters gave us a glimpse into Laurell K. Hamilton’s creative process. We get to understand what inspired her to write about Anita and the many different directions she has taken the series.
The first story, Those Who Seek Forgiveness, showed the birth of the Anita Blake character: a mere animator (zombie raiser). I love the story because it showed how simple Anita’s life would’ve been had she not been seduced by Jean Claude. I would use the term “normal”, but as the story shows, Anita’s job as an animator comes with its own inherent risks. In someway, the story actually acts as an introduction to how Anita met the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team squad. I could just see Dolph and Zebrowski coming to interview her on what happened in the cemetery, and then asking her, “Hey since you’re so good with the weird, can you help us with this case?” I love how Laurell K. Hamilton has kept shots of pure animator-Anita throughout the series. We get to see Anita dealing with clients who lie about their true motivations for having a zombie raised, or the different reasons for having zombies raised.
The second, Selling Houses, shows an example experience of regular people after the legalization of vampires. I loved how Laurell K. Hamilton portrays the real estate agent as willing to do anything to make a sale, even dealing with vampires. Given the current existence of other preternatural baddies in the story (ghost, demons and psychics), it was no surprise that Abbie was so accepting of the vampire, Channing. She was more surprised by the vampires’ partiality towards fireplaces, their having reflections in the mirror, and their silent super speed. After reading the series from Anita’s POV, this little story seemed like a whimsical wandering into the lives of the other half: the normal half.
The last short story, The Girl Who was Infatuated With Death, is set in the Anita Blake universe as we know it. Slotting in nicely just before Narcissus in Chains, the story shows the beginning of Anita’s crumbling resolve to stay away from Jean-Claude and Richard. In the beginning, we get to see animator-Anita taking on a case that isn’t the normal zombie raise. I think part of the reason she even took the case on, was that it enabled her to go see Jean-Claude under the guise of a professional visit. It goes to show that relationships are not just about sexual attraction (though that is a big part of it); they are also about the softer emotions. Anita misses the fun/silly times or the comfort that comes with being with Jean-Claude, who has always accepted her fully for what she is (unlike Richard and his fantasy-edition Anita). Overall, I think this short story shows the delicate or softer side of Anita and Jean-Claude’s relationship, that isn’t all about sex and metaphysical manipulations.
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