Circus of the Damned (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 3)
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Warning: Violence, vampires, zombies, animators, giant snakes, lamia, and shape-shifters
Length: 320 pages (novel)
In Circus of the Damned-now in trade paperback for the first time-a rogue master vampire hits town, and Anita gets caught in the middle of an undead turf war. Jean-Claude, the Master Vamp of the city, wants her for his own-but his enemies have other plans. And to make matters worse, Anita takes a hit to the heart when she meets a stunningly handsome junior high science teacher named Richard Zeeman. They’re two humans caught in the crossfire-or so Anita thinks.
Why I love it?
We got to meet Richard Zeeman, Anita’s potential love interest and alternative to dating Jean-Claude. I love how Anita meets men in the most interesting of places. I knew he would be trouble, considering Anita met Richard through Jean-Claude, while he was naked in bed with another woman. I liked how Anita didn’t know that Richard was a shape-shifter in the beginning, because it made her a little more receptive to his attention. Without her immediately discounting him as boyfriend material due to his werewolf status, it made it very hard for her to justify dumping him, due to a bad batch of the lycanthropy vaccine.
We also got to meet the new animator Bert hired to help Animators, Inc, Larry Kirkland. I thought of Larry as being the complete opposite of Anita. Where she has lost family members, Larry still has all his grandparents; where she has no compunction running over crazed, Human First fanatics, Larry couldn’t get over the fact that she puts her life above others. Larry is a white-hat (most definitely a good thing), who comes with ideals and interests of making the world a better place. However, he is living in a world that requires its law enforcement agents to make hard (and often immoral) decisions.
The Mr. Oliver story line goes to show that vampires are self-serving and cruel. Even when their goals seem to line up with humans’, they will make sure to screw humans over. Oliver’s agenda was to prevent the contemporary vampire movement for legalizing vampires, which in theory, would stop a lot of vampire-related crime (or make it easier to resolve if the police didn’t have to wait on warrants and the like). However, what he left out was that he was going to do so by terrorizing the city (proving how evil and terrible vampires), in order to get the legislation overturned. This brings Anita back to the whole do the ends justify the means conundrum she constantly faces. Given that she only had half of Mr. Oliver’s agenda, and she felt that Jean-Claude had thoroughly betrayed her by giving her the third mark against her will, she gave up Jean-Claude’s name to Oliver.
Finding out that Oliver has been behind the deaths RPIT was investigating, and what his grand plan for Halloween was (read: massacre as many people as possible), made Anita realize that Jean-Claude is truly the lesser of the two evils. I loved how badass she was during the last fight scene between Jean-Claude and Mr. Oliver. Laurell K. Hamilton writes realistic action scenes, where people do die, others fight hard, and the cowardly, run away. Of course, Anita was right there in the frontlines, with Death (Edward) for backup.
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