Book Review: Bloody Bones by Laurell K. Hamilton

Bloody Bones (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 5)

Author: Laurell K. Hamilton

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Warning: Violence, vampires, zombies, animators, werewolves, fairies, Rawhead and Bloody Bones, rotting vampires, and pedophiles

Rating: MA15+

Length: 336 pages (novel)

Related Posts: Book Review: The Lunatic Cafe by Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 4); Book Review: Circus of the Damned by Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 3)


In Laurell K. Hamilton’s New York Times bestselling novels, Anita Blake, vampire hunter and animator, takes a bite out of crime-of the supernatural kind. But even someone who deals with death on a daily basis can be unnerved by its power… 

When Branson, Missouri, is hit with a death wave-four unsolved murders-it doesn’t take an expert to realize that all is not well. But luckily for the locals, Anita is an expert-in just the kinds of preternatural goings-on that have everyone spooked. And she’s got an “in” with just the kind of creature who can make sense of the slayings: a sexy master vampire known as Jean Claude.

Why I love it?

I have to admit, the reason I love Bloody Bones, is that it’s one of the scariest, freakiest Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book I have read, to date.

Let’s talk about those rotting vampires. The fact that they can decay and reconstitute themselves is just plain creepy. I liked that we got to see the ugliest type of vampire. It doesn’t get much worse than this. Other vampires can be cruel, sadistic, pedophiles, or straight up creepy, but nothing beats a crazy ass vampire that literally rots, and is still alive. It certainly gave a new meaning to undead.

I enjoyed seeing the construction of Anita’s reputation within law-enforcement agencies. Laurell K. Hamilton loves revisiting the concept of there being two types of female officers, based on their initial responses to Anita’s reputation. Sergeant Freemont was a prime example of the female officer who feels threatened by Anita’s reputation as a vampire executioner, therefore feels the need to make Anita’s job more difficult than it should be. I really liked this concept, because I have experienced this a lot in my own life. People tend to be threatened by other people, not because that person was trying to do anything threatening in the first place, but it calls attention to their own perceived deficits. I like how this was included, because it’s part of real life and that’s just how the world is.

I also loved seeing Larry, who I have dubbed the anti-Anita. There were many times in this particular story, where Larry and Anita are in situations where it’s their lives or someone else’s. Anita would have gone for the “Fuck it! Just fucking kill him” option, whereas Larry kept selecting the “No I can’t live with myself if I let it happen” option. It just makes me feel that on some level, Larry still believes in the “greater good”, while Anita is more of a survivalist (stay alive today, and do better tomorrow). I guess Larry represents the naïve section of the population that believes that good will prevail over evil (in a world literally filled with monsters).

I liked seeing Serephina, a more typical example of a Master of the City vampire. She was driven by the need to gain more power (almost to the loss of self-preservation). I think it was interesting to see that Serephina’s obsession with gaining immortality, was based in her need to grow her power base and control other more powerful vampires. Simply being indestructible wasn’t enough for her, she wanted to punish all the more powerful vampires who treated her ill in the past, and subjugate them. She also clearly resented Jean-Claude, not for his having done her wrong in the past, but for thinking she would be satisfied by his giving her crumbs from his table (here, have this city that was originally part of my territory, but I am too good for it), and thinking that she didn’t have more ambition than that. Her fear of being weak and being preyed upon by more powerful vampires, made her become a bully in an attempt to prove to herself that she was no longer anybody’s play toy. Unfortunately for her, she came across Anita, who is very hard to bully (or seduce, or lull into a false sense of security), and she never forgets to come back to kill those who have seemingly managed to overpower her.

I loved the little fairie history of the Bouvier family. I enjoyed how there was the seemingly “good” sibling (Magnus), who spent his free time helping the locals find love on Friday lovers’ night, and the “bad” sibling (Dorcas) who didn’t want to waste time coddling the humans. It made the role reversal unexpected (for Dorcas as well), when Magnus was the one to forsake his familial duties, and went down the same cursed path as Llyn Bouvier that resulted in the future generations of the Bouvier family having to stay in Branson to make sure Bloody Bones didn’t escape. In the end, Dorcus was inadvertently rewarded for resisting the temptation of drinking from Rawhead and Bloody Bones, as both Magnus and Bloody Bones were killed, leaving her with the freedom to pursue her dreams.

Most of all, I loved how Anita came to the realization that her RPIT work was more important to her, and more fulfilling, than her work as an animator. It was very clear from the start that animating was something she has to do, because if she doesn’t, her power starts raising zombies indiscriminately. Now, Anita has seemingly found her passion. It foreshadows that the following books in the series will be more geared to Anita, the badass who is the bane of bad little vampires and supernatural bogeys.

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