Book Review: The Killing Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton

The Killing Dance (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 6)

Author: Laurell K. Hamilton

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Warning: Violence, vampires, zombies, animators, werewolves, and a vampire with progressive virulent disease that mimics the rotting vampire phenomenon (due to trying to go cold turkey and living like a Cullen)

Rating: MA15+

Length: 368 pages (novel)

Related Posts: Book Review: Bloody Bones by Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 5); Book Review: The Lunatic Cafe by Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 4)


Dating both a vampire and a werewolf isn’t easy. But just to complicate Anita’s already messy life, someone has put a price on her head. Love cannot save her this time, so she turns to Edward, hitman extraordinaire, for help. But finding the person behind the threat won’t be easy, because as both a vampire hunter and zombie reanimator, Anita has made a lot of enemies-both human and otherwise.

Why I love it?

This book started with Jean-Claude’s-human-servant-Anita – necromancer extraordinaire. Clearly, Anita has built up a reputation among master vampires, as being very stubborn and powerful. Her managing to survive and kill Serephina, and being The Executioner (the bogeyman of vampires), has earned her fear and respect from most vampires. Some vampires think (or know from prior experience) her ability to control the dead will extend to vampires, and the vampires who respect her, come to seek out her expertise (such as Sabin).

Sabin, Sabin, Sabin. On the one hand, I felt sorry for him. His ladylove, who was a werewolf and a third of Sabin’s triumvirate along with Dominic, threatened to leave him if he didn’t stop drinking from humans. So, like any chivalrous gentleman of yore, he went cold turkey. If only his girl had been equally dedicated to him and had stuck out the consequences of her request. If only he was a character in Twilight, then his being a vegetarian vampire would be of little consequence.

I couldn’t identify with Cassandra, at all. I mean, I understand upholding a cause, in this case not feeding off of humans because it’s wrong (bet cows’ rights don’t stop her from eating steak though), but allowing your significant other to continue, even as he rots in front of you? Either way you looked at it, there was moral quandary. Was it more humane to have Sabin feed off humans (which doesn’t necessitate him killing his feeders), or to watch him rot and loose his mind slowly over time, and know that you have the power to make it stop? If I had been Cassandra, the minute that Sabin started to rot, I would have told him to stop (assuming she really did love him). I thought by the time she was trying to make it up to him, she had already shown her true character by having allowed it to go on that long.

I loved the cameo by the petty and vindictive (and let’s not forget backstabbing) Monica Vespucci! She had always had it out for Anita, ever since she used Catherine’s bachelorette party as a guise to get Anita to Guilty Pleasures. As mean as it sounds, I kinda dug the epic karmic payback Laurell K. wrote for her. I also liked that Anita’s friends (Ronnie, Catherine, and Zerbrowski) have no problem inviting Anita to their parties, just as along as she doesn’t bring Jean-Claude as her plus one. It shows the hypocritical nature of human beings. I am curious to see if they would be so accepting of Richard if they knew he is alpha werewolf.

I loved how matter of fact Anita was about the whole there-is-a-hit-man-out-to-get-me-for-half-a-million-dollars thing. The whole thing cemented the relationship between Edward and Anita, for me. I love how Edward didn’t even consider taking the hit out on her, and immediately took steps to keep Anita as safe as possible, until he was there to personally ensure her survival. I think Edward telling Anita that he only saved her ass so he could kill more people while protecting her, was just a party line so he could protect his self-made reputation of being a sociopath. I also loved the show of trust on Anita’s side. Edward calls to say there’s a hit out on you, and she never has a moment of doubt or needed to confirm that that was actually true. When he said he was bringing back up, once again she never questioned who Edward was bringing. I just really enjoy their intense friendship.

I hated how Richard basically punished Anita for being accepting of the wolf pack hierarchy (like how the battles of succession go and their words of power), that he made sure Anita couldn’t accept his wolf. I mean, if he truly wanted her to be okay with him shifting, he could have done it in small increments. He could have started by showing her the partial shift, then the full shift, in some place she considered safe (and definitely not while trapping her underneath him). Then he could have had a few nice wolves shift for her, in order for her to see what a mini-version of the full pack would be like, and the take her to the lupanar for the full monty. Even then, he should have taken the time to explain what would happen after he killed Marcus. A simple, “By the way, after I kill him and Raina, we have to eat them so their spirits remain within the pack forever,” would have been better preparation than letting her go in blind. I think he just couldn’t deal with the idea that Anita could be more comfortable with something he hates about himself, because marrying her after she’d accepted the whole werewolf thing would have meant he was giving up on pretend to be fully human. At the same time, he seriously resented that she fled straight into Jean-Claude’s arms, even though he was the one who scared her into choosing Jean-Claude over him (another thing he can hate himself for).

I think this book cemented my dislike of Richard. He was just so promising in the beginning, but he was a complete let down. I got that he doesn’t like being a werewolf, and had taken steps to making sure Anita knew as little of that part of his life as possible, but he took self-hate to a whole nother level.

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