Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 9)
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Warning: Violence, vampires, shape-shifters, werejaguars, animators, serial killer, rape, mutilation, violence against children, and a deluded vampire who likes to wear human body parts as clothing accessories
Length: 596 pages (novel)
In her ninth adventure, vampire hunter Anita Blake owes a favor to a friend-a man almost as dangerous as the ancient evil she’s about to face.
Why I love it?
When it was mentioned in the previous book that Anita would owe Edward a favor for killing one of his back ups, I didn’t quite know what kind of favor Edward would ever need. I suppose it could’ve been another scenario where he needed to help protect somebody, but what happened was so much better. We got a merging of police-detective-Anita and I-kill-things-with-Edward-Anita, which gave a glimpse into how different aspects of Anita’s life could combine into one giant, violent, and bloody mess.
Given that Edward has always been described as this very uncaring, unfeeling person, both the readers and Anita were equally shocked when he revealed his secret domestic life; complete with a fiancé, two kids (one of each gender), and two dogs named Peeka and Boo. Anita was initially very uncomfortable with the revelation of Ted’s domestic situation, because Edward had never before wanted to embrace his gentler side. I think this kind of alluded to how Anita, on some level, has given up on having such domestic bliss in her own life, and that she thinks that someone who is even harder/colder emotionally than herself, should definitely not be attempting or maintaining this fallacy.
In the beginning, there was no doubt in Anita’s mind that Edward had to end his relationship with Donna. However, as the book progressed and Anita realized just how attached Edward is to the family, and the family is to him, she changed her mind because she thought that Edward’s leaving would cause more devastation to the family than continuing the charade. It’s not until even later in the story, that Anita realizes how much it’s not a charade for Edward. I think the realization that Edward is really willing to try to make a domestic arrangement work for him, brought her to her decision to go back to St. Louis and re-integrate herself back into relationships she let wither, as a consequence of her avoiding Jean-Claude and Richard.
I have to admit the Red Woman’s Husband storyline wasn’t so attention grabbing, as much as the change in relationship between Edward and Anita. The level of trust Edward displayed throughout the book, and Anita’s having someone who she can tell about her relationship drama and have them give pragmatic feedback (instead of Ronnie and Catherine’s romantic approach), really cemented their relationship to being deeper than “best friends”.
I enjoyed that Anita got to see how Ted operates when he works with the police. There were many times during the book where I felt like Anita’s relationship with the police is very different from the relationships Ted, Otto, and Bernardo have with the police. I especially enjoyed the one scene where Anita was joking with the policemen, even though the jokes could have been considered sexual harassment, and she just went along with it. The entire time, Bernardo was staring at her intensely, and I thought that this was a very powerful way of showing how different Anita is from the other vampire executioners or killers, in the case of Olaf.
Olaf, a.k.a. Otto Jeffries, retired government worker, spook, and a really psychotic serial killer of women who look just like Anita. I really love this character, really, really love him. He is just so creepy and Laurell K. was able to make that cool. The guy barely said anything during the whole book, and left Anita a creepy note basically asking her to be his serial killer girlfriend (creepy, right?). I guess Laurell K. Hamilton gave Olaf such a depth of emotion (mostly negative), that on some level, readers want to understand what made Olaf that crazy (still waiting on that book by the way).
Other then introducing one of my favorite bad guys in the entire series, Olaf, I feel that Obsidian Butterfly was a big step for Anita’s emotional growth and for her to decide how much she was going to worry about becoming more like Edward (adopting his sociopathic ways). She finally made the decision to stop treating the pard, pack/clan, and others as obligations, and more as an opportunity to as to cultivate and grow these relationships. Strangely enough, considering that neither Jean-Claude or Richard are in the story, I think it’s a big turning point in her realizing that she can’t continually run away from them, because she needs them, and that the three of them being apart has never worked for them, ever.
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