Thursday, March 16, 2023

ARC Review: Smolder by Laurell K. Hamilton


Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter (Book 29)
Publication: Berkley (March 21, 2023)

Description: Vampire hunter Anita Blake is no stranger to killing monsters. It’s part of her job as a Preternatural U.S. Marshal, after all. But even her experience isn’t enough to stop something that is bent on destroying everything—and everyone—she loves.

Anita Blake is engaged to Jean-Claude, the new vampire king of America. Humans think she’s gone over to the side of the monsters. The vampires fear that their new king has fallen under the spell of the most powerful necromancer in a thousand years.

In the midst of wedding preparations—including getting Edward, aka U.S. Marshal Ted Forrester, fitted as best man—Anita gets a call that the local police need her expertise at a brutal murder scene linked to a nationwide slaughter of vampires and humans, dubbed the Sunshine Murders.

But there is more than just a murderer to catch: an ancient evil has arrived in St. Louis to challenge Jean-Claude for his crown, his life, Anita, and all they hold dear. Even with Jean-Claude’s new powers as king and Anita’s necromancy, it isn’t enough; they must embrace their triumvirate or allow primeval darkness to spread across the country, possessing first the vampires and then the humans. Evil will triumph unless Jean-Claude and Anita can prove that love conquers all.

My Thoughts: The latest in the Anita Blake. Vampire Hunter series (book 29) has Anita planning her wedding with Jean Claude, dealing with her feelings about her family who may or may not attend her wedding, dealing with someone exposing vampires to sunlight to end their lives, and a new very powerful entity coming to St. Louis to take over Jean Claude's rule and all his people.

This story is filled with the usual complexity of Anita's love-life. She is part of a poly group, all of whom seem to be in need of or involved in therapy. Anita's therapy is helping her deal with her childhood abuses and the lack of self-worth they engendered in her. 

There was less of the blatant and egregious sex scenes that marred earlier books in the series for me. The one major sex scene happens as Jean Claude and Anita are fighting off the attack by the entity that wants to take over St. Louis. They need Richard's help to succeed because, without him, their power triad is just too weak. Richard has made quite a few personal changes since he was last featured in this series. He, too, has been to therapy to deal with his own issues about being a werewolf.

My main concern with this story was that it felt like only half of a novel. So many plot threads were left dangling. The issue with Anita's family is left unresolved. The Sunshine killings are left unresolved. Even the attack by the entity that wants St. Louis was left unresolved. 

Read this one if you are current in the series...and look forward to the next book which will hopefully have some answers.

Favorite Quote:
My chest hurt; brokenhearted in books and movies is reserved for romantic love, but all kinds of love can break your heart. My eyes burned, my throat was tight like I was choking' what the hell was wrong with me?

"It's okay, Anita," he said, voice low and soft the way you talk jumpers off ledges, "whatever you're feeling is okay."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. This is certainly not a book that I would read. I hate to hear that so many things were left unsettled as that would bother me as a reader.


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