The Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton is the book that finally made me quit the Anita Blake series. And I can put my finger on the exact thing that set me over the edge. Spoilers, I guess, for the 15th book in a series only the first nine or ten of which I would recommend.
Towards the end of the book, the reader finally gets a description of the feared Harlequin, enforces and spies of the vampire authority. And at least one of them is wearing a tri-cornered hat with pom-poms hanging of the brim. What the fuck. Is that supposed to strike fear in my heart? Because, I don’t know about you, but fuzzy balls hanging off a hat don’t exactly have me quaking in my stylish yet affordable boots.
So, yeah, the straw that broke the camel’s back was Ms. Hamilton expecting me to be frightened of something I would have mocked relentlessly had I seen it in person, but the spilt was a long time in the making and was really due to my hating every aspect of the way the books were being written. I originally fell in love with the Anita Blake books because Anita was a fucking badass. She was smart and terrific at her job and she took no sit from anybody. And then on top of that you have genuinely intriguing (and horrifying) mysteries. And then Anita, formerly reserved and spare of affection, becomes somebody who literally has to have sex all the time to servive. Which, if it were just sex, I could have maybe dealt with because as I said in my Educating Caroline review, I’m down with the lady porn. But Anita is suddenly falling in love with all of these people. Jean Claude, Richard, Micha, Asher, Nathaniel, etc, etc. I liked that Anita was a frigid bitch! I too am a frigid bitch, I liked reading about a character like myself! The fact that Anita is cranky about falling in love with people doesn’t negate the fact that a formally reserved character has had a complete about face, okay? And the less said about the character assassination of two former favorite characters, Richard and Edward, the better.
Anyway, I really do recommend the first nine or ten books of this series. They are a ton of fun for fans of horror/thrillers and well worth your time. But the drop off in quality after that is STEEP, so fair warning.
If you’ve read these books but also gave up at some point, I’d love to know when/what made you quit! If you’re still reading, I’d love to hear what you think of the more recent books! Let me know what you think!