Everyone has the one author their friend recommends, or they pick up randomly in a bookstore (the author’s book, not the author themselves). They read this author and suddenly a new world or genre opens up for them. Actually usually it’s just a new genre. I have yet to hear of inter-dimensional/world rifts opening after reading the first chapter of a book. Though, I wish it did. I could use one. Don’t you worry about what I’d use it for. Not taking over the world…. (This one anyway).
In any case; You read this author for the first time and you climb to the highest mountain and scream “OH DEAR GOD WHAT HAVE I BEEN MISSING?!” The sun parts the clouds and suddenly, you reach an enlightened state. Or maybe like normal people, you just really fucking love the book so much you want to read everything the author has ever written.
That was me when my best friend said “You know what you would like? The Anita Blake Series.” So I borrowed Guilty Pleasures and was immediately plunged into a genre I had never read before. Urban Fantasy. So of course, I adored the book so much I picked up every one that was out at the time. I devoured them like a kid devouring Reese’s cups on Halloween. I loved it. I loved the genre. I had finally found what I had been missing in reading. Here was the same type of stories I myself wrote. Being a lowly youngster I had no idea there was even a market for this sort of thing. (Other than the short lived ‘She Wolf of London’ which I used as my excuse for writing a terrible werewolf story in sixth grade).
I had a good few years of loving Anita. Here was a strong heroine. She raised the dead for a living and was a vampire executioner. She had scars. She was short and had curly hair. She was a HUMAN. Well, she was technically a necromancer but still human.
Anita and I had a good few books together. But sometimes, love just doesn’t last. Around The Killing Dance it started going downhill. The initial few sex scenes slowly began turning into chapters upon chapters of sex. Anita herself became a sort of…sex feeder human/almost shifter/vampire human servant….thing. I tried. I tried to keep the love affair going, but Anita soon became something I wasn’t happy with.
It was my own personal opinion. I never berated LKH for throwing the monkey wrench into the story I had held so dear. I understand. I get it. A series that goes on that long, things change. Hey, she’s the writer and some people still love her stuff. That’s great. For her and the fans that still read the Anita series.
I gave it right up until Anita got the Ardeur. Yeah, that’s when I decided my favorite Urban Fantasy series had become little more than a paranormal harlequin romance. And while I certainly don’t look down my nose at those (I have friends who love them) it’s really just not my thing. In fact, I was pissed off. I sort of still am. I’m pissed because for a while people still tried to convince me that it was hardcore and bad ass and worth my time and money. It was hardcore alright. Hardcore shape shifting porn. Bad ass? More like ass-less chaps. The books still had a thinly veiled story line so I can see where the confusion comes in. But here’s a good way to know you’re not reading anything but smut, when every page you randomly turn to has a sex scene.
I’m not saying LKH is a bad writer. I think she has a great story-telling ability. I wish I could write half as well as the first Anita Blake books were written. I know I’m all but destined to write my little stories and have my friends and family read them only. I’m okay with this. I write because I love to tell a story. So some of you may not think that qualifies me to criticize a highly paid author, but as a consumer and avid reader I think I have a right to voice my opinion.
I’m not saying don’t buy her stuff. I never would do that. I think there’s a lot of people who would LOVE it. And that’s awesome. Great for you. Me? I still mourn the loss of my once beloved series. There’s a void that will never be quite filled. Some say it’s been rebooted, that it’s better now. It just left such a bad taste in my mouth I don’t know if I can bring myself to face the disappointment.
Thankfully, over the years I have discovered amazing authors and series that I can read; Authors that just keep coming up with more and more awesome. So a brief thank you to some of the authors who gave me faith in the publishing industry again.
And to you Anita. I hope someday we can meet again and our meeting will be a joyous one.