Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Circus of the Damned

Level: Explicit Lite
Genre: Urban Fantasy > Vampire
Obtained: Purchased at Border's
Reviewed by: Nic Echo

Not pleasing to the eye at all. First off, there is the colour. Now, browns can work, and I can easily see why they chose brown, but the colour just seems bland with this design. Speaking of the design, what is going on here? Obviously, the artist is trying to tie in the cover with the book, and I love that they are doing that, but they could have done something much nicer (such as the French cover shown below). Here, it's just ... I don't want to say a mess, but it always seems unfinished to me. A lot of that would have to be the scales on the girl. Realistic scales can be damn difficult to do. The ones here look like the artist simply took a scale pattern and overlayed it onto the model. I'm actually wondering if the cover would have been better without the scales. Then, there is the snake. This snake has always bothered me. I think it would have worked a lot better if they just had a snake next to the girl instead of this tattoo turning into a snake thing that they have going on. The transition isn't all that great. You have the crisp, clear lines of the tattoo portion, the sharpness of the real snake, and then a blurry portion where the two meet. It's distracting. As far as covers go, this isn't the worse one out there, but it really should have been tossed and reworked.

About the Book:
In this third installment of Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series, there are several murders happening that seem to be the work of a rogue group of vampires. Meanwhile, Anita is still having issues with Jean-Claude, master of St. Louis, who is wanting Anita to become his human servant. The thing is Anita isn't willing to gamble her soul, not even for immortality. Unfortunately, the master vampire from the rogue group isn't going to give Anita the choice.

Rating: 9/10
Rereading these always reminds me of why I fell in love with the Anita Blake series, how much they can grab you and hold you. Circus of the Damned is no different. That's not to say it's not without its flaws, but overall, it is a very entertaining read. Even with the repetitive phrases (ri-ight being one of many) and the cheesy clothing taken from the 80's (and this is coming from someone who loves the 80's), Hamilton managed to create several memorable characters, which you found yourself rooting for time and time again. Seriously, I would hate Anita as a person and yet I want her to succeed.

So what is there to like about Circus of the Damned? Well, I admit that really enjoyed the villain and the reason behind what he was doing. I don't want to give anything away, but his reasoning made sense. Now, a lot of people that I have talked with had had an issue with how he was defeated. Again, without giving too much away, he agrees to limit his powers in a duel. Personally, I thought it made sense why he limited himself, but many others disagree. This seems to be a huge deciding factor how much someone liked the book. Even if you found the villain a bit lame, there should still be plenty to make it an entertaining enough read. There are giant snakes, werewolves in action, and even a lamia.

Honestly, from what I recall, the main downfall I had with this book was Anita herself, especially with how she treated Larry. For those who don't know, Larry is the new animator (zombie raiser) that Bert hired. When Anita first meets Larry, he is raising a zombie. Anyway, he doesn't have the energy to control said zombie. Needless to say, Anita saves the day from potential danger and tells Larry off.  This I have no problem with, but later, she keeps going on and on about how dangerous their job -- to the point where people come after them. Um ... Anita, me thinks that you are getting your animating job confused with vampire slaying. Yes, we later find out that Larry wants to be a vampire hunter, but until then, Anita is saying that animating is the dangerous job. I'm not saying it can't be, but not to the point that she is implying. If it was, I doubt people like Charles, who strongly dislikes violence, would be an animator. I don't know; maybe it's a bit of a nitpick, but it kept getting brought up, and Anita was never really shown as being wrong.

Overall though, I still found Circus of the Damned really enjoyable, even though I have a severe disliking for the author and what the series has become. Sure it has its flaws, but it manages to pull me into Anita's world every single time, and I still find myself recommending the earlier books to several people.

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