Laurell K. Hamilton (Author), Stacie M. Ritchie (Illustrator), Brett Booth (Illustrator)
Fusing mythology, werewolves, and vampires with a story loaded with mystery, action, and romance, the Anita Blake novels take place in a world where vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of nightmare have been declared legal citizens of the United States. Anita Blake is an “animator” – a profession that involves raising the dead for a living. She is also known as a fearsome hunter of criminal vampires, and she moonlights by investigating cases that are far too much for “conventional” police. But as Anita gains the attention of the vampire masters in her hometown of St. Louis, she also risks revealing an intriguing secret about herself – the source of her unusual strength and power. Watch as Anita goes up against fierce obstacles and is forced to make tough choices. What price will Anita pay in order to save her friend’s life and solve the Vampire Murders? Will she actually kiss Phillip? How far will Edward go in order to find out where the daytime resting place of the Master Vampires truly is?

Collect Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures #1-12. Published October 14th 2009 by Marvel Comics (first published 2007)

Anita Blake, 24 years old, is an animator (person who raises zombies) and works for Animator’s Inc. In the Guilty Pleasures editions we follow her as she is hired to investigate why vampires are turning up dead throughout the city. She also works on retainer for the local police department and between the two jobs she barely has time to eat or sleep, let alone have a social life. After a night out at a vampire bar called Guilty Pleasures she ends up getting put in a dungeon with Wererats, She escapes and is brought to the young, childlike and meanest vampire of the all, the current master of the city, Nicolaus.

Anita is a stubborn, hardened fighter. She never gives up information, she’s not afraid to shoot first and ask questions later. In her line of business she is always on call and can run for days off a cup of coffee. There were often times that I could see why the night creatures wanted to murder her, she was an expert at avoiding direct questions and escaping danger.  Anita only gets in deeper when she asks a friend to help her get more information on the inside circle of the vampires to find out who may be behind the murders.

By doing her job, she is always putting herself and others in danger. But when it comes to danger, she knows how to play the role and she’s not always lucky. Covered in scars and lucky to be alive, she has more enemies to deal with than allies.

The full colored glossy pages add to the action and visual enhancement to the story. The mature content leans more towards the gore and bad language than sex, although the insinuations are constantly there. I was surprised to see so much dialogue and content and I found it the closest conversion of a novel to graphic novel that I have seen. This particular complete volume had some of my favorite artwork and vibrant colors. It would be hard enough to convert full length novels to graphic art forms, but to be able to keep all the major characters, plot points and even sub-plots is what these graphic novels do well.

Although Anita never seems to miss a beat, and has a major attitude problem, she is good at what she does. She is smart and more likely somebody you’d rather have close to you than as an enemy. She only has one close friend who we get introduced to, but they would do anything for each other. This is a great way to show Anita’s more human side and sometimes it’s a nice break from all the fighting and raising of the dead.

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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