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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Review: Flirt (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 16.5) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Flirt has been billed as another in-between-novella, and has been compared to Micah. I'm not sure that's terribly accurate. I'm pretty sure you could skip the Micah novella and not be lost in the series. But if you don't read Flirt then I think you're going to be wondering about a few pretty important things when Bullet comes out.

I am not part of the crowd that thinks the Anita Blake books all went in the crapper years ago. The only book so far that I absolutely didn't like was Micah. There have been a few others that I didn't love, but none besides Micah that I'd say I felt like I'd wasted my time by reading them.

I'm still figuring out how I feel about Flirt. There were a few things that got on my nerves this time, kind of a same-old-same-old annoyance, but that doesn't mean it wasn't an entertaining read. There is not much sex in this one, but lots of very detailed sex has never really bothered me. Maybe what is bothering me is that this plot felt so contrived? I mean, plots are contrived, but I guess this one just felt a bit too contrived.

One positive thing, it seems Anita is getting better and better at not fighting her powers. She's been her own worst enemy at times in the past, so it was a little refreshing that in Flirt she has no problems using her powers as a tool, and she doesn't feel guilty about it later. Also, a big plus for this book: No Richard. I seriously wish he could die and be put out of our misery at this point. Either that or make him grow the hell up.

To look at the mechanics of the book for a minute, the dialogue was good and the pacing was good, but as I said earlier the plot felt too mechanical. I'm used to plots that come out of left field and slap you upside the head from Ms. Hamilton, but this plot was pretty textbook.

Without giving spoilers, I will say that there has been kind of a loose end flying in the wind for years now, and I'm thinking that we're finally about to see that loose end tied off. I don't know that we'll like the way it gets tied off, but the events of this book bring it back into focus, and since I've really wanted that particular loose end dealt with, I'm really interested in seeing what happens in Bullet.

So now the big question: What do I rate Flirt? I have to be honest and say I don't think this 192 page book is worth the $12.00 price tag Amazon is currently selling it for, and certainly not the $23.95 list price. Is it wrong that I feel like I could rate it one point higher if this were a $7.00 paperback? I don't know, I just feel like, for the price they are asking, they are claiming it's a much better (and longer) book than it really is. I'm going to give the book a 5 of 10. But I will leave the series at a 9 of 10.

Book Rating: Flirt: 5 of 10
Series Rating: Anita Blake: 9 of 10

The worldbuilding, the complexity of the relationships, the complexity of the metaphysics - all of these things make this a really interesting series. Some of the books are better than others though, and this one was not one of the best.

I currently have Flirt listed as 16.5 in the series, even though Amazon is listing it as book 18. I've done that based on some thinks LKH has stated on her blog, but if it looks like everyone is going to settle on this being a part of the series and not just an in-between book then obviously I'll have to change that.

1. Guilty Pleasures
2. The Laughing Corpse
3. Circus of the Damned
4. The Lunatic Cafe
5. Bloody Bones
6. The Killing Dance
7. Burnt Offerings
8. Blue Moon
9. Obsidian Butterfly
10. Narcissus in Chains
11. Cerulean Sins
12. Incubus Dreams
12.5. Micah
13. Danse Macabre
14. The Harlequin
15. Blood Noir (2008)
16. Skin Trade (2009)
16.5 Flirt (Feb 2010)
17. Bullet (June 2010)

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