June 11, 2015

Book Review || Dead Ice by LKH

Dead Ice
Anita Blake #24
Laurell K. Hamilton

Published: 09 June, 2015

Berkley, hardcover, 576p.
ISBN: 978-0-425-25571-1

Anita Blake has the highest kill count of any vampire executioner in the country. She’s a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since she and master vampire Jean-Claude went public with their engagement, all she is to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancĂ©e.

It’s wreaking havoc with her reputation as a hard ass—to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, she’s still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.

Someone is producing zombie porn. Anita has seen her share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother her. But the women being victimized aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signaling voodoo of the blackest kind.

It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And Anita’s own soul may not survive unscathed . . .

After the sex fueled story-lines of recent books I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading Dead Ice at the restraint shown in that department.  As I'd hoped, we were back in the zombie raising world, {yippee!} and Anita's latest case has some surprising connections to The Laughing Corpse that I found very interesting.

In her latest case, Anita is confronted with a near perfect zombie that has been raised for use for an online sex trade.  As awful as that is, the discovery that someone has managed to return her soul to her body makes it even worse.  A thinking, feeling zombie that must obey it's master every order ...
But for all the synopsis rambles on about this case, I would have to say that the main focus of the story is still on Anita's private life.  We spend more time in the Circus than we do chasing down leads, but even then I still found this book to be more engaging than previous titles.  The refreshing absence of ardeur driven sex let me focus more on the behind the scene dynamics, and the continual problem that some of the characters are posing to the consolidation of the Vampire King's power base. 

Yes, once again, Asher is being a major dick.  I won't tell you what it is exactly that he does, but it's enough to get all the factions totally pissed off.  Asher may have to deal with some serious consequences to the petty and juvenile shit he pulls in Dead Ice {perhaps in the next book?}.  

I think that the time has come for our dear Asher to either be killed off, leave the country, or to just grow up.  His continual poor behaviour isn't really adding much to the story, apart from my growing dislike of his character.  The jealousy, the manipulative games and petty actions he inflicts on those he supposedly loves and holds dear is such a dick move.  It's so frustrating.  Is Asher going to become the next Richard?  God, I hope not.

Speaking of Richard, all of the usual characters are present and accounted for in Dead Ice.  While I appreciate the fact that we're not really in an arduer inspired lust-fest, I do find the continual stable of men that Anita is tied to annoying and detracting from the story.  I'm usually trying to place which fuzzy faction they belong to, and where I've encountered them before.  Micah and Dev undergo some startling changes, and Anita is experiencing another power boost.  Then there is still the whole lesbian angle being explored {I'd hoped that was done with after Jason}, and there are a few new candidates to add to her already large stable of sexual partners.  I recently re-read the first three books, and I find it amazing how much Anita has changed.  She's still just as ruthless, but this blase attitude regarding the astonishing number of guys, and now girls, that can now be found in her bed is so alien from the Anita we were introduced to in Guilty Pleasures.  What would the Anita of book one think of this Anita?  Hmmmm...

So what does this mean for the future?  Well, I'm hoping that some of the changes made in Dead Ice are just a jumping off point for future books.  I'm hoping that a few more people will be under consideration for being axed from her extensive list of lovers.  Micah's new problem could add an additional amount of tension, could be interesting, but I'd like at least one of her lovers to remain a constant in her life.  Asher needs sorting out (perhaps permanently?), and that a less sex based book will become a permanent feature.   I'll definitely be checking out the next book, and if it's anything like Dead Ice then perhaps the Anita Blake books will go back onto my list of standing orders.

This book totally sucked me in and I devoured it in one sitting (just over 5 hours).  A perfect way to spend a chilly Winter afternoon.  If you love LKH books, are a former Anita Blake fan, or just an urban fantasy junky (must read series in order), then I'd recommend that you give this a go.

Let me know if you've read Dead Ice, and what you thought of it.  Will you continue on with the series, or have you given up on it?

Until next time.

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