By Laurell K. Hamilton
Now the old bastasrd's dying and I won't have the time to forgive him before he goes...
Jason Schuyler is a werewolf. He's also one of Anita Blake's best friends, and sometimes her lover. And right now he needs her - not to be vampire hunter, or a federal marshal, or a necromancer, or even for her rank in the werewolf pack, but because his father is dying. He needs Anita because she's a pretty woman who loves him, who can make him look like an everyday guy, who agrees to go home with him and help him say good-bye to the abusive father he never loved. The fact that Jason is about as much an everyday guy as Anita is a pretty woman is something they figure they can keep under wraps for a couple of days in a small town. How hard can that be?
Really, by now, Anita Blake should know better.
Marmee Noir, ancient mother of all vampires, picks this weekend to make a move. Somehow she has cut the connection that binds Anita and Jean-Claude, leaving Jean-Claude unable to sense what is happening. Dangerous even as she sleeps, buried in darkness for a thousand years somewhere beneath the old country of Europe, Marmee Noir reaches out toward her power. She has attacked Anita before, but never like this. In Anita she senses what she needs to make her enemies tremble...
Oh my, this has got to be the most exciting Anita Blake yet! I'm writing this review right after I read for six hours straight and I am on an adrenaline high.
Blood Noir is Jason's story in a way and we really get a sense of him as a person.
I have always liked Jason but now I really like Jason. I enjoyed finding out about his past, his issues with his family and indeed, with the very town he grew up in. Laurell K. Hamilton has the richest and most vibrant imagination and I loved how she brought him more alive for me.
Jason has always been the fun guy, the friend and has been on the edge of the triangle that is Jean Claude, Richard and Anita. He has also been a part of many major points in Anita's life and Blood Noir just enriched it on a totally new and amazing level. Just wait until you get a look at some of the conversations they have.
Anita is experiencing more growth in this book and more internal conflicts. She gets visited by Marme Noir and that was a scary bit--at least for Anita it was scary. For me? It was great! I couldn't read fast enough to find out what happens next. That always happens to me with Anita Blake stories. I am always astounded with the revelations because they come out in the most intriguing ways and this book continues the tradition. One thing is known, Anita also has a lot of love to give and I had to ask, will she love Jason by the end of this book? Will she have a new sweetie?
I also liked the action. There was just enough gritty suspense and altercations in this book to be similar to the take-no-prisoners kick-ass personality of the earlier books except this time it's not about her job. It's really personal and I was biting my nails because I really wasn't sure how far and where Ms. Hamilton was going to go.
A lot of people talk about there being too much sex in the Anita Blake series lately but I don't share that concern. In fact, I found this book to be the most passionate and intensely disturbing of the lot. Not for the sex scenes we read about but for the parts we don't. If that sounds cryptic, it's meant to be because there is a very important plot conflict that sends this story arc to new directions at warp speed. The ramifications of that one scene are going to shake things up for the next few books and I'm already chomping at the bit to read more.
Just wait until you see what happens with the strippers at the bachelorette party! Just wait until you find out about the bad guys and their connection to Jason. I couldn't wait and that's why I read it straight through.
Oh and get this, Richard stops by for a visit. Yes, I know that he's gotten on everyone's nerves of late but what happens is very exciting. Let's just say Richard shows up with something that turns out not to be his and he gets to leave it behind. But he gets something else instead... and didn't that shock the heck out of me! What is Ms.Hamilton going to do with that little tidbit? What is Jean Claude going to do about it? I think I'm going to enjoy watching Richard Zeeman again because this little twist is too delicious.
I love the voice of Anita's character, the writing style is crisp and active and the emotional connection between characters is clear and vital. My personal opinion is Blood Noir is very character driven and that is fine as I'm driven to get to know all my favorite characters. And Blood Noir delivers me Jason. Another thing is an unusual HEA was delivered in this story. Not what you expect because this story is a about a romance(s) in process but something else happens that gave me a really warm and fuzzy feeling and darn it all if Anita didn't help faciliate it. Anita being her own sassy and take-no-crap-from-anyone type person, you know, being herself, actually prompted a sweet thing to happen. What a wonderful touch.
For all Anita Blake followers out there, this story is another winner, sure to keep you fascinated and amazed right up until the last paragraph. It will surprise you, delight you and make you crave for more. I loved it!
Reviewed by Xeranth