This book opened with one brief chapter of talking/whining/angsting, and immediately moved on to three straight chapters of sex.
I don't care how many people are involved, how many different positions they go through, and whether or not they're drinking blood and/or shifting into different animals: there is never, ever an excuse for a description of fucking to go on longer than a chapter.
So, why did I read this dreck?
Because once upon a time, the Anita Blake series did not suck.
I started reading around the time the third book, Circus of the Damned, was released, and I still maintain that the second book, The Laughing Corpse, was the best of the series. Laurel Hamilton had found her voice, and the editors were still willing to do their damned jobs, Anita was still adamant that she didn't date monsters, she killed them, and it produced a really enjoyable mystery/action story with plenty of literal monsters of the human and inhuman kind. If you like the Dresden Files, you'll probably really enjoy the early Anita Blake books.
However, if you haven't started on them, all I can say is: Don't! Save yourself now!
Holy flying, fucking werewolves, did these books ever start to suck.
Why am I still reading? Because I was duped into caring about the characters back when they didn't suck. This is, however, the very first series to go from books I'd check out from the library to books I'd purchase as soon as they were released to books I'll eventually read when I pick up a used copy on the cheap at the local Friends of the Library book sale.
Which is exactly how I ended up with my copy of Blood Noir, and if it weren't for the fact that my $2 went to support my favorite library system, I'd be whining about being ripped off.
This particular time around, Anita finds out that Jason (werewolf, friend, occasional fuck buddy, and Jean Claude's regular food) has to go home to see his dying son of a bitch father (because there is not a single character in this entire series who has a good relationship with their family, as though Mrs. Hamilton has somehow determined that you can't be interesting unless you've got the appropriate tragic back story to go along with it). There is much whining from all the other men in her life, but she still packs up and flies off to meet the family.
Blah, blah, confrontations with family, blah, more sex, blah, lots of whining and personality deconstructing, blah, blah, lots more sex we at least don't have to read about, blah, blah, the plot finally shows up and people die.
There was actually considerably less sex in this book than in the last few, and we're at least blessedly spared the two day fucking marathon (which, had it been described in the usual manner, would have made the book at least four times as long and sixteen times more unbearable).
I'm so sick of this series, and I'm not sure why I'm still compelled to pick them up. Anita Blake is a detestable woman--she's selfish to an absolute fault, even when it's come to her attention that she's somehow hurting someone she'd have you believe she cares about. She'll only act to fix the problem when and if she decides she can 'handle' it, and she's obsessed with having the moral high ground, even when she's lying on her living room floor in the sticky leavings from her most recent round of sex with a minimum of two men. which is always accidental. How many times can you accidentally fuck multiple men before it's not really an accident anymore? I swear to God, this woman can no longer cross a room without tripping and landing on a dick. And the men surrounding her are their own special breed of pussy whipped (a phrase I find contemptible, but highly appropriate in this one case).
And the sex is mind-bogglingly boring. Or maybe I just have an abnormally high tolerance for violent vampire and lycanthrope group sex. Have you seen what's lurking in the depths of fanfic.net? Forget the furries. Once you've read Dumbledore topping Hagrid, you can handle anything.
Also, I absolutely love psychoanalyzing my characters. I totally corner hapless friends into discussions involving characters they've somehow been involved with, and it does help me work out all kinds of issues and smooth out personalities and all the ticks and quirks that go along with them. But all of that needs to happen in the background, where it's reflected on the page in actions, words, and deeds, not agonizingly poured over by the characters themselves.
I wanted to say that with a competent editor wielding a machete, this could possibly have been chopped into shape, but I'm not sure that would be true. This could maybe pass as a novella or a short story, and I think there were all kinds of details that fell by the wayside that could have better served the story itself (Jason only saw his dad twice? Really? There was a possible war between vampire masters of cities, and it was barely mentioned? Spoiler--a master of a city freakin' died and it barely gets a mention in the final wrap up? What the fuck? Endeth Spoiler).
At this point, Anita Blake can go fuck a duck (she's already doing a swan, so it's not too far out of point).
I need a drink and a good book.
Next up: Maledicte.