Book Review: Cerulean Sins by Laurell K. Hamilton

September 18, 2020 Book Reviews 0

Book Review: Cerulean Sins by Laurell K. Hamilton

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cerulean Sins by Laurell K. Hamilton
Genres: Horror, Erotic Romance
Published by Berkley on September 2004
Pages: 547
Format: Paperback
Source: my own shelves

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Also by this author: Lunatic Café, Bloody Bones, A Lick of Frost, Killing Dance, Dead Ice, Crimson Death, Serpentine, "Wounded", Fantastic Hope

Eleventh in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter erotic paranormal fantasy horror series and revolving around a conflicted vampire hunter in St Louis, Missouri.

My Take

I do love Anita. She don’t take no shit, lol. Although she is listening to Marianne when it comes to karmic debt. Lucky for Anita that she has been listening! She is also amazingly prudish.

That prudishness creates all sorts of issues within the story. Asher’s frustration with her indecision; her hot-again, cold-again approach; her stubborn refusal to learn anything about Jean-Claude; Asher’s and Anita’s desperate need-lots-of-therapy issues; the deal Jean-Claude made with Belle to keep Asher alive — and the horror of it…

Jean-Claude discovers that lust is not love and tries to explain it to Belle Morte. Who still doesn’t understand the difference. Musette is even worse. Well, she does prefer torturing people, just as much as Valentina enjoys it. The only way Anita and Jean-Claude can save Asher from the torture is for Anita to accept him into their bed. And she discovers that sex with Asher comes with orgasmic flashbacks — we know this because Hamilton uses first person protagonist point-of-view from Anita’s perspective. It’s gonna make her work-a-day life difficult.

That Belle Morte is something else. Her “toys” aren’t allowed to ignore her, and she leeches on to Jean-Claude, sending taunting reminders of cruelties of the past. We also learn how desirable Belle needs to believe she is, and the threat this poses to Anita.

There are plenty of side stories in this, including Stephen and Gregory’s awful childhood; Jason psychoanalyzing Anita’s love life — sounds pretty accurate to me! — he’s pretty excited too that Anita finally seems him as a guy; Jason also making an excellent point about humans killing more humans than the shapeshifters; the vampire customs that are revealed before the feast; and, then there are the horrors that touch Valentina and Bartolomé. Phew…

Admittedly, Anita doesn’t have a good track record what with people leaving her, making her feel not good enough. Unfortunately, her reputation is out there, and it’s only a stroke of luck — and her karma? — that saves Anita.

“You can’t fall madly in love with Jean-Claude, or anyone else, because you’ve divided your world up into different parts with each of them. Because no one man has your whole world, no one man can rock your whole world.”

It’s so sweet…Anita is reading out loud with Micah and Nathaniel, giving Nathaniel a piece of the childhood he’d never had.

Hoo boy! Dolph passes a line when he goes after Anita…he insists she choose, and he’s cutting her out of crime scenes. As for Richard, I liked him at first, but not no more. No sirree. The man’s an absolute jerk. Sure, I liked his wanting everyone to be equal, but it doesn’t work in a wolf pack. Nor does he have any strategic sense, and he is screwing up like mad.

Oh, yeah, if you’re looking for action and strong characters — as well as characters strong in their issues, oy! — this is the story for you.

“Sometimes you deal with the devil, not because you want to, but because if you don’t, someone else will.

The Story

After breaking up with Richard, Anita has settled into domesticity with Micah while still being with Jean-Claude. Then vampire power politics bares their fangs when Musette, a twisted harpie of a vampire, shows up three months early, eager to visit new torment on Jean-Claude and Asher.

Musette is bad enough, but Zerbrowski asks Anita to consult on a series of brutal killings, which seem to be the work of something…un-human.

The Characters

The brash Anita Blake, a.k.a. The Executioner, is a necromancer, a human servant, a federal marshal, the Nimir-Ra, and the Bolverk for the wolves. Micah Callahan is a leopard-shifter, the Nimir-Raj, alpha of the pard, and one of Anita’s boyfriends. Nathaniel Graison is also a leopard-shifter, Anita’s pomme de sang, and a stripper who is in love with Anita. He shares Anita with Micah. Damian is a vampire whom Anita accidentally bound to her as her vampire servant (Narcissus in Chains, 10). Ronnie Sims, a private detective, is Anita’s best friend and dating Louie, a wererat who’s a professor at Wash U and Richard’s best friend.

“I enjoy my anger, it’s the only hobby I have.”

The Pard…
…of leopard-shifters includes Cherry who’s living with Zane, Gregory (his twin, Stephen, is a werewolf), Caleb is one of Micah’s and Anita dislikes him, and Merle, who is Micah’s chief bodyguard.

The Master of the City of St Louis is…
Jean-Claude, a master vampire who is in love with Anita. Asher is Jean-Claude’s second-in-command (Burnt Offerings, 7). Centuries ago, he and Jean-Claude had had a ménage à trois with Julianna, Asher’s human servant. The snarky and flirtatious Jason Schulyer, a werewolf and stripper, is Jean-Claude’s pomme de sang. Additional vampires include Meng Die, who is a powerful master vampire with the wolf as her animal-to-call; Faust; and, Willie, the manager for The Laughing Corpse, and Hannah, the temporary manager for Danse Macabre, are a couple.

Bobby Lee, Fredo, and Claudia are wererats and part of Jean-Claude’s security team. Ernie is Jean-Claude’s human errand boy…and sometimes appetizer.

The Circus of the Damned is a combination of a live action drama with frightening themes, circus performances, side shows, and a carnival. It’s also the vampire headquarters. Guilty Pleasures is a strip club, also owned by Jean-Claude.

Belle Morte, a 2,000-year-old master vampire whose animal-to-call is the leopard, is Jean-Claude and Asher’s maker; she’s also a member of the council. The grossly insulting Musette is one of Belle’s lieutenants and a vampire bogeyman with rats as her second animal-to-call. She likes them young. Her entourage includes Angelito; the eight-year-old Valentina who had been brought over by Sebastian, a pedophile vampire — at least she hates child molesters; and, the perverse eleven-year-old Bartolomé. Paolo was one of the vampires to torture Asher and Jean-Claude; now he comes to flaunt the past.

The touchy Richard Zeeman is the other third of the triumvirate with Jean-Claude and Anita. He’s also the Ulfric, the alpha of the werewolves, and Jean-Claude’s animal-to-call. He’d rather be a junior high science teacher with 2.5 children. Sylvie is strong enough to challenge Richard. Jamil and Shang-Da are both werewolves and Richard’s Hati and Skoll, his personal bodyguards. Norman and Patricia are more of the pack who help track the terrorist.

St Louis PD
Lieutenant Dolph Storr is in charge of the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team (RIPT); Lucille is his wife. Sergeant Zerbrowski is a human Pigpen with a great sense of humor. Katie is his very neat wife. Detective Tammy Reynolds is a witch on staff and a Follower of the Way, Christianity’s version of witches. Detective Clive Perry is always precise and well-mannered.

Lieutenant Nicols would rather not have to deal with Mrs Bennington. Detective P. O’Brien never seems to be in, and she doesn’t play well with others. Detective Webster is excited about an international super spy. James is another detective. Mobile Reserves is the St. Louis answer to SWAT; Officers Elsworthy, Bates, Meyer, and Tucker are on the team captained by Parker.

Special Agent Bradley Bradford is with the Special Research Section of the FBI, set up to handle preternatural crime (Bloody Bones , 5).

Animators, Inc. is…
…the company in which Anita is a partner. Bert Vaughn is the business manager. Larry Kirkland is another necromancer, and he’s dating Tammy. The pregnant Tammy. The wedding is scheduled for October — Incubus Dreams, 12.

Mrs Bennington needs to raise Gordon Bennington, her husband. Arthur Conroy is the head lawyer at Fidelis; he and Mrs Bennington have mutual restraining orders against each other. Rex Canducci and Balfour are Conroy’s bodyguards.

Wildwood is where Officer Jenkins is on-scene along with the insulting Trooper Kennedy and the snarky Detective Rob Merlioni.

Leopold Walther Heinrick is a German national suspected of almost every large crime you could think of. It seems that Roy Van Anders is a compatriot of his. Leo Harlan, a.k.a. Harlan Knox, is a hit man wanting to raise an ancestor.

Miller is a reporter. Judith is Anita’s prejudiced stepmother. The Duchess Vicante is a whole ‘nother story about Jean-Claude’s practice with silk sheets. Chimera had been the pard’s old leader (Narcissus in Chains, 10). Father Mike is Anita’s priest. Aaron is Richard’s older brother. Marianne is a Wiccan and Anita’s teacher (Blue Moon, 8).

The Mother of All Darkness is the primordial dark, the very first vampire as well as a shape-shifter. She’s also known as the Mother of all Vampires, Mother Gentle, Marme, Sweet Mother, Sweet Dark, and more. She founded the European Council of Vampires, gave them their rules and their civilization. We met the Beastmaster, Padma, in Burnt Offerings.

The Earthmover had been a member of the council (Circus of the Damned, 3). Yvette had been another nightmare in Burnt Offerings. Renfields are humans who are blood donors and want to be vampires. Humans Against Vampires is a hate group. Nikolaos had been the Master of the City before Jean-Claude (Guilty Pleasures, 1). The Erato is the role of the female wolf who helps new werewolves control themselves during sex.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a deep mint green with a one-inch black border at the top. The author’s name is in yellow with the first name in the black and the last name below it in the green. A narrow peach line separates the text with an info blurb part of the separation. A testimonial is in the black on the left with the series information, also in black, at the bottom right. Centered in the green is a giant kilt pin.

The title is all about Jean-Claude and his blue eyes, those Cerulean Sins.

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