I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
Published by Berkley Books on August 7, 2018
Source: the library
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Also by this author: Lunatic Café, Bloody Bones, A Lick of Frost, Killing Dance, Dead Ice, Crimson Death, "Wounded", Fantastic Hope
Twenty-sixth in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter erotic paranormal fantasy series and revolving around a US Marshal and vampire executioner. The focus is on Ted and Donna’s wedding.
Hamilton must be listening to all those readers complaining about all the sex, as there is almost nothing here. I don’t think her heart was in this one, because it’s pretty boring with not much excitement. Instead, it’s full of whining, omigod so much whining, with Dixie being such a bitch, the juvenile banter and arguing between Anita and her people, Anita’s whining about her losses in Ireland — and yeah, it was a horrible experience, especially when one of their own died. I get that. But the way Hamilton has Anita going on and on about it. Oy.
I do not understand why Donna would keep Dixie in her bridal party?!? And that Rodina. Jeez, what a downer she is. She doesn’t like being Anita’s funeral dirge, and she’s sure bitchy about serving Anita…so, why does Anita even use her on her security team? Is it just so that Hamilton can fill out more pages with whining?
I loved Anita’s definition of “good”; it’s a much more realistic interpretation, and one I prefer. It’s certainly more Christian!
There were so many oddities in this, emotionally, that I kept waiting for the big reveal…which ended up being much too simple. It didn’t feel like an Anita Blake story.
I’m suspecting that the theme in this is secrets and secret identities. How lying can come back to bite you.
Why are Donna and Ted having their wedding in Florida? The tension between them ratchets up, and Hamilton doesn’t really go anywhere with this. Instead she spends so much time on Anita’s whining — that first person protagonist point-of-view means Anita does a LOT of whinging — when Hamilton should have run with the drama on all those cases popping up.
We get a bit of Spotted-Horse’s background while Olaf talks about his serial-killing preferences as well as his desire to “date” Anita.
There are quite a few info dumps that are, well, simply dumped in, although it’s not as bad as Crimson Death, 25. The best I can say for it is that a wedding goes on.
It’s a new case that has Micah on edge, a new kind of shapeshifter that isn’t actually a shapeshifter with a family he needs to help. He’s not the only one on edge, either. Nathaniel is desperate to have some alone time with his lovers…without their work getting in the way.
It really isn’t Anita’s fault that Dixie’s long-simmering resentment leads to a big blowout within the wedding party, but it’s worse when the cops look to her friends and lovers as the prime suspects when women start going missing.
Anita Blake (codename “Kitten” and nicknamed “Adler“) is known by the vampires as “The Executioner” and by the shifters as “War“, one of the four Horsemen of the US Marshals, and she’s Ted’s best man. A necromancer and succubus, she’s got a slew of lycanthropy types inside her (the only animals-to-call that Anita doesn’t have are a lion, a rat, and a hyena), and she’s the Nimir-Raj of the leopards.
She’s also engaged to Jean-Claude; Micah Callahan (codename “Wolverine“), a wereleopard and Nimir-Rah to the local pard, who is also the head of the Furry Coalition; and, Nathaniel Graison (codename “Robin“), another wereleopard and a stripper (whose stage name is “Brandon”) at Guilty Pleasures, who is helping Donna plan the wedding.
On this trip, Bram, a werehyena, is Micah’s head bodyguard. Nicky Murdock, Anita’s Bride and a werelion who is part of their polyamorous group. Rodina and Ru, former Harlequin guards in Crimson Death, are now Nathaniel’s bodyguards. On this trip, they want to be known as Dr Morgan Erwin (with a history doctorate), and Dr Wyatt Erwin (with a doctorate in literature). They have also been Rosemary, Rowan (Rodrigo), and Rue Erwin.
Kirke Key, Florida, is…
…where the wedding will take place at a hotel. Roberto is part of the staff. Herbie’s is a local restaurant-cum-bar where Cleo Stavros works. The pregnant Christy is married to Andy Stavros, a drunk his family wants nothing to do with.
Kirke Key PD
Captain Tyburn is amazing. Officer Dunley and Detective Terry Rankin are both jerks. Officer Evans won’t allow Anita in. Officer Angela Dalton is their official psychic. Detective Lin is confused. Officer Milford is in charge of the video. The FDLE is the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The wedding party
Donna Parnell is Edward/Ted’s fiancée and the bride-to-be (Frank was her first husband). Edward, a.k.a., “Death“, is a cold-blooded assassin who specializes [and enjoys the challenge] in killing any kind of monster. His alter ego and public persona, Ted Forrester, was a bounty hunter and is now a US Marshal with the Preternatural Branch. Anita is his regular partner. Donna’s children are the nineteen-year-old Peter who is filling out (and one of the groomsmen) and the eleven-year-old dance fanatic, Becca; Ted considers them his.
Denise “Denny” is the maid of honor. Dixie Carlitos is one of Donna’s oldest friends and another bridesmaid whom Donna should dump right now. Ray is Dixie’s husband while Benji is their son who couldn’t wait to go to an out-of-state school. Lucy, a practicing Wiccan, is another bridesmaid and Donna’s partner in their metaphysical shop.
The too-totally hot Bernardo Spotted-Horse (“Hunger“) and the scary Otto Jeffries (“Plague“; nicknamed “Holmes“) are also US Marshals with the Preternatural Branch. Bernardo is one for the ladies and has the fourth-highest kill count among the marshals while Otto, a.k.a., Olaf, is a serial killer (and has been a werelion for the past two years) who wants to date Anita.
Ted’s friends include one of his oldest friends, Lieutenant Colonel Muhamad (Frankie) Franklin and his wife, Carol, along with their daughter Ellie who is one of the flower girls, and Sheriff Rufous Martinez and his wife, Marisol.
There’s a second wedding party at the hotel
Paul is the groom; the bride is a blonde. The desperate Bettina Gonzales is one of the bride’s best friends along with Stephanie and Valerie Miller. Randy is on the groom’s side.
Jean-Claude (codename “Renard“), a vampire, is the new king of American vampires and home base is in the basement of the Circus of the Damned. Claudia, a wererat, is head of security at the Circus. Fredo, another wererat, is usually her second-in-command but is currently off on contract work overseas. Kaazim, servant to Queenie, and Jake Pennyfeather, a wolf shifter, are ex-Harlequin and part of Micah’s security team. “Pud” Custer and “Millie” Millington (an ex-Navy SEAL) are on Anita’s security team at the start. Pepita “Peppy” is partnered with Roger Parks.
Professor Zeke Wolf, a werewolf, writes poetry as therapy. Melanie, a.k.a., Echidna, is a lamia. Dead Dave was forced to retire when he was bitten by a vampire while on the job. Now he runs a bar.
The Coalition for Better Understanding Between Human and Lycanthrope Communities is…
…better known as the Furry Coalition, helping to keep people and lycanthropes safe.
The Harlequin had been the elite bodyguards, spies, and assassins for the Mother of All Darkness. Polyamorous is a consensual non-monogamy in which all the people involved love each other. A dependapotamus is a woman who hangs around military bases and preys on the young soldiers. Judith is Anita’s stepmother.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a white background with teal shadows of snake scales with Anita’s white, white face pressing up through it, her bright red lips slightly parted, two thin dark curls trailing across her face and entwined with a multi-teal snake slithering down from top to bottom…ick… An info blurb is at the very top in a deep red with the author’s name below it in an embossed metallic red. Beneath Anita’s chin is the series information in a deep teal with the title in that same embossed metallic red at the very bottom.
The title relates to Anita treading a Serpentine path through her relationships and the monster.