Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Copyright Date: June 5, 2012
Number of discs: 10
Narrated by: Kimberly Alexis
Genre: Horror/Urban Fantasy
Book Rating: Do I have to? Bah. Fine. D. Minus.
Audio Performance Rating: A, but only because she does a great job rising above the material.
From the publisher: Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton returns with another exciting, thrilling and addictive adventure for her vampire hunting heroine Anita Blake. I knew without doubt that if any more of the vampires tried to attack us I’d kill them, too, regardless of apparent age, race, sex, or religious affiliations. I was an equal-opportunity executioner; I killed everybody. My name is Anita Blake and I am a vampire hunter and necromancer, as well as a US Marshal. So when a fifteen-year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it’s up to me to find her. And when I do, I’m faced with something I’ve never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people – kids, grandparents, soccer moms – all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving their vampire master. And where there’s one martyr, I know there will be more…But even vampires have monsters that they’re afraid of. And I’m one of them…
I tried, ya’ll. I really did. I read, and mostly enjoyed, the first two books in the Anita Blake series and I’ve even read the graphic novel adaptation of her first book, Guilty Pleasures. It was a different take on the genre and I found it engrossing. I was in college when I first discovered the series and to be honest I really didn’t have time to read for fun. So it had been a while since the last time I picked up an Anita Blake book. Things have changed. A lot.
This is less horror/urban fantasy and more soft-core porn. SPOILER ALERT (seriously, if you have any plans on reading this book and you have not read it yet, stop reading now), this book is about 50% violence and 50% graphic and unapologetic sex. Literally, one of the characters dies because he was screwed to death. I’m not kidding. That’s not a weird typo, it actually happened. Anita Black is polyamorous (she loves more than one person at a time and has no objection to group sex) and apparently suffers from a condition called “The Ardeur.” Which basically means she feeds off the essence of sex. So she has lots of sex. Bunches of it.
Straight up, I stopped listening when she killed the dude by feeding her ardeur during crazy, monkey sex in the shower. It was just so over the top and none of the sex scenes were titillating. It’s possible I’m a prude-I mean didn’t exactly jump all over the mommy-porn bandwagon (I’m looking at you 50 Shades…), but on the other hand, I have certainly read plenty of smut in my time. I’m just not feelin’ it, Laurell K. Hamilton. You are a very good writer in technical terms. I wasn’t cringing over bad grammar or anything. But I could not get invested in the story. At all. I didn’t care that Anita sex-killed one of her honeys. The only reaction I had was similar to my reaction at the ending of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. And my reaction to that was less enthused and more “agggghhhhhh!!! Two hours of my life goooooonnnnnnneeee!!!!!!” So that’s probably a bad thing that you didn’t make me care.
In fairness, I’m clearly not her audience. Just puttin’ that out there… Perhaps, this series needs to be classified under Erotica as well. I’m not judging Erotica, so if you love reading that particular genre, please don’t think I’m trying to shame you. I’m not and I fully believe you should read what you love. I’m just pointing out that it would help first-time readers know what to expect.
The Audio Performance:
Kimberly Alexis needs an award, stat. She spewed the most ridiculous lines of dialogue with perfect conviction. She’s a great actor reading bad material.
Bottom Line: No. Just…no.
Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Penguin Audio. I received no compensation for this review, and the thoughts/opinions expressed are entirely my own. Kiss the Dead is available in stores now in book and electronic book format, as well as audio.