The Killing Dance (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 6)

The Killing Dance - Laurell K. Hamilton Anita is faced with a new challenge- a professional hitman. For vast sum of money, someone is paying professionals to kill her – and kill her quickly. In many ways this is far more terrifying than anything she has faced before – she has faced witches and werewolves, vampires and even faeries all with murderous intent, but never a coldly professional human killing her for business. And never one willing to use modern technology to do it.She and Edward have to find a way to keep her alive and, for preference draw out both the hitmen and the person paying for them so they can be put out of business. Permanently.Alas, she can’t focus on anything so simple as a death threat – not with werewolf politics playing such a large role. Tensions between Richard and his pack leader, Marcus are getting ever higher, with the pack splitting in half between the two contenders. Richard could defeat Marcus – but the only way to be the new king is to kill the old one – something Richard refuses to do. Marcus and Raina have no such compunctions and are doing their best to use his morality – and his vulnerable people – against him.There’s also a visitor in town. Sabin is a vampire who has given up blood and has suffered from a virulent disease because of it, rotting alive. It’s hoped that Anita’s powers as a Necromancer may be able to cure him. But to do that involves Anita exploring her powers with both Richard and Jean-Claude and discovering how their magic can work together – which could also be useful in making Marcus and Raina back down.And of course, there is the big relationship conflict. Anita and Richard go ever closer but Jean-Claude is still there, demanding equal time. Anita has to make her choice – and deal with the fallout of it when she does. To say nothing of the standard dramas of vampire politics, new arrivals and the drama they can bring.As ever with Anita Blake, I love how we have several separate storylines yet they all come together. Anita has a busy life but you see how the threads are connected at the end. The only thing I will say is that it’s becoming expected now – an established part of Hamilton’s style that we don’t expect side-plots to be side-plots per se, but more likely a separate branch of the main plot we haven’t seen yet. Still it’s interesting, really well done, comes together elegantly with excellent pacing and the right amount of attention paid to each line. The clues are there, even if you don’t put them together until hindsight. It’s, in short, a brilliant mystery story. Well paced, information well delivered and action, tension and theme well maintained. The world building was also extremely well done, there were some lectures but always within appropriate context and never just info-dumped. Questions were answered but not over explained and plenty was shown as well as told.I like the wordiness of Anita’s point of view, it sets them theme, adds context, world building and wonderful snarky commentary as well as having an almost noir feeling to it. It is something I’ve liked in previous books as well. But this book definitely crosses the line into over-description, especially with the men. There is too much description of how she and Richard interacts, of what Richard looks like and even of Richard’s house – I really didn’t need an itemised list of Richard’s furniture, or details like his washing up. And with so many vampires and people in spiffy clothes, there was just a lot more excessively lenthy description here that became dull and overdone. Some pages felt skippable simply because so much time was spent on Anita describing things or Richard’s angst train going round and round in circles.There’s an interesting theme that’s ongoing about Richard’s self-acceptance and whether he could even endure Anita’s acceptance of him since he hates what he is so much. If she accepts him, when he is so awful, then doesn’t that say bad things about Anita? There’s a similarly huge conflict over Richard’s idealism. His morals aren’t wrong – but are they appropriate for his situation? And it’s all very well being willing to die for your convictions, but what about when people have supported you and rely on you for protection? What do you do to protect those you love and care about? Which, of course, also brings us to Sabin’s situation. To say nothing of Anita’s increasing willingness to kill when necessary.Read More