The train wreck that is Laurell K. Hamilton continues...
This week sees the release of the seventeenth Anita Black, Skin Trade. Most reviews are either scathing or troobie-gushing.
Want some examples? Really? Oh, okay... these are from Amazon.com:
The five star ratings -
"I don't think she can go wrong with her books , all of them are great and i just enjoy the character creations, backgrounds and personalities that just make the characters come alive in each book!" Heather
"This was just one more amazing story that Laurell K Hamilton has written. I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this book and it did not dissapoint [sic]" Allan
After reading Skin Trade today, all I can say is ... Wwwwooooowwwww. (And I mean that in a good way.) There will always be a few out there who hate the way Laurell K Hamilton writes. It may be because they don't like the way her characters change (some that her characters change at all) or they don't like how her character deal with emotional issues or they don't like the pacing of her novel. I for one love the series." SBranchFlemming
And the one stars -
"Skin Trade" has a few moments of potential brilliance, but their presence only makes this sad drippy swamp all the more desolate. Disgusting, boring and frequently laughable." E.A. Solinas
"i've had enough. i have flushed enough of my hard earned dollars down this hole and i will not waste another cent on this series. in this book the sex isn't going on for pages and pages...the monotonous conversations and descriptions are.....blah blah anita's so scary...blah blah....she's so powerful....blah blah everyone wants her.... if the intention of the author was to make me despise the heroine then she has succeeded." Athena Silverwolf
"As far as I'm concerned, this series ended about 5 books back. Somewhere around book #10, this series started dying. What happened? This started out as a great series and I couldn't read the books fast enough. Now it's just dribble and pornography." D. Williams
And there's more, so much more - and little of it good. And I also note that not one of the five star reviews mention Anita, a thirty-something, having sex with a sixteen-year-old boy. Apparently, it's okay because a) it's legal in the state of Nevada, and b)The Mother of All Darkness, took Anita over to do the nasty with the boy.
I'm sorry, but... no. On so many levels, no. As a writer, there are simply some things you just don't write about. Ms Hamilton could have shown it as torture and had the heroine struggle and defeat MoAD, to resist an almost pedophillic situation. But she didn't. Instead, she showed Anita as a sexual predator; hell, you might even border on accusing Ms Hamilton of the same thing, because this is her fantasy novel.
However, I think the scene is much worse than that; I think it's the writer's own need to demonstrate how 'cutting edge' and 'controversial' she is. Given that most readers see the parallels between the characters and the writer's life, it raises some disturbing questions.
I have read a number of books in this series and thoroughly enjoyed them. It was cutting edge, original and had a fine moral conflict. But from Narcissis in Chains, the series has descended into poorly written pornography (not the erotica LKH claims), scant and unresolved plots, the emasculation of every male character, the demonising of any female character and books in dire need of a good editor - even a mediocre one would do.
Do I have a solution? Youbetcha! Edward should slaughter them all, including Anita. Or, more realistically, the vast popstar crowd of squeally girly-men Anita sleeps with should die, leaving the Vampire Hunter without solace, abandoned by the humans and a return to deeper thoughts on her actions - this time with consequences.
I'll leave you with one last quote from a review that sums it up:
"While Hamilton sprinkles in some metaphysical disasters and supernatural threats to keep things interesting, most of the book is long chapters full of bickering, whining, and Anita proving that she is the Biggest Toughest Strongest Butchest Macho Man ever to squirt testosterone out her ears." E.A. Solinas