Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Burnt Offerings
Laurell K. Hamilton
Ace Books, 272 pages

Burnt Offerings
Laurell K. Hamilton
Laurell K. Hamilton has never wanted to do anything but write, so she earned an English degree. A brief fling with wanting to be Jane Goodall earned her a biology degree as well. She met her husband, a confirmed reader of fantasy and science fiction, at college. Burnt Offerings is her seventh Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter book.

ISFDB Bibliography
Laurell K. Hamilton Tribute Site
Laurell K. Hamilton Tribute Site
Laurell K. Hamilton Tribute Site
Laurell K. Hamilton Tribute Site

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Katharine Mills


Most people don't stare at the scars. They'll look, of course, then do the eye slide. You know, the quick look, then drop the gaze, then just have to have the second look. But they make it quick. The wounds aren't like freak show bad, but they are interesting... Bert, my boss, had requested that I wear my suit jacket or long-sleeved blouses in the office. He said that some clients had expressed reservations about my ah... occupationally acquired wounds. I hadn't worn a long-sleeved blouse since he made the request.
If you haven't already met, say hello to Anita Blake, the toughest vampire hunter in St. Louis, and probably anywhere. She's petite, pretty, and packs more firepower than your average SWAT team; it's a rare day she goes out without at least one gun and a couple of knives. Anita is a necromancer, which means that she raises the dead for a living in this alternate USA, but lately her police work with the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team has been taking up most of her time -- that and dating the Master Vampire of St. Louis.

Before fifty pages of Burnt Offerings have gone by, Anita's learned of a pyrokinetic arsonist at large, quelled a hospital room full of frenzied were-leopards and werewolves, been acknowledged as their dominant female, gone home to put on a slinky formal and gone out again for her date with Jean-Claude, the Master of St. Louis. The formal's a bit of a challenge (how do you hide those guns in a slinky strapless number?) but then so is the date -- mere pages further on, their cozy dinner for two is interrupted by the minions of the secret, and incredibly powerful, council of vampires. Seems Anita and Jean-Claude polished off one of their members, the million-year-old Homo erectus Mr. Oliver, in a previous installment, and Jean Claude is now entitled, indeed, expected, to take his seat, whether he wants to or not. Then the book really starts to move...

Let's get one thing straight: this isn't Tolstoy. It's more like Dick Tracy with fangs -- but nevertheless, Hamilton's crunchy prose moves along so briskly, you'll have wolfed it down like a tube of Pringles and be looking for more before you know what hit you. This is real B-movie stuff, no apologies, right down to the crisp Chandler-esque sentences and tough-talking dialogue.

Nevertheless, it rises above your average pulpdom with lots of vivid description, plenty of fast and dry sardonic humour, and some really good character definition; even the monsters and various monster-bait bit parts manage to take on a life of their own... so to speak. And Anita Blake makes a punchy protagonist -- easy to mistake for a Cute Li'l Thing, she has to stay on top of the male chauvinists as well as the monsters, and does so with verve and panache.

I'm a bit worried though; I don't know how much longer Hamilton can pull this off. With her magic and her collection of firearms, Anita's more than a match for just about anyone -- or anything -- that goes up against her. She cleans out a couple more council members' clocks for them (oh, come on, you're not really surprised, are you?), and with her new three-way bond of power between Jean-Claude and her lycanthrope ex-boyfriend Richard, she's just about unstoppable. I'm also getting a little tired of the multiple-rape subplots, a feature that's become more and more prevalent. I fear the worst -- a bad case of incipient super-duper-heroism.

All that aside, I've been reading these since the first one came out, and I have to say, they're gruesome, but heaps of fun. They're a delightfully refreshing change of pace from the fashionably-gloomy Gothware currently flooding the vampire market, and  for a quick read on a rainy Sunday, they can't be beat. I'll be watching for the next one, if only to see what kind of nemesis Anita could possibly go up against next.

Copyright © 1998 Katharine Mills

Katharine Mills is little, and in her dreams she's tough. Her birthday's coming up; maybe someone will give her a Firestar 9mm, silver bullets, and some monsters. She suspects, however, that she'll have to settle for bossing the cats around.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide