Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bullet, Laurell K. Hamilton

This was a setup book. You know the books that have a lot happen, but nothing major? They're just kind of there to put the characters where the need to be, or have the skills they need, or meet the people they need to. I feel like it's more prominent in the fantasy genre. Fantasy series are almost one long story that's just chopped up into little bite sized portions. Sure, the bites have their own flavor, so to speak, but they're still just part of the overall meal.

OK, that analogy is terrible, but the point is valid. All that makes this review a bit long…

The story starts out at a dance recital. Like with kids. No, really. The whole gang is there. Well, everyone except Richard. He hasn't been back since Anita ate his anger. The recital goes well, which is different. Not that I'm complaining, fictional children should still be safe. Jason is dating a girl he went to highschool with. It's not Claudia, which I'm still hoping for, but I like JJ. And JJ lives in NYC, so it works.

Asher gets super pissed after the recital. He's been hitting on Micah, who is sooo not having it. The more Micah says no, the pissier and crueler Asher is getting. Then, after the recital, which Nathaniel participated in, Nathaniel kisses Micah. Nathaniel's just on a high, he just kind of does it. Micah hesitates and then goes for it. So, now Asher thinks Micah isn't as straight as he says, he just doesn't want Asher.

Once they get home, Asher takes his snit to a whole new level. He threatens to take the werehyenas, his animals to call, and go be a master of another city. This is a problem because the hyenas are a large force and, therefore, make up a large percentage of the guards Anita and the gang use.  They need the manpower.

Basically, Asher's problem is that Jean-Claude and he are still not lovers. Anita's reaction is basically "WTF?!" She figured they were having sex when she wasn't around; they share the bed naked most nights. It finally comes out that she's cool with it. Asher doesn't believe, so JC decides show and tell is the better option. And then Richard comes riding to the rescue.

No really, this time he really does come to the rescue. Everyone kind of…stiffens up when he joins them. He does tend to turn anything he touches to shit, so you can't really blame them. He really is genuinely there to help though. Since his anger was eaten by Anita, he's been making mad progress in therapy.

Remember at the end of Danse Macabre when Asher almost kills Anita? I know that seems like the worst segue ever, but stick with me here. So, Asher can make his bite orgasmic. He can make it so you'll do anything to have it happen again. Even risk your life apparently (I'm looking at you Anita). Well, along with some badly needed therapy, Richard also got intel that Asher was planning roll JC and Anita and take over. So, he's shown up to make sure the triumvirate is there and Asher can't do that.

The big surprise is that Richard isn't there to stop the three way, he's there to join it. Yes, our little homophobic Richard is going to join the fun and games with Anita and 2 other men. *sniff* They grow up so fast. Now, the book never confirms Asher was actually going to do that. Asher says no, and vamps and shifters can tell if you're lying, so you'd think that means Asher is. But Richard still doesn't back down.

Everything goes really, well. Richard is awesome. And then Mommie Dearest rears her ugly head – or rears the heads of the vamps she's taken over. Ok, so, at the end of Skin Trade, the Father of Day is killed and Mommie Dearest, the mother of all vampires, is killed. Or so we think. They blew her up, but apparently, she was still strong enough to possess other vampires, mainly council members. So, Belle Morte and the Master of Beasts, who we met in Burnt Offerings, are taken over and try to kill JC, Anita, Asher and Richard - mainly Richard, JC, and Anita, because that's the triumvirate. Well, really, she's trying to make Anita her new body, but that's neither here nor there. They start calling Anita's animals and manage to fight Mama off. If Richard hadn't got his shit together and been there with them, they probably wouldn't have. A fact not lost on any of the characters.

Asher is satisfied and agrees to say. He says he got what he wanted: JC. Can't argue with that.

Anita and the gang are not the only ones with a visit from Mommie Dearest. So the plan moves forward to form a council in America with JC at the head. The idea is to bring everyone under their power. Not something that's going to make the other Masters friendly.

While they're discussing and planning, Haven, the werelion from Chicago we met in Danse Macabre, shows up. He's been trying to make Anita his Regina (Lion Queen), and him her only man. Obviously that's not going well. So, when Anita was calling her animals to her to protect her from Mommie Dearest, she told Haven not to come. Nicky, from Flirt, was closer anyway. Well, he not only shows up anyway, but brings basically the whole pride. Anita convinces him to wait until they're all cleaned up before meeting with him, with a smaller entourage.

Unfortunately, when that happens part of his entourage includes two badly beaten lions. When I say badly beaten, I mean one is about to die and the other isn't far behind. Haven beat them because he has it in his head that Anita is having sex with them. She's not, but that doesn't matter. Like I said, shifters know if you're lying, yet Haven still won't believe Anita. Anita ends up saving them, with a lot of help. Just as they finish healing, they're attacked by another council member.

This guy is Morte d'Amour, the lover of death. He feeds on death the way JC feeds on lust. He raises blood lust in the vampires and shifters to try to get them to turn on each other. The only way to avoid slaughtering each other is to release the ardeur. So, that's what happens. Orgy, anyone? Next thing we know, Anita's waking up with enough bites to kill her. But she's not dead. Unfortunately, Anita's problems with Haven haven't gone away.

Haven ends up starting a fight. Anita kills him, but not until he has shot Nathaniel. Shot to kill. The only thing that saves Nathaniel is the lion Anita had saved the night before pushing him out of the way. Unfortunately, he is killed in the process. So, now there's no Rex/King. Anita has another group with no real leader, except for her.

Anita's still in shock about killing Haven when the next blow comes. She gets a call from Jacob, the Rex that kidnapped her in Flirt. He was offered a job to kill her and all her men. He didn't take it, but he waited 2 days to tell her. He feels compelled by her and is trying to resist it. Problem being, by the time she finds out, Richard is already gone. She contacts him mind to mind just as he gets shot, too. Anita drains Richard's bodyguards (they're not with him because he's headed to a date), and manages to heal him enough for him to escape and shift – saving his life. She then saves the bodyguards who, though they volunteered, are now a bit freaked out by her.

Just as she's getting over her shock, she gets a call from Jake, one of the Harlequin. Now that Mommie Dearest is awake, the Harlequin are split. Some, like Jake, are against her, some are with her. He and Anita meet and she finds out he has the only remaining gold weretigers. The gold tigers can control all the other colors. In order to become Master of Tigers, Anita and JC need to be able to bind the gold to them. Richard is back and they all bind the tigers.

Then it's time to meet the other tiger clans, which they also bind. Anita's doing most of the work, but it is a team effort. They even manage to bind a black tiger who's been enslaved and abused by one of the bad Harlequin for 1000 years. There's another tiger tied to a Harlequin there, but he's a good guy. He's willing to break his bond to his master, who he loves, if it helps Anita and the gang. They let him go back to his master, because they love each other. It's a very "awwwww" moment.

And that's about it. A lot, right? By the time I finished reading it, the dance recital felt like a completely different book. One I'd read weeks ago. I'm not sure what happens with the assassins. Well, no. That's not entirely true. Richard kills them in wolf form, true, but just because one hire dies, doesn't mean you don't hire someone new. Right? It does lead to a nice moment with Richard, JC and Anita, though. Richard cries about killing them – because he enjoyed it. And they comforted him. But he let them . That's what makes me all warm and fuzzy.

Bullet, Laurell K. Hamilton

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