Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Laurell K Hamilton: Anita Blake Vampire Hunter - The Laughing Corpse (Book 2) Review

A Quick Sumary: 

Anita Blake raises zombies for a living but when a client asks her to sacrifice a human in order to raise a 300 year old zombie she refuses, even if he is offering a million dollars. Unfortunately some people will do anything for money, and it soon becomes clear that someone else took the offer when the zombie's victims start piling up.

My Review (don't worry there's no spoilers)

The Laughing Corpse showcases some of the best writing that Laurell K Hamilton has ever produced. She makes Anita seem believable as a character (which doesn't happen as much in her later books) by having Anita, the monster 'expert' admit that someone is better than her at raising the dead. This vulnerability made Anita feel more real as a character as normally her exchanges with other characters are fueled by her very hostile reactions to the problems she faces.

Hamilton creates a very gruesome and convincing world inhabited by vampires and wereanimals but, surprisingly, it's not just the three-dimensional 'monster' characters that make Anita's world feel as though you could just step into it - it's Hamilton's descriptions of the crimes they commit. Her vivid accounts of the crime scenes that Anita investigates with the police bring the reader to imagine the finer details of a world where vampires and wereanimals exist.

The previous book in the series, Guilty Pleasures (you can read my review of Guilty Pleasures here)  hinted at some of the more interesting background details that make up Anita's world and, again, in The Laughing Corpse, we are subtly fed snippets of information about the world's reaction to the monster's through Anita's conversations with other people.

When we were first introduced to Anita Blake in Guilty Pleasures she was a vampire hunter who had a clear line drawn between the 'monsters' and the humans. By the end of the book she was starting to question this line and The Laughing Corpse sees her question it even further as she interacts with monsters that she deems as friends. Anita's inner struggle is only background noise at this point but it is obvious that it will impact her relationship with more than one character in the future.

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