Book #17 of 17 (to date) Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series
• Overall set in Las Vegas, NV in parallel universe where vampires & were-animals coexist with normal humans
•Closes the storyline of master vampire Vittorio introduced back in Incubus Dreams (Anita Blake book #12) –We find out in Skin Trade that Vittorio is much more than he seems
•Is this the end of the Mother of All Darkness? –We read that her resting place is bombed, but not very much detail is given. While Vittorio turns out to be comparable in powers to MoAD, I don’t think that LKH will end her here like that since she’s been wreaking havoc on Anita for quite some number of books now & Vittorio only had a part in the one previous book.
•Olaf (aka Federal Marshall Otto Jeffries/ assassin/ serial killer with Anita’s description fitting victim profile) is even creepier this book (morgue scenes) –We find that Olaf might even be interested in dating Anita (as in date, date…no knives & butchering). Anita & Edward are positive that they will be forced to kill Olaf one day (future book?).
•Anita is seriously thinking over her life & feels that she is losing out to all of the supernatural demands on her. –We continue to see that it’s increasingly more difficult for her to fit in with non-sups (may be forced to quit police work/ Federal Marshall’s program after almost shifting to tiger form in public). On a personal note, Anita feels that she’s never alone anymore & is constantly catering to all of the men in her life.
•More info is shared about the were-tigers –Some light is shed as to why Anita’s tiger calls to the various tiger clans.
•Richard not even mentioned in book –Personally, I’m thrilled to have a break from the back & forth arguing, but LKH will have to shed more light on Richard’s form of the ardeur that’s solely focused on Anita (introduced in Blood Noir).
•Very little sex in this book (for recent LKH) –Wicked & Truth promise Anita that they will stop her ever how if she abuses her growing powers as Belle Morte/ MoAD do. Truth gains a power up after drinking Anita’s blood again. Anita’s personal blood was used to bind Truth to Jean Claude, but not for Wicked. There have been references since Incubus Dreams that the two brothers are supposed to do everything the same. I just get the feeling that this will come into play in a future AB book.
•Anita saves Requiem’s life (& Vegas’s Master Vamp/ Wife, aka Queen of the White Tiger clan), however Requiem stays in Las Vegas for now & doesn’t return to St Louis (perhaps Truth will now become Jean-Claude’s third).
•Crispin & a new tiger return with Anita to St Louis.
I’ve found that most readers tend to either love or hate the Anita Blake series. If you’re not familiar with the Laurell K. Hamilton books, here’s a quick insight: on the surface, each of the AB books primarily focuses on either her professional life or love life (with the other as a backdrop). The early books tend to focus more on AB’s professional life (necromancer/ Vampire Executioner/ police work) & later books on more of her love life (READ: Ardeur =’s sex, sex, sex, vanilla-ish dom/sub, erotica). Skin Trade is the first book in a while to really focus on Anita’s work again. If you liked the earlier books but lost interest with the most recent ardeur-focused books, then give this latest one a try.
If you’re new to the series, you can read each book alone, but you may miss out on some of the references. LKH does re-explain a number of the references, but not all & especially not enough to grasp the character developments. Parts of Anita’s personality & powers have changed tremendously over the course of the 17 books in the series. Each new book in the series builds upon a previous book (for example, this book closes a plot line introduced about 5 books ago).
So if this is your first Anita Blake book, borrow from a library 1st & if you like this one – check out the earlier books in the series. If you love the series (especially the earlier ones through Obsidian Butterfly), add this to your personal library.
•US Residents, follow this link to find your local public library: http://lists.webjunction.org/libweb/Public_main.html