Does she hunt through the Graveyard, on a Starless Night? Does she stalk through the Tombstones, of a Moonlit Realm? Does she crawl through the Remnants, of once Mighty Men? Does she scream through the Night, in Raven's Speak? Be-spell you she will, this Zombie Girl - thy Raven's Croak Cemetery Witch:
You'd feel her Presence, at the first shift of Dirt. You'd hear her Call, at the first Croak of Raven. You'd sense her Touch, at the first claw of Talon. You'd know her Power, at the first lock of Eyes. For she's a Zombie, and she's Dead! And yet ... You'd feel her Presence, in Witchcraft form. You'd hear her Call, in Witches Chant. You'd sense her Touch, in Witches Blood. You'd know her Power, in Cauldron's Brew. For she's a Witches Witch - a Necromancer, who knows not now, this Path of Dead! And yet ... You'd feel her Presence, at the first sight of Them. You'd hear her Call, at the first squawk of Them. You'd sense her Touch, at the first flock of Them. You'd know her Power, in guise of Herald. For she's a Raven's Girl, evermore nevermore, at the front of her - Raven's Might! In Darkness does she dwell. In Twilight does she live. In Dark Fantasy does she abide. In Darkest Night, does she Rise - but only when, Moon's just bright :) For only then, will her Ravens come ... They'll swarm the Night, from Ravens afar. They'll silhouette in Twilight, from Ravens close. They'll gift you from Dark Fantasy - a Daemon's Daemon, Strength of Nine. They'll haunt you in this Darkest Night, in Paths so Dead, and Paths so Rise! For only then, may you wonder - who is Master, who is Mistress? In Zombie form, it's hard to say ... Her Daemon skin, fights for dominance. Her Daemon claws, rend the ground. Her Daemon eyes, stare at you. Her Daemon mouth, speaks to you: Riddle, Riddle, Dark in Time. Who enters my domain? I am of Grave, I am of Night. I am of Tomb, I am of Eve. I am of Dead, I am of Life. Come to me - my Love :) No! No! But once she Lived ... A Princess: so fair she was - of Armies gone, and Kings of Old. A Princess: with long Black Hair - not all in Death, still some remains. A Princess: of Midnight's Mistress - with Curves of Lure, and Chest so Fine. I see ... Not all is Dead! For still, some remains ... No! No! I was a Witch. I walked in pages of the Spells. I walked in Magic of the Realm. I walked in verses of the Chant. I walked in Witchcraft of the King. I ... See that Night, I ... when Ravens came to me ... I remember now: a pact was made - with Raven's Raven. More of Power. More of Sorcerer. More of Dark. Croak! Croak! Princess no more ... I must obey! Who enters my domain? For I'm a Zombie of these Ravens, from afar, we wreak of Death. I do their bidding, as I Will. I'll sink my Teeth, right into Thee. I'll tear my Talons, through your Resolve. I'll show you Curve. I'll show you Cleave. I'll show you Smile. I'll show you Flirt. I'll teach you of the Darkest things. I'll bring new meaning, to the term - Deadly Embrace :) For I'm a Raven's Girl now, who walks in Paths of Necromancy, and knows well - Rise of Zombie. For I'm a Raven's Guard now - a Sentry of this Cemetery, I protect my Ravens. For I'm a Raven's Wing now - no light of touch, just Stone of Cross. For I'm a Raven's Croak now - no thought of own, just answer Riddle! Croak! Croak! No! No! I once was ... Barest Touch, Light of Day. I danced within, a Palace so Fine. Yes! Yes! I cast a Spell. One of Dark, for Raven Friends ... A Sorcerers Power, did my Spell - turn Day to Night, turn White to Black, turn Life to Death. For in my Cauldron's Brew, did I forget, just who I was! My mind was changed, through slight delay - in more decay, bad memory! My Daemon won ... Croak! Croak! Who be you that enters my domain? And that of my Ravens? And that of my Graveyard? And that of my Kingdom? And that of my Night? And that of my Empire? Scream!!! You may never leave ...Zombie now.
My third outing into the Fantasy Vampire Slaying Realms of Anita Blake, comes with both some draw-dropping moments, and some as-you-would-expect, white Roses from Jean-Claude:
One particular part of this Fantasy Tale, caused my draw to drop the most! It's pertaining to a particular question: how old can a Vampire be? Now, I must confess - I'd never really thought about this before ... And yet, Anita had me pondering this question (for quite some time). Whilst I won't name the Vampire here, I too, like Anita, was fooled by his Fairy Glamour! Another draw-dropping moment, was the realisation of just how - Rivers of Blood, Anita's Urban Fantasy Realm can be ... Part of this comes from the Circus of the Damned itself (a Fantasy Location) - where who can tell what's real, what's Dark Fantasy? Part of this comes from Anita's interactions, with the other Vampires within this Tale - which I feel, is mostly due, to the fact that Anita has more Master Vampires after her, than you can shake a stick at! Two of these (Master Vampires) want her Love (or maybe just her Body?). Two of these want her as a Human Servant (but she can only serve one Master). And Anita is, no one's Human Servant - as she carries more Knives, and Guns, plus Crosses, to drive that point home. I guess I was just struck (or is that staked?), by the brutality of some of the Vampires (within this tale) - which at the same time, also contrasts well, with the fact that at least one, likes to wear a Suit and Tie ... Mixed in with this, is the fact that Anita is still on retainer, to the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team (aka the Spook Squad) - which for me, takes more of a back seat, in the second half of this novel. Despite this, there was still one draw-dropping moment: when I was in awe of an Animalistic Vampire, that had managed to tear through a five feet thick silver door, that was also adorned with crosses - as it raised a question ... How could any human stand against such power? Well ... Anita's not entirely human herself any more, which is probably just-as-well, as a Lamia (a Mythical Creature that can turn from a human into a snake), has set her eyes on her! In any case, I found myself laughing, at the character of Anita's friend - Edward. In one chapter, Edward considers torturing Anita, to get the name of the Master of the City from her - whilst in another chapter, is Edward at her side again, helping to bandage a wound on her back (after a Master Vampire thought he owned her). I was especially pleased, with the amount of Lore (related to Mythical Creatures), that I found within this Tale ... The first of these, was concerned with Vampires. As through this Tale, did I learn more about what it is to be a Vampire's Creature: as a Vampire has an Animal that it can call. In the case of Jean-Claude, it's Wolves (including Werewolves). In the case of another Master Vampire (the Oldest I have heard of), it's Snakes (including Lamia). Where as in the case of Anita's first Tale (Guilty Pleasures), it was Rats (including Were-Rats). Then did I learn more about Werewolf Lore - for I learned that the older a Werewolf is, the more able it is, to pass for human (when in human form), and the more likely it is (especially in my opinion), to recover from injuries, that would kill a human. For someone like Anita (a Necromancer), I enjoyed the twist that she could not tell, that Richard (her date/lover) was a Werewolf, and that she could not tell, how old the Oldest Vampire (in this tale) was, other than from a conventional source (aka a study book!). Added to this, is the fact that Anita now has an Apprentice (whether she wants one or not), who she sets about (with some persuasion), to teach her Animator skills to (aka - the ability to raise Zombies from the Grave). This in-turn, plays right into the Powers of the Vampires, where her Apprentice, soon realises just how powerful, these Master Vampires can be! In Conclusion: This Dark Fantasy Vampire Slayer Tale, is packed full of plots, and sub-plots throughout the entire novel. There's so much going on, that the book could just-as-easily have been called, Anita's in Hot Demand :) It is somewhat contradictory then, that I feel that the end of this book, was somewhat rushed ... I would have enjoyed a longer Final Fight, even if the cause of Anita's quick victory, was due to the fact that she shared Jean-Claude's/Alejandro's Vampire Strength (on account of being his/their Human Servant). In any case, Anita has one rule she still won't break - she doesn't date Dead things! And as for those white Roses? Well ... She gave them away :) And as for Richard? Well ... A Werewolf may be a Monster, but a Werewolf is still, very much alive! And after all, Anita is, and always will be - a Necromancer :)
This is my second outing into the Fantasy World of Anita Blake - Vampire Hunter. It's an outing that I found had me questioning the morals, that some Fantasy Characters have, and learning more about Anita's personality - within the Realms of Voodoo:
The tale starts where it finishes really - in Harold Gaynor's presence. Yet, between those pages, did I find a tale that both surprised, and exceeded my expectations. I think part of this allure, comes from the pondering of a question: who/what exactly is The Laughing Corpse? Which ironically, I tended to forget about within this tale, but was reminded of every-time, I glanced at the cover :) It was not until half way through this tale, that I knew what it was - and it was not until the end of the tale, that I gained the who, or at least a suspicion of the who, that I felt the term/title applied to! In doing so, did I like the fact that this tale, goes to great lengths, to explain Anita's role as an Animator (one who raises the Dead for a living). Whilst being a somewhat lonely occupation, is there an honoured/abided by rule - that when one Animator dies, that all the other Animators, attend their Funeral. This may not seem like much, but it does introduce the concept of a family hierarchy. And in that hierarchy, did I find all manner of twists ... First: is the fact that an Animator, who Anita learned her trade from, Crosses the Line. So far Across that Line, is her friend, that Anita finds that she doesn't really know, who they are any more! Second: is the fact that fellow Animators, do not have to be polite all the time, often seeming distant - but they can be snapped right back in (to focus), when it comes to family concerns. Anita helps one of The Greats (in the Realms of Animators plus Voodoo), only to discover - that his Brother, was Not So Great, after-all! Third: is the fact that not all Animators have to be Living, and that those who are Dead, have no concept of - Drawing the Line. And it is this theme, that I found, helped connect me to Anita's Character further: as she very definitely does Draw the Line, and there's one thing that she won't do, in this Midnight Realm of Animator (except in self defence). Yet here did I find some irony, for in the name of self defence, will Anita do whatever it takes - which lead to a somewhat eye raising finale to this tale (for me). It also lead to a realisation that Anita is more powerful than both I, and many others, have thought before ... This goes for both Jean-Claude (her so-called Master Vampire), and for her sworn Enemy (within this tale): Dominga Salvador, High Voodoo Priestess and Admirer! Well, I say Admirer, more the Godmother of Animator/Voodoo, who wants Anita to help her with a business venture ... It is here, that Anita Draws the Line again, and in doing so, does Anita have a Midnight disturbance, which is the stuff of Nightmares really! Especially for her Penguins ... Suffice to say, Anita is gunning for Dominga after this, but she still has a job to do: investigate the local murders, and find a killer Zombie. In doing this, does Anita explain more about her Powers of being an Animator ... It's more something she Feels, she can just talk to the Dead. It's more something She Is, she can just Raise an entire Graveyard. For Anita is, and always will be, a Necromancer! Who just-so-happens, to have her best friends wedding to attend, doesn't like the bridesmaids gowns, and why on earth - did she set her alarm for six in the morning? Overall: An Urban Fantasy tale, that binds Vampires, Werewolves and Animators together - within the Dark Fantasy Realms of Voodoo. Dominga Salvador is Voodoo Incarnate, who compels Anita to do something she doesn't want to do. And no, it's not to be a bridesmaid! It's Voodoo Magic, but it's not quite the same as a Master Vampire's, nor is it the same as a humble Animator's ... For Anita is a Necromancer, and her language is - ma petite :) A.K.A - I just love Anita Blake, but not that coffee!
When it comes to a Fantasy Novel, that combines both Dark Fantasy (Vampires) and Urban Fantasy (Hidden Realms within a Modern City), then you really can't go far wrong - with Anita Blake and her Guilty Pleasures:
This Vampire Hunter Novel, holds a special place within my heart - as it's the first such tale/story, that I ever read :) Having been used to reading Sword and Planet Fantasies, I found this book/author a little different at first - as Laurell appears to be a fan of few pages to a chapter, but many chapters in a tale (which was totally different to what I was used to). Fortunately, I soon connected with Anita - and was glad that I did, as there's several parts about this novel, that I really like. First: Anita is not your typical Vampire Hunter ... She's only five feet tall, has an addiction to coffee (yuck!), has a strange sense of humour (only laughing at her own jokes), sees Vampire Hunting as her non-primary job (at least initially), and collects fluffy toy Penguins (which really made me laugh!). It was here that I fell for Anita's Character :) Second: Anita knows just what it's like, to have to juggle multiple jobs at once ... First and Foremost, Anita is an Animator (as in she raises the Dead for a living). But she's also the Spook Squad's supernatural advisor (being called in on Undead Cases), and a Vampire Hunter - which in this tale, starts to take precedence, as it usually keeps her up till 3 am or so! As such, Anita knows just what it's like, to have hardly any social life, an even crappier dating life - and a dozen pure white, long stemmed Roses, from a Vampire she doesn't want to date (even if she's attracted to him!). It was here that I started to feel that I knew Anita :) Third: Anita just seems to be like so many of us ... Up to her neck in challenges, that come looking for her, whether she wants them to or not! In the case of one Vampire (Valentine), that's very strongly a not - but with her Trusty Stake, or is that her Shotgun? Anita goes looking for the things that scare her :) Thank goodness for Sigmund - her favourite toy Penguin! It was here that I connected with Anita's sense of humour. Fourth: The shear amount of Dark Fantasy Creatures that Anita encounters ... There's Vampires and Ghouls, there's Werewolves and Were-Rats. There's two Master Vampires, contrasted so different - one Coffin one Rule, One Marker, one Scary. One is Jean-Claude. One is just Wrong! And it is this Master Vampire, donned Nikolaos - that both Anita and I, fear to encounter. For the character of Nikolaos, sends a shiver down my spine! She does worse to Anita, which I found slightly ironic - as just possibly, both have a sense of humour - that's akin to each other? In any case, I loved the interactions between Anita and Nikolaos. It was here that I learned more about Vampire Society (such as Fantasy Vampire Powers, and the concept of a Human Servant). Fifth: the fact that Anita is still a woman ... She can't decide what she wants to wear, gets cravings for both coffee and food (although there's a twist to the latter), fancies the wrong guy (even if he does have a fit body!) and often fails to take her own advice - even when she made it up :) Overall: I found this Fantasy Novel, a great introduction to the Realms of Vampire Hunting - that's also different, to other Dark/Urban Fantasy (like Buffy the Vampire Slayer). I found Anita's character to be both engaging and likeable (especially her sense of humour). If there's one part of this tale that I don't like/find odd - then it's the Fantasy Character called Edward. He's a Vampire/Bounty Hunter, who Anita builds up to be - Death on Two Legs. Yet, when it comes to several encounters in the storyline, Edward is the first to behave like a scaredy-cat - where as Anita is doing what she loves best, seeking out the things she fears, and sticking a Stake (or a Sword!) through them :)
In Velvet's Kiss, Paths be Grinned. In Midnight's Realm, Chains be Torment. Born of Darkness and of Fire - this Witch's Glamour, Seduction of thy Steps to be:
Standing in her Under Verse, thinking of thy Spells to Cast. One Chant here, one Rhyme there - Halo of thy Witch's Soul. Guarding in her Nether Realm, musing on thy Powers to Use. One Bite here, one Touch there - Dancing of thy Vampire's Heart. Warding in her Darkest Guise, dreaming of thy Fun Tonight. One Wink here, one Smile there - Knowing of thy Lilith's Ways ... In Sorceress Power, with Licks of Flame. In Sorceress Might, with Flicks of Fire. In Sorceress Stance, with Dance of Orb. Liliana - Queen of Witch! A Necromancer's Power, with Walls be Damned. A Necromancer's Might, with Guards be Bone. A Necromancer's Stance, with Dreams be Dark. Liliana - Queen of Vampire! Thy Forbidden Power, with Lures of Heart. Thy Forbidden Might, with Chains of Soul. Thy Forbidden Stance, with Robes of Serpent. Liliana - Queen of Lilith! For it was indeed, I'd come across her in my Dreams ... With Gold of Jewel and Silver Vine. With Curve of Fit and Shapely Moon. With Flesh of Sin and Brunette's Hair. With Eyes of Pool and Luscious Lips. With Lace of Leg and Golden Crown. With Paths of Neck and Shoulder Fine. Thy Witches Queen - donned Fairy Glamour! For it was indeed, I'd come across her in my Nights ... With Cold of Rock and Earthly Grave. With Tight of Press and Stony Place. With Field of Fright and Rivers Run. With Eyes of Lost and Tempting Gate. With Web of Snare and Hellish Glow. With Chains of Arm and Spider's Fang. Thy Vampires Queen - donned Sweetish Scent! For it was indeed, I'd come across her in my Way ... With Quests of Fire and Trusted Steel. With Light of Cave and Shrouded Glimpse. With Steps of Chance and Rising Heat. With Eyes of Lure and Lusting Way. With Robes of Queen and Purple Gleam. With Powers of Witch and Vampire's Reign. Thy Lilith's Queen - donned Empress Liliana! Queening of her Subterranean. Master of her Darkened Way. Mistress of her Dragon's Breath. Liliana ... Royalty of her Kingdom's Rule. Be-speller of her Darkest Night. Commander of her Foundries Fire. Liliana ... Regal of her Empires Dark. Caster of her Gemstone Bright. Forger of her Army's Might. Liliana ... Said to Me: Rise in Power, Rise in Might, Rise in Status, Rise in Fight, Rise in Rule, Rise in King, Rise in Heart, Rise in Time - for Liliana donned Necromancer, and her Midnight Spell :)