Anita Blake is a captivating protagonist in Laurell K. Hamilton’s urban fantasy series that blends elements of mystery, horror, romance, and dark fantasy.
The novels follow Anita, a professional zombie raiser, vampire executioner, and supernatural consultant for the police, through her tumultuous life in a world where vampires, werewolves, and other creatures not only exist but have rights and social standing.
Her journey is filled with suspense, supernatural politics, personal transformations, and complex relationships, making the Anita Blake series a captivating read. To fully experience her narrative, it’s crucial to read the books in order, as each story builds upon the last.
Who is Laurell K. Hamilton?
Laurell K. Hamilton is a contemporary American fantasy and romance writer best known for her two long-running series: the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter and Merry Gentry series. Born in 1963, Hamilton’s works blend elements of mystery, horror, and fantasy, weaving complex narratives that often delve into the supernatural.
Quick Fact: Her writing style is known for its vivid descriptions, intricate plotlines, and multifaceted characters. Her characters and stories explore themes of power, morality, sexuality, and the supernatural, offering readers an immersive and thought-provoking experience.
What is the Anita Blake Series All About?
The Anita Blake series is an urban fantasy set in an alternate universe where the supernatural is known and accepted. Anita Blake, the protagonist, is a professional zombie raiser, vampire executioner, and preternatural expert for the police, navigating her way through a world that’s both familiar and incredibly different from our own.
The series is known for its complex characters, elaborate world-building, and intricate plotlines that delve into supernatural politics, personal relationships, and moral dilemmas.
Anita Blake Series in Order of Publication
- Guilty Pleasures (1993)
- The Laughing Corpse (1994)
- Circus of the Damned (1995)
- The Lunatic Cafe (1996)
- Bloody Bones (1996)
- The Killing Dance (1997)
- Burnt Offerings (1998)
- Blue Moon (1998)
- Obsidian Butterfly (2000)
- Narcissus in Chains (2001)
- Cerulean Sins (2003)
- Incubus Dreams (2004)
- Micah (2006)
- Danse Macabre (2006)
- The Harlequin (2007)
- Blood Noir (2008)
- Skin Trade (2009)
- Flirt (2010)
- Bullet (2010)
- Hit List (2011)
- Kiss the Dead (2012)
- Affliction (2013)
- Jason (2014)
- Dead Ice (2015)
- Crimson Death (2016)
- Serpentine (2018)
- Sucker Punch (2020)
- Rafael (2021)
- Smolder (2023)
Short Stories and Novellas
In addition to the main novels, Hamilton has also written several short stories and novellas set in the Anita Blake universe. These include “Beauty”, “Dancing”, “Shutdown”, “Wounded”, and “Zombie Dearest”.
Anita Blake Series in Chronological Order
The chronological order of the Anita Blake series is the same as the publication order, as each novel follows the events of the previous book. The only exceptions are the short stories and novellas, which can fit into various places in the timeline but are generally best read in the order they were published to avoid spoilers.
summary of each anita blake book:
Guilty Pleasures (1993)
Anita Blake, a vampire hunter in St. Louis, is hired by the city’s most powerful vampire, Jean-Claude, to solve a string of vampire murders that she’s not committing. The case forces her to confront her prejudices about the undead.
The Laughing Corpse (1994)
Anita is hired to raise a 283-year-old zombie, but the task requires a human sacrifice. Meanwhile, she investigates a series of brutal murders that may involve a rogue animator or a voodoo creature from beyond.
Circus of the Damned (1995)
Anita finds herself in the middle of a power struggle among St. Louis’s vampire hierarchy. As bodies pile up, Anita must decide if she can trust Jean-Claude and Richard, her werewolf love interest.
The Lunatic Cafe (1996)
As Anita gets more involved in the supernatural community, she’s pulled into a mystery involving missing lycanthropes, forcing her to navigate the intricate politics of the city’s shapeshifter groups.
Bloody Bones (1996)
Anita travels to Branson, Missouri, to raise an entire graveyard of 200-year-old corpses. Meanwhile, she’s embroiled in investigating a series of teen murders that may involve a vampire or fae creature.
The Killing Dance (1997)
Anita must solve an assassination attempt against Richard, who has been falsely accused of rape. Amid the turmoil, she’s torn between her feelings for Jean-Claude and Richard.
Burnt Offerings (1998)
Anita deals with a group of vampire arsonists and a power struggle within the vampire council. She must protect her city and those she cares about from the escalating violence.
Blue Moon (1998)
Anita must clear Richard of a false murder accusation in a small Tennessee town. She’s up against a prejudiced police force and a potent supernatural creature.
Obsidian Butterfly (2000)
At the request of her former mentor, Edward, Anita travels to New Mexico to investigate a series of supernatural attacks, coming face-to-face with an ancient power.
Narcissus in Chains (2001)
Anita’s powers grow, causing a psychic bond with Jean-Claude and Richard. She must understand her new abilities while dealing with a wereleopard leader who’s causing chaos in St. Louis.
Cerulean Sins (2003)
Anita becomes tangled in the politics of the vampire council when a council member arrives in town. Amid this, she’s trying to solve a series of brutal murders involving both humans and vampires.
Incubus Dreams (2004)
As Anita’s powers evolve, she’s unwittingly raising the dead in her sleep. Meanwhile, a vampire serial killer is on the loose, and Anita must stop them.
Anita and her wereleopard lover, Micah, travel to Philadelphia to raise a witness from the dead. Their trip tests the strength of their relationship and their control over their shared supernatural abilities.
Danse Macabre (2006)
Anita’s life becomes more complicated with a potential pregnancy and a vampire ballet troupe visiting St. Louis, which may harbor a killer in its midst.
The Harlequin (2007)
A group of vampire enforcers known as the Harlequin arrive in St. Louis, causing chaos. Anita must navigate ancient vampire politics to keep her loved ones safe.
Blood Noir (2008)
Anita travels with Jason, her werewolf friend, to his hometown in North Carolina to help him resolve a family issue. There, they become entangled in local vampire politics and a case of mistaken identity that stirs up a vampire hunter.
Skin Trade (2009)
Anita receives a grisly souvenir from Las Vegas, pulling her into a case involving Vittorio, a vampire she failed to kill in the past. As she battles supernatural evil, she must also deal with the increasing complexities of her personal life.
Anita must raise a mobster’s wife from the dead to prevent a deadly supernatural hitman from killing an innocent woman. The process forces Anita to confront her own fears and insecurities about love and power.
Anita must defend St. Louis from a vampire council member who seeks to overthrow Jean-Claude. As tensions rise, Anita’s relationships and her control over her powers are tested.
Hit List (2011)
Anita teams up with Edward to investigate a series of wereleopard murders across the country. They must face a powerful enemy from the past who is targeting anyone associated with Anita.
Kiss the Dead (2012)
Anita must rescue a kidnapped vampire while dealing with a group of rogue vampires who refuse to integrate into society. This ordeal tests Anita’s commitment to her roles as a U.S. Marshal and a leader within the supernatural community.
Anita investigates a zombie outbreak linked to a vengeful vampire’s bite. Simultaneously, she’s dealing with a family crisis involving Micah’s estranged father.
This book focuses on Jason and his relationship with his girlfriend and Anita. As they navigate their personal issues, they must also deal with the challenges and politics of their supernatural lives.
Dead Ice (2015)
Anita is called to investigate a case of “zombie porn” – zombies being manipulated to perform on camera. This uncovers a sinister plot that threatens her city and the people she loves.
Crimson Death (2016)
Anita travels to Ireland to confront a dangerous vampire who’s terrorizing the country. This journey tests Anita’s abilities and her relationships in unexpected ways.
Anita attends a wedding in Florida, which quickly becomes a nightmare when women start disappearing. As she unravels the mystery, Anita must navigate a treacherous labyrinth of local politics and supernatural threats.
Sucker Punch (2020)
Anita travels to Michigan to help Edward with a wereleopard accused of murder. The case plunges her into a situation where the lines between predator and prey become blurred.
Rafael, the rat king, needs Anita’s help to ensure his people’s survival. Facing an ancient enemy and dangerous politics within the were-rat community, Anita must use all her skills and alliances to navigate this dangerous situation.
How many books are in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series?
There are 29 main novels in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. The series, penned by Laurell K. Hamilton, began in 1993 with the novel “Guilty Pleasures” and the latest book released was “Smolder” in 2023. Additionally, there are numerous novellas and short stories that fit within the series continuity.
These shorter works offer additional insights into the characters and the world they inhabit. The series is renowned for its unique blend of urban fantasy, horror, and mystery, and it continues to captivate readers with its intricate plotlines and complex character relationships.
What was the first book written in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series?
The first book written in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series is “Guilty Pleasures,” which was published in 1993. In this initial installment, readers are introduced to Anita Blake, a professional zombie raiser, vampire executioner, and supernatural consultant for the police.
Set in an alternate universe where supernatural beings are recognized and integrated into society, the book sets the tone for the series with its unique blend of mystery, horror, and dark fantasy.
Throughout “Guilty Pleasures,” Anita is drawn into a series of vampire murders, forcing her to confront her own prejudices about the undead while navigating the complex world of supernatural politics.
Is there an Anita Blake movie?
There is no movie adaptation of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. Over the years, there has been interest and rumors about potential film or television adaptations, but nothing has come to fruition. In 2009, the series was optioned for a TV show by IFC, but the project was eventually dropped.
While many fans of the series would love to see Anita Blake’s stories come to life on the big screen or on television, it would undoubtedly be a challenging endeavor due to the series’ length, complexity, and mature content. It’s always possible that an adaptation could be announced in the future.
Do you have to read Anita Blake in order?
While it’s not strictly necessary to read the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series in order, it is highly recommended. Each book builds upon the events of the previous ones, developing characters, relationships, and plotlines in a continuous narrative.
Starting from the beginning with “Guilty Pleasures” allows readers to fully understand Anita’s world and the evolution of her character. Furthermore, the series contains a complex array of supernatural politics and personal dynamics that can be best appreciated when read in order.
Who are the key characters in the Anita Blake series?
Anita Blake is the protagonist of the series, a professional zombie raiser, a vampire executioner, and a consultant for the police on supernatural crimes. Her character evolves significantly throughout the series, gaining new powers and navigating complex relationships.
Jean-Claude, a powerful vampire and the Master of the City of St. Louis is another major character who becomes intimately connected with Anita. Richard Zeeman, a high school teacher, and werewolf, is initially presented as a love interest for Anita and is a significant character throughout the series.
Other important characters include Micah Callahan, the leader of a wereleopard pard, and Edward, a dangerous human bounty hunter who targets supernatural creatures.
What kind of supernatural creatures exist in the Anita Blake series?
The Anita Blake series features a wide range of supernatural creatures. These include but are not limited to, vampires, werewolves, wereleopards, and various other types of shapeshifters. The series also includes zombies, witches, and various types of fae. These creatures are not hidden from society but are integrated, possessing rights and social standing.
The way these creatures interact with each other and with humans forms a significant part of the series’ plot and world-building.
Are the Anita Blake books considered romance?
While the Anita Blake series does contain strong elements of romance, particularly as the series progresses, it would not be classified solely as a romance series. The books are a blend of urban fantasy, mystery, horror, and romance.
Relationships, both romantic and otherwise, play significant roles in the series, but they are often intertwined with elements of suspense, supernatural politics, and personal growth.
How has Anita Blake’s character evolved throughout the series?
Anita Blake’s character evolves significantly throughout the series. Initially, she is presented as a somewhat cynical and hardened character, firm in her moral beliefs and prejudices, particularly against vampires. However, as the series progresses, Anita develops new abilities and relationships that challenge her preconceptions and force her to grow as a character.
She becomes more powerful, more entwined with the supernatural community, and more accepting of her evolving desires and complex relationships.
What is the setting of the Anita Blake series?
The Anita Blake series is set in an alternate universe where supernatural creatures exist and are acknowledged by society. Most of the stories take place in St. Louis, Missouri, which is depicted as a hub for supernatural activity. The city is home to a powerful vampire population, various shapeshifter groups, and other supernatural entities.
Over time, Anita’s work takes her to other locations across the United States, each with its own unique supernatural politics and challenges.
How does Anita Blake’s profession as a zombie raiser work in the series?
Anita Blake has the power to raise the dead, a skill she uses in her professional life as an animator. In this world, zombies are raised for various purposes, such as legal proceedings or for loved ones to say a final goodbye. Anita’s ability to raise zombies is tied to her necromancy, a power that evolves over the course of the series.
It’s worth noting that the zombies in the Anita Blake series differ from traditional depictions, possessing their memories and personalities at the time of death.
How does the supernatural society function in the Anita Blake series?
The supernatural society in the Anita Blake series is complex and highly structured, with its own set of laws and politics. Vampires, for example, have a hierarchical structure with a Master Vampire ruling over a city. Shapeshifter groups, known as ‘pards’ or ‘packs’, have alphas leading them.
There’s also a societal recognition of the supernatural, including legislation that acknowledges the rights of these creatures. Supernatural beings often have a delicate co-existence with humans, and their interactions are frequently marked by tension and conflict.
The various supernatural groups also have interconnecting relationships, alliances, and rivalries that Anita must navigate throughout the series.
What themes are explored in the Anita Blake series?
The Anita Blake series explores a multitude of themes. Among them are the coexistence of different species (human and supernatural), the struggle for power, personal identity, and the acceptance of one’s nature.
The series delves into themes of love, lust, and complex relationship dynamics, particularly as the series progresses and the romantic elements become more pronounced. Issues of morality, justice, and the grey areas in between are also recurrent themes, often explored through Anita’s work as a supernatural consultant for the police.
How does Laurell K. Hamilton develop world-building in the Anita Blake series?
Hamilton’s world-building in the Anita Blake series is comprehensive and detailed. She creates an alternate reality where supernatural creatures are not only real but recognized by society, with their own rights and regulations. The rules governing the supernatural are intricately designed, and each type of creature has its unique characteristics and social structure.
The world-building extends to the political intricacies of the supernatural society, the evolution of Anita’s powers, and the development of her complex relationships. Hamilton’s ability to intertwine these elements with a suspenseful plot is a testament to her skill as a writer.
What makes the Anita Blake series stand out in the urban fantasy genre?
The Anita Blake series stands out in the urban fantasy genre due to its complex protagonist, extensive world-building, and unique blend of genres. The series combines elements of mystery, horror, romance, and fantasy. Anita is a strong female character, and her evolution over the series is marked and layered.
The supernatural society is well fleshed out, with its politics and structures adding depth to the narrative. Moreover, the moral ambiguities that Hamilton explores through her characters provide a nuanced perspective rarely seen in the genre.
The Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton is a fascinating journey into an alternate world where the supernatural coexists with the mundane. From its strong, evolving protagonist to its intricate world-building and plot, the series offers readers a unique blend of mystery, horror, romance, and urban fantasy.
Whether you’re a fan of vampire narratives, intrigued by the supernatural, or simply enjoy a well-written series with complex characters and relationships, Anita Blake’s world is sure to captivate your imagination.