Vampire Studies #1: Anita Blake

My journey to the world of blood-suckers started, as much as I remember, with The Little Vampire by this German author called Angela Sommer-Bodenburg. I was in elementary school and a friend of mine had recommended it to me, and we used to discuss it. Then I saw The Interview with the Vampire, and I guess the combination of Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Antonio Banderas gave me what I needed to jump headfirst into obsession. We know the classics. The legendary Vampire Chronicles. Buffy. Or the newer craze. Twilight. Vampire Knight. All endless vampire series. 

What’s weird about keeping up with all these is that the vampires in all of them are very different. For example, Anne Rice’s vampires are highly asexual beings, whereas Angel had no difficulty. Vampire Knight has a whole different concept of vampires and how you become one. The other day, I read the manga Millennium Snow, by Hatori Bisco, and the vampire there could eat normal food. Once I read a vampire novel, which I don’t really remember the title of, though it was one of those popular ones, and the vampire fangs there had some antiseptic quality which made feeding easier.  

What I’m trying to say is, you have to keep up with these things. There are new vampire novels emerging everyday. Some of them are good, some of them are not. Most of them are intensely “erotic” for some reason (though sometimes I fail to see how). I imagine that if we lived in the world of Anita Blake, I would be one of those junkies. Which brings me to the topic at hand. From now on, I decided to write about the vampire stuff I read, and call these the Vampire Studies. And we’ll start right now.

My latest read was Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton. It’s the first book of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. I had purchased it long, long ago, but failed to read it, probably because it seemed corny. But since it looked innocently thin, I decided to give it a go. 

Anita Blake is, yes, a vampire slayer. She lives in an alternate USA, where raising zombies out of their graves to testify in court is normal. Vampires are legal, but you need a permit to kill them. Though it sounds silly, as a lawyer-to-be, I think the thing with zombies would make some things a lot easier. Anyway. Anita is very kick-ass with much wit on her side, and she kills vampires and raises zombies for a living: being an animator is actually a job, unlike Buffy, who did it for free after school. The book is part mystery, part horror, though it smells like one of those erotic romance novels, I failed to see any eroticism or romance.

I really like Anita Blake, she’s very hardcore and sarcastic, and answers back to 1000-year-old master vampires. She frequently gets knocked out and heals fast. She isn’t mesmerized by sexy vampires who can lure you into being their human slave (I can just imagine myself as the human slave. It’s not pretty). The world she depicts is interesting to discover, though I wouldn’t necessarily want to live in it. She talks about the difficulties of having zombies testify and complains about their short attention spams, and it’s kind of fun. 

The book reminded me of the Stephanie Plum series, and I’ll tell you why. They are both girl detectives after a certain target, and through the book, they tell you everything they do, including what they eat and stuff. However, in a fight, I believe Anita would win, though I love Stephanie a lot more. Anita knows her stuff very well, and seems to have a bit of history that is waiting to be discovered later in the series.guilty pleasures

The vampires in the world of Anita Blake can live very, very long. Some of the vampires in this first one is over 1000 years old. They go to sleep at dawn and wake up as the sun goes down (for a vampire newbie, this may seem a rather silly thing to say, but we all know this is not always the case). They are very fond of human slaves, and having yourself bitten a few times will guarantee it. Some human slaves can live as long as the vampire itself. They can perform magic on you and lure you into doing stuff you wouldn’t necessarily do. They also use their magic to change their looks and seem perfect to your eyes. They can be killed using the conventional methods. They suck blood, but they don’t have to kill their prey. There are also zombies, were-animals and ghouls that lurk about in the cemeteries. 

So, I guess I gave a thorough account of the book itself, though I try not to spoil the plot but introduce the series instead. It also made sense to look at the qualities of the vampires and whether they are the only paranormal thing or not. Anyway. I’ll continue the Vampire Studies as I read other series. Lots lined up. Stay tuned.

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