A serial killer is hunting the Pacific Northwest, murdering the victims, were-tigers, in a gruesome and spectacular way. The local police suspect "monsters" are involved, and have called in Anita Blake and Edward, U.S. Marshals who really know their monsters, to catch the killer.
Why I read this book: Ok...You might know that I have a little Author Angst with Laurell K Hamilton right now.I have gotten a little upset with her and I'm not being shy about it. So maybe you're wondering why in the world I am still reading her books...but I'm going to try to review this book with an open mind without judging the book too harshly by my current opinion of the author. Because no matter how irritated and upset I am with this series, I am in love with the characters almost as much as my two favorite series in the world Harry Potter, and Bloody Jack.
Hit List was a much appreciated return to the Anita I fell in love with (no homo lol) before. She isn't quite the same, but you see Anita as a woman secure in her relationships etc. She is almost as strong as girl she used to be before all this metaphysical crap went down, but it isn't quite there yet. Hit List was well written, like all of Laurell's works. You get a setting, plot, and description so crystal clear that it is near impossible not to enjoy it. I always get a movie-picture in my head of books as I read, but most of them have fuzzy vague descriptions that can alter and change throughout. Anita's world is fantastic with a diamond sharp focus on the details. I especially enjoyed the new medical procedures that they were talking about for those with lycanthropy. It is really cool to see science, even if it is like...imaginary science advance along with the mysticism. Downside? The cover was AWFUL. I liked the rather risque covers of the first books in the series. Then the industrial and kind of creepy torture covers were ok too...but this cover fits neither. Is that a naked lady? I can't tell because the artwork is craptastic and she looks like she's peeking out between rust-colored scratches on the cover. Not good. AT ALL.
Characters: Olaf is Back! He is probably one of my favorite allies/villains of all time! I would LOVE to be his serial killer pinup! Lol well, not really...actually he creeps my out in the most delightful way. Him and Bernardo were two beacons of hope in all of the muddle of princes and were-tiger sex and all that jazz. Olaf was a little confusing at first and I loved the tension surrounding his and Anita's introduction. It brings back really good memories of Obsidian Butterfly. Olaf succeeded in creeping me out again by not flinching at all when is wrist is broken, seeming to glorify in the pain. And in the end when he leaves with an even more dangerous card up his sleeve it actually gave me hope for the next book :D Bernardo was fun to bring back also, and Lisandro is an underrepresented hottie for me so I enjoyed him getting some screen time. I can barely keep all of Anita's Were-Cat lovers straight, especially the Tigers so when her body guards showed up the only one I was happy to see was Merle. The old wererat gives me comfort, maybe because he's one of the only ones not sleeping with Anita.I will say that when it comes to the ardeur, I do like how Anita's powers draw the men in not with just sex, but the promise of home. She collects broken boys like an eight year old collects Pokemon cards. It's like shes playing a game of hide and seek with all the emotionally disturbed and abused were-animals so that when she wraps them under the spell of her ardeur they can never leave. Of course my favorite of favorites, Edward was back. You can't have Bernardo and Olaf without him. I really enjoyed his reflections about family and I enjoyed seeing how his and Anita's relationship has changed to become what it is today. That is one relationship where the character development hasn't been lost. Loved it!
WARNING THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD! If you haven't read this far in the series and don't want me to give it away, don't read past this point.
The Mother of All Darkness. Marmee Noir. Mommy Dearest. The most original evil on the planet. She was the first vampire, the first shape shifter, and has been around since before the time when men could think for themselves. She is darkness come to life...and then she is destroyed in a battle that takes less than two pages to write...REALLY?? The battle that is 8 books and like... TEN YEARS in the making is two pages long?? I was so thoroughly disgusted by this ending that I had to stop reading for a while. Well, not too long cause I only had a few chapters left and I wanted to finish the book. But seriously? SERIOUSLY??? If you've read the Harlequin or Narcissus in Chains or almost ANY of Laurell K. Hamilton's other books, you know that Laurell is capable of amazing fight scenes complete with horrors unimaginable. This is supposed to be the battle to end all battles! And Anita faces it with two "NEW" cats of hers...she isn't with Jean Claude and Richard, she isn't with Micah and Nathaniel, She isn't even with Jason and Damian...she is with two of her newest cats that we know nothing about and have virtually no connection to...I was so sorely disappointed. It really makes me want to cry because I thrive on this series and the Merry Gentry Series. I will never stop reading either of them because the characters are so close to my heart for bringing me out of my book-lull, but that doesn't stop me from being upset by the departure from how amazing the books used to be. It's like these characters are my children, and now that they have grown up they have changed into different people from who I thought they were. I still love them no matter what, but I am kind of disappointed in the way they turned out...
Rating: I am fighting with myself because it is still a good book, with a good plot and excellent imagery and descriptions...but it still fell quite flat for me. I'm going to give it 7 and 1/2 Were-Tigers out of 10. It was good. And I loved seeing Edward in action. He is fantastic, as is Bernardo and Olaf. This rating is mostly for their sake.
And I think I will leave it on that note.