Laurell K. Hamilton
Narcissus in Chains (2002)
Anita Blake #10
Each new volume keeps warping Anita Blake's character and the world she lives in. The outset of her tenth adventure is an outing of sorts. Anita (or the author?) starts to lose her pretenses and some of her inhibitions. The story is quickly moving into BDSM porn territory, explicitly set in a club of that kind. On the less kinky side, who could have imagined our prudish Anita dropping her nudity taboo, enjoying casual sex, and turning into a size queen?
The main plot of this series installment is concentrated near the beginning and end of the novel; most of the book is spent chasing down numerous side alleys. In previous adventures, Anita has saved a many shapeshifters and other creatures and extended her protection to them, but still she keeps on expanding her entourage. Consequently, most of the middle part of the story is taken up with all the usual arcane wereanimal shit in the form of extended posturing, assertion of dominance, threatening, and some sex and fighting in between. When the action picks up again towards the end, it's a blood spattered ride of torture and gore.
We encounter all the familiar species of wereanimals and some new ones; there is the prospect of Anita turning furry herself; her home looks more and more like a cross between a (were)animal shelter and a commune; her love life is rearranged; and in the end Anita finally appears to come to terms with what she is. With Anita's powers increasingly growing and crossing over traditional boundaries, Hamilton must be in a squeeze to come up with new adversaries and situations supergirl won't handle in a cinch.
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