Circus of the Damned – Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter – by Laurell K. Hamilton

Circus of the Damned (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 3)

Yep, she’s a cold-hearted bitch, out for herself. I’m thinking Anita Blake may be a borderline sociopath. I would say she is a full-blown sociopath but she lets a little caring show through once in a while like with how she takes Larry under her wing. I just have a hard time liking her. She definitely isn’t a good friend to her friend Catherine. She acts like attending Catherine’s wedding was just such a pain and in this book, she gripes about going to her Halloween party like spending time with her friend is something she would rather not do.

In this book, Anita Blake is overworked. She works as an animator, a person who raises the dead, and she works for the police investigating paranormal cases like vampire and zombie murders. Her boss is a greedy SOB who overbooks her and gets mad at her if she misses a day even if she has been injured or hasn’t got any sleep because she is working too hard. He hires a new animator, Larry, who is only twenty years old and hasn’t even graduated college yet. Her boss, Bert, sends Larry out on his own with no training to cover some of Anita’s cases. Anita arrives just in time when Larry tries to raise a third zombie for the night but loses control of the zombie because he is so exhausted. Anita is one of the few animators who can raise more than two zombies a night. She swoops in and saves the day or rather the night.

As they are finishing up, Anita and Larry get shot at by the men from the group Humans First who are mad at Anita because she won’t tell them who the Master Vampire of the City is. Humans First want all vampires dead. Anita and Larry jump in Anita’s car and escape the fanatics but then get attacked by a group of vampires who have been hunting in a group under a master vampire and murdering humans. Anita has been working on the case. The humans die then rise as a crazed animalistic vampire. The master vampire, Alejandro, is super old and wants to challenge the current master of the city, Jean-Claude, for his position over the city. Anita, who has been marked twice by Jean-Claude to be his human slave (it takes four marks to be a human servant) gets marked by Alejandro also. He does this to challenge Jean-Claude. She blacks out and when she wakes up finds out that the men from the group Human’s first somehow saved her from the vampires. They told her that they are no longer mad at her since they saw her fight the vampires and now they know she is on the human’s side.

Now, here is where I have to gripe about how much I think Anita is a wanker. In the first book, Guilty Pleasures, Jean-Claude marks Anita twice to basically save her life and allow her to fight the evil master of the city and ultimately to help her defeat the master of the city. Yes, it served Jean-Claude also because once Anita defeated the master of the city; he became the new master of the city. Jean-Claude obviously cares for Anita and may even be in love with her. He is always there for her when she needs him even though she is constantly rude to him and berates him for being a vampire.

In the second book, The Laughing Corpse, he tells Anita that because she openly defies him and refuses to accept the last two marks to fully become his human servant, other vampires think he is weak and could challenge him for the position of master of the city. There is another word he uses for human servant that sounds better. I think Anita is the one who used the term ‘human servant’. It isn’t really a servant, it binds the master and human together and them both super powers along with making the human live for hundreds of years. He tells her he will not force the last two marks on her. Anita has seen what most vampires are like. They are cruel and mistreat humans. Jean-Claude has never shown signs of cruelty. I get that she doesn’t want to be bound to Jean-Claude but her prejudice is too much.

Back to this story! One of the Human First men takes Anita to meet Mr. Oliver, an ancient master vampire who is more powerful than almost any vampire alive. It turns out that Karl Inger, the man from Humans First, is Mr. Oliver’s human servant. Mr. Oliver is pleasant and tells Anita that he can feel that she has two marks from a master vampire. He tells her that he can free her of his marks if she tells her who he is and where to find him. Mr. Oliver tells her that he wants to return vampires to the way it used to be before they had rights and get them under control so they are not around humans. He tells her that vampires are trying to use the legal system to gain power. Anita whole heartedly believes him and tells him she will think about it. I keep yelling at the book, telling her to wise up and quit being such a hateful wench.

At one point in the book, Anita meets a man named Richard who was at the Circus of the Damned in a room with Jean-Claude, another vampire and some werewolves even a naked lady werewolf. He is lying in a bed naked for some reason. He looks a lot like Phillip, someone who she befriended and who was killed. He’s gorgeous and human. He ends up asking her out on a date and she agrees. She never really questions him why he is with Jean-Claude or why he was naked in a bed in a room full of people. He tells her that Jean-Claude has a hold over him for some reason but he can’t tell her why.

Spoiler Alert!

I don’t want to give up the ending of this book but in order to explain a few things, I have to have to reveal a few things.

Mr. Oliver’s pet shape-shifter, a rare snake lady, tells Anita that he wants to meet her. Instead she takes her to a cave where Alejandro is. The snake bites her and Alejandro gives her a second mark before she gets away. She makes it back to her apartment and Richard shows up for their date. The poison from the snake bite starts to kill her and she passes out. Richard takes her to Jean-Claude to save her life. In order to save her life, Jean-Claude gives her the third mark. Now, she will be hard to kill and poison will not bother her. Of course, Anita is offended and acts like she would have rather died so she calls Mr. Oliver and betrays Jean-Claude because she is mad. She knows Mr. Oliver will kill him.

It turns out that Mr. Oliver has been lying to her and plans to take over and mass murder humans. He has been in league with Alejandro and the vampires all along. Now, Anita has to warn Jean-Claude and hope it isn’t too late.
I’m like a rubbernecker at an accident; I don’t want to see anything but I can’t help myself from looking. I absolutely abhor Anita Blake but I love the story and I really like the secondary characters. I’m starting to think that the author, Laurel K. Hamilton is a either a genius and knows that Anita Blake is a bitch and is shaping her into someone who will grow to be more likeable and lose her prejudices with her experiences or the author is clueless and really thinks Anita Blake is the modern feminist woman, fighting for equality everywhere no matter how big of a bitch you have to be or who you have to step on to prove it. I’m hoping it is the prior. I’m not sure I can continue to read the series if Anita Blake’s character doesn’t grow and soften. She is just too abrasive for me.

For now, I will read a few more books of the series. I see that there are over 20 books in the series. The author could be working up to something slowly so she has to change the attitude of the lead character slowly so giving up on this series now might be premature.

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