Book Review: Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

Posted March 8, 2018 by Amber in Reviews / 2 Comments

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures

by Laurell K. Hamilton

Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #1
Publisher: Ace Books on October 1, 1993
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Target Age Group: Adult
Rating: ★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

Anita Blake is small, dark, and dangerous. Her turf is the city of St. Louis. Her job: re-animating the dead and killing the undead who take things too far. But when the city’s most powerful vampire asks her to solve a series of vicious slayings, Anita must confront her greatest fear—her undeniable attraction to master vampire Jean-Claude, one of the creatures she is sworn to destroy...


The necromancy in this book is so good.

The vampire stuff, though, is not great.  But it’s not the worst ever.  To be honest, I actually like Guilty Pleasures.  I’ve read it a few times.  I really like Anita Blake as a character and while the series lost me after a while, the early books make good stories.  Anita is still an animator and the necromancy scenes are so gruesome and well-written.  The sex is super limited.  The first handful of books are great.

However, this is the first time I have listened to the audiobook… and good god y’all.  If this was my first read-through, I’d’ve stopped here and now.  The narrator of this first book does Anita no justice at all.  Anita is a four-foot-something spirited necromancer and vampire hunter, with a sharp sense of humor and ruthless attitude.  In the world of paperback paranormal romance, Anita sets precedents by defending herself, drawing lines, and being totally kick-ass without melting at every pretty face.  This narrator makes her sound like a two-dimension lusty woman.  It’s just sad, because reading this book is loads of fun.  Listening to this book was boring and disappointing.

I think she’d do better narrating historical fiction, or something a little less snarky and humorous.  All the jokes fall flat.

Beyond all that, I still can’t get past how much I genuinely like this book.  It’s sneaking around the corner of “out of my genre” but the world is really well formed.  There’s a scene in the middle of the book where Anita is helping Zachary raise a zombie, and the way it is written is so poignant and stunning, you’re draw right into the cemetery.

My main complaint would be that the characters outside Anita are a bit flat.  Nikolaos definitely comes off better in the books, but she still feels a bit like a Claudia (a la Interview with a Vampire) clone.  The boys in particular are really flat, and that’s an issue that continues throughout the series.  I do find Edward interesting, but he’s a barely-contained serial killer.

Overall, I do still like this first book.  I think it’s much better read than listened to, and it’s a relatively short book, so it’s an easy weekend read.  For anyone interested in paranormal romance (like the Kate Daniels books or Sookie Stackhouse), I’d definitely recommend Guilty Pleasures.

I’ve read this book before!  Check out my previous review to see how/if my opinions have changed! -> 2012.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★ 1/2
Writing: ★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Narrator: ★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★ 1/2

4 Star Rating


Have you read this book or anything by this author?  If so, did you enjoy it?  Tell me all about your experience in the comments!

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2 responses to “Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

  1. Oh my god, get out of here! I just posted a Laurell Hamilton review too! Although mine was ummm… less than complimentary. Lol. ? I read the first Merry Gentry book and got completely frustrated with it. But I do love necromancy AND vampires, so I’ll have to give this one a try!! I’ll be sure to actually read it though. Don’t you hate when a narrator falls flat?!

    • Amber

      I *thought* you were reading Merry Gentry! I’m going to pop over and look at your review – I nevr was really interested in Merry even when I was DEVOURING Anita Blake and now I want to know why it’s terrible. XD

      Guilty Pleasures is decent… definitely a bit adult, but not disturbingly so. The Laughing Corpse is good too, and The Circus of the Damned is… okay. After that it becomes essentially paranormal erotica so unless that is your thing, avoid! 😛