My name is Anita Blake. I'm a U. S. Marshal for the Preternatural Branch, and I always have my friend's back. Even when they ask me to risk everything...
Rafael, king of the wererats, is facing a challenge to his crown. He wants me, one of his closest allies, to help him take down a dangerous opponent unlike any he's fought before.
But some of the wererats fear that Rafael is too dependent on me and my ties to the vampire world. They believe that there is only room in America for one supernatural king, and that Rafael will abandon them as prey for the bloodsuckers.
A new challenger has arisen among Rafael's enemies... one who is younger, hungrier and has dark secrets that could destroy both the wererats and the vampires. Now, my friend must go into the magical heart of his people to find the power and violence that he needs to save them all - or die trying.
So some honesty here. I spent many years immersed in this series but I had tapped out a few books back because there was less and less plot. However, I was invited to read this new book for review and I have to admit, I am hooked again. Laurell K. Hamilton has woven together a plot that is compelling while still building the relationships within Anita's life. There is romance but more than that, she truly had developed the friendships within Anita's life, from Claudia to Rafael, we get a fuller picture of the people surrounding Anita as well as her lovers.
In this novel, Rafael is the central figure as he encounters a problem within the Rodere and is pushed to seek Anita's help. He doesn't really want to, Rafael likes to solve his own problems; but along the way, they find out that there is more to the challenge than Rafael knows and the threat could hurt all of them. With the coalition between the groups working together, it is only reasonable that they would want to help Rafael for his own sake but it also helps all of them.
Now, what I liked best, to be honest, was the way Laurell K. Hamilton manages to infuse just enough backstory to enable her readers to quickly catch up if they've forgotten details or if like me, they skipped a few books. Not only that, but that wrap up doesn't drag down the story in any way. It still moves quickly, the pace perfect to keep the reader wrapped up in the story, long into the dead of night. The actions are believable for the world that Anita dwells within, along with magics used. In addition, there are some very intriguing details about the Rodere that make me, in particular, read more and references to past characters I haven't seen mentioned in a long time. I won't spoil it but I think readers will love reading this novel for those details alone.
The other element that made this story flow is that it has a really good mix between the action and the relationships that surround Anita. Yes, there is sex but it is far from the highlight of the novel. In fact, it is far more about the relationships in her life than just the physical act itself and as I like a bit of romance along with my urban fantasy, I found the blend worked much better than it has in the past. Plus the plot and the intrigue within the novel just kept me on the edge of my seat, so much so that I finished the novel within a couple days.
If you, like me, took a break, from Anita Blake, I have to tell you, it's time to return. The world and the characters are far more compelling than they were when I left off. While the relationships are thoroughly non-traditional, Laurell K. Hamilton treats the polyamorous relationships with authenticity and respect. I personally think you could learn a lot from the relationships, and the way they are dealt with was with a great deal of communication between all parties and a lot of honesty, which is the way all positive relationships should be handled. And yet, it doesn't detract from the romance or the love elements. If you love urban fantasy, if you liked the books in the past, I highly recommend this book. I absolutely loved it and I really can't wait for more.
Rating: 5 out of 5 rats. ~~ Andrea Rittschof