Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Micah (inevitable spoilers present)

I just read Laurell K. Hamilton's new Anita Blake novel, Micah today. By "read today" I mean, "read in two hours". Its not a dense book. In fact, its really like a stripped down version/return to some of her earlier works. Its got all the basic stuff that you need in an Anita Blake novel: guns, magic, zombies, sex and sexual tension, Anita quibbling about sex. It also brings up Anita's fear of flying and gets into Micah's history.

Its a FAST novel. I have to say that I haven't enjoyed some of the latest AB novels quite as much due to their density and the amount of sex in them...but density has been a factor. The novels up till Obsidian Butterfly were relativly short, and pretty concise. Things happened fast, but there was time for introspection and there was a lot of character development over the course of the books. The last few novels have gotten a bit bogged down in sex in such a way that there's been less characterization. I still like them, Hamilton's development of the magical aspects in the books are really nice, and she does write some interesting stuff in regards to vampire and lycanthropic politics.

Micah really moves back to some of the earlier novels. Its a little faster than I'd like. If the earlier novels were 3-4 issue plots, Micah is a single 22 page issue done between arcs to clear the air a bit. Like I said, its a little too fast, but it IS concise. Things move in a nice, linear line, like the gratuitous plot elements have been stripped away to leave bare the bones of the plot. It really feels like its leading up to something, like its really just a piece that needed to go in between Cerulean Sins and Danse Macabre to explain the development in Anita's powers and to develop her relationship with Micah. It also reveals a few interesting things about where Anita's body is going (not pregnant...but she does have her quirks, to which I will quote Mr. Burns: "You mean I'm invincible?" "No! God no! Your condition is very fra-" "Inveeeeeencible...").

Micah is notable among the books in that its the first time that Anita goes to a city and DOESN'T get involved in supernatural politics. She's there for less than a day, so its not THAT surprising. But still...I dunno. Lack of vampire or shifter politics made it feel a bit like a process story.

Still. There's magic, guns, and sex. There is only one sex scene, and its not too, too long, and pretty easy to skip over (I'm not real big into sex in novels...sometimes its OK, but its not really something I linger over). Really paired down, and there were a few plot threads I really would have liked it to elaborate on (though I get the impression that we haven't seen the last of Agent Franklin).

I'm gonna give it two and a half to three out of five stars. It wasn't as spectacular as many of Hamilton's earlier, pre-Obsidian Butterfly novels, and it just felt like it was missing something. On the other hand, it was a nice, fast read, and it was pretty enjoyable and engrossing enough while I was reading it. I just came away with the feeling that there should have been MORE. I'm hoping that Danse Macabre will be a bit longer and more detailed. Should be interesting to see.


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