Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Vamp or Not? Micah

"Micah" is the latest Anita Blake novel by Laurell K. Hamilton. Firstly, for those who haven’t come across the novels yet, suffice it to say that Blake is a feisty (often moody) executioner of vampires and animator of the dead. I say executioner as vampires, in Hamilton’s novels, have been afforded rights and it is only rogue ones that need be hunted down – by a federal marshal. However, Blake’s main career is as an animator, raising zombies in order to sort out problems with wills etc.

This is the thirteenth volume – sort of. Firstly, notice the title. Up until this book each volume has been named after some form of establishment within that novel, be it a restaurant, bar or club. Micah is a recurring character within the Blake novels, actually a wereleopard and one of Anita’s lovers. This is not the next book in the series, which is due out later in the year. This is one of a series of short novels based on specific characters that Hamilton has planned. It is short, coming in at just 245 pages (the rest of the book taken up with an excerpt from the next novel due – “Danse Macabre”).

The book centres around Anita as she is called to Philadelphia to summon a zombie for the FBI. It looks into her and Micah’s relationship, and has a zombie raising that goes wrong due to outside influence. That plus the now obligatory and, quite frankly boring, sex scenes. I say boring because I’m still reeling from the last novel in the series proper, “Incubus Dreams”, in which Hamilton decided to forgo plot – in the largest of the novels yet – in place of endless sex scenes. At least in “Micah” those scenes are devolved down to two chapters, but in such a short book it was still quite a lot. Now, I am far from a prude but with such good characters and concepts there could be a much better balance.

Getting back to the book in question, however, there are – unfortunately – none of the vampire characters involved, though they are mentioned in passing. To a degree it is a nice change of pace that could have allowed Hamilton to explore one of the lesser known characters much deeper. Though we get some of that it is perhaps a little of a missed opportunity. The book is a very quick read (no more than a couple of hours) and is a nice distraction for those of us already invested in the series; it also reveals one or two little titbits regarding Blake’s emerging powers. However, in answer to the question in the article’s title, “Micah” is not vamp.

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