Coming to Grips with the Ardeur: Cerulean Sins

Cerulean Sins

Cerulean SIns cover imageAn Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel #11
Written by: Laurell K. Hamilton
Read by: Cynthia Holloway
15 Hours and 45 Minutes
Penguin Random House Audio (PRHA) | Imprint: Penguin Audio
Genre: Fiction – Romance – Paranormal –
General Release Date: April 30, 2019

I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader’s copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

Cerulean Sins, the eleventh entry in the hugely-popular Anita Blake series, finds everyone’s favorite vampire hunter keeping house and kicking butt.

Anita Blake is trying to get her life back to “normal” after a break-up with her werewolf lover. She has settled into a pattern of domesticity, which means that the new man in her life, the leopard shapeshifter Micah, has no problem sharing her with Jean-Claude, Master Vampire of the City. Things are as peaceful as they ever get for someone who raises the dead, when Jean-Claude receives an unexpected and unwelcome visitor: Musette, the very beautiful, very twisted representative of the European Council of Vampires. Anita soon finds herself caught up in a dangerous game of vampire power politics.

To add to her troubles, she is asked to consult on a series of brutal killings, which seem to be the work of something un-human. The investigation leads her to Cerulean Sins, a vampire-run establishment that deals in erotic videos, videos that cater to very specific tastes. Anita knows one creature of the night who has such interests — Jean-Claude’s visitor. But if Anita brings Musette down, the repercussions could cost her everything she holds dear.

Once a sworn enemy of all monsters, Anita is now the human consort of both Master Vampire Jean Claude and leopard shapeshifter Micah. When a centuries-old vampire hits St. Louis, Anita finds herself needing all the dark forces her passion can muster to save the ones she loves.


My Take Oblong Shaped

Back in 2011, I reviewed this story and said:

…An attempt to balance her love life, her job, and being a Federal Marshall. She has to come to grips with new powers resulting from her membership in the triumverate, especially the ardeur, a need to feed not on blood but on sex.  And, in this novel the hot heats up with the mysterious ardeur that Anita has picked up as a new power.  I think the ardeur gives Hamilton a license to have Anita screw anyone as needed with Anita then inculpable for her behavior; the ardeur made her do it. The violence is super gristley.
I do agree with some of Hamilton’s critics, not only in this series but in the Meredith Gentry series Hamilton is obsessed with men’s hair. Damian’s hair “fell in a straight, silken curtain. scarlet, like a spill of blood.”(Kindle Ed. p. 44) Asher’s  hair is golden, Jean Claude’s black. Jean Claude and Asher dress like the shopped at a Neverland Ranch Yard Sale.  I have a hard time not seeing the two ancient vampires as if they were in The Three Musketeers.
The upshot is that the I couldn’t stop reading it but she should spend a little less time dressing up her men.  Somebody get Laurell a Bob Mackie Ken Doll!
I BELIEVE THE BOOK WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN 2003, But now it has come out in audio with a decent narrator, a little less snarky than I hear Anita in my head, but a good, clear narration.   In listening to it, I think I see again that in this book Anita is coming to grips with her and Richard’s relationship being totally non-romantic, while Richard comes to grips with absolutely nothing and continues to be a huge a$$hat.  But, Anita has to come to grips with her need to feed her hunger, “the ardeur,” (the need to feed off sexual gratification – a sexual vampire, or succubus) on more than one or two guys and it is going to involve intercourse with more than one guy.  For a woman who, with religion and culture as a guiding force in her life, was a virgin for several books, and is still a Christian, this is a rather big deal. 
She also has to come to grips with vampire politics, which has become all kinds of weird: projection of one master vampire through her agent, the awakening of a creepy vampire who is more than just a vampire — more than the first or second vampire — she is the darkness that early mankind feared.  I noted in this book how LKH is a master of physical description — sometimes a little too descriptive, but at other times she wields her  pen perfectly.  In the too much category, her description of fellatio was a little  more than I wanted to know. 

Her other life, raising the dead, being a vampire cop, just didn’t feel important in this story, except to show how far Anita has become “other” in the eyes of the people on the human side.  Her sex life is the subject of gossip, her were-friends are treated poorly, she is regarded as a slut. But she stands up to it all.

 I’ve said it before that Laurell’s books can feel a lot about what might have been happening in her own life. I know that at one point she left an unhappy marriage, married her current spouse and some how ended up polyamorous.  It’s a lifestyle that I think one can only get to happily with a lot of honesty and probably therapy.  Maybe I am over-thinking it but many writers’ characters and plots at least partly reflect their own stuff.

So, many books in to this series, and I think that for the most part it needs to be read in order. But, if you like erotic, paranormal thrillers, it’s definitely in the top ten, and rather binge-worthy.


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