A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Cerulean Sins’ chapter one

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Ah, yes, Cerulean Sins. The series has well and truly gone off into the wild blue yonder and the fanbasse is not happy. The series has jumped over the shark, the base has been broken, the arkenstone has been lost – etc etc. How will LKH remedy this? Uh, probably by indulging in the same crap as ever. Her sales are still good, her reviews are still inexplicably good, so why should she make any changes?

I’m predicting this one is going to be rough.

Fun fact: this book officially jettisons the original title scheme. The first ten books were all named after locations used in the books. This one?

It was suggested by Laurell K. Hamilton that Cerulean Sins was the name of another of Jean-Claude’s businesses, a store dealing in lingerie and other ‘adult’ products. However, this was deemed too racy for the books and eliminated before publishing.

Yeah. This series has multiple rapes, tortures, death by immolation, sexual assault of a child, gang rape, heads in baskets, demons ripping people apart, and people being skinned alive. But vibrators? TOO RACY. Whatever.

Let’s look at the blurb.

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter is not quite as human as she once was.

That’s because she’s a demon from hell.

Consumed by both the lusts of the vampire and the primal hungers of the wereleopards, her desires must be sated. But it is Jean-Claude, the Master Vampire, who needs her now.

When she is asked to reanimate the body of a long-dead corpse, it seems like just another case to Anita. What she will soon discover is that the corpse may hold the secret to an ancient crime that not everyone wants to be remembered…

In the pulse-pounding new story of suspense and sensuality, Anita will need to must all the dark forces of her passion if she is to save the ones she loves the most.

Wow. How gosh-darn exciting. That in no way sounds like any other Anita Blake novel. I am so excited to start this novel up. What a thrill ride we’re going to get.

Surprise, surprise, Anita is at work! She hasn’t been to work since… Burnt Offerings? That’s four books ago! How has she been surviving? It’s been what, two years since we’ve seen her do any work? She’s sat at her desk with a Mr. Leo Harlan, who is entirely nondescript. This means he is suspicious.

I took a sip from my coffee mug with the motto, “If you slip me decaf, I’ll rip your head off.”

No office that deals with the public would allow a employee to have such an unprofessional mug.

I’d brought it to work when our boss, Bert, had put decaf in the coffeemaker without telling anyone, thinking we wouldn’t notice. Half the office thought they had mono for a week, until we discovered Bert’s dastardly plot.

Glandular fever? You thought you had GLANDULAR FEVER? Let’s look at the symptoms of that;

  • Sore throat.
  • Swollen glands.
  • Swollen spleen.
  • Swollen eyes.
  • Flu symptoms, such as headache, temperatures, body pains.
  • Malaise, which is a feeling of intense tiredness.

Nope. You don’t think you have a serious illness just because you didn’t have a coffee in the morning.

Harlan wants a ancestor raised from the dead and Anita doesn’t believe him. Why? SCARS.

Maybe I was being paranoid, but my left arm under the nice navy suit jacket was crisscrossed with scars – from the crooked cross-shaped burn scar, where a vampire’s servant had branded me, to the slashing claw marks of a shape-shifted witch. Plus knife scars, thin and clean compared to the rest. My right arm had only one knife scar, it was nothing in comparison. And there were other scars hidden under the navy skirt and royal blue shell. Silk didn’t care if it slid over scars or smooth, untouched skin.


Anita asks what ancestor Harlan wants raised and realises that he’s carrying a gun in a shoulder holster. This is suspicious because… only Anita is allowed to carry weapons in the office. She wants to know what Harlan does for a living because she’s a partner in the business and deserves to know. Who the hell thought it’d be a great idea to put Anita in charge of a business?

Harlan straight up says that he’s a hitman.

let me just shut this door in your face.

Yes, of course. Because someone who makes a living from killing people would straight up just admit that they kill people for a living. That’s a realistic response. That’s how people act and deal with people. Anyway, he really wants to have his ancestor raised from the dead, commends Anita for noticing he’s got a gun, and Anita tries to find out why he wants an ancestor raised. She’ll only raise a body when there’s a ‘good reason’ like killing other people. Harlan asks whether she can raise a old body without a human sacrifice and she confirms that she can. Then Harlan tells her why he wants a body raised.

“I’ve followed the records of my family in this country back as far as I can, but my original ancestor is on no official documents. I believe he gave a false name from the beginning. Until I get his true name, I can’t track through Europe. I very much wish to do that.”

“Raise him, ask his real name, his real reason for coming to this country, and put him back?” I made it a question.

I know. I can see that. You don’t have to tell me.

They started arguing about when the appointment is going to be (you’d think the secretary/receptionist would handle that) but the real crux of the argument is that Harlan wants to know if Anita is a shifter or not. If he’s heard the rumours that she got attacked by a shifter, then surely he’d have heard that she doesn’t change? She does take full moons off, to deal with pack business, but why the hell is that any of Harlan’s business?

They look at each and think how tuff they are. Anita is cross about having to do her job.

I was pretty sure that if I turned it down, Harlan would find someone else to do it. Someone else that didn’t have either my abilities or my morals. Sometimes you deal with the devil not because you want to, but because if you don’t, someone else will.

Uh… what? You don’t want to do the job because… raising a corpse is bad? What? What?

This is not off to a good start.


17 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Cerulean Sins’ chapter one

      • Of course it’s a bad idea. But then, you’re using real-world logic, rather than Mary Sue self-insert logic, which dictates that Anita be rewarded for her behavior, even if it’s bad.

      • I was under the impression that she forced it, and since her name is in the papers both for screwing the MotC and being Police Consultant/Federal Marshall she could potentially blackball Bert/Animator’s Inc. if Bert didn’t make her a partner. But that is using evil!logic and suggests that Anita doesn’t shit frozen yogurt, so I am probably wrong.

  1. “No office that deals with the public would allow a employee to have such an unprofessional mug.”

    I don’t think LKH understands how “funny” mugs work, or what’s appropriate in a business.

    Also – wow, overreact much? I mean, I’ve occasionally skipped my morning coffee, but I’ve never felt *that* bad. Jeez, have a soda with lunch or something.

    re: scars paragraph. Wait, what does any of that have to do with why Anita doesn’t trust this guy? I mean, yeah, he’s a somewhat sleezy guy introduced in the first chapter, so he’s obviously a bad guy. But what does Anita having “badass” scars have to do with that? (Also, aren’t all those scars evidence that Anita is really bad at the whole “killing monsters” thing?)

    “They look at each and think how tuff they are.”

    Ugh. Anita is not “tuff”. She’s like one of those little dogs that constantly barks at everything until you just want to punt the damn thing like you’re kicking a field goal.

    Sorry, I got lost there for a second. Point is, Anita is so damned focused on looking and acting tough than actually being tough.

    • Oh, and you know that this whole bit will be dropped until the last fifth of the book (if that), because LKH really sucks at plotting.

    • Yup, yup, yup.

      Did I ever tell you how I got these scars? By being constantly terrible at my job!

      I refuse to believe anyone would seriously think they had a serious illness because of skipping a morning coffee.

  2. ‘eh. To be honest, I’ve seen worse at my jobs (mostly gas stations since I was 16, which is depressing), where I’ve had coworkers get away with stabbing customers (!), driving staples into a customer’s hand (!!!), shooting off bottle rockets in the store (!!!!), smoking pot on shift outside the store in full view of the street and anyone who bothered to look (which was also an open secret to everyone BUT my bosses), etc. (Granted this was all also mostly on third shift, which my bosses were just happy to have bodies on.) Honestly, Anita’s mug is tame in comparison. Her reasoning for it is the worst part.

  3. So I just read your review NiC before going on to this, and can just say a few things and ask one. 1) I feel so bad for you that you had slog that literary mess and you were absolutely right, there is a plot somewhere buried in there. 2) Please tell that in the later novels someone actually stands up to Blake because damn does she of being a Mary Sue. Lastly, where did you get that amazing gif of the guy slowly closing and where did it come from. Okay thats actually two things asked but yeah.

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