Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Audio Review: Hit List by Laurell K Hamilton
Title: Hit List (Anita Blake # 20)
Author: Laurell K Hamilton
Narrator: Kimberly Alexis
Publisher: Penguin Audio
I'd been having a lot of trouble getting into this book via the print copies I'd gotten from the library, so I finally gave in and got an audiobook version from my library's OverDrive system. I'll just say one thing: Kimberly Alexis is a darn good narrator and someone that I'll look for when it comes to audiobooks.
A serial killer is hunting the Pacific Northwest, murdering victims in a gruesome and spectacular way. The local police suspect "monsters" are involved, and have called in Anita Blake and Edward, U.S. Marshals who really know their monsters, to catch the killer.
Now as far as the book itself goes, it isn't all bad. It starts off interesting enough for a Hamilton novel and had a lot of promise. Unfortunately it then devolves into a lot of standing around and talking. We have a lot of rehashing of old plot points and insecurities, a lot of descriptions of what everyone's doing, thinking, wearing, and what they look like. There's a lot of redundancy, which was highlighted by listening to the book being narrated. I think that at least a third of the book could've been edited down without much of the plot (such as it was) being lost. Do we really need page after page of Anita waxing about how she's "one of the guys" and various male characters perpetuating the old and tired lines of "oh, I guess everyone hates/dislikes you because they're jealous that you're a woman". I'm surprised I didn't get eyestrain from the amount of eye rolling that happened every time a character brought this up because it gets brought up at least once every 10-15 minutes, or that's what it felt like. ENOUGH. If Anita states repeatedly to herself that she has nothing to prove, then why keep bringing it up? Besides, at this point she should be a known commodity to the other cops, supes, and whatnot, so she shouldn't have to keep having whizzing contests with the other people around her. It's *boring* and the time would've been better spent developing other factors.
Or at least trying to avoid inconsistencies. I couldn't help but wonder what Hamilton was thinking when she had Anita and Edward talking strategy inside of a car when the bad guys (who all have superior hearing) are feet away. If it's been shown that even average weres can hear Anita making out through walls, the Harlequin (who are supposed to be exceptionally skilled) should be able to hear them discussing a plan through thin car doors. This isn't the only YAABI in the book, but it's pretty representative of a lot of them. Between the inconsistencies and the "using your book as a soapbox to push your personal viewpoints", this book was pretty much a mess.
But like I said above, Alexis's narration is excellent and it's a shame that she's only done Hamilton's work. She's got an excellent set of skills and it'd be nice to see her extend them to other authors. Alexis saves a lot of the book with her voice and while she can't completely turn this sow's ear into a silk purse, she does make the trip a little better.
This isn't an "Anita's back" sort of book, despite what some of the trades might've said. Hit List's biggest failing is that it's ultimately another novella stretched out into full novel length. The anti-climactic scene between Anita and the Mother of all Darkness is pretty underwhelming, but I'm willing to overlook that because it's past time that tired plot point was laid to rest. (OK, that was a little spoilerish but if you've read any of the AB books then you know that Anita always wins, which is one of the reasons the series lacks any true tension nowadays. It's too safe.)