|Laurell K. Hamilton: Obsidian Butterfly|
Books (Hardcover), ISBN 0441006841
Edward, the monster killer Anita considers her most deadly ally, doesn't call in favors lightly, but when he does, prepare to be scared. New Mexico authorities asked good ole boy bounty hunter Ted Forrester (Edward's most public identity) to assist them in what appears to be a serial murder case of unspeakable savagery. The thoroughness with which the murder victims were dismembered and the mutilations suffered by the survivors prove almost too much for Edward -- the man the monsters call "Death" -- to stomach.
"Ted" realizes the crimes must be the work of supernatural predators and persuades the Albuquerque police to request Anita's help. Despite Anita's record as a consultant to the St. Louis Regional Preternatural Investigation Team, the bigoted local lawman resents her interference almost as much Anita resents the lengths "Ted" will go to maintain his cover.
As Ted, Edward managed to get himself engaged to Donna Parnell, a "new-age mom with munchkins." Donna's family survived a werewolf attack -- barely. But Anita fears they won't survive an attachment to Edward in any form. This puts Anita on a collision course with Edward at a time when both "the Executioner" and "Death" need each other to survive.
Careful readers of the Anita Blake series will recognize many themes and plot devices from Blue Moon, the eighth book in the series. Oddly enough, this works to the benefit of Obsidian Butterfly in the same way a less than perfect dress rehearsal helps set the stage for a successful opening night.
Events in Blue Moon often hinged on arcane elements of Norse mythology that were never explained in the narrative, short-changing non-specialist readers. In contrast, Obsidian Butterfly uses its Aztec background with care, allowing readers to share in Anita's growing understanding without being swamped or intimidated.
In Obsidian Butterfly, as in most of the later Vampire Hunter books, Anita the Narrator stumbles over a major clue within the first fifty pages that Anita the Sleuth, maddeningly, never explores in time to prevent catastrophe. However, since Edward provides a much sharper focus for Hamilton's meditations on the nature of evil than Richard Zeeman (the werewolf heart of Blue Moon) I found it easier to accept the inevitability of Obsidian Butterfly's climax.
The stakes in Obsidian Butterfly seem higher too. Part of the credit must go to the way the book's greater attention to continuity and detail sharpens Hamiltons' trademark intensity and non-stop action. But again, I think, the critical factor is Edward and the small, damaged family he pulls into his orbit. Richard's Norman Rockwell-perfect family faced death in Blue Moon, but unlike Donna and her children, they never risked their souls.
Jean Marie Ward
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I loved the book Obsidian Butterfly. I really like the character of Edward. I think this explored his and Anita's relationship very deeply. It makes you understand the draw they have toward each other.
I think the book Obsidian Butterfly could have been better. Of course, we all like the character "Edward" but not enough where the whole book should have revolved around him. The total absence of Jean-Claude, Richard, the pard, lukoi, and other vampires really disappointed me.
The book lacks detail. It doesn't say what was Olaf's or Bernardo's special "gift" other than that they were Edward's backups. I say if you aren't too much an "Edward" fan, don't read this book, and if you are, than you have met the book for you. In my opinion, I paid too much for a book that didn't hold my interest long. I had to make myself finish reading the rest of it just because I bought it. The previous books were way better and I would like to think that the future books of the "Anita Blake" series are better than this.
I found this book to be just as riveting as the others in the Anita Blake series, for varied reasons. First, I do like the character of "Edward" and I was really interested in finding out more about him. I was also pleased to see that the character of Anita works just as well out of her local element of vampires and werewolves in St. Louis and the vicinity (although Blue Moon did take us down to Tennessee, most of the central characters were "regulars" in the series).
With Edward playing at being "Ted", Anita gets to learn more about him -- what makes him "tick," so to speak. We get to go along for the ride and is it ever a doosy!
With all the sub-plots in Obsidian Butterfly, it was easy to stay interested in this book, and in re-reading it, I found more information that I had missed the first time around.
One of the things that I saw, that bore out my conclusions at the end of Blue Moon, was that in Obsidian Butterfly Anita realizes that she is getting burned out, and the killing has to stop. She is considering a long vacation away from it all...will she be able to leave Jean Claude, Richard and all the rest behind? I am most eagerly awaiting the next book in the series -- I sure wish it was October!
Obsidian Butterfly bored me -- it's the only Anita Blake I haven't gone back and reread immediately, due to lack of interest. And, having given it a few months rest, I reread it to see if I thought differently. No, I don't.
I've always liked Edward as a character; however, I've never been so interested in him that I wanted an entire book revolving around his issues. And even if I had, Obsidian Butterfly is not that book. Not only is it an entire book about Edward, but instead of Anita's usual gang, it has almost a parody of it in what I came to call the Anti-Gang -- Edward's back-ups. There is never any explanation of why they were called in to help Edward in the first place -- he wasn't at the point of knowing what he was facing when he enlisted them. And when [Edward] did figure it out and called in Anita, one of them immediately turned into almost as big a problem for the "gang" as the problem [Anita] came to investigate.
If you're not as interested in Edward as Anita and Laurell are, don't bother to read the book; you're not going to enjoy it. And as her initial hardcover outing, I am extremely unhappy in paying that amount for a book that interested me so little and disappointed me so greatly.