Cerulean Sins

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Cerulean Sins is Laurell K. Hamilton’s eleventh novel concerning her heroine Anita Blake, a human who is both a huntress of vampires (and other supernatural things) and a lover to several of the things she hunts. Blake is determined to help her vampire consort, Jean-Luis, defeat the vampire Musette, a servant under the vampire empress Belle Morte. Musette demands Jean-Luis return another vampire that left Belle Morte’s control to her, or face the consequences. If he does this, Jean-Luis will appear weak, but if he does not then he is risking Belle Morte’s wrath. Blake also has to deal with a lycanthrope serial killer and a lust springing from her supernatural dealings that cannot be easily controlled.

The majority of Cerulean Sins is about Blake dealing with this lust, which makes Hamilton’s novel come across more as erotica than anything else (in earlier books, Blake’s jobs as a zombie animator and police assistant were the primary focus). The serial killings, supposedly the most graphic crime scenes Blake has ever encountered, are detailed as a secondary subplot that is quickly resolved at the end.

The vampires in Hamilton’s novels (and of other horror writers such as Anne Rice) are of the traditional aristocratic variety that gets tiring after awhile. What usually makes it work is Blake as a dominating character who is a counterpoint to all this nobility; that characterization is missing this time. Finally, readers have to deal with a cast of characters as if they already knew who they are. Hamilton, in previous novels, gave short descriptions of every character to help any new readers along.

Hamilton’s Anita Blake stories are frequently suspenseful and fun to read. Cerulean Sins, though, is not one of her better novels.