Anita Blake, Executioner, necromancer, lover and human servant to Jean-Claude - the charismatic Master Vampire of St. Louis, lupa of the Thronnus Roke Clan lukoi, and Nimir-ra of a pard of leopard lycanthropes, is changing...more so all the time. When Laurell Hamilton introduced her to us in "Guilty Pleasures," Book One of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, she was a 24 year-old, smart, attractive, feisty, super-independent dynamo, who raised the dead for a living. She was almost a normal 21st century career girl. Of course she staked rogue vampires as a sideline, but we all have our quirks. Anita's preternatural powers have been steadily increasing, and in "Blue Moon," book eight in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, the lines are really beginning to blur between her humanity and the supernatural. Always an uncompromising and tough lady, she has developed a hardness, a detachment, that frightens even herself.
Anita, Richard Zeeman, (an alpha werewolf and her old boyfriend), and Jean-Claude, (her present lover), had formed a Triumvirate of power - Master Vampire, Ulfric and necromancer. In other words, when the three connect, they exude tremendous force and are able to do much more magic than any one or two can do alone. The three are still bound to each other, even though Richard is furious with Anita for dumping him. She had to choose between "a flesh eater and a bloodsucker." Do you see a pattern here?
Late one evening Anita receives a phone call from Richard's brother. Zeeman had been spending the summer in Meyerton, Tennessee, studying the Lesser Smokey Mountain Trolls which live in the area, and fulfilling the requirements for his Masters degree. He has been arrested for the rape of a local women, and is obviously innocent of the charge. Richard is squeaky clean, the ultimate Boy Scout, and very gentle, especially for a lycanthrope. To make the situation worse, a full moon will occur in five days. As luck would have it, this month, August, is a blue moon month - that means two full moons in 31 days - a phenomenon which arises every 3-4 years. And we all know what happens to werewolves during a full moon, don't we? Richard has not "come out of the closet," so to speak, to his parents, his employers, or to many other humans. Basically, he needs to get out of jail pronto. Anita flies down to Meyerton to give him a hand and get him a good attorney. At Jean-Claude's insistence she is accompanied by an entourage of body guards. Colin, the master of the local vampires does not want Anita and cohorts on his turf - for any reason and has made some serious threats. So, vampires Asher and Damian, and lycanthropes Jason, Zane, Cherry, and Nathaniel are there to keep her safe - although, as always, Anita turns out to be the one who does the most protecting. Werewolves Jamil and Shang-Da are around for Richard, to assist him and to join in the Blue Moon celebrations with Verne, the local Ulfric and his pack..
Freeing Richard proves easier than tangling with Colin and crew, plus the corrupt local police, and an assortment of other heinous monsters - there's pure evil on the loose in these hills!! There are some interesting twists in character development in "Blue Moon." Anita is more vulnerable here than previously. She has to confront her mixed feelings for both Richard and Jean-Claude, come to terms with Raina's munin - the vengeful spirit who possesses her from time-to-time, make a decision about her reluctant status as leoparde-lionee of the Saint Louis wereleopards, and face her own ignorance in terms of the power she possesses. Anita fears that she is rapidly becoming as much a monster as those she hunts...and loves. Hamilton succeeds beautifully in developing this vulnerable side of Anita, without sacrificing the plot. However, at this point in the series a change was needed. There had to be more to Anita than one tough cookie who goes up against the monsters and wins, repeatedly. This is one of Laurell Hamilton's best novels - tightly plotted, well structured, including wonderful dark humor, acerbic wit, and plenty of thrills and chills.
Just a word about the sexual content in "Blue Moon." I do not find it any more excessive or graphic than what one reads in most popular fiction - bestseller lists included - nor what is shown on afternoon TV. It would not be realistic to write about a healthy, single woman of 24 and exclude sex. Anyway, I loved this book and certainly recommend it!