The Killing Dance (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 6)

The Killing Dance  - Laurell K. Hamilton I'm one of those that felt this series dropped into an abyss with Narcissus in Chains, but not only is this still on the right side of the divide, I think this might be my favorite book in the series. In this book the relationships between Jean-Claude, the vampire master of the city, Richard the were-wolf leader, and Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter and her tug between the two men are what is in the forefront. And below be spoilers, because I can't see discussing this book without them. Spoilers Below Up to now, the Anita Blake books were more sensual than sexual. Yes, there has been eye-candy. And some books had scenes that depicted sexual violence, but Anita had still kept her body, if not her heart, untouched. I've seen reviews that see what Anita does in this book as "cheating" and feel she betrays Richard--sees her as hypocritical for her feeling repulsed by what she sees and turning to Jean-Claude. I don't see it that way. Anita started the series with a moral bright line that kept being undermined from book to book. Vampires and weres were monsters to her. Over the course of the books she not only learned to see them as people but to see the monster in herself. Richard was the good guy, at least compared to Jean-Claude. So, yes, I do understand why what she saw was such a shock to her. If she was depending on Richard to keep her grounded and human, well the scales dropped from her eyes here. And that naturally I think upset the balance between Jean-Claude and Richard in their rival claims to her heart. And between the two of them, given that Richard could come across as self-righteous and whiny, I was pulling for Jean-Claude. Hell, given the endless stretching out of sexual tension up to this book, my reaction when Anita had sex was "Finally!" Little did I know that eventually sex wouldn't simply drive plot but take it over in this series.