Smolder by Laurell K. Hamilton
Upon completing the thirtieth installment of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, a realization dawned: I had neglected to review the twenty-ninth book. As an avid follower of this series, my solution was to devote the last day and a half to revisiting the preceding installment for a thorough assessment. Despite my expectation that a second reading might elevate my appreciation, I must confess that my sentiments remain unchanged – it falls short of greatness, and my reservations persist.
Echoing the sentiments of others, “Smolder” felt like only half a book. The trend of diminishing length in Anita Blake novels, once a multi-day immersion, now culminates in a mere few hours of reading time. In recollection, the Anita Blake I fondly remember is a fusion of action, magic, and sensuality, yet “Smolder” introduces a murder plot that inexplicably fades into oblivion after its initial appearance. The unresolved mystery surrounding the maid’s culpability leaves a palpable void in the narrative, rendering it unsatisfying.
This installment marks a departure from the accustomed pattern, lacking a proper plot resolution. The story concludes abruptly, leaving readers hanging without further exploration of the introduced police mystery. While the inclusion of another crime-solving element is appreciated, its underdeveloped nature and hasty conclusion are glaring drawbacks.
Undoubtedly, I will continue reading the series, and “Slay” proves to be a more satisfying installment. However, my reevaluation of “Smolder” uncovered two realizations: a growing disdain for the character Asher and a yearning for more substantial plots in future books. The absence of comprehensive storytelling threatens to diminish the joy these books have historically provided. It’s my fervent hope that forthcoming releases will return to the roots of full-fledged stories, where Anita’s crime-solving prowess and supernatural encounters take center stage. If the narrative focus shifts predominantly to her polyamorous relationships, I would advocate for a distinct series or a collection of novellas to maintain the essence of the beloved Anita Blake universe.