Posts Tagged ‘Vampire Hunter’

Paranormal Books and Series: Best to Worst

I like when people make lists of the paranormal books that they’ve read, sorted by loves and hates.  I love the genre so much right now that I’m forever looking for more in the hopes I’ll find some new fandom to obsess over.

The thing is, it isn’t necessarily enough to check out posts of recommendations, because one person’s 5 star favorite might be my idea of empty, meaningless drivel.  That’s why I like the complete list, so I can see which side of the fence my favorites (and least favs) fall on, and thereby whether or not I have compatible taste.

So here’s my list, in case anybody is looking for one.  It’ll be a work in progress that gets edited from time to time.  Books on my first list are my favorites that I consider buy-worthy and rate between 4 and 5 stars on Goodreads.  The second list are books that I still consider entertaining, mostly rated between 3 and 4 stars.   If it falls under Comfort Food, that means the plot is probably fairly predictable or possibly derivative but will pass the time if all else fails.  Obviously with the last category, I’m just trying to get you to save your money for something better—no matter how sexy the cover might be.

Before you begin, you should note that I am essentially a fan of urban fantasy and I generally try to avoid paranormal romance, which I think is just regular romance wearing vampire teeth and a cape.  That kind of stuff generally falls under “Comfort Food” if it makes this list at all.

The BEST:

Adult:

  1. Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series, (only 1-9, mind you), by Laurell K. Hamilton
  2. Rachel Morgan, The Hallows Series, by Kim Harrison
  3. Mercy Thompson Series, by Patricia Briggs
  4. Song of Ice and Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
  5. Otherworld Series, by Kelley Armstrong
  6. Sookie Stackhouse, Southern Vampire Series, by Charlaine Harris
  7. Kitty Norville Series, by Carrie Vaughn (*book 10 just dropped from a 4 star rating to a 3…concerned about possible series decline)
  8. Anna Latham, Alpha and Omega Series, by Patricia Briggs
  9. Eric Courtney, Void City Series, by J. F. Lewis (1st book incredible, think I’m done after the 2nd though)
  10. Odd Thomas Series, by Dean Koontz (don’t be scared off by his other fare, this is a standout series)

Teen:

  1. Katniss Everdeen, Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
  2. Claire Danvers, Morganville Vampires Series, by Rachel Caine
  3. Clara Gardner, Unearthly Series, by Cynthia Hand
  4. Darkest Powers Series, by Kelley Armstrong
  5. Jenny Thornton, Forbidden Game Trilogy, by L. J. Smith
  6. Elena Gilbert, Vampire Diaries (can only swear for 1-4), by L. J. Smith
  7. Bella Swan, Twilight Saga, by Stephanie Meyer
  8. Shari Cooper, Remember Me Trilogy, by Christopher Pike
  9. Nightworld Series, by L. J. Smith
  10. Kaitlyn Fairchild, Dark Vision Trilogy, by L. J. Smith
  11. Tamsin Greene, Once a Witch and Always a Witch, by Carolyn MacCullough

The Pretty Good:

Adult:

  1. Alex Craft Series, by Kalayna Price
  2. Joanne Baldwin, Weather Warden Series, by Rachel Caine (Gets better with time…)
  3. Merit, Chicagoland Vampires Series, by Chloe Neill
  4. Harper Blaine, Greywalker Series, by Kat Richardson (Liked the first 2 a lot, the 3rd…eh)
  5. Anton Gorodetsky, Watch Series, by Sergei Lukyanenko
  6. Riley Jenson, Guardian Series, by Keri Arthur
  7. Chess Putnam, Downside Ghosts Series, by Stacia Kane
  8. MacKayla Lane, Fever Series, by Karen Marie Moning
  9. Victoria Nelson Series, by Tanya Huff
  10. Meredith Gentry Series, by Laurell K. Hamilton (at least the first bunch)

Teen:

  1. Clary (Clarissa) Fray, Mortal Instruments Trilogy, by Cassandra Clare
  2. Luce (Lucinda) Price, Fallen Series, by Lauren Kate
  3. Rose Hathaway, Vampire Academy Series, by Richelle Mead
  4. Madison Avery Series, by Kim Harrison

The Comfort Food:

Adult:

  1. Sophie Garou, Tales of an Urban Werewolf Series, by Karen MacInerney
  2. October Daye Series, by Seanan McGuire
  3. Dark Hunter Series, Sherrilyn Kenyon
  4. Cat Crawfield, Night Huntress Series, by Jeaniene Frost
  5. Georgina Kincaid Series, by Richelle Mead
  6. Cassandra Palmer Series, by Karen Chance
  7. Joanne Walker, Walker Papers Series, by C. E. Murphy
  8. Joanna Archer, Signs of the Zodiac Series, by Vickie Pettersson
  9. Luna Wilder, Nocturne City Series, by Caitlin Kittredge
  10. Sisters of the Moon, by Yasmine Galenorn
  11. Sabina Kane Series, by Jaye Wells
  12. Atticus O’Sullivan, Iron Druid Series, by Kevin Hearne
  13. Harry Dresden, The Dresden Files Series, by Jim Butcher

Teen:

  1. Liza, Bones of Faerie, by Janni Lee Simner

The Library if You Must:

Adult:

  1. Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter (10 & beyond), by Laurell K. Hamilton
  2. Jaz Parks Series, by Jennifer Rardin
  3. Faythe Sanders, Shifters Series, by Rachel Vincent
  4. Diana Tregarde Series, by Mercedes Lackey
  5. Carpathians Series, by Christine Feehan
  6. Betsy Taylor, Undead Series, by Mary Janice Davidson
  7. Lily Yu, World of the Lupi Series, by Eileen Wilks

Teen:

  1. Nora Grey, Hush, Hush Series, by Becca Fitzpatrick
  2. Wendy Everly, Trylle Trilogy, by Amanda Hocking
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The Untimely Demise of Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter

Let me begin by saying that the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series by Laurell K. Hamilton was once my ultimate, all-time favorite.  So much, that when the Southern Vampire Series was optioned for an HBO series (hello, True Blood), I remember feeling that Anita Blake had been overlooked.  I didn’t blame HBO, I blamed the author.

If you aren’t familiar with this series but you love vampire fiction, you really should try them and start at the beginning with Guilty Pleasures.  For the first 9 books, you’ll find truly exceptional plots starring a tough, wry heroine who raises zombies for a living and works for the police on the side, putting her firmly in between humanity and the monsters.  These books have everything; mystery, romance, drama, and of course, blood, guts, and all the scary beasts you can imagine.  Each book is better than the one before.

At least, until book 10, Narcissus in Chains.  Then it becomes porn.

Of course, if that’s what you’re into then that’s fine.  But these are very light on plot, with a quick turn for the heroine from a woman with a strict Christian background and sexual hangups to someone who has sex with almost every stranger who crosses her path.  Practically every scene is a sex scene, and that’s only part of the problem.  The first 9 books show Anita struggling with unwelcome feelings for the local vampire Master of the City and, after book 3 (Circus of the Damned, fantastic story), a powerful but troubled werewolf.  Don’t worry, nothing Twilight about it.  The sexual tension builds between them slowly, with a lot of feelings and inner turmoil involved.

Then in Narcissus in Chains, Anita is suddenly bestowed with a “power” that forces her to “feed off of sex”, whatever that means.  Off the bat, she has sex with a stranger and a previously abused, much younger, former male-prostitute named Nathaniel that she’d rescued in a previous novel, Burnt Offerings.  Beyond this novel she starts having sex with almost all the other powerful men that she knows and/or meets.  I know that characters in long-term series need room to grow and change, yet this new Anita is IMO completely incomparable with her previous self.

Even if you could look beyond the drastic character change, the plots have gone down the tubes.  The  police don’t trust the new Anita and her harem so there are no more crimes for her to solve, which had always been a big part of the original 9 stories.  Her regular job as a zombie raiser is forgotten  for the most part, for no real reason that I can see.  Most of the books deal with long distance “psychic attacks” from European monsters or Anita fighting off animals in her head, and the solution to and/or result of both problems usually involves Anita having sex with more friends and strangers.

So why do I keep reading them?  Because the first 9 books were so fantastic that I guess part of me is still waiting for the old Anita, the old Laurell K. Hamilton in fact, to resurface.  But you can bet I’ve stopped buying them; library or nothing for me.

All and all, I will always recommend this series, despite the eventual flatline. The replacements that I’ve found since can only pale in comparison with this series’ original potential.