Cerulean Sins by Laurell K. Hamilton. Oh, it’s a sin.

Cerulean Sins

February 2015
Recommended for fans of Laurell, supernatural erotic

In my defense, I’ve been trying to make bookshelf space, weeding out books I bought (and read) years ago. But it’s hard to part with them–after all, then-me must have liked them for some reason, right? Currently, most of the Anita Blake series is in a box in the basement, but I brought this one up because I couldn’t remember when the series finally went bad for me. I’m betting this one was the proverbial straw.

On the positive side, it kept me awake, partly because I was curious if the story started in the first four pages–a hit man looking to raise a zombie–would ever be completed, and partly because trying to figure out if I was remembering this plot or the plot of another one in the series was like a mental itch I couldn’t scratch.

Speaking of itching, Laurell Hamilton is a tease, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. Anita Blake’s ability to raise zombies and her dominating personality made her an interesting character, one of the first female leads of the UF genre. The hook of a human among the supernaturals, working murders with the police was a captivating one, as evidenced by endless entries in the genre since. However, by book (pick any number after 5), it was mostly about Anita and her sexual inhibitions/adventures.

Cerulean Sins goes far down that path of exploring Anita’s sexuality in its many forms, with a driving plot in vampire politics and a minor consult or two with the police about various grisly murder scenes. Read if you feel in the mood for some supernatural erotica, but don’t expect any actual investigation or character development beyond sexuality. This is about who Anita will take blood/sexual energy/sex from and why, and her guilt about it. Actually, it becomes kind of boring, the erotic equivalent of watching the same car chase or shoot out again and again.

I never realized what a classic Speshul Snowflake Anita was–skills that make an assassin pause, strangely strong necromancy, powers of a vampire servant, an excellent shot, leader of a ware-jaguar pack, enforcer for a werewolf pack–she really does everything in the supernatural world. With the bonus special superpowers of being able to arouse lust in five seconds flat through her magical ardeur powers.


My only excuse is that I hadn’t found on-line book clubs yet and was seriously in need of something new to read.

This one goes to the used bookstore, even if they don’t want it.

About thebookgator

avid reader and Goodreads reviewer looking for a home.
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15 Responses to Cerulean Sins by Laurell K. Hamilton. Oh, it’s a sin.

  1. MrsJoseph says:

    OMG! I woke up in a shitty mood but this review started my day with a giggle. 😃

    Wonderful review, Carol. Did I ever tell you I have the first 4 books in this series? Bought them from a church book sale after one of the ladies there swore up & down it was the best ever. I found an index card with a listing of all the pages some vampire -John luc? IDK – appeared.

    • thebookgator says:

      Glad I could make you giggle! OMG–an index card reference for the vamp appearances? Priceless!! I loved the premise, and I feel like the first few books were better balanced with actual mystery/investigation/plot. Someday I’ll re-read those.

      • MrsJoseph says:

        😀 I guess I’ll have to try and read them one day. I mean, how many TBRs can a girl have, lol?

        And yes, a hand written index card with all the Jean Claude (looked it up) appearances. What makes it even funnier is that the woman who talked me into buying them was waxing poetic about Jean Claude. I think the notes were her’s…

  2. thebookgator says:

    Used books with memento–priceless!
    I suspect at this point in time, the first few are worth it because of the historical value, as well as the zombie-raising and the detail. And if one is in the mood for PNR.

  3. 1stavenue says:

    But the previous 10 books were okay or good even? I read Guilty Pleasures and thought it okay, but wasn’t really pulled into Anita’s world, adventures, or investigative methods, and that’s why I didn’t continue the series. But now I’m considering it since a local used bookstore has the whole series, each book going for a dime.

    • thebookgator says:

      I think I read them as they came out in paperback–I know I’ve taken some to the used bookstore already. I remember liking them enough to buy at first–but there was no real UF at the time–Anne Rice and Hamilton were just starting the craze I think (I’ll have to do a little timing research). I would not have kept up if the series started like this one, because I don’t really care about reading erotica, which is what this is. It took Anita a little bit to work through her vamp sqeamishness. Upshot? Buy for cheap if you like to have the book and then dispose/give away later.

      • 1stavenue says:

        I think I’ll do that and then have a massive giveaway afterward–a dime a book is a steal. If that doesn’t work, I’ll have to go back to my old giveaway method–sneaking unwanted books into unsuspecting friends’ homes and coworkers’ offices lol.

  4. thebookgator says:

    I like that giveaway method!

  5. rosewoodpip says:

    I enjoyed the first handful of books in the Anita Blake series. College friends recommended them right around when they first came out. You’re right, UF wasn’t deeply entrenched as a genre then. After the first few AB I was getting tired of them and lost interest, and years later there were something like twenty of them and there was no way I’d be able to catch up, even if I’d wanted to. Book 10, Narcissus in Chains, is where people typically say the series changes character significantly, from mystery/suspense/? stories with a bit of eroticism to the other way around.

    Hamilton’s other series, Merry Gentry, has lots of sex as well, some of problematic, much of it repetitive. I wouldn’t recommend them, but at least the sex doesn’t come with a side order of guilt as you describe here.

    • thebookgator says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, rosewoodpip–we want to save 1stAvenue from spending too much money on the series. 😉
      I did try Meredith Gentry and found it was equally erotic focused, so I don’t think I read past the first. Refreshing to be spared the guilt, though. Although, since any pretense of investigation was eventually dropped with Blake, that was one of the only conflicts left.

  6. Narcissus Sins was the final straw for me. I remember reading some of the earlier ones back in University. And then I got to that one and remember reading the shower scene and thinking: Oooookay that just happened….. Got no issue with sex. I’ll give Hamilton for having the guts to write that stuff given how squeamish a lot of UF writers seem to be. But that was such a sharp turn, it turned me right the hell off.

    I think it was Cerulean Sins that I tried a while later. 2 chapters in and a problem was solved by a threesome…..Hamilton really needs to stop listening to her more ardent, suck-up fans, including (I suspect) her former fanboy husband.

    • thebookgator says:

      Ha. I mean, it is perhaps a interesting kink issue for UF–what does sex with non-humans mean? There’s some potential there. I don’t remember Cerulean Sins at all (as I mentioned above, I think it just becomes one scene after another that has little emotional impact), but I think I remember when she started playing around with biting/ripping bits out of her lovers and I was completely done. It might also have been the hermaphrodite in Narcissus. So many reasons to get bored. I really enjoyed the premise, had she actually concentrated on the mystery over the sex (I hesitate to even call it romance).

      • Yeah me too. From everything I read about the series, the series went downhill around Book 8 because at that time she broke up with her ex-husband (based on Richard) and married a fanboy from her fanclub (based on Micah). Since then, it became her private fantasies ALA Stephenie Meyer.

        For me, the hermaphrodite wasn’t really an issue. If anything Narcissus was just bland. One of my favourite books has a hermaphrodite in it, but she is motherly, energetic, blase about sex and just a little bit manipulative. She’s a character, not a thing.

      • thebookgator says:

        Interesting regarding connection to her life. I had heard some of it based on her sexual beliefs surrounding polyamory. It wasn’t the hermaphrodite at a character; it just nailed the fact that every book was trying to ‘escalate’ the sex. I think the arduer (spelling, I know) just annoyed the bejesus out of me.

  7. Oh yeah I agree about the ardeur. It’s a plot contrivance that both hinders and deus ex machinas the plot. I remember reading one scene from one of the later books (probably Cerulean Sins, my memory’s a little hazy on that) where she kicked potential clients out of her office because the Ardeur compelled her to have sex right there on the floor of the office. It literally stopped the plot from progressing and stopped her from doing her job.

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