Thursday, July 17, 2008

The First Death by Laurell K. Hamilton

The First Death
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter
Laurell K. Hamilton
Hamilton – Green – Alves
Diamond Comics Distributors, Inc.
March 12, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-7851-2941-7

From the cover flap:
For more than a decade Laurell K. Hamilton’s vampire-slaying heroine Anita Blake has excited fans through a series of heart-pounding novels set in a world where the undead have won civil rights and come out from the shadows, a world where someone has to execute those undead who cling to their murderous heritage. An “animator” by trade, raising the dead for a living, Anita Blake is the person the cops call in when they get a case too macabre for them to handle alone, and the woman the vampires call “the Executioner.” Now, for the first time ever and exclusive to comics, Hamilton pens a tale set before the first Anita Blake novel, Guilty Pleasures, to reveal how Anita’s career began! In a story co-written by husband Jonathon Green, illustrated by Wellington Alves, and with covers by fan favorite Brett Booth, fans can finally read about the first meeting between Anita and the sensuous vampire Jean-Claude, the serial-killer case that began her involvement with the police, and how she became allies with the sinister hitman of all things supernatural, Edward! Whether you are a longtime fan of Anita Blake, or have only just discovered her, join us for the prequel fans have been waiting for, as we pull back the veils on the mysteries of Anita’s origins!

My thoughts:
Anita Blake is a necromancer working for Animators Inc., she raises the dead for a living. She’s also a vampire hunter, licensed to execute them for their crimes, and a consultant for the St. Louis Police Department’s Regional Preternatural Investigation Team (RPIT), that’s run by Dolph Storr.

When Dolph calls Anita to take a look at the victim of a grisly murder, a child, she responds to the scene. It appears that a vampire is preying on children and Anita isn’t about to let the monster go. Their investigation leads them to Jean-Claude, the manager of the vampire strip club Guilty Pleasures, and their meeting is a bit unnerving for Anita.

Just as Anita thinks she and her co-worker Manny have lost the killer’s trail, Edward shows up. He’s an assassin for hire and more than happy to hunt the monsters. Edward believes they’re working the same case, and despite her fear and distrust of him Anita has little choice but to exchange information if she expects to find the vampires responsible for the murders.

The First Death is set near the beginning of Anita’s work as a consultant with RPIT, when hunting vampires and raising zombies filled her days and nights. Anita is tough as nails when it comes to ridding the world of monsters, and she’s not about to let one get away, especially one who’s chosen children as the victims. Ms. Hamilton shares an easy to follow vampire murder mystery that’s co-authored by her husband Jonathon Green. The cover and artwork by Brett Booth, Ron Lim and Wellington Alves throughout this graphic novel are simply amazing. Graphic is the operative word, because the artists have really outdone themselves in capturing every aspect of the characters and the world around them, even the gory bits of The First Death. It’s a quick read, but as a longtime reader of the Vampire Hunter series having a visual of the action had me taking my time and savoring each page. There’s also a Guilty Pleasures Handbook included as part of this book that’s both fascinating and fun to read. Graphic novels are a new experience for me, one that I’ve wanted to try, but hadn’t really gotten the opportunity to before now. I’ll be looking forward to the next in the Guilty Pleasures series that’s currently scheduled to release on July 22, 2008.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews


Enchanted by Books said...

I saw a graphic novel offered recently on a review list and was tempted to ask for it but I passed. They sound cool and I'd love to try one. I never read Hamilton, shock, I know! I'll have to check them out to see what they look like. Sounds good. :)

Kimberly Swan said...

If you get another chance you should take it. I was really impressed with the artwork and how fun it was to read a story this way. Not surprising that you haven't read any of LKH's work yet, you just recently jumped in to the urban fantasy reads. This would be a great way to start because there's a Guilty Pleasures Handbook after the story. You'd really get to know the characters. :)

Unknown said...

I just read the 'Guilty Pleasures' graphic novel this week. Now I need the second volume...and this one too! They are really fun but she needs to get that curl of hair out of her face.

Kimberly Swan said...

You and that I have to mention the Handbook again, I think you're really going to love that. I'm looking forward to Vol. 2 as well. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree about the curl....Anita always has her hair out of her face. My boyfriend got me the graphic novel for my college graduation and I LOVED IT. I need to get all the others now.

Kimberly Swan said...

Hi Misty - Glad to hear that you enjoyed it, and I hope you're able to read the rest soon! :)