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Book Review – Circus of the Damned by Laurell K Hamilton

Circus of the Damned by Laurell K Hamilton

Review by Alexius White

I have never read any of Laurell K. Hamilton’s novels before. However, I have been interested in the Anita Blake series for some time. The first novel in the series I read was Circus of the Damned. It is the third novel in the Anita Blake series, which has twenty-one novels, with Kiss the Dead, the twenty-second novel coming out later this year. Anita Blake is the narrator and hero of the series. In the Circus of the Damned, Anita takes the readers through a series of the good, the bad, and the blood. There was a lot of twist and turns and several parts I saw coming.

Circus of the Damned takes place in St. Louis and spans a little over a week in late October. Late October is the busiest time of year for Animator, Inc. and St. Louis’s premiere animator, necromancer or zombie raiser Anita Blake. Anita is also a consultant for the St. Louis Police Department specializing in preternatural biology, having majored in it at college. St. Louis PD’s RPIT, Regional Preternatural Investigative Team handles all preternatural actualizes in the novel. Therefore, when a corpse shows up on someone’s front lawn with mutil-vampire bit marks the RPIT calls Anita.  However, if Anita says the vampire is not a threat RPIT treats it like a friendly undead. (This comes back to bit Anita.) Also in the novel there is a group called Humans First. Humans First dislikes everything and anything that is not human and above all they detest vampires. The opening of the novel starts with Anita meeting with members of Humans First because they want to know the day time resting place and the name of the ‘Master of the City,’ the lead vampire in charge of the policing the other vampires in the city of St. Louis. Anita knows who the Master of the City is and will not tell Humans First. This leads one of the members of Humans First to call her a “Zombie Queen” which is not a good thing. In addition to Humans First looking for the Master of the City, other vampires have show up to fight the master and take control of the city.

As I said earlier this is my first time reading anything in the series; in spite of not having read anything in the series before, I did not have a problem following the story line and recognize the threads that were established in the first novels. For beginners to this novel series, who do not want to read the first two novels and the comic books, this is a good novel to start with. My favorite parts of the novel were all the different forms of the supernatural, or preternatural being: vampires, zombies, werewolves and lamias. There is even something in the series known a wererat… Unfortunely, the wererats did not show up in this novel. However, a lamias is a giant half-human half-snake preternatural being. The vampires in the novel are different from many of the vampires in other novel series I have read. First, the vampires are out in the open. Second, the vampires in the novel are currently fighting for the right to vote and equal rights for vampires. (These are vampires with an ‘i’ not a ‘y’.) Third, most of the vampires in the novel are over 200 years old. I like older vampires in any novel series. The older vampires will usually have more powers then vampires younger then a 100, and the older vampires care less about consequent. Killing is nothing to an older vampire in any novel series. Fourth, the vampires have control over other preternatural beings. Jean-Claude, a key vampire in the novel, has control over the werewolves, which means that whether the werewolves like it or not they have to come when he calls.

The parts of the novel I did not care for were parts in the narration and the pace. Anita in the middle of anything (a fight sequins, or trying to breath underwater, or being asked out on a date) would asked herself at least four questions: “What happens if I run out of bullets? What happens if there is no way out?” This became annoying very fast. It also made the pace of the novel slow down. I found it very hard to want to keep reading when she would start questioning everything that was happening. As a reader, I do not know what is going to happen, so why does the narrator keep asking me questions.

Over all, I did not love the novel and I will not be reading it again. Yet, I did like many of the ideas in the novel. Therefore, I gave it three stars.



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3 Responses to "Book Review – Circus of the Damned by Laurell K Hamilton"

  1. The one that keeps getting to me: where does a 5’2″ woman put all that armament: knives, guns, etc?

    I keep reading the Blake series because I like her take on vampires, weres, and other supernaturals.

  2. geraldine says:

    Hi Alexius,
    The first time I read Anita Blake series, Circus of the Damned, I was drawn to the narration. I’m amazed how Hamilton was able to write in a first-person narration. That is something I always wanted when I can write a story; hopefully. (sigh). The storyline is graphic; intended for mature readers.

    1. Alexius says:

      Hey Geraldine,
      Thanks for your response. You are right. This novel and the others in the series are very much for mature readers. After I finished reading the novel, I found some of the pages of he graphic novel (comic book). Those are interesting to see. Also, I am not good at writing first-person narration, so not be upset.

      Thanks again,

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