Laurell K. Hamilton certainly has a way with words - her books draw you in, and the reader never knows quite where the story
will go next. The "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" books are all very unpredictable, with unexpected events unfolding and an ever-widening cast of characters.
"ever-widening" epithet also describes Anita Blake's powers and responsibilities. Not content with
"merely" being a necromancer, as the books in this series have unfolded she has gained position as a
lupa (female alpha wolf), leopard pack leader, vampire human servant, and more. However, this reader has found that the
longer this series continues, the more abstract and distant Anita Blake seems. In the first few books, it
is possible to identify with her as a woman trying to hunt monsters and not to become one.
At this point in the story, though, Anita has become someone fairly unlikeable with
an idiosyncratic set of rules that just don't work for this reader.
Burnt Offerings contains all the complexity of the previous stories, if
not more. The love triangle is settled for the moment, so more time is spent on the difficulties of Anita's life as she juggles her varied tasks.
Asked to investigate a possible supernatural firestarter, she finds herself also getting involved with were-leopard and werewolf politics, and her lover, Jean-Claude, needs her help with the European Vampire Council. The level of violence in this book
is over-the-top at times, and some aspects of the plot seem rehashed from previous books
- plus I have serious doubts about Anita's sanity and her self-awareness as to her limits. The author's skill in telling the tale lifts this book above many in this genre, but it's
not a patch on the first four in the series.