There was a meme running around the internet listing things that fans have learned from Anita Blake. You could even buy a t-shirt with the list. Recently, I started to read the series again from the beginning to the latest book, Kiss the Dead, and realized how much I had learned from the books as well as how I have grown.
Many folks after the success of the Anita Blake series have added vampires and werewolves to their books to drive sales, but it isn’t the supernatural elements that make the book work. It is Anita. Anita who has grown and developed over the years into an even stronger and more dynamic woman then when began. Her creator, Laurell K. Hamilton, has allowed her to do all of these things and remain true to herself.
Real people change and grow, if they don’t then there is something wrong. The major of the character in the book whether they are human or not grow or end up dead. There are a few exceptions like the incorrigible Zebrowski, but through Anita’s eyes we learn more about him each time we meet him.
Reading the kindle editions, I found lovely essays by Hamilton on how she developed the characters, how they surprised her and things she discovered looking back. This series is by far my favorite and the only one that I have read multiple times. When introduced to the series back in college, I was warned that I might feel compelled to stay up all night reading it. I did and have repeated it on multiple occasions.
Anita Blake is a dynamic character that is constantly growing and changing. Throughout the books she struggles with who she is and what it means to be different. She is practical and honest. And deadly. Her direct nature gets her into trouble in nearly every book. It is her faults and virtues that define her as it does any human being and makes her believable to readers.
As the series progresses, her supernatural abilities increase as does the danger she is exposed to; it reminds me of how life never stops and you have to keep adapting to what is happening around you. Critics may get annoyed at her ever increasing skill set, which is understandable to an extent, but then again it is fiction. Dam Good Fiction…
The biggest lesson that I have learned from the series that you have to make your life work for you; not for society. Anita lost her mother at a young age and had to deal with a father who completely collapsed. On top of that early tragedy, she is a necromancer. Her power leaks out bring the newly dead to her door, much to the dismay of her stepmother Judith. Life was never going to be normal for her. She makes her life work under conditions that might make others fall to pieces.
The plan I had for my life once a upon a time never came to fruition, too much of it depended on other people. The life that I have made for myself is so much more interesting than the one I had planned. My cast of characters is amazing and I am eternal grateful for them.