Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter and Necromancer, finds herself struggling with the fact she might be pregnant all while trying to navigate the supernatural political landscape in St. Louis. Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Necromancer and Federal Marshal can never seem to catch a break and her recent drama isn't one she can't easily solve due to the fact she might be pregnant. While under normal circumstances this wouldn't be a big deal, the problem is her lovers are all supernatural beings making this a very sticky subjective both politically and relationship-wise. Anita struggles in the beginning to figure out whether or not she should tell the potential fathers, whom happen to be Richard, her ex-boyfriend and alpha of the local werewolf pack, Asher a vampire and friend to Jean-Claude, Damian her vampire servant and lover, Nathaniel a were-leopard and one of her boyfriends, and of course, Jean-Claude himself –master vampire of the city of St. Louis.
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Unfortunately, Anita has other issues to deal with before she can begin to even consider playing “Mommy Dearest.” For starters, her increasing powers have caused the ardeur, her new power which causes her to feed off sexual energy to survive, to take control of not only her emotions and sex life, but it has begun to imprint thoughts and feelings on her lovers. This revelation brings Anita to question her relationships and wonder if any of the feelings she has for the men in her life are actually real. Another issue arises when Jean-Claude invites a vampire ballet to the city of St. Louis to put on a performance and invites several other master vampires, including Augustine, the master vampire of Chicago and Thea, the wife of the master vampire of Cape Cod and who happens to be a siren. Of course, the guests arrive with their own personal agendas.
Before Anita heads to the Circus of the Damned, Jean-Claude's local vampire circus and host to the ballet, Anita decides to confide in Richard about her potential pregnancy. He is of course, thrilled but proposes a traditional solution that he and Anita get married. Anita knows this isn't possible, due to the ardeur and her need for multiple lovers. This of course upsets Richard but he ultimately understands. Anita also decides to confide in Nathaniel and Micah about her potential pregnancy, both who respond with much enthusiasm and already begin planning on how they could take on parental duties, while endearing, Anita is still worried a pregnancy at this time of her life could bring more harm than good, not just disrupting her life but supernatural pregnancies often have a high risk for birth defects.
At the Circus of the Damned, Anita is approached by Augustine who proposes love to Anita, though his intentions are not pure. He hopes for Anita to use her supernatural powers to control the local Chicago were-lion population. Anita is reluctant nor does she wish to get involved in the politics of the matter. She is also approached by Thea, who is the wife of the master vampire of Cape Cod. She wishes for Anita to sleep with her three sons with the hopes of awakening their powers early. Anita finds this request slightly repulsive and refuses to commit to an answer due to the fact she has her own pregnancy nightmare playing out like an episode of “Teen Mom” only she is almost 30.
At the ballet, Anita notices a strong and powerful force enveloping her and the other vampire and were-populations in the audience. Through her mind powers, Anita identifies the head of the ballet Merlin, as the culprit and is able to shut down his power and stop him, though he refuses to reveal his motives behind the power play.
After the ballet, Anita reveals Augustine's plan to Jean-Claude about how he wants to use love to have her control the were-lion population in Chicago. Jean-Claude proposes they use this play against Augustine and bring him into their bed, where Anita uses the ardeur to entrap him and bind the vampire to Jean-Claude and Anita, making him their own. As for Thea, Anita refuses to sleep with all three of her sons but tells her that if she brings her oldest to her, she will attempt to awaken his powers through the ardeur but cannot make any promises it will work.
And as for her pregnancy, Anita ultimately decides to have the baby and heads to the hospital where it is revealed she is not pregnant at all but was having a false positive due to her rare genetic makeup and supernatural blood. Although disappointed, Anita knows that this is for the best as her world is the least inviting for a child.
Best part of story, including ending:
The entire novel takes place over one 24 hour period and happens to be one of the longest of the series. Overall, not much happens and the actual plot thrown in seems to just be there to satiate the reader, otherwise the entire book is pages and pages of nothing.
Best scene in story:
I really enjoyed when Anita and Jean-Claude use the ardeur against Augustine, ultimately giving him his wish but using the power against him. He now belongs to Anita and Jean Claude which adds to their list of assets and political gain.
Opinion about the main character:
I felt the pregnancy red herring in the novel was used cheaply and to add some drama and in the end there was absolutely no pay off as the pregnancy never existed. I feel it was a ploy to keep the reader reading and didn't add to the overall plot of the series moving forward.