||This article consists almost entirely of a plot summary. It should be expanded to provide more balanced coverage that includes real-world context. (December 2010)|
|Author||Laurell K. Hamilton|
|Series||Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter|
|Genre||Horror, Mystery, Erotic novel|
|Publisher||Berkley Books (Berkley edition)|
|May 27, 2008 (Berkley edition)|
|Pages||340 p. (Berkley edition)|
|ISBN||ISBN 978-0-425-22219-5 (Berkley edition)|
|LC Class||PS3558.A443357 B57 2008|
|Preceded by||The Harlequin|
|Followed by||Skin Trade|
"Jason Schuyler is a werewolf. He's also one of Anita Blake's best friends, and sometimes her lover. And right now he needs her—not because she's a vampire hunter, or a federal marshal, or a necromancer, or even lupa of the local werewolf pack, but because his father is dying. He needs Anita because she's a pretty woman who loves him, who can make him look like an everyday guy, who agrees to go home with him and help him say good-bye to the abusive father he never loved. The fact that Jason is about as much an everyday guy as Anita is a pretty woman is something they figure they can keep under wraps for a couple of days in a small town. How hard can that be?
Really by now, Anita Blake should know better.
Marmee Noir, ancient mother of all vampires, picks this weekend to make a move. Somehow she has cut the connection that binds Anita and Jean-Claude, leaving Jean-Claude unable to sense what is happening. Dangerous even as she sleeps, buried in darkness for a thousand years somewhere beneath the old country of Europe, Marmee Noir reaches out toward power. She has attacked Anita before, but never like this. In Anita she senses what she needs to make her enemies tremble..."
- From the inside cover of Blood Noir
Things get even more complicated when Jason is constantly being mistaken for the son of the towns local celebrity, Governor Summerland. Not only do Jason and Anita find themselves in the middle of a media frenzy, but also they are threatened by the complicated vampire-human love triangle that has been plaguing the Summerland family (and most recently Keith Summerland) for generations. When the danger and the news coverage hit a climax at the same time, Anita and Jason are left carefully maneuvering around truck loads of drama and politics, not to mention they're just trying to survive. Jean-Claude's reputation, the American weretiger population, Jason's family values, Keith's impending marriage, and the Governor's bid for president are the least of their problems and just the tip of the metaphysical iceberg.
Blood Noir appears to take place a short time after The Harlequin; however it is not noted exactly how much time has elapsed. There are a few main themes in the novel, which are mostly resolved by the end.
- In Jason's hometown, one of his ancestors had more than his fair share of offspring. Hence, Jason's features are repeated in various cousins and other relatives. During high school Jason was always confused with two of his cousins who happen to be twins. Keith Summerland used the confusion to his benefit a few times, tricking people to believe he was Jason or letting Jason get the beating for Keith's deeds.
- As soon as Jean-Claude's private jet lands in North Carolina, Jason is confused for Keith. The local and national media is interested in Keith Summerland because he is getting married and his father, who is currently a governor, is thinking of running for the Presidency. Meanwhile, Jason's father has been given only weeks to live, so time is of the essence. In addition, Jason has rented a hotel room in the same location that Keith is supposed to stay in and where the bridal party is taking place.
- Keith Summerland is in trouble again, he's fallen for a vampire and would rather marry her than the girl his father wants to marry him to. However, the vampire is already married and her husband does not take kindly to Keith trying to take his bride.
- In The Harlequin Anita was given a charm that is supposed to keep Marmee Noir away. When Anita meets a tiger that calls to one of the tigers inside her, the charm fails or perhaps the Mother of Darkness overpowers it. Previous books have had Anita give her beast to someone else since she cannot shift with a fair amount of success, however Jason would only be able to help Anita if her inner wolf was giving her trouble. Marmee Noir uses Anita to send out a call to every unattached tiger in the nation.
- Specifically, two tigers in the area come to Anita, and Jason, instantly and are essentially raped by her for two days. One is Crispin from Las Vegas (who broaches the rape issue), a stripper and the other is Alexander Pinn, who is a closeted reporter. Crispin is from a white tiger clan, while Alex is from a red tiger clan.
- Once again, Anita could be pregnant. Jason tells the possible-daddies-to-be tigers that the would-be baby is probably his and they then allow her to get a morning-after pill. Otherwise, either tiger would have happily married and taken Anita back to his clan. Crispin appears to have been rolled by Anita and is rather heartbroken when she sends him away, while Alex had a harder time fighting Anita's call.
- Marmee Noir may be thousands of miles physically from Anita, but she can still reach out and touch the necromancer. When Anita loses consciousness, Marmee Noir wakes her and slashes her shirt open despite being so far away. However, she does not reveal why she is so interested in Anita. It could be that she wants Anita for her own human servant, as other Masters of the City may as well. When the link between Anita and Jean-Claude is broken, they believe that Anita may have been marked by Marmee Noir, but once Anita reclaims her anger from Richard the link is back. Marmee Noir cannot understand Anita's rage because it belongs to Anita and was not passed down from her to any of Marmee Noir's vampire descendants.
- The last theme is the desire to be "normal", which most of the main characters admit to wanting. Normal as in what society says most humans want: find a true love, meet the family, get married, have kids, live happily ever after. Unfortunately for Anita, her life is anything but normal, but she's the only one who appears to accept that. When Jason takes Anita home to meet his family, Jean-Claude and Micah both express the desire to do that as well.
- Jean-Claude is jealous because while he would want Anita to meet his family, they have all died so long ago that no one knows him from when he was human is left. Anita tells him that she has in a sense met his mother, she's in some sense met Belle Morte and he replies that she is not 'his people.' Belle Morte may be the head of Jean-Claude's bloodline but she is not the matriarch of his family.
- Micah broke his ties with his family to keep them safe. When Chimera was alive, he would use family against the members of his pard. With Chimera dead, Micah expresses the desire to introduce Anita to his family. However, Nathaniel is also a part of Anita's and Micah's life which leaves Micah uncertain if all three of them should visit. Nathaniel's role in their life is not so clear and simple nor "normal" as the roles of 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend.'
- Richard also wants his life to be normal, he wants Anita to be his wife and to live essentially behind a white picket fence. They have quarreled about this many times in many books. When he finds Anita has gained two more lovers to her list or bed post, Richard is distressed. Once Anita takes away her rage from him, he gains a new talent. The talent is the ardor and unfortunately, there is a learning curve to it and at first he tries to use it against her until Jason calls him on it and then Richard simply leaves Anita alone.
- Jason's desire to be normal shows in trying to appease his father one last time. To try to convince him that Anita is his girlfriend is the least he can do, while he still has time left to say goodbye to his father. A media frenzy of poor timing and rumors will not stop him in visiting his abusive father in the hopes for that one perfect moment of acceptance that he never had when he was growing up. Jason had no desire for athletics and his choice of theater was not what his father wanted for him. In fact, nearly everything Jason has tried to do to please his father has failed. It is not until the end of the book, when Jason is nearly taken away from his family that Franklin Schuyler realizes exactly how much Jason means to him.
Blood Noir features the following major characters.
- Anita Blake
- Jason Schuyler
- Richard: When Anita loses her tie to Jean-Claude, Richard comes to North Carolina to try to help. Unfortunately, after seeing that Anita has added to her list of lovers, Richard is not pleased. He releases the anger that he gained from her when Jean-Claude connected them in the triumvirate and Anita realizes she can either fight it or embrace it. By the end of the book, Richard is acting and feeling more like he did when he first met Anita. However, by potentially taking away the anger, Anita may have given him something else in return.
- Micah: Micah is away from St. Louis, checking out a new leopard who wants to join his and Anita's pard. Anita calls him to tell him about going with Jason to North Carolina. Micah expresses that he too, would like to bring Anita to his estranged family as well, someday.
- Nathaniel: Nathaniel plays a role in the beginning of the book only, for he is the one who offered Anita to Jason for moral support.
Recurring characters include:
- Jamil and Shang-Da: These two werewolves go with Richard to visit Anita in North Carolina.
- Irving: Jason and Anita enroll Irving's help as a news reporter to try to take back the rumor that Anita left Jean-Claude for Jason. Originally, Irving was thrilled to have an insider's scoop on Jean-Claude and other Anita-related topics, but people were beginning to wonder how he was so close to it all. Therefore Anita left him out of it, albeit rather abruptly.
Non-recurring characters as of late include:
- Alex Pinn: a tiger with red stripes, who is a closeted news reporter.
- Crispin: a white tiger from Las Vegas.
- J. J: an Jason's childhood friend and current girlfriend.
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