Narrator: Kimberly Alexis
Length: 15 hrs 22 mins
Series: Anita Blake #26
Published by Berkley on August 7, 2018
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Vampire hunter Anita Blake has managed to overcome everything she faces. But this time there's a monster that even she doesn't know how to fight...
A remote Florida island is the perfect wedding destination for the upcoming nuptials of Anita's fellow U.S. Marshal and best friend Edward. For Anita, the vacation is a welcome break, as it's the first trip she gets to take with wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel. But it's not all fun and games and bachelor parties...
In this tropical paradise Micah discovers a horrific new form of lycanthropy, one that has afflicted a single family for generations. Believed to be the result of an ancient Greek curse, it turns human bodies into a mass of snakes.
When long-simmering resentment leads to a big blowout within the wedding party, the last thing Anita needs is more drama. But it finds her anyway when women start disappearing from the hotel, and worse--her own friends and lovers are considered the prime suspects. There's a strange power afoot that Anita has never confronted before, a force that's rendering those around her helpless in its thrall. Unable to face it on her own, Anita is willing to accept help from even the deadliest places. Help that she will most certainly regret--if she survives at all, that is...
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I have been an avid reader of the Anita Blake series for many years now. Despite the ups and downs of the series, I’ve always picked up the next book and tried to be as open-minded as possible. There is always a big wait between books and I my hope is that the wait will bring greatness. When I read an Anita Blake series, it has become more for the adventure than it has for any kind of romance.
Despite a great amount of time at the beginning of Serpentine trying to explain the romantic side of Anita’s love life, I still find myself overwhelmed and then to the point where I just don’t care anymore. It has come down to just a few main characters now, which is great, but the constant description of their polyamorous life and how it works just does not interest me anymore. It is like the author feels the need to explain how the whole situation works in every installment. The problem is, most of Anita’s love life and problems within it took up almost the first full 60% of the book. I was almost to the point of DNF when I realized how far in I was and at that point we were finally getting into the meat of the story and the adventure, which was what I was waiting for. Especially with a story that included the Four Horsemen together.
There was an interesting power within one of the detectives that almost had Nathanial and Anita trapped in a bad place in the investigation of some missing girls from their hotel. It was a magic Anita hadn’t come up against before and was a struggle for her to overcome. Anita also has another foe to deal with and I’m kind of worried about what is happening in that situation.
There are a lot of surrounding things happening with Anita, and the main adventure seems to take up very little time. You don’t really get into it until well into the book and the details seem to be slipped into moments of other crises that Anita goes through. The time we did get with the Four Horsemen and the mystery storyline was my favorite and I savored what time we spent with that. Bernardo’s reaction to the killing and missing girls surprised me a bit. I was also interested to see the many sides of Edward we see in Serpentine as his Ted and Edward personalities are warring between his relationship stuff with Donna and the case. I love Edward so any of the stories that he is in really grab me. His relationship with Donna was in jeopardy and his reaction was definitely interesting.
Serpentine has many ups and downs for me. I was disappointed that so much time is spent on the poly relationships in comparison to the adventure of the case. For readers who have been with this series for as many years as I have, we pretty much have all that stuff down. Of course there will be bumps in the road, but I don’t think we need to spend so much time with them working it out. I’m much more interested in the kick-ass Anita and the monsters she has to fight. I hate to say I was disappointed with Serpentine, but for the most part I was. I think the series has pretty much run it’s course. There are still the relationship strings to tie up. Maybe if we spent more time with Jean-Claude with the crew defending his kingship we might get more metaphysical stuff and action. Maybe more of Edward with his flamethrower!
I honestly don’t know if this will be the end of the series for me. After as much time as I’ve spent with this series, I hate to give up not having some finality to it, but it is getting harder to get through all of what I feel is filler to get to the meat of the story. I sure hope the poly group just gets the weddings over with and move into some good action. I think it is really needed to pick this series back up.
I jumped so hard I tripped over the hem of the dress and jerked the top of the dress hard enough that one breast popped out. I did manage not to drop my phone, though.
Donna, the bride-to-be, laughed and then looked away quickly as I fumbled to try to cover the one breast that had escaped. There were enough laugh lines in her face to let me know she did it often. As her face relaxed, she looked younger—dare I say glowing? She just looked happy, and nothing makes someone as beautiful as happiness and being in love. No makeup or youth serum can come close to that beauty secret. “I’ve never seen you startle like that,” she said with an edge of laughter still in her voice. “You and Ted are usually so hyperaware of your surroundings that I didn’t think it was possible for me to sneak up on either of you.”
“I’m fine, just a little jumpy apparently,” I said, but I was mentally cursing myself because she was right. I was in a public place and I’d had to hand over my gun and knives to our bodyguard, Nicky, because there was no way to have any weapons while we tailored the dress. If I’d been thinking, I would have brought a thigh holster and my Sig Sauer .380. Thigh holster was one of my least favorite ways to carry, but at least I could have kept one weapon on me. A belt holster on a formal dress had nowhere to hang, so I’d handed my weapons to Nicky. We had two more bodyguards outside the doors to the bridal shop, so I was safe, but I still didn’t like that Donna had been able to sneak up on me. Micah had talked to Nathaniel before he’d asked for privacy and just me. Whatever he’d said to Nathaniel had left our shared boyfriend smiling, so Micah’s doubts had only come to me; lucky me. I think I meant it on the lucky part; one of the three of us should be enjoying themselves today.
“Whatever you were thinking about just now isn’t fine,” Donna said, raising a hand as if to smooth her hair back behind her ear. But the new hairdo was all soft, short curls that didn’t encroach on the smooth curve of her ears, which bore two delicate stud earrings. Her hair had been brown, but now it was almost blond, with just hints of her underlying brown, as if the sun had bleached it golden, but I’d been told she’d gone to a great hair stylist.
“You said it yourself, Donna. I let you sneak up on me in a public place. I could have been flashing a stranger.”
She chuckled. “The halter dress looks great on Denny, but you . . .” She waved vaguely at me and shook her head, still smiling. “I’m sorry, I didn’t think about how different you and Denny are built when I asked for you to match her dress.”
“Denny’s inseam must be seven inches longer than mine, Donna. Plus, she’s a serious runner and does triathlons, so she’s built long and lean. I’ll never be either of those things.”
Donna hugged me, which was a little more awkward than normal, because I could only use one arm to hug her back unless I was willing to do a lot more than flash one breast. The thought of pressing my bare breasts against Donna in a close hug made me wildly uncomfortable. If I hadn’t been dating women, would it have bothered me as much? I think so. It wasn’t the girl-on-girl thing; it was the Donna thing.
“I forgot how much shorter you were than Denny; you always seem to fill up more space than that, just like Ted does.” She drew back and I was happy the hugging was over, so I could try to rearrange the halter top as best I could.
“I forget that he’s only five-eight sometimes, too,” I said.
“He seems like he must be at least six feet tall, doesn’t he?” she said.
I smiled and agreed because she was right. Nathaniel was actually an inch taller than Edward, but I always forgot that until they were standing next to each other for comparison. Part of the reason was that Nathaniel had only been five foot six when we met, so sometimes I remembered him as shorter than his full height.
“Thank you again, Anita, for flying to New Mexico this close to the wedding. I know how you hate to fly, and now you’ll have to fly home and then fly to Florida, so three flights instead of just one.”
“Only your tailor here in New Mexico was going to be willing to make time in their schedule this close to the wedding, so I had to come to you.”
“You didn’t have to come; you could have told me to go to hell and you were wearing a tux like we planned.”
I smiled. “I could have, but I’d rather not have a fight with you and Ted this close to your wedding. I’m his best man; I have to act like the better man, or better person, or whatever.”