The Harlequin (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series #15)

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Into Anita Blake's world-a world already overflowing with power-come creatures so feared that centuries-old vampires refuse to mention their names.

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The Harlequin (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series #15)

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Into Anita Blake's world-a world already overflowing with power-come creatures so feared that centuries-old vampires refuse to mention their names.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
For most of us, harlequins are mischievous, mythic figures, nimble tricksters who entertain us with cartwheels and other acrobatics. For vampire hunter Anita Blake, the word carries a drastically different connotation. No one speaks of The Harlequin; the word is forbidden unless you have been contacted and to be contacted marks you for death. To save herself from this seemingly irrevocable sentence, Anita Blake must enlist the help of Jean-Claude, the Master Vampire of the City; alpha-werewolf Richard; Shapeshifters Nathaniel and Micah; and Edward. Dark, erotic action.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Hamilton just keeps getting better and better.
Library Journal

Vampire executioner Anita Blake is back in her 15th appearance, still spending most of her time dealing with her lycanthropy as she tries to avoid shifting into any of at least four animals. Belle Morte, the oldest vampire and the queen of darkness, is even more interested in Anita and invades her dreams, soliciting her as a potential human servant. As if that weren't enough, the St. Louis "Kiss" has aroused the attention of the Harlequin, a group of vampire enforcers who work in secret to discipline and execute those who run afoul of the Vampire Council. Hamilton uses a stream-of-consciousness style that would have benefited from tightening, but there is more plot and character development than in the last several installments. About halfway through, she drops the vampire politics, sex, and shapeshifting problems to tackle the renegade Harlequins and their animal and human servants. A huge cast of characters, both new and those returning from earlier books, could be confusing for listeners new to the series. The production quality is good, and Cynthia Holloway is a first-rate reader. Note, however, that there is graphic sex and violence. Recommended only for libraries that collect erotica and have significant Hamilton fans.
—Janet Martin

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780515144611
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/29/2008
  • Series: Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series , #15
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 124,301
  • Product dimensions: 4.29 (w) x 6.78 (h) x 1.23 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurell K. Hamilton

Laurell K. Hamilton is a full-time writer and mother. Her bestselling Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels include Narcissus in Chains, Obsidian Butterfly, Blue Moon, Burnt Offerings, The Killing Dance, Bloody Bones, The Lunatic Café, Circus of the Damned, The Laughing Corpse, and Guilty Pleasures. She is also the author of A Kiss of Shadows and A Caress of Twilight. She lives in a suburb of St. Louis with her family.


The vampire genre has enthralled readers ever since Bram Stoker introduced a certain Transylvanian count over a century ago. Since then vampires have been used as vehicles for everything from romantic novels to erotica to humor to the expected tales of terror. However, very few writers have combined all of these facets of the never-say-die vampire quite the way that Laurell K. Hamilton has.

Hamilton has not always been under the spell of undead things that go bump-and-grind in the night. When she was a young girl, her literary tastes were a bit more on the traditional side. "I wanted to be Louisa May Alcott, who wrote Little Women, because I had never read any science fiction, fantasy, or horror," she confessed in a podcast on Mayor "Then at 13 or 14 I found Robert E. Howard's short story collection [Pigeons From Hell]. It was the first horror, the first heroic fantasy, the first science fiction I'd ever read, and the moment I read that I knew that not only did I want to be a writer, but this is what I wanted to write."

Furthering Hamilton's burgeoning fascination with the fantastic, she discovered Anthony Masters's The Natural History of the Vampire at her high school library. Coupled with the ghost stories her grandmother had told her when she was a child and heavy doses of Hammer Horror movies from Great Britain, Hamilton was well on her way to creating a character that would only be rivaled by Buffy in the field of vampire slaying.

Hamilton first introduced vampire huntress Anita Blake in her third novel Guilty Pleasures. Blake is an unlikely combination of action hero, federal marshal, "necromancer," and lusty dame. Her exploits between the sheets and in the graveyard won Hamilton a rabid following hungry for something new in the well-traveled vampire genre.

Along with the kinds of scares normally associated with vampire stories, Hamilton's books are notable for their unflinching eroticism. Vampires have had a sexual lure since Stoker, but Hamilton particularly draws that aspect to the surface of her work as one of her creatures might draw blood from a victim. "I [want] a kiss to be so believable it gives the reader shivers," she says on her website. "Two things I do well are sex and violence, but I don't want gratuitous sex or violence. The sex and violence is only as graphic as need be. And never included unless it furthers the plot or character development."

Another unlikely trait of her books is humor, vampire tales classically being of the more solemn sort. However, a writer weaned on a book titled Pigeons From Hell is not likely going to shy away from wit. Consequently, her books have been consistently entertaining and fun, as well as creepy and sexy.

Hamilton has also brought her delicious combination of sex, humor, and frights to another series, this one more ingrained in dark fantasy than horror. Her faerie princess/P.I. Meredith Gentry made her debut in Kiss of Shadows in 2001 and has since sparked her own crowd-pleasing sword and sorcery meets pulp series.

Increasingly, the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry books have added more sexual content to their story lines, classifying both series in a new hybrid genre that blends romance, erotica, and paranormal fantasy. To judge from Hamilton's consistent appearance on the bestseller charts, readers find the mix spellbinding.

Good To Know

One thing you will never find in a Hamilton novel is a cliffhanger. She believes that cliffhangers unfairly tease readers who would then have to wait six months to a year to have some sense of resolution. As she said during an interview with Bill Thompson of Eye On Books, "Every book is a full meal. All the way from the appetizer to the dessert, so that you come away feeling that you've had an experience... and at the end you have that satisfied, full feeling."

Before Laurell K. Hamilton made a full-time career of blood, guts, murder, and mayhem, she had more humane pursuits -- she volunteered at an animal shelter where she played with unwanted pets.

In our interview, Hamilton shared some fun and fascinating facts about herself with us:

"I am incredibly stubborn. Telling me I cannot do something, especially if you cite the fact that I am a girl, will make me want to do it more and do it better."

"I am not my characters. We have some of the same traits in common, but we are very different people."

"Everything inspires me. Getting up in the morning, walking the dogs, watching a music video. Inspiration comes from everywhere."

"I love animals. I own four dogs, two of whom are rescues. In fact, Jimmy is with us because they were going to gas him if we didn't take him with us. As an older dog his chances of finding a home were fairly slim. But he has been a wonderful addition to our home."

"I like spending time with my family and friends. Something I often feel I do not do enough of. But there are only so many hours in a day."

"I like to read other people's works. I love reading cozy or historical mysteries when I can."

"I enjoy interacting with fans at planned public events. I enjoy talking to them and have met many wonderful people."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Laurell Kaye Klein (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      St. Louis, Missouri
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 19, 1963
    2. Place of Birth:
      Heber Springs, Arkansas
    1. Education:
      B.A., Marion College
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 758 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 761 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent showdown with involvement of all the main characters.

    Started out with excellent outline of the current timeline and situation that the characters are in. The build up was appropriate for the length of the book. With the European vampire council questioning Jean Claude and Anita Blake's combined powers in the previoius book, this is an excellent follow-on to Danse Macbre. This book finally exhibited that Jean Claude is the Master of the Triumvirate as well as the Master of St. Louis. Two thumbs up.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2008

    What's Going On?

    I adored everything in this series through Blue Moon, and could even appreciate Obsidian Butterfly, since I love Edward, but starting with 'Narcissus in Chains', and pretty much the whole ardeur thing, I became more torn. It isn't the sex scenes, which I find well-written, but the S and M scenes do disturb me, and Anita Blake is not somebody I would have expected to be such a willing victim, whether or not her life depended on it...Nathaniel frankly creeps me out, and I hate what Laurell K. has done to Richard...many of his faults are ALSO Anita's, ((maybe that's why he annoys her so much?)) and I could not believe the typos, such as Sylvie becoming unexpectedly straight and Hannah's name changing to Candy. They're in a desperate situation and Anita makes a frankly superior, smarmy speech re: 'doing the best for the people you love every day...' me this was the worst book of the series, but I'll always love Anita and the books from Guilty Pleasures to Blue Moon are almost a completely separate series than what follows, and I'll hope the characters start acting more like their old selves now that Anita has some measure of control over the ardeur...p.s. I understood the reasoning, but HATED that she slept with Rafael.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2007

    Too much Sex

    I have all the books but have become disenchanted with the books after Blue Moon. They were enjoyable when Anita really was a necromancer and vampire slayer and the sex was just imagined between her,Jean-Claude and Richard. It was enjoyable even when they began having sex. Now the book is nothing about her jobs and all about sex. There's hardling any story any more. Just about how many more shifter and vampires she can have sex with and still have time to sleep. I miss the early stories.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    great series

    Once I start reading I can't put the books down, I carry it with me everywere.Best series. I'll be sad when I get to the last one and have to wait months for the next one.anita blake is such fun, she doesn't take anyones bull and all the men in her life, wow

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    More of the same

    I was hooked on Anita Blake's world with Narcissus In Chains which I picked up from a Sea-Tac bookstore out of a desperate need for something to read. After I devoured the book, I bought the rest of the books so I could read them in order from the beginning. I loved loved loved them. The descriptions of Anita raising bodies and why, the legalities of conferring rights on to Vampires, the difficulties with having a police force overseeing the "monsters" with a splash of sex and "monster" politics. Now the books are all sex and "monster" politics. I am so tired of will she/won't she sleep with the next guy. Will they/won't they be killed by the next big scary thing to come to town. That's all the books are since Narcissus in Chains. I only bought this one because a friend told me that she had heard a plot line had returned to the books and the sex had been toned down. She wanted me to be the guinea pig to see if she'd be interested in returning to the books. I told her not to bother. This one was better but not by much. Anita will be interesting again when humans go to her office to get their dead resurrected due to some complex emotion or legal reasons, when the preternatural investigation team needs her for a complicated crime scene, when Richard stops whining about not being human and when the development of the book doesn't hinge on Anita having sex or not having sex. There are a lot of terrific characters in these books and an amazing and fascinating world that Laurell K Hamilton developed and has almost abandoned.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Don't believe the hype

    First let me say that this was the first and only book that I read by the author. However, I am a serious book reader. I read about 3 books per week. I have read hundreds of books. This book had at least 50 characters; I had to make a cheat sheet just to follow the story. I hated the main character (Anita)and didn't get or care for too many of the other characters. The story sucked. I will never read another story by this author. I thought I had found an author with enough material to keep me supplied for a while. NOT. I suggest if you want to read something from the paranormal genre, try the Mona Lisa series.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2011

    Why do we spend our money on a storyline that is sinking...

    I recently started reading LK's Anita Blake vampire series and loved the first books...all the way up through Obsidian Butterfly. But the storyline has gotten so weak!!! I should have bypassed this mess all together if only I had taken the reviews to heart. LK is a good writer, but she seems to lose herself as the series progresses! Anita starts off as this tough as nails chick who has morals (albeit a little annoying)...and then she gradually slides into an annoying sex pot who simply justifies why she needs to have sex with every man that enters her life (yeah..the whole ardeur thing was a great device to add to the story...not!) The characters start off one way (example: Anita meets Richard while he is naked in bed with another woman and he seems to be a laid back character that is friends with JC...and then as the series progresses he morphs into this holier than thou confused leader of the werewolf pack that can't stand PDA and can't control his anger when it comes to Anita and freaks out when ever he is alone with JC!) and then...just like that... LK changes the character into someone else so it adds more drama to the storyline (Okay...Sylvia was a hardcore lesbian and then suddenly is heterosexual!). However, it's not good drama! LK has made every character a confusing mess! We like heroines that don't annoy us and remain consistent!! Anita is not one of those characters! If you are thinking about picking up this series (even though it started in 2001 or later) I would advise you to skip it all together. You'll just get upset with the money you've spent on the first 6 books after reading 7, 8, 9, 10, etc... It was a good start...but like Days of Our needs to be cancelled!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Enough is Enough iS ENOUGH

    I loved LKH writing style, this series and the Merry Gentry series, were fresh, full of wonderful powers, people, creatures, rules, old and new etc.... So I got into both of them, I stuck out the Merry Gentry series because there was only the 7 or 8, and I loved the first books of Anita Blake series. Anita, was tough, relgious yet had these "unnatural powers", her love affairs with Richard and Jeane-Claude was fun to read, but then came the aredur and her turning into just a big slut. I hate to say it, but even that happened in Merry Gentry series, LKH just move on to Erotica. This book does show how powerful Anita is or can be, if for not needing to have sex constantly and having chapter upon chapter of " I can't add another guy, maybe I love him, okay I will add another guy"...crap. I have read some more of the books after #15 one too. But I have to say unless things change in the writing style, It will be no more LKH books for me. Sad. So I would try to get this from the library before buying it. If you are sick of all the sex ....don't even check it out. Sorry Laura you have lost a fan.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2010

    the harlequin....

    I thought this book was much better than the last couple of books...granted the sex is very intense, it gets boring when thats all there is. I'm glad that this book kept me going for the anita blake series, it gave her a meaning more than just the ardeur and who was around her when it flared. This book really makes the reader continue on with the was surely worth it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer


    I am a huge Anita Blake Series fan. After Blue Moon, (which was my absolute favorite) the series took a downward spiral turn. It was agony to read but since I vested so much time reading the series I did not stop. As I read the Harlequin, it became intriguing towards the end with Olaf, Edward and Peter emerging from the Obsidian Butterfly, (one of the LKH greatest book yet). I have hopes for the next few books that are left.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer


    Ahhhhhh, finally the series is back on track. THANK YOU Ms. Hamillton!!! I truly enjoyed this series as found that it didn't contain too much sex, although the sex scenes that were involved were very very nice, and contained just the right amount of suspense and action, along with all the characters being brought back together. I also found that Jake's role in this book was surprising and very well placed.
    The Harlequin brought Olaf and Edward back into Anita's life based on a threat from what the Mother of Darkness created, called, surprisingly The Harlequin. It is composed of very old and powerful vampires who are capable of not just manipulating the behaviors and emotions of humans or younger vampires and lycanthropes, but of Jean-Claude, Anita, and Richard. Under this influence, Richard and Jean-Claude nearly kill each other, and Anita; however, Anita saves the day by almost eating, yet having sex, thus feeding off of energy, with Donovan, the Swan King and Belle Morte.
    Anita was able to determine the Harlequin was not following their own rules and so they were able to strike back and kill the two/three attempting to kill them.
    Anita also leaves her former allies, the were lions, to potential death. At a point where Anita and many of her other allies are injured, sex is demanded from the were lion Rex Joseph so that Anita could gain the power to heal. The Rex refuses because he is married and values being faithful to his wife. Oh, and Haven comes back to town to take over. Yum yum. I'm looking forward to Blood Noir. =)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Jennifer Wardrip - Personal Read

    THE HARLEQUIN, for me, redeems the Anita Blake series. Although there's still sex (which in itself has never been a problem for me), the ratio of sex to story has finally turned. There's an actual plot in THE HARLEQUIN, and it's a pretty dang good one. <BR/><BR/>The Harlequin, what is akin to the vampire police, has come to town -- presumably just to observe. It soon becomes apparent, however, that at least some members of this elite and uber-scary group have harsher things on their mind. <BR/><BR/>The usual characters are all here, as well as reapperances by Edward (aka Tod Forrester) and the serial killer, Olaf. Peter, the teen who was rescued several stories back, is also there. <BR/><BR/>Some typical things happen -- Richard (once again) has serious problems with Anita and the ardeur. Some new plot lines develop -- the local lion king refuses to help in a moment of need, and the swan leader comes to the rescue. <BR/><BR/>Overall, THE HARLEQUIN was a quick, satisfying read that I totally enjoyed. I have renewed faith in the Anita Blake series, and hope that the next book doesn't take away that feeling.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Hey! She's back.

    Finally! The old Anita is back. Well, not exactly the old Anita but close enough. There is page after page of plot, not sex. Monsters abound with Anita and the gang fighting their way through super bad vampires. There are a few sex scenes and discussions about sex, which is OK, but maybe LKH learned you can have sex and the old elements of the series at the same time. She could probably win all of her old fans back and sell even more books now if she pleased everybody. This book is a step in that direction.<BR/>The first half of the book is mostly dialogue but the old Anitas were<BR/>like that, too. I was more than ready for Edward to make his appearance. It felt like old home week. Other reviewers have outlined the book so I won't do that. I just want to tell the old fans that they may want to give this book a try. If we show LKH how much we appreciate the old elements of the books, maybe she will include them in the next books, too. Heck, maybe we will even see a few zombines raised. Truly, a good read to check out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2007

    Harlequin (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series #15)

    This series has reached the depth of bad taste and desperation. They are great fun to read, because they are so bad. No one should take it seriously. There is no longer a coherent plot, but who really cares! If you don¿t want to think and just need a touch of tedious, repetitive sex, this is a great series for you. Things likely to happen. The Harlequin is yet another magical organization. They want Blake. Why? Who cares? Everybody wants Blake, and she lets them have her over and over again. Blake will have more lovers (nothing new there, except for the almost lesbian sex). She will fight with Richard (nothing new there). She will try to control the ardeur, but not quite succeed. Edward comes in, not to kill anybody, but to be Blake¿s panderer. Someone dies. Not a main character. There is no plot. Who cares! Nothing is done. Who cares! More dangling plotlines are left dangling. All is right with AB & her harem after they chew the scenery and each other. There is no ending in sight for this highly unimaginative series, which is now simply awesomely bad garbage. Those of you who like NIC, CS, ID, Micah, DM, will love this book. Everyone who loved the first 9 books, you¿re going to hate it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    Loved the book!

    I enjoyed reading the book! Laurell hamilton did again another great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    Good read.

    This was a good addition to the series. I enjoyed the book.

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  • Posted March 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    PB/Urban Fantasy: Arguing is not character development and does

    PB/Urban Fantasy: Arguing is not character development and does not add to the plot. It took me over two months to read this 400 page book. I really loved the first Anita books. There was vampire politics that kinda made sense, potential romance, and I anticipated the next book. Since Narcissist, there is too much metaphysical crap that keeps added to Anita whether it's a new form of lycanthrophe or lover to feed her stupid ardeur. The ardeur should be hot and sexy, but I dread reading it. Sex scenes go on for pages, and yes, she argues with people during sex.
    Let me give you the gist of this book, and no, it won't ruin it for you. The novel starts out with a plot. Big Bad in town, let's avoid, but if they get in our way, we kill them. The problem is, the bad guy doesn't show up until the end; the very end. Until then, Anita has a date and a misunderstanding with Nathaniel. She goes to see Jean-Claude, but has to wait in his office, with a bunch of vamps who have the hots for her. An argument ensues. JC finally shows up. An argument ensues. Her and her men go to bed and Richard shows up. An argument ensues. The ardeur needs to be fed and Richard and Anita go to the hot tub. The start to have sex and an argument ensues, during sex. Anita is attacked metaphysically and some of her suitors profess love for her. She takes a new lover, and an argument ensues, before, during, and after sex. She is attacked metaphysically and physically and is hospitalized. One by one, more suitors show up. She gets a new form of lycanthrophe (it must be Tuesday).
    This book is not as bad as Dance, but it is bad. I think part of the problem is that it happens in around 24 hours and it is too much. the first books happen over several days. Richard and Nathaniel need to go. Micah should just leave her. She is so hateful to everyone. She claims to love most of her boyfriends, but she respects none of them. She uses them. Her Id and Ego are huge. She gets mad when people don't want to fed the ardeur and she pretty much rapes weres and vamps attached to her men when she feeds. She, of course, doesn't see it that way. She feels that they should be honored to feed her and reap the pleasure of the ardeur. She may want to deny it, but she is a walking vampire that sucks the lifeforce out of her lovers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2014

    Alot of sex in this series!

    That being said! I still love Anita she knows what she wants and she gets it! You go girl!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Anita is Back!

    People complained about the sex in this book, but honestly it is no more than what you should be used to if you are reading these novels! If anything the book comes back on track. Anita actually is back in her office at work for a change and Dolph and Zebrowski come back into the picture. This book motivated me to keep reading when the previous few books motivated me to stop.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    pretty good

    I like the Gentry novels better but while waiting for the next one in that series I read all the Anita Blake series. They are good. The first couple were slow but you kinda needed to read them to get the personalities of the charactors. The Blake series is good to read while waiting for the other.

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