Photo from Goodreads.com
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Published 2014 Jove/Penguin Group
292pp. 9780515156072. $7.99US, $9.99CAN
Available in print, eBook, and Audiobook
Why I Read It
I’ve been reading Laurell K. Hamilton for the past ten years, at least. Where others think she’s gotten too sexual or beyond the pale, I see personal and character growth. Anita has been my “friend”, and I love reading about her family, her work, her struggles, everything. I went into Jason knowing that it would follow the same general trend as Micah did a few years ago; a side trip that wouldn’t, couldn’t fit into one of the long books. But I also knew that there would be character growth that would be important for the next books, especially Dead Ice, which is coming later this year. I’ve never missed an Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter book, and I don’t intend to start now.
Anita is always willing to help a friend, especially when it’s Jason & his relationship hangs in the balance.
THIS BOOK IS SEX! It’s almost entirely made up of one long sex scene broken into parts. We start with Anita, Jason, Nathaniel, Domino, and Envy gathered for a family meeting. The woman in Anita’s life, Jade, has been silently, and not so silently, pleading with Anita to give more of herself, to be more of a couple. Anita has been reluctant to do so, for several reasons. One of which is that Anita has never been sexually attracted to women, and she believes this is what is keeping her from embracing Jade fully. Add into the mix that Jade is still recovering from a traumatic life with her former master, and Anita is at her wit’s end. She’s already engaged to Jean-Claude, her main man, and in a happy menage with Micah and Nathaniel. She has several other lovers, but those three men have her heart, and she doesn’t feel that she can give Jade what she needs.
Enter Jason, best friend and fuck-buddy, with a possible solution. Jason needs help demonstrating to his girlfriend, J.J., what rough sex is for him and why he needs it occasionally, and always with Anita. He loves J.J., and both are clear that monogamy is not their thing, but J.J. is struggling with the concept of rough sex. If it was a question of not having the right parts, as it is with her need to have a girlfriend as well as Jason, then J.J. would have no qualms. But it’s not.
In exchange for Anita helping Jason demonstrate rough sex to J.J., Jason proposes that J.J. tutor Anita in the ways of lesbian relationships and sex. Negotiations take place, plans are made, and the story begins in earnest.
Here’s what I think
At 23 books, the ABVH series is long. Jumping into the series with this book is not the best plan. But, for long time readers of LKH and Anita, Jason is a great example of character growth over time. Anita is acknowledging and working on her issues. Anita is managing her anger. Anita is communicating her needs and wants in her relationships and in bed. Anita is happy. I was overcome at one point with pride that Anita has grown so much. If others weren’t so hung up on how much sex Anita has and with how many people, they’d see it too.
This novel can be read two ways. On the one hand, it can be read as one long sex scene, and that would be correct. On the other hand, it can be read as one long therapy session, and that would also be correct. A friend commented that there was a lot of talking in Jason. I didn’t have a response then, because I hadn’t read it yet. Now that I have, I recognize that communication is key to a polyamorous relationship. It will not work if all parties are not completely clear about their feelings, apprehensions, etc. So, yes, there is a lot of talking, rehashing, and renegotiating between Jason, J.J., Anita, Nathaniel, Jade, and Domino. There’s also a lot of really hot sex. There’s even the possibility of more J.J. in the future. I really hope so, because she fit in almost immediately in a way that Jade never did.
Quick and dirty. If you love the side trips the short novels allow, then you’ll love Jason. If you’ve been on the fence about LKH and the direction that Anita has taken, you may not want this one. However, I know people who hate read, so maybe this is the one. But, I must say, if you prefer to see Anita working, this is not the book for you.
4Q–Better than most, marred by occasional lapses.
5P–Every reader of this author wanted it yesterday.
Readalikes, courtesy of NoveList Plus
J. R. Ward
Dark Seduction, Brenda Joyce
Mind Over Monsters, Jennifer Harlow
Angel’s Blood, Nalini Singh
Book talk ideas
Family meeting p.40
Jason asks Anita for help p.62
Meeting J.J. p.71
Book discussion questions
1) How did you feel about Jason as a whole? Did you have a favorite scene?
2) Polyamorous relationships are rarely explored in mainstream publishing. Do you agree with Hamilton’s decision to highlight poly relationships in this short novel? Why or Why not?
3) J.J. says that sometimes you give the advice you most need to hear. Do you think, after this trip to St. Louis, that she will break up with Freda?
4) We discover that Anita is more than a little heteroflexible, though not when it comes to Jade. Do you belive Anita to be within her rights as a person to dump Jade, who is not emotionally ready to deal with her issues?
Clues to the Future
Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jason, Jade, J.J., polyamory, group sex, lesbians, bisexual men
Awards and Lists
Links to the Author, Interviews, and Reviews
Author website: http://www.laurellkhamilton.org/
Searching for Superwoman Interview: http://searchingforsuperwomen.com/superspeak-an-interview-with-laurell-k-hamilton/
Fangs for the Fantasy Review: http://www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2015/01/jason-anita-blake-series-227-by-laurell.html
Cocktails and Books Review: http://www.cocktailsandbooks.com/review-jason-laurell-k-hamilton/
I’m doing something different here. One good review and one bad review. LKH is such a polarizing author and the issues raised in and by her books can be intense. These may not be the best reviews in terms of provenance, however, they do address the same things. So, let’s discuss!