RafaelRafael by Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Anita Blake #28
Published by Berkley on February 9, 2021
Genres: Urban fantasy
Pages: 267
Format: Paperback
Also by this author: Sucker Punch, A Terrible Fall of Angels, Smolder

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

About Rafael

Rafael is the 28th book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter saga by Laurell K. Hamilton. In some ways, the series has changed a lot over the decades – remember when Anita was virginal, interested in dating only one person at a time, and hated the monsters? And in others, it hasn’t changed at all – straight forward plots where Anita gets to be a badass, loyal to the people she cares about, not the quickest at figuring out emotions, and sometimes really angry.

That’s what Rafael is – a fairly straightforward plot with several opportunities for Anita to demonstrate her increasing badassery. We also get brief check-ins with many of the huge cast of characters, even if it’s just a sentence explaining their absences.

Anita’s friend with benefits and ally, Rafael, the king of the wererats has been fighting challengers to his throne. He’s worried about the most recent challenge and asks Anita to attend his upcoming fight for the throne.

Of course, it isn’t quite that straightforward because this is Anita. While some of the rodere appreciate what Anita and Jean-Claude have done for the wererats. Others think Rafael is selling them into slavery as food and soldiers.

My thoughts about Rafael

I enjoyed getting a deeper look into the world of the wererats, their culture and more intriguingly, their magic. I hope their brujas show up in future books. Rafael’s been around a long time in the series so it was fun to take a closer look at his personality – like his girlfriend picker is broken. Funny comment about him hooking up with Anita.

Lots of fighter and weapons talk as Anita hones her newly acquired strength and speed. Several confrontations lead to bloodiness so long time series character wererat Dr. Lillian gets to make an appearance. There’s also a fair amount of bloodiness although by book #28, I’m guessing there aren’t any squeamish readers left.

Some interesting callbacks to Big Bads from previous books. I wonder if LKH is setting up future storylines. She also hinted at possible storylines where Asher is redeemed and an understanding with Narcissus is reached.

We even got a brief upcoming wedding update – another acknowledgment that her bio family is the worst.

Your thoughts

The Anita Blake series has been polarizing. A lot of early fans were turned off when the previously either no sex or fade to black sex books turned into multi-partner BDSM romps. I have to admit that during several books, I skipped a lot of those scenes. But I kept reading because I cared about a lot of the characters and wanted to know what was happening to them.

Do you have a series like that? Or is there a point where you’re just finished with a series and don’t want to read it any more. Tell me in the comments below.

In conclusion

If you’re new to the series, Rafael isn’t a great entry point. For fans of Anita, this is a solidly satisfying story – hitting the storytelling beats that we readers enjoy about the series – a badass woman, loyal to those she cares about, ready to defend what’s hers against the Big Bad with descriptions of some seriously hot eye candy along the way.

Latinx, LGBTQ+ and nonbinary rep.

Read my review of Sucker Punch the previous book in the Anita Blake series.

Thank you NetGalley and Berkley for the ARC.

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About Laurell K. Hamilton

Laurell K. Hamilton is one of the leading writers of paranormal fiction. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Hamilton writes the popular Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels and the Meredith Gentry series. She is also the creator of a bestselling comic book series based on her Anita Blake novels and published by Marvel Comics. Hamilton is a full-time writer and lives in the suburbs of St. Louis with her family.

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