The Ultimate Guide To Reading The Anita Blake Series In Order

Are you a lover of Twilight, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, or the Southern Vampire VMysteries? Then you must read the Anita Black: Vampire Hunter series.

First released in 1993 by American author Laurell K. Hamilton, the series continues to be a cult favorite among supernatural fantasy readers.

Guide To Reading The Anita Blake Series In Order

With over 30 novels and a collection of novellas and short stories, there is more than enough for you to read.

The series was picked up for a television adaptation in 2009, however, with Buffy The Vampire Slayer already on the scene, it became clear that Anita Blake worked much better on paper.

Hamilton is still writing the tales of Anita Black with no signs of stopping. Meaning every few years or so, you can expect a new story to devour.

Let’s get into it!

About Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter

Laurell Kaye Hamilton first released the dark fantasy series in 1993. Since then the series has accumulated 38 main novels and 9 short stories and novellas.

Meaning you can read this series for years and never run out of material.

The series focuses on Anita Blake, a young zombie raiser, vampire executioner, and a supernatural consultant for the police. Blake does it all.

This series is set in a parallel universe where every creature walks around together. And much like humans, some creatures can get out of line.

This is where Anita Blake comes in, solving mysteries, discovering new abilities, and of course, falling in love.

2 Ways To Read Anita Blake

The Anita Blake Series can be read as standalone novels, in publication order, or in chronological order.

It is important to note that each main novel can be read as a standalone story, meaning you can really read the Anita Blake books in any order you wish.

However, if you are reading them in chronological order, you should not begin with the short story collection, Strange Candy.

The Anita Blake short stories in that book describe events that happened before the main series.

But for a better reading experience, start with the first full-length novel so that you are familiar with the character and the setting.

Below we discuss how to read the Anita Blake Series in 2 ways, let’s dive in!

Anita Blake Series In Publication Order

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Book 1)

Little, mysterious, and menacing character Anita Blake. The city of St. Louis is her domain. Her duties involve raising the dead to life and eliminating overzealous undead.

When a powerful vampire asks for her help, the attraction begins and Anita is left to battle those around her and her own feelings.


  • Introduces the world and the characters of the series.
  • Easy to read.


  • The plot is flat.

The Laughing Corpse

The Laughing Corpse: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

Harold Gaynor is determined to raise a 300-year-old zombie from the dead.

When Anita begins to realize he may have succeeded she must now destroy both the zombie and the voodoo priestess in control.


  • The female character is strong.
  • Humor is the main theme.


  • Dialogue is juvenile.

Circus Of The Damned

Circus of the Damned: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

The city’s Master Vamp, Jean-Claude, wants Anita for himself, but his adversaries have other ideas.

Then to make matters worse, Anita suffers heartbreak when she meets Richard Zeeman, a breathtakingly attractive junior high school science teacher.

According to Anita, these are two humans who have been caught in the crossfire.


  • Anita becomes more mature.
  • The ending is shocking.


  • The plot has many holes.

The Lunatic Café

The Lunatic Cafe: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

Anita Blake made herself known as one of the good guys.

But when she begins to fall in love with the Alpha of the werewolves, her world may become more blurred than she thought.


  • Action-packed from the beginning.
  • Romance becomes more present.


  • Writing can be over-descriptive.

Bloody Bones

Bloody Bones: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

It doesn’t take an expert to know that something is wrong when four unsolved killings hit Branson, Missouri, in a death wave.

Fortunately for the townspeople, Anita Blake is knowledgeable about the kinds of paranormal activities that terrify everyone.

Also, she has a connection to Jean-Claude, the seductive master vampire who can explain the killings.


  • Familiar characters return.
  • The ending is emotional.


  • Anita’s character changes slightly.

The Killing Dance

The Killing Dance: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

Vampire hunter Anita Blake in The Killing Dance finds herself the target of a $500,000 hit, and the two males in her life—a vampire and a werewolf—aren’t doing anything to help.


  • The action begins on the first page.
  • Anita is forced to make a decision between lovers.


  • Editing is unprofessional.

Burnt Offerings

Burnt Offerings: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

Anita Blake had always maintained that you shouldn’t trust anyone who spends the night with monsters.

But now she is sleeping in the same bed as the city’s Master Vampire.

When fires are alight all over the city she must leave the arms of the one she loves and save those she swore to destroy.


  • New characters are introduced.
  • The plot is electric and suspenseful.


  • The plot is predictable.

Blue Moon

Blue Moon: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

The backlight of Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, illuminates the evening.

Anita Blake can’t resist a former lover during the full moon in her ninth adventure. Especially given that he is a werewolf and is incarcerated.


  • Old characters come back for a new plot.
  • Series progresses.


  • The plot focuses on a subpar character.

Obsidian Butterfly

Obsidian Butterfly: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

Everyone is a monster in Anita’s life, even the humans.

When Edward the bounty hunter enlists her help, Anita may have bitten off more than she can chew.


  • Anita matures into herself more.
  • Violence becomes a dominant theme.


  • Desire is explored explicitly.

Narcissus In Chains

Narcissus in Chains: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel, Book 10

Anita recently returned to St. Louis after spending six months abroad, but she is still unable to decide between her two lovers, Richard, a werewolf, and vampire Jean-Claude.

But once two of the were-leopards she has been watching are kidnapped at a shady club called Narcissus in Chains, she must rely on her lovers for assistance.


  • All the characters come together.
  • The ending is surprising and exciting.


  • The action is less of a focus.

Cerulean Sins

Cerulean Sins: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel, Book 11

Anita is put to the test unlike ever before when a centuries-old vampire decides to target Jean-Claude and his family.

To defend those she loves the most, she will need all the dark forces she can gather.


  • A new character and creature are introduced.
  • Anita becomes more independent.


  • Desire is a strong theme.

Incubus Dreams

Incubus Dreams: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel, Book 12

Due to her commitments to both the living and the dead, Anita’s life is now more challenging than ever.

There is a vampire serial killer on the loose who targets strippers.

Anita worries that because she was asked to provide advice on the issue, a conflict of interest is impairing her judgment.


  • Questions from previous novels are answered.
  • Anita accepts who she is.


  • Writing can be slow and overdrawn.


Micah: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel, Book 13

When on a mission to solve a murder, Micah and Anita must work together.

And this leopard has the ability to make her feel a certain way with one glance.

Can Anita keep her feelings in check and solve the murder?


  • A new love story begins.
  • A backstory is given to a returning character.


  • Writing is over-descriptive.

Danse Macabre

Danse Macabre: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel, Book 14

Anita Blake needs to be focusing on a perilous circumstance.

Anita, Jean-Claude, and Richard’s passion and sensual chemistry are escalating and possibly changing into something altogether new.

It appears to be selecting new partners for Anita and acting of its own volition.


  • Anita is relatable.
  • Richard’s character develops.


  • The plot is flat.

The Harlequin

The Harlequin: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel, Book 15

Without first being notified, you are not permitted to discuss The Harlequin.

Moreover, being approached by The Harlequin carries the death penalty.

When this happens, Richard, the alpha werewolf, and Jean-Claude, the Master Vampire of the City, will have to work together as they have long been rivals for Anita’s affection.

Nathaniel and Micah, two shapeshifters, will also need to increase their assistance.


  • Two enemies come together for the woman they love.
  • Easy to read.


  • The plot is cliché.

Blood Noir

Blood Noir: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel, Book 16

Anita Blake finds herself at the center of a major scandal that threatens master vampire Jean-Claude’s rule due to a favor she performed for a friend, and she becomes a pawn in an old vampire queen’s new ascent to power.


  • Introduces another female character.
  • Familiar characters develop.


  • This book is shorter than others.

Skin Trade

Skin Trade: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

Anita Blake must alert the authorities in Sin City to the danger when a vampire serial killer sends her a gruesome memento from Las Vegas.

But it’s worse than she anticipated.

Weretigers are powerful, and they don’t appreciate someone poking around their territory.


  • A new creature is brought to the story.
  • The new location is refreshing.


  • Anita’s detective work is lacking.


Flirt: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

Anita Blake is heartbroken about Tony Bennington’s loss when she meets with him as a potential client.

Tony is determined to have her bring his recently lost wife back to life.

She knows this won’t be the gift he thinks it is and he soon discovers that for himself.


  • Anita makes a new connection.
  • Easy to read.


  • The novel is shorter than others in the series.


Bullet: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

As a result of the triumvirate formed by necromancer Anita Blake, werewolf Richard Zeeman, and master vampire Jean-Claude, who is now one of the most powerful vampires in the country, assassins are traveling to St. Louis to murder them all.


  • Familiar location helps convey the story.
  • Vampire Council has more of a presence.


  • Not enough action.

Hit List

Hit List: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

The Pacific Northwest is being stalked by a serial killer who kills his victims in grisly and shocking ways.

The local police believe that “monsters” are involved, so they have asked US Marshals Anita Blake and Edward—who are experts in “monsters”—to find the murderer.


  • Easy to read.
  • Anita gains more independence.


  • Anita is judgemental of other women.

Kiss The Dead

Kiss the Dead: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

The task of locating a 15-year-old girl who has been kidnapped by vampires falls to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake.

When she does, she encounters something new: a terrifyingly regular bunch of individuals, including children, grandparents, and soccer moms, who have all recently turned and are prepared to die rather than serve a master.


  • Anita works in her new role as U.S. Marshal.
  • The plot is exciting.


  • Desire is an intense theme.


Affliction: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

Anita Blake relies on zombies for her livelihood, but these aren’t the zombies she’s used to.

These monsters are as swift and powerful as vampires, and they hunt during the day.

If they bite you, you’ll turn into one of them. That keeps going round and round. How far will it go?


  • Dialogue is engaging.
  • Action is intense and exciting.


  • The plot may feel repetitive.


Jason: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

Jason is a recurring character throughout the series, and it is about time he got his own story. Jason and J.J. are at wit’s end.

Fighting to meet each other’s needs while enlisting the help of Anita Blake.

Can Anita help or will her own relationships be her downfall?


  • A new perspective refreshes the reader.


  • The plot is completely different from the rest of the series.

Dead Ice

Dead Ice: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel

Among all the vampire killers in the nation, Anita Blake has the most fatalities. She is a U.S. Marshal and one of the finest at raising zombies.

Yet since she and the master vampire Jean-Claude announced their engagement to the world, she has been known only as Jean-Claude’s bride.

Anita must work to find her own place in the world but it may just get her killed.


  • Mixes the detective genre with fantasy well.
  • Anita is given a new challenge.


  • Romance and desire is the main theme.

Crimson Death

Crimson Death: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 25

Some people claim that love is a powerful motivator, but hatred is as effective.

Damian will remain by Anita’s side when she teams up with her buddy Edward to stop the bloodshed, even if it means returning to the location of all his nightmares—a location that is everything but inviting to a vampire, an assassin, and a necromancer.


  • The plot focuses more on detective work.
  • The new location is refreshing.


  • The writing style is juvenile.


Serpentine: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 26

Everyone is off to the destination wedding of Edward. But when women begin to disappear from the crowd, Anita and her friends are the prime suspects.

There is a mysterious force at work that Anita has never encountered before, a force that is enslaving those close to her.

Anita is ready to accept assistance from even the most dangerous locations since she is unable to handle it alone. If she survives at all, she will regret accepting the assistance.


  • Characters and relationships develop.
  • A new creature is introduced.


  • The plot is anti-climatic.

Sucker Punch

Sucker Punch (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 27)

Anita is running out of time as the close-knit town is in an uproar and their dread of supernatural beings is intensifying.

In the name of justice, she works quickly to unearth the truth and ascertain if the Marshals have apprehended the murderer or are preparing to execute an innocent man.


  • The plot focuses more on detective work.


  • The plot is confusing.


Rafael (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 28)

Rafael, the wererats’ king, must engage in a life-or-death struggle to maintain his throne.

When he faces a foe unlike any he has ever faced, he wants Anita Blake, one of his closest allies, by his side. Anita will be asked to take on any risk necessary to stand by his side.


  • A new potential love interest is introduced.
  • A new creature is introduced.


  • The plot can feel repetitive.


Smolder (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 29)

Smolder is the latest release from L.K Hamilton. And it is just as good as the others.

Anita Blake, a vampire hunter, has experience killing monsters.

After all, it’s a requirement of her position as a Preternatural U.S. Marshal.

Even so, she can’t stop the force that is out to destroy everything and everyone she loves.


  • Murder and mystery are the main themes.
  • New characters are introduced.


  • Romance is a lacking theme.

Novellas & Short Stories

Bite (Novella)

Bite (Mageverse series)

Follow a vampire hunter who possesses the same deadly potential as her target.

Meet a down-to-earth Southern girl who has discovered, much to her dismay, that she is more of a vampire type.

In the presence of a hesitant queen of the undead, experience the exhilaration of terror. As a strange new mythology of the night is disclosed, get closer to the passionate edge.


  • Answers questions from the first novel.
  • Leads to the 2nd novel in the series.


  • Can be slow to read.

Cravings (Novella)


Everything goes when the night is hot. Boundaries are crossed, and buried desires start to manifest.

In the shadows, there are creatures that will submit to their most irrational desires and satiate hunger that will push their victims to the brink of yearning.


  • Familiar characters.
  • Easy to read.


  • A shorter version of book 12.

Strange Candy (Short Story Collection)

Strange Candy: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter

Strange Candy is a collection of short stories from Laurell K. Hamilton.

Featuring tales of creatures that lurk in the night, love-hungry cupids, and of course, a new tale of Anita Blake.


  • Shows original works outside of the series.
  • Contains an original Anita Blake story.


  • Does not need to be read to understand the series.

Beauty (Short Story)

Beauty: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Outtake

It’s far too simple for Anita Blake to mistrust her own attractiveness and the power it has over those who love her when a vampire like Jean Claude is nearby.

But with the help of a hot tub and two extraordinarily seductive guys, Jean Claude and Asher, she will feel as though she is the most desired woman alive—or dead.

Not bad for a simple mortal.


  • Goes deeper into the relationship between the characters.
  • Easy to read.


  • Desire and lust are the main themes

Dancing (Short Story)

Dancing: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novella

Like everyone else, Anita is determined to enjoy herself with her family. But tensions between the adults and children quickly build.

Anita will also discover that rumors and innuendo can be just as harmful to her as anything the dead can dish her.


  • Gives a backstory to Anita’s home life.
  • Easy to read.


  • No detective work.

Wounded (Short Story)

Wounded: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter

Since Tomas has given up, how can Anita, Micah, and Nathaniel persuade him that he can heal?

They talk to him about their own wounds and how, after being wounded, they reclaimed their own lives.

Anita will come to see how fortunate they are to have not only survived their pasts but also to be in a position to formally commit to one another and the vampire in her life.


  • Answers questions from the Serpentine novel.


  • Very short.

Zombie Dearest (Short Story)

Fantastic Hope

Zombie Dearest is a short story, however, it can only be found in the short story collection Fantastic Hope.

This anthology has the work of seventeen authors and contains a mirage of original works, including a short tale of Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter.


  • Continues the Anita Blake story.


  • Only available as part of an anthology.

Graphic Novels

The tales of Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter does not stop at novellas and short stories, it continues on into the domain of graphic novels.

Marvel took control of the series and decided to publish the first series of graphic novels, The First Death in 2007 and Guilty Pleasures (Volumes 1 and Volume 2) in 2009.

Since then they have also published a small series of graphic novels for The Laughing Corpse and Circus of the Damned.


  • Gives a new way to enjoy the novels.
  • Easy to read.


  • Not everyone enjoys graphic novels.

Unavailable Short Stories

Unfortunately, there are a few books that are currently unavailable.

These books include:

Shutdown (Short Story)

Shutdown was released as a way for everyone to escape the realities of the world when the government quite literally shut down.

Richard is happily married, but when Anita and his loving wife meet, it is clear the two women in his life may not become best friends.

Anita and Richard still have feelings for each other…that could tear them all apart…


  • Shows Richard in a new light.


  • The story is not easily available.

A Girl, A Goat, And A Zombie (Short Story)

Due to the absence of animal sacrifice, the zombie appears as a shambling corpse that is still conscious.

He’s willing to try again to break the curse, but he doesn’t think it will help without the goat.

Anita motions for another Cubs supporter to come forward while carrying the undead version of Murphy the goat, which Anita had earlier raised.

The zombies are both ecstatic to see the goat, who is also shambling.


  • Anita is once again to the rescue.


  • The story is not easily available.

Anita Blake Books In Chronological Order

Now that we have covered the books in order of publication, there is another way to read the books. Chronological order.

While this is not recommended, it can be done as each book differs from the last.

Strange Candy (Short Story Collection)

  • Guilty Pleasures
  • The Laughing Corpse
  • Circus of the Damned
  • The Lunatic Café
  • Bloody Bones
  • The Killing Dance
  • Burnt Offerings
  • Blue Moon
  • Bite (Novella)
  • Obsidian Butterfly
  • Narcissus in Chains
  • Cerulean Sins
  • Incubus Dreams
  • Cravings (Novella)
  • Micah
  • Danse Macabre
  • The Harlequin
  • Blood Noir
  • Skin Trade
  • Flirt
  • Bullet
  • Hit List
  • Kiss the Dead
  • Beauty (Short Story)
  • Affliction
  • Dancing (Short Story)
  • Shutdown (Short Story – No longer available)
  • Jason
  • Dead Ice
  • Wounded (Short Story)
  • Crimson Death
  • A Girl, a Goat, and a Zombie (Short Story – No longer available)
  • Serpentine
  • Zombie Dearest (Short Story)
  • Sucker Punch
  • Rafael
  • Smolder

Final Thoughts

Laurell K. Hamilton has created an entire world through her series of Anita Blake and it is easily a classic among dark fantasy fans.

However, with so many novels, novellas, short stories, and graphic novels it can be hard to know where to start.

Above are two ways to enjoy the Anita Blake series: Order of publication and chronological order.

By following either of these orders you are sure to experience the series in a unique and exciting way.

Or you can enjoy them as standalone novels for an easy yet delicious reading experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Powers Does Anita Blake Have?

Anita can control the dead because she is basically a necromancer. They occasionally don’t even require an animal sacrifice, and they can raise zombies and vampires more easily than animators.

Is The Anita Blake Series Finished?

There is currently no end planned for the series of Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter.

Is There An Anita Blake Movie?

While there was a TV adaptation of the series in 2009, there are currently no plans for the series to be turned into a film. However, it may still happen in the future.

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Noah Burton