Cover Image: Rafael

Rafael

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Member Reviews

This was an excellent read and a fabulous addition to the Anita Blake world collection. For my full spoiler-free review see the links attached!
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Rafael by Laurell K. Hamilton: Fast Paced, Thrilling
My name is Anita Blake. I'm a U. S. Marshal for the Preternatural Branch, and I always have my friend's back. Even when they ask me to risk everything...

Rafael, king of the wererats, is facing a challenge to his crown. He wants me, one of his closest allies, to help him take down a dangerous opponent unlike any he's fought before.

But some of the wererats fear that Rafael is too dependent on me and my ties to the vampire world. They believe that there is only room in America for one supernatural king, and that Rafael will abandon them as prey for the bloodsuckers.

A new challenger has arisen among Rafael's enemies... one who is younger, hungrier and has dark secrets that could destroy both the wererats and the vampires. Now, my friend must go into the magical heart of his people to find the power and violence that he needs to save them all - or die trying.
	So some honesty here. I spent many years immersed in this series but I had tapped out a few books back because there was less and less plot. However, I was invited to read this new book for review and I have to admit, I am hooked again. Laurell K. Hamilton has woven together a plot that is compelling while still building the relationships within Anita’s life. There is romance but more than that, she truly had developed the friendships within Anita’s life, from Claudia to Rafael, we get a fuller picture of the people surrounding Anita as well as her lovers. 
	In this novel, Rafael is the central figure as he encounters a problem within the Rodere and is pushed to seek Anita’s help. He doesn’t really want to, Rafael likes to solve his own problems but along the way, they find out that there is more to the challenge than Rafael knows and the threat could hurt all of them. With the coalition between the groups working together, it is only reasonable that they would want to help Rafael for his own sake but it also helps all of them. 
	Now, what I liked best, to be honest, was the way Laurell K. Hamilton manages to infuse just enough backstory to enable her readers to quickly catch up if they’ve forgotten details or if like me, they skipped a few books. Not only that, but that wrap up doesn’t drag down the story in any way. It still moves quickly, the pace perfect to keep the reader wrapped up in the story, long into the dead of night. The actions are believable for the world that Anita dwells within, along with magics used. In addition, there are some very intriguing details about the Rodere that make me, in particular, read more and references to past characters I haven’t seen mentioned in a long time. I won’t spoil it but I think readers will love reading this novel for those details alone. 
	The other element that made this story flow is that it has a really good mix between the action and the relationships that surround Anita. Yes, there is sex but it is far from the highlight of the novel. In fact, it is far more about the relationships in her life than just the physical act itself and as I like a bit of romance along with my urban fantasy, I found the blend worked much better than it has in the past. Plus the plot and the intrigue within the novel just kept me on the edge of my seat, so much so that I finished the novel within a couple days. 
	If you, like me, took a break, from Anita Blake, I have to tell you, it’s time to return. The world and the characters are far more compelling than they have been since I left off. While the relationships are thoroughly non-traditional, Laurell K. Hamilton treats the polyamorous relationships with authenticity and respect. I personally think you could learn a lot from the relationships and the way they are dealt with is with a great deal of communication between all parties and a lot of honesty, which is the way all positive relationships should be handled. And yet, it doesn’t detract from the romance or the love elements. If you love urban fantasy, if you liked the books in the past, I highly recommend this book. I absolutely loved it and I really can’t wait for more.  
Rating: 5 out of 5 rats.
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I have to say that I was looking forward to understanding more about the rats and found this book did provide many great insights into their dynamic. I highly enjoyed the background into their magic and found the history fascinating.

And here comes but… But, like all the recent Anita Blake series books, this story had many things I enjoyed and a few things that have repeatedly driven me crazy.

Ultimately, Rafael needs Anita to secure the rats. Anita does not want to add Rafael to her main poly-group, but still has sex with him but needs to discuss where and why and when they will have sex and who with… (the very stuff that just bogs down the actual story…and drives me nuts).

Once again, the main story was great. The over-explained relationships, not so much. In the end, I liked it some, skimmed through the blah, blah, blah shower sex, blah, blah, blah, pages later still discussing the why, when, and if they can have shower sex.
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Actually 3 1/2 stars.

Rafael, king of the wererats, must fight to the death to defend his crown. He wants Anita Blake, one of his closest allies, with him as he faces an opponent unlike any he’s faced before. He will ask Anita to risk everything to be at his side.…

But some of the wererats fear that Rafael depends too much on Anita and her ties to the vampires. They believe that there is only room in America for one supernatural king, and Rafael will turn them into nothing more than food for the bloodsuckers.

Among his enemies, a new challenger has arisen who is younger, hungrier, and has dark secrets that could destroy both the wererats and the vampires. Rafael will go into the magical heart of his people to find the power and violence that he needs to save them all or die trying.

Anita Blake’s latest book has Rafael, king of the wererats, for the title. He asks Anita to be with him when he goes to fight the wererat who challenge him for the right to lead the wererats of America. The opponent is someone he thinks may be his son. But when Anita feels the opponent may have become another vampire’s animal to call, controlling the man, Rafael, knows he must beat the other wererat to save his people or die trying to do it.

I noticed that the Anita Blake books are mainly about her sleeping with all her men or a lot of talking. But after some of that in the beginning, this one got interesting to me. As someone who misses the first books in the series and enjoyed the Obsidian Butterfly novel, which was different after the way Anita was becoming, bringing back the old Anita, I feel this book halfway changed for the better.
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Rafael's book touches on many aspects Anita never knew existed in the Rat World. She knows the often bloody politics with the werewolves and such but nothing prepared her for what will happen. Add that into an old foe back for more well we have an action-induced powerhouse. 

Will Rafael lose his place as King? Can Anita do anything to help?
Well grab your copy and find out!
I totally love all this author writes and this book reminded me why.
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After 27 volumes in the series, here is a novel that changes a bit. I must say that when I saw that this volume featured Rafael, the king of rats, I was immediately curious to know more!

Rafael’s position is not easy, and he knows that if he wants to maintain his status and stay alive, he must become Anita’s animal to call. But with Narcissus threats, she is in no hurry for that to happen. But things will change and our heroine will have to make sure she stays alive while preserving the seat of the king of rats. This will be far from easy.

I enjoyed getting back to the characters we know, but especially Claudia. There is a bit too much love drama for me… but it’s true that this is often the case in this series. I think I expected a little too much from this new volume, because in the end I preferred the previous one. After so many volumes, it must be just as difficult to find new ideas to continue the series.

It’s not necessarily the novel I would recommend the most, but I’m sure people will be delighted to find the characters again!
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RAFAEL is the twenty-eighth book in Laurell K. Hamilton’s “Anita Blake” series. Unlike some of the other recent books in this series, I think RAFAEL is better if the reader is familiar with the series rather than working as a standalone novel. The main character, Rafael, has a longer history in this series and with the female protagonist Anita Blake. There are also some resolutions to longstanding relationships that can only be appreciated by fans of the series. In RAFAEL, wererat king Rafael is battling to maintain his spot as top rat among his people and enlists his friend and lover Anita to give him some support. Rafael has always been a favorite for me, as well as many other fans, and this story is a wonderful deep dive into the character, wererat culture, and wonderfully entertaining story.

One of the things I always liked about Rafael is that he has the gravitas you’d expect from a king, but with a charm and compassion that made him extra attractive. In this book, Rafael’s journey is like some epic hero’s tale or having a Shakespearean quality. Not only is he fighting for his position, but Rafael is fighting for his life, and to protect his people as well as his allies. There is some initial doubt on Rafael’s part that Anita and his friends help him work through. Anita and her crew try and navigate paranormal political power plays while figuring out what they can live with and what they must fight for. While the focus is on Rafael and Anita, several characters have moments to shine in which they add a lot to the story. Having loved that scene in BULLET, in which Anita and a few other women kick butt, I adored the part in RAFAEL in which a few of the womenfolk verbally and physically go on offense and do some damage to a well-deserving recipient.

RAFAEL is a well-crafted character study, an intriguing drama involving paranormal politics, and full of kick-ass female characters. I love the direction Laurell K. Hamilton is going with her “Anita Blake” series. The characters and the relationships are constantly evolving in a compelling and enjoyable way. The twists in the plot fit the characters and make it seem like they are driving it. For me, RAFAEL is up there for me along with THE RAT by Gunter Grass, as being a superb rat-themed work of fiction. This is a book that keeps you engaged from beginning to end. As always, I eagerly await Laurell K. Hamilton’s next book in this addictive series.
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Rafael is another hit in the Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton. 

This story focuses on the wererats king, Rafael.  There is another power struggle coming. Anita has to figure out where the threat is coming from before it's too late. Add intimacy issues, miscommunication, misunderstanding and it's another day for our heroine. 

There is angst and action and new powers to be shared. I love this world and love the mind of author Laurell K. Hamilton. 
~ Maria
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A brutal slice of life into the world of Rafael's rodere—I really enjoyed this entry into the series. Given the usual length of Anita Blake books, this was basically a novella! But a very important one with the seeds of bigger plots to come...

Plot/Pacing: ★★★★ 1/2
Character development: ★★★★
New ideas: ★★★★
Enjoyment: ★★★★

Rafael is latest entry into the world of Anita Blake, a version of the U.S. where vampires, were-animals, and the undead all exist in our modern society with interesting—and often bloody—results. This is not an entry point novel for the series.

In this latest installment, we finally(!) get a window in the world of the rat king, Rafael. The wererats have been a powerful were-animal faction in St. Louis for some time in the Anita Blake novels and are known for their fighting ability, their pack's strength, and the fact that their national king, Rafael, has been an ally to Anita Blake for years.

It's time to peel back the curtain on what goes on in the kingdom...

Rafael is in trouble. His ties to Anita—and therefore his perceived ties to Jean Claude and the other weres in Anita's sphere—have made him appear weak to the rest of the wererats across the country. They think it's time for a new king. And the way the rats determine their ruler is by blood. Specifically, a fight to the death. So Rafael's been fighting in the pits now, defending his crown and title, for some time.

The only way to become the new rat king is to kill the old one...

Anita Blake wasn't aware of just how bad Rafael's standing has gotten. When he asks her to attend this latest pit fight against the best challenger yet, Anita knows something must be different about this fight. For the first time, Rafael doesn't know if he's going to win. When Anita shows up, to her horror she realizes that a) there's someone familiar pulling the challenger's strings and b) her relationship to Rafael is about to get tested, and brutally. Can she fight her way to the top of the rat pile and assert her place while protecting Rafael from this latest deadly threat?

We know she can, she's Anita Blake, but what exactly will she learn along the way? There's a different kind of magic amongst the rodere that they've kept hidden for some time...

I thought this was one of the strongest entries into the Anita Blake series that we've seen in quite some time. Part of that was due to its subject—Rafael's world has never been fully described, so the newness was appealing to me—and the other part was its sheer short length. We didn't have time to get overly drawn into the relationship dramas (even though the characters did their best to do so anyway!) and therefore a lot of the usual "not this again!" feelings weren't present.

I am also extremely intrigued at what the author alluded to with the addition of the wererats' magic systems... it bodes well for Anita Blake's character arc and opens the door for more books to come featuring this new thing.

Don't skip this one in the series, folks! It's a good one and not the usual spin-off fare.

Thank you to Berkley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This is my first introduction to Anita Blake, through a digital advanced reader copy provided by Penguin Random House for review, and I wouldn't recommend people following in my footsteps for this. There are references to events I assume are elsewhere in the series throughout the story and they can be jarring. For example, I am still unsure what being a necromancer means or what it has to do with the story, and the revelation about her powers from Obsidian Butterfly read like a complete Deus Ex Machina, coming out of nowhere.
I did enjoy the diversity of characters. There were many different gender expressions, races and cultures, body types, and sexualities demonstrated, and none of them were treated like token characters. They all had goals and struggles that helped give them depth, which made each new character all the more intriguing, and I'm sure the exploration of these qualities over the long series make each new installment so rewarding.
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Sarah – ☆☆☆☆
3.5 stars

I love the rats! Rafael’s book feels overdue and I really enjoyed getting a glimpse of his kingdom. We’ve had multiple books about wolves, leopards, lions, and hyenas while the rats stayed an unobtrusive constant in the background.

It feels odd to admit that I don’t particularly love Rafael in his own book. He’s interchangeably calculating, self-serving, whiny, and self-defeating. He’s supposed to be an old soul, but his actions are naive and his interactions with women need work. But he’s interesting. And his world feels fresh and new. Even after a couple dozen books, I was intrigued by the politics and the hierarchies in the rats’ world.

The highlight of this book is the final 40%, where Rafael has to fight a challenger for his title and his life. I love the gladiatorial style fighting arena and the complicated rules of engagement. Anita is strong and she is flanked by Claudia (always a favourite) and Pierette, who really comes into her own in this story.

The weaker part of the story is everything that comes before Anita’s trip to the rats’ warehouse. At book 28, readers who’ve managed to stick with the series know all about the sexual dynamics between Anita and her lovers. We know the power dynamics between Anita and her various lovers, triads, animals to call... Two thirds of this book just rehashes all of these dynamics in long, complicated conversations. I feel like we’ve even read identical conversations before. There’s only one (very vanilla) sex scene in the book and it doesn’t involve any of the men I particularly like. We get a glimpse of Micah and Nathaniel and a moment with Jean-Claude, but the rest is just talk. The strategy conversations are interesting. The power and sex conversations are just tiresome. I'm starting to wonder if any of the long-planned weddings will ever happen – and if I'll still care by the time they do.

My advice? Hardcore Anita fans like me can probably wait until this is released cheaply on Kindle. I’d also suggest fans skip to chapter 15 for an exciting look at Rafael’s world without missing anything in the first 60% of the book. Anyone who isn’t a massive fan of the series will be completely lost and should probably start at the beginning of Anita’s adventures.


Erica – ☆☆☆
4 stars for the latter portion.
1-2 stars for well over the first half.
3 stars in total

Rafael is the 28th installment in the Anita Blake series. No, it cannot be read as a standalone. However, I don't believe there to be much confusion if a longtime reader of the series jumped ahead and read the novel if they weren't up-to-date, especially if they've read at least 20 or so of the novels.

As a fan of the series, a fanatic of the author, I'm going to be brutally honest. If you're not into the tedium of wading through relationship drama that has been rehashed for books upon books, I suggest you skip to around the 60% mark in the novel and read from there.

The first 40% of the novel takes place in a hallway, Anita debating to take a shower, with whom (as to not hurt feelings), with how many (as if after working out you want to do anything but wash the sweat off yourself in privacy), who watches the shower take place (it's a freaking shower!), what will occur in the shower (other than washing herself).

Anita is so conflicted, she can't seem to make a decisive choice, use her voice, or trust her feelings, fearing she will hurt someone else's feelings over what she truly thinks or feels, to the point Anita has lost herself.

Anita is deep in there somewhere, and she needs to leave town and all of these emotional vampires behind (some of them actual vampires, namely Asher) and get some perspective, allow herself to be herself, and be around people who actual care for her happiness and mental health. Return with some perspective and break off romantic relationships with individuals who should just be family/friend/metaphysically bound/coworker – they do NOT need to be her partner. The power imbalance of being in a romantic partnership with someone who is your subordinate is creepy at the very least. Partners are equals. If Anita is their Queen, she cannot be their equal.

This would solve the marriage conundrum as well. At this point, I hope Anita never marries, as I do not like many of them in how they do not put anyone but themselves first, coercing Anita into a position they all know she doesn't wish to be in. Toxic. Abusive.

In the end, after 40% of a novel, Anita takes a shower, and after such deliberation, said shower takes half a page. I was at a loss with that, to be honest, and closed out the novel because of it.

Rafael, a strong character I've adored since he debuted in the first in the series. The Rat King, a force to be reckoned with, loyal and logical, selflessly putting himself at risk to protect his people and the people of others. Almost a male version of Anita. The voice of reason, older than Anita, acting as a mentor and advisor when she needed advice the most.

To be honest, I wish Rafael had stayed in the same category as Edward, with no sexual interaction between them. I could respect him more had it stayed that way.

Toward the latter portion of Rafael (the novel), the reader learns how the magical system for the rats differs from the other wereanimals.

What bothered me greatly, especially in the first 60% (other than dragging their relationship like a dead horse) was the hypocrisy. Anita is upset with Rafael for taking advantage during a metaphysical event, leaving her feeling as it was nonconsensual.

After the reader was subjected to over a hundred pages of various characters shaming and coercing Rafael for not sleeping with a woman they specifically picked out for him (in that shower that barely took place, his NO making the shower short). Not once had Rafael shown interest, acted as if he needed to bed anyone else. Perfectly content in his position in Anita's life. (One of the easiest people in her life, but since he wasn't being demanding, clearly he was lying and needed more attention, right? Versus taking a King at his word.) Anita took his NO, after demanding explanation, as if Rafael had to defend his reasoning for not wishing to have sex with a random character.

As a long-term fan, having read the initial books numerous times and the later books several, I still do not know half of the later people added to their poly group. They're just there, coming on scene to mix things up, so many that they have zero personality and take away from the character development for the initial characters, lessening their relationships with Anita. This particular woman's name starts with a P, and I've never found her particularly remarkable or memorable, only the name sparking my recollection when she randomly pops up. Why P was so necessary at all in Rafael's novel, I have no idea. Perhaps just so readers didn't forget her, because I forget her the instant her name isn't on the pages.

After Anita pushed this woman onto Rafael, where he had to give his entire history as to why he didn't want to sleep with P, "Told" instead of "Shown" in a long dialogue... Nathanial comes in, also guilting/shaming Rafael for not sleeping with the woman, because she's so beautiful and it will hurt her feelings. Nathanial just couldn't rationalize why Rafael said no.

Which of those scenarios features nonconsensual themes? Overstepping during metaphysical powers, or actual rape culture shown on the pages?

I wish LKH would worry more about these characters professions, friends, hobbies, and getting lives of their own, instead of focusing on who is going to sleep with whom. There is so much emotional baggage Anita is dragging, adding more people to occupy the people before, but then she takes on these new people's problems as if they're hers, and so on... that I'm starting to loathe every single one of these needy, clingy, emotionally stunted individuals, many hundreds of years old acting as children. These are not her problems. I have problems in my own life, and it just stresses me out, the tedium and mental/emotional abuse from having these individuals in Anita's life. It's beyond toxic and not a good representation of a poly relationship.

My suggestion, skip to the end, where the action starts, where information of how the rats function both mystically and as a society, as that was interesting, but buried beneath so much filler that has been regurgitated over and over so many times.

Recommended to long-time Anita Blake readers and LKH fans. If you're in the relationship angst camp, read the entire novel. If you find it tedious, skip to the part where that ends. Most of the novels are on my reread list, Rafael is on par with Jason, where I wished I hadn't read it the first time.
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Rafael is an intriguing paranormal thriller that will send chills down your spine. A story that is so chilling it is sure to stay with you and make you question every bump in the night.
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RAFAEL has the feel of the older Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books. Though still loaded with sex, poly groups, and MM romance, this one has a really action-packed plot. 

Annetta Sweetko, reviewer for Fresh Fiction

Full review: https://freshfiction.com/review.php?id=73057
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Rafael has a big problem!! 
His relationship with both Anita and Jean-Claude are putting his leadership to question!! 
Challenge after challenge to his throne is getting exhausting. His rat society (wererats) are worried that the vampire he associates with will want more than just their leaders blood, there are rumours going around that they will become a food source, that they will be drained dry and slaughtered!! 

We also have Hector, he’s being groomed to becoming heir, to rule in Rafael’s place. But Hector wants it now!! He thinks he can do a much better job, he hates that they are “friends” with humans and vampires. So poor Rafael has that to deal with also!! 
But the biggest problem comes when she meets Hector and realizes that he is under the influence of something or someone! Could there be a rogue vampire working behind the scenes? Anita certainly has enough enemies, and if this causes a rift between Anita and her friend Rafael, then it’s got to be a plot!! 

The story was fast-paced and brought in characters from earlier books in the series. 
And although I’ve only read the previous two book (serpentine and Sucker Punch) I didn’t feel like I’ve missed too much (but I have been reading the blurb from past books, and it’s a series I’m definitely interested in reading) 
It’s also shorter than most of her books, (I’ve read reviews that have complained about the amount of sex in previous books) 

I liked the focus on Rafael and the rats. They’ve been characters for quite a while now, and it was finally time to get a closer look at them.

Anita is also dealing with an issue, her super strength!! Getting over what her mind thinks she can and can’t do was good to read. Most stories assume you’ll get the hang of it instantly, so it was good to see that side (the gym scene where she can bench press more than her mind thinks was safe was funny) 

There does seem like a lot of characters, most of them have been in previous books, so if I do go back, I’m going to write notes 😉on who is who. 

But this style of writing kept me hooked until the last page. As I said earlier, it’s shorter than other books, but it still crams in magic, relationships, fights and Anita’s witty banter. 
🦋
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"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. 

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.

If you're new to the series, this 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.
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This shorter than average entry into the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series still managed to fit in all the usual subjects. Anita is dealing with a new superpower: super strength this time. She is still very concerned with her complicated sex life including a jealous guard who resents her for "stealing" the object of his infatuation and her feelings for Rafael the Rat King who is a friend with benefits.

Rafael has a problem. Because of his relationship with Anita and Jean-Claude, members of his rodere are concerned that he is selling them out to the vampires. Rafael is facing to-the-death challenges frequently by rivals who are afraid of where he is leading them and who want his throne.

The current rival vying for the throne is Hector. Rafael had been grooming Hector to possibly become king when he was finished but Hector wants the throne now. Rafael has enough mixed feelings about this up-coming fight that Anita is afraid that he might lose the fight. He wants her to make him her animal to call which should give him more power. But it will cause political problems for her.

Rafael asks Anita to attend the fight but doesn't tell her she'll have to fight for the right to attend. Her super strength lets her defeat the first one to attack her with a silver blade which is a rules violation. Then she's tested by the rodere's brujas. She uses a power gifted to her from the Obsidian Butterfly to win.

But the biggest problem comes when she meets Hector and realizes that he is under the influence of a vampire that Jean-Claude didn't know was in his territory. This unknown vampire is a massive threat that has to be neutralized right away.

The story was fast-paced and brought in characters and powers from earlier books in the series. Thankfully, the shorter length didn't allow for the long-drawn-out sex scenes that dominated other books in the series. I liked the focus on Rafael and the rats. They have been side characters for quite a while and it was nice to get a closer look at their society.

Fans of the Anita Blake series won't want to miss this one.
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I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.  

I absolutely love love love Laurell K. Hamilton's stories.  Both of her current series are amazing and I devour them every time a new book comes out.  Raphael is an insightful story into the life of the wererats.  They have so many rules I don't know how they keep up with it all.

With any culture comes politics.  Someone always wants to be on top.  Once Raphael is King of the Rodere he faces challenges often enough to bring this one to Anita's attention.  She is invited to join him and sit in the Queen's chair to watch the fight.  

Okay so at this point I've skipped over a ton of relationship-y stuff that happens at the beginning of the novel.  This rehashing of lovers and loves and sex and and and gets old after awhile and makes the story seem to drag along.  Though it was good to see Micah, Nathaniel, Jean-Claude, and Asher again.

Back to the arena - thank goodness Claudia is with Anita as she enters the house of the rats.  When I mentioned politics earlier I wasn't kidding.  There are so many rules I don't know how anyone keeps up with what's what.  Though living as long as they do it's not hard to remember them I suppose. 

Of course with any of the novels involving Anita Blake you know there can't be any dull moments and this book does not disappoint.  Now pay attention to everything that's going on once you arrive at the home of the rodere.  You don't want to miss a thing and there's a lot happening here. 

Definitely a good hold over book until we get the next installment in to Anita's crazy life.  There's a lot to unpack from what happens in this story too.  It'll be interesting to see how LKH brings all that together in the next book.
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This series just get more and more complicated but also is such a quick read from one book to the next. Anita is definitely a power house and her books captivate you from beginning to end.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I’m a fan of the Anita Blake series. I love the early books (up through 10 or so) and stuck with it through the later ones. Rafael wasn’t one of my favorites, though I don’t think the fault lies entirely with the plot. The later Anita Blake books simply have so many characters who are in so many relationships, that it is hard to follow without a diagram. The multitude of relationships also means that it is hard to really connect or focus on a particular character. So, in principle, I like the idea of Rafael having his own short novel. 

I liked getting more of Rafael’s backstory. He is one of the few characters that has been around since the very beginning of the series, and while he often plays an important role, he is never in the story spotlight. Getting to explore the culture of the were-rats was interesting, but I found it very hard to swallow. How could they have powerful magic users, with powers similar to some Anita has encountered elsewhere, and there was not even a hint? I thought it was a lot to ask readers to believe. And more bits of previously-thought-defeated master vampires popping up? Been there, done that plot. I will continue to look forward to new Anita releases, but my mixed feelings on this one means I give it 3 stars. 

(please note, we do not post negative reviews on our website, so if I can’t give it 4 or 5 stars, we won’t publicize the review)
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My understanding is that Hamilton's fans voted for Rafael to get his own book at last. Appropriately entitled Rafael, this addition to the series bridges several gaps that have been left previously and builds its own unique aspect to the Anita Blake series. Readers will be pleased with the action and the relationship-building that happens in this short novel.
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