When we first meet Anita in Guilty Pleasures, she is twenty-four, an animator, vampire hunter and police consultant. She is one of the best animators in the country. She is doing well for herself. Even first meeting her you know she has an “eff it” attitude. She is a pale skinned with black hair beauty. Dark brown eyes, busty and petite at five foot two. Most men mistakenly think that she needs their protection. Anita wastes no time correcting that notion.
Anita lost her mother when she was eight years old. She has never really healed from this wound. To compound the hurt, Anita’s father, married her step-mother Judith a few years later. With Judith came her step-sister Andria. A little later come her half-brother Josh. Unfortunately Anita stuck out like a sore thumb among the family. Anita’s mother had been Mexican and though Anita was pale in skin from her German father, she inherited her mother’s black hair and chocolate eyes. Anita never felt that she fit in. Judith was no help as she would always point out that Anita was her step-daughter and her mother was Mexican.
Further setting Anita from her family is the fact that her powers as a necromancer started showing as a small child. Her Grandmother Flores, her mother’s mother, felt that teaching Anita to use her necromancy in the Vaudun way would lead her to evil. Grandma Flores instead told her to cling to the Roman Catholic ways she has been raised in. Eventually, the Pope ex-communicated all animators/necromancers, forcing Anita to become Episcopalian. Anita has kept and clung to her beliefs as a Christian throughout the series. She has become open to “more” but still feels at home as a Christian.
Judith is always on her about her unladylike pursuits. Wondering when she is going to marry and all that jazz. Anita came close to it in college. She fell an love with and became engaged to a young man who ultimately broke up with her because his rich, white parents didn’t condone her Mexican heritage. This broke her heart and she did not have sexual relations anymore for quite a while into the series. Another fun college experience was accidentally raising a teacher who had committed suicide. Her roommate switched rooms when said professor sought Anita out. While in college, Anita studied preternatural biology. She also studied comparative religion. Both subjects gave Anita a leg up for where her life goes.
After Anita graduated college she was found by Bert Vaughn and he got her to join him at Animators Inc. as a professional animator. This was perfect. She could make money while raising the dead and she would no longer accidentally raise corpses. Through this job Anita met Ronnie Sim and Catherine Maison both whom became very good friends. Anita was trained for the job by Manny Rodriguiz who became her mentor. Not only did he teach her about raising the dead, he also taught her how to hunt vampires. Manny is old school and did it (he’s retired now at the insistence of his wife) with a hammer and stake. Even being a vampire hunter she still see herself as first and foremost an animator. At the beginning of the series Anita only see herself as an animator at this point, she doesn’t know she is a true necromancer. The most powerful necromancer in a thousand years.
Somewhere in her vampire hunting, Anita meets a man named Edward. He is blonde, blue-eyed and built like a brick house. He is very deadly and exclusively hunts the preternatural. Two years before the first book, Edward, Anita and Manny were involved in a vampire hunt that didn’t go well. Anita ended up in the hospital with her arm in traction and needing PT to regain use of that arm but was left with severe scarring.
At the beginning of the series, Anita seriously dislikes, even hated, vampires. She held more sympathy for the zombies she raised than for vampires, especially people who chose to become a vampire. She held humans that advocated for vampire rights and condone becoming a vampire in contempt. On the other hand, lycanthropes she has more tolerance for. For quite some time, Anita was very uncomfortable around the “monsters”. The more she becomes entrenched in the preternatural world, the more comfortable Anita becomes around the “monsters”, the less comfortable she is around plain old vanilla humans. Not to mention the vanilla humans become more uncomfortable around Anita. They say she isn’t any more human than the monsters she is friends with or sleeping with. This might be a true statement but it still worries that they are right just not in the area they think.
Anita was, and still is a bad ass, even before the vampire servant marks. Anita learned how to shoot well and favors her Browning Hi-Power. She earned her black belt in Judo and is studying Kenpo Karate. Edward has trained her in various weapons including a flamethrower. She trains also with the bodyguards and keeps up with them well and even exceeds some of them. With her inborn necromancy she gets a lot of nifty abilities. Because she is a necromancer and not just an animator she has power over all types of dead. Not only does she raise zombies that can pass for living people for a time, she also can raise vampires in daylight. More impressive than the zombies looking alive is that Anita can raise corpses that are a hundred years old and older without a white goat which is code for human sacrifice. She can also function as a focus. A focus is where more than one animator/necromancer combine their power to raise the dead. Anita is also able to heal the dead, both zombie and vampire. Anita can also summon the munin. The munin is the spirit of dead werewolves. Anita can summon and control them. She has a particular affinity for Raina, which is funny because Anita is the one who killed Raina. Anita can also drain someone’s life force. It is how she defeated Chimera.
Now that we covered her awesome necromancy skills, lets look at her vampiric powers. Now mind you, vampires used to kill necromancers on sight because they feared them. Somehow Anita slipped through. Because Anita is a necromancer and a human servant she has gained power-ups from this. She has the ability to copy vampire powers that are used against her. Sometimes it’s only temporary, sometimes it’s permanent. She also inherited Jean-Claude’s ardeur, which basically makes her a succubus as the ardeur is fed with sex. With the ardeur she must be careful and actually feed it when it needs to be fed or it will make her have sex with the closest fifty people around her. That may be a little exaggeration but not much. She can use the ardeur to bind people to her, not only as a bride (as in bride of Dracula) but also by love. Anita got lucky because she can now also feed the ardeur with anger and rage. She can also harm people with their own auras and has animals to call. Unlike other vampires, she has more than one animal she can call to her. She can claim lion, leopard, wolf, and wolf. She is working on gaining more. Not only does she have animals and brides bound to her, but Anita also has a vampire servant which is unheard of.
I don’t know how one person can hold all this power but she has more. She is and is not a lycanthrope. I say she is a lycanthrope because she carries the strains of it. I say she isn’t because she doesn’t shape shift. It is weird because she carries several strains of lycanthropy which is extremely rare. It would make her more of a Chimera but hey, not my story. She carries wolf, leopard, different colors of lion, different colors of tiger, as well as two unidentified one of which is possibly snake.
To add more onto Anita’s power plate, she is also a member of two triumvirates. The first is between Jean-Claude, Anita his human servant and Richard his animal to call. Their power level goes up and down because their level of willingness to work together goes up and down. I am unclear if Anita and Richard have received the fourth mark. However they are pretty powerful when they set their minds to be and that Power is felt through everyone. Because of the marks Jean-Claude has given Anita she has greater strength than a human, rapid healing and heightened resistance to vampire tricks including Jean-Claude. Anita has given all four marks to Damian her vampire servant and Nathaniel her animal to call. She has many animals to call but it is Nathaniel that is tied to the second triumvirate. Anita may or may not have immortality with giving Damian and Nathaniel all four marks. It would be certain if Jean-Claude had done so. With the triumvirates she has gained telepathy with Jean-Claude, Richard, Damian and Nathaniel.
With all this power, Anita is still unsure of herself. She still worries for her immortal soul. What is humorous about Anita being a succubus is that she is still at heart a prude. When we first meet Anita, she had swore off sex til marriage. Now she must feed the ardeur or risk the lives of everyone in both her triumvirates. Also for a long time she could only comprehend loving, marrying and building a life with one person. Today she realizes that with the life she lives and the powers she has, she must make room in her life and heart for more than one “special someone”. She has asked Edward to kill her if her darkness ever overtakes her. She never wants to become the monsters she kills. Edward loves her enough (as a friend) to do as she asks but it will kill him a bit to do so.