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on June 20, 2003
I think that this book is better than the first editorial review would lead you to believe. Yes, it is a commercial book but then aren't almost all books written in the hopes that they will be "commercial?" That is the author and publisher want the book to sell well.
I have read lots of other vampire fiction and am a big Buffy fan but this book has an interesting take on vampires; stuff that I haven't seem before but that makes sense within the story.
Also the setting, the hip-hop music world, shouldn't turn anyone off.
There were scenes that I found scary enough that I told myself not to think about them when I went to sleep so I wouldn't have nightmares. :)
In addition there is a good helping of romance with the interaction of Damali and Carlos.
Yes, there are times when the writing seems a bit clunky but that is because I think Ms Banks is trying to set up the start of what is going to be a very involved story.
If I had to put the books in a list I'd say that they were more complex and "adult" than the usual Buffy book, not as light and romantic as Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse, and not as violent as Anita Blake.
I look forward to the next installment.
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on July 5, 2004
Some of the issues others complained about-- the "multicultural Buffy the Vampire Slayer" issue in particular-- were exactly what I hoped to find here. I didn't have a problem with the use of a similar "world" to other vampire mythologies. What I didn't really care for in this book was an entirely different issue: the writing.
The novel reads like a screenplay that was badly adapted to novel form. There's lots of dialogue, and sometimes it can be a little irritating in its attempt to be "street cool." But even that I could handle if there was more about the characters that I was interested in, or even liked. I found it hard to be sympathetic or care about the major characters because I just didn't know enough about them, about their world, about their past. What description I did get was sometimes a bit trite-- the Latino drug dealer chock-full-of machismo, for example, was not really a new take on an old stereotype.
Long ago, in my fiction writing class, we discussed the concept of beginning a story "in medias reas" or "in the middle of things." The first section of the book starts this way-- right in the middle of an action scene, and this could be cool for, say, a movie where much of the "description" is obvious from set design, costuming, actor emotion, etc. But sometimes the descriptions here are so sketchy that I will miss an important action because I didn't "hear" that as happening, and have to read back to see what happened. (Like when one character gets "vamped" I still wasn't sure what was happening at first and had to skim back a page). Then, in other spots, the description goes on and on and rambles to the point where I skim to get to a part that hasn't been covered already, or gives me new info. As far as it being a scary book-- no. I didn't find it gripping or "horror" like at all.
This book, and the series, has a lot of potential. There were moments where I got interested, and if the whole series was in one novel, I would keep reading to see what happens. But I'm not interested enough in the story at this point to invest the money in more sequels. I might check the books out at a library, but I am not committed enough to the "world" of these slayers to buy the books yet.
If you're the type who needs to read everything there is related to vampires, or like your description kept to a bare minimum, this is an okay book. But I did end up feeling pretty disappointed in what could have been a great idea.
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on January 15, 2005
I've just completed Minion and will definitely be buying the next in this sequel, The Awakening. I found this book engaging and, ultimately, engrossing from the time that I skimmed through it at a book store. Though I believe the transitions (at times) could be smoother when introducing scenes, situations or characters, I find that the action and tension outweights the flaws to keep you turning the pages..."hungering" for more. The characters are hip and "fresh" and though a previous reviewer found problems with the hip language, I found it to add to the believability of the characters being described, since they were of the young, hip-hop, people-of-color culture and heritage: This is how they speak...just watch TV or go to the movies. Though my speech is much more refined and conservative, the speech of the characters in the book helped me to visualized them better...get into their heads; get a since of their background, where they came from. Having read the entire Vampire series by Anne Rice and loving her smooth, poetic narrative, I found a new voice in L.A. Banks, and a new attitude! One doesn't expect a New Orleanian from a rich, slave-owning plantation to act and relate to his/her surrounding and/or culture like one coming from a urban, hip-hop background in today's society. The difference is not just the writing, but the place the writer "writes" from...his/her own heritage, background, heart, feelings....It's what make a writer an individual and bring to us individual styles and points of view. L.A. Banks has provided us with a deeper knowledge of the Vampire lore and have set them in "our" territory...People of Color. It makes since that her books would be charactized a bit differently as ethnic (and racial) groups are as different from one another as male is from female. I highly recommended this highly-charged, don't-dare-try-to-sleep-with-the-lights-out book in the Vampire Huntress Legend series. The Minion is a must read if you love Vampire lore. Expect it to be different...I promise it will be Good!
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on July 15, 2014
I originally read this series in 2009, I recently found these book in my garage and decided to re-read them, glad I did. I love the Vampire Huntress series. these where the 1st paranormal books I had ever read and I loved them. in Minion we are introduced to Damali and her Guardian team, and of course Carlos, this is not the best book in the series mainly b/c it just introduce you to the characters and a little bit of history, it also sets the stage for the next book so if you found this book lacking a bit, keep reading and you will not be disappointed.
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on July 7, 2005
I've read all 5 of the novels in this series, but the Minion was the weakest story. Overall Minion was interesting, but a little wordy. Banks takes her time in all of the novels to provide background information on all of the main characters, which enriches the entire tale. It's an epic story and though I give Minion 3 stars, the other books are 4 and 5 stars & worth reading. Check out the author's website for further insight into the characters and the Vampire Huntress legend.
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on July 8, 2011
Damali Richards is a 20 yr old vampire huntress by night and a famous hip-hop artist by day. Although she is a talented musician, the music business is really just her cover, making it possible for her (and her band) to travel with hidden weaponry while on vampire hunting missions. Her bandmates are Guardians - highly trained vampire killers in their own right, each with a special power that allows them to sense the presence of evil beings. They hunt with Damali, but their real purpose is to protect her.

Damali did not exactly choose her profession. She was discovered by Guardians after her powers started coming to the surface in her early teens. Having no family of her own, she had no problem leaving her sad life behind and starting new with the Guardians. This eclectic group of people have become her adoptive family. They live together in a military style anti-vamp compound, constantly strategizing against their sworn enemy.

Recent events are showing an insurgence of vampire attacks and abductions, all within Damali's circle of professional and personal relationships. The seriousness of the attacks and the proximity to Damali cause her to ask some tough questions of her Guardian family. Eventually, when she gets her answers, she discovers that there is much she doesn't know about her purpose in this world.

In another part of town lives Carlos, the one man Damali has ever thought she could love. Carlos is driven by such a strong desire for money and power that he has become neck deep in illegal dealings to meet his goals. It was the way he makes his money that ultimately drove Damali away from him. But when Carlos's family is attacked by vampires, Carlos and Damali are brought back into each other's lives. They still care deeply for each other, but they also have innumerable secrets from each. Neither knows that Carlos is as much a target as Damali, but for very different reasons.

Overall I thought this was an entertaining vampire world. I liked the fight scenes and hunting parts of the story. I also liked the back story (starting with the epilogue) which explains a little bit of Damali's heritage. The vampires are lethal - there was nothing at all romantic or peaceful about these bloodsuckers at all.

Unfortunately, there were other parts of the story that I didn't like quite as much. The opening chapter spends an awful lot of time describing how their instruments break down into weapons... to the point that it got boring and I almost skipped ahead (not great for this early in a book.) There was also too much down time between the action. Damali's Guardians are very slow in releasing information to her about herself - which was very frustrating to me as a reader. Lastly, the book ends in a really strange place. I think it is meant to be a cliffhanger, but it felt more like the book ended in the middle of a chapter. Not a single storyline was resolved, and neither Damali or the Guardians were in the last chapter at all. It was a very strange ending.

I plan to continue on with this series, so it will be interesting to see how the next book picks up where this one ended so abruptly. The story was interesting enough for me to want to continue, but it was a wobbly start. I hope the next book will be much improved.
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on February 8, 2005
The story of Damali Richards is a bit cliche...the "chosen" guardian of humanity against the forces of evil...she's a girl who falls for the wrong guy...the guy is killed by vampires and becomes on of the walking dead...yadda yadda yadda. So, what makes L. A. Banks' story so interesting?

The most interesting twist to the general vampire fiction rule is the approach to the vampires themselves. As the most powerful "demonic" force in all of Hell, outside of Satan himself, the vampires are the undead elite...snobs, if you will. Their views toward other preternatural creatures can be seen as a vague social commentary of our world today.

Another interesting twist to the story is in the character of Carlos Riveria. What becomes of a man who willingly sells his soul to evil but dies with a prayer in his heart? The battle of good versus evil in the war for souls just got personal.

While the dialogue is a bit heavy handed at times...too much street slang and "hip hop" style references to be considered entirely credible...overall, I would have to say that Minion is a great read and a wonderful new take on an old fiction theme.
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on July 7, 2005
After being introduced to the reading world of the vampires - starting with the awesome Brian Lumley's The Necroscope series, I was needing another vampire reading fix. Then I found and read all of Christopher Golden's vampire series - The Shadow Saga. Both are hugely entertaining, and both approach the vampire myths differently.

Then a couple of years ago, I spot Minion. I liked the cover and the title, but it alluded to a romance-type storyline. So I pass it up.

Now, after reading a few of the reviews, along with reading the back covers of the newer four novels, my interest piqued again. So, I gave it a try.

Overall, Leslie Banks gives a strong street-wise and smarts approach to the vampire legend. I see a lot of reviewers didn't like this. Then they totally missed the point of the character's backgrounds. Especially the main character, Damali Richards and her estranged lover-turned-master vampire, Carlos Riviera.

The stengths of this 1st novel is the fresh approach, along with some strong, interesting, and differing characters. I didn't like the lack of the vampire hunter's character decriptions, nor of their clothing and/or weaponry. The first fighting sequence wasn't very well done, neither. I couldn't 'see' our characters, nor their type of clothing and weaponry clearly. Leslie Banks leaves a little too much for the imagination there.

But the novel never bored me, and that's saying something for a over 40-year-old reader of just about every genre. It left me wanting more, and hooked into the next novel...and probably into reading the entire series.

Thus, she did her job.

I loved Carlos's plight, and what the ending foreshadows for the future of the series. Though not as epic as The Necroscope series, and not as action and larger-than-life as the Shadow Saga, This 1st installment of the Vampire Huntress Legend novels leaves one entertained enough for a second go-around. I don't like Buffy, but loved the Blade movies. And, thank God, this novel trends more towards the latter - Blade. Far superior to the adult audience.

Thanks for a solid debut read, L. A. Banks!

You have another fan.
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on July 21, 2015
This is a truly unique and entertaining series. L. A. Banks is one of the great authors of our time and this series proves it. She is now deceased and I will miss her great brand of storytelling. This book ( and the other 12 in the series) manages to cover so many genres that it is truly amazing. While telling a honest-to-goodness scary story, the author still manages to incorporate elements of history and religion that are awesome without being 'teachy' or 'preachy'. I have hoped for many years that someone would pick this story up for a movie or mini-series, as I think it would make a great story that would appeal to a wide cross-section of people.
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on January 3, 2016
I'm really getting into this series, at first in the first book it took awhile to catch my attention to be honest. I can't not finish a book so I read up til about 3/4 thru and finally got hooked. The author has an interesting style of writing and really captivates the culture she's trying to portray. This isn't your average vampire hunter series.
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