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Dhampir (Noble Dead) Mass Market Paperback – January 7, 2003
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Magiere and her half-elf partner, Leesil, have the cleverest con in the land. Magiere claims to be a vampire hunter, while Leesil impersonates a vampire, and in a spectacular show of theatrics, she "kills" him--for a hefty sum, of course. But Magiere's modus hits closer to home than she thinks, for when she faces down a real vampire, she wins. Now fighting her natural calling, Magiere arrives with Leesil in the town of Miiska, where they intend to make an honest living as tavern owners. Unbeknownst to the pair, a group of vampires, led by the nefarious Rashed, resides in Miiska. When Welstiel Massing, a mysterious older man, confronts Magiere, claiming she is "the one," and she has an almost-deadly encounter with Rashed, Magiere discovers her true nature: she is a dhampir, a part-human, part-vampire warrior whose purpose is to battle vampires. The discovery leads to a pulse-pounding showdown with Rashed and his gang. This Buffy-like story in a medieval setting won't disappoint vampire aficionados. Kristine Huntley
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“A fabulous entertainment wrought with mystery, adventure, and sharp-toothed wit.”—Mark Anthony, author of Beyond the Pale
“Dhampir kept me turning pages…a broad new world.”—Mindy L. Klasky, author of The Glasswrights’ Journeyman
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But guys! This one knocks all the other bloodsuckers out of the park! At least once you get through the first book….
I had the luxury of starting the series from the middle, with In Shade and Shadow, and was so pleasantly surprised that I finished the entire book that night and ordered all the others in the series the next morning. The Saga of the Noble Dead is so absolutely refreshing, comparatively speaking, when it comes to the overused Vampire trend that we’re stuck in. Unlike other book series of its kind, the Saga is split (so far) into 3 sections, and with each section comes a new goal, and with each section there comes new characters.
The Saga has quite a list of characters, all very unique and endearing in their own way, and as a bonus – THEY ALL HAVE FLAWS! As I made note of last Sunday, I HATE IT when characters are too perfect. It irks me to no end. End of aside, these characters are very real, despite having many supernatural qualities, and despite these superpowers, so to speak, they can still kick ass and get their asses kicked. My favorite character, the endearing and endlessly curious Wynn is great. She’s an intellectual, she don’t-need-no-man, and she is very Gandalf-esque with her superpowered staff. It’s corny and yet it totally works.
As I said before, the Saga is split into 3 sections (and I hope there’s a fourth coming soon, but that hasn’t been announced yet). Wynn is a secondary character in the first section, not seen until the second book, as the first section of the Saga focuses on a Dhampir, Magiere, and her allies, Leesil and Chap (with a few secrets of their own) as she kicks some vampire ass while learning more about her past, and dealing with political intrigue and elves that want to kill her. The beautiful thing about this series is the fact that it has been split up into so many sections, allowing each of these plot-threads time to breath and develop over the course of the books.
Married authors of the Saga, Barb and J.C. Hendee do a fabulous job with this series and have far exceeded my expectations about Vampire Novels. If you’re looking for an extended book series to keep you up reading long into the night (and distract you from your homework), I recommend the Saga of the Noble Dead. Though the first book, Dhampir, isn’t as exceptional as the others in the series, it is still wonderfully done, and will only leave you wanting to read more about Magiere and her ass-kicking allies.
Overall, the writing is wonderful, and with such an eclectic mix of themes, this novel is a sucker (pardon the pun, sorrynotsorry) for all those fantasy/scifi lovers out there like me!
The vampires are just one step above mindless monsters. They have no trouble eating from humans, and killing them is undeniably fun, but they would rather live among humans with all the comforts that entails than be hunted with pitchforks. Sometimes. Sometimes they genuinely do not want to kill, and it's this that makes it just as possible to see things from their perspective, and make you question who really are bad and who are good. Some vampires, however, do fall to the temptation of killing in a bloodlust (the feral path) and this adds some nice contrast. And a vampire to kick of the series.
The only thing that actually pulls this down is how, despite having a supposed comic-relief guy, Leesil, it's very low on humour. There are only one or two lines that makes you smile, but for the most part it almost takes itself too seriously. Almost. It's a very serious scenario, the characters are understandably very grim, but even in the lighter passages there's very little humour, as if the authoress was just itching to get back to the exciting fight scenes and the dark tones. If she hadn't insisted that Leesil tended to use humour to relieve tension, if she hadn't continually introduced him as the funny one it would have gone better. She very nicely manages to show that he has his own baggage of angst without telling us about it, but the humour is something we're told about rather than shown, so it's not as believable.