Book Review: Dhampir by Barb and J.C. Hendee

413814Title: Dhampir
Author: Barb and J.C. Hendee
Series: Noble Dead #1
ISBN: 0-451-45906-7
Publisher: Roc
Pub. Date: January 2003
Source: Library
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Paranormal
Pages: 384
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads:  SHE HUNTS THE REALMS MOST DANGEROUS GAME.
HER FEES ARE EXORBITANT.
SHE’S WORTH EVERY COIN SHE RECEIVES.
OR IS SHE?
Magiere has earned a reputation as the most formidable vampire slayer in the land. Villagers far and wide welcome her with both awe and disdain, grateful to her for ridding their towns of the undead menace, but finding themselves made poorer for their salvation. Magiere has always known she’s dealing with simple folk who only wish to have their superstitions silenced, and she’s never seen anything wrong with exploiting them for profit.
Now, tired of the game, Magiere and her partner, the half-elf Leesil, are ready to hang up their weapons and settle down in a place they can finally call home. But their new found peace will not last. For Magiere has come to the attention of a trio of powerful and dangerous vampires who recognize her true identity — even if she does not — and who fear the birthright that flows through her veins. And they will stop at nothing to keep Magiere from fulfilling her destiny.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Dhampir is about the travels of a half-elf (Leesil), a dog (Chap), and a half-vampire (Magiere).  The story begins during their last job.  Magiere and Leesil con villages into giving them money in exchange for her hunting services.  This involed Leesil disguising himself as a vampire and Magiere pretending to kill him in front of the villagers.  Before performing her services, Magiere would convince the town to give her almost every penny they had as payment.  After this last job Magiere and Leesil move to Miiska and open a tavern (really just a bar with a faro table).  Before arriving, Magiere and Chap fought and killed a vampire, although they mistook him for a crazy villager.  When they arrive, the vampires residing in town are out to kill Magiere before she can kill them.  However, Magiere is done with “killing” vampires.  All she wants is to live a quiet life, running her tavern.  But all those rumors she and Leesil spent so much time and effort spreading about her hunting skills have finally cought up with her, and no one will let her live quietly.  She is a vampire hunter after all.
Magiere was raised in a small village by her aunt.  She was hated by the other villagers because her father was thought of as evil even though Magiere never knew him.  Magiere is very quiet and keeps her thoughts to herself.  On the outside, she is very hard and cold, but deep down, she is very caring.  Whenever a vampire threatens her, the half-vampire in her comes out.  When this happens she can’t speak or think coherently-its all instinct.
Leesil is Magiere’s half-elf companion.  He was born a servant warrior.  His past is so sad. The lord that owned his family made sure he was trained to kill-which he did.  When he finally escaped, he made his living stealing.  After meeting Magiere, they devised a plan to make money together.  Even though they’ve worked and lived on the road together for a few years, they barely know anything about the other.  They have a mutual agreement to keep their pasts in the past.  Leesil’s dog, Chap, is very protective of both Leesil and Magiere.  He was given to Leesil as a gift from his mother.  Chap has similar fighting and healing abilities as Magiere which baffles Leesil.  Chap is so adorable.  He is the perfect guard dog.  He is also the perfect lapdog.
The three main vampires are Rashed, Ratboy, and Teesha.  Teesha’s story was heartbreaking.  She had a great and happy life until she was forced to leave her home.  I was very conflicted in terms of which side I was rooting for:  vampires or Leesil and Magiere.  The vampires were the “bad guys” but I liked them.  Their pasts were so complicated and full of sorrow that I could not hate them no matter what they did.  However, I did not like what they did.  Most of the killing that took place in the story was VERY unnecessary.  The vampires think Magiere is out to get them when she doesn’t even know they exist.  Instead of hiding, leaving, or waiting to see what happens, they attack her before she can attack them.  In doing this, they reveal themselves to her and anger her.  Now she wants them dead because they threaten the peaceful life she wants.  So both sides resort to their natures instead of doing what they want.  It’s a whole he-said-she-said type situation.
I liked this book.  It wasn’t great.  I so badly wanted there to be at least a little bit of romance between Leesil and Magiere.  But alas, there was not.  The dialogue was very well written and natural.  The whole book was pieced together nicely.  The characters had in-depth histories and personalities.  The final battle scene was very suspenseful.  Throughout the first half, I wasn’t exactly turning the pages quickly.  Eventually it started to pick up-I was eagerly flipping to find out what happened next.  This book is very bloody and violent.  But there are funny moments.  This husband-wife writing team are not afraid to kill their characters.  I enjoyed it and will be reading the next book in the series.

 

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Dhampir (The Noble Dead Saga, Series 1, #1)
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