Friday, April 08, 2005

[Book Review] Dhampir by Barb & J.C. Hendee

It seems that I’ve been jumping from one bad book to another. The concept of a damphir, a half-vampire hunting vampires, is nothing really new. And neither are vampire stories. This book ain’t Vampire Hunter D, ain’t Blade, ain’t Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is definitely no Anita Blake. It isn’t even a composite of all those stories. So what does Dhampir have to offer?

Well, the opening had some nice parts. The protagonist is a character who pretends to be an undead slayer, and when she decides to retire, actually runs into the real thing. And then it devolves into your typical story wherein the character discovers she has superhuman powers, defeats the vampire “miraculously”, and you can probably guess what happens next. Aside from the fact that most of the various characters in the story all have hidden pasts, there’s really nothing much to look forward to, except perhaps the ending.

As for strengths, the book really has no strengths. Nothing really stands out, except for what it lacks. Of course having said that, there’s nothing obscenely horrible either, but that’s only because Damphir is generic fantasy. And when I mean generic fantasy, I mean generic fantasy along with medieval weapons and elves. It’s not even a setting that’s fleshed out. We see elves and half-elves, fey dogs, vampires, ghost, and lots of peasants. This could have easily been dropped into a Dungeons & Dragons novel line and no one would notice the difference.

The characters in the book are stereotypically well-rounded, with the heroes constantly being in denial, while the villains arrogant but humane. There’s really no one memorable, either antagonists you love to hate, or protagonists to cheer on as the novel progresses. The only consolation I have is the fact the book is more or less easy to read, and just as easy to finish.

Overall, I can’t really recommend this book to anyone. I mean it’s obviously not good, but it’s also not that horrible that it stands out. And as far as guilty pleasures go, there are probably other, more interesting novels to choose from. The book doesn’t have romance, can’t really say that it’s action-packed, and it’s not really character-driven. The setting isn’t even original. Most likely, readers of the book will forget about it, not because it’s bad, but because there’s nothing memorable about it.

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