I am normally reluctant to delve into yet another fantasy book which redefines the basic tenets of the fantasy genre. And when said book begins to encroach into another genre I become even more leery of investing my time. Finally, what that book is the beginning of a trilogy or longer series, that is usually the nail in the coffin for me (which I must confess is why I’ve never ready “The Wheel of Time” series).
“Dhampir” by Barb and J.C. Hendee however is exactly one of these books. I picked up the book sometime in the past year at either a yard sale or a second hand book store. The cover intrigued me. A female fighter as the protagonist with a half-elf companion. I read the synopsis on the back of the paperback and I was hooked – “Magiere and her half-elf partner, Leesil, have the cleverest con in the land.”
I bought the book but did not pick it up until quite some time later. I was looking for something to read that was different from my recent reads as well as my recent book reviews. It has a couple of months since I reviewed a book with vampires in it, so I began to read “Dhampir.”
Let me say the Hendees have written quite the entertaining story. I did thoroughly enjoy it. I want to break the book down into the parts I described above which normally send me running from a new book. “Dhampir” is first and foremost a fantasy story. There are Elves, half-Elves, warlords, peasants, swords, and magic. The Elves are skilled in the ways of assassination of humans, there are no mages trying to push the boundaries of magic, and the heroine actually attempts a sword fight in a dress!
The genre which the Hendees bring into this fantasy world is horror. Some may argue that vampires are a basic part of the fantasy stable of monsters for the protagonist to fight. However, these vampires while monsters, have a rich back story and are likable as the heroes of their own history.
Finally, even though “Dhampir” is the first of “The Noble Dead” series, I felt the story was complete on its own. That’s not to say I do not feel compelled to pick up the other books in the series. The Hendees have created unique and engaging heroes in Magiere and Leesil. I do look forward to their further adventures as vampire hunters.
For those fans of strong female characters, definitely pick up this book. The writing was flowing and kept me turning pages. The plot was well put together. My only negative comment may be on the flashbacks of the vampires which reveals their history. It seemed a bit jarring at first, but the writing style quickly brought the reader into the story overcoming any issues.
I give “Dhampir” by Barb and J.C. Hendee four flags!