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... these books suck ...

... whaddaya expect, they are about vampires! :D

I've been on a vampire-related book-reading quest recently, partly procrastination partly research to see what's "out there", to see how much of my ideas are already taken, and whether others are using said ideas effectively.

Dhampir (Noble Dead, Book 1)Barb & J. C. Hendee 's Noble Dead series starts off with "Dhampir", the term for vampire hunter, or more exactly, the term for an offspring of a vampire who slays vampires. Of course, our heroine doesn't know her origins/heritage but coincidentally ends up "faking" vampire hunting within the villages, swindling poor villagers out of their money and valuables as a reward for slaying a vampire, who is actually her traveling companion, a half-elf Leesil and his mysterious supernatural dog. Heh. In a way, rather typical fare. Book 1 dealt with Magiere growing weary of life on the road, and chooses to settle down in the one place where coincidentally a nest of vampires is also residing. They meet, the antagonize each other, there's a showdown, lots, and I mean LOTS of fighting (yawwwn!), then all's well that ends well.

Except that it turns out the whole thing was orchestrated by a mysterious behind-the-scenes player...

Thief of Lives (Noble Dead, Book 2)I moved on to Book 2, where the orchestrator strikes again, causing Magiere's services to be required by the closest large town which seems to have a vampire infestation. More back story trickles out, Leesil's past seems to have caught up with him, and we find out more about the supernatural dog too. We are given hints as to the motivation of the mysterious Welstiel too, which relates to history of the barely-remembered past, something about a great war, etc etc...

I'm still not "hooked" per se, but will continue with Book 3 soon.

The Scent of Shadows: The First Sign of the ZodiacIn the meantime, I picked up Vicki Pettersson's "Sign of the Zodiac" series, Book 1 being "The Scent of Shadows". It's not actually vampire-related but I'd thought so when I picked it up. Certainly dark urban fantasy, which would be where my ideas fit in anyway.

Another tale where the main character is female, and is oblivious as to her heritage, this time that of being part of the Zodiac. Oh, and of being a mix of the Light and Shadow parts. Oh, and there being a prophecy of the emergence of someone who would be a fulcrum upon which the world would be balanced. Yeaaaaahhhh. But hey, the whole Zodiac concept is rather neat.

So Book 1 deals with Joanna Archer's "coming of age" and coming into her powers, getting to know the Light side, and defending herself against the Shadow who want her dead. Or do they want her to cross over? Then of course she wants revenge for the death of her sister, killed by the slimy Mr Sands.

The Taste of Night: The Second Sign of the ZodiacIn Book 2, Joanna hunts down Joaquin, the Shadow agent who had raped and attacked her and left her for dead when she was sixteen. Of course, it's all a set-up for her to learn that the quest for vengeance shouldn't consume her such that she puts everyone and everything at risk. The tensions among the Light team who can't seem to accept her dark side gets irritating rather fast.

But again, the whole Zodiac concept is refreshing. And the fact that they exist / are fueled by comic books graphic novels - amusing, and again, different.

This read closely to what I think I'd produce. sans the romance streak, of course. ugh.

Then came this horror:

Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Bk. 1)The premise is entertaining: vampires have been given rights just like humans, after all, they are just victims of a unique virus that renders victims allergic to silver, sunlight, garlic,, and require blood to survive. So you'll have the usual exploration of prejudice, of uneasy acceptance or tolerance for these newly out-of-the-coffin folk.

But premise doesn't cover for really lame characters, the main one being our heroine, a telepathic cocktail waitress who despite being able to read pretty much everyone's minds at will, is so naive - so much so that the author many times makes excuses for her (she's not educated, but wait, that doesn't mean she's stupid). And her name is Sookie Stackhouse. I'm sorry, but a name like that, you expect to be taken seriously?

Toss in a love interest in the form Bill, a vampire who was originally from Sookie's hometown, but 150 years earlier, and with whom Sookie can finally find peace of mind (or silence of mind). Turns out she can't "read" vampires, yay. The love scenes between them are just awful. I deem such passages unnecessary anyway, but these were ugh. Moving on: murders rock the community, and Bill is suspected, oh no! In an effort to investigate, she ends up on the radar of a big vampire honcho and voila some complications. Then her brother seems to have been set-up, and is arrested. And all throughout this Sookie is being all naive and oblivious and ... sigh ... let's just say I'm so glad it's over, and I'm not going to pick up anymore books by Charlaine Harris, lemmie tell ya!

Any good reads *you*'ve had recently?


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