Sunday, May 31, 2009

Re-Read Challenge: Dhampir by Barb & J. C. Hendee

For this month's Re-Read Challenge I picked a book that didn't leave a big impression on me the first time I read it, but after some new discussion on it, I wanted to give another go. I know the Challenge is for books you loved the first time, forgive me Nath for going against the grain here.

Magiere and her half-elf companion, Leesil, are con artists. They travel from town to town, ridding superstitious villagers of vampires - or at least pretending to, for a fee, of course. Magiere doesn't believe in the so-called vampires the villagers claim exist, but she and Leesil have set up a Game to make it look as though she is a believer and knows exactly what she's doing. The remorse that she should feel for pulling the wool over the villagers eyes is non existent because of her past, Magiere cares little about taking money she doesn't deserve from the unsuspecting.

After years of the farce, Magiere is over the life and decides to retire. She takes what money she has saved over the years and she and Leesil settle down in the town of Miiska, becoming inn owners. Magiere believes that she has left her past life behind her, but there are some people in town who see Magiere for what she is, a Dhampir, and they are not happy about her arrival in Miiska. Magiere is clueless to her origins, she's always thought that people who believed in vampires were silly and superstitious. But when strange death's begin happening in town, Magiere is faced with the truth about both vampires and herself. In order to save the town of Miiska, she will have to come to terms with who she really is.

The first time I read Dhampir, I felt there wasn't a lot of development for the main characters, Magiere and Leesil. Magiere's character reads a little standoffish in the beginning, and it was hard to connect with her. And Leesil is a drunk and gambler, which made it hard to take him seriously. The second time around I was able to get past that and open myself up to the possibilities of both characters. As the story progresses and Magiere is able to settle into the town of Miiska, her character is easier to connect with and Leesil's as well. When this happens, the story is at its best.

What I liked this time around, that didn't interest me the first time, was the relationship between Magiere and Leesil. I think the first time I read the book, I was looking for character development so I missed the relationship development. In Dhampir there is an uneasy attraction between Magiere and Leesil that they are a little unsure of. One scene in particular and their reactions following it, showed that these two have feelings that go deeper than friends. I'm thinking that this will be shown more in future books, but I don't expect it to be easy since they both seem unsure of themselves when it comes to more than friendship.

A few other characters get a POV in Dhampir. I thought the most interesting of them was the Nobel Dead. Rashed, Teesha, Edwan and Ratboy (all vampires) help the story along with their back story and their actions during the course of the story. It was nice to see how the Noble Dead in Miiska came to be there and I connected with them on some levels, even though they were the bad guys. In my opinion, it is always good to be able to feel a connection to all characters, good and bad, as it makes for a better story.

The first time I read Dhampir I would have given it a C+. The second time around, I took my time with the book and was able to find a new appreciation for Magiere, Leesil, the vampires, lore, and the fantasy world. I can honestly say that a reread has changed my opinion on this book and I'm ready to continue on with the series. Grade B+.

Visit Barb and J. C. Hendee for more on this series.


  1. Wow, Brie. So glad you enjoyed it the second time around. I know you were so undecided on this series. I have it on my list of books/series to read this year in the Fantasy category. Nice!

  2. I hadn't heard of this series but it is interesting to hear what a reread did for you. I'll have to give it a try sometime...great review!

  3. Hils, I did like it a lot more the second time. The reread did me some good, but I also think that getting KMont's thoughts on it and her excitement about the rest of the series helped.

    Hi Sam, Thanks! If you get around to reading this series, I hope you enjoy it, and let us know what you think.

  4. LOL, Brie, this works as well, you know ;) I know I said keepers in the challenge, but hey, if you still own this book, well there's a reason right? and I'm glad you enjoyed it more the second time around.

    I'm still not undecided though on whether I want to start this series or not :P I think I'm going to wait till you read and review the second book :)

    Thanks for the review!

  5. It's so rare that we pick up a book to re read it when it really didn't do anything for us the first time. It sounds like a decent read - I'm glad you liked it better the second time around.

  6. Nath- Whew, lol. I'm starting the next book soon. I've heard the series gets progressively better, I hope that's true.

    Tracy- I noticed that you read a book you loved and graded it lower after a reread. Looks like I did the opposite and my grade went up. Go figure. I'm glad I liked it better the second time around, too.