Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Dog in the Dark

The Dog in the Dark     
by Barb and J.C. Hendee is part of the second cycle of Noble Dead books that give a different perspective on vampires and elves.  This long-running series features a dhampir (half human, half vampire) named Magiere and her half-elf partner, Leesil.  I was originally fascinated by this duo which should have driven each other nuts but somehow found a way to complement each other's abilities and form a successful partnership, especially with their companion Chap...who looks like a large canid but of course is far more than that.  I really enjoyed most of the volumes of the original series and the authors kept developing new twists to the overall quest that formed the basis of the series and adding new characters.  I was happy with the final results because, as usual, I like my Happy Ever After endings (even if it takes quite a few volumes to reach it).

Unfortunately, just as with many other series that I initially liked, I think that a multitude of factors caused a resurrection of the characters (figuratively, not literally) and a second story arc was initiated but didn't include my favorites from the original story, instead focusing on secondary characters--most notably the young scholar named Wynn.  There's a creepy being named Chane who is drawn to her and she ends up with her own canid companion who is a mystical being just like Chap.  The books still demonstrate a wealth of creativity but I find them difficult to become immersed in and I was really annoyed by one particular volume which seemed to spend several hundred pages detailing a hide and seek throughout a building...maybe a monastery...and never really propelled the series forward.

I kept thinking that the action needed to focus on the original trio in order to recapture that fascinating spark.  Sadly, for me, that hasn't happened.  Despite the fact that forward progress is slowly taking place, much of this particular book involved flashbacks.  I understand that this is a storytelling technique and I have no problem with occasional expositions to catch me up on how a particular character has reached this point in his or her life BUT I don't like it when every single character has to experience this ponderous review.  So, despite the fact that the book is well written as usual and is filled with amazingly creative beings and circumstances...I didn't enjoy it as much as usual and I will have to think long and hard before requesting to review any subsequent titles in this series.   My
Amazon review is at this link

I welcome other opinions and would be curious to find out what other people think about either series.

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