by LA Banks, fantasy (2004)
St Martin's Griffin, $12.95, ISBN 0-312-31683-6
Book two of this author's A Vampire Hunter Legend series. The previous book, Minion is also reviewed here. Readers are advised to start on Minion as this book is a series in every sense of the word. The story in The Awakening continues from where Minion ends. You can read the review of Minion to get a fresher course on what this series is all about.
In The Awakening, briefly put so as to not spoil Minion, Damali Richards is still being targeted by the Vampire Council who wants to turn her into a vampire and then get her with child so that the baby will, um, fulfil some prophecy and be an uber-baby. Fallon Nuit is still furious with Damali and her friends for the mess they made in Minion and he wants revenge. Roped into the mess is Carlos Rivera, the tormented vampire who loves Damali but is charged to bring her in and hand her over to the Council. Carlos begins playing two sides so that he can find a way to get Damali as well as to regain his soul. What will poor Damali do? All she wants to do is to celebrate her birthday, but all those inconsiderate fangfaces want her dead or pregnant instead. What is the world coming to nowadays?
Despite its premise, The Awakening is so slowly paced and crammed with expositions about the mythology and backstory that this book moves at a snail's pace. From mayhem on the streets to the infernal politics of the underworld, this book has so little action compared to an overabundance of exposition that I find myself getting impatient with this story. A fluidly paced story would have made the plethora of genre clichés in this uber-Shipper friendly hybrid of Buffy and Charmed (Cole Turner, say hi to Carlos Rivera) more palatable. Nonetheless, I have to concede that those clichés, recognizable as they may be, are at least expanded very ambitiously by the author to create her own world with a little hint of refreshing twist here and there.
I feel that LA Banks has a story to tell that can be very interesting if she can focus as much on her pacing as she does in the details of her alternate Earth setting. As of now, Damali Richards can't even get her birthday cake without being threatened with tired Give Us Your Hot Uterus For Our Gestation Purposes plotlines (can we have a female heroine without having the story unhealthily preoccupied with her breeding function, please?), Star-crossed Tormented Love, and other genre clichés that make this series so far a rather wordy kind of ordinary.
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