Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Kindred of Darkness by Barbara Hambly

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: November 19, 2013

When James Asher and his wife Lydia's baby daughter Miranda is kidnapped by the Master Vampire of London, the stakes are high: blindly follow the Master Vampire's instructions, keep out of the way of the human networks that serves the vampires, destroy the interloper who seeks to seize control of the London Nest, and find the key to the Nest's tortuous inner workings: The Book of the Kindred of Darkness. Even with the vampire Don Simon Ysidro on their side, there's no guarantee that anything - or anyone - is who or what they appear to be. Nor is there any certainty that they'll see their child again - or survive the experience themselves.

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My experience with Barbara Hambly's The Kindred of Darkness wasn't exactly ideal. Had the book been written as a standalone, I might have felt differently, but as it stands I spent most of my reading trying to piece together a story I was ill-prepared to enjoy.

That said, I like how Hambly built on her previous novels. Obviously I was at a disadvantage in appreciating the development of her characters and story, but even I acknowledge admiration for her style and tone. The story is appropriately dark and she definitely veers away from the more common vampiric archetypes and themes. 

Not my favorite read, but I firmly believe my detachment from the characters and events to be the cause. I'd certainly read Hambly again, but caution readers to tackle the James Asher chronologically. 

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As Death’s shadow changes all things, so the vampire is no longer man or woman. Blood he seeks, and without the kill he loses that facility which he has, to cast a glamour on human sight and human dreams. Yet even when he has fasted only a short while, still he hungers for the kill with the lust of starvation. No other thing is to him so important as this: not the love of family nor honor, neither learning nor art. Having given up his soul for the promise of more life, he finds that without the soul, all that remains is appetite. All which colored life takes on the single hue of blood.
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