Okay, it’s true. I live in a cave. I had no idea when I published my post on Good and Evil on August 7, 2011 that Ms. Banks had passed away only five days prior. I now wish to honor her memory by reviewing the first two books in her vampire Huntress series. May her books assure her creative immortality.
I am reviewing the first two books rather than just the first book for two reasons. First, Minion is not a stand-alone book. It ends with a cliffhanger that gets resolved at the end of The Awakening. Second, and much more important to me, all the problems I thought I had in Minion were misconceptions that were resolved in The Awakening.
The biggest problem I had with Minion was the fact that it sounded too preachy at times. It opens in the mind of an extremely homophobic woman, which put me off initially, but at the same time grabbed my curiosity with a question: was it just the time period and the upbringing of that specific character? More interestingly, she was very complex and interesting, leading me to give the author the benefit of the doubt.
That benefit fizzled after meeting the main character and her group because they did all seem to be good, but preachy. That’s something that turns me off, but I’m also the sort of person who tends to read all the way to the end. It’s curiosity. I have to know how it ends, even if it looks like I’m going to regret it. I did. When I got to the end of Minion, I was frustrated because it was a cliff hanger, and I thought for sure that Banks had chosen the Pure Good vs. Pure Evil plot.
The Awakening proved me wrong. The character that I thought was going to be the primary antagonist turned out to be an amazingly complex and beautiful character. He is, like Snape in the Harry Potter books, my favorite character of the series because he is such a grey character. He has moments of absolute evil, but also moments of exquisitely painful good.
Overall, I loved the integration of music and spoken word into the traditional mythos, and I was held captive by the way she evoked hard decisions. Despite my initial hesitance, I liked that she made me guess and rethink my own opinions about life.
Other reviewers have complained about long passages of exposition and irritating slang. I did notice moments where I felt like explanations were dragging on. I also didn’t like the fact that the plan of action was explained in detail before they actually started it. Still, I kept reading, because the characters were that compelling. The slang didn’t bother me at all, but rather added a touch of uniqueness to the story.
I love these books, and I’m going to read them all. Rest in peace, Leslie Esdaile Banks.