cover image THE AWAKENING: A Vampire Huntress Legend

THE AWAKENING: A Vampire Huntress Legend

L. A. Banks, . . St. Martin's Griffin, $12.95 (264pp) ISBN 978-0-312-31683-9

In this follow-up to Minion (2003), Banks proves that vampire novels, like their vampire characters, often spawn progeny all too much in their own image. Events begin precisely where they dead-ended in the first novel, with rock 'n' roller cum vampire-slayer Damali Richards the prey of renegade vampire-master Fallon Nuit, who wants her eliminated for the grief she's caused him and his hybrid demon-vampire minions. The Vampire Council also seek to vampirize her and the child they scheme to seed her with before her 21st birthday. The council is depending on newly un-dead Carlos Rivera, Damali's ex-lover, to find her weak spot—but Carlos has his own agenda to retrieve his soul before he becomes an irredeemable vampire, and he secretly plays the council, Nuit and even Damali and her band against one another to achieve his goal. For all the double-crossing intrigue, choreographed bloodshed and physical mayhem, readers will find little in the plot to distinguish this novel from its predecessor. The author devotes most of her energies to fleshing out minutiae of her weird world, which includes elaborate hierarchies and biological imperatives that govern its hordes in the afterlife. The result is an ambitious but often slow-going fantasy that will appeal mainly to Banks's loyal minions. (Jan. 28)