Sunday, October 17, 2010

Memories Of Envy - Barb Hendee

Memories Of Envy
A Vampire Memories Novel #3
Barb Hendee


If you haven’t read the first two novels in this series (BLOOD MEMORIES and HUNTING MEMORIES) you’ll most likely feel that you’ve missed out on some key plot developments. And, truth be told, you’ve not only missed the plot developments, you’ve missed a couple of novels with a very interesting take on vampires. You’ll also find a few unavoidable spoilers in this review if you’re new to the series, so read at your own risk.

Long ago, vampires lived among human, following a few simple laws that allowed them to feed without killing and drawing attention to themselves. They all shared a talent for telepathy, giving them the ability to alter the memories of the humans on which they fed, removing memories of the feeding. It was a good system, and each elder vampire taught the very few children he or she made to live within it.

Then came Julian. Julian became a vampire with no telepathic abilities. Over time, he feared that this lack made him vulnerable to attack by other vampires. His plan is to find as many elder vampires as he can and destroy them. His theory is that the younger vampires were created without knowing the laws, and they live in frightened isolation, so they’re no real threat. The problem he faced was how to go about tracking down the remaining vampires.

Enter Eleisha. She’s a relatively young vampire, created with no knowledge of the laws or her real talents. Over the first two novels, she discovers her latent telepathy and conceives a plan to gather vampires together in a safe place, where they can live under the old laws. For Julian, this works out quite well. All he has to do is track Eleisha and her followers to the next vampire. At the moment, that vampire is Simone. Julian is disappointed to find that she’s not an elder. Eleisha wants to bring Simone into the fold, despite Simone’s clear disdain for the whole concept. Philip, one of Eleisha’s group, finds Simone fascinating because of the way she hunts. He’s done his best to live by the laws, but something in him enjoys killing. Simone recognizes a fellow predator in Philip, and a potential rival in Eleisha. Simone loves playing with her prey, and this game promises to be the best yet.

The author does a really wonderful job of giving each vampire his or her own background. Since they’re telepathic, they can ‘see’ each others’ memories. These sections of the books really shine. In this case, Simone is clearly a ruthless hunter with a lot of issues. But, after reading her story, it’s completely clear why she behaves the way she does. Simone is, quite possibly, the most complex of the vampires to date.

Each book builds on the ones that came before it. As each new character joins the story (including vampires, mortals and ghosts) the plot becomes more intricately woven and gains depth. Each of the characters has grown and changed over the course of the novels. It must be a complex balancing act, but the author manages quite nicely. Readers of the series will be glad to know that we learn more about Philip’s past in this installment, too. This is the best yet, and there’s still clearly more to come.

Rating: 8
October 2010
ISBN# 978-0-451-46353-1 (trade paperback)


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